When I lived in Jordan in 2015, I remember meeting an American, Christian girl who chose to wear the hijab in Jordan. Just in case you are not aware, Jordan is not a country that forces women to wear hijab or any other particular types of clothing. Sure, the majority of the women wear hijab, but you can find plenty who do not most anywhere you go. So, when I met this young woman, I was curious why she would choose to wear the hijab when she was by no means obligated to do so. She explained and I really liked her reasons, so here they are:
First and foremost, she wanted to let Muslim women know that becoming a Christian does not force them to change the way they dress or eat. She wanted them to know that they can still dress in a manner that is comfortable and decent to them. The only thing that is necessary is faith in Christ… not faith plus removing hijab, eating pork, giving up your culture, etc. You are free to do those things, but you are also free to abstain. God doesn’t require a check-list of do’s and don’ts… He wants relationship with you.
Secondly, she also liked to have fewer barriers between herself and conservative Muslim women. She found that conservative families often had fewer issues with hanging out with her because they weren’t afraid of her being a bad influence on their daughters or wives.
Finally, she also liked the fact that her wearing the hijab would often spark up conversations. People would ask her, “When did you convert to Islam?,” assuming that the hijab meant she was a Muslim. This would give her an opportunity to explain that she wasn’t a Muslim, but a Christian who choose to wear the hijab. This would often shock people… “so you’re allowed to wear hijab as a Christian?” This often led to a good conversation about what the essence of Christianity was.
Anyways, I admired her for her well-thought through decision to wear the hijab in Jordan. It took courage because she did get criticism about this (sadly, mostly from Christians). Legalism can go to both extremes… we often see it in the form of rules and regulations about how much should be covered up, but sometimes it comes in regulations about how much should be exposed. Let us quit nitpicking each other about our exteriors, what we eat or drink, customs, etc. Let us instead focus on how we can strengthen relationships with one another and with Jesus.
Sure, there are some things that are sinful and we do need to call each other out, in love, about those things… but before doing so, try to examine if this thing is just a personal preference or if it really is important.
Anyways, just in case you are wondering, I will not be wearing the hijab in Jordan… because I don’t want to. And, yes, that is a good enough reason. 😉