#1 Mum and I enter an elevator in a shopping mall. A middle aged man saw us and rushed to enter the elavator as well. He took out his phone and started speaking in Farsi, so I'm guessing he was Iranian. We reached the level we wanted to go to and before Mum steps out the Persian man tapped her shoulder.
"Excuse me Ma'am. Is this your daughter?" he asked.
".... Yes," she replied hesitantly.
"Oh thank you, thank you very much! Thank you!" he expressed with his hands clasped together.
Mum and I were shocked and speechless. She quickly grabbed my hand and pulled me out of the elevator.

*Note: I don't think Persian guys are generally like him. This one in particular was a complete weirdo!

#2 My family and I went out for dinner and as I began to eat I felt like someone was watching me. I looked across our table and a young guy had his camera phone raised up as if he was recording me. "Oh get over yourself! Maybe he's just playing a game on his phone," said the voice in my head. Then the girl sitting next to him (his sister I presume) kept looking at his phone and then me while giggling.
"Hey I think he's recording me. Can you please do something about it?" I said to my brother.
"What? What do you expect me to do? As long as he doesn't try to touch you I can't do anything about it," he exclaimed.

# 3 Married men making advances at me.

#4 Men gawking and leering.

Ironically this happens to me more often when I'm in a Muslim country. Please keep in mind that I'm not the kind of girl who thinks men are crazy about me. In fact I hate it when men stare and try to make advances towards me. I think it's disrespectful. Furthermore, my mum makes sure I dress decently especially when I'm out with the family. I only dress up when I'm with my friends. Fashion is my weakness and my strength. Sometimes I wish I had the guts to start wearing a scarf but I'm just afraid I'll change my mind about wearing it the next day and people will say I'm a bad Muslim for being ambivalent. Being a good hijabi and Muslim is the ultimate commitment.

I think Muslim women and hijabis are beautiful and it's not because covering up makes them mysterious or exotic. It's because they choose to be stylish in a modest way and have made a conscious decision to protect themselves. They have a very healthy sense of self-respect and they express it by covering themselves (not that non-Muslims or non-hijabis don't). I found out through Amina's blog that The Sartorialist featured a hijabi in Melbourne on his ever so popular and influential fashion blog. It's very refreshing. Fashion isn't about showing as much flesh as you can. It's about individuality, creativity and self-expression. Muslim woman/hijabis are simply expressing their modesty. I think it's great, mashaAllah.

Oh yes, before I forget... Happy New Hijra Year 1431 to all the Muslims out there! May we have many more years together to celebrate the Prophet's (p.b.u.h.) efforts in setting up the first Islamic state.


This is my opinion, I will never cover myself, because I do not believe that I would be judged for being who I really am. I would not be given a beautiful hair, beautiful face and body only to cover myself because men cannot control their lust.

When we ask questions and seek for answers, God has given us examples of what is best to handle the situation but he does not impose it on to us. A life span of 80 years for a woman like me, for not wearing a hijab does not deserve to be punished eternally.

Moreover only in human life we understand what measurement of time is all about. In the other world - it is timeless. There is no up or down, black or white, slow or fast, good or bad. Heaven or hell is only a state of being!!
Shahirah Elaiza said…
Thanks for your feedback Kak Amy =) I knew a post like this would generate some interesting response! It's always good to have a range of opinions. It makes us think about the issue with more depth.

The beauty of Islam is that it gives us a guide as to how we could lead our lives in peace. You don't have to if you don't want to. No one can change how you feel except for you and even so only with the will of God. For me at the moment, I think hijab is a practical choice especially in certain places. Covering up isn't necessarily about going to heaven or hell because only Allah swt knows our fate and what's inside our hearts. In a famous hadith it was said that even a prostitute was forgiven for all her sins because she was kind enough to give a thirsty dog some water. I'm not saying everyone's sins will be forgiven... I just think God is All Merciful especially when we are sincere with Him.

This post was partially about the beauty of modesty. Many non-Muslims are always so quick to condemn women who cover up and I feel it's not fair. The same way I think it's not fair for judgemental Muslims to condemn women who don't wear the hijab.

Many Muslim women make the conscious choice to wear it. Before I moved to NZ I thought wearing the hijab made women look old-fashioned and backwards. I used to think.."Di luar rumah pakai baju kurung, dalam rumah pakai kain batik. Ish rugi la pakai tudung!" Then I went to NZ and I met Muslim girls from all around the world.... di luar berpakaian sopan tapi di dalam rumah, lagi sexy dari mat salleh.. kalahla Britney Spears!! They preserve their beauty for themselves and for their husbands.

