Shafana and Aunt Sarrinah

by

Alana Valentine

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A hijab is a head covering that many Muslim women wear in public settings.

Hijab Quotes in Shafana and Aunt Sarrinah

The Shafana and Aunt Sarrinah quotes below are all either spoken by Hijab or refer to Hijab. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Religious Faith and Devotion Theme Icon
).
Shafana & Aunt Sarrinah Quotes

SHAFANA: I want to put on the hijab.

Pause.

SARRINAH: Hijab is an Arabic word. Meaning partition. We are not Arabs. We are Persians.

SHAFANA: What do you think?

SARRINAH: This is an option for all Muslim women. Down the trail.

Related Characters: Shafana (speaker), Aunt Sarrinah (speaker)
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:

SHAFANA: Mum said that she had been contemplating on it for the past five years but had never taken the step to do it. Dad asked me if I was sure of what I was doing. Had I thought about all the consequences, all the things that are going on around the world, all the employment considerations.

SARRINAH: But if you really feel it in your heart these are not reasons not to do it.

SHAFANA: That’s right.

SARRINAH: And is that how you feel?

SHAFANA: I want to make real the change that has happened to me, that God really is there and I believe that.

Related Characters: Shafana (speaker), Aunt Sarrinah (speaker)
Related Symbols: The 9/11 Terrorist Attacks
Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:

SHAFANA: I am not thinking of it for any of those reasons. All you have mentioned is about consequences. I am not motivated by any of that.

SARRINAH: No?

SHAFANA: No. Do you want to hear? Do you want to hear me when I say that I want to put on the scarf because this is who I am and I feel this is what I want to do? It is for me, not for anyone else. One night I was reading the Qur’an and it just occurred to me, I don’t even recall what passage or where, and it just occurred to me, ‘Why am I not wearing the scarf, what is stopping me?’

Related Characters: Shafana (speaker), Aunt Sarrinah (speaker)
Page Number: 24-5
Explanation and Analysis:

SHAFANA: Have you heard of the soft revolution?

SARRINAH: No. Or… it’s… is it?

SHAFANA: It’s young Muslims who reject both extremists and liberals. They… fight… for human rights… for change to the Hadith… There is a project. It could be the most intellectually active period for Islam since the height of scholarship in the Middle ages.

SARRINAH: And you want to be part of it?

SHAFANA: I don’t know. But for them, for some, the veil is a mask in the power struggle against the dictatorship of men.

Related Characters: Shafana (speaker), Aunt Sarrinah (speaker)
Page Number: 26
Explanation and Analysis:

SARRINAH: My faith is between me and God. The Qur’an speaks directly to me, Sarrinah, today.

SHAFANA: Of course.

SARRINAH: It is a fundamental part of who I am.

SHAFANA: It is all of who I am.

SARRINAH: No. There is faith and there is reason. There is religion and there is civil society. There is belief and there is the law.

SHAFANA: But your faith touches every part of your life.

SARRINAH: No. My faith is private and cultural. But it is not the answer to all the freedoms we have struggled for.

SHAFANA: But how can you say that?

SARRINIAH: Because I have seen what your brand of religion can do. I have witnessed what your brand of fanaticism can destroy.

Related Characters: Shafana (speaker), Aunt Sarrinah (speaker)
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:

SHAFANA: Your solution is just to hide? Fade into the background.

SARRINAH: That’s not what I’m saying.

SHAFANA: Assimilate. Disappear into the masses. Never speak up, never stand up. Well, maybe if you’d spoken up in Afghanistan the country wouldn’t be in the mess it is in now.

Related Characters: Shafana (speaker), Aunt Sarrinah (speaker)
Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:

SARRINAH: You’ll see me. I’ll see you. But we won’t be able to… see each other.

SHAFANA: Why are you being so ruthless?

SARRINAH: We can pretend. We can pretend that this is a disagreement about… oh, I don’t know… what TV chef we like best. Let’s pretend it’s just like that. And say… nothing. But, deeply, I am opposed to the path you advocate. Now.

