Epiphany

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I was browsing The Hijablog a couple of days ago and I stumbled upon a post that was written about Raquel Evita Saraswati and her hijab styles. I loved her colourful scarves and I thought she looked great as a hijabi. I was happy for her until I saw some of  the comments.

"First of all. Thats not hijab.
If any of you have seen “Ask Baba Ali”’s videos, you’ll know what a hijab is. You’re not supposed to make it attractive, wear earings and 10 kg of make up. What is the point of hijab? You make yourself even more attractive. Thats Haram. The point of wearing Hijab is to cover your hair so that you become less attractive, ie get less attention. But I think you guys haven’t got the point of it?
A hadith says “If you want to know how much haram you keep doing, start counting the people that look at you” meaning for every person that looks at you, you get haram for it because if you were covering yourself properly, not 10 kg of make-up and not make urself attractive you wouldn’t get peoples attention. :) Fashion is fun, and its very much fun to match and kind of be a part of the fashin world, but to a certain degree.
I myself wear necklases, bracelets, rings mix and match my hijab, but I dont wear as much make-up because it is haram. Even a little is haram, but I wear little so it looks very natural. Remember that you alone will be lying in your grave, and all of this will be a part of your judgement."


Well if we get looks with bare faces, then you know it’s your own natural beauty that attracted them and you can’t do anything about that. But when you wear make up that makes you even more beautiful and in an even more attractive way, there will be more people staring at you and most of them in a non-decent way.
Yes sister, Allah swt is merciful and he knows our intentions. And even though your intentions are clean, that doesn’t mean people’s intentions are clean, the more attractive we are, the more dirty looks we will get. And we can at least prevent a little of that, by not looking sooo attractive in public.

My GOD! So who's doing the judging, these ladies or the Almighty? First of all, men will look at anything that moves that's why some women cover their faces and even their eyes. Being modest and covering oneself must come from the heart for it to mean anything. Secondly, Raquel already mentioned that it wasn't her intention to attract dirty looks and even if she did, she probably wasn't aware of it but that's no excuse to start attacking her with judgemental comments. If you really cared about her being sinful perhaps send her a private e-mail or message instead of humiliating her so publicly.

You see in her mind she wasn't wearing make-up or colourful scarves to create attention to herself but others have perceived it that way. Why assume the worst of a woman who's already covered from head to toe? Give her the benefit of the doubt and approach her kindly if you feel she is making a mistake. A really dear friend of mine stopped wearing the hijab because something similar happened to her. She is a revert and instead of providing her with emotional support some of her Muslim friends started to correct her each and every move. She felt like everything she did was wrong and not good enough so she saw no point in wearing it anymore. Nobody likes to feel inferior or unaccepted but I think that's how their comments made her feel.

When I was working a few years ago, I once asked a colleague about what the rest of my officemates thought of me. Maybe he gave me a very male-biased answer but he said, "They think you're sexy." His response surprised me because I've never thought of myself that way and it was never my intention to look sexy especially in the office. As a very  young woman who was working with a bunch of older people I always wanted to be taken seriously thus I never tried to look sexually appealing. I just dressed in a way which I thought was considered as looking nice. The media had a bigger impact on my image than my family did. I'd watch TV and thought, "Oh so that's how we should dress to look good." Because whatever is on the media is in other words socially acceptable.

Today, I'm speaking from my heart as I always do. Lately, I'm not quite sure what has happened to me. After my return from Singapore I guess I had an epiphany. I never really understood what it meant to be modest when it comes to my body. When I'm getting ready to go out the intention of creating attention has never been there but when I wore some of the dresses I brought with me to Singapore I didn't feel comfortable. For some reason, I don't feel comfortable showing my arms and legs in public as I did before. It has nothing to do with my self-esteem. I just felt so naked. I also felt that it's unnecessary to expose my body. Sure enough, I can wear anything I want at home when I'm with my family but I just don't want to do it outside. I find it so mind-boggling myself because my friends know me as the 'sexy one' but today I just feel conscious about exposing myself to the public eye. Now I'm careful with what I wear when I go out.

I guess I used to dress up to the nines when I go out because I wanted to look beautiful. However, at the moment I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I feel beautiful on the inside thus I no longer feel the need to dress a certain way to look or feel beautiful. I've always tried to do what I feel is the right thing.... be the bigger person and forgive others, give people a second chance, etc. Right now this feels so right and if this is indeed a step closer to Allah, I must thank all those who didn't judge me. My Muslim friends in New Zealand have never told me to change who I am (well if I drank alcohol and dated boys I'm sure they would've said something) and they befriended and accepted me without passing judgements. That's possibly why I loved Islam even more after moving to New Zealand. And to those whom I've had the pleasure of getting to know through blogging, thank you so much for reading my my blog. You've indirectly offered me the support I've always been looking for by commenting and sharing your views with me. I appreciate your kindness, I really do.

