Afterthoughts from last week's post on Hijab:
There are no perfect hijabis any more than there are perfect Muslims. A woman wearing a hijab is not covering her head because she's reached the zenith of modesty and womanly goodness (Lookit her, thinking she's all holy...) she's covering her head because she is trying to be modest, to be recognized as a Muslim, and to be free from the otherwise imposed status of Everybody's Eye Candy.
It's a bit of a universal confusion- I'm sure Christians wearing crosses may intimidate other Christians who don't, and the same with Jews in yarmulkes, and so on. And I'm sure that there are people out there who do wear their religion to show off, but I believe that for the most part, people wear these things to remind themselves, and also, because they are trying.
I have a problem with labels. I would never, ever call myself religious. It would be an insult to religious people. I've actually been asked countless times- "So, are you a religious Muslim?"
"Well," I say, very clearly remembering prayers I constantly struggle with, trees I've never planted and bridges I've knowingly burned, "No."
"But you do that thing-" they say, pointing to my head.
"Ah, this thing..." My scarf. Yeah, I wear a scarf. SubhanAllah. But that doesn't make me religious. It doesn't even make me a 'practicing' Muslim, because no one practices perfectly. If being called a 'Trying Muslim' didn't imply you were a difficult to work with and a wear on peoples' patience, I would be ok with that, because I'm not religious, I'm very imperfectly practicing Islam, and the most generous thing I can say about myself - without first checking if there are any dark, ominous, and possibly lightning-prone clouds nearby -
is that I'm trying.
So yeah, you meet hijabis who smoke, and hijabis who date, and hijabis who werk it like life is their catwalk, but just because they're hijabis doesn't mean their actions are any more or less unIslamic. Why is it that we're ok when a young Muslim woman shows up in tight jeans and no hijab, but if you add a hijab, we get really offended? Because people see hijab as a symbol of Purity (uppercase) rather than a symbol of attempted modesty
, and they feel that by wearing tight pants, the girl is demeaning hijab. The truth of the matter is that the girl is demeaning the girl, not the hijab, not the religion, and not the concept. Her application is far from perfect, but are we all waiting to be perfect before we start practicing Islam? Because boy is that NEVER going to happen...
Allah tells us that the person who reads/recites Qur'an fluently is rewarded for that goodness. And the person who reads with mistakes? Who has a had time? Who's struggling? That person is rewarded double
, because they're putting all the more effort in to it. Allah knows who's trying, and a girl who's trying to be modest, but is obviously also struggling, should be encouraged, not condemned. And seeing her should make us look towards our own selves- why are we seeing what she does in such a negative way? Perhaps it's self-consciousness about our own imperfections that causes resentment, and therefore- nit-pickiness in the practice of people who seem
more religious than we are?
Allah knows best.
The Bebefiles: Don't look now...
But Khalid is toddling my way with a tin of shoe polish in one hand.
It would seem he has journeyed far and beyond the mirror, and sought the great Shoe Cupboard, from which he has won said Shoe Polish, and brings it to me, his Queen Momma, as a token of his love.
Yesterday, he brought me a packet of soup mix.
Khalid is, MashaAllah, walking. And exploring. And helping himself to things like shoe polish and soup mix, and today I found the cordless phone in the cabinet of tupperware that Khalid had, apparently, been making calls from.
SubhanAllah, I thought Khalid (who is trying to climb up the side of the chair I'm sitting in) was a handful BEFORE. He's been walking, technically, for about a week now, but only now is he confident enough in his abilities to go on great Quests- like Up the Hall With an Apple In His Hand, and To the Bathroom to Look Down the Toilet.
The very prospect of trying to baby-proof this house is enough to make me dizzy- how do you baby-proof a toilet? Ok, we can install those latches that keep the kitchen cabinets closed- but how do I keep him from trying to get into the garbage can? At the moment, I keep the garbage can under a chair and let little bits (like potato peels and food packaging) pile up in a bowl on the counter until I'm ready to retrieve the garbage can from its sanctuary and dump it all in one go.
