Hijabistan by Sabyn Javeri is a collection of sixteen diverse short stories published in 2019. This book highlights the essentialness of women’s empowerment and each story has its own connotations of stereotypical desi culture. Sabyn Javeri penned down this amazing book to illustrate the balance between being a religious hijabi and a feminist and how you can be both.
She believes the hijab represents modesty, peace and submission to Allah. It keeps her grounded. It protects her, defines her.-Sabyn Javeri (The good Wife-Hijabistan)
All the short stories sightsee the lives of women crumpled or ironed beneath the heaviness of the black, head-to-toe covering veil. These stories portray the domination of longings and fewer life choices for women. Nevertheless, our feminists fight back courageously to break the chains of patriarchy. However, all the stories widen the sympathy for hijabi women’s individualities. The stories focus mainly on their needs and desires, which are all restricted in the name of religion. The most essential element in all the stories, as revealed by the title, is the Hijab. While the hijab has a simple meaning of covering your head, different people around the world have created their very own definitions of it according to their perspectives and thus, for some, it plays a crucial role in shaping public perception about their being.
Strong Female Leads Reminiscent of the TV Show ‘Churails’
The stories are either based in the UK or Pakistan. All the female protagonists are fighting their own battles to conquer their real identity under the veil. Moreover, all the leading characters are feminists who speak their desires out both emotionally and physically. Every story depicts a woman’s powers and feebleness with all her achievements and forfeiture. Hijabistan came long before the TV series ‘Churails‘ but their protagonists share almost the same mindset of killing the patriarchy and being themselves. If you loved watching the show, you will definitely love reading this book!
The book had some expressively appealing stories and some too lengthy but bearable stories as well. Based on my experience I could relate to a few of them but a few of them were not relatable to me at all. Nevertheless, with every turning page, the book was exclaiming women to come out of their comfort zone and find themselves. Every story’s plot made me wanting more. Its interesting feminist views and unexpected twists and turns kept me addicted!
There are some extremely poignant and stereotypical toxic events in the book such as – if a girl is caught applying makeup she is penalized, a teenage girl is caught talking to boys and her family marries her off to an elderly man, a husband forces his wife to wear a dozen clothes and cages her in a room just because someone else could previously see her beauty, a husband protests to his wife wearing a veil because they live in the UK and that gives a bad impression, etc. Despite all these stereotypical concepts, some stories are extremely empowering as they indicate women finding their own voice and identities as hijabis. These short stories also highlight what Islam says about the veil and how it can make you optimistic about life’s perspectives. Moreover, these short stories encourage to bring change in society and everyone needs to read them ASAP!
Who Is Sabyn Javeri?
The reality of the hijab is so much more complex than people give it credit for.-Javeri to The national
Sabyn Javeri was born in Pakistan and now lives in London, where she teaches Creative Writing. She is an award-winning short-story writer and a novelist, among other things. Her first novel, ‘Nobody Killed Her’, was published in 2017. Sabyn has also received the Oxonian Review Short Story Award and qualified for the first Tibor Jones Award! In a very short period, Javeri has turned heads & made us eagerly await her future literary endeavours!