As Muslims we should be sincere with the friendships that we form. When my revert friend told me how miserable she felt when some people gave her a hard time I couldn't help but feel bad as a Muslim. Reverts need guidance not harsh criticisms from the fashion police. And most of the time, all they really need is a sincere friend. I wish I had reached out to her sooner so that maybe I could have eased her pain a little bit. Alhamdulillah she is a strong person and I've promised myself to be there for her as much as I can. After she said her shahadah we had our first real conversation together and we clicked right from the get go. MashaAllah she's one of the sweetest and intelligent girls I know. She deserves all the love and support in the world, as do other Muslim girls out there, and that's exactly what I'm going to give her.

7 comments:

Aneesa said...

After PD, your blog is definitely my favourite. You came across as intelligent in everything that you wrote and this is what i call brain with beauty. and of course i like your style.

Keep in up. U have a loyal reader now =)

Sarah Elizabeth said...

Salams Shahirah,

I know what you mean about how you dress. I used to be the girl with short skirts, tank tops, and really didn't care how many people looked, because I was used to it.

I used to show off my abs, with short, tight shirts, have on the short shorts, and really really followed what the media said was beautiful for a woman to wear.

LOL, I'll be completely honest with you, and feeling a bit embarrassed, but admitting that one time my shorts were so short you could see where my thighs met my butt! =)~

I was young and completely immersed in what my culture tells me is gorgeous, ie, wear the least amount possible... Sure I was rewarded with compliments, and advances, etc, but was it healthy for me? I say no. I was an object, looked upon as a mere image, not a thinking, caring human being.. Not to mention, it makes other girls feel uncomfortable, insecure, and competitive.. It effects everyone, not just men.

Anyways, I had an epiphany one day also, realized what I wanted from my life and thought a lot about the kind of woman I wanted to become and how I wanted to be perceived.

I stopped drinking, smoking, going to the clubs, and dressing so provocatively.. Not because of anyone or anything but my own change of perspective, u know?

Islam changed my life. It made me a thinking woman instead of a slave to media and fashion. It woke me up.

I completely support what girls and women have to go through in their lives.. Media gives us one image, society another, and religion yet another. I could never judge a woman for what she wears, or doesn't wear. Ultimately it is our choice, and anyone who judges another is ignorant of what religion is.

Regarding hijab, I feel what that revert sister went through. Hijab is a choice and Muslims seem to forget that. I HATE that baba ali video because it makes it all seem so ridiculous.. And of course, it just has to be a guy telling women how to wear their hijab...

As far as the comments, as a revert I think we have to learn to become confident in what we believe very quickly, because if we do not, others will try to shape our minds and actions for us.. I will NEVER follow blindly.

Everyone has a different story, a different path. There are MANY paths to goodness.

JASMINA said...

Salam Shahirah,

you are a beautiful young lady with a great style.Most of all I like it that you mold the trends in such a personal way.
What's more,to me you look much more modest than many women in hijab I've seen.

I send you a hug,

XO

Maryam said...

My dear Shahirah ;)

I just spent the last hour or so reading this lady's (Raquel Evita) work/blog. All I can say is wow; She is the epitome of a intelligent and strong muslim woman. Did you see her response to those comments? :)

But to your post; I agree with what you said. Some people get so wrapped into the rules and dos and don'ts, they forget that the hijab and Islam is a spiritual journey. I think, in trying to advise people on Islam, some tend to push others away because they approach it in the wrong way.

I get upset seeing the way some people act (I'm not excluded from this either). But I guess the best thing to do is to start with myself and move on from there.

It's a really important issue; one I don't think gets as much attention as it deserves.

hispanic muslimah said...

I agree with what you had to say. I personally just stopped reading such negative comments. I don't want to ruin my day so I just ignore and skip over ppl that have so much criticism but don't stop and think about the correct way of giving naseeha.

Shahirah Elaiza said...

Aneesa: That's so sweet! Thank you for your words of encouragement and for being a loyal reader. Sending my love to you =)

Sarah: You're right. It isn't healthy in the long run to be dependent on our physical beauty. Because it fades and when that happens many people resort to surgeries and botox. Have you seen Nicole Queen's video on YouTube before? I could relate to her when she said people she knew were just doing the same thing year after year.. partying, drugs, etc. There was no personal growth. That's when I realised my epiphany meant I'm somewhat growing up =)

Jasmina: You know I always appreciate your comments hun. As far as being modest, it's coming to me naturally now and I feel less like I'm trying to be modest.

Maryam: Spot on! It is indeed a spiritual journey. And anything spiritual begins on the inside therefore instead of being judgemental some sisters can try reaching out to other Muslim sisters through kindness. Kindness always wins hearts no? =)

Hispanic Muslimah: It's good that you took the time and effort to understand the Islamic faith in a deeper manner before wearing the hijab. That's how it should be. You're one smart chica.

Shahirah Elaiza said...

Sarah: I'm forgot to mention that I'm glad Islam changed your life for the better and that you can relate to what I'm going through now =)About men telling women how to wear hijab.. here's another story. I have a friend who used to wear hijab with a little bit of her fringe/bangs left out. A Saudi classmate went up to her and said she was disgracing Islam by wearing her hijab like that. She was really affected by what he said and unsurprisingly, she no longer wears hijab today.