covertible_hijabi.JPGHave you ever heard of the commonly joked about character, “the convertible hijabi?” The drop-top nickname for sisters within our communities, particularly those who only cover during times like prayer, when Qur'an is recited, and during other Islamic instances, and will remove or wear it improperly during others. You all know of this concept and this popular term that has been assigned to it, right?

I feel this phrase carries a lot of negativity, the kind our sisters already struggling with hijab don't need at all. We may be passionate about our fellow sisters covering themselves, but we have to be careful in how we respect them. If we really wish for them to one day start covering with hijab, we need rethink the use of this term and phrase altogether.

Firstly, we have to remember to sometimes look at things from others' shoes. Do you know their heart's feelings on their desire to practice hijab? Maybe they lack positive encouragement from family or friends, a situation you never have or never will experience. Perhaps this sister has a genuine yearning to begin hijab and has come close to doing so many times, but is turned off by negativity such as this phrase and ultimately gives up.

Or maybe the sister is on the verge of making a major change in her life and is slowly increasing in her closeness to Allah (SWT), a change the likes of which you have no knowledge of at all. Whatever the case may be, there's much more going on with these sisters than you think, and you can't simply judge them off so easily without taking a walk in their shoes.

There's also a possibility this sister is struggling with this part of the Deen. Mankind by nature struggles to perform duties on a day-to-day basis, and every Muslim struggles to worship Allah, some more than others. You can't ever forget this, especially in light of our fellow Muslim sisters. Sisters who are having difficulty with hijab should be told that it's completely okay to struggle, and not have their inner battles be turned into mockery.

Sure, you may see a Muslimah who doesn't wear hijab as well as you she really should, but assigning her the label “convertible hijabi” isn't going to help any. It's simply going to make things worse and paint a picture of hopelessness to our potential future covered hijabi.

Lastly, instead of writing her off as an evil sinner, realize that she has inner good within herself. Think about it. Sure she might only cover when she's praying or during Qur'anic recitation at wedding parties, but isn't that a good thing? It shows that even though she's not covering herself all the time, she still has something good within her. Masha'Allah, that is amazing. So many Muslim women around the world straight up hate, mock, or reject hijab, and are rarely seen wearing it, let alone praying or practicing Islam at all. This sister, on the other hand, is much better. So instead of attacking her weakness, empower her strengths.

Remind her about that feeling that comes when she is covered up praying to Allah. Or the chills down her back when praying taraweh at her masjid with her family and friends. Ask her to think about extending those feelings from once in a while to every single day of her life. She's probably never thought about it that way, let alone been approached in such a positive way. Encouraging people will win by land slides over insulting them.

So let's think twice about our negative use of the term “convertible hijabi” in our day-to-day Muslim community vernacular. Not only is it a negative phrase, it brings about a negative mindset. Instead, let's say “potential hijabi” and move towards motivating this practice of Islam for our sisters and away from complicating it for them.

I ask Allah 'azza wa jal to make it easy for the sisters struggling to one day being properly wearing hijab. If you're a sister and you've been struggling with hijab, I ask that Allah empowers you to begin easily. You have the inner goodness to do so, and insha'Allah one day you'll find it and use it to start wearing hijab forever.

133 Responses

  1. Siraaj Muhammad

    I always thought the term was used for women pretending to be hijaabi for the purpose of blending into a crowd or escaping ire from one’s parents til she was out of view of family or the hijaab crowd had thinned out.

    Siraaj

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  2. Dawud Israel

    ^^

    Yeah I thought it meant those sisters who were raised in practicing households or went to Islamic school and had no choice in it…so they took it off at school where parents can’t say anything. I’ve seen sisters like this and they don’t want hijab in the first place so it’s natural to see them go “convertible”…

    It makes sense…they don’t value it as a life decision so it seems natural.

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  3. Saleha Hashmat

    Great article masha’Allah, many brothers in MSA’s always would use that term before and this kind of perspective has never been brought up. I also always see it in cultural gatherings with many people on different levels of beliefs. I think this is a great way to look at it and it really will encourage her to wear it more. A girl I know used to always get trapped under this label, and all she ever got from it was negativity, in fact, she didn’t want to wear the hijab even more. This article actually reminds us of the fitrah that is still lit inside of these women, who want to wear the hijab but never have the proper encouragement to do so. Sometimes it’s not their fault that they weren’t properly educated on wearing the hijab or that their family never put any emphasis on it, that is why this kind of thinking is needed. All we need to do is encourage them in a positive manner, so that they’re fitrah can automatically tell them of the feeling and enjoyment they will have when they wear it. Jazakullah khair for the good read.

    -Saleha

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  4. Saleha

    Just to add, I’ve actually heard of this term referred to what the author was talking about, but maybe it isn’t seen as much in other cultural societies, because I’ve heard it a lot in pakistani/indian muslim communities.

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  5. Sumera

    Never heard of this phrase before – until now. Seems like thats all us Muslims do these days; come up with labels and negative remarks in some attempt to categorise others.

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    • paz786

      salaam, again correct. the level of back-biting and name calling is beyond belief. Mostly from extremist muslim men. How sad- will things ever change I wonder…

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  6. fatima

    It’s my first time hearing this phrase.
    Great article however. Instead of judging each other, we must befriend and guide each other.

    I remember one time I travelling and at the airport, I noticed a lady wearing very tight trousers and a revealing top.
    In my mind, I sought refuge from Allah and immediately judged her negatively praying that Allah would make her a muslim and that she would realise her ways.

    Anyway, we collected our luggage and proceeded away. I was on transit to another country so I had to wait at the airport for another six to seven hours for my next flight.

    I went to the airport restaurant, sat my luggage and proceeded to find something to eat.

    From behind me, I heard someone ask whether they can join me as they have to wait for an uncle to collect them. I turned and found the lady with the tight trousers behind me.

    I smiled warmly and accepted, we got some food and sat down to eat.

    Those seven hours spent were one that I would never forget. I made a very dear friend of the sister who was actually a very good muslim who prayed the five daily salaat and fasted and had soooo much faith in Allah. I’m not excusing her clothing style, yet, she explained that she wanted to hijab soo much but just wasn’t strong enough and feared that with little influence and guidence, she might remove it.

    This incident simply thaught me that judgement should all be left to Allah…and whereas we must enjoin the good and forbid the evil and hate the evil and try to stop it, yet, we must never allow ourselves to feel too self rightious because even the self rightious can fall.

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    • paz786

      salaam

      Thank you for your comments- I thoroughly agree that we have no right to judge others intentions or actions- I feel as a muslim female, we are being treated extremely harshly by not only muslim males but also fellow muslim sisters. Where is the love and compassion? I do not believe that wearing a hijab automatically elevates one to a level of piety so why do muslims berate those women who do not CHOOSE to wear it??

      We forget that in Islam there is no compulsion as a religion, therefore why would there be compulsion in wearing a headscarf? We have to be forward thinking and stop this bickering, futile disputation amonst ourselves it is such a waste of time. I know many sisters who wear hijab and brothers with beards and have experienced first hand the duplicity, hypocrisy and darkness of those muslims who deem themselves above others..in the end they will be the ones being reporached on the Day of Judgement NOT the muslim sister or brother who although perhaps may never have worn a beard or hijab, they practiced Islam on every level, through the goodness in their hearts and actions. Remember Allah swt states:’ Allah does not judge you by your appearance but by your hearts and intentions..’ Why can we not see Islam as it was meant o be seen? as the middle way, a w ay of Balance and Harmony rather than pushing opinions and views upon others?

      There are many valid reasons for not wearing hijab in this modern world, we have to remember that the hijab is about modesty, in those days women rarely ventured out of their homes, it was a traditional society, patriarchal, therefore women were not expected to be the breadwinners or work in corporate office, etc as we do nowadays. Times have changed but I believe the ethos of the hijab was to protect a woman’s modesty when outside. There are many ways to preserve modesty and the first is how we conduct ourselves on an everyday basis, our intentions, our interaction witht he wider world. You can be modest, dress modestly, without wearing a hijab- some of the best muslims I know dont wear hijab. They are more honest and real. I have found there is more arrogance and vanity in sisters wearing hijab, ironically, now more than ever. again, not all. As you can see there are good and bad muslims everywhere- we cannot and should not judge other peoples’ level of Emaan.

      I wear hijab, and have struggled with my emaan, I have strong love for allah but I dont judge those sisters who choose not to wear it. Furthermore, I do not feel that this has any impact on my level of emaan. If I were to stop wearing it will that mean I dont love Allah anymore? It’s such a ridiculous question isnt it? Why should a piece of cloth determine the stste of my soul? We need to try and start thinking a little outside of the box- this is why our Ummah is suffering the way it is- the disunity of the muslim people will only be remedied when we ourselves as muslims stop punishing ourselves and our fellow muslim sisters and brothers with this circular reasoning and start looking within to cure the diseases of the soul. I know many non-muslims who are God-fearing and good-hearted – does this mean they are evil and bad because they are not like us? I feel sad, because sometimes I wonder to myself, why I can relate more to those who are non-muslim than I do to muslims..is it because we have become an Ummah filled with confusion, lost in argumentation? Where is the love and compassion? We need to find the HEART of Ilsam, we need to wake up and start practicing love, forgiveness and tolerance.

      Hijab or no hijab? Does it really matter?

      Perhaps we should address the question of why there arent more muslim men wearing beards or what the reasoning behind why some muslim brothers choose to shave their beards off?

      Answer: No. No. NO. ALL that matters to Allah swt, is the state of our hearts, our intentions and our actions from those intentions.

      Please people, wake up! Life is short and we will ALL face Allah’s Judgement on the final Day- the best muslim is the one who is concerned with primarily her own self first and then the world around her. Yes, seek to right what is wrong but dont seek to destroy the free will Allah has given each human being to choose- by self-righteousness and arrogance and hypocrisy. Pray for those who need help. that is the way of Muhammad pbuh. He was a Mercy to the worlds. Such a shame we have fallen so far away from his example.

      May allah forgive and guide this beleagured muslim Ummah with hidaya and success. ameen

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      • marcia

        Hi I am English and now 61 and do not subscribe to any religion but do beilive in a higher being and the fact that we must in all fairness to continue to grow be born many times to get a thorough all round experience. I went to the East London Mosque on Saturday and had a lovely and informative chat with a wonderful strong lady muslim (imam/a?)/ She is English like me and is a wonderful asset to Islam in the fact that she is educating women to the true and original teachings of the Quaran.
        I pray for her everyday that she can help ALL people to find there own way. I should NEVER cover my face or head as God created me and should want to see me. Also I could not get my gentle soul round the fact that Islam says that if you are not a Moslem you simply go to Hell!!

        I believe that there is no pit dark enough that the creator’s (of ALL of us) light cannot light up and he would never ever turn any of his children away, Christian, Hindu, or just a native on an island that has no knowlege of anything, We are ALL in God’s pocket.

        The question of covering is irrevelent so long as you are reasonably modest and your intentions are pure. Evil to those who think it! God Bless all of you.

