Styline, a modest lifestyle marketplace of Bangladesh, organised a round table dialog on 1st February 2019 with the successful modest lifestyle followers from various fields and occupation on the event of World Hijab Day. This dialog was aimed to fight against bigotry, prejudice and discrimination to Muslim women and to promote their freedom in Hijab.
On February 1st of every year, World Hijab Day is celebrated worldwide to create a more peaceful world where global citizens respect each other. Styline celebrated this day in such a manner for the very first time.
Hanium Maria Chowdhury (founder and CEO of Tahoor), Razia Haque Konok (owner of Elegant Event Solutions and Blissful Bites), Sharna Maria Mrittik (owner of JK Foreign Brands), Anzum Ifat (owner of Sparkly Closet), Dr. Chawdhury Saima (professor of Department of International Business at Dhaka University), Barrister Jahrat Adib Chowdhury (Cheif Legal Officer of Banglalink Digital), Dr. Tanjila, popular blogger and influencer Mim Sabiha Sabrin, Anjuman Turin, Afsana Rakhi and many more successful modest lifestyle followers joined on the discussion to share their thoughts and journey to modest lifestyle. The respectful guests were greeted with the Warmest of smiles and welcoming air at Araaz Restaurant & Banquet, as they were shown the way to where the dialog was held.
This year the motto of World Hijab Day was “Breaking Stereotypes. Shattering Boundaries” with the hashtag #FreeInHijab. So, to start the proceedings of the evening, the first question which arose at the table was, if women actually feel free in Hijab. There were miscellaneous responses to this question. Dr. Chowdhury Saima stayed very firm to her answer,
‘‘In my point of view, Free in Hijab means the chances to do the things I want to do. And if I have that competence, if I have that quality, if I have that much courage and confidence, I can do it anyway. I did not let people humiliate me for wearing Hijab. Hijab is not a bar for me.’’
During the discussion, the one thing which kept coming again and again was the journey, the starting of modest lifestyle. Why did they choose this path or what exactly influenced them? Barrister Jahrat Adib Chowdhury made a true confession saying, ‘’Back in 2006 at Uk, I saw women covering their heads with pretty and beautiful colored scarves. It attracted me and I started wearing Hijab not even from any spiritual devotion. My family respected my freedom. If I wore sleeveless, my father wouldn’t stop me. But I chose Hijab and gradually It changed me. I performed Hajj, I researched more about Islam. Actually, Hijab is not a piece of cloth, it’s a way of life.’’
On the other hand, things were quite difficult at first for Sharna Maria Mrittik. She was very much interested in showbiz and media. She loved fashion, makeup and jwelleries. But just to adjust with her in-laws, she started wearing Hijab.
‘’Now, Hijab is like my skin. I can never get it off in public. A top leading brand came to me for modelling on hair-care products. But I refused them without thinking twice.’’ She said.
Hanium Maria Chowdhury, owner of Tahoor, on that note, said some very powerful words. From her experience, she saw many girls to start wearing Hijab just because she saw someone else wearing it and she found it beautiful. ‘’By wearing Hijab, we are actually the ambassadors of our beautiful religion. We are opening doors for a brighter side. It’s a form of Dawah. Women who used to criticize me are now my customers.’’ She added.
Accompanied by a hot cup of coffee, the discussion kept on illustrating the visions of women about Hijab. There were more stories about the hardships and struggles of their journey, but all of them were a successful story. Because at the end, as a conclusion this was what we heard,
‘‘Hijab is my personal choice. There is nothing to judge. The way I present myself is not what I wear.’’
Styline arranged a review writing contest about free in Hijab. All the winners were present at the event to share their stories too. Styline congratulated them with a gift hamper as a small token love. And then, right after the dinner session, the blissful evening came to end. The Hijab Day has surely had a lasting effect on the minds of all the guests at the event, with the diversity of their stories and experiences.