Related Characters: Aunt Sarrinah (speaker), Shafana (speaker)
Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:
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Hijab Term Timeline in Shafana and Aunt Sarrinah

The timeline below shows where the term Hijab appears in Shafana and Aunt Sarrinah. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Shafana & Aunt Sarrinah
Religious Faith and Devotion Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Presentation Theme Icon
...with her faith. But when Shafana finally says that she’s considering starting to wear a hijab, Sarrinah is nearly speechless. (full context)
Religious Faith and Devotion Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Presentation Theme Icon
Judgment and Prejudice  Theme Icon
After a moment, Aunt Sarrinah points out that hijab is an Arabic word for “partition.” But she and Shafana, she says, aren’t Arabs—they’re Persians.... (full context)
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Identity and Self-Presentation Theme Icon
Judgment and Prejudice  Theme Icon
Shafana claims that she just wanted to discuss the possibility of wearing a hijab, implying that she hasn’t fully decided to go through with the decision. But Aunt Sarrinah... (full context)
Religious Faith and Devotion Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Presentation Theme Icon
...or employment opportunities—should stand in her way if she genuinely feels compelled to wear a hijab. But when Shafana agrees with her statement, Aunt Sarrinah quickly turns around and asks if... (full context)
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Shafana talks about how people tend to misinterpret what it means to wear a hijab. Many people, she says, think women wear the hijab because they’ve been indoctrinated and even... (full context)
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Judgment and Prejudice  Theme Icon
...get a new ID card: she’s trying to decide whether or not to wear a hijab in her ID picture. She then insists that Shafana has surely already decided that she’s... (full context)
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Identity and Self-Presentation Theme Icon
...the grocery store, Aunt Sarrinah asks if the woman working the checkout was wearing a hijab. Shafana interprets this as a sly comment about her employment prospects if she decides to... (full context)
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...to finally admit that she has a problem with the idea of her wearing a hijab. She tells her to yell if she needs to. When Aunt Sarrinah asks what, exactly,... (full context)
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Judgment and Prejudice  Theme Icon
...Aunt Sarrinah brings the conversation back around by pointing out that many women who wear hijabs end up buying cars because they get heckled and harassed on public transportation. Shafana is... (full context)
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Judgment and Prejudice  Theme Icon
...and says that her aunt isn’t listening to her. She isn’t thinking of wearing the hijab for any reason other than the fact that doing so would be an expression of... (full context)
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Judgment and Prejudice  Theme Icon
Aunt Sarrinah demands to know what has really compelled Shafana to gravitate toward wearing a hijab. When Shafana suggests that it’s simply an external representation of her faith, Aunt Sarrinah insists... (full context)
Religious Faith and Devotion Theme Icon
Shafana defends her decision to wear a hijab by telling her aunt about something called the “soft revolution.” She explains that the “soft... (full context)
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Identity and Self-Presentation Theme Icon
Migration and Assimilation Theme Icon
...so is just the first step toward submission. In contrast, Shafana argues that wearing a hijab is the opposite of this kind of obeisance. (full context)
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Identity and Self-Presentation Theme Icon
Judgment and Prejudice  Theme Icon
...about all of the hopes she had for Shafana if she ends up wearing a hijab. Shafana doesn’t think this has to be the case, but Sarrinah dejectedly says that she... (full context)
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Identity and Self-Presentation Theme Icon
...put her in such a difficult financial position just because she wants to wear a hijab. Aunt Sarrinah unconvincingly says that the two issues are unrelated. But then Shafana says that... (full context)
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Aunt Sarrinah avoids helping Shafana put on the hijab by pointing out that her niece will suddenly have to have an opinion on anything... (full context)
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Identity and Self-Presentation Theme Icon
Migration and Assimilation Theme Icon
Judgment and Prejudice  Theme Icon
...None of this, she believes, is a good reason to keep her from wearing a hijab. She criticizes her aunt for downplaying her faith as a way of fitting into Australian... (full context)
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Identity and Self-Presentation Theme Icon
Judgment and Prejudice  Theme Icon
...to get her new ID—to see, Sarrinah says, what Shafana has decided about wearing a hijab. (full context)
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Identity and Self-Presentation Theme Icon
...together. Shafana is in her laboratory, singing a song in Dari while putting on her hijab. Aunt Sarrinah enters and starts crying. She gives Shafana a jar full of shriveled shrimp... (full context)
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Judgment and Prejudice  Theme Icon
Although she’s sad that Shafana has decided to wear a hijab, Aunt Sarrinah starts joking around with her a little bit, much to Shafana’s surprise (and... (full context)
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Judgment and Prejudice  Theme Icon
...After all, she says, Aunt Sarrinah’s daughter recently told Shafana that she’s considering wearing a hijab. Aunt Sarrinah is shocked. Her daughter, she says, is far too young to make such... (full context)
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...want to be Aunt Sarrinah’s “opponent,” but this doesn’t matter. By deciding to wear a hijab, Aunt Sarrinah says, Shafana has highlighted a fundamental difference in the way they each see... (full context)