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Live With Nourka Episode 4: Eman Kaiss

Posted by Maha Jawass on

Live with nourka episode 4: eman kaiss


When did you start wearing the hijab?

Eman: I started wearing the hijab when I was in grade 8

Do you feel like hijab has sort of changed since you started wearing it? The way you see it, the way you wear it, has it changed?

Eman: I think that for every single girl that wears the hijab, there are phases within the hijab. When you first start wearing it, you’re super empowered, it’s something new for you. It’s like getting a piercing, you’re so excited about it, and not to compare but, it’s a really big thing, it’s a big change. Over time it starts to become a part of you, it becomes a part of your routine, and you kind of get used to it. That’s definitely how I saw it, and it also helped that we were in an Islamic private school, so everyone around us wore the hijab, it was part of our uniform. So going into wearing the hijab was not a very big deal. Everyone has their reasons why they wear the scarf, but for me personally, God knew that it was the easiest way for me to wear the scarf, that I would have to be in an environment where everyone around me wore the scarf, and so it was an easy transition.

Do you feel like if you didn’t wear it at such a young age, would you wear it now? If you had to wear it today, would you wear it today?

Eman: It would definitely be hard, it would be such a struggle because we didn’t have things that are happening now, like social media, beauty gurus, we didn’t have fitness models and Instagram girls, basically everything that doesn’t really scream hijab. Back in the day, you’d hear all the time that a girl took her hijab off because she couldn’t get a job. Nowadays, we’re actually fighting against that, hijabis are wanted, and diversity is wanted. They want the hijabi within their companies, and it could be a cover to be more diverse but that’s not a problem anymore. A girl doesn’t feel like she can’t get a job because she wears the hijab. Back in the day, because there weren’t so many (hijabis), especially in the west, I feel like it was a struggle. So girls would take it off because they felt like if they took off the hijab they would get a job, if they took it off they’d get married, etc.

Nour: It seems so much easier for white Instagrammers, it’s like companies don’t even blink twice at them.

Eman: Nour, you have to understand that a white Instagrammer represents everybody, but a hijabi represents a hijabi. So for a fashion company, they’ll put a non-hijabi as the face of it because she represents everybody, but a hijabi will represent hijabis. I’m not saying I agree with that because I have friends who don’t wear the hijab, but I’m closer to them than with the girl that does. It’s not that I feel like I only represent the girls who wear the scarf, but for them that’s probably how they see it.

Nour: When I wear the hijab, it becomes so a part of me, that I don’t even feel like it’s something that makes me different. Sure, I’m Muslim but I’m also female, I’m a businesswomen, I do everything that everyone else does, but I hate when I’m identified as different because I wear the scarf, it’s frustrating. Although it’s beautiful to wear the hijab, and I’m grateful that I wore it at such a young age because I don’t know if I’d be able to wear it today, but I hate being identified as ‘she represents hijabis’ like that’s my identifier.

Eman: I think what happens is we forget that, before we are hijabis we are girls, we are women. Why I say that is because, you’ll hear someone else or you’ll even hear yourself say “I’m a hijabi,” but no, I’m a girl who wears the hijab. Being a hijabi isn’t a personality trait; it’s not a characteristic. You are a girl who wears the hijab, just like how she’s a girl who wears a jacket. Yes, a hijab is a religious symbol and people who see us know that yes, they are Muslims but it’s not fair to the girls that don’t wear hijab who are Muslims too. Just because a girl doesn’t wear a cross on her neck doesn’t make her not Christian. 

Nour: For me it’s beautiful to wear hijab, but sometimes when your hair is done, your makeup is done, you look at yourself in the mirror and I look like those Instagram people, like I could do that too. It’s not about looks, I don’t want to sound superficial, I’m not basing my decision off of how I would look if I didn’t wear it but sometimes it crosses my mind. Do you relate? Do you feel that sometimes?

Eman: Oh hell yeah! You stand in front of the mirror, make up on, you have your earrings in your ear, you’re getting dressed, and you look in the mirror and you’re like (cue checking yourself out). That’s the struggle though, that’s the beauty of the hijab. It’s that we are in 2018, where no one seems to have any kind of morals, we’re in the era where you do what you want. We’re still so strong to walk out wearing the scarf at the end of the day. Alhamdulillah, you’re right, that is a struggle, and it’s not a skillset to look good or look like one of the Kardashian sisters, it’s not a skill, anyone can look good. I always think of girls that are on Instagram, that post videos and say “I feel so empowered when I do this” or” I had no self esteem but now I’m confident”. It doesn’t bother me whether they post photos with clothes or without clothes on, but I would love for them to speak about power in this day and age while covering yourself, talk about power then.

Like, if you want to see if you’re powerful, see how you feel about your confidence when you cover yourself. It’s not always about covering up or uncovering, but if you feel like you need to free the nipple and that is what will make you powerful, that’s a problem. You need to feel powerful when you’re freeing the nipple and while you’re not freeing the nipple; when you’re covering yourself. It doesn’t mean that you are so ‘backwards’ if you’re covered, and you’re so ‘now’ if you are uncovered, no one has a problem with you, you do you.  Don’t talk about power and associate power with less clothes and the more skin you show, that doesn’t mean you’re powerful. Let’s be honest, we’re in the time where if you don’t wear clothes you’re powerful. You’re just in a trend now; it’s not necessarily anything to do with long-term power. That’s just my opinion; we’re all open to different opinions.

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  • AoA sister,

    I always like to give your thoughts a read but not the first occasion I’ve breathed a sigh of disappointment reading the words “white girl” referring to a nine hijabi none Muslim. We exist, we have for a while and from many different countries.

    As our beloved prophet said in his last sermon to us “All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action”

    I find it odd in country’s such as France where the majority of Muslims are Arab this race division or general talk/ issue is not seen at all…. and Islam originated in Arabia!
    Although where the majority of Muslims are of sounth asian origin like here in the U.K. it’s so prevalent!? Race seems such a massive deal and frequent discussion self segregated it seems! Muslims are just that Muslims. Not a colour.

    Apologies for the rant and as I mentioned your content is positive but this is one thing that gets me when I come across it.


    Misha on

  • I loved reading this ladies!! I read all the blogs you post by the way Nour and might I say it is very interesting. Now in terms of getting ready and looking at yourself and seeing your potential beauty under the hijab is amazing and as a person who wears the hijab its a slight temptation at times, but putting the hijab is to cover what god demanded us and when you are younger we don’t understand that but the older we get we start to have a better understanding alhamdulilah! And i believe a hijab is a part of your identity, just as much as you being a parent, a student, or any job title. Everything precious is covered and our modesty is like a pearl in its shell covered and beautiful!

    fathia on

  • Some really insightful perspectives here! I especially love the part about it being easy to feel confident when you’re exposing all your beauty. You’re so right – beauty isn’t a skill and anyone can be beautiful. Realising that your potential, worth and dignity lies beyond showing your body and beauty to others – now that’s empowerment!

    Mariam on

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