Sunday, 24 February 2008

Fashion vs Faith?

I am writing this post in response to what I have seen some people writing about my blog. Everyone is free to criticize my work as they see fit, and I have no problem with that. But I wanted to clear up a few things that people (who have obviously not bothered to actually read my posts) have been saying.

Firstly, the type of clothing I show here all meets the basic requirements of Islamic dress; i.e. to cover everything except face, hands and feet, and to be loose enough to conceal the figure. No where in Islam does it say that we must dress head to toe in black sheets. For some reason, many people believe that anything other than this is unacceptable. What is wrong with looking neat, polished and presentable? What is wrong with wearing blues, greens and pinks? In fact a hadith in Sahih Al-Bukhari (Volume 7, Book 72, Hadith # 715) mentions that a woman at the time of the Prophet (saw) was wearing a green veil. Women in countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia wear brightly coloured clothes outside, as that is the norm for their society. If you wore black you would probably stick out more!

Secondly, I am sick and tired of people who have the attitude that a woman who does not wear hijab is somehow less of a Muslim than one who does, just because she doesn't wear hijab, regardless of anything else. I constantly hear statements such as 'the woman who veils most is the most precious in Allah's eyes'. Last time I checked, the most precious woman was the one who has the greatest taqwa.

Yes hijab is important, yes it is compulsory, but so are many other things. Why do we focus so much on whether a woman is wearing hijab, rather than on her character and her behaviour? To illustrate this, there are prostitutes in Egypt who wear hijab. On the other hand, I know many non-hijab wearing women who are modest in character, polite in speech, observe their 5 daily prayers and fast in Ramadan. Are you still convinced that the second woman is not as good as the first?

Thirdly, I am not here to turn hijab into a 'fashion'. I think I've made that obvious since the caption underneath my title says 'fashions change, style endures'. This means that our style is and always will be hijab inshallah. If we were followers of fashion, we would not be covering our bodies! We would be out in oh-so-trendy midi skirts and tightly belted dresses. All I aim to do is encourage women to wear and stick to hijab, without making them feel that the only option they have is a black burkha. What better way to advertise Islam and make it more accessible to non-Muslims than by looking neat, modern, modest and having the best of manners at the same time?

'Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty'

28 comments:

Sofi said...

i could not agree more..please keep it up! and for what its worth, i have been reading and following your blog for a while and i'm so impressed with much of what you post. :-)

Hayah said...

Many thanks Sofi! :D

bibliophilezing said...

Salam,

Thanks so much for your post. I have been feeling a bit down today and your post cheered me up. Like you said, we have to remember that it is not our place to judge, Allah knows best.

DawnUK said...

Salaam Aleikum

MashALLAH. Well said!

ammena said...

masha'allah.. u tell em sis, I too was havin a similar discussion today with a friend... its pitiful how some people talk about hijab and those hijabi sisters... even niqabis are always the most pious.. *NEWSFLASH* material is not always proportional to piety!!

Malandi said...

"What better way to advertise Islam and make it more accessible to non-Muslims than by looking neat, modern, modest and having the best of manners at the same time?"

agreed.

Organic-Muslimah said...

I love your blog and it has inspired me! Forget about the dummies, we all love you.

I was thinking of writing a segment about you on my blog!

Keep up the good work, you are totally awesome.

Anonymous said...

i totally agree with your last sentence! when i wear lousy clothes (like shrinked pants and faded shirts) i don't cover my hair to spoil muslimah's name :) but if i'm wearing neat and modern clothes, i'd definitely wear a matching hijab.. :p

jannah said...

Something I've learned from my website is that you'll always get people who think it's haram. Whatever "it" is! So I'm sure there are a lot of people who think black jilbab from head to toe is the only Islamic thing and that's fine from them. Don't let the 'haram float to the top'! There are people in the world that do wear clothes and like to look nice and I love looking at your hijabi fashions so don't stop!! and thanx I do have a happier day when I see a post here on my google reader :)

MyHijab said...

I couldn't agree more with you!

Anonymous said...

