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Perfecting Our Hijab

Is this really Hijab?An analysis of the Hijabi population will depict the variety of the Hijab methods practiced with the utmost differentiation when it comes to tightness, colors, sizes, and styles of Hijab. On one hand we have the fully-covered yet fully-colored Abaya Hijabis, and on the other hand, we have the Hijabis with clothes so tight (or see-through, for that matter) that if they wore a t-shirt, they would probably be revealing less. Is this really Hijab?How many of us think we know the meaning of Hijab so well that we could practice proper Hijab, but only if we wanted to? While the Hijab serves as to preserve one’s dignity, honor, and respect alongside the safety of one’s beauty and chastity, these are all secondary reasons for observing Hijab. The fundamental purpose is that of obeying Allah’s orders and striving to become obedient Muslims, so that we may be blessed with the promised rewards. Whatever the situation, sisters in Islam are trying hard when it comes to practicing the Hijab, but are we trying our best?

How many of you have seen a Hijabi smoking in public and thought, “Great, now people will label all Hijabis as smokers”? Now, let us not delve into the Islamic laws behind whether or not smoking is permissible in Islam or that females have just as many rights to engage in such acts as males. It doesn’t have as much to do with smoking as with the fact that the Hijab is visibly the “flag of Islam”, and as such, our sisters carry a great responsibility. Just to emphasize the weight of this responsibility which the Muslim women carry, we may relate a female’s Hijab as having a similar level of importance as a male standard-bearer’s role during war. Furthermore, this Islamic responsibility is a combination of two factors: not just the physical Hijab, but also the social Hijab.

The Qur’an reminds us: “And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that they should not display their beauty and ornaments, except what (ordinarily) appear thereof.” (24:31)

We all know that the meaning of Hijab is to be modest. But for some reason, every Hijabi we see seems to have her own interpretation of modesty. Hijab is a fundamental element of the Islamic faith, universal amongst all Muslims irrespective of the differing schools of thought. Despite this, the women in Islam are incapable or choose not to maintain a universal – or at least a similar – context when it comes to the physical Hijab. Sure, Hijab is not a “uniform”, and Hijabis need not be marching around in exactly the same garb so that people think the sisters are forming some kind of Hijabi military base at the local community center, but a little uniformity and attention to the “modesty” aspect of Hijab would be nice.

While it is natural for the so-called “Hijab Revolution” to have taken place recently, especially with the number of Muslims increasing in the West, there seems to be no “standard” with the Hijabis. This often leads to the Hijab aspect of Islam coming off as a “cultural” aspect rather than a religious one. Worse yet, due to the excessive differences among Hijab practices both physical and social, unfortunately our entire religion may come across as having no “standard” with an excessive amount of flexibility that lets individuals suit Islam to their own convenience.

An analysis of the Hijabi population will depict the variety of the Hijab methods practiced with the utmost differentiation when it comes to tightness, colors, sizes, and styles of Hijab. On one hand we have the fully-covered yet fully-colored Abaya Hijabis, and on the other hand, we have the Hijabis with clothes so tight (or see-through, for that matter) that if they wore a t-shirt, they would probably be revealing less. We also see those Hijabis who are covered well yet leave their bangs hanging out, or the very decently-dressed sisters with faces which are so immensely covered in make-up that their Hijab defeats the purpose of the abovementioned verse of the Qur’an, which is instructing women to not display their beauty in public except for that which is natural.

With the recent trends of Hijabi Runways, we see models on the catwalk dressed in the latest fashion clothing with a tiny little covering over their hair. Where is the value of Hijab in a catwalk if the purpose is to establish one’s character and self-respect on everything but their physical appearance? While it is necessary for the sisters to dress appropriately to their lifestyle contexts and careers, sometimes the mind can’t help but wonder if the idea of “blending in” but within the limits of proper Hijab is negated by the idea of “We wear Hijab, but still have a passion for fashion.” Having a good sense of fashion doesn’t attribute any negative aspects to a person’s character, but if this fashion sense equates to beautifying one’s self and displaying oneself such that our sisters appear to be physically appealing even while in Hijab, then something is very wrong with that type of Hijab.

The idea is not to point fingers towards the Hijabis and annoyingly peck at those areas where they falter, but rather to highlight to our Muslim sisters that the way we practice Hijab heavily affects the way non-Muslims interpret Islam as a whole. Not only this, but if there is fault in the way Hijab is being practiced, then the reward from God will also be likewise. Proper Hijab does not just consist of a tiny headscarf; rather, it can only be achieved when also combined with the maintenance of Islamic methods of social interaction.

