“And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment…” [Surah an-Nur, 24:31]
I will not sugar coat my words. That has been done enough already. It is time that we take the words of Allah seriously. Why do we find it difficult to abide by the rules of Allah ? Why do we somehow choose a middle path which looks alright to us on the surface but deep down, we know that it is not “OK”?
Hijabi But Not Hijabi
The ayah mentioned in the beginning is very clear. There is absolutely no ambiguity- Cover yourselves such that you do not reveal anything. But we being the “smart” generation have changed the definition of “reveal”. Let us take a sneak peak at the various trends in the world of hijabis today and find out if we are the Hijabi Barbie :
- “We have covered ourselves!”
We find sisters, covered from head to toe, with nothing other than their face and hands visible. You may ask, “What is the problem?” The issue is that they can be referred to as being covered with clothes, but subhanAllah, the tightness of their clothes leaves nothing to the imagination! Every feature of their body is displayed ‘wrapped’ in tight clothes. And these sisters are quick to retort, “We are not revealing anything!”
The underlying problem seems to be that most of us feel that simply covering our hair with a piece of cloth is called hijaab. No, this is not true.
Take some time and look at how Allah has used words to describe the hijaab for women. He does not simply say ‘dress modestly’, but has also outlined the type of clothes we should be draped in. If you think deeply about the reason for this, you will realize that the definition of modesty varies from culture to culture.
Let us take a simple example from the Asian Sub continent to illustrate this. An Indian woman wearing a saree 1 may consider a girl in a mini skirt as immodest, while forgetting that the saree she herself has draped reveals her entire midriff, back and chest area. But that is the culture of her country and she finds nothing wrong in it! In fact, the saree is a modest dress according to her.
- Hijab and Haya
Another misconception that people usually have about the hijab is that it is something physical. This is not true either. Hijab is the veil that has to be drawn over our body, our behavior and our speech. If we observe the proper ‘physical’ rules of hijab, yet have no constraint on our deeds and actions, and involve in haraam activities, what purpose has the covering served?
- The Camel Hump Trend
I immediately remember my cousin when this topic is raised. She was visiting the Gulf (where this trend is quite common) and the first thing she told me was; “Now I understand what the camel hump is, which the Prophet referred to in his hadith.” 5
We need to ask ourselves the question that who are we trying to please, Allah or others? The humps on our head get higher, the makeup gets heavier, the perfume gets denser, the clothes get tighter, yet we claim we are in hijaab. Is our hijaab making every glance turn in our direction? Is our attire dissuading people to look at us or is it inviting them? There is no special jury verdict required for this question!
Our hijaab should automatically create a sense of haya in us. We are not an item on public display for people to look and admire. Allah has blessed us with internal and external beauty to preserve and not to be tarnished. If we are truly dressed in the sense Allah has instructed us to, both internally and externally, people will refrain from even looking at you, let alone harm you. The reasons may differ – some out of respect, some out of disinterest and some out of contempt – but at the end, the purpose is served. You remain protected like a pearl in its shell, beautiful, mesmerizing, radiant and untouched.
Allah highlights another purpose of hijaab in Surah al-Ahzaab, “you will be known”. 6 This is quite interesting. Ibn Katheer in his Tafseer says that, “……it will be known that they are free, and that they are not servants or whores.” 7
Allah has shown us the precise yet subtle manner of being the ambassador of Islam. The hijaab is our uniform, our badge of honor, our pride. We have to hold onto this badge with love, commitment and sincerity and let the world know that we are not suppressed but choose to cover ourselves modestly.
I leave you with this simple question which I need to answer as well:
“If we claim that our hijaab is modest enough and that we are covered appropriately, then why do we put on the loose jalaabeeb 8 available in the prayer rooms before we stand for Salaah? Is Allah watching us only during our Salaah? Do we forget that He continues to watch us even when we leave our homes as “Hijabi Barbies”?”
Please share your thoughts about this article in the comments section below. We would love to hear what you have to say.
- A sari, saree or shari is a South Asian female garment that consists of a drape varying from five to nine yards (4.57meters to 8.23meters) in length and two to four feet (60 cm to 1.20m) in breadth that is typically wrapped around the waist, with one end draped over the shoulder, baring the midriff ↩
- http://www.al-islam.org/hijab-muslim-womens-dress-islamic-or-cultural-sayyid-muhammad-rizvi/quran-and-hijab#1-what-meaning-“khumur”-used-verse ↩
- http://www.al-islam.org/hijab-muslim-womens-dress-islamic-or-cultural-sayyid-muhammad-rizvi/quran-and-hijab#what-meaning-“jalabib” ↩
- http://www.al-islam.org/hijab-muslim-womens-dress-islamic-or-cultural-sayyid-muhammad-rizvi/introduction ↩
- Abu Hurairah relates that the Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wasallam said, “There are two categories among the inhabitants of Hell whom I have not encountered. The first are people who carry whips like the tails of cows and beat the people with them. The second are women, clothed yet naked, drawn to licentiousness and enticing others to it, their heads like the swaying humps of camels. They will neither enter Paradise nor even smell its fragrance, though its fragrance can be found to a great distance.” (Sahih Muslim) ↩
- Surah al-Ahzab, 33: 59 ↩
- http://www.alim.org/library/quran/AlQuran-tafsir/TIK/33/59 ↩
- Plural of jilbab ↩