Assalamu alaikom,
Although I am far less interested in fashion that you are, I do enjoy checking out your site about once a month, and I do read back every single blog entry I haven't yet read. Modesty *can* be lost in the pursuit of fashion, and as long as we are mindful of ourselves, I think it is all right to be interested in fashion! I have noticed that online, there is always going to be one person (or fifty) whom you can never please. Evaluate their opinions and decide for yourself whether or not you see value in any of it. Allahu alim, right? Take care.

amana said...

Asalamo aleikom. I just wanted to say that I like your blog. I have converted about a year ago. Sometimes I feel that it's hard to dress modestly. It's easier to look nice if you show your shape and some skin, like I'm more used to from my time before Islam. But with your blog I've realised that you can look good AND modest. Thank you for the inspiration! Now I think I can keep try dress modestly, I just have to find the right clothes. I love that last style, "lighten up". Barak allah fiki.

littlemissmuslim said...

Right on,sister!

Biel said...

Allahu akbar! You're absolutely right : our actions and intentions are the most important thing.

Anonymous said...

AlSalam A'lki wa Rhamtou Allah dear sis. Sofi...
MashaAllah really your blogs are amazing specaily this one..
sometimes i wish that ppl be more openminded & think in the right way, away from there own thoughts as they say (Oh this is Haram & that Halal), i always prefer to get back to Quran & AlSunna, to find the answer... once my frnds mom toled me according to hadith (the relegious cloth (i mean for girls) la esef wal eashef)
in past few years i wasnt wearing Hijab... but in the same time i was fear Allah where ever i go, doin my 5 prayers,fasting,helping ppl...etc
AlhamodoulilAllh in the begining of this year i start to wear it.. coz i felt like if i'm in love so much with God & The Prophet *SAS* i have to obey them...

at least i would like to say its nice to be fashionable of what u wear... but Not to Exict the Limits ;)
Jazake Allhouma Khaeran
your Sis. Mona,Jordan

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your effort on this blog! I spread the site among my friends.
Keep up the good work and I totally agree with this blog. ;)

Malika

Hayah said...

Many thanks everyone, for your support :)

the_forgetful_servant said...

salaams, mashaAllah a good post...hijab is something that has its place..we can't deny its importance but they're many other more important things like establishing salaah for example. Because hijab is the sign of a muslimah, and because we live in non-muslim lands, it is the sign of islam and we need to represent that in all ways, whether that be speech, our manners to one another as well as our dress. Hijab is our personality and not just a scarf!And one who wears hijab doesn't have some right over someone who doesnt wear hijab, because only Allah truly knows what is in our hearts!

Anonymous said...

I think what you do is absolutely amazing. You are very very helpful with your styles as it is very difficult for most of us who work in the non-muslim country and cosmopolitan cities.

I love this site and I check it every day not only because of the styles but the articles as well. Please keep it up and ignore all those narrow minded people.

Thank you and best of luck x x

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that I appreciate the part you spoke of about, "people who have the attitude that a woman who does not wear hijab is somehow less of a Muslim than one who does, just because she doesn't wear hijab, regardless of anything else."

I hear the same thing constantly, and it can discourage me, because I do not wear hijab all of the time either. And it gets very frustrating to me. And yet I remember to myself only Allah knows my heart and others hearts.

so to me, I believe that Allah knows my intentions if I wear one, or if I do not. At that is all that matters.

BuJ said...

I agree with you! keep on with the good work... let's compete with 7asanat and taqwa rather than words and insults!

have a lovely day

Anonymous said...

Salaam Aleikum!
Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for this post. I've been going back and forth on this subject for many years with my sister in laws and it is so troublesome. I have 4 beautiful girls and all but one of them (my 16 year old) made the decision to wear Hijab, and I couldn't be more proud of them. My 16 yr old and I have chosen NOT to wear Hijab for our own reasons mine in particular is because I live in Chicago and I am an Executive Assistant and Hijab so totally would not be allowed in the workplace, esp since sept. 11th.
I get so very upset when my in-laws critic my choice and verbally abuse my 16 yr old while praising the younger 3 for wearing theirs. It makes me unhappy and I don't have good relations with them. My husband is very understanding and supportive of my choice and stands behind me 100%, esp. since my job along with his affords us a nice stable income to be able to support our family.

