Dania Alkhouli is a Syrian American published writer, poet and blogger, who co-founded the nonprofit organization, 'A Country Called Syria,' with her mother to educate the greater public on the history, culture and valuable contributions of Syria to the world. Here's what she had to say about the Hijab:
What does the hijab mean to you?
To me, hijab means a sense of belonging, an identity. I hear many talk about it like it's something dangerous to wear now because it's too much of an obvious notation of my Muslim identity but that's exactly why I love it. Having worn it for over 20 years now, it's become a part of me. It's a connection to my faith, a feminist expression of my freedom of choice.
What inspires you to keep wearing the hijab?
What inspires me to continue wearing hijab today is seeing my fellow Muslim sisters in hijab successfully making their mark on the world. It's an invigorating and empowering sensation when I see Muslim women wearing hijab in their fields of law, medicine, engineering, education, public safety and so forth. I'm reminded by them that we can and will continue to do our part serving our Lord by serving humanity while practicing an essential part of our faith.
What advice do you have for those who are struggling with it?
I have a few pieces of advice. First, I definitely find the benefit of surrounding myself with those who are supportive of my decision to wear the hijab and keep it on. Often, being around those who discourage it, brings to life the internal battle. I also suggest reconnecting to the faith, re-learning the deeper meaning of hijab--why we wear it, what we are expected to, etc. For years many women have been given the cliché reasons for "why to wear hijab" and those don't end up resonating deeply within, causing so many to question the validity and purpose of wearing it. Lastly, as a reminder to us all, upkeep duaa. Sometimes life gets in the way and temptations flood our paths, and we forget the power of duaa and how much strength it can provide us, specifically how closely it connects us to God.
Would you like to be a part of the PFH Hijab Movement? Send us your responses to the above questions at getPFH@gmail.com for a chance to be featured!