If you had asked me some five or six years ago why I wear the hijab, I would have opportunely popped up a long list of cogent reasons and hammered away at you until you had no choice but to surrender. That list of reasons would of course be the result of frequent soliloquies I used to speak to myself, in case someone puts me on the spot, demanding “convincing” evidence in favor of the hijab.

That kind of questioning never happened. But, if anything, it shows how defensive my mindset used to be.

I managed to outgrow my need for self-justification.

It has not been replaced by obliviousness or apathy, but I just let go of overthinking as a result of being more at peace with everything in life. Now, I know why I wear the hijab – just because. Once I decided on that, I was able to carry on with my life, emptying that space hijab used to take up in my head for more life defining thoughts, plans and dreams.

Hijab has generally been politicized, philosophized, feminized, and even fetishized, when it should totally have been left alone. And my wearing of the hijab is still constantly being judged both negatively and positively. Uncool, commoner, prudish, role model, Islamic scholar – those are just some of the stereotypes to which I and pretty much every other hijabi woman, has been subjected to living in Egypt, a majority Muslim country.

If I arranged my hijab differently, I would also be judged.

When I tie it to the back showing part of my neck, as opposed to wrapping it tightly around my head, many think that I’m most probably preparing to take it off. But I’ve stopped caring because I had decided to keep the hijab on my head rather than inside of it.

If people think I’m unfashionable, fine.

If they believe I’m not a proper hijabi, that’s also fine.

I am fine with both ends of the judgment spectrum. All I care about now is staying true to myself while keeping my personality and appearance harmoniously aligned.

When I quit trying to make sense of hijab myself, I was freed of people’s judgments and similarly, I don’t give two hoots what other people decide to wear or not wear on their heads or their toes for that matter. More importantly, I don’t question why they dress the way they dress or do the things they do because I figure the answer is most likely just like mine: because they want to.

And I have no right to argue with that.

I am not saying that people should not have a stance on why they choose to appear in a certain way. Neither am I saying that there are not valid reasons for donning the hijab. What I mean is that my reason behind choosing to wear a headscarf is just as valid as that of someone who prefers to style their hair or dress in a certain way. It is that simple.

So, if you are a hijabi and you have your list of reasons, that is a good thing – as long as you don’t feel defensive about it.

If you wear it and you don’t give it much thought, good for you because it means that you’re freeing more space in your head for things that actually do need analysis and solutions. By all means, this is not an invitation to not think, analyze and reflect on matters of life. I am all for that. But, to me, hijab has become an issue to which Wordsworth’s quote “We murder to dissect” is the best explanation.

When you put hijab under the microscope, it loses its beauty.

Just in case you’re wondering why I really, really wear the hijab, well, no one forced me. In fact, my parents could not care less whether I wear it or take it off. I wear it because I want to, because I’m comfortable doing so and because it suits me well.

And this is reason enough.

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  • Mona Abdel-Moneim is a full-time copywriter at a branding agency and a former university teacher with an MLitt in the study of Muslims, Globalization and the West from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Besides learning the guitar and polishing her writing skills, she is now focused on her voluntary work in Education. She loves cats, Cadbury's Crunchie, deep conversations and everything indie.