        By the way I am not doing so bad for an infidal as I have stayed married for 41 years now and have not known any other man. I would also be so devastated if my husband ever took another wife, it would mean he did not love me! Marcia xx

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    • paz786

      again I do not think a woman not wearing hijab is ‘evil’. yes immodest clothing can be a form of causing fitnah in society true and I agree. but if a woman is modestly covered and conducts herself with respect and is prscticing Ilsam- does that mean she is evil? Simply for not covering her hair? Again, i say lets try to expand our hearts and minds and rememeber that allah is Merciful and Kind and he knows what is in or hearts. So stop judging

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  7. Gohar

    Very true. As long as someone respects the command from Allah in their hearts, then i think mockery is wrong and counter productivee too.

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  8. Amad

    Good one Saqib mashallah. And good story Sr. Fatima as it talks to the side-point I want to make here.

    That side-point is to give the hijab its proper due– neither to deny its undeniable obligation, nor to put it at the par of the highest level of piety.

    I think the first part is clear. Every mainstream Muslim knows or should know that hijab is mandatory by consensus of the Ummah’s scholars based on clear injunctions in Quran and Hadith. The second part is what trips many of us, which Saqib has sort of alluded to it.

    We should understand hijab is not at the same level of obligation, as say the 5 pillars of Islam. Not wearing hijab (while not denying its obligation) does not take a sister out of the circle of Islam. A sister who prays 5 times and doesn’t wear hijab is much better off than a non-praying hijabi. A “muhajabah” who wears the tightest of clothes in addition to a head-scarf (that is why I put muhajabah between quotations) may not be better off than a sister who wears modest clothes but hasn’t started hijab. So, we can’t automatically draw piety conclusions (and we probably shouldn’t under any other circumstance either) based on hijab. Yes, a properly observing muhajabah does signal her obedience to Allah in her outer appearance (which is an appropriate conclusion) but don’t assume she is better in her worship/piety than who doesn’t.

    If I stated something wrong, pls feel free to correct.
    W/S

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  9. Amy

    MaashaaAllah! I agree with the sentiments in the post exactly. I was surprised in reading through the comments that Faiez said it should have been written by a sister… until then I thought it had been! (My fault as I didn’t check who the author was before I read.) But I think it’s perfect as it is, and right on target. Labeling anyone this–regardless of the reason why (i.e., those given by Siraah Muhamamd and Dawud Israel above)–is totally inappropriate and discouraging!

    Mocking someone is never the way to guide them. Ever. They will close their hearts. Hijab is a struggle for many many sisters, just like all Muslims have struggles. Shaytaan comes and whispers to tell them they will lose their jobs, not have any money, lose their friends, not be able to socialize. So hijab isn’t the problem, it’s more trust in Allah, so they should be encouraged to improve their relationship with Allah! And not discouraged from attending Islamic events because they are mocked based on their clothing decisions.

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  10. Amad

    I was surprised in reading through the comments that Faiez said it should have been written by a sister… until then I thought it had been!

    Saqib just got married recently… I am sure he is receiving training from his wife :)

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  11. Ameera

    This is the first time I’ve heard of “covertible Hijabi”… but when I read the title, I actually flashed back to my own experience with the Hijab. MashAllah, the writer, though being a man, has understood the basic factors influencing the so-called “convertible hijabi”. About three years back, when I was 19, I started off with Hijab… first at my all-girls (but not segregated in the true sense) college and then, very slowly, on other ventures outside the home. Once I went to an exhibition (in Karachi) with my cousins and I took the dupatta on my head properly. However, once I got to the exhibition, I became weak and took off my dupatta completely… it was the lure of the moment… music blaring, people having “fun”, etc… it got to me I guess. And guess what? All the while I was roaming around the place, seemingly having a good time, I was really FED UP with my attitude with the Hijab – I didn’t enjoy myself the way I had thought I would.

    That evening, something came about Hijab while I was with my cousins. One cousin (a non-Hijabi) said, “But you know… I don’t understand what you do – ” At that, I cut her off immediately, fearing the words I knew she was about to utter. I told her about how I really felt, taking it off all the while in the exhibition and not enjoying it one bit. Of cours,e she had had no idea about my internal turmoil.

    Alhamdolillah, very slowly… despite seeming like a “convertible hijabi” in the initial months… I graduated to “full Hijabi” Alhamdolillah. That’s why I now know exactly how it feels when you try to adopt the Hijab when you’ve pretyt much grown up. It’s a big change for girl who’s used to feel the breeze in her hair when out in the car, or in a park… or at a party, dressed up with all the glittery jewellery she loves so much. Combine that with (in some cases) taunts, “sympathetic” statements of friends and relatives… it can really slow you down. But yes, encouragement and support… that’s what’s most important… don’t forget why you’re doing it and seek out people who’re going through it, or have gone through it before! And for those who’re eager to label people… think about your own flip-flops in Deen once in a while! :)

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  12. Amira Murphy

    Allah tells us in Surah Hujrat: “O believers! Let not the men scoff at the men, perchance they may be better than those who scoff, and nor the women at other women, perchance that they may be better than those women who scoff, and do not taunt one another and nor call one another by (bad) names. What a bad name is, to be called a disobedient after being a Muslim, and those who repent not, they are the unjust.”

    I think it appropriate that an article about the perception of Muslim women and their struggles with hijaab be written by a Brother. It is important for Sisters to know that as they vie with their souls over aspects of religion, there is understood, comprehensive support coming from the members of the Ummah who should be protecting and caring for them.

    I remember an instance in college that found a struggling-with-hijaab sister alone on campus late at night. A good, practicing brother overheard her friends advising her not to walk to the parking garage alone and, much to this sister’s surprise, he called two other brothers and offered to take her to her car. They walked far enough in front of her so that she was comfortable (Musa/daughter of Shuaib-style) and when they arrived at her car, one brother taught her the dua to say before traveling. She was in shock! A few hijaab-wearing months later, she told us that it wasn’t a self-righteous act. It was as though the Brother saw her as a (flesh and blood) sister and acted accordingly. Everyone can use another brother (esp. sisters who have none).

    So, in short: You go, boy.

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  13. Dawud Israel

    But all in all…there is a saying:

    Everyone is fighting a battle you could never understand

    So have some Husn ud Dhan and give them there 70 excuses.

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  14. AnonyMouse

    Awesome post, masha’Allah! Reminds me of this one :)
    It’s a great reminder, jazakAllahu khairan…

    One thing that comes to mind, however, is that – for me at least – I’m never quite sure how to broach the hijaab issue with non-hijaabi (or part-time hijaabi) sisters… my general principle is to not talk about it specifically, ‘cuz I don’t want to come off as preachy or self-righteous – and there’s also the uncertainty as to what the sister herself feels about hijaab, because there are so many who believe in “another interpretation” of hijaab, or those who feel that it’s “not their cup of tea” and so on.

    At the same time, though, I must say that we full-time hijaabi sisters should definitely make more of an effort to reach out and befriend non-hijaabi sisters: a group of youth in my city did that with a newcomer, and masha’Allah the new sister started wearing hijaab full-time after a few months in their company! And the biggest surprise was that they hadn’t even talked about hijaab specifically at all – yet just their actions and their company encouraged the sister to take the step of wearing it herself.

    May Allah increase us all in emaan and aid us in improving ourselves every day, ameen!

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  15. Siraaj

    Allah tells us in Surah Hujrat: “O believers! Let not the men scoff at the men, perchance they may be better than those who scoff, and nor the women at other women, perchance that they may be better than those women who scoff, and do not taunt one another and nor call one another by (bad) names. What a bad name is, to be called a disobedient after being a Muslim, and those who repent not, they are the unjust.”

    This jogged my memory about a DH talk I attended on backbiting with Mufti Azeem. He had mentioned the reason why there’s no advice that nothing is said about men scoffing at / dissing women was because the idea itself that a brother would step out of bounds and diss a sister like that was unthinkable of a believer (or something to that effect).

    Siraaj

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  16. Suhail

    Assalaam Alykum,

    Good article brother. You are right that people should not judge others intentions. There may be hundreds of reasons why they are not wearing hijab from ignorance to family pressure. Also if the sister is not wearing hijab for worldly pleasure than too we should not be harsh on her so that she run away from us but rather be polite with her and tell her the truth in nice way.

    We should always remember that guidance is only thru Allah’s will. We are supposed to tell them the truth and then pray to Allah that he guides ua and other muslims.

    JK
    Suhail

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  17. mcpagal

    Salaams, jazakallah for the post – I totally agree, and for once I’m glas it’s a brother who wrote this article. A lot of brothers seems to underestimate the challenge hijab can be for a sister so it’s good that this bucks the trend. I don’t see any point in mockery or name-calling – when has that ever encouraged someone to do good? In fact, the sisters I have known who would have been labelled ‘convertible hijabis’ in the past were very sensitive about it, but were sincere muslims at heart who prayed, fasted etc, and were even very strict on backbiting. They actually took on hijab permanently, but not through anyone preaching at them or mocking them, but through good company ( :P okay, i’m flattering myself!) and good examples around them.

    Bro Amad reiterated a really good point as well: give the hijab its proper due– neither to deny its undeniable obligation, nor to put it at the par of the highest level of piety.

    This whole issue is pretty much why i made my wee hijabi cartoon (but i think blogger might have eaten it :()

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  18. Ammar Diwan

    Amad: Given what you have said above, do you think it’s unreasonable to refuse to marry a woman who doesn’t wear hijab?

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  19. Amad

    Ammaar, obviously I can’t give you an “Islamic opinion”, but if it were I, I would give it a high level of importance, because it does signal something important. Also, you would have to put it in context of the family situation. So, suppose the entire family is very religious, and all adorn hijab, yet this girl doesn’t, then that would raise big red flags. One would assume that the family pressure doesn’t apply and instead the family probably encourages it. On the other hand, if the family was non-practicing, and this sister was a practicing sister, except for hijab, then the situation becomes different.

    I think at least one should talk to the sister or find out what the sister thinks of hijab. If she wants to do it, then that makes the dynamics different again. If she doesn’t, then that is a concern you have to take into account. But this should be taken into account with other things, like how she dresses (even though it is part of hijab, many people just think of the head-covering), behavior, the 5 pillars of course, and other Islamic etiquette and behavior.

    I will say in conclusion that your question did make me think, because even after what I said what I said in my previous comment, I would probably not think of hijab as being a demarcation between a good and bad prospect as being completely unreasonable. Now, I have to adjust that thinking a bit… I hope others can comment to your question. If any shayookh are still alive on the boards :), pls do chime in.

    w/s

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  20. Ammar Diwan

    Amad: But what you said could apply to praying 5 times a day as well, couldn’t it?

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  21. iMuslim

    Ammar, there is a strong scholarly opinion that someone who doesn’t pray the five fardh prayers has nullified their imaan – there are other opinions saying it is a major, MAJOR sin, but as long as tawheed is there, they are still Muslim. That is not the same case for hijab. As long as the sister maintains that hijab is part of the deen – even if she doesn’t observe it – she is still considered Muslim. And Allah knows best.

    My point being that when it comes to marriage, it is so much more important to make sure the sisters prays regularly. I don’t think the two issues compare when considering a spouse.

