When a little muggleborn girl walks up to the Sorting Hat, a number of purebloods (and a number of muggleborns, to be honest) wonder why they can't see her hair- why her head and neck are covered by a dark blue headscarf.
In the ensuing months, they will learn the word hijab .
Hermione Granger is faithful and studious. She hates breaking the rules and is a perfectionist.
(She is also stupidly, irrevocably, wonderfully noble.)
In this universe, as in most others, Hermione Granger carries these traits close to her heart, in her spine and in her head. She holds faith in things that do not have a ready explanation, believes in heroes despite all evidence otherwise.
Hermione Granger finds a Summoning charm in her textbooks and figures it out how to perfect it before she even steps foot on the Hogwarts Express. If she is to complete her five daily prayers, then she will need a way to grab her prayer rug easily without having to carry it around all day (the Hogwarts blueprints show a school almost too large to be real- she’ll have to investigate that).
She leaves her first class and her lunch block for five minutes everyday. She heads out into the hallways, summons Abba’s prayer rug, recites a compass spell to orient herself toward Mecca, and recites her prayers.
This is not a story about heroes and villains. It is not a story about war and destruction, about magical spells and epic climaxes.
This is a story about the strength of a single girl’s faith.
Hermione knows fear. She knows the way that people look at her hijab with suspicion, look at her father like he’ll hurt them and her mother like she’s stupid (despite the fact that they’re both dentists, with their doctoral degrees and a wish to help others). She knows hatred, the way people sneer when they look at her and the way boys at her primary school would tug at her hijab, jeering names at her face.
She knows that Harry and Dean and Lavender and Anthony and Neville and the Patil twins all suffer from the same prejudice as she does, if for different reasons.
When Draco Malfoy spits mudblood in her face, when he curses her origins, she calls upon the spells that she can run past her lips. She summons up a righteous anger borne of years of absorbing others’ hatred, remembers pages and pages of spells. She whips hexes at prejudiced lips, smiles at the crunch of her fist against his face.
Hermione Janan Granger does not pray to flawed mentors and old men- she prays to Allah, and to herself. She is more than just a pawn, a fount of unfocused knowledge.
She wants to do good in the world, just like her parents, but she guards her trust close. She bestows it on those who have earned it- Harry, Ron, Ginny, Millicent, Anthony, Neville, Luna- but not on men who people seem to put blind faith in without proof.
Her faith is strong, but it is not without base.
She makes friends with Anthony Goldstein, who celebrates Yom Kippur and Hanukkah and the Shabbat prayers with the same devoutness with which she practices her own faith. In a rather secular, magical world, being able to find someone else who puts such effort into their faith is relieving to her.
During Ramadan, her mind grows sharp and her spells powerful even as her stomach growls. Her focus increases as her hunger grows, as her faith finds its way past the limits of her stomach and into her bones.
Her dedication to her faith becomes known, and respected. During this month of the year, she is unbeatable even as her skin grows a bit sallow and her stomach grumbles during classes.
(She heads down to the kitchens after sunset and is greeted by a feast. She understands that, magically speaking, it fulfills house elves to provide food for her, but her faith does not abide by slavery of any sort. It is hard for her to process their smiles whenever she asks for food.
So, instead, she thanks each and every house elf, mentions them all by name in her prayers. Perhaps this will help them.)
When Hermione tells Harry, the orphan boy, the forced hero of the story, that they are all heroes, she doesn’t mean that they are all saviors of worlds, leaders and princes. She doesn’t mean that they have to save the day, have to be courageous and beautiful and in love.
She means that they are survivors, and that this, in itself, is a heroic act.
Her caftan for the Yule Ball her fifth year is modest and beautiful. A long dark blue caftan, trimmed with dark blue lace and embroidered in gold, it is just perfect. Her hijab is dark blue to match.
Viktor Krum looks at her and smiles. “You look beautiful, скъп."
She smiles. “Thank you, Viktor."
Viktor Krum is nothing like the perfect Muslim boy she dreamed of as a little girl, but he is smart, and wonderful, and perfectly kind.
He respects her faith and her boundaries, calls her beautiful. He holds her hands, but does not kiss her. He is the perfect first boyfriend.
When she emerges from the lake, her hijab is sodden with water but thankfully still covers her hair and her neck.
Viktor leaves at the end of the Triwizard Tournament. Cedric won, Fleur placed second, and Viktor placed third. Despite his loss, he smiles and says, "It vas vorth it, Hermione, because I got to meet you."
Hermione returns his smile. "It was nice to meet you as well, Viktor. We'll continue to write, right?"
He nods. "Of course."
Hermione Granger is not meek. She is devout, and focused on her studies, but not meek.
She is full of faith for many things: Allah, education, and herself. She channels this faith into progress, into change.
Harry comes to her at the end of fifth year, stomach in his throat. “Hermione,” he says, eyes downcast, “I have something to tell you.”
“Yeah?” she asks, raising her eyes from her book.
“I...I think I like boys and girls.”
She looks at him. She’s suspected for a year or so, ever since his minor obsession with Cedric Diggory last year and the way he stares at Neville’s arse sometimes.
“Okay,” she says, and flips the page. “Tell me when you finally ask Longbottom out.”
Harry sputters, and she smiles.
Hermione’s sixth year, she breaks up with Viktor. It is an amicable split, no hard feelings between them. He wishes her luck with school and asks if she’ll mind if he comes to celebrate her graduation next year.
She smiles and says of course not.
She walks into the Room of Requirement (a fascinating discovery when searching for an answer to Harry’s Second Task two years ago) and finds Harry and Neville snogging in the middle of the Historic Legends section of the Great Hidden Library.
She clears her throat and they spring apart, looking like they’ve been caught doing something unspeakable. “Mind handing me the copy of the Upanishads , won’t you?” She gestures to Neville, who grabs a copy of the book that she’s seen him reading on the Express and hands it to her. “Thanks,” she says, and heads over to the Muggle Sports section (the far end of the library) so she can read in peace.
Hermione graduates top of her class, Susan Bones, Draco Malfoy, and Terry Boot right behind her.
The world is at her fingertips, and all of knowledge is within her grasp. She can change everything wrong with the world.
When Hermione Granger is eleven, she climbs a stool and puts a hat on her head. She is told that she will do well in either Ravenclaw or Slytherin, and she smiles.
I want to learn everything, she thinks, and the Sorting Hat shouts her House to the world.