One could argue that Muslim males should be just as cautious as women, and agreeably, they must! But it is a woman’s physical Hijab factor which, when intertwined with the social Hijab factor, forms a special combination which makes her responsibility towards portraying Islam much more delicate and unique.

The social Hijab is basically the way a female presents herself, behaves, and interacts with others in public. Looking back at the example of our sisters smoking in public, it is vital for Hijabis to maintain good manners while in the presence of others, because the truth is, Hijabis are judged by society based on their actions too. As women are being constantly judged by society, they deserve every right to demand respect.

A few ways by which sisters can obtain respect from society is by being particularly careful of the way they interact in mixed gatherings with the opposite gender. More than often we see sisters in brilliant Hijab; however, the way some sisters joke and spend time with non-mahrams can only hint that a bit of flirtation (which leads to forbidden actions) is flying in the air. However, we also do have the overly-friendly sisters who do not intentionally act the way they do around non-mahrams, yet they need to realize that intentions aside, there may be room for improvement in their Hijab practice while in the company of men.

Going right down to the bone of what “good behavior” is, all we need to do is that the next time we are in public, we must stop and remember that Allah is watching us. If we remember this reality that our Lord is monitoring us at all times, there will be a guaranteed immediate improvement in our social Hijab. Out the window will go all the gossiping, coarse language, and disrespect towards elders and others, not to mention the flirting and excessive joking.

Admirable are those sisters who manage to establish such respect and dignity for themselves amongst non-Muslims that without having to explain the “rules” of our religion, people who interact with the Hijabi are able to grasp her character through non-verbal vibes and act accordingly while in her presence. For example, when someone uses a bad word around a Hijabi and there is an awkward silence, people stop what they are doing and look at the Hijabi with embarrassment and mumble an apology. Or when there is ill talk about another person behind their back, and people realize that a Hijabi is present, the topic is quickly brushed off. This is the type of dignity and respect that Islam believes women must command and deserve from society.  

While the world seeks to establish identity through attractive clothing and glitzy appearances, without giving much importance to behavior, morals, social conduct, and self-respect, it is absolutely imperative for us Muslim women to maintain both the physical and social Hijab in such a way that reflects its true purpose and as a result of which we can proudly stand before our Lady Fatima Zahra and Lady Zainab (peace be upon them) on the Day of Judgment without regrets.

About Zara Syed

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  • agreed

    I agree with all the points of this article, but I think the importance of men’s behavior is a little underemphasized here – I suspect this was written by a male. I think men deceive themselves if they think they are not nearly the same level of representative of Islam as a woman in hijab – seeing a Muslim male smoking is if not equally repugnant and taken as representative of Islam, then nearly so. Muslim men sometimes think they are invisible, that they can go to clubs and bars, they can ignore their prayers, they can dress immodestly, and none of it matters or reflects on their religion, but it truly does. If you consider that a large percentage of converts to Islam are women who learn about Islam through men, many of them are actually getting very bad examples of Islam from the first Muslims they meet, and that can cause problems.

    That being said, I am one that thinks fashion and hijab don’t really quite mix. Not saying a woman has to look frumpy or dress inappropriately for the job she’s doing, etc., the intention of the fashion industry, as far as I can tell, is to draw attention to women’s bodies as a form of art or advertising/sales. Further, it is a very materialistic industry that promotes discarding perfectly good items for the latest trend, as well as overpaying for name brands, etc. I think women are constantly pressured to adapt their hijab to the latest trends, to make it more attention-getting, tighter, brighter, glitzier, etc. The effect is to make a hijab-wearing woman less modest and really make her hijab-less just wearing a scarf.

  • what is modest dress

    I think that is a good question to ask, for men and women, before heading out the door. Maybe you have seen that TV show on the Discovery channel with the family with 17 kids and one on the way. Anyone looking at how that family dresses would call it modest, even though the women don’t cover their hair. So although we should make sure the extent matches Islamic rulings and for women does cover the hair, we also need to ask, is this a modest style so that others seeing it would look at it and think that is an appropriate descriptor to apply? If it is tight, fancy, really bright, etc., then chances are it wouldn’t be described that way and we need to think about if it is appropriate.

