Is it ok to touch your hijab?

I am loving every minute of my improv classes and am now in the middle of level 3 (there are 5 levels total). Although there are the occasional “blue” jokes, I try my best to ignore those and focus on improving my skills as well as building the foundation of trust, that an ensemble needs to have, in order to perform together.

Most of my classmates have been together since level 1 and it’s great because they know me and know what I’m comfortable doing and what I don’t like. That’s what’s great about improv. It really is about letting go, but also about respecting each others boundaries and making sure that everyone looks good in a performance.

This past week I was in class, and one of my classmates leaned over and said, “Oh you have a fuzz ball” and proceeded to pick it off the top of my hijab. I didn’t think anything of it (although I was embarrassed that my hijab wasn’t pristine), but one of my other classmates gave me this look like, “Did he really just do that?”

At the moment I really didn’t care. I thought it was a nice thing to do. I would rather someone tell me I had some food stuck to my teeth than go around laughing and talking and looking like a fool.

Looking back though, I kind of wonder. Would other folks feel like it was an invasion of space? What do you think? Is your hijab off limits?

This article has 10 comments

  1. Aaminah

    Idk, I don’t think any harm was done here. It seems to me, like he was just trying to be nice.

  2. Mariam Sobh

    Hey everyone, thanks for your input!

    Just to clarify, I don’t have an issue with folks touching my hijab and I was not offended at all by what my classmate did. I am glad he did it.

    @Carib, Rabia and Jodi.. the ethnic hair touch and feeling for your hair is definitely bizarre.

  3. Jodi

    I feel kind of funny about this because it reminds me of when people want to reach out and touch your pregnant stomach uninvited! It’s personal and off limits. It gives me the creeps. Lots of people don’t know that Muslim women don’t want to be touched and that situation opens a door for information to teach people more. People don’t know what’s what until you tell them and they can’t read your mind. I think him plucking the lint ball off was just a no brainer reaction really, no harm meant but it just gives me the creeps because I think of hijab as personal space! I don’t like people touching my head regardless and for some reason a lot of people want to because the hijab makes them so curious!! They want to know what’s hiding under there!!! I think the bottom line is the circumstances around the touching overall.

  4. Carib Muslimah

    I have very strict boundaries when it come to my personal space. I don’t think I would’ve flipped out on the person because I recognize that they were trying to be nice. However, I wouldn’t have liked it at all. I don’t like people touching me unless I give them the okay. I certainly don’t like people touching my hijab. (I have had several situaitons where the person wasn’t being helpful but was trying to get an idea about how my hair was). And as Rabia indicated, it gives me flash back of people trying to touch my “ethnic hair” without my consent.

  5. Kelly

    As far as touching women it’s a fiqh thing as I found out this weekend. I’m with Suzan though.

  6. Hmm

    I guess it was a nice gesture…shows that person must be pretty comfortable with you. I’d be more worried about the fact that it was a guy…he must not have known its a no-no to touch Muslim women lol

  7. suzan smith

    I see it as a kind gesture by a friend…:-)

  8. Fatin

    hmm.. I’m in between on this one, i guess its OK but still the touching part is weird to me and not just for Muslims, people in general don’t like to be touched. 🙂

  9. Rabia

    Agreed. It illustrates for me the benefits of covering one’s hair. I don’t like it when people touch my hair. I used to get the invasive “I must touch this strange ethnic hair” thing, and I probably would be annoyed if a man plucked lint out of my hair. But with hijab, there’s a nice boundary.

    I mean, what if you have a spider crawling on your scarf? I would welcome someone picking a spider off my covered head!

  10. leila

    Absolutely not. You had fuzz. He wasn’t stroking it or
    touching it to be weird. His other option was to point awkwardly
    while you felt around on your head. He was also showing a kind of
    brotherly comfort – hey, girl’s got fuzz, nothin’ weird about her
    hijab to me. If he’d been weirdly touching the fabric (like some
    people reach out and touch “ethnic hair” *shudder*) that’d be
    different. Other people get all tweaky and PC about every little
    thing. Legitimate personal space is one thing. Acting like you’re a
    museum display who can’t interact normally with others is,
    honestly, just as offensive as *actual* offensive touch.

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