    To flip it to my PoV, I am not so fussed if a brother proposing to me has a beard or not, as long as he knows it’s an obligation (strong Sunnah). It says to me that he may grow one eventually, insha’Allah, but he may just need some encouragement. But he absolutely MUST pray regularly, else forget it.

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    • paz786

      I absolutely agree with this point! How can someone say that not wearing hijab takes one out of Islam- this is ludicrous- the one and most important duty for all muslims is to pray! What is oour Deen if it is simply reduced to outer appearances???

      Also where is the ruling that a sister must agree with hijab in order for her to a true muslim?? thats incredible- so if she disagrees with hijab that makes her a non-believer??

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  22. Siraaj

    How did this turn into a thread about marriage again?

    For round #2, I’d like to see a sister give voice to men struggling to grow out their beards :D

    Siraaj

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    • paz786

      salaam, please read my comments further above in response to sister fatimas..

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  23. Abu Noor Al-Irlandee

    Jazzak Allaahu Khayr for the article and comments. While I think different people may have different things come to mind when the term “convertible hijabi” is mentioned and many times it is not meant to mock the sister but to kinda call attention to a somewhat absurd practice that does seem silly when one thinks about, it is definitely true that mocking people is not only not effective in changing someone else, but is actually much more of a demonstration of one’s own poor character than of anything else.

    Still, in response to the question put to Amad, I do have to say this: hijab does have a certain meaning in our time and place which relates to identity and it does communicate something about a person. So, while making blanket statements is probably unwise, it would be strange to resort to some kind of It doesn’t matter whether someone wears hijab or not type attitude when thinking about marriage.

    The thing about hijab is that I understand the advice not to make it a bigger issue than it is, not bigger than the five pillars for example, but the thing about it is is that it is a constant and open type of sinning. Many of us may struggle with our salah or with falling into backbiting when we are in a private conversation, but the analogy to hijab would be if we walked around with a t shirt saying “I didn’t make fajr today” It is a sin that every person that sees you knows about immediately and therefore it is very hard to ignore it or not make it into a big deal.

    Also, I appreciate the comments about the tremendous struggle the sister may be going through and I think in all cases of course one should NEVER look down on anyone. This is kibr and this is a barrier to al-jannah. It is also absolutely ridiculous when we each know the deep and dark secrets of our own sinfulness to get self-righteous with others.

    Still…I want to say that the idea that the implication that most of the sisters without hijab realize its fardh and are just struggling to practice it does not strike me as correct. I think this is an interesting issue apart from the specific of hijab because I realize this is the language of Islamic law — to say that a person who does something haram or neglects an obligation is sinning, but the real serious issue would be if they denied its legal ruling in Islam, this type of thinking does not really describe how most humans (who are not currently practicing Muslims think). In fact, becoming a so-called practicing Muslim is all about learning to think and see this world this way, through the lens of Islamic legal rulings.

    I could be wrong, but I think the thinking of your average non-practicing Muslim on such issues is a lot more vague. Sometimes not caring what Islamic law might say, sometimes not knowing what Islamic law might say, sometimes trying to fatwa shop (actually not even fatwa shop because it is seeking opinions from even other than scholars) and say, well “some Muslims think you have to do this, but “some Muslims don’t”…etc. etc. etc. So I respect looking at the issue this way as a way of giving the person husn dhann but I think we should acknowledge this precise formulation (I believe such and such is fardh and required of me, and I know I am being sinful not doing it, but I’m just struggling with that right now) only describes a minority of people…although it may describe a larger percentage of people who will eventually adopt hijab because if a person sincerely feels that way no doubt it will just be a matter of time before Allaah blesses them with the tawfiq to adopt hijab.

    These are just some random thoughts I had….I was reluctant to comment because I know these are sensitive issues…Please please forgive me if anything I said was offensive and rush to correct me if anything I said was just wrong.

    Allaah knows best.

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    • paz786

      Salaam. i understand perfectly what you are referrign to re: legal rulings hukms, Shariah tc. My point is this: regardless of whether a sister chooses to wear or not wear the hijab we as fellow muslims have NO right to mock, insult, berate, and patronise that person. This behaviour is what has turned so many muslims away from ths Deen, the arrogant and hypocritical attitudes from muslims who think they know and are better. Legally speaking you assert that hijab is obligatory, however within those rulings there is one overriding exemption clause : the Mercy and Forgiveness of Allah.

      Leave the judgements to allah- if it is a sin then Allah will be the judge of it not mere mortals. We should be spreading love and mercy to those who need it not anger and arrogance.

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  24. Zaynab

    JazakAllah khayr for the article! and alhamdulillah for all of the positive comments, there is more good in the Ummah than we think sometimes.

    This reminded me of my decision to wear hijab. I never did the “convertible” thing (it’s actually something that people really make fun of my community), I just brought my hijab to school and to Islamic events to pray with, then put it back in my bag. And you know what…I can only think of 1 instance where someone made me feel uncomfortable/bad for not wearing hijab! Most comments were along the lines of “masha’Allah it’s so good to see you in hijab” or “masha’Allah you look nice in hijab”, they were sincere comments and sincere smiles, and it made me feel good about hijab :)

    I started wearing it due to indirect da’wah from my peers (being around cool hijabis, masha’Allah), and from youth-targeted khutbahs where to speaker would tell us to get closer to Allah any way we could, that hijab was a means of drawing closer to your Lord and pleasing Him. I was never called a sinner, or any foul names, walhamdulillah.

    Honestly, the VAAAST majority of sisters I know who wear hijab later in life do it because they want to be close to Allah, nagging them or telling them that they should doesn’t help, it HURTS.

    And as a rule of thumb, you should be EXTREMELY careful bringing up the issue of hijab with a girl that doesn’t wear it. Just wait for her to bring it up; chances are, if she’s thinking about it and an opportunity arises to talk about it, she’ll bring it up. So don’t bring it up unless there’s a perfect scenario.

    It’s the first rule of da’wah: focus on Tawheed, the rest will fall into place, bi ithnillah.

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    • paz786

      Salaam again another muslimah who shows respect and respect for those who are different ie. sisters who dont wear hijab. she is right. Dont judge women. We are all different and all are trying to do the best we can- we do not need the harassment of muslim men to add the already numerous troubles we have in maintaining our Deen. i find it reprehensible the manner and tone of these supposed muslim men..who are you to judge others? I do not believe wearign a hijab makes a person any more pious than one who does not wear it. furthermore, regardless of the debate about wether hijab is fard or obligatory, many many women from generations ago, in countries like Pakistan/India never wore it, only loose scarves or shawls worn loosely around the neck, does that mean all these women will go to hell or their Emaan was weak?? Rubbish and the argument does not stand whatsoever. Allah judges what is in our hearts and our actions based on our intentions. Wake up people.

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  25. Amad

    FYI, I checked with Sh Yasir Q. about my comment, and his answer was “yes, it’s fine”. So much for blogging shayookh :)

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  26. Amad

    I agree Br. Abu Noor… many times, for many sisters, esp. “back home”, there is a general ignorance about hijab, some deliberate, some accidental. So, yes, many sisters who don’t cover may not even recognize or realize hijab’s obligation. I think sisters are much more aware of this matter in the West than the East (esp Indo-Pak area), where “social proof” is taken as evidence that hijab must not be important.

    I also agree that we cannot strip the importance of this for marriage purposes, because in a way good brothers should reward the bravery of the sisters who do wear it. At the same time, I cannot get away from “keeping it in context” and taking it case by case.

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  27. Siraaj

    Is this still a thread on hijaab, or have we truly tangented off into another marriage conversation?

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  28. Hassan

    Human can not see inside others heart. A muslimah without hijaab may be better than a muslimah with hijaab in eyes of Allah. But so it is natural for human to do some assesment based on aparent religiosity (or lack thereof). Hence if a brother considers hijaab important for marriage purposes, he should not be blameworthy. Similarly a sister with hijaab should not hesitate to do amr bil maruf wa nahi anil munkar with a muslimah without hijab. Although everyone is struggling in one thing or another, and doing naseeha to one and another can benefit everyone.

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    • wahhabi mullah

      maybes dont have any value. She “may” have higher worth in Allah’s “eyes” but the fact is that she is neglecting one of the duties ordained by God. The argument that God might love her more than a hijabi cannot and WILL NOT justify her not obeying one of the commands. Its a fallacious argument.

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      • paz786

        Equally you cannot argue that a sinning woman who wears hijab will go to heaven. stop trying to be a lawyer and play with words. The fact is that at the end of the day, hijab is not one of the five pillars of Islam. if a woman does not wear it she is still a believer, stop criticising others and look at your own self

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      • wahhabi mullah

        I never argued that a sinning Hijabi will go to heaven! Why are you assuming that if I hate something then I also love the anti-thesis of what I hate? If you can criticize those who “misuse” the term “convertible Hijabi” then I have the right to criticize non-Hijabis too. What gives you the moral high ground to criticize the criticizers and stop me from criticizing you? Whether I am a lawyer or a doctor or a scientist, my profession in no way effects the ideas that take birth in my mind. Stop assuming such or I will have to doubt your sanity.

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  29. Ammar Diwan

    It is perfectly reasonable to judge a Muslim based on outward acts, such as whether they pray 5 times a day, wear hijab, etc… Unless you’re saying that such-and-such person MUST be punished for those haraam actions, there is no contradiction of the Shari’ah. The Prophet (pbuh) explicitly mentioned that he was commanded to judge people by the outward.

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    • wahhabi mullah

      precisely so. A zaani is punished based on the physical evidence of penetration. No one goes to see “what was in their heart.” In the same way, a non-hijab automatically shows that she is neglecting one of God’s commands. Whether she is “slowly and slowly” working on it, we dont know and even if we did, it does not matter.

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  30. fatima

    Br Ammar Diwan,

    Do you evidence of the explicit mention that people are to be judged by appearance?

    The following hadith says otherwise. Obviously, if Allah commands that we must wear hijab and so on, that we must not find any excuses for people who don’t. However, when we call people to the truth, we show hikma and wisdom and patience and kindness.

    “Verily Allah does not look to your bodies nor to your faces but He looks to your hearts,”
    And he pointed towards the heart with his fingers. ( Sahih Muslim : Book 32, Number 6220)

    As for judging people by their praying five times a day, people will be thrown into the hell fire on the day of judgement despite the fact that they prayed and fasted, but their intention was really not for Allah, but to gain the praises of the people. Hence, the hadith above is clear that it’s what in the heart that counts. Kindly note that i’m not saying that a mnuslim can just say that “i’m not going to pray five times a day because I know what’s in my heart”. Definately not because he is contradicting the command of Allah, nontheless, we must not judge anyone by outward appearance because what’s in their heart is hidden form us.

    What I recommend is that if a sister is not wearing hijab, we befriend them, approach them without judgement and give them naseeha until Allah guides them.

    If a sister is wearing the hijab but engaging in haram, we befriend them, approach them without judgement and give them naseeha unti Allah guides them. I know that as muslims we all love what Allah loves and hate what Allah hates.

    As a student of Islam, I kindly stand corrected.

