After a strongly-required afternoon nap, I logged in for some Facebook time and I saw this picture on my Newsfeed:
Yes, I know that for some of you, this picture speaks nothing. For others, it does not even necessitate your attention. But there is something very uncanny, uncomfortable, dangerous and even insulting about this picture that maybe you never thought of…or maybe you did, but never fed your thoughts further. This is exactly what I will be doing here…
To start with, I noticed that many Muslim sisters who adorn the Hijaab usually post these pictures ( I will post a few which I fished on Google below) on Facebook. Even Muslim brothers do so, or appreciate their sisters posting these pictures.
Hold on! Before you make any judgment whatsoever of what I am saying, let me make this clear: I am not a Muslim Scholar, nor am I what the populace defines as a ‘good muslim girl’, I have just dared to water one of my withered perceptions on these pictures.
These pictures highlight two facts:
- Hijaabis will go to Heaven because they are covered
- Non-Hijaabis will go to Hell because they display their bodies
Really? I do not quite agree with this logic. Though, to speak the truth, I once felt pride looking at the same pictures; because I related myself with the Hijaabi, hence with Heaven. I am sure, some of you do too. I am here listing a few reasons why I am opposed to this mindset:
1. As a Muslim girl who recently coveted the Hijaab and is proud of it, I am aware of its significance in Islam and I do not deny it in any way. But does this mean that by wearing the Hijaab, I am guaranteed the heavenly bliss? It does not matter whether I gossip, I skip my prayers or I have boyfriend(s), what is important is that I am wearing the Hijaab! Does my wearing the Hijaab make me the Ideal Muslimah? No my dear readers. Not at all! Hijaab does not only mean the physical appearance that you showcase, but it also means the spiritual development that you are bringing to yourself along with wearing the Hijaab. And this does not AT ALL mean that Muslim girls who do not wear the Hijaab are not ‘good muslims’. Spiritual development and getting closer to your Lord is in no way related to whether you wear the Hijaab or not. Therefore, in no way does Hijaab define you as someone who will go to Heaven. This picture not only misguides us, but also gives a negative picture of Islam as a whole: Being ‘good’ is defined in relation to what you wear! Wear Hijaab, you are ‘good’. Don’t wear it, you are ‘bad’!
2. As I stated in my previous point, being a Hijaabi does not only mean sporting decent clothing and covering your hair. No, No, No! It goes way beyond this. Wearing the Hijaab comes with greater responsibilities. A Hijaabi (or even a non-Hijaabi for that matter) should know how to respect others, may it be a Muslim or a Non-Muslim. This picture made me feel insulted because it firstly reduces my Hijaab to a mere commodity, secondly I feel that my identity of a Muslim is related to the Hijaab ONLY. I am a Muslim because I wear a Hijaab instead of I wear the Hijaab because I am a Muslim. How can you ignore the fact that before you reach this stage wherein you proudly proclaim yourself as a Hijaabi, you were once a non-Hijaabi? You were also part of that journey as a Muslim girl who did not wear the Hijaab, and by the grace of God, you chose to wear it. What inspired (or forced?) you to wear it is not what I intend to discuss here. My point is that none of us has the right to judge others. A non-Hijaabi can be a better Muslim than you, she might respect her parents far better than you, she might be closer to her Lord than you, and she might reach Jannat (Heaven) instead of you.
3. Why is my muslimness centered on my Hijaab? Why should I feel proud (and display my pride) that I am a Hijaabi? Yes, I wear the Hijaab because I want to. FULL STOP! My muslimness should instead be centered on how hard I try everyday not to miss any of my prayers. How far I struggle to tame my desires? How far do I fight the comforts of this world to prepare my journey for the Hereafter? And, who are we to judge whosoever? Maybe you think that posting such kinds of pictures on Facebook will make you more Muslim than others or do you intend to ‘influence’ non-Hijaabi sisters with these pictures? Please shun away this effort as it is not serving anyone any good purpose.
When I published my last article on this blog, a friend told me that “ It is Ok to complain but complete what you said”. By completing he meant that after raving I should propose a positive solution, however much far-fetched it might seem to be. Hence, what I propose is very simple and not so far-fetched: Quit being judgmental. I know it is quite a rock to break, but at least try it. It is strange how Muslims are imperiling the basic principles of Islam by adhering to this earthly, mediatised notion of Islam. Just be who you are. Make everyday a struggle to improve your existence, rather than sticking onto fake premises. You will see ladies and gents, life will be easier.