I am usually fine with my choice until I go to another mosque however where all the "covered" sisters look down on me and turn their noses up at me, and therefore now my biggest dilema is finding a group that accepts me for me and not based on whether or not I cover; so far, I have not been sucessful so I just stay at home within my own family most times and don't really hang out at any of the mosques, which makes me sad.

Your post is truely timely and has made me feel better about my choice. I wish more muslimas would open their eyes and realize that we live in 2008 and some things are frowned upon in the western society we live in. thanks again!

Aneesa

Umm Abdullah Sophie bint Joseph Andrew said...

I am also a sister who dresses in overgarments and niqabs. No scholar, including the 'salafi' scholars, says it is only permissible to wear black and the majority of sisters I know who wear niqab do not limit themselves only to black either. However many sisters believe muted colours are more modest and fit in better to western society. Look around you, except on occasion when it has been the fashion; is bright yellow and bright red the norm in western society? I think not. Again sister you drum up the same stereotypes of 'black sheets' (only Iranians wear a black sheet type garment) and burqas; as some non-Muslims do. What exactly are your aims by doing this? Do you want to put sisters off wearing niqab and more conservative forms of dress and choose instead what is your own personal opinion of proper hijab? I am from a non-Muslim background and started wearing niqab and more conservative garments from my own designs after carefully researching the issue; I have had nothing but GOOD reactions with regard to my choice of more conservative dress, people come up to me and ask me questions about Islam all the time and I have been told by complete strangers (women) that I look beautiful. My clothing is carefully tailored and nicely put together; even my non-Muslim family like it. Some people have seized on this issue for their own ends and made it seem like the majority of British people do not like the niqab but through my community work and involvement with various causes (yes I go out and get involved and actually have a life outside of my home; shock horror!) I have found this is not the view of the majority of decent-minded British people. I am western; and I have chosen to dress this way; because I feel it personally brings me closer to Allaah; not to attract negative attention or to make a political statement (I am not involved in politics in any way) and we are all judged on our intentions and Alhamdulillaah the reactions to my dress have been in line with my sincere intentions; all positive so far. I've had a couple of comments but I had worse comments when i used to dress as your blog endorses; I believe then I was like a beacon saying 'look at me' now I can actually blend in more. Also you made a comment on another site that I should 'get my own blog' I do have my own blog and have had for some time; this is nothing personal against you or your blog but your assertions about what constitutes hijab and not only that but your offensive remarks about those who adopt a more conservative view. Perhaps when you become a little older you may become a bit more aware of some things.

Jana said...

Sophie,

To be honest, I do not see what your problem is. You constantly harangue me for what I do here. Is not stating your opinions once enough? You made your POV clear several times to me, and that it fine, no need to shove it down my throat.

This post was actually written in response to particular people who were trying to tell me that black was the only halaal colour, and chador the only permissible garment.

And yes I do look around me, and during summer, I see people out in all sorts of bright colours. It is not for us to say which colours are halaal and haram, since Islam is silent on the issue.

Our opinons are based on our experiences. In MY experience, most people are not welcoming of niqab. Since this is my blog, then I am free to express MY opinions. And in MY experience, I have found that actually, it is better to dress the way I do, this is what fits in my lifestyle.

You seem a little over-sensitive at the remarks I make regarding 'those who adopt a more conservative view'. I did not insult nor ridicule their choice. Everyone is free to do as they please, but I personally see this as the best way.

Your assertion that maybe when I become a little older I will be more aware of things is a little antagonising - I have discussed this in detail with parents, both of whom are educated, practicing Muslims, and they approve of what I do.

Thank you for your concern.

Jana said...

Sophie - I am not interested in arguing with you over something useless. If are so insulted by what I write here, then perhaps you will be surprised to discover that the view I hold is incredibly widespread, even amongst scholars and Islamic thinkers.

I no longer wish to carry on a debat here - please check your email.

BuJ said...

Sister Jana.. for all it's worth I support your point of view and in the name of the freedoms of islam I'd say keep doing what you do!

you give a fresh face to a depressing subject! go girl go!

