Short Story

How Could She Do This?

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I really looked up to her, I can’t believe she would stoop this low. I mean, she was the first hijabi to appear on TV news as one of the news presenters. She made me feel…confident, in my hijab.

She’s not the reason I started wearing it, but she’s part of the reason. I mean, a hijabi on TV? My friends started learning the word ‘hijab’ and they actually would ask me questions about it. It made me feel safe to start wearing it, or at least less self-conscious walking through the halls. At least I had friends who knew what it was and what it stood for and could defend me if anyone said anything about it.

I just, I can’t believe she’d do this. That’s such a disgusting magazine, it’s like the most famous disgusting magazine. Isn’t that kind of thing exactly why we wear hijab? To be opposed to that kind of thing? The objectifying of women’s bodies and having us just be things for guys to look at. How could she do this?

I’ve been reading people’s comments about it. I’ve been reading everyone’s comments about it. Everyone seems to be commenting about it.

“She should be ashamed of herself…” Yeah, she should, this is so bad.

“She needs to apologize to the Muslim community…” Um, yeah, I guess, I’m upset. I’d like an apology.

“She’s a disgrace to all women who wear hijab…” A disgrace, uhh, I guess I kind of agree with that.

“She should just take off her hijab right now…” Um, well, I don’t know about all that.

“If she wants to be a wh*** for them, she shouldn’t say she represents Muslims…”


I don’t think I’ve heard that word and “Muslims” in the same sentence like that. She…she was still wearing her hijab. I mean, it wasn’t like she was doing what that magazine usually has women do.

That’s kind of intense. I mean, I don’t approve of what she did, but I wouldn’t go so far as to calling her that word. I wouldn’t wanna call anybody that word. I hate that word. I mean, I know girls who use that word a lot and thank God I’ve never been called it as far as I know, but I have friends who’ve been called it and I remember different times just crying in the bathroom together or just talking it through or just trying to stop friends from starting fights because of it…that word is just wrong.

I think I’m gonna look up some other comments about this thing.

“You go girl! Take a stand for your own modesty…” I’m not sure this was the best way to do that, but I guess it was a choice she made for herself.

“She’s a renegade, a pioneer, leading the charge for Muslim women…” Well, she certainly is the first one to do something like this, even if I don’t think Muslim women should do it.

“She’s turned the tables on the male gaze…” I guess there is something to the fact that she did keep her clothes on in that magazine that’s known for women doing otherwise.

“She’s a courageous woman representing Islam to new audiences…” I guess that this might be true, I mean, she’s still wearing her hijab there.

“She makes me proud to be an American, a Muslim woman that finally stood up to oppression…”


I don’t know if she did that. I mean, isn’t that “oppression” thing the kind of stereotype we don’t want to propagate? I guess some people think she is breaking through the oppression stereotype by doing this. Or, do they think she’s oppressed and this is her breaking away from that?

But if they’re saying she’s empowered, are they saying she wasn’t before?

And if we’re saying she shouldn’t have done this because she wears hijab and she represents Islam, then she shouldn’t do things that Muslims wouldn’t approve of…

But, if we think she shouldn’t do this, is that part of the reason why she did it?

Should she care what the rest of us think? If we think she’s empowered enough with the hijab, and with being on TV, but that she’s not empowered by doing this thing…are we, kind of, telling her what empowerment is?

I’m not sure how I feel right now. I don’t think she should’ve done it, but I don’t know if she shouldn’t have done it.

I think something’s wrong with me. I think I’m thinking two different things that kind of conflict with each other and I might believe a little bit of both of them and, I just…

I don’t know which hashtag to use.

Cover Photo by US Embassy in Jakarta (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Jawaad Khan was born and raised in sunny South Florida to a family of creatives and Islamic workers. He went on to complete a film degree at the University of Miami, one year of improv classes (which he’s very proud of), and he studied Arabic and Islamic studies at various institutes in Dallas, TX, where he now resides with his wife and cat. He serves on the board and is an editor for Muslim Youth Musings. His debut collection of short stories, titled "No Old Ladies in Jannah" was published in 2023.


  1. That was brilliant! You took exactly the thought process of a young hijabi woman battling her opinion. ?

  2. Subhanallah! I so much love this. Your style of writing, your pauses, -it just reflects how we think. I also love the fact that you didn’t give us a clear-cut answer at the end. Nor did you choose a side. As a Muslim girl, I could totally relate to the confusion that we feel when we go through things like this -when we watch our role models do unconventional things…

    Ma sha Allah! Keep up the good work! Wa jazakumullahu khayr for sharing.

  3. Subhanallah!! I didn’t even pay attention to the fact that a man wrote this. May Allah continue to bless you with this insight and may He allow you to continue to use it to help the Ummah… Allahumma Ameen

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