The thoughts of an American Muslim and mother of four raising her children in small town USA with her Egyptian husband.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
What is hijab?
There is no doubt that we women want people to look at our clothing and say, "Allllaaahhh! Where did you find that outfit?" And this includes us hijabis. But, we have to remember that the purpose of hijab is to protect us from people looking at our beauty... So does the new style I am seeing in Egypt protect or accent our beauty?
Is this hijab?
OK, well what about this?
Now I am not an all or nothing gal when it comes to hijab. All I ask is that you understand the definition of hijab in your heart and mind even if you are not wearing it properly. You do what you can at the moment. It's between you and Allah(swt). So, if all you can do is loose clothing and tie your hair back in a bun... Go ahead, bravo. If you can wear niqab, good for you, bravo. I am not going to be the sister to even ask you about it and I certainly know that there are women in minimal hijab that are more pious than the sisters in full out niqab, Allahu'Alim. As much as I love to see magazines geared toward hijabis like the one I ganked these images from, I wonder if we are giving off the wrong impression about hijab??? Are we supporting sisters who wear it or chastsising them for wearing it and not still looking hot? Hmmmmmmm.
This is me at my walimah. I wore hijab... And my SIL was so sad when I didn't wear the viel she brought for me (one like in the above pictures) but I felt like I had to strike a compromise between looking good at my walimah and going so far from the principle of hijab that I might as well just take it off for the event (which was suggested BTW by my in-laws who should know better).
So I come to the questions that are milling in my mind as I read these magazines... Is the look of the stylish hijab a gateway for young women scared to go all out and look frumpy? Or, is it too tempting to let these images redfine hijab in a way that takes us away from its core purpose... Shielding our beauty?
When I think of hijab, and what is happening to it I think of a few verses/hadith:
Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “There are two types of people who will enter the Hell-fire, whom I have not (as yet) seen: People having whips similar to ox-tails with which they will beat people, and (secondly) women who will be dressed yet appear to be naked. They will seduce men and be inclined towards them. Their heads will be like the swaying humps of bacterial camels. They will neither enter paradise, nor smell its fragrance, even though its fragrance can be smelt from such and such distance.” (Sahih Muslim, no. 2128)
Narrated AbuHurayrah: A woman met him and he found the odour of perfume in her. Her clothes were fluttering in the air. He said: O maid-servant of the Almighty, are you coming from the mosque? She replied: Yes. He said: For it did you use perfume? She replied: Yes. He said: I heard my beloved AbulQasim (peace_be_upon_him) say: The prayer of a woman who uses perfume for this mosque is not accepted until she returns and takes a bath like that of sexual defilement (perfectly).
And of course the verse that defines hijab in the Quran...
“And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what must ordinarily appear therof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, or their brothers’ sons or their sisters’ sons, or their women or the servants whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex, and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O you Believers, turn you all together towards Allah, that you may attain Bliss.” (Quran 24:31).
These are the things that run through my head when I look in the mirror. Those are the words that ring in my ear as I reach for the perfume bottle in my vanity. I wonder what verses are going through the minds of the people who make these magazines? Or is hijab for them reduced to a fasion statement?
****edit**** Since it was brought to my attention that I might not be clear... The first picture is meant to be a hijabi dressing up, I have no problem with that one at all. It was one of a handful in the magazine that actually were pretty much hijab for me.
I am a mother to four wonderful kids and the wife to one wonderful Egyptian! We live in a small town in the Midwest and work in our small businesses. I am also a Waldorf preschool teacher and childcare provider, a backyard chicken lady, a part time homeschooler, and a generally crunchy mama (think hijabi in birks).