Hmm, Khalid is in the shoe cupboard again.
(also, it's 3 am)
But how can I cordon off the washing machine without hampering my ability to do laundry?
(get it? hamper? laundry? HA!)
I digress. SubhanAllah, it's hard to explain the pride and wonder of watching Khalid walk- his little baby feet going pat pat pat on the floor and his little hands reaching for the next hand-hold. Now that he has the freedom to chose his own direction, you can see how his mind works. He walks himself over to the window, pats around in the fabric until he finds a way in, and then plays peekaboo with me from behind the curtains. He's playing peekaboo with me! He has the forethought to
1. Think of peekaboo
(He just walked past me holding his toothbrush)
2. Think of what is required to play
3. Locate curtains
4. Walk towards curtains
5. Find a way inside of curtains
6. Initiate peekaboo
Oh, time to go. Khalid is rubbing his lil eyes and trying to climb into my lap. He may be ready to go back to bed now.
Questions abt Hijab: Part I
Well, here's the hijab post that's been a long time coming. A sister, who asked not to be named, emailed me the following question-
If a women wears a hijab how close is she suppose to stand next to an opposite sex? Can she touch him? You know like a pat here and a touch there? Can she handshake him? if yes, then can she also caress it? If she is an conversation with him, to what level her conversation is "hijab" appropriate? What are her limits in a conversation? Can she flirt and be part of manly jokes? What about her gaze? should she talk with her eyes or mouth? I know these question are dumb and to an extent i have the asnwers to these. the gist of the matter is that i do not wear a hijab and therefore i am no one to judge. But i know this much that all these things i have mentioned above are kind of a thorny issue. I just happen to know a girl who has each and every characteristics i have mentioned above and flaunts off the purity of a hijab. Please correct me if im wrong.
First of all, I begin in the name of Allah, and seek refuge in Him, and ask that He guide me in my answer, and any good in it is from Him and any wrong or incorrectness is from my own self or Shaitan, and I ask Allah's forgiveness.
Second of all, no questions are stupid.
And now, on with the show.
Hijab, as you are correctly assuming, does not start and stop at a head scarf. The head scarf, rather, is an extension of the modesty the Hijab as a set of beliefs and behaviors
is meant to create in the wearer. In a nutshell, Hijab is this:
Modesty in dress, action, speech and behavior
As far as the dress goes, the hijab is meant to cover your head & hair (leaving your 'wajh' open, wajh meaning 'face') as well as fall over your chest. The rest of the body is also meant to be covered till the wrists and ankles, in clothing that is not tight or see-through, and doesn't over-emphasize your physical booty. or beauty, heh.
The questions you're asking are about Hijab in speech and behavior, like- whether a girl in hijab is supposed to touch a guy. Well, irrespective of whether a Muslim woman wears hijab, she's not supposed to touch non-Mahram men. There will always be exceptions, most obviously in the case of say- a medical emergency or dragging someone out of harm's way, etc, but the general rule on touching is: Don't.
Sometimes, the headscarf becomes a cultural choice, or someone else's choice, and when that happens, sometimes the scarf is a symbol of modesty without any real behavioural changes. And then sometimes, a girl just doesn't know better. I've been there, I started out wearing a hijab because I believed it was the right thing to do, but I wasn't fully informed about hijab as a complete package, so I wore short sleeves, hung out with my dude friends and was one of the guys. So it's best not to assume things about people- they could be crazy half-white, half-Pakistani punk teenagers with chains on their jeans and their scarves on sideways, hanging out with stoners after school but still going home to pray. They could be me ten years ago.
