Fearing Mockery, My Daughter Refuses to Wear Hijab

14 September, 2020
Q My daughter is turning 13 this year and she has already reached the age of puberty.

I am trying my best to convince her to wear the hijab, but she always says her peers would make fun of her being the only Muslim in the class.

Can you suggest some interesting tips for me to use? Can I force her to wear it or threaten her with something she likes?

Answer

In this counseling answer:

•You may want to talk to the school about this if it does happen.

•Buy her some pretty scarves to wear around her neck so she can get used to wearing it.

•After awhile, instruct her to wear her scarves over her head.

•The last stage would be wearing the scarf as she is supposed to- as full hijab.

•Get her involved with girls groups at your Masjid wherein she can develop friendships with Muslim girls.


As salamu alaykum,

Thank you for your question.

Your daughter is naturally expressing concern if she is the only Muslim in her school or class.

I would kindly suggest that you reach out to other Muslim families in your area to see if any of their daughters attend the same school as your daughter.

If so, please do explain your situation to the mother (s) and see if an introduction can take place. Ideally, a friendship could form. However, that is not guaranteed.

Making Muslim friends

The more Muslim friends your daughter has that are wearing the hijab, the more easy it will be for her to begin to wear one. Especially if that child goes to her school. Right now she is fearful of appearing different and yes, she is right.

Fearing Mockery, My Daughter Refuses to Wear Hijab - About Islam

She will probably be made fun of as children can be cruel at this age.

When I was about your daughter’s age, I remember my mother forcing me to wear these neon green slacks to school when all of my peers were wearing black.

I was so mortified and scared that I would change back into the black slacks as soon as I got to school.

This went on for about a month until I forgot one day as I was running late for a test.I ran into class and all was silent until my classmates looked up and saw me.

I realized I forgot to change-and I was horrified, I froze. And, nothing happened, they went back to their tests.


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It was all in my head.  My point in sharing this is that at your daughter’s age she is unsure of herself anyhow as a young teen starting to go through puberty.

Add to that something that will make her stand out, and her mind will run with fear.

Educate her about hijab

I would kindly suggest that you begin by asking her if anyone in her class knows she is Muslim.

If so, explain to her that it should not be a shock to them or something they would ridicule knowing she is Muslim.

If most do not know, then yes it may be difficult for a little while as she may have to find space wherein she can educate her friends and peers about hijab if there is any comments or rude remarks.

You may want to talk to the school about this if it does happen, but I am not sure how supportive the school would be but it is a thought.

On the downside, it would be putting her in the spotlight, which is something she does not want to begin with.

Wraring hijab in steps

I would kindly suggest sister that you buy her some pretty scarves to wear around her neck so she can get used to wearing something every day. 

Have her pick out the materials, fabrics, and colors. As scarves are a common sight and lots of girls wear them, it should not be an issue with her. Have it so it covers her neck and breasts.

After awhile, maybe a month or so, instruct her to wear her scarves over her head, tell her to wear it like a “hoodie” style. This covers most of the hair but not fully.  It will, however, get her-and her classmates acclimated to seeing her in a scarf.

First around the neck, then hoodie style around the head and the last stage would be wearing the scarf as she is supposed to- as full hijab.

By doing this in steps you are reducing the chances that she may get harassed for wearing a hijab.

You are giving her time to get used to wearing it in stages at school and it is not a sudden change but a gradual one.

While I am not an Islamic scholar I can only advise you from a cognitive and behavioral perspective.

Read also: Can I Force My Daughter to Wear Hijab?

Forcing her may make her resentful and she may disobey and take it off (as I did) out of fear.

Your goal is to make her fall in love with wearing hijab and want to wear it.  If her first experiences are of being called names and being made fun of, she may regress.

I would also encourage you sister to get her involved with girls groups at your Masjid wherein she can develop friendships with Muslim girls whom she can do things with, grow with and learn about Islam with.

At this age, peer role models are so important and insha’Allah she will find lifelong sisters who her age group, who are Muslim and who can help her along her path as a growing, young Muslima.

We wish you both the best.

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Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.