Blogger Indonesia of the Week (89): Mulia Nurhasan

Blogger Indonesia of the Week (89): Mulia Nurhasan

mulia nurhasanAs far as Muslim women is concerned, there’s nothing more controversial than a piece of cloth called headscarf or veil. Popularly known here in Indonesia as jilbab[1]. The simplicity of jilbab or head scarf doesn’t make the effects simpler. In reality, jilbab pros and cons that comes around it as though represents a symbolism of opposing thought and attitude between practicing and non-practicing Muslim as a whole.

And thus, contentious opinions that surrounds it which comes beyond gender zone– from male and male corner –become a matter of continuing heated discourse. Among some non-Muslims, especially in the West, jilbab is considered as a symbol of many bad things: women oppression by men typical in a developing and patriarchal society; backwardness, outdated, old fashioned on the part of the Muslim women themselves, you name it. There’s a case in Indonesia, where a woman named Sandrina Malakiano a presenter in Metro TV–Indonesia’s CNN–has been fired from her jobs after she convert to Islam and decided to wear jilbab.

For so long, all heated and lengthy debates are mosly voiced by men or by Muslim women who never wore or decided not to wear it any more. Heard-scarf Muslim women barely engage in such debate themselves. It’s refreshing therefore, that such voices on behalf of those who wear jilbab start to be heard in the blogsophere. Muslim women with Western education such as Mulia Nurhasan [2] and others start sharing their own experience and the raison d’etre behind their decision to wear jilbab or headscarf. In one of her post she writes:

Graduated from University, I worked in Tanggerang for few months before I moved to Germany for the rest of the year. In Germany I lived in a very small village where everybody knows everybody (though they don’t always talk to each other-it’s Germany-not so much different from Norway). It was my first time living abroad and I kept my headscarf with me. I realized that in this totally different culture village, I don’t necessarily need my headscarf to protect my dignity. People here don’t care about what I was wearing. They perhaps noticed me about my extra fabric on my head, but never really say anything.

I could take off my head scarf if I wanted to, as it was irrelevant to wear it for the reason of protecting my dignity as a woman anymore. But there I learned, that I used it because it identifies me as a Muslim and it reflects my believe, my faith. From then, I choose to wear it because I manifest my faith in this way.

On her headscarf experience during her stay in Europe:

It’s funny but, honestly I am a least conscious person when it comes to physical appearance. I don’t look at my self in front of the mirror all the time. It’s people who see me wearing head scarf. Unless people ask me about my head scarf, I rarely feel different. I don’t think people treat me differently. Is it because it’s Norway? Or because I am not sensitive? I don’t know. But many people said that Tromso is a very tolerant city. I think it’s true. But overall, i feel the same just like every body else here.

When people ask me why am i wearing it, I must confess that i am not always answering it well. Sometimes i simply say “My religion told me to. It’s dogmatic. I need dogma to live my life” hehehe :D . This is the kind of answer I sometimes give to people whom i think would debate my answer, and when i am just too lazy to debate, this would be a good escape answer. Sorry.

On her wish that headscarf is not a big deal and should be dealt with accordingly:

I learn that people manifest believe in different ways. And because I put head scarf on my head, doesn’t mean I have managed well to headscarf-ed my heart. I have met many Muslimah who are not wearing head scarf but have such wonderful heart. I think it’s very unfair to judge people from what they are wearing. You may, for example think one person has peculiar style from their fashion.

…the head scarf is just part of my manifest to my faith, my connection, my way of communication with my God. It has becoming more spiritual tool rather than religious ritual symbol. Head scarf is just one part of me among many other things that makes me the way i am.

Mulya also asked her Muslim friends to share their experience with jilbab they are wearing and opinions about it which can be found here. There’re some interesting article, especially the one written by Amalia Sanusi, another young Muslim woman who’d been in Australia and among one of the early Blogger Indonesia of the Weeks. It gains appreciation from her Dutch reader named Colson who happens to be an agnostic:

I’m afraid I’m not in the best position to comment – old, male, agnost. And yet I try.

That’s because I want to let you know I think this is a very sympathetic post. And for sure it helps me understand the decision of Muslim women to wear a veil. At least of one Muslima.

As you may expect “understanding” does not mean I share all of your arguments. But I do agree with your call for mutual respect.

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Note:

[1] Jilbab is popular termn in Indonesia, hijab is in Middle East, purdah in South Asia (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh), kerudung in Malaysia and Brunei. Headscarf or veil in the West.

[2] As her blog URL is no longer active, I remove all links directed to it.

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