Not so long ago, I was on the other side, the seemingly greener one. The one where women run through the fields with shiny locks of hair chasing behind in the wind. Otherwise known as, non-hijabi… a Muslim girl or woman who prefers to dress without a head covering and/ or less modestly in a manner of speaking (I will delve into the general form of Muslima modesty later).
So it’s obvious. You see a woman with hijab and she says I am Muslim. Then you see a woman who practices the alternative and says I am Muslim. Who’s right? Well, both. As in any faith, there are variances of spirituality. And no one, absolutely no one, has the right to say one Muslima is better or more prestigious than the other based on her clothing preferences. Why? Well I can conjure up a few raw and real reasons:
- Judgment call: As Muslims we know for a fact, Allah is the Supreme Judge. And only He knows what an individual’s intentions are. So who are we to say one is more committed to their faith than the other?
- Levels of knowledge: Being born Muslim doesn’t mean we’ve downloaded the holy book on perfecting our faith. Each community, family and person acquires their faith through knowledge, practice and Supreme Guidance. So accessing knowledge of and adherence to hijab can vary from person to person.
- Connotation: Hijab and many other forms of worship have a lot of cultural stigma. Like I’ve mentioned in It’s A Hijab Homie muffling one’s head or dressing modestly are associated with repression, violence, degradation, and other forms of undermining efficacies. But these cultural shenanigans have distorted the true appeal of Hijab.
- Safety: Yes, this very legitimate reason is a precaution Islam promotes to avoid one of the most important aspects of the faith: absence of peace. Should hijab endanger a woman’s life or her marriage (if it’s something her husband clearly or vocally dislikes) she has the right and religious support to stop practicing it.
So I want to mention, to all my Muslimas who do practice, don’t judge a book by its cover – or lack of one in this case. I remember a time when I attended the mosque with a hit-and-miss-like head wrap and got the evil eye in ways that had me screaming in the middle of the night (okay maybe it didn’t effect me to that extent). Well, it really turned me off from attending the mosque altogether. And you know what? Little secret, camer, shhh… I’m not the only one who’s felt that way! For realz!
That’s why, doing good, doesn’t mean pointing out other’s faults or discrepancies. Doing good, first and foremost, entails keeping the peace. Especially if it encourages another to come towards Allah. That translates to.. bite your tongue the next time you want to spill on a chica’s outfit. Give her a smile. Be kind. And be modest with your remarks.