Thursday, April 05, 2007

Talking about textiles.

Yes, this is a hijab post. I know there have been many, many hijab posts. Still, I think Muslim women have the right to reclaim the discourse, so here is my little effort.

These are my honest feelings, not religious guidance. These are the choices I have made and I respect the differing choices of others.

Alhamdulilah, I like wearing hijab, for many reasons.

Firstly, as I have stated before, I believe hijab is a fard (a religious obligation). So I feel, that of the many should-do's that there are in Islam, it's good to have ticked one off.

That sounds very prosiac, I know so let me clarify that.

As Muslims we seek to submit to Allah swt. It's not easy. The stuggle to submit my brain to concentrate on prayer for five minutes! But when I put on my hijab, I'm doing something Allah swt has asked of me and it feels good.

Physically, I like the feel of wearing hijab. It's good to wrap your head up on a cold day.
If I'm honest, it feels like a kind of security blanket, then sensation of it, but also the reminder it provides in times of stress: "Yes I am Muslim, this situation is only temporary... breath deeply and think of Allah".

I like wearing it as visible statement of my faith, but I won't trot out the tired line of not being judged, as people still judge you or not being hassled, as people judge you in a different way.

I like not having any more bad hair days.

Hijab to me is not a big thing, just part of a code of behaviour, that I as a Muslim should follow.

I started wearing it when, I went away, when I went to Muslim gatherings, then when I last went to Egypt and decided that I didn't want to take it off, Alhamdulilah.

I know it is harder for a lot of other women, and I think we all, especially brothers, need to remember this. We all have our own challenges.

For someone thinking about wearing hijab, I would recommend three things:
Taking your Time.

Any action becomes easier when you know the reason behind it and are convinced of that reason. "My husband wants me to, I get nasty looks from other sisters....." Don't wear it to please other people, you will resent them and yourself for it.

Hijab is not a hair shirt. It should feel comfortable and does not need to be hideously ugly.
There are many different materials and styles of wearing hijab. Find what feels comfortable for you.
This is where I give a special mention to the ladies of Egypt, who know to dress modestly with tons of style, Masha Allah!

You will know when it is the right time to wear hijab. Some people wear it straight after converting/as soon as they hit puberty, others later.

Alhamdulilah, I always have lovely commenters on this blog. I know the more Muslim-then-thou crew would say "Astagfurallah, sister! Hijab is a fard and should be worn immediately, not when it pleases you".

To which I would reply that I agree hijab is fard, therefore it should not be taken lightly. That's why I believe it should only be worn when the sister feels she is ready to wear it, through her own choice.

Where are the blessings in misplaced obedience?


purvis said...

"Where are the blessings in misplaced obedience?"

Excellent point, sister. Is it better to be obedient because of Allah, or because of peer pressure?

I LOVE Ugly Betty and America Ferrera and Real Women Have Curves as well!

Alina said...

I cannot take sides when it comes to hijab for obvious reasons. But if I extend the discussions to all religious duties one assumes at a certain moment, I agree with you. It is an issue of personal choice: you choose to do something when you are ready for it. Others trying to make you do it will never help. Doing something without actually wanting it, without feeling it growing from within you, that is just pointless.

Manal said...

Masha'Allah very good post. You know, I do not wear hijab yet it doesn't mean I do not believe in it nor do I not plan on it. May Allah forgive us ALL for our mistakes, our procrastinations, and help guide us to the right path. Insha'Allah, it is in my intention Alhamdulillah to wear it but like you said, a Muslim woman will put on her hijab when she is ready. And honestly, I really do not know what is keeping me from NOT putting it on already.........:(

But Insha'Allah when I do it will certainly be for one reason and one reason only and that is to please Allah the one and only and no one else......(Even not my husband, who would rather see me put my hijab but would never ever force me to do so) Please, pray for me sis!!

Safiya said...

Salaam Purvis, it's good to see you here. Glad to meet another America Ferrera fan.

Alina - I wish more people thought like you. :)

Manal - I will make du'a for you and insha Allah, the time will come when you're ready. Masha Allah, your husband is the understanding sort.

Safiyyah said...

Salaams Sister: Nice post. I converted to Islam in 1998. I did so in the home of a sister who gave me strong dawah, inviting me to Islam. She gave me a hijab as a gift when I said Shahadah. Alhamdulillah I have not gone without hijab since my conversion. I also understand hijab to be fard (just like the beard). What I do not understand is the concept of "readiness" to please Allah (swt).

Safiya said...

Salaam Safiyyah-
Masha Allah that you were able to wear hijab straight after converting, this is a great blessing.

Please remember though, that some of our sisters have great difficulties after converting. I know a sister who converted as a young girl. When her parents found out, they threatened to throw her out of the house, so she had to practice for five years in secret. For her, wearing hijab was out of the question.

Different things are difficult for different people. What Allah makes easy for us, we should be greatful for, but at the same time not criticise others for.

Let me tell you a story. In the first year after converting, I found getting for fajr prayer very easy. I would wake with my alarm and spring out of bed.

I found out that one of my friends a born Muslim, found this very difficult and often missed the prayer. Oh how scornful I was of this born Muslim, astagfurallah.
Until one day something happened - alarm didn't wake me up anymore. I would set it and sleep through it. I tried different alarms, to no avail.

Then I realised that my getting up for fajr prayer was a gift from Allah. I made repentence for my arrogance and it took a lot of work, but Alhamdulilah, I wake for fajr prayer now.

Since then, I learnt the valuable lesson of being grateful rather then judgemental. Alhamdulilah.

