I had the best news reports documented, my news reading footages were highly commended and I had very good references from knowledgeable and experienced professionals in the industry. Yet the final and most defining yardstick on my competence as a news reporter and TV presenter was my head covering; my Hijab!
Needless to say that I did not get the job, since for me it was all or nothing. It had to be the total package, Hijab and all. My competence was not in question, why should my essence be?
Naturally the rejection did not come as a surprise because, persecution and oppression comes with wearing the Hijab. Sometimes, it is subtle and in many cases rudely shoved in your face.
Only in some cases, is a woman in Hijab afforded respect and even admired by non-adherents of the religion. Not surprising too is the fact that, many adherents of the Islamic religion react negatively to the very thought of wearing the Hijab or hanging around those who wear it.
This is due to misinformation, or lack of it, and in many cases fear of a rather challenging lifestyle choice.
As a result, the Hijab in the workplace presents its peculiarities, challenges, points of compromises and firm positioning.
Understandably, it may be a tall order and indeed completely unrealistic, to expect a woman in the flowing Hijab to work in a type of job that demands a lot of physical activities. This is one of the reasons why Islaam recommends jobs that require less physical activities for the women.
If a woman must do jobs that require a lot of mobility, her type of Hijab must be redefined in terms of functionality within the context of that job while at the same time meet the basic requirements of the Hijab.
This requires some extent of compromises which should however not take away the essence of wearing the Hijab in the first place.
For jobs that require a lot of prominence; again some of the issues raised above present challenges to a woman working with the Hijab.
Only that in such cases, if a woman is given the chance to perform, then she has to prove herself doubly, not only as a woman, but also as a female in Islaam, just as capably if not better than others.
For some strange reason, many people find educated, brilliant, intelligent and articulate women in Hijab even more fascinating than creatures from outer space! This sometimes constitutes another challenge as male colleagues could become captivated by these species’ and seek deeper relationships with them.
As always Islaam is a religion of ease, which encourages the individual to serve Allaah to the best of his or her abilities.
It is not a case of one size fits all, it is a system of striving to be the best that you can be in this world in order to gain the best of the Hereafter.