  • HiddenSoldier

    [quote]it is absolutely imperative for us Muslim women to maintain both the physical and social Hijab in such a way that reflects its true purpose and as a result of which we can proudly stand before our Lady Fatima Zahra and Lady Zainab (peace be upon them) on the Day of Judgment without regrets.
    [/quote]

    The author seems to be a female.

    Whilst in the eyes of Allah (swt) both men and women are equal whilst smoking/engaging in other generally disliked acts, I think the idea is that Hijabi Muslims in particular, are much more identifiable as Muslims in comparison to the majority of Muslim men.

  • Anonymous

    Whether the author is male or female, shouldn’t be a factor.

  • no kidding

    People sure are getting argumentative here lately! Can’t we all just get along and try to learn/benefit from the articles and be positive?

  • [quote]If we remember this reality that our Lord is monitoring us at all times, there will be a guaranteed immediate improvement in our social Hijab.[/quote]

    Bingo!

  • HadhratKhadija1

    Can we all also agree to not shake hands with non-mahram. It gets very confusing for non-Muslims when they see one Muslim willingly shaking hands and another refusing to do so. We could do each of us a big favor if we just went by one standard of politely and elegantly rejecting a handshake by a non-mahram.

  • shaking hands

    Yes, it is hard – like if a teacher has parents show up for conferences of course the parents try to shake hands, or people go for job interviews and want to shake hands, or you receive an award and the person giving the award in front of everyone extends his/her hand. You don’t want to offend them, but when meetings are so short and long explanations aren’t possible, it can be hard to set a good first and only impression if they misunderstand and get offended or hurt feelings. If there were a universal response it would make it just a little bit easier, even in places where Muslims aren’t common, because they might see it in the media or something like that.

  • Abdullah

    Shaking hands with the opposite gender in the West is very common and likely even frowned upon when we refuse. I always try to find a really unoffensive way to refuse. But it gets really combersome when you run into lots of people who want to shake hands throughout the day.

    I’ve been looking for really thin cloth gloves which match my skin color to wear in such situations. Since its permissible to shake hands with a barrier I thought this would be a good solution. I’ve also heard that there are certain spy equipment that can put a really thin film over the hand. But these are just some ideas…if anyone has any other ideas I’m open for suggestions. Also if anyone knows where i could find thin discrete gloves please let me know.

  • midwest muslima

    I think the idea of thin gloves is brilliant. Perhaps a kind of nylon? I am lucky in that I never am asked to shake hands, except in the past in job interviews. It depends so much on your profession. In all, I think we need to try to help one another by coming up with solutions & encouraging one another, not by judging. I have a friend who is a convert who wants to wear the headcover but is afraid of judgment by peers because all her attempts to quit smoking have failed. Wouldn’t it be better for her to wear hijab, rather than waiting till she can quit smoking successfully? (And it is not easy as her husband is constantly smoking, too). For one person to quit smoking is much easier than for another, just as it is easier for me to not shake hands than for a salesperson or teacher. For me the headcover is the most difficult. I am a business owner who works constantly with the public in a very conservative non-muslim part of the country. My husband is the only muslim I encounter on a regular basis. I have found ways of wearing full-covering hats with neck scarves along with dresses over pants, etc, so that I can be covered & modest, but not alarm people with looking ” too foreign.” From what I have read this is what the Prophet (pbuh) asked of those visiting foreign countries, to dress in a way that would fit into the culture they were visiting (while keeping with Islamic dress). I have heard some women who wear “traditional” hijab here speak ill of women, in not such a nice way, who did not wear hijab correctly. Ironically these women either did not work & stayed at home or worked in an environment surrounded by other muslims. They also did not attend public education. They also were married to muslim men who came from muslim families who fully supported them. For me, having no supportive family (my husband converted after me & we almost seperated because of my choice) & a hostile environment at work, and not having a real support system of muslim friends at hand, it took me a while to gradually build up my hijab wardrobe. I wonder how many of these women chastized & judged me behind my back the way they do other women? I find these kinds of attitudes more defeating to an image of Islam than even women who wear hijab incorrectly or smoke wearking hijab.

  • Author

    [quote]While the Hijab serves as to preserve one’s dignity, honor, and respect alongside the safety of one’s beauty and chastity, these are all [b]secondary[/b] reasons for observing Hijab. The [b]fundamental[/b] purpose is that of obeying Allah’s orders and striving to become obedient Muslims, so that we may be blessed with the promised rewards. [/quote]

    Assalam Alaikum,

    Thanks for the comments, ideas, and suggestions!

