THE HIJAB (HIJAAB) SERIES

MUSLIMS AND NON-MUSLIMS IN HIJAB

Due to the restrictions that I have encountered with photographing Muslim women. I have very few images here of real Muslim women. I have chosen to use mostly models who are not Muslim in the interim series until further notice. I see a change taking place where the perceptions of these women are in transition. I see a trend where local Muslim women are beginning to don fabrics that are far from the limitations of traditions fabrics.

What is the Hijab? The word itself comes from the Arabic word "hijaba" meaning to conceal or hide from view. Hijab is the modest covering of the head and body of Muslim women. All Muslim adults are supposed to wear the appropriate hijab for their sex. It is reported that Asmaa bint Abu Bakr(r) came to the Messenger of Allah while wearing thin clothing. He approached her and said: 'O Asmara! When a girl reaches the menstrual age, it is not proper that anything should remain exposed except this and this.' He pointed to the face and hands."

Muslim women must wear the hijab because Allah ordered it. Muslims have two sources for guidance. The first and most important source is Qur'an, the revealed word of Allah. They may then use Hadith which is the sayings and traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) who was chosen by Allah to be a role model for mankind.

The Hijab (Hijaab) Series is a borrowed concept that I have chosen to use as a source used to emphasize the face of Non-Muslim women of various origins, politics, religions, and ages. When the whole body is included in a strict context, women must also wear Burka's that conceal the body. The fabric that I have chosen to use as a substitute for a real Hijab is more for convenience than accuracy.

All the subjects included in this series were asked to express a neutral gaze into the camera. The intention is to provide an identity that can only be perceived through their faces. There is some overlap of subjects that are also part of the "Private Eye Series".

"Museum Model" San Francisco, California November 2016

"Fellow Students" Oakland, California September 2015

"Marguerite" Oakland, California May 2011

"Dora in Scarf" Richmond, California May 2012

"Dora in Scarf" Richmond, California May 2012

"Diane in Scarf" Sausalito, California May 2013

"Muslim in Hijab" Oakland, California May 2013

"Terry in Hijab" Richmond, California December 2012

"Terry in Hijab" Richmond, California December 2012

"Leslie in Hijab" Emeryville, California November 2012

"Rene in Burka" San Rafael, California October 2011

"Tina in Burka" San Rafael, California October 2011

"Anonymous" Berkeley, California October 2011

"Anonymous" Berkeley, California October 2011

"Anonymous" Berkeley, California October 2011

"Anonymous" Berkeley, California October 2011

"Anonymous" Berkeley, California October 2011

"Brittany" Berkeley, California November 2011

"Beverly" Berkeley, California April 2011

"Dora" Richmond, California August 2011

"Corinne" Berkeley, California 2011

"Darcel" Alameda, California 2011

"Loyce" Alameda, California 2011

"Rhea" Berkeley, California April 2011

"Brenda" Richmond, California 2011

"Quita" Berkeley, California 2011

"Sissell" Berkeley, California April 2011

"Arlette" Berkeley, California 2010

"Candice" Oakland, California 2010

"Quita" Berkeley, California 2011

"Gretchen" Oakland, California 2010

"Agnes" Oakland, California 2010

"Candi" Richmond, California 2011

"Lauren" Berkeley, California 2010

"Anica" Berkeley, California 2010

"MaryJo" Berkeley 2010

"ONika" Berkeley 2010

"Anne" Rapid City South Dakota 2010

"Laura" Rapid City South Dakota 2010

"Anon" Berkeley 2010

"Orlondre" Berkeley 2010

"Sandra" Oakland, California 2010

"Patti" Oakland, California 2010

"Alexis" Rapid City South Dakota 2010

"Paula" Rapid City South Dakota 2010

"Gloria" Antioch, California 2010

"Jocelyn" Berkeley, California 2010

Jettie, portfolio #1 2010

"Dakota" Rapid City South Dakota 2010

"Toni" Berkeley California August 2010

"Angela" Berkeley California August 2010

"Susan" Rapid City South Dakota 2010

"Kelley" Rapid City South Dakota 2010
HOW 'HIJABIS OF NEW YORK' IS SHATTERING STEREOTYPES ABOUT MUSLIM WOMEN
"The hijab is an empowering part of my identity and is my choice."
BY KRISTINA RODULFO
December 29, 2015

When Rana Abdelhamid was told by a friend, "You're pretty normal for a woman who wears the hijab, I thought you would be really quiet when I first met you," she realized how the head covering worn by many Muslim women fueled shallow misconceptions. That's when she started the Hijabis of New York Facebook page, which publishes photographs of hijab-wearing women profiled in the style of Humans of New York. Abdelhamid, the 22-year-old founder of Women's Initiative for Self Empowerment, aka WISE, started the project about a year ago but it has grown by the thousands in recent months–far surpassing her original aim of 8,000 likes by 2016. "My goal was to use photography and social media to show the rest of the world the vibrancy and diversity of Hijabi women," she explains.

"There are so many stereotypes around the hijab, both from within the Muslim community and the non-Muslim community," Abdelhamid continues. "People will assume that veiled women are really conservative, soft spoken, docile and not career-oriented. There is also the dehumanization of veiled women that has made us walking targets of anti-Islamic bigotry. Many people think that the hijab is oppressive. For me, the hijab is an empowering part of my identity and is my choice. There are so many badass hijab-wearing Muslim women. If people aren't getting to know us, they're seriously missing out! Get to know us."

Abdelhamid adds that while the page focuses on hijabs specifically, "I am really tired of conversations about Muslim women being only focused on what we wear." She hopes as the Hijabis of New York project's reach grows, it will spark conversations offline about other issues, "There are so many other real challenges–domestic violence, assault, harrassment–facing Muslim women that I hope this page will be able to shed a light on." Ahead, read excerpts of stories from some women featured.

"Being a Muslim woman in America today is very exhausting. Every once in a while when a horrific event happens, Muslim women face horrible backlash. It seems like it's become a roller coaster ride. First the tensions are high then they slow down and come back again and every single time, Muslim women are being forced to apologize, condemn, and reject ideologies that are so clearly not part of the Islamic faith. As the eldest in the family, it's hard to hear your little sister say that she is scared to go to school, scared to take the subway, scared to even hang out in public with her friends in broad daylight. However, she still does it because we will not put a pause on our lives just to please bigots. They can't win and we won't let them." ------Rana Abdelhamid

"I've learned that as a hijabi, I am outwardly representing Islam so people are going to judge me in everything I do and it is my job to stop myself from giving Islam a bad name. However, no one is perfect and when other Muslims judge me...it hurts the most because I'm sure Islam does not support judging others. I just wanna remind myself and everyone else please don't judge your fellow brothers and sisters – you do not know who they are or what they're going through. If you feel the need to address something, do it with thought. Don't make them feel bad about being a Muslim. You can be the reason for someone's emotional breakdown." ------Jiniya Azad

Copyright Raymond Holbert 2015: Use of these images and or text is prohibited without permission from the author.

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