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    • wahhabi mullah

      I am no student of Islamic knowledge while you are. But even I feel that you failed to understand what that hadith is saying. Of course, OF COURSE, Allah judges what is in His slave’s heart. But how does one Muslim “judge” another? How did Umar (ra) judge who is Muslim and who is zindeeq? Did they get a “peek into the hearts of men?”

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      • paz786

        You are not Umar RA, these were those of an elevated state- whilst we are but ordinary muslims- ‘ OEye others have eyes too..’

        allah will judge on the Day of Judgement. Whether a woman wears hijab or not is up to her- she will face allah- we can only guide and encourage with good words and kindness.

        What Islam doesnt need is right-wing extremist mysogynists who use religion to assert their moral superiority over women. Sorry but you are wrong.

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      • wahhabi mullah

        I am wrong just because I do not agree with you? If Islam does not need “right-wing extremist misogynists” then Islam also does not need extreme feminists or liberal “reformers.” I am not sure which contexts of superiority are you talking about. If you are talking about the arena of physical strength then yes, majority of men are superior to majority of women. If you are talking about the arena of stress-management, majority of women tolerate stress better than majority of women. Generalizing the term “superiority” only highlights your ignorance.

        If you are not happy with the following verse than know that you are not happy with what your Allah has told you.

        Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

        “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allaah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means”
        [al-Nisa’ 4:34]

        Even if I take this verse on its face-value, your Allah says that He has made one to “excel the other.” Who is it? Why is it? I leave it up to you to decide.

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      • wahhabi mullah

        and wow, talk about contradiction. You said that no one can judge what is one’s status in front of Allah. Right? Right? Then how can you judge whether my status in sight of Allah is lower or higher than that of Umer (ra)? You clearly said that “I am not Umer (ra), they were of elevated state …. ” Talk about inconsistency.

        P.S. I do know that my status is way lower than Umar (ra) but I had to say it, only to show you how you contradict yourself in every comment you make.

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  31. Hassan

    fatima said:

    Br Ammar Diwan,

    Do you evidence of the explicit mention that people are to be judged by appearance?

    The following hadith says otherwise. Obviously, if Allah commands that we must wear hijab and so on, that we must not find any excuses for people who don’t. However, when we call people to the truth, we show hikma and wisdom and patience and kindness.

    “Verily Allah does not look to your bodies nor to your faces but He looks to your hearts,”
    And he pointed towards the heart with his fingers. ( Sahih Muslim : Book 32, Number 6220)

    Are you sure that is what hadith means? Because when I read it, I took it as looks and features. Like Allah does not look at beauty of a person from outside. You can be ugly and more righteous etc.

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    • paz786

      Yes and you can wear a hijab and still comitt sins…the argument works both ways doesnt it?

      In the end as muslims we must follow the sunnah which is to extend mercy and kindness- part of the reason our Ummah is in the state its in is due to the abuse wreaked upon women through men using Islam to control women. It wont work. Islam is based on the basis that we willingly submit opurselves to allah not through harsh words and abuse of deviant muslim men. Wake Up!

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  32. s1

    Good point. The phrase “convertible hijabi” is very discouraging for the non-hijabi sisters. The fact that they are trying should be taken into consideration. Putting them down is just going to make it worse. But I think they should have proper knowledge about hijab, that it is a requirement and not a preference. The rest is upto Allah.

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    • wahhabi mullah

      Anyone has the freedom to use it. So what if “convertible hijabis” feel that it is insulting? Of course they would feel so that way because it precisely describes them.

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  33. fatima

    Re: Br Hassan.

    Yes, the point I was making is that generally, outward appearances and conduct do not count because they can be misleading. As I am only a student, It would be wrong if were to try to restrict exactly what the hadith was referring to because even other narrations do not restrict it to looks and features but even wealth. I guess I’ll leave it to our scholars in that regard for guidance.
    Perhaps most of us know the famous hadith on “intentions” when of three men, one memorized the quran, the other gave in charity, etc, but were all cast into the hell fire because their intentions were not for Allah but only be seen of men. (so even if one wears hijab as we should, it should be only to seek and obtain the pleasure of Allah not to catch the eye of this or that brother for example).

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  34. coolred38

    What about the hadith that says (paraphrasing) “do not judge a brother by seeing him go up and down in the mosque but by the company he keeps….”…this would indicate that judging by outward appearance is not acceptable. Muslims put a great deal of stress and importance on outward appearance…hijabs…beards…short thobes or pants for men…sans makes up etc for women…I mean its all window dressing and means absolutely nothing without knowing whats going on inside that person. Thats only known to God who is closer to us than our jugular vein. Muslims should stop judging each other period and just hold out a hand to help in which ever way seems best..leave the Judgement to God.

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    • paz786

      salaam. subhanAllah your comments on this blog are the first that truly make sense! Yes! Lets STOp attacking muslim women and start uniting our ummah- what is wrong with muslims? Why can we not stop the futile endless dialogues about inconsequential topics..like beards and hijabs..whther this is the right way..or that is the right way..??

      Alhumdulilah someone has the bigger picture!

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      • paz786

        And im not the only one who holds this opinion. See imam suhaib Webb in his lectures on purification of the Soul. He reiterates the failings of the muslim ummah as commented here. I.e. the lack of insight or wisdom- continual disputation, dogmatic behaviour and arrogance and hypocrisy. Islam is the inner path and its the outer path- its both. We need balance and when we turn to allah, truly its reflected bothways- i,e, a physical change and a spiritual one. Physical in terms of we start practicing Ilsam, we pray, we struggle, we implement allah’s commands..the spiritual being we start to cleanse our hearts of un Islamic behaviour thoughts actions..we extend kindess, mercy. we struggle to be better..Is this not what being muslim is? Or is it about condemning, back-biting about other muslims, hating, judging women, stero-typing..??

        Lets ask ourselves not about petty issues like whether hijab is right or wrong but what we can do to become better muslims and by doing so gain allah’s Mercy and Forgiveness becuase as the Prophet pbuh stated: ‘no-one will eneter Jannah unless by the mercy of allah, not even me..’

        I wonder where that leaves us

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    • wahhabi mullah

      LOL. Isnt judging one’s company (good or bad) based on outward appearance too? Lets extend the argument. Lets admit that we judge a Muslim by the company he keeps in the way you interpret it. How do we know that company is right or wrong? We judge that company by the company that former company keeps? Wear no hijab is an action. It can be judged just like how saying shahadah is a judgmental testimony for one’s entrance into Islam.

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  35. Ammar Diwan

    Sister fatima,

    Our positions are not contradictory. Allah (swt) does indeed judge based on intentions. WE, however, are permitted to judge by the outward here on Earth UNLESS we make judgements on whether the person’s actions will be punished in the afterlife or not.

    If one sees a Muslimah who doesn’t wear hijab, one is permitted to believe that this person’s commitment to the deen is weak. One can’t say that the mulimah MUST be punished in hell for this though.

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    • paz786

      salalm sorry but you are entitled to your opinion but have NO right whatsoever to judge a muslim sister by her appearance- unless of course, she is transgressing the limits of what is considered decent and moral. How on earth can you assert that a muslim sisters faith is weak because she doesnt wear a headscarf? What is your evidence? Do you have super intuitive ablitlies to read another human being ‘s heart and their soul, do you have full knowledge of his or her’s actions in this life??

      No. Exactly. So how can you ahev the audacity to judge that person??

      Wake up.

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      • wahhabi mullah

        Why do you keep on saying that we are judging whether a non-Hijabi will go to heaven or hell? I never judged that, heck no. All we have been saying is that we CAN judge whether one is disobeying Allah or not. If one does not wear a hijab, and it is known that she is beautiful or attractive, she is disobeying Allah. But do we know whether her destiny is hellfire or heaven? No. And I never made a comment on that.

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    • paz786

      what is wrong with you muslims? Sunhanallah i havent even been on this for more than a little while and already im getting a headache! Dont you get it???

      so lost in rhetoric and semantics…

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  36. ibnabeeomar

    why are we in such a rush to want to judge others?

    yes, not wearing hijab is a sin – i don’t think anyone disagrees. however, what’s there to accomplish by judging someone as being weaker in their imaan or something like that? in this situation its better to focus on our own faults as opposed to where someone else falls on the emaans scale. i know you gave a caveat about not making a judgment on someone being in the hellfire, but your stance is a slippery slope to it.

    the only time i feel it comes into play is when you are considering a specific sister for marriage or something like that. but as amad mentioned, that could be somewhat relative depending on a person’s situation or environment.

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    • paz786

      again, please provide Islamic legal evidence based on Shariah in support of your statement that not wearing hijab is a sin…

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  37. Ammar Diwan

    Bukhari and Muslim agree on the report that once Ali sent some money from Yemen to the Holy Prophet, and the Holy Prophet divided it among four men. At this a man who was there said: “O Messenger of Allah, fear Allah!”

    The Holy Prophet said:

    “Woe to thee! Who on earth is more obliged to fear God than me!”

    Khalid Ibn Walid was present. He said:

    “Messenger of Allah, should I not kill him?”

    The Holy Prophet said:

    “No, perhaps he says his prayers.”

    Khalid said:

    “Many are they who say their prayers, but do not have in their hearts what they say with their tongues.”

    The Holy Prophet said:

    “I have not been commanded to open up the hearts of people or to cut open their insides.”

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  38. Ammar Diwan

    ibnabeeomar: The hijab is one of the few things upon which there is absolute ijma’. I don’t think it is just “a sin.” Shaking hands with non-mahrams is also a sin, and there is consensus on this as well. However, some modern scholars permit it. This is not the case with the hijab. No scholar, whether it be Sh. Yusuf Qaradawi or anyone else, has disagreed over the hijab. The hijab is also explicitly mentioned in the Qur’an and is necessarily known of the religion. It is akin to the prohibition on eating pig. So are we saying a Muslim who eats pork cannot be believed to have a weak commitment?

    Last but not least, stating that hijab is very hard in the West is not an excuse. Praying 5 times a day on time is extremely difficult as well.

    Now I’m not calling for everyone going out and cussing sisters who don’t wear hijab. But the matter should be treated as akin to not eating pork. Just like you use wisdom with Muslims who eat pork, and may help them, be kind, etc… the same can be done for sisters without hijab.

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  39. ibnabeeomar

    ammar – i’m not discounting the importance of hijab. my point is what do you stand to accomplish by getting people to judge them based on that act?

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  40. Ammar Diwan

    ibnabeeomar: Do whatever you wish. I’m not forcing anyone to think negatively of non-hijabis. But treat the issue as akin to the prohibition on pork, because this is indeed the case.

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  41. Ammar Diwan

    ibnabeeomar: Many times Muslims from the Indo-Pak region would go bonkers if a Muslim they knew ate pork, but roaming around without hijab and with the upper chest and arms uncovered is just dandy.

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  42. Hassan

    I

    ibnabeeomar (Author) said:

    why are we in such a rush to want to judge others?

    yes, not wearing hijab is a sin – i don’t think anyone disagrees. however, what’s there to accomplish by judging someone as being weaker in their imaan or something like that? in this situation its better to focus on our own faults as opposed to where someone else falls on the emaans scale. i know you gave a caveat about not making a judgment on someone being in the hellfire, but your stance is a slippery slope to it.

    the only time i feel it comes into play is when you are considering a specific sister for marriage or something like that. but as amad mentioned, that could be somewhat relative depending on a person’s situation or environment.

