Threads of a British Muslim
Published by Burnt Roti
Burnt Roti is a South Asian lifestyle platform, publishing an annual magazine, holding events/talks and curating conversations with British and global South Asians.
Artists (More TBC)
She says: "Muslim women, particularly those who wear headscarves, aren’t represented enough. I want Muslim girls to see my art and see themselves in it."
You can find more of her work here.
Written by Naush Sabah
Naush writes about one woman's relationship with hijab and veiling, in this thrilling, political, feminist and emotional journey. She portrays what the complexity, confliction, nuance and flux within narratives and feelings around something like hijab has been for her.
I’m in my early thirties. My youngest sister is at college. She comes and goes as she pleases, has a phone, has a social life. Times have changed. My parents have changed.
I’m a teenager. I want to assert my self.
It’s the first day of university. I’ve decided to start wearing hijab. Mum and dad make no comment when they see me that morning. It’s a milestone that passes without note. Everyone is new. No one knows me. It’s an easy time to make a change. A new beginning. I will be a better Muslim, get closer to God.
God is intangible. It takes so much to get closer to Him.
My youngest sister starts wearing hijab. I tell her if I was her age now, I wouldn’t. I regret ever wearing it. It’s a burden. The social baggage is heavy. You have to carry on your shoulders all the meanings the world dumps onto your headscarf, even if you don’t want or believe any of them. You’re part of someone else’s narrative, everyone else’s narrative, all these competing narratives.
I meet my husband. He missed the days of my bouncing curls. I meet him as a new hijabi.
My sister stops wearing hijab. I’m glad.
He stops kissing me for a moment. His hands are under my top. He lifts it up, looks at my naked breasts, then looks in my eyes and says, “You’re so beautiful,” before kissing me again.
I’m at uni. I buy a niqab. I have no intention of becoming a niqabi, but I do want to try it on. I could be experimenting with drink and drugs, instead I’m experimenting with religion. I remember walking home in the snow from college, my hair out and glistening, a winter scarf covering my whole face apart from my eyes. I remember the feeling of being able to see everyone, and no one being able to see me. I wonder if that’s what niqab is like too.
I run through town wearing a niqab. I’m late to a lecture. Running in niqab is suffocating and hot, so I walk. It’s not so bad if you walk or if you’re sitting still in a lecture.
If you meet someone you shouldn’t be with, in a town where everyone knows you, and book a room to have frenzied, uninhibited sex all day long, walk hand in hand to the hotel whilst you’re wearing a niqab, did it even happen? Is niqab repressing your sexuality or enabling you to unleash it?
The anonymity is thrilling
I can see you all, but you can’t see me.