Don’t Worry, Ladies, You Don’t Have to Cover Your Head in Aceh

When I got a chance to visit Aceh, I was excited to see how the province run its islamic rule, especially the policy of wearing hijab and skirt for women.

During flying heading to Aceh, I saw few women didn’t hide their hair, so I was not alone. I’ve gotten feeling that the rule was not strict. Or they were nonmuslim? I had no idea. Yet, I had a scarf in my bag. Once it landed, just in case, I put the shawl on my neck.

Outside the arrival gate, I observed the people and found all woman workers were wearing hijab. There were only few who I saw in my flight weren’t, including me. But, nothing weird from the way they looked at me. Everything was normal. Few guys greeted me because they offered me a taxi.

Allright, it might be at the airport, the rule is flexible. How ‘bout in the city?

I attended kind of meeting in the evening, and all women wearing hijab. Not need neatly, at least you cover your hair. So, I wear it just because I didn’t know whether it was impolite if I came just the way I was. Silly, my jilbab moved all the time though, so I undid that. And, no one telling me it wasn’t allowed.

In the morning, I went sightseeing near my hotel. I wear sweat pants, t-shirt, and shawl on my neck. I noticed people I met looking at me, but I didn’t feel they judged me as they might think I was visitor. At night, my friend, Acehnese, and I went drinking coffee. He didn’t complain my appearance, and I saw few young women without hijab in coffee shops. I didn’t get their were moslem or not. But, they were fine.

However, when I asked my friend to take me to the grand mosque, Masjid Raya Baiturrahman, he said I had to wear long skirt and cover my head, otherwise I wouldn’t be allowed to enter the mosque. I understood, I just wanted to see it as close as I could. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it since it was being renovated and inaccessible. And also, I wore jins.

In short, covering your head, woman, is not a big deal in Aceh. For example in Sabang Island, the beach is beautiful, so there are many tourists swimming in swimsuit. Again, I was in Banda Aceh, the capital, I didn’t know how the policy in other cities. Therefore, as this province called porch of Mecca, you should bear in mind to respect it by what you wear. I assume, hiding your thigh is much better than hiding your hair.

So, who’s not wearing hijab, don’t hesitate to visit Aceh whenever you want.


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