I have never seen ‘hijab” in fashion and “hijab fashion” to this extent in my life. When I started wearing the hijab, I remember being looked at with curiosity by many people who just couldn’t figure out what was that thing on my head in a sweltering 55-degree Celsius heat!
The only people who understood who I was (i.e a foreigner Muslim) were the shop owners in Janpath, New Delhi, India as that area is frequented by foreign nationals and many of them are from Iran and other Arab countries.
It was hilarious when they would talk amongst themselves in Hindi (our national language) to determine how much to raise the price of what I was looking to buy. And the look on their faces when I replied in perfect Hindi? Priceless, I tell you.
Well, 9/11 changed it all for me. I remember somebody referring to me and my friends as “Taliban” in Goa when I went there with my class on a college trip. It was pretty embarrassing, but well, the youth doesn’t care. Does it? But, Alhamdulillah, All praise is to God, the “hijab” has come a long way since that time.
Now, where ever I go, from the most crowded places in India and overseas to the tiny remote island off the shore of Canada, I see heads covered with hijab moving alongside blondes and brunettes and purple streaked heads and every other color in between.
Another dramatic change that I see around me is a mushrooming of a “hijab fashion industry” that was non-existent till some 10 years back. Now, hijab fashion experts are burning the midnight oil in trying to blend the latest trends in fashion with “modest Islamic attire”. They are trying their very best to prove to non-Muslims and Muslims alike that well, hijabis are as trendy, cool, hip, smart and fashionable as those who don’t wear hijab.
All you have to do is type hijab fashion in the Google search bar and well, you will be bombarded with blogs, websites, articles, photos and pages dedicated to making you look hip and happening with a Hijab! And, of course, let me not forget to mention the endless list of tutorials on YouTube on how to wear the hijab. They even have tutorials on the type of makeup that goes with hijab!
Phew! All that hard work man!
But the question is “Is it all really necessary”? Do we really need a “hijab fashion industry”? Isn’t it actually pulling us away from the basic message of hijab, which is covering ourselves in a way that is not attracting attention?
“O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allah is Ever Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful ” (Al-Ahzab, 33:59)
According to the hadith in Bukhari, “May Allah have mercy on the Muhaajir women. When Allah revealed the words “and to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms)”, they tore the thickest of their aprons (a kind of garment) and covered their faces with them. “
Please, hear me out here. I am not against fashion, dressing up or makeup. A woman needs to dress up, look pretty, wear nice clothes and jewelry but not for public display.
“And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), …..and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent (like both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer palms of hands or one eye or dress like veil, gloves, head cover, apron), and to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms) and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband’s fathers, or their sons, or their husband’s sons, or their brothers or their brother’s sons, or their sister’s sons, or their (Muslim) women (i.e. their sisters in Islam), or the (female) slaves whom their right hands possess, or old male servants who lack vigor, or small children who have no sense of feminine sex. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And all of you beg Allaah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful” (An Nur 24:31)
I know that sometimes, it is hard not to feel pain or hurt because of the looks or comments that come our way when we try to dress up as per the rules set by Allah . After all we are human, aren’t we? At such times, these “hijab fashion” posts seem like a gift from Allah so that we can copy their ideas and look “cool” and shut these people up.
Right? No, wrong!
“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me”. (Adh-Dhariyat 51:57)
When we seek help in these fashion blogs for advice on how to wear hijab that actually makes us look more attractive just to quieten these people, we are moving away from His mercy. Allah has asked us to seek help through patience and prayer. We don’t need to resort to hijab fashion posts to help us look beautiful. We need to move closer to our religion and look for His approval about the way we do our hijab. At at the end of the day, it is only Him we seek to please and expect our reward from.
Of course, we will follow the fashion trends and fads and go shopping and have fun while doing it (please don’t forget the dua for entering the market 🙂 ) but not for public display. There is nothing wrong is looking neat, clean, tidy and smart. But there is definitely wrong is wearing things which attract attention while in public.
What are your thoughts on this subject? Do let me know in the comments section 🙂