May 28, 2010 - for muslim women    7 Comments

Muslim Women: Can’t We All Just Get Along? (special guest blog by Sr Hosai)

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Muslim Women: Can’t We All Just Get Along?

by Sr Hosai

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I’ve been wearing hijab for almost 16 years alhamdulillah, but I’ll be the first to say I didn’t always look “modest”. In fact, like most women, hijabi or otherwise, I’ve been through many phases trying to find my own personal style and getting comfortable with my body and self.

Today there is a pervasive misconception that hijab automatically equals modesty, but I couldn’t disagree more. Hijab is a concerted effort towards modesty but by no means does one wearing hijab automatically become modest. Modesty, after all, is a disposition, an ATTITUDE. You can wear hijab and act completely immodest or you can not wear hijab and exude it from your head to your feet. In fact, some of the most modest women I know do not wear hijab and increasingly I’m beginning to see many girls who wear hijab yet do not dress or act very modestly. So, it’s not so black and white.

In my personal life I am surrounded by beautiful Muslim women, some of them wear hijab and some of them do not. Unfortunately, I’ve found that the issue of hijab has been one of the most divisive among the women of our community. On both sides of the divide there is prejudice, judgement, misconception, disrespect and A LOT of ego. Those who wear hijab can knowingly or sometimes even unknowingly give off an air of self-righteousness as though they are the only ones with a claim on piety and modesty. Those who don’t wear hijab are often mistreated, judged or discriminated against for not doing so which elicits an often unfair negative reaction towards hijab and those who wear it.

My question is, do we not share the same faith? Are we not all blessed with the truth of this most beautiful deen? Have we not all been invited by the Lord of the Universe to testify to His truth? I don’t care if you shroud yourself in 10 yards of fabric and the only thing I see are your eyes or if you choose to dress according to all the latest fashion trends of this society–you are a Muslim woman and you are my sister. I am NOT your judge and you are NOT mine. We need to stop the self-righteousness and instead of focusing on the issue of hijab, we should focus on the issue of modesty because that is something that applies to anyone who calls him/herself a Muslim.

Modesty is about confidence. The moment you decide to live and dress modestly you are making a very strong statement to the rest of the world that as a woman, as a free-thinking, intellectual, articulate and educated HUMAN BEING, you are taking the power back from every one who has ever made you question your self-worth. Modesty is about pleasing God and acknowledging the fact that He knows what is better for you than anyone or anything else in creation. When we are ordered to be modest is it for no other reason but to honor us, to raise us in esteem and to protect us? Similarly, when we are encouraged to dress immodestly is it for no other reason than to exploit us, demean us, and weaken us?

Whether you currently wear hijab but don’t dress or act very modestly, want to take the next step in living modestly and wear hijab, or if you’re not quite ready to wear the hijab, what about just making a commitment to dressing with self-respect and carrying yourself with dignity and class? This is as simple as forsaking the “skinny jeans” for looser ones, the low-cut tops for a higher neckline, the tank-tops for longer sleeves, and the short skirts and dresses for longer ones. And even more importantly, this is about changing your attitude and seeing yourself as more than just a walking coat hanger full of embellishments.

It’s also important to note that those who already wear hijab and feel there is a contradiction between their appearance and behavior must not lose hope or, even worse, allow the whisperings of Shaitan to affect them by removing their hijab altogether. He is notorious for using our own insecurities, feelings of guilt, and low spiritual ebbs to push us away from God. We must remember that every action is judged by intention and the one who endures spiritual struggles but perseveres for the sake of God is rewarded more than the one whose spiritual matters are facilitated. So, ask God for strength and take measured and moderate steps to make the necessary changes. No matter where we are on our individual paths, we must constantly remember that the One who put us on there does absolutely nothing in vain and guidance and misguidance are His alone to decide.

God loves you. He created you, He fashioned you, He made you as you are and sees you wholly. His value of you is based on what you make of the beating flesh that resides in your chest; your heart is the only concern you should have with Him. And if you want to present a sound heart to Him then start thinking about what would make Him happy. The first step towards that is a commitment to changing anything that would displease Him. Immodesty displeases Him.

So, my beautiful Muslim sisters, hijabi and non-hijabi, let us renew our faith and love in Him and commit to living and dressing modestly. Which is not just an issue of the fabric or lack of on our heads but is an issue of ATTITUDE, of disposition, and ultimately seeking the pleasure of the only One who truly matters.

I love you all and sincerely wish you the best in this world and the next.

7 Comments

  • As-Salaam o Ale’ykum wa Rehmatullahi wa Barkatuhu sis,

    MashaALLAAH a very beautiful article.

    Jazak ALLAHU Khairan Katheeran Katheera!!

    May ALLAAH Bless us all and guide us to Siraat al Mustakeen. Aameeen!!

  • As salamu’alaikum wa rahmah sister Jannah,

    Alhamdulillah jazakillah khair for the beneficial reminder! It is true that most hijabis often treat non-hijabis as if they’re superior to them. Sadly some hijabis also often give that dirty look to those they call ‘hojabis’ just for the fact that they don’t dress up as modest as them. Some make harsh comments about them and even back-stab them, as if they themselves have never made any mistakes and they’re bestowed with such understanding to wear hijab ever since they were born! So, ameen to the du’a in your post as well as the one in the comment above. We do need to re-evaluate our niyyah in especially wearing hijab, and ask ourselves if we really do this to please our Lord, the One who truly matters.

  • Modesty comes first from Allah. As a hijab wearing muhmina I owe my commitment and desire to work towards my own self respect to Allah. I pray that Allah continues to bestow us all with his mercy and grace!

  • Hello,
    I am a Christian Lady who is NOT Catholic, so please don’t think that I am, I do not even believe God (Jehovah) is Jesus or likewise. So of course when my husband and I get into arguments about what I should and should not wear, its pretty heated, sometimes. I try to compromise as much as possible, but since he is a Muslim, he thinks compromising is just letting me show my hair. To me I agree that Modesty is mainly about attitude and then the rest will follow. I wear modest clothing because I am not trying to attract sexual attention from other men, or women. I wear clothes that aren’t skin tight or thin, and I cover my boobies and mid section and butt and legs, but I see nothing wrong not covering my neck, arms, head, or feet. I have read several different versions of the hadith that says that Muhammed just pointed to the face and hands, but he NEVER said exactly what to show, or what is acceptable. I mean he didn’t point to the feet, and yet I have never met a Muslim lady who thought it was wrong to wear sandals.
    And I know some of ya’ll are gonna say that Paul in the bible said to cover the woman’s head, yes he did, but only when praying in the presence of a qualified Male or when preaching. And BTW Paul did not set up laws, it was merely advice that we are urged to follow because it would be best for us to.
    But nayways to wrap it up…where do we find common ground in clothing? My husband and I. I’m tired of wearing sweaters in the summer!

  • Very nice artical.

  • Wow MashAllah this article really hit home! I am a new hijabi but by no means feel self-righteous since it took me way too long to observe the Islamic dress but I have come to realize that wearing the hijab doesn’t immediately make one modest but it’s definitely a start :)

  • alhamdulillah..i was born in islam..but at first im wearing a hijab..my intention was to cover hair, hand..other parts of my body..from sunshine..and also to fulfill my parent wish.. after long time..i found myself that this is not about sunshine only..this is about pride..modesty..when you wear hijab..with a good attitude..people tends to respect u more..wallahualam :)