    You know, the slippery slope goes both ways. I am sure if you are desi, you must have heard some sister saying, hijaab is in heart not on body.

    Allah is indeed the judge, and even if somebody committed a sin, Allah may forgive it.

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  43. Siraaj

    Hijaab is not like pork for a number of reasons:

    1. EVERYONE knows pork is haraam – scholar or layperson, we’re all raised with it. For the majority of Muslims (in North America, meaning, laypeople), the importance and requirement of the hijaab are very often not known. Why? Move on to reason #2.

    2. There is no difference of opinion among legitimate scholars on pork or hijaab – there is, however, a difference of opinion about hijaab in the minds of laypeople, which is why you often here some people say, “I heard there are other opinions on this issue.”

    We need less vitriol, more understanding, and more education ;)

    Siraaj

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  44. Aminah Muhammad

    I know many sisters that say hijab is not fard for the women until she gets married…. We always get in to arguements it but it never goes anywere so I shut up…

    I always see many sisters that wear the hijab so Islamic places and take it off when they leave… But know this it’s not our place to judge them rather to give them naseeha. I have many friends that don’t wear the hijab but I can’t push them away cuz if I did that who would talk to them and give them naseeha….

    May Allah guide us all… THERE IS NO QUESTION ABOUT WEATHER THE HIJAB BEING FARD OR NOT.

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  45. ibn insaan

    salams All,

    While I should admit that I haven’t read all the comments, I’d like to make some general remarks if that’s ok, insha’Allaah:

    I totally agree that it’s not allowed to make a definitive judgement (as in like a ‘decree’) that so and so is going to be in the Hellfire for such and such or definitively punished for an action. However there is something being missed (perhaps):

    As we all seem to agree that this issue, over which there is not an iota worth of legitimate difference over (ie the obligation of hijab and jilbab for a woman) amongst the scholars of Islam (- not even amongst groups like the Shee’ah!!! let alone the scholars of our madhdhabs or the islamic tradition) – has now began to become slightly blurred in the minds of the laity. That is indeed a travesty in and of itself. In fact, similar to the travesty of their (and our) ignorance regarding the sacredness (‘haram-ness’) of countless other actions and a lack of willingness among even more people (who do know it is a sin). What makes this worse however is (i) As there is an absolute ijma’ (or consensus) on the issue – it is one for which denying its obligation is something which can take one out of the pale of Islam, Allah forbid. (ii) It is a sin which is, arguably, not restricted in its harm to the individual themselves but extends to countless others who will either see such a person dressed inappropriately and *even those who look on purpose*. Consider the fact that the Prophet peace be upon him referred to a woman (who may even be wearing the hijab) yet merely puts perfume on that men smell her – a fornicatoress!! (which further drives home the point that in reality hijab is more than the clothing, but a way of life at the end of the day).

    It must be understood the gravity of the matter is such that the person has not only the sin of uncovering; the sin of making the haram more common in society ; but also a portion of the sin of everyone who gazes upon her with a haram glance! For every zani eye (adulterating eye) there is a share for that person. And this is not something which gives anyone 9me included) any joy in stating.

    So now the question, why make the point then?

    Very simply fo rthe following reason(s):

    – As the matter is only growing in its confusion in the people’s mind with the passing of time, the obligation of clarifying it becomes greater and greater. Even perhaps greater (arguably) in fact than the obligation of calling any one given individual to the deen or to returning to the hijab. For the mtter is slowly, arguably, getting to a stage where the benefits of the deen as a whole – and a prominent part (or manifestation) of the message of Islam is getting distorted.

    -The point above is driven home further when one bares in mind the fact that this is a matter of absolute agreement and ijma over which there can be no room for manoeuvre, and the denial of which can be tantamount to absolute heresy. Additionally the potentially compounding nature of the sin.

    When taking the above into consideration it should be understood and appreciated that there is no need to have to definitvely favour driving home this point solidly over da’wah with individuals who may not have managed to muster the inner strength as of yet to perform this not so easy act of ibadah. In fact both should be combined whenever possible – and in a beautiful manner. However when there is a call that has to be made between the two, based on the fact that there is a growing unclarity on the matter in a given place or time – then the obligation of making the stance of Islam and the severe and serious repercussions of the act in terms of its evil effect on society, needs to be expressed in no uncertain terms and loudly (again preferably with gentleness in principle) takes precedence.

    Finally a further point in defence of this so-called judgmental position is the fact that based on the fact that we have been handed down this binding obligation through the consensus (ijma) on hijab, generation after generation, we likewise have an obligation of having certain belief that every mature woman who does not wear the hijab is, in principle, sinning.

    But when it comes to a given case 9ie a particular person) – yes the same concept does exist in princple, however one cannot ever ever ever be so definitive, as apart from not serving any purpose but manifesting a deep hidden arrogance of a high high degree, there is the distinct possibility that the lady may in fact have some extinuating issue in her life (like death, life threatening divorce, etc) perhaps making the rulinng in her case be an *exception*…or she may merely have been ignorant of this fact due to having been deprievd of any source of learning..or..or..or perhaps simply that she is doing it as a rebellious sinner – but she may make tawbah before she dies, while you (or me) die in the opposite (ie worse) predicament (Allah forbid!)…or simply that there may be some small deed that she has done secretly beloved to Allah that outweighs it in her *exceptional* case. Allah knows best.

    But as fo rthe deed itself – it is to be hated, and the doer disliked in accordance with the sin, with the reservation of there being something beyond what meets the eye.

    This I guess, is in reality the difference between the hukm ‘aam (general ruling) over which we can NEVER have any dissent on this matter, and the hukm mu’ayyin( specific ruling on a person) which is ultimately only for Allah to judge (decree) and for us to go on what is apparent.

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  46. Ammar Diwan

    I completely agree with ibn insaan’s post above. You stated the matter in a manner I wasn’t capable of doing. Mashallah.

    If my own posts gave off a different impression, I apologize

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  47. Ammar Diwan

    As for the issue of marriage, I’ve seen double standards. For example, I know of many people who have refused to marry someone who wears the niqab.

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  48. anon

    I have a question about the ijma of hijaab. Why did Hadhrat Umar forbid slaves from wearing hijab? Do slaves not pray or are they allowed to eat pork. I always thought that was very strange.

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  49. anon

    “Why did Hadhrat Umar forbid slaves from wearing hijab?”

    From what I’ve read, back in the day the head scarf was used as a way of differentiating “free women” from unfree women.

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  50. coolred38

    “Why did Hadhrat Umar forbid slaves from wearing hijab?”

    This is one indication in which “not one iota of legitimate differences” came into play. Apparently the order for women to wear hijab (if you choose to believe it) was meant for whichever women the male members of the ummah decided it was meant for. How can there be an order for Muslimahs to wear hijab from God in the Quran and yet a mere man exempted slave women from following that order…merely to differientiate them from non slave women? How did he have the nerve to make such a decicion on behalf of Muslim women who must obey the commandments of God without question? Which means you choose to believe that God ordered women to cover but some are given exemptions depending on their status in life…or God ordered women to cover and yet man can determine who covers based on personal desires…or God ordered women to wear modest clothing but slaves were required to be less modest because they were an “owned commodity” that had less stringent codes of dress thrust on them because of there station in life.

    Of course this also leads to another question…how can fatwas be issued giving Muslim women the right to remove hijab if they feel their life is in danger…such as after 9/11? How can a “direct order” from God be usurped like this? I realize that we are given permission to eat pork if there is a real necessity even though it is forbidden…but then again…that permission is stated right there in the Quran so there is no question about it. If you believe the order for hijab is given in the Quran…then please show where an exemption is given in times of trouble…there is not even a hadith that gives that kind of order.

    Despite what many many Muslims would prefer to believe…many many other Muslims prefer to believe in a Fair and Merciful and most imprortantly a Just God that tells us time and again throughout the Quran that each and every person on this planet is accountable for their own deeds…that they cannot carry the burden of anyone else…and that “lowering our gaze” and “controlling our modesty” is meant for every being that believes in the Judgement Day and accountability. God does not place the virtue of the ummah…the moral actions of the ummah…the very foundation and basic fundamental beliefs on whether the women of that ummah cover their heads or not…men are meant to share the burden (carry their own share of the burden) of lowering the gaze etc…if your gaze is properly lowered then there is no need for women to cover their hair. There should be a “veil” over your eyes that places a barrier between you and the apparent sexual appeal of feminine hair…the same sexual appeal that causes women to “veil” their eyes when looking at male hair. Why is it women are capable of lowering the gaze and controlling their modesty and viewing the male form without resorting to “excuses” for failing to obey the commandments of God…such as…his hair was showing…his strong muscular shoulders were showing…his wide musclebound chest was showing…his “ahem” was clearly detailed and yet we still manage to control our behavoirs and remember God…maybe its men that need covering as they are the ones that apparently need the most help when following the moral codes of conduct prescribed by God. Why place the apparent inability of man to behave himself around women squarely on the shoulders…or should I say head…of Muslimwomen and then turn around and blame and judge them at every turn when they fail to carry that truly massive burden “properly”? All I can say to that is that God is watching and taking careful notes…and all will be revealed in due time. God forgive us our audacity to change this perfect religion from God into a religion designed for men.

    *I realize there is strict criteria (personal opinion) for who gets what comments posted…but “a difference of opinion is a mercy to the ummah”…yes?

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    • paz786

      subhanallah again i thank you for takignt he time to write this very lucid and insightful comments- again, where is the burden of responsibility on men? where are the hordes of sisters crying out gaainst the fact that women are being punished for being women while the men get to play judge and jury? again, the point to note is that are we truly following allah Laws’ or our own? Is not waring the hijab tantamount to disbelief? No. No. No.

      So STOP punishing women for mens sins’. allah judges our hearts and minds not our faces and bodies. Thank you again for writing this.

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  51. Qas

    wow…I never knew you could go as low as to bash Umar radiatallah anho. How do you have the nerve of attacking the companion of the Prophet, who lived him and learned from him and who gave his life for this deen? You’ll probably have a long winded reply with the obligatory “God is looooovvvveee” and with an inauthentic hadith inserted in to prove your point and a “yeeess’ or a “hmmm” and “I don’t follow religion of man” and in the next sentence “i believe this so, if you don’t believe than I got my way and you got yours”.

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  52. Amad

    “coolred”, our religion is not based on opinions of lay people, like you and me. It is based on evidence. Difference of opinion is only a mercy when it is between scholars, not the laypersons, since we don’t have a foot to stand on when giving our opinions. It is like giving opinions on the merits of heart surgery, while having no medical knowledge.

    With respect to hijab and its obligations, you are beating a dead horse with the “hijab in the eyes” argument. There is no legitimate difference of opinion on the obligation of hijab. People better than you and us (in knowledge, age and precedence) know what they were talking about, and in this matter, they didn’t have a difference of opinion. So, I suggest that you accept that and move on. It seems that you have sincere love for Islam, so please don’t try to mold the religious rulings, as you see it. Instead, “hear and obey”, esp. when there is a clear day and night opinion on an issue. It is one thing to not follow religious rulings, it is far worse (and from Shaytan’s bag of tricks) to question the ruling itself. Because you as long as you question it, you will never feel guilty… if you never feel guilty, then you will never do it. So, don’t be deceived.

    wallahualam

    P.s. I would be very, very, very careful when talking about the companions or scholars of Islam in a manner that offers the slightest of disregard for their status.