And then, there's the issue of the nafs- the ego. Even as a hijabi, you sometimes wish you could get noticed. So you sometimes make yourself noticeable, even when you know you may be violating the spirit of hijab though not officially and necessarily the rules. Your head's still covered, but you know what you meant when you smiled that way. And you felt stupid for it later, and you sometimes feel like a hypocrite for wanting to be beautiful, be glamorous, be sexy because we live in a world where beauty, glamour and sex appeal are the end all and be-all of femininity. But that doesn't make you a hypocrite, that makes you a human, and Islam is not an all or none deal- there are NO perfect hijabis, any more than there are perfect Muslims. Some hijab is better than no hijab. A woman in hijab with lipstick on is still more covered than a woman in a mini skirt with lipstick on, and it is important, SO important, to enjoin good as well as forbid evil.
If you see a hijabi who you think is practicing imperfectly or incompletely, first, see the good they are doing. Then, allow yourself to see the shortcomings as the inconsistencies that all Muslims have in faith, and see them as habits to be improved rather than yet another reason why you'd rather not wear hijab than be like one of those girls who wears hijab but still struts her stuff all over the dang place.
The gist of the original question seems to be that of hijab in action, or the lack thereof. We are all incomplete. There are those of us who look the part but don't act it. There are those of us who act the part, but don't dress it. To try to place one aspect over the other in importance is like trying to figure out which one is more necessary to make the color orange- red, or yellow?
The other question I was asked was; Where exactly in the Qur'an is hijab mentioned? In Surah Noor (24), ayah 31, Allah says:
"And say to the believing women that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts and do not display their ornaments except what appears thereof, and let them wear their head-coverings over their bosoms, and not display their ornaments..." verse continues here
Arab women of the time were already covering their heads, but they were tying their scarves behind their necks. They had it half-way right, and so Allah revealed the instruction that their head scarves were to fall over their chests as well. The details of hijab as a full set of behaviours- modesty in action, speech, etc are found in numerous hadith, which, if anyone needs me to find, I can InshaAllah, but I'm not posting them here at the moment. (It's 2am)
So I hope that answers your questions, Sistahz, and if I've missed anything out or if anyone else has comments or feedback or heck, more questions, the comment box is right down there. I'll try to check it regularly, though Bebeface and I are in Doha at the moment, wallowing in five-star luxury on our first business trip with HF, having a great time but also facing certain spiritual hurdles that I will try to blog about soon InshaAllah, before we leave the day after tomorrow.
(Our hoity-toity dessert had an odd tangy flavor that turned out to be Bailey's Irish whiskey, and now we feel sad)
Salaams from Qatar!
I am such a geek, and I am such a gross one too, that I am going to post the DVD of my knee arthroscopy on my blog. Yep, I am, and I will, once I can get HF to do it for me. Cuz he's my tech support hero! *heart*
The surgery went well Alhamdulillah, just a few zaps here and a few zaps there to fix damage at the back of my kneecap as well as fuse my miniscus (squishy important bit inside of my knee) back to where it was supposed to be. It was, according to my awesome orthopedic surgeon, "mobile," which doesn't surprise me, because in this day and age, what isn't
I thought about asking my surgeon to do a few add-ons while he had me under the knife- God knows I need a third arm to wrangle babyface into his diapers these days (he too is mobile) and maybe a built-in mp3 player so my knee could play audio books. Oh and of course, a laser of my own. That way I could have the stealithiest, deadliest knee in the entire world! Haha!
Alhamdulillah, I am feeling much better of late. My knee, which was as flexible as a piece of wood for the first few post-surgical days, is now loosening up. I can bend it about 60%, and am not limping quite so obviously. Which is nice, because it's a funny thing- when you limp, people stare. And if my Doc had installed that knee laser then I wouldn't mind, but he didn't, so I'm glad to be hobbling a little more smoothly.
My stitches come out the day after tomorrow InshaAllah, and I'm really excited about walking, sitting, praying without pain. One day, I too will be mobile. InshaAllah. :)
Next up: Arthroscopy video InshaAllah
Followed by: Hijab Questions, finally!