    While shaking hands with gloves or other types of barriers may be permissible in Islam, the idea as mentioned by ”HadhratKhadija1” is to establish a universal view amongst non-Muslims, and that is that Muslims do not shake hands with the opposite gender! Although shaking hands whilst wearing gloves is technically ”halal”, it sort of defeats the purpose of creating awareness of WHY we don’t shake hands! We will need mass efforts from Muslims in order to make that happen, insha’Allah!

    Midwest Muslima, in the case of your friend, it is firstly Wajib upon her to observe proper Hijab for the sake of Allah, and quitting smoking is only secondary to that. Although smoking was the specific example I used in the article, if a sister is stuck between Hijab and smoking, I would never suggest that she abandon her Hijab or think twice about observing Hijab due to her smoking habit. Because in this case, yes, the image of Muslim women is being tainted, but more so, her Hijab, which is her duty towards Allah, is at stake. Surely her personal Hijab is much more vital and important than her concern of smoking in public as a ”Muslim” woman. And even then, her reason for caring about the image of Muslim women and maintaining their dignity in public should also be for pleasing Allah. So if it is fulfilling Allah’s desires both ways that she is concerned about, than surely she should realize that Allah’s order for her to observe Hijab is compulsory, in comparison to that of ”saving Islam’s image”, which we could say is highly recommended. 🙂

    Also, regardless of whether others do observe Hijab, if they are engaging in ill-talk and speaking of others in their absence, than without much thought we can conclude that those people are not very steadfast in obeying Allah’s orders when it comes to respecting others. So, their point of view should not be negatively affecting anyone, particularly a sister who is making the transition into complete modesty, insha’Allah. Surely they have been blessed with being born into Muslim families, yet that does not make them any more knowledgeable or even more religious for that matter.

    In terms of support from their families and networks, one must realise that as they observe ”traditional” Hijab, they are usually influenced by culture and hence, even though you may not have that cultural support, you have Allah and the support of Lady Fatima Zahra and Lady Zainab (peace be upon them), with no culture standing between you and the them, but only your faith.

    May Allah bless all Hijabis with the ability to practice perfect Hijab, and may they be rewarded for all their efforts, insha’Allah.

    [P.S. Just for clarification, I do happen to be a female! ;-)]

  • Hiddenfromview

    MASHALLAH a great article…..:
    1) a few pointers on avoiding shaking hands with…lol..they may seem silly but they work……
    a) try and fake a sneeze or a cough and use your hands to cover your mouth just before shaking it…..
    b) pur water on your hands to make it seem as if you’ve just come back from the toilet or something
    c) show the person a cut/ bandaid on your hand from some injury……you may have sustained recently…
    2) Also another pointer regarding smoking, be it both guys or girls…..
    Studies have shown a very strong connection between smoking and the use of mouthwashes (containing alcohol like LISTERINE). The studies have reported an eleveated risk of oral cancer for smokers who use such mouthwashes……So please take care…smoking kills!

    These pointers are totally random, but serve to answer the previous questions from our readers….Enjoy…

  • Hiddenfromview

    Those males who shield their eyes from ill view, or other unsightly/ prohibited material..(as ordered by the Prophet (S.A.W).are also Hijabis…except they are the male versions! So Illahi Ameen to the concluding Duaa in your last post sister…May Allah protect all Hijabis ALIKE!

  • Abdullah

    “While the Hijab serves as to preserve one’s dignity, honor, and respect alongside the safety of one’s beauty and chastity, these are all secondary reasons for observing Hijab. The fundamental purpose is that of obeying Allah’s orders and striving to become obedient Muslims, so that we may be blessed with the promised rewards.”

    Excellent point, all of our acts should be for the soul purpose of obeying Allah. The outcome of obeying Allah is physical and spiritual, worldly and hereafterly benefits.

    The best way of obeying Allah is to perform our obligations and stay away form sin (disobedience of Allah). Wearing thin gloves or other barriers is a way of refraining from this sin of shaking hands with the opposite gender that many if not most Muslims have just accepted as a normal thing. It even goes on regularly in so called Muslim countries.

    Yes it is true that ultimately it would be better if all Muslims make non-Muslims aware that we don’t shake hands with the opposite gender and the reasons why. However, it seems that we live in a time when many Muslims do not know much about Islam and do not care much about following its rules and regulations. But until that day when Muslims wake up and realize how important it is to follow Islam, wearing gloves is an easy way of protecting oneself from this sin.