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  53. coolred38

    I was not insulting Umar…I was stating that how could he have the nerve to forbid slave women to not wear hijab if hijab is in fact a direct order from God? read my words more carefully…hmmm. In other words…he can only make the hijab forbidden to slave women if in fact the hijab is not a direct order from God and only an order directed to the wives of the prophet and not to us ordinary Muslim women. That seems very clear…even to us “lay people”. I would think that its those Muslims that prefer to believe he defied a direct order from God that do the insulting to his honor and practice as a God fearing Muslim man.

    btw…none of you here know how much knowlege I have or what I have studied and what my capabilities are when it comes to understanding my religion…while I might agree that I do not know as much as some Muslims….I would attest to the fact that I do know more than most…as most dont bother to learn further than some ayats for prayer and a few hadith to sound legit. I do not need the opinions of “laypeople” to tell me what Im capable of knowing and what I should just leave to “my betters”…I do not leave my very soul and its eventual outcome in the hands of Muslims that have no real concern for its well being…..and yes…scholars are learned and spent many years attaining that rank…but in the end they are offering their opinions…I can take it or leave it…that is the choice God gave me…along with my brain to think for myself….so thanks for your “concern” for my understanding or apparent lack there of…but Im doing just fine.

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    • paz786

      salaam coolred38- well done mashAllah for speakign with dignity and strength and not alowing a bunch of chauvinistic male muslim men to intimidate you. Subhanallah what a sad state of affairs we are in as an Ummah- is it any wonder the mon-muslims call us extremist and fanatics when we confronted with such arrogant rude and condescending opinions from suppsed muslims..??

      Where is the love, compassion and tolerance exemplified by the Prophet pbuh in these so called muslim bloggers?? They sound like an angry bunch of yobs ready to pounce!

      Firstly, I wholeheartedly agree with you sister, that in the quran the order for hijab was directed in principal towards the wives of the Prophet pbuh. It then spread out towards the muslim community at large. Ultimately, I do not believe that not wearing hijab means one’s emaan is poor or weak. absolutely not. Men too have a shared responsibility to dress modestly and conduct themselves in a moral and god-fearing manner. sadly, what we find today is an ummah filled with hypocritical, arrogant men aggressively oppressing the voice of sisters and projecting their own fears and prejudices upon them.
      I find it saddening that these supposed muslims judging another persons emaan, making presumptions and attacking that which allah has given us all a mind, a heart and the ability to decide for ourselves. There are many many people in this world who love allah who believe in Him, they may not be wearing the right clothes and some not even able to pray as much, Perhaps they spent their life working hard to provide for their children etc or some other good reason. Who is to say whether hat person will got o hell or Heaven? ONLY Allah can decide that…
      STOP HATING and start using your hearts and minds rather than judging, hating and presuming.May allah swt guide and help this disunited and lost Ummah.

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  54. ibn fellah

    It’s funny how we’ve all created our own ‘mini-shari’ahs’ and our own usools regarding fiqh.

    What exactly do people mean when they say ‘judgemental’ ?

    It’s true that a person who does not wear hijaab should be approached with hikmah, most of all his or her attitude should be taken into consideration. Is the person a ‘converitble’ hijaabi because they are not really interested in wearing hijaab, or are they struggling with imaan? So depending on the situation of the person they should be approached.

    But I find it funny how people, especially the modernists-salafist, tend to brush everything aside and see everything as ‘black’ and ‘white’. Some one calling out some one for not wearing hijaab is not being judgemental, they are just showing their disapproval of something ghayr shari’i.

    I wonder what the people here have to say about the fact that fuqaha of the past have declared anyone who shaved a beard as a ‘faasiq’, no matter how pious the person may be. He is called ‘fasiq’ for clearly contravening shari’ah. So in shari’i terms anyone who doesn’t wear hijab is quintessentially a ‘fasiq’. Whether the PC, flip-flopping neo-mujtahids like it or not.

    Again doing da’wah and legal reprecussions are not necessarily the same thing. So we shouldn’t get judgemental on someone who is judging someone for not wearing hijaab!

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  55. Siraaj

    Ibn Fellah,

    No disagreement on the faasiq label – question is, will you tell that to their faces? Is that the best way to get them to come around? Are they even praying? do they have eman (ie, muslim name and family, but not much understanding and / or belief beyond a cursory affiliation with the religion of their family and race).

    And – is convertible hijaabi a shar’i term?

    Siraaj

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  56. Siraaj

    re: question on slave women not wearing hijjaab on ‘umar’s orders

    Actually, Shaykh Yasir Qadhi is probably a good person to ask, he answered this question during sisters Q & A at Light upon Light in Wasat. Unfortunately, I wasn’t paying attention to the answer, so I’m not going to repeat the bits and pieces I recall. Maybe some of the mods can ask him if he’d like to jump in and give an answer, insha’Allah.

    Siraaj

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  57. Feedback

    Can’t tell why we resort to labeling and branding. May be an evolutionary trait for survival. In my last friday khutbah, I heard a brother tell that, if a muslim doesn’t have anything to say that will be of any benefit, he should be quiet. Anything that portrays muslims in a bad/ negetive light should be avoided because this can lead to gheebah and many other sins

    The Prophet (pbuh) strongly warned against gheebah. And he defined it as saying something about your brother which the brother dislikes. He further elaborates and tell us that even if what is said is true about the individual then speaking of such “defects” are still considered as gheebah, and if it turns out to be false, then it is slander.

    Pretty simple, quite accurate, and rightly leaves “NO” room from pronouncing a judgment against another muslim. Now may be you have the right to think lowly of your brother or sister. That’s something between the individual and Allah. But spreading your poor reflection of other muslims simply doesn’t cut it in Islam.

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  58. ibn insaan

    Bismillah..

    Just saw what’s been written since; I’ve been ‘derpriuved’ of sleep for a few days now so can’t write anything long – to the relief of everyone myself first and foremost.

    “ibn fellah”, there is a problem which needs to be identified here and which we as muslims, especially in the west urgently need to get passed: everyone is mega mega terrofied of te word judgement – unfortunately not when mentioned in the context of the Hereafter, but only in the context of this world. I wish the only reason for that was the justice of Allah to be witnessed in the akhirah, and the injustice of some human beings.

    We desperately need to gt over being so freeked out ands ultra sensitive to the word judgemental and judgement. understand this: you are always making judgements – almost every second of your life. You never leave one thing in favour of something else except as a result of a judgemnt about the person or thing!

    The matter of hijab is 100% clear cut, black and white in terms of its obligation, and there are simply no two ways about it. ANd as such it is the belief – that is the required belief of a muslim – that the lady who doesn’t observe hijab in her life is liable for the punishmnet of God Almighty. And likewise with specific individuals; on the surface they are disobeying Allah: if Allah wishes he can burn them in hell for it for a period of time, or, if He wishes He can forgive them – and we pray that He always deals with us with His Mercy which encompasses all things and which is greater than our imagination or perception of it. And because we really have no real idea about any unapparent extinuating excuses which except the sister of ours from it in her *exceptional* case we hate the act and dislike the doer, while being mild when possible – holding the possibility that there may be some reason or thing which may outweigh that, and hence would never dream of judging (in the sense of decreeing, or judging the abode of the person in the herafter for certain). Allah knows best

    Regarding the slavery: ok, so then we all agree then that there’s an absolute agreement amongst all classical scholarship on the complete obligation of the covering of the mature, free woman :) Since that is the case then our discussion has essentiually come to a close for almost everyone here in the West, UK, Canada and the States. That is unless you want to suggest that everyone has made themselves slaves :)

    My point: everything hereafter is a mere digression from our central line of discussion!

    brother “coolred”Inshallah Allah make you better – I assume you are may be slightly unwell an dthat was the reason for such strange musings.

    Let me leave you though with some thoughts, that’s all. You say a ‘mere man such as Umar’ (may Allah be pleased with him). What was Muhammad (alayhis salam)? Man, correct? But Prophet, right? So he, as stated in the Quran itself, never spoke of matters of religion from his own desires – it was only revelation inspired unto him, correct? So his word can essentially be taken like Gospel so to speak. And it was he, sallallhu alayhi wa sallam who said: If there was to be a Prophet after me it would be Umar, but there are no prophets hereafter; it was he sallallhu alayhi wa sallam who told us about the type of inspiration that if there was to be it wpuld be Umar from his ummah; it was him sallallhu ‘alayhi wa sallam who said: follow and imitate the two after me: Abu Bakr and Umar” and said: “Upon you is to follow my sunnah and the sunnah of the Rightly guided Caliphs after me”; Hence Umar’s way or sunnah is somehting according to some scholars that will have weight. Although the reality of course is that the maning of the hadeeth is different from that posited above – however it is equally true that the situaton descirbed of umar deciding based on desires to take this step, is also something completely false and an utter figment of the imagination of one or two commentors, may Allah forgive them and us.

    Coolred,, my friend, the aim is not to judge you or your level; however I am sure you will appreciate that the levle of discourse that you occasionally put forward is not seldomly painfully superficial and poorly informed. It is ultimately your own words which seem to be convicting you, not us.

    All the best with your struggles in finding the truth, may Allah make it easy and beneficial for you. And of course, Allah knows best.

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  59. coolred38

    I will agree that Umar was a man among men…a man most Muslim men today would do well to emulate but sadlly fail to draw even close to…but no matter how good and religious a man he was he still could not defy a direct order from God forbidding an act that you deem to be “100 percent clear cut black and white in terms of obligation”…slave women are in a different class from free women only economically…spiritually they are considered equal…and in some cases are cited as being an even better choice for a spouse then a free woman….”a believing slave women is better than a non believing free woman…” so slave women were under the same obligations to perform obligatory acts prescribed by God as free believing women…and yet Muslims want to claim that Umar defied God and forbid slave women from wearing hijab. Then you seem to claim that since we arent slaves today that doesnt really matter anymore(maybe I read it wrong)…actually we are just as much slaves today as 1400 years ago…the only difference being now is that Muslims have become slaves to hadith and mans law based on culture rather than the perfect and absolute law given by God.

    So we can conclude that since slave women were under the exact same obligations as free believing women to follow the prescribed religious actions according to God in the Quran…then we must also conclude that if hijab was a direct order from God for all women for all time without question…then neither Umar nor anyone else could forbid slave women from wearing a God ordered peice of clothing…no matter how pious and exalted he was….therefore it would seem easy to assume that the only way he could forbid such a thing was if it wasnt a direct order from God meant for all women for all time but just directed at the wives of the Prophet. If it wasnt a direct order…then it was not a problem for him to forbid such a thing…and being the upright pious man that he was…Im sure he realized this.

    You are very kind in your regards for my finding the truth etc…I will pass on those same regards to you.