Aisha said...

Assalam aleikum to y`all!

Sister Jana thanks for that blog inshaallah may Allah SWA enable you do more blogging..

This is my first time to blog and reason for this is the topic at hand provocaked me and here I am!now this paticular blog is to the attention of SISTER ANEESA

I hate for any one to go through what transpired at the mosque,and I would like to think that these sisters hold nothing against you but its their way of saying get a grip!

Which brings me to my next point, to me it seems like the whole job thing is just a scape goat for you to go thinking that its okay unless your mosque is at your work place...or is it? why would you roll up hijabless at a place of worship durrrh....??

About your inlaws,sister girl... they can see through your smoke screen as I would like to think you have not been at this job all your life so they have a before and after scenario! Girl, if you are not ready you are not ready! heres what you should know some people need a shove in the right direction i.e Allah SWA will bring about circumstances that will change their lives i.e death,loss of wealth etc.. while for others eg. your daughters are blessed to be the way they are from the get go!

I pray that we all fall in the second category!

Let me give you a purely abstract and hypothetical scenario...you want to send your son to University IMMEDIATELY but you are broke however there are these loans available to send your son through his UNI(YOU KNOW RIBA IS WRONG) but also there is the alternative if him getting a job so as to save up some money and coupled with your savings you can take him through University after some time!

So what do you do?.... Education is good every one knows that and its for good cause but the test before you is will you put your sons education before Allah? if the answer is yes then it means that your son gets an education out of RIBA cause these loans attract an interest! And you will have lost out on those rewards from Allah as well as punishment for the same in the hereafter!meaning you have lost!You will have ripped the material friuts of the world but suffer in the here after!Do you want that?

So relate this to your issue of the Job Versus Hijab!

God frobid that you loose your job!....but imagine you lost your job would you start wearing hijab then!Some where in the holy book it says dont wait for misfortune to befall you so as to follow the straight path seek Allah before that .May Allah have mercy on me If I have quoted it wrongly!

Just dont give into your inclinations for whoever fights his inclinations in the way of Allah has two Jannas

Lastly you mentioned that this is 2008! Are trying to say that your basis of what you think is the right is hinged on the times we are in?Take for example we get into 2030 where going topless is the only acceptable form of dress at the work place, would you go on and conform and tell us that this is 2030?????????????


Sister Aneesa,please take heed! I am not righteous but I try to follow what the Quran teaches us to do because remember we are accountable for our actions in the here after!

Sister Aneesa, have you tried praying about your job!Allah being the all knower and all seer knows what is good for us and what is bad for us! so ask him that if this job is good for you may he soften and open the hearts of your bosses so that they can accept you as you are with hijab and that if it is not good for you and you are fired because they are prejudiced about there presumptions of muslims wearing hijab, may he help you accept it and open up even better oppotunities! this may take a while before you get another job but hey Allah never forgets his loyal followers I have many testimonies to atest to this! you can email me if you are interested in what i have to say!

" The world is a prison for the believer and a paradise for a non- beliver" (Saheeh Muslim)


With that sisters I leave you with a dua that may Allah forgive us where we have gone wrong and guide us to the straight path in addition may he help us accept things we cannot change and give us courage to change those we can Inshaallah!

Jana said...

Salaam Aisha,

Thank you for your comment. I declined to reply to sister Aneesa because I don't know the details of her situation, or about her or her family, so I hesitate to give advice to individual siutations where I don't know the whole story.

Since you have responded to her though, I guess I should pitch in. Sister Aneesa, your employer has absolutely no right whatsoever to refuse you employment should you choose to wear hijab. If you do wear it, and then find that you are discriminated against, you can take the issue to court. There are plenty of organisations in the US that deal with cases of religious discrimination.

Also Sister Aisha, you mentioned about student loans attracting riba - here in the UK, students loan are payed back linked to inflation. Many scholars have agree that since it is almost impossible now for many families to send their children to university without taking out these loans, and it is considered a 'necessity', student loans are permissible in these circumstances.

http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?pagename=IslamOnline-English-Ask_Scholar/FatwaE/FatwaE&cid=1119503543758

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