    I’m fairly certain that in today’s world many if not most Muslims will opt out to wear some sort of glove/barrier rather than go into the conversation of why we can’t shake hands. Perhaps, if not for any other reason, although there are various reasons, just simply because many Muslims may be unable, unprepared or unqualified to explain why.

    In short, if you can keep from shaking hands. Good.
    If you can keep from shaking hands and explain (a sort of tableegh) even better.
    If you don’t want to explain and want to wear gloves to keep from sinning. Than that is permissible and good too. Your choice.

    What is bad, however, is to ignore Islam’s stance on this issue and just shake hands or as some people make the excuse that its too difficult.

  • HadhratKhadija3

    First, I want to say that a discussion on shaking hands is very much needed by the so called Muslim leaders in the western world, but unfortunately our leadership is lacking. I can’t stress enough how we very much need a marja taqlid that lives in the Western world, and has experienced the day to day lives of someone living in a non-Muslim country so that s/he could make a good judgment on issues that require rulings. Most of the marja taqlid’s haven’t even stepped foot out of Qom, let alone traveled abroad. This must change.

    Second, with that said I will post the exact ruling from Sayed Sistani’s website regarding the matter of shaking hands since a lot of assumptions have been thrown out by many:

    530. Question: In some countries it is customary that the person who arrives [at a meeting or an office] will shake hands with all who are present including women, of course, without lustful intention. And if he refuses to shake hands with the women, it would be considered abnormal, and more often than not it would be considered an act of contempt and insult towards the woman. All this would reflect negatively on their view concerning the person. Is it, therefore, permissible to shake hands with women?

    Answer: It is not permissible. And the problem should be tackled by not shaking the hands of anyone or by wearing gloves, for example. If this is not possible for the person and he thinks that refusing to shake hands would cause great and unbearable difficulty for him, then it is permissible at that time. All this is based on the assumption that it is necessary for him to attend such a gathering; otherwise, if it is not possible for him to refrain from harãm, then it is not permissible for him to attend such a gathering.

    531. Question: In Western countries, shaking hands is considered as a means of greeting and salutation. Refraining from it could sometimes lead to losing job and education opportunities. So, is it permissible for a Muslim man to shake hands with a woman or for a Muslim woman to shake hands with a man in circumstances of necessity?

    Answer: When refraining from touching is not possible by wearing gloves or such like, then it is permissible, especially if not shaking hands would lead to considerable harm or great difficulty that is normally unbearable.

    Ok, wearing a glove in Winter is great and all, but once you enter a building for your job interview you really can’t keep your gloves on anymore – Otherwise people might think you have Michael Jackson syndrome. Even this talk about wearing a thin film on your hands, seriously – people can feel you have something weird on your hands. I just can’t help but think that someone like Bill Maher would think we are nuts for contemplating how to avoid shaking hands by wearing gloves and thin film and going through all this madness.

    There has got to be a better way my friends.

    The real question is, if we reject shaking hands, does it cause “great and unbearable difficulty”?
    Does this mean that rejecting shaking hands is a case by case basis? But that takes us back to my original point about causing confusion for non-Muslims as to whether we do or we don’t.

    My feeling at this time is that we all need to just rip it off like a band-aid… that is, everyone don’t shake hands and after about 5-10 years word will get around for non-Muslims and they won’t try to shake your hands anymore. Remember the 80’s, it worked for the Japanese business men! They started showing on TV shows that Japanese business men don’t shake hands, and people caught on and respected it. The number one reason why Americans respected it was because the Japanese showed confidence in their culture and belief.

    • Me

      issuing a verdict does not depend on what our lifestyle is like, but rather it’s contingent on studying/analyzing islamic sources to come to the right conclusion – that being what Allah (swt) wants us to do. most maraaji’ give a condition for many verdicts, and haraj (extreme hardship), harm (darar), and ‘urf (cultural environment) – which all deal with the society you live in – are usually factors.

      what i’m trying to get at is marja’s don’t need to live in the west because their duty is not to give an opinion that we must follow. their duty is to issue a fatwa based on four factors: Qur’an, hadith, ijma’ (consensus), and ‘aql (logic). because whatever is found therein is what Allah wants for us, and He knows what is best for us.

  • Abdullah

    Who cares what Bill Maher and other people think! You can’t please everyone all of the time, but you can please Allah. It’s more important how Allah views us not what people think about us. We work for Allah’s approval not people’s. And Allah’s approval is gained by obeying His rules.

