Monday, 30 January 2012


Welcome to part 5 of the Hijab project. 

This weeks amazing Hijabi is Khadijah Safari. Khadijah alongside her Husband runs the Safari kickboxing school based in West London. She is in charge of facilitating and running women only Mauy Thai and self defence classes. 

When I was first informed of Khadijah I found myself getting a little bit more excited then normal when doing these projects. I myself used to do martial arts as a teenager, in those days it was rare to see any Muslim women learning the art. I find it so amazing and wonderful that we have come so far that not only are we participating in martial arts but we also have a school for women run by a Muslim woman. 

So the next time someone presumes that a Muslim woman in a hijab is an easy target I really think that they need to think twice they could be messing with Khadijah or her legion of ninja style students. 
Islamaphobia may result in a fly have been warned..............

What made you decide to wear the hijab?

After reverting to Islam in 2009 I began to think about some of the reasons behind a Muslim woman's choice to wear the hijab. It made me stop to think about my own mind set on the way that I dressed. I had always worn clothes that stood out, that would make people tell me that they liked what I was wearing, or not! 
I even had a pair of knee high boots I'd found online in Japan, one was black and one was green, I loved them! I'd wear them claiming the familiar statement of, 
"I don't care what other people think of me", 
and "I'm dressing up for myself, I do it for me, not for others".  

But as I started to consider the idea of wearing a hijab I realised that actually, my previous statements were not true in the slightest! I realised I had a fear of wearing hijab, but why? 

It wasn't for any physical reason, infact it was the complete contradiction of my previous claim, as I was now worried what people would think of me! 

It's easy to step out dressed up to the nines, make up and hair done, but it's scary to step out keeping these beautiful things hidden? 

That's when I came to a realisation that I needed to work on my own confidence, and my own inner happiness. 
I had always thought that I had dressed for myself but it began to dawn on me that it had infact always been for others. 
The decision that I made to wear the Hijab, was for the first time me truly deciding to dress for myself.

How does wearing the hijab make you feel?

The hijab has taught me so much about human behaviour, especially from men! Before there was plenty of pointless conversations, whistling, comments from work men as I passed by etc. However now people get straight to the point, the word 'sexy' is replaced with 'madam', and a walk in the park is peaceful and hassle free! 
That doesn't mean that everyone has a positive attitude towards the hijab, but I don't let that affect me.  
Instead of judging the hijab as I did before, I now embrace it whole heartily as I am now able to fully understand the reasons behind wearing it. I feel confident and happy and feel that I am left alone to get on with my life.

What have been the positives and negatives of wearing the hijab?

My hair is in the best condition it's ever been in!! Haha. No sun or pollution damaging it like before.  
But on a serious note, I feel I am more humble. I am able to walk down the street genuinely not being concerned about what others think of me. Hopefully I can show other people that just because a woman decides to wear a hijab that does not make her oppressed or prevents her from living a normal life like everyone else. 

The negatives are only negative if you can't see past them, I have been told a couple of times, "go back to your own country". Which is ironic considering I'm born and bread British, my mums surname was Smith, can you get any more British than that? 

However I used to be that person, judging women who wore the hijab? Making irrelevent conclusions in my head. This was due to my pure ignorance, lack of knowledge and belief in the media spin stories. I feel that if I could change and understand the hijab then why not others?

No one can claim right from wrong to other people, but everyone should have the access to see both sides and make up their own minds. We live on such an amazing planet suspended in the middle of a huge universe and that's just the beginning, there is so much more to life then just worrying about make up, hair and heels, and I'm so blessed that I've found it!

I would highly recommend to any of the sister's reading this to looking into doing some classes with Khadijah.
If you are interested please check out her website

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