My dear sisters in faith, in this world where women are valued almost solely for their sexuality, where we are being told that we must strip ourselves of dignity to amount to anything, please stand strong and defend your values. Not just with words, but with unfailing demonstrations of loyalty to your convictions about modesty and piety.
I’ve noticed an unusual trend of sisters who claim that hijab is extremely liberating (with whom I wholeheartedly agree) while donning the very tightest of clothing, heavy makeup, and flashy jewelry. Now, I don’t want to be misunderstood. I’m not a full-time jilbabi, nor can I claim to never have put on a bit of mascara in public. This is also not a criticism of the genuine efforts that are being made to reconcile fashion and the Islamic dress code. I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong in experimenting with different cuts, fabrics, patterns, and colors, as long as modesty is not compromised. There is no particular style that needs to be worn in order to be modest. I actually dislike the culturally arrogant opinion that an abaya is inherently more acceptable that other garments.
However, more and more often, the “reconciliation” of fashion and Islam has come at the expense of modesty. Turbans and skinny jeans continue to gain popularity. Online clothing stores that claim to sell “modest” or “Islamic” clothing sometimes sell items that the mothers of the believers (RA) would have deemed entirely profane. There are so many girls saying that “hijab is a journey,” but in any journey, one should be moving forward, not backward. If you take a look at a Muslimah vlogger’s Instagram account, there seems to be a consistent direction toward immodesty instead of the other way around, with the headscarf revealing more and more of the hairline or neck, shorter hemlines, tighter clothing, heavier makeup, and more wanton displays of beauty as time passes.
Why is this happening? Are the trends that this dunya impose upon us truly more important than those that Allah commands us to observe? Is the makeup really for yourself? In that case, why do you only wear it to go out? Is it alright to completely ignore the commandment of hijab and leave the house in a mini-dress if you wear it “for yourself”? Again, I don’t mean to shame, discourage, or hate on anybody. I cannot judge any sister’s fate in the akhirah. Perhaps the sister who doesn’t wear hijab at all is more loved by Allah SWT than myself. But when we Muslims see something that is decidedly wrong, and there are solid proofs of it, we must forbid the evil.
The unfortunate truth is that these same girls who rave about the benefits of hijab and criticize the unreachable expectations of society for a woman’s appearance are the very same ones who sell their modesty to accommodate for those expectations and beauty standards. The West values women only for their appearances? Yes, well, the most well-known hijabis on social media platforms are the ones who are known for their fashion and makeup content. Only these attain large followings. The only thing that modern Muslimahs are known for these days is beauty, not character.
We have extensive accounts of an extremely influential woman from our Islamic history- A’isha RA, mother of the believers- but not one of them describes her hair, body, or even her face. She is known for her legacy of ahadith, her contributions to the Islamic legal system, and her piety. Strive to be recognized and remembered for your actual achievements, not something as trivial as your sense of style. Your followers will be of no benefit at all if you had to reveal what Allah SWT told you to cover in order to get them.
I totally understand that the pressure is strong. It’s hard to look at all those beauty gurus and the hype surrounding the Kardashians and still feel confident. I get it! It’s not like I’m not a normal girl. It’s easy to look at hijabistas on YouTube and think, “I guess that’s alright to wear…” But whatever your interpretation of proper hijab is, stick to it. There is no compromise when it comes to Islam. I promise that you will feel more barakah in your life if you stay true to your modesty.
Ladies, please do not subject yourself to a form of slavery that Allah SWT took a special effort to free you from. If you believe that the hijab has freed you, don’t exert yourself to be a captive! Don’t sell your hijab to fit in, or to feel pretty. You are already so pretty and the hijab will not detract from that loveliness at all. However, you are worth so much more than just a pretty face. Your own Creator has given you value, and has honored you with one of the greatest honors- being among the believers!