    First, it is very rare that not shaking hands will lead to an unbearable difficulty. Second, one can easily turn down shaking hands. If it can be done for culture, it can surely be done for Allah. In those unusual cases where one thinks that they cannot refrain from shaking hands, then it is easy to wear a thin glove, be it summer or winter, we are not talking about ski gloves or something 😉 then take it off afterwards. Once the hand shaking is done, its done. there’s no need to keep it on anymore, except maybe in rare cases.

    In most cases, when dealing with people a simple “I’m sorry I don’t shake hands” will suffice. In those rare cases where it doesn’t, then perhaps we should think about what kind of person we are dealing with that cannot understand and respect another person’s personal wish of not shaking hands?

    As for the matter of a marja’ needed to live in the West to be better able to answer the needs of the Western Muslims, I ask what influence does living in the East or the West have in God’s laws? His halal and haram are halal and haram in the East or the West, the North or the South, the past, present and future until Judgment Day. A marja’s job is derive the laws of Islam from their sources (Qur’an, Sunnah, aql and ijma) and then present them to the public. Then its up to us to apply them in our lives. Of course our scholars have always advised and counselled us. But you don’t need to be a marja to do this. Any scholar and experienced person can do this. Albeit some better than others.

    As for the above rulings: the principle is that shaking hands with the opposite gender save the exceptions is forbidden. However, there is a general principle in Islam that whenever a ruling causes an unbearable difficulty, then it is temporarily suspended in that case.

    As for “unbearable hardship” I think it is clear. Any hardship that is unbearable or extremely difficult such as a danger to one’s life from hunger or thirst, or a danger to one’s health, or the like. The word that is used for it is idhtiraar. The Qur’an mentions an example: Forbidden to you is that which dies of itself, and blood, and flesh of swine, and that on which any other name than that of Allah has been invoked, and the strangled (animal) and that beaten to death, and that killed by a fall and that killed by being smitten with the horn, and that which wild beasts have eaten, except what you slaughter, and what is sacrificed on stones set up (for idols) and that you divide by the arrows; that is a transgression. This day have those who disbelieve despaired of your religion, so fear them not, and fear Me. This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion; but whoever is forced by hunger, not inclining willfully to sin, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

    Here “whoever is forced by hunger” is manidhturra…” in Arabic a derivative of idhtiraar. The principle that the foods mentioned above are haram but in case of an unbearable difficulty eating it becomes permissible but only as much that will remove that difficulty then it goes back to becoming haram. All other rulings fall into this category.

    At any rate, both paths are open, refuse to shake hands and stay firm in our beliefs and let the world know about it and why, or wear a glove or barrier when doing so.

  • zainab

    some good points, but i totally DISAGREE with the comment about how non-muslims view the different ways muslim women wear the hijab. i am muslim and work with all non-muslims, in philadelphia, where there are MANY muslims from everywhere. they do not see the differences that we muslims see, to them a head covering is a head covering, a salwar kameez, an abaya or jilbab, its all just “being covered up” to them.weather a women is wearing a scarf like many muslim bangladeshi women wear, or all black in niqab, to these non-muslims it just says “oh she’s muslim, and she covers her head”. and they pretty much think its weird no matter how its done, what color it is, etc… we should have shame before Allah, not non-muslims. we dont need to worry about weather or not non-muslims think we are pious or correct in our practice. or frankly what they think.

    • Me

      on the contrary, i have come across many non-muslims who are confused about what is acceptable in islam and what is unacceptable. some hijabis will shake hands and some won’t. some will wear make-up and others won’t. and the list goes on. there is nothing wrong with diversity in the way a woman presents herself physically and otherwise – as LONG AS it is within the boundaries of Islam. i’ve been embarrassed on a number of occasions because of the way some hijabis act or dress. it leaves a bad impression and confuses non-muslims about the true value of hijab.

      • dot

        Maybe the non-Muslims you speak of are confused because the Muslims are confused.

  • Annie

    Well said and true. Recently i have been pondering about a statement that my non-Muslim friend keeps posing on me, “What are you trying to hide, your hairs…but why?”

  • frequent reader

    Annie, I’ve heard from scholars that half of a woman’s beauty is her hair. Aside from all the traditions and Quran that tell us to cover it, it makes sense that Muslims not show what is considered so beautiful to the other sex. It is because it is special that it is not shared with just any man.