Gun Barrel Kalashnikov said...

First, I would love to start off by saying that this is a real lovely post, I've been a reader of ur blog for a while there, but this one tempted me to comment.

Your way of looking at things when it comes to religion and God makes me proud as a Muslim that there are people like you.

And I am sure by now you are waiting for the 'but' in my comment so I will just get to it.

I believe it is true that something like Hijab, a Fard should not be taken lightly, I just disagree a little bit with how this would get us to assume that it should not be worn if a woman is not convinced, or is not pleased with it.


Well, there is a verse in Surat Luqman that states, "No soul knows what it shall earn tomorrow, and no soul knows where it shall die", what if we die before doing the cores of religion that please God?

And what if I am never pleased with it.

I mean for many people who do not pray and then they start praying, it takes them a while before getting to feel the peace in the prayer, the connection with God, meaning, unless you allow yourself a start with any religious obligation and try to find the sweetness in it, the fine taste of it, you will never be pleased with it as much as you think you would one day without doing that effort.

I know many people will hate me for this opinion, but it is what I think, I think that we are living in a day and age and in societies in which religious actions are being a minority interest, something we don't mind leaving behind and that is why they will never please us unless we try and taste the beauty of, you know, being there...

And FYI, I am not that religious but i just love to give everything its weight, I hope your religiosity would get me all jealous to be better and also FYI, the beard is not a Fard, it is called a Sunnah Wajibah, which is like any Sunnah but closer to a Fard since a person gets sins for not holding to it, but not as much as not holding to a Fard.

Thanks for your patience on my awfully lengthy comment...


Gun Barrel Kalashnikov said...

Ok you are gonna kill me, but well I forgot to add one comment:

You said, "Where are the blessings in misplaced obedience?"

Well there is a Hadith for the prophet (PBUH) that goes (And this is not 100% accurate translation, 'A believer is rewarded by force'

More important than the translation is the meaning, we as Muslims are rewarded based on the good we do even if the intention to do such good was not present.

If I try to apply that on Hijab, I would say, if a woman or girl just goes for it to please God, while she takes her time to get pleased and comfortable with it, she gets the reward of trying to do so..

Just in case you wanted to find the hadith and refer to it, it goes, يثاب المؤمن رغم أنفه

Sorry again for the whole lot of comments ...

Safiya said...

Gun barrel kalashnikov - Thank you for your detailed comment and the excellent points you made.

I think the problem with hijab, is that such a big deal is made of it, both by Muslims and non Muslims. So if you don't feel convinced that you need to wear it, yet everyone around you is saying "You must, you must", you can start to feel rather conflicted.

Converts often have enough difficulties, especially when it comes to learning about Islam. I know sisters who started wearing hijab and then took it off again as they didn't feel ready.

Let us remember how the Sahaba gradually evolved in their religious practice. They certainly didn't start doing everything overnight.

Hijab is not a pillar of faith, so it should not be compared with prayer.

Thank you for the hadith you've posted. It is a beautiful one. Yes it's true that good deeds bring rewards, but if your islamic practice is conducted solely to please another human being, you are on the fast track to deep disatisfaction.

Also, there are many verses and hadith criticising any worship that is made for show and not to please Allah swt. This can be a very easy trap for the newly practising to fall into.

Which brings me back to the point of the post: Educate yourself in your religion as much as possible and Allah will make things easier for you, insha Allah.

believer786 said...

Assalam Alaikum Safiya,

I came across your blog while browsing around and this comment has nothing to do with the post but I was delighted to find out that there is someone else out there that enjoys Paul Van Dyk!

What other artists to you listen to from that genre? Paul Oakenfold? Armin Van Buuren? Marcus Schultz?

These are just some of the few I listen to. I used to listen to these a lot before, but I am trying to adhere to the Islamic ways and am trying to stay away from music as much as I can. I only listen to these genre when I work out, helps me push a lot more :).


Ali la Loca said...

Not related, but I posted the recipe for green chile stew and tortilas. :)

Safiya said...

Believer786- Salaam, welcome to my blog! I don't listen to that much trance other than PvD, so I'd welcome any recommendations from you.

Ali - You are a star :)

roora said...


a very nice post, i like the way you percieve about hijab, that everytime you wear you are doing something that God likes .. I liked that. I dont think of that everyday when i wear my scarf. Maybe because I am used to it now.. but I used to feel like it in the begining of my hijab. And it was a beautiful feeling. Maybe we should renew our intension everyday ISA.

I also liked " What Allah makes easy for us, we should be greatful for, but at the same time not criticise others for." That really touched me.

Safiya said...

Salaam Roora - I think that's a good idea about renewing your intention everyday. Our intentions can bring great rewards in themselves, insha Allah. I will try that and see how it feels.

believer786 said...

Safiya and Roora,

May Allah reward you for having made the hijab easy on yourselves. I know how hard this can be especially for converts. Some try and give up. Some don't try.

As Safiya eluded that the Hijab is not done for your husband, or other sisters, etc, it is done for Allah and Allah alone.

Im waiting for your next post Safiya :).


luckyfatima said...

hair shirt?!?!?! LOLOLOLOL! Sometimes I think my hijab IS a hair shirt. I am one of those (wannabe) trendy hijabis and also I don't get my hijab in a bunch if a little hair shows. But I still believe in it more for its identification purposes than anything else.

Helene said...

I'm visiting from Hajar's blog carnival and I enjoyed reading this post! I love the comment you made about not having any more bad hair days!!!

I love the header of your I sit here eating a bowl of freshly picked cherries!