Men are not the only reason why Muslim women cover up. There's a myriad of reasons. Furthermore, I think everything is a test. The good and the bad. The beautiful and the ugly. In a world where everyone is so quick to strip naked, I think modesty is beautiful... it has always been.

That's my personal opinion and I'm not imposing it on anyone who reads my blog.
Anonymous said…
I agree with you, regarding females who choose to wear the hijab. It is something they are personally comfortable with, and this can be seen through their sense of style as shown in the photo in this post. There is nothing wrong with modesty.

Nobody should be judgmental of others. Wearing the hijab doesn't necessarily mean that you are a good, practicing Muslim. The opposite is true as well. Non-hijabis can be great Muslims. I personally know women who wear the hijab out of cultural beliefs, not Islamic beliefs. As a result, their actions do not follow the teachings of Islam. They hide behind the hijab to appear to the society as "good Muslims." I find it hypocritical. I also know women who don't wear the hijab and are better than many hijabis out there.
zahra said…
i like when you said that its simply an expression of modesty. because that is my personal reason for donning hijab.

i was getting so frustrated too though in those moments your just like argh if i was in hijab this may have been avoided. but even if i express my modesty through hijab it doesnt help some men control their lust at all. it does the complete opposite if they let their imaginations run wild or they r attracted more to the idea of a woman in hijab haha. so at the end of the day i cant use protection as my reason. but when i do wear it. i am instantly demanding respect. and thats confirmed through my actions. which can also be delivered without hijab as well. theirs just so many strong statements that are immediately conveyed with hijab. but its still up to others on what statements they actually read hehe.
I thought the same as you. I actually wore hijab for a couple months after converting because everyone was telling me to do it. I didn't think I'd be a good Muslim if I didn't wear hijab. After a couple months, I noticed that I wasn't becoming a stronger Muslim by covering...I wasn't praying more often by wearing hijab. So I decided to take it off and just focus on my inner faith.
Faith isn't only hijab.
I tried harder in finding out why I wasn't praying on time.
My love for Allah had to grow more, I had to learn more about Islam, my deen is growing from my heart & mind 1st and I decided I wouldn't wear hijab again until I felt ready in my heart.
Why should you care if any person thinks if you are a bad Muslim for putting on hijab and then taking it off?
Only Allah knows if you truly are a believer.
Besides, if you don't wear hijab right now full time, I'm sure you cover when you pray and then take it off. You aren't being a "bad Muslim."
I also don't like when people make it seem like hijabis are superior to others.
People struggle in different ways and way may never know the inner strength of others because we are too limited by judging on appearances only.
The entire world needs to work on respecting women more regardless of what women wear.
I have decided to wear hijab again. I'm taking it slowly by wearing it when I go out if I feel comfortable.
My decision to wear hijab was from my interpretation of the Quran and hadith that relates to women covering.
Shahirah Elaiza said…
Lendmeurear: It's true, at the end of the day women just want to feel comfortable. If the hijab doesn't make a woman feel comfortable and she is wearing it out of compulsion then it totally defeats the true meaning of hijab. I know some Muslim girls who wear the hijab out of cultural reasons as a result their actions and words don't reflect Islam.

Zahra: You're right, the hijab itself is a huge statement! Respect and modesty included. Some people get it, some don't. However many are opening up to the idea of hijab... if you check out the comments on that photo featured by The Sartorialist, it's amazing! Almost 600 comments saying how beautiful she is as a woman even though she's all covered up.

Hispanic Muslimah: I always enjoy seeing things from a reverts point of view, thank you. It's interesting how you said you weren't praying as much when you wore the hijab because of peer pressure. Why do you think that happened? Anyway, I'm glad that you now wear the hijab because it feels right for you.
poshnmodest said…
I just recently started wearing the hijab full time and it is never to late :) Allah gives his hidaayat when He chooses to. I think women in hijab and who dress islamically look beautiful and humble and modest. May Allah be pleased with us.

P.S. Love you blog :)
Anonymous said…
They would be gawking and leering whether Hijabi or not. Plus hijab, as I understand it, is not really about guarding oneself from men, but a show of faith in God and modesty.

In Muslim countries where hijab is mandated, Muslim men sexually harass women on the streets to the point that it is becoming a problem for female tourists and Muslim women in general, hijabi and non. Egypt is an excellent example.

