Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The many different manifestations....

....of the Hijaab.

When non-Muslims ask me what it is that I adore so much about Islam, after mentioning the fact that it is the truest, purest and most fair religion ever, I mention that it is the one religion that has not evolved with the times. I mean we Muslims still pray five times a day, we still fast in the month of Ramadan, we still read the same Quran, we still agree that alcohol and pork are haraam, we still pray to Mecca and Muslim women still wear they same hijaab (or do they?).

Throughout my young life, both as a non-hijaabi and as a hijaabi I have noticed many different variations in the way Muslim women wear the hijaab. This might be a little too much to ask (I guess each individual is entitled to his/her own opinion), but if you're going to wear a hijaab PLEASE WEAR IT CORRECTLY! I know some of you (if anyone reads this thing) are reading this and thinking "It's on my head...whats the big deal?" It is a big deal!

Here's a break down of the various "styles" of hijaab I have seen in my young life:

The convertible hijaab

Eveyone knows the convertible hijaab. It's the one that starts off covering an entire head of hair but the material is too slippery so it slides down, showing a quarter of the sister's hair, then half of the sister's hair, then the sister's whole head only to be quickly pulled back up to cover the full head. The convertible hijaab can be a huge distraction for the hijaab-wearing sister and those around her as the shooshing sound of the hijaab material moving up and down the sister's head may divert ones attention from the khateeb. My advice to convertible hijaab sister is to get one of those cotton bonnet thingies to wear under her hijaaab, and add a couple safety pins to make sure that stubburn hijaab stays on.

The plastic wrap hijaab

So, I'm not even sure if this should be counted as a hijaab, but since I've seen it so many times its worth mentioning. The plastic wrap hijaab reminds me of that plastic wrap you use to cover up leftover food before you toss it in the fridge. Its transparent! Its made of this net like material and fails to cover even one strand of hair. My advice for the plastic wrap hijaab sister: "Sister, please don't ever wear that hijaab again. Instead invest in something perhapse less see-through."

The chandelier-earing hijaab

This hijaab is seen worn by many young sisters. It mirrors the hip-hop style hair wrap. often, sisters that wear this style of hijaab do so in order to make it possible to wear beautiful chandelier earings that compliment both their hijaab and their outfit. Some of the chandelier-earing wearing hijaab sisters fail to cover their necks (which is part of their awrah) while others do an excellent job covering their neckes with extra pieces of fabric or a turtle neck even in the middle of summer (anything to look good I suppose). These sisters are pretty stylish, you can expect them to have a nice pair of leather high heel boots, a big designer handbag, some large designer sunglasses and large jewelry. This type of hijaabi is often a distraction to brothers, especially in the masjid with the click-clacking of her boots.

The I'm too cool for my hijaab hijaab

This is the hijaab that is barely on the sister's head to begin with as she enters the masjid. This hijaab is constantly fiddled with during the khutbah and is constantly re-tied during salah. And as soon as salah is over the wearer of this hijaab tosses it off her head before the aunty next to her can say "Assalamualaikum!" This is often the sister who has tons of make-up on and has her hair done all nicely underneath her hijaab. My advice to this sister: at least keep your hijaab on until you get to your car. Its hard enough for brothers to lower their gazes, we shouldn't make it harder.

The I'm so HOOD hijaab

This is one of my favorites. I used to rock the I'm so HOOD hijaab in my early hijaabi days. This hijaab is sometimes accompanied by baggy pants and a baggy sweatshirt. Sometimes it is accented with a baseball cap tilted to the side and topped with a sweatshirt hood. This hijaab allows a hijaabi to have that rebellious image while still allowing her to fully cover up like a good Muslim girl is supposed to.

The I just spent a lot of money on my new highlights and I want to show the world hijaab

This is on of my all time favorite hijaabs, but at the same time I abhor it. This is the hijaab where everything that is supposed to be covered is covered except those 3-5 inches of side-swept, newly highlighted bangs. I hate this one the most becuase it often starts out at the perfect hijaab - simple and modest but for some reason gradually moves back farther and father revealing more and more hair and becoming more deliberate in intention as the days pass. This hijaabi often starts out as wearing nice modest clothing and then gradually everything seems to get smaller on her as if she lets them sit in the dryer for too long. My advice to this hijaabi: Ya ukhti, remember the reason you are wearing hijaab in the first place.

I can go on and on defining different types of hijaab, but I will end with my absolute favorite hijaab...

The simple hijaab

This hijaab is simple as its name suggests. It does a great job of covering the sister's hair and may also go so far as to sweep across her chest so as to contribute to additional modesty. This hijaab is often accompanied by long, loose-fitting clothing. While this hijaab is simple it is not limited to just one color or just one style...its versatile in that it comes in many different shapes, colors and patterns and can, if tied properly, be the best accessory to any outfit.

My intention in writing this entry is in no way meant to judge anyone as judging is a right that belongs to Allah (SWT) alone, rather it was meant to point out the various things that I have seen. I pray that Allah (SWT) guide us all and that when the time for judgment comes, he is pleased with us all (ameen).

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