December 22nd, 2015


head covering in solidarity - appropriative or helpful? / my experience covering at a Zikr

icon: "confused (photo of a purple diamond-shaped sign with a line leading to four arrows all curving and pointing in different directions)"

There has been a lot of buzz about women who are not Muslim wearing the hijab in solidarity. I have tried to figure out whether that is more helpful or more disrespectful, but everything I have read has just confused me. I asked in an anti-oppression religious group on facebook and they were useless, just gave me knee-jerk reactions while ignoring the fact that some Muslims have requested this action. One declared that I have no Muslim friends and should work on that instead. I didn't ask my Muslim friends because I hate being the go-to for people with questions about being [different from them in some category] and I imagine being a religious minority is similar in that my Muslim friends probably get enough questions about it. I thought I shouldn't put it on them and I figured a religious discussion group where people were opting in to discussing these things was a better choice, but maybe not. Anyway, here's what I found on the topic:

[links here]

My conclusion is that if I don't know the answer and it might cause harm, don't do it, so I won't.

Thinking about this reminded me of when I first went to a Sufi Zikr. I did a lot of research beforehand and knew to bring a scarf with which to cover my head during the chanting (because to not cover would be disrespectful). I had never done that before when praying or meditating or anything, and it was a profound experience for me. I expected to get overheated (as that happens to me very easily) but I didn't expect any other sensation. What I experienced was a kind of shift of my energy flow and a focusing of it. I hadn't even realized how spread out my energy field was until I put on the headscarf and felt it shift. Instead of flowing out of the top of my head and diffusing, it flowed down the scarf and back through me. I found it easier to focus and really be in the words, despite being overheated and somewhat physically uncomfortable. This doesn't happen for me when I have a scarf just around my head and draped down my back to cover my (untidy) hair, but it happens when the headscarf is forming a kind of shield around my head and shoulders. I don't know that anyone else experiences this, but my sensations make it easy for me to imagine a headscarf or other head covering being a sense of protection and a physical/energetic reminder to be connected to your spirituality. It explains to me the connections of headcovering in many religions.