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    • paz786

      Again, mashAllah ..Im reading all this with hapiness and relief that finally there is a mind that is trong and not afraid to think for itself and speaks the truth. Well done Coolred38! You know what? I wear the hijab, and can emphatically state that it does not make me a better muslim nor do i feel I am sinning in the years when I didnt wear it. Its a personal choice and no one least of all men have the right to judge women. Why dont we start a debate on mens beards and wife beating? Why? Becuase its futile and time wasting exercise. wake up- the world around you is in ruins- wake up and realise there are grearter issues to deal with and stop acting like barbaric ignorant folk. so all you muslim brothers out there, judging this person, I say this to you: stop trying to foist your opinon others- this is a form of abuse and it is wholly un islamic to berate another persons emaan. Why are you all so scared to address the points made- hijab is not obligatory in the same way that the five pillars of Ilsam are sp stop trying to raise it to that level. the truth is that Islam has been hijacked by men for thousands of centuries and the result has been women enslaved and abused all their lives in the name of religion. is this Islam? Is this truth and justice? Islam has the worst reputation for the treatment of women in the whole world..why dont all you holier than thou muslim men ask yourselves why?? Because men have continually sought to pervert Allah’s Laws and lisuse the trust allah gave them as protectors of women. what do we see today, a society turned upside down because of mes’ njustice to women..so stop with all this futile disputation on the hijab becuase youa re not going to win the argument. And Allah knows best

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  60. anon

    I personally see nothing strange about Coolred’s musings. They are really the only ones that appear to have any brain activity put into them. (And no, regurgitation does not require brain activity. A parrot could do that) If women covering their heads is as everyone here put it, “a direct order from God” than why was a mere man (one who wasn’t even a prophet no less) allowed to tell women that they should not and cannot cover? I don’t really think there is any dispute that this event occurred. I’ve read it from many reputable sources myself. And it really makes no sense (to me anyways). That means that he apparently had the power to go against the very will and very direct (and apparently very obvious and very clear according to you all) orders of God. I also find it odd why God would need to order women to cover their heads in the first place when they had been doing so for centuries to begin with. It’s like ordering the average american to wear underwear. Seems rather redundant and unnecessary. Anyways, these are just the rather strange musings of someone who likes to think for themselves.

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    • paz786

      Again thank you! someone who has exercised the neurons in their brain. Someone who is asking intelligent questions and sees the bigger picture! Exactly. If Umar ra made this command, why would he, whom the Prophet pbuh who was a close companion of his, defy allah’s Laws and tell slave women not to cover??? Someone please answer this question and answer it with intelligence and understnding…

      This again further consolidates the assertion that it was never a direct command from allah to ALL muslim women, only the Prophet pbuh wives. Lets get things completely clear. It became a practice thereafter according to aisha RA, who says in one Hadith’ when the command came for women to cover the women of ansar ripped off some of their outer garments and wrapped it round their heads and it looked like birds sitting on top of their heads.’ or words to that effect, forgiveme, for I do not have the exact words at hand to quote.

      So yes, it became a practice but no where in the laws of Islam can we make the statement that a muslim woman emaan i sweak, or she is to be frowned upon or that she is to be likened to someone who eats pork (utterly ludicous and preposterous comment!!!). If a muslim woman wears modest dress, lowers her gaze, prays 5 times a day, fasts, endeavours to be a good muslim in every way she will go to hell because she never covered her hair..???? That does not sound Islamic to me..if allah is Ar-Rahman, Rahim, who forgives ALL sins except shirk, how can this possibly sound correct? Again, what we are witnessing here is the transference of mens’ discriminatory/prejudicial and mysoginistic views being heaped upon the long-suffering woman. Same story all through out time. Before Islam, they were burying us women and now we have muslim men resorting to the same tactics on amore subtle level.

      Please do not think I am against the wearing of hijab- I wear hijab but am of the opinion that we as muslims should not try to bully others into what we ‘feel’ is right or wrong. Yes, there are many deviations and social sicknesses spread from immoral behaviour and indecent dressing but it should be added, we are discussing those woman muslims who although may not be wearing hijab still dress with modesty and conduct themselves with taqwa.

      The main point is that we need to stop this woman-hating behaviour it has given Islam a bad name. We need to start spreading love and light- this is how the Prophet pbuh initiated change he touched the hearts of people with hismercy pbuh. where is the mercy in muslims these days? Allah says when mercy leaves our hearts He removes His mercy from us, how sad the times we are living in now.

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  61. fewThoughts

    Bismillah,
    Hi, anon, let me try to address the second part of your question. “Head covering” as you rightly pointed out, had been done for centuries, but as you will know for centuries “man” has this tendency to go astray and “forget”. This is something of a biological issue, and there are some exceptions, say being a prophet, and/or having certain special abilities to retain information. Most religions, have some important commonalities of enjoining good and forbidding evil. Some are older than others, but certainly as muslims we believe, mankind over a course of a certain time period falls into forgetting and therefore needs reminders and renewals. This is not uncommon today. We have a plethora of “information-reminder” tools that help us navigate through sometimes a very busy life… Also, this is where Quran kicks into gear for our time, and the reminder of “head” cover, and perhaps the 2.0 version specifically called “hijab”. As I understand Christians, and even early Persians before Islam did in fact draw head covers, but as I mentioned over time its application lost importance and later renewed , expanded during the time of Islam. This can be quite natural. Think of it in terms of old laws getting revised or revisited.

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  62. fatima

    Ma’ashallah. How long is the debate allowed to go on?
    I think we all agree that we must all follow the commands of Allah and obey His rules whether it’s hijab or other.
    Sometimes life can be hard being a muslim, but thats only a trail, Prophets (may Allah’s peace be upon them all)
    before us were tried with harder tests and trials. So we too will be tried and tested.
    Sometimes our iman goes up, sometimes it comes down. Some of us live surrounded by good islamic influences, some of
    dont. But let us never forget that none of us here were born with beards or ankle lenght trousers, with hijabs or with jilbabs.
    We had to climb up the ladder slowly and step by step. Sometimes we fall down one step, but manged to keep on climbing,
    but the most important thing was that we still wanted to climb.
    As muslims, we are all one body, one ummah, when one part hurts, the other feels it. We see our fellow muslims having
    difficulty with the deen, we hold their hand and help them stand on their feet. I wear hijab and jilbab but God, can practising the
    deen be difficult a times. I’m sure it doesn’t mean I’m weak, just that I’m facing some difficulty being “strange” and grateful I am for being strange.
    Non-hijabi sister, I would say you start learning about your deen because without knowledge, their is little inspiration. If you’re having difficulty with wearing the hijab, prostrate to Allah with sincerity and beg Him for strength and guidance and to open your heart, remember, you don’t have time to be contemplating, the grave calls your name…and may soon enjoy your company.

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    • paz786

      salaam sister. again STOP judging this sister. I too wear hijab and dont believe women will go to hell because they dont wear it- have some respect for your fellow sisters. And have some mercy towards others and stop judging them.

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  63. Ahmad AlFarsi

    “Why did Hadhrat Umar forbid slaves from wearing hijab?”

    I always thought it was niqab (not khimar) that slaves did not have to wear… but that they still had to wear the khimar (which is what we colloquially refer to as “hijab” in American Muslim English)

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  64. Ahmad AlFarsi

    Here on IslamQa.com, it mentions that slave women did not have to cover their faces (i.e. wear FULL hijab), but it is implied that other than that they still had to observe the rest of the hijaab.

    http://www.islamqa.com/en/ref/8489/

    The hadeeth came after the revelation of the hijaab and after it was made obligatory for the believing women. But the full hijaab is only for free women; slaves and concubines should not resemble free women by wearing the full hijaab. A slave woman does not have to cover her face, and ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) used to forbid them to do so. This is the case if there is no fear of fitnah from them; but if there is fitnah, then they have to do whatever will prevent that fitnah.

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  65. Siraaj

    coolred: where did you get the idea that slaves are under the same obligations as free men and women?

    Siraaj

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  66. coolred38

    And which obligations do you feel slaves were not responsible to fullfill? As I mentioned being a slave was a reflection of your economic situation…not your spirtiual or religious standing. Being a slave did not exempt you from fullfilling your responsibilities as a Muslim…why would you assume it did? God does not judge us based on our worldy standing Siraj…it matters little to Him if you are a slave or noble person…president or street sweeper…imam or housewife…your responsibilities and obligations to your own soul are exactly the same.

    Incidently, I find it interesting the wording from that hadith posted up there. “If there is no fear of fitna from them(them beng the slaves or concubines one would presume)….considering slaves and concubines were owned property and as such were most often treated in appalling ways that would have Human Rights advocates singing the blues…why the presumption that fitna is coming from them…sounded more like it was being acted upon them by all historical accounts. Slaves and concubines needed protection from their owners in most cases…not the other was around. There would be no need or thought of covering a slave or concubines face against the lusty unwanted looks of man…because man had “every right” to take what he wanted from them without fear of reprisal from other men…or from God(so they believed).

    I might also add that….yes…cultures have always used covering to some degree or another…a short look through many time periods will prove this fact…but what it also proves is that very rarely was the covering done for religious purposes. Most often the covering was done to indicate the social and economical situation of the one covered. A rich and untouchable woman covered to show her standing and that mere mortals were not worthy of gazing upon her monied face. History is proof positive that while many many followers from different religions will claim God is the reason certain practices are “required obligations” etc…very rarely is God even a consideration when all is said and done.

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  67. Siraaj

    As I mentioned being a slave was a reflection of your economic situation

    Slavery in Islam was not a reflection of one’s economic standing – it was the capturing of nonMuslims during war. NonMuslim slaves under Muslim masters did in many cases become Muslim, but that was not their original state when captured.

    It was a social situation which reflected less rights than a free Muslim, and as such, responsibility and culpability were also lowered in many instances.

    Please do more research on this topic and share with us your thoughts afterwards.

    Siraaj

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  68. ummafnaan

    Coolred38,

    Why is the punishment for fornication 50 lashes for a slave and 100 lashes for a free believer? Shouldn’t that tell you something about the different level of responsibility and culpability between a believing slave and a free believer?
    Allah azza wa jal says in His Book:

    And whoever of you have not the means wherewith to wed free, believing women, they may wed believing girls from among those (captives and slaves) whom your right hands possess, and Allah has full knowledge about your Faith, you are one from another. Wed them with the permission of their own folk (guardians, Auliya’ or masters) and give them their Mahr according to what is reasonable; they (the above said captive and slave-girls) should be chaste, not adulterous, nor taking boy-friends. And after they have been taken in wedlock, if they commit illegal sexual intercourse, their punishment is half that for free (unmarried) women. This is for him among you who is afraid of being harmed in his religion or in his body; but it is better for you that you practise self­restraint, and Allah is Oft­Forgiving, Most Merciful. (An-Nisa 4:25)

    So whereas the believer is to be stoned to death for adultery or given 100 lashes and exiled for a year for fornication, the slave is ONLY given fifty lashes whether for adultery or fornication. This is enough a proof that slaves are not held accountable on the same level as free muslims in the Sight of Allah azza wa jal.

    And Allah knows best.

