I Struggle with Wearing Hijab at School

27 November, 2019
Q Salam. I am 16. It’s been almost a year since I am wearing hijab everywhere alhamdullilah.

However, the school I attend is Christian and they don’t allow me to wear the hijab. Hamdulillah, it is a girl school. But there are 2 or 3 male teachers, some male workers, and there are often seminars where men are the lecturers. I find very difficult to escape from them, but I try my best.

I ask Allah his forgiveness. Please tell me what can I do?

Answer


In this counseling answer:

• Speak with your mom for spiritual support as well as to see if she can talk to the principal at your school.

• You may also wish to consult your imam to see if he can be of service regarding this matter.

• Please do read the school rule and policy book and make sure that it actually states no head coverings/hijab are allowed. Compare this to the district school board policies. If it does not say that, your mom and you may wish to bring this up to the principle that it is not a written rule nor law in the school.

• If it is indeed a written policy at your school, you can either advocate for your religious rights, or accept the situation as it is, knowing that Allah understands, and continue about your school business.


As salamu alaykum dear sister,

Thank you for writing to us with your concerns. As I understand your situation, you have been wearing a hijab for about a year now. Alhamdulillah on your decision to wear hijab! However, your problem is that the school you attend does not allow you to wear the hijab.

All-Girls School

The school you attend is an all-girls school. This may be one reason for such a ban, as possible they do not feel it is necessary. Perhaps it does not only include a hijab but other headwear such as caps, bandanas, and so forth.

Maybe they do not fully understand the rights, criteria, and reasons for Muslims wearing a hijab. However, they may not take into consideration the few males who work there. In other words, depending on the type of school board, it may be a policy implemented out of ignorance.

I Struggle with Wearing Hijab at School - About Islam

On the other hand, depending on your region, it might be politically motivated and a violation of your religious rights.

Speaking with your Mother

I am wondering sister if you have spoken to your mom about this. Oftentimes it helps if a parent advocates on your behalf for your religious rights. Your mom or family members may know why there is such a ban and whether or not this ban is approachable in terms of fighting it.

Your mom may also insha’Allah, be able to provide you with some tips and points on how to cope with this situation as perhaps she has gone through a similar dilemma, especially if she grew up in this region. Perhaps your mom can talk to the principal at your school.

Please do read the school rule and policy book and make sure that it states no head coverings/hijab are allowed. If it does not say that, your mom and you may wish to bring this up to the principal or school board that it is not a written rule or law in the school.

Often times rules, bans, and other schools “policies” are sent home with students on a leaflet, but when you look at the actual policy handbook, it is nowhere to be found.

Systematic Oppression or Institutional Violation

Sister, I am not familiar with the laws in your region /country where you live. Every country, as well as regions or states,  have different laws pertaining to different issues. It could be that it is a political issue (laws that produce oppressive conditions) or it could be a violation of a state given religious right. If you choose to contest this, your course of action will be dependent upon which category it falls in.

To Contest or to Adapt

Sister, it is up to you if you want to contest this. Perhaps you could start a petition. Depending on the ban’s origin, the outcome may take lots of time, organizing and energy. The desired outcome may take years to resolve. However, it would pave the path for other Muslim girls’ rights. Please do speak to your mom about this aspect of the ban as well if you wish to address it.

Reaching out to Other Muslim Girls

In addition to speaking with your mom, you might want to reach out to other Muslim girls who go to the school to possibly discuss with them how they feel about the situation. Ask them for tips and advice about what they are doing to address the situation and how they are coping with not being allowed to wear a hijab. You may wish to start a Muslim Social Club at your school for supporting one another, studying activities, as well as developing friendships.


Check out this counseling video:


Other Possible Options

Sister, you may want to find out if it is permissible to wear a hijab while there are male workers present or when you are in a class of male teachers. There might be a loophole in the school rules allowing this. It may be worth checking out.

For instance, as you are uncomfortable when there are males around, if you are able, leave the area unless of course, they are your teachers. You may wish to ask for a female teacher for that class or ask for an exception to the rule for the hijab ban for that class.

Research your school district handbook regarding religious rights and mental health well-being. Also, if a certain rule is causing a student mental health distress by denial of rights, it should be addressed by the school or school board. I am not trying to encourage you to cause hardship upon yourself. However, I am encouraging you to advocate for your rights if you so desire.

Allah Knows your Heart

Sister, insha’Allah, you will be able to get through your school years with little distress. Right now, it is important to focus on studying and grades. Allah knows what is in your heart. Allah knows that you do desire to wear a hijab in school. In certain circumstances where we as Muslims are oppressed and forbidden to complete some of our Islamic duties such as wearing hijab as it would pose a danger, Allah understands. It is not as if you are refusing to wear a hijab, it is that it is not permitted in this particular school.  This is not your fault.

Conclusion

Sister please do speak with your mom for spiritual support as well as to see if she can talk to the principal at your school.

You may also wish to consult your imam to see if he can be of service regarding this matter.

Please do read the school rule and policy book and make sure that it actually states no head coverings/hijab are allowed. Compare this to the district school board policies. If it does not say that, your mom and you may wish to bring this up to the principle that it is not a written rule nor law in the school.

If it is indeed a written policy at your school, you can either advocate for your religious rights, or accept the situation as it is, knowing that Allah understands, and continue about your school business.

Not Easy

Sister, I know this is not easy. We will encounter many situations in our life where things are made difficult. However, we must depend on Allah’s Mercy and make dua to Allah that He grants us ease and protection.

As stated earlier, Allah does know your heart and your intentions. It is said that this is what Allah looks at. Our heart and our intentions of what we wish to do is very important and your intentions are pure. Sister, please do let us know how you are doing. Insha’Allah the situation will work itself out to your benefit. If it does not, know that Allah looks at your heart and understands your situation and He does love you.

Salam,

***

Read more:

Getting Ready to Wear Hijab

New Muslim: Can I Wear Hijab Sometimes, Not Full-Time?

100 Reasons Why We Wear Hijab

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.