One would think if hijab kept women from being harassed then Muslim countries where hijab is enforced or pressured on women, would be relatively free from sexual harassment. Not true. I don't think it is right to look at hijab as something to protect women from men.

If this were the case, then you would be the one to blame for a man's advances, because you were not wearing hijab. Which is ridiculous in my opinion.
Muslimah.10 said…
Thank you for writing this piece
Shahirah Elaiza said…
poshnmodest: Thank you for dropping by! After coming back from Umrah I'm seriously considering wearing the hijab full time. I just don't know when.... but you're absolutely right, Allah gives hidayah when He wants to.

Sara: You're right, hijab is a symbol of faith and modesty. But from a non-hijabi's p.o.v. I also think it keeps men away, not all men, but some. I'll explain further in a future post, inshaAllah =)

Muslimah.10: My pleasure. Thanks for reading!
7aki Fadi said…
Hi Shahirah,

First I love your blog! I subscribed to it to read it regularly.

Now about Hijab, I am in no position to comment on the subject but I know one thing for sure, whether you wear the hijab or not men will still look and harass and sometimes it's even worse.
Do not use this as a main reason to wear it. Think about hijab in all aspects of your life before you commit.

I hope you will be happy with whatever decision you make.
Asielah said…
In my opinion, from what i know and what i've learned, if u really believe in Allah, n u really believe in the teachings of Islam and the eternal afterlife everything will fall into place. If deep in our hearts we truly believe in Allah and Islam, our actions will follow suit. It is only when thoughts of worldly pleasures comes in, our actions are sometimes not met. Either halfway, or fully.

In the world we live in right now with the concept of being beautiful and loving fashion and owning beautiful things, and showing it off to let others see dominates, wearing a hijab and being dutiful to our Creator becomes harder to do. Don't get me wrong, i'm guilty too, cos i love fashion. And in all honesty, eventho i was born a muslim, my knowledge of islam is weak, thus the many wrong paths i took. Bitter and horrible, but i was to be blamed. No one else.

Wearing a hijab is not a "choice". It is a "duty" for us as a muslim. It's written clearly in the Quran, to cover ourselves up. We have laws to follow. But as always, we fight to disobey. Finding ways to justify our wrong actions. Didn't our beloved prophet Muhammad pbuh saw us women the most being punished in hell for not covering ourselves, for not covering ourselves the right way, etc., during his journey on the night of isra' mi'raj?

It was supposed to keep us safe. But, we human beings have fallen far too deeply into satan's trap, which he has dug and planned ever since the creation of our prophet Adam and Hawa. We set it up for our fellow sisters. It is because we disobeyed, things have turned out the way it is now. We love this world and everything in it more than God.

We are mere "slaves" here on earth. More often than not, we forget that. We own nothing on this earth. He gave us life here so that we are able to prepare ourselves for the afterlife. He gave us beauty to see what we'll do with it; to use it wisely and according to the teachings of Islam, or to satisfy our thirst for worldly pleasures.

Just my thoughts.. I'm sory if my words were harsh or offended anyone. But i just wanted to point out some things about the hijab that i knew.
Asielah said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
aisyaarazak said…
assalamualaikum,i love reading your blog as it inspire me a lot about the real way as a muslim.slowly, i trid my best to cover my head in right way which is mean no more tight top and mini skirt.but i really grateful at last He show me the right way.
back to your post,about men taking granted towards women.i agreed with your brother,as he don't touch you,there's nothing i can do.
when someone starring at me,what should i do.should i yelling at him?
so that i learned,cover your body as well your head to avoid men staring at you.

i'm trying to be the perfect muslim.
i really hope one day i can met you
inshaallah :)
Lady10179 said…
Salam. I have been wearing hijab since i was 12. i had always thought we cover ourselves because men cannot control their lust. And now im 32, n just realized that i was wrong.
I went to a talk ' hijab n aurat'... And learnt this, to say a few:
When a muslim women covers herself, she is oppressed. But when a nun covers herself, she is devoted to God? Because we muslim gave that impression to people, they think we cover for men ( we never really understand y we cover). The speaker told us to check the Quran , the words of
God surah An nur ayat 30 n 31. We should be covering purselves because Allah told us too. Do check the ayat ( coz i think sometimes we read quran but never really understands what it says). Anyway, now that my reason is clear . I m so much more happier to cover.I m doing this for man , i m doing this because i love Allah n is an affirmation of what i believe. I m not saying i m good nor those who do not arent. But still hukum wajib is wajib n we all hv our own struggle to become better so may Allah guides us all . Just want to share ...