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    • paz786

      again where is this all going..? Like a pack of wolves you men are so predictable…its truly saddenign that you cannot even come halfway to try and understand the sister’s points- perhaps if you did you may even clarify her points..no. instead you muslim men gather together to burn the witch at the stake..a time old tradition..of course…you can always bury us women..isnt that what they used to do before Islam..?

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  69. coolred38

    Cupability and responsibility only went so far when in a position of slavery….and it was an economic situation…if you were caught during war then you could be ransomed back to your tribe…if you were from a wealthy tribe or family you were paid for and freed…if not then you continued to be a slave until you could earn enough money to free yourself…or were set free as a charitable act.

    If you were a non Muslim slave then wearing or not wearing hijab or niqab was not a religious requirement was it.

    How does the amount of punishment meted out reflect on your responsibilities as a Muslim slave…maybe you were punished less for this or that crime…but you were still held accountable for committing it…and it was still a sin against yourself. Adultery and fornication was a sin regardless of whether you were free or not.

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  70. AnonyMouse

    Coolred38: Actually, the practice of distinguishing between the slave girl and the free woman by not allowing the slave to wear niqaab is something found in the Sunnah.

    Sahih al-Buhari, the Book of al-Maghaazi, #1650:

    Narrated Anas:
    The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) stayed for 3 nights between Khaibar and al-Madinah and was married to Safiyyah. I invited te Muslims to his marriage banquet and there was neither meat nor bread in that banquet, but the Prophet ordered Bilaal to spread the leather mats on which dates, dried yoghurt and butter were put.
    The Muslims said amongst themselves, “Will she (Safiyyah) be one of th emothers of the believers (one of the wives of the Prophet), or just (a lady captive) of what his right hand posses (i.e. a slave girl)?”
    Some of them said, “If the Prophet makes her observe the veil, then she will be of the mothers of the believers, and if he does not make her observe the veil, then she will be his lady-slave.”
    So when he departed, he made a place for her behind him (on his camel) and made her observe the veil.

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    • paz786

      Men like you have caused many to turn away from Islam with your basic lack of adab and contentious manners. May allah save this Ummah from the arrogant and the ones who lack adab. Ameen

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  71. Siraaj

    Cupability and responsibility only went so far when in a position of slavery….and it was an economic situation…if you were caught during war then you could be ransomed back to your tribe…if you were from a wealthy tribe or family you were paid for and freed…if not then you continued to be a slave until you could earn enough money to free yourself…or were set free as a charitable act.

    Could, would, should, maybe. Your reply is full of hope and not enough substance. You’ve repeated one set of possibilities and failed to articulate on the potential of others. Please find the time to sit down with someone of knowledge who will not feed you apologetics and get you to the guts of the matter.

    You might like to start here:
    http://www.islamqa.com/en/ref/94840/slavery

    Siraaj

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    • paz786

      Siraaj ,perhaps you should yourself re-read the Quran becuase you sound like one of the Jahilliyah with your arrogant and presumptious comments. fear allah you dont know where you will go in the end and have NO right to judge coolred38.

      I wear hijab and thats my personal choice- I do not judge other women if they do not as long as they are modestly dressed. what is important is that we refrain from arrogance and direct the mirror towards ourselves- look at your own state and seek to rectify your own nafs rather than spar with someone who at least displays a modicum of intelligence.

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  72. Ahmad AlFarsi

    If you were a non Muslim slave then wearing or not wearing hijab or niqab was not a religious requirement was it.

    What about public dress code?

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  73. Zahra

    I didn’t have a chance to read thru all 77 comments BUT great piece.

    There is nothing sadder than when Muslims judge. Allahu alam as to what the individuals we are judging are going thru. Let (s)he who is without sin cast the first stone.

    At the same time, I’m not sure I had previously heard the term used to describe sisters vs. to describe hijab (i.e. “convertible hijab).

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  74. ummafnaan

    Coolred38 said:

    How does the amount of punishment meted out reflect on your responsibilities as a Muslim slave…maybe you were punished less for this or that crime…but you were still held accountable for committing it…and it was still a sin against yourself. Adultery and fornication was a sin regardless of whether you were free or not.

    It has everything to do with it. Because if believing slaves and free believers were held on the same level of responsibility and culpability for their actions by Allah(swt), then the punishments would be EXACTLY the same.

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  75. Amad

    You know the question of slavery is really irrelevant these days. The point was that you can’t use this issue to prove anything, especially in light of the tons of clear evidence for hijab. So, let’s move on to more practical issues inshallah.

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  76. ibn insaan

    Dear sister “Coolred”

    Hope you’re better than before inshAllah.

    As has been pointed out already, that the discussion has drwn rather long, as is now becoming less fruitful than before – for all involved. I wasn’t able to explain any further as I don’t always have regular internet access and besides, the matter in hand really does not require much more clarification and all praise are for Allah, Lord of the Worlds.

    To summarise then:

    – The injunction for Hijab, in command form, is there and preent in the Quran and Sunnah for all to read and apply till the Last Day

    – there is an absolute Ijma’, or consensus, among all classical scholarly authorities centuries upon centuries of Islam.

    – regarding the topic of slavery, it would be incorrect to infer that the exception mentioined from the time of Umar radiAllahu ‘anhu to a female who held the status of slavery being exempt as nullifying the explicit meaning of the Divine Command and Injunction ofHijab, as

    i – the exeption substantiated from within revelation itself, as mentioned in the Prophetic tradition delineated above, and understood accordingly by all scholarly authority over the centuries of Islam.

    ii – there is an established distinction made within the sharee’ah of Islam between the roles, responsibilities and rewards/punishments between the legally free person and slave both in terms of Ibadah (worship) and otherwise. This is well known and understood by most with a familiaity of the legal directives of Islam. Understand, that it is unlikely, rather impossible, for the ‘cupability’ for two people who are both equally legally responisble in a given act to have two completely different penalties or rewards – either in this world or the Hereafter, as this is contrary to the very letter and spirit of Justice which Islam has come to uphold. Rather because there is an established Islamci difference between the two, hence there is a clear distinction in terms of roles and requirements and thereafter repercussions from given acts.

    iii- had the matter been as stated, that Umar had given exception to this sector of the society, then the way to proceed based on your words would be one of two:

    (A ) To say as you said that ‘umar was a mere man who could make mistakes and therefore disregard that decision or understanding in favour of a clear Quranic and Prophetic injunction. <—This is only not fully tenible due to the fact that we have a Prophetic ahadeeth demonstarting the basis of Umar’s action, alng with a a vast majority of scholars agreeing exactly with this.

    (B ) To understand that Umar’s ‘sunnah’ holds a weight and is to be followed, when falling under the guidance of the Prophet peace be upon him. And in this case being in line with a consnsus of the Muslims!

    However to think that the move ‘of a mere man’ to exempt a particular sector of society (which in reality was exempted by none other than Divine Revealtion [ie Prophetic guidance]- implies that we can infer that it is not binding or anyone fullstop save the Mothers of the believers, is not a logical path to follow. And above all, it flies against an agreement of scholars os Islam, from all backgrounds, including from every discipline including even Shee’ah (!!!) etc?!

    So what are we saying…that suddenly we in the 21st century have come to a conclusion and realisation, an awakening enlightenment that all the Muslims and Sahabah (companions of the Prophet peace be upon him) were all unaware of. So what happened to the preservation of the Religion in all its parts? And what will be suddenly discovered to be right next? Tawheed or Trinity? I request that I am forgiven if my tone sounds harsh, as I guarantee you that that isn’t the intent at all. But perhaps the following article may profitable read for us inshAllah: http://www.islam21c.com/british-affairs/consensus-ijtihad.html

    Perhaps it would be suitable to end the comment with the verse of the Quran; the word in Arabic is Jilbab, what we call now a days as the Hijab, or covering of the Muslim lady.

    If after the above and the verse to be posted below, anyone is still confused, then let them pray to Allah for Guidance, and be sure of a response from Him:

    “59. O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies. That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allâh is Ever Oft­Forgiving, Most Merciful” (Surah Al Ahzab, 33:59)

    I hope this was of some help, and Allah alwasy knows best.

    -Edited: “Sister” Coolred, not brother.

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  77. SaqibSaab

    Wow, what happened???

    Point of this post was: stop turning people away from the worship of Allah with harshness or mocking their lack of or inability to practice Islam. Rather, be firm while being polite.

    Also, remember the days when you had weak iman and practice. It’ll humble yourself.

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    • paz786

      thank you one muslim brother?? who has shown basic adab the first step in becoming muslim is to show adab.

      I agree- lets stop criminalising muslim sisters or brothers who express opinions which may be controversial kets have positive discussions- exchange information if it can help. This is not a competition. Every person has the right to free will to choose and to decide. Wearing a hijab does not automatically qualify oneself for a place in Jannah. Wake up muslim men and women and stop being arrogant and judgemental.

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  78. Christina Hill

    I appreciated readng this article as I am one of those strugglig sisters. I am truly trying to do my best in Islam and it is great to hear that there are those out there who understand instead of criticize. Pray for me. Thank you.

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  79. Amad

    Sr. Christina, thank you for commenting here. Such personal and direct feedback is rewarding for the author and the blog in general. May Allah help you in all ways to achieve the best in the deen.

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  80. Khadija

    heyy….
    this is off topic but a question
    but why were slaves punished for fornication at all?
    wasn’t fornication a part of their existence? meaning (right hands possess) and all that stuff…as far as a i know mae masters had full sexual power over their slaves (yuck)
    so how does fornication for them work??

    if anyone knows

    but the fact that slaves couldn’t wear hijab was always weird to me

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  81. Abeer

    Assalamoalaikum!

    I would like to praise the writer for discussing this side of Hijab. Often people do not realize that it can be difficult to for some women to take Hijab. It depends on family, circumstances and the kind of environment you are in. When I was in school, I was one of the few ones taking hijab and I found it difficult to make friends. People thought I was ‘boring’ because I didn’t attend mixed parties and didn’t ‘dress up’ like the other girls. I felt alienated from the entire crowd, but thankfully I did not forego my hijab. I think convertible hijabis is just an illustration of this struggle. They are slowly and steadily making the transition… may Allah help them!

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  82. oumabdurrahman

    As-salaamoualaikoum,

    As a new Muslim about seven years ago, I can remember how after I accepted Islam, I was so afraid of making mistakes, so I was very eager to wear the hijaab. But because I was alone and I had to self support my self, I could not wear it right away, constantly. It was after three months, is when I finally and boldly decided to wear an abaya and its shall, and I just showed up ( I was working for the State of Texas at that time). And everybody was so intrigued and they smiled and they had so many curious questions to ask, and they would usually smile and say,
    “Well I’m really amazed at how you stand by what you believe in, I think that’s great.” And it was like a tool for strong da’wah at the time, because the nature of my job involved having to go and conduct inspections on damaged property and vehicles due to the flood back 2001 in Houston. So, I think Allah helps the one who wants to try, and facilitates that part of worship for a person, if they are really sincere, and ask for that in constant prayer. It’s doable, it’s just hard to let go of that lifestyle prior to hijaab, the rock climbing, the swimming, going to the gym, all of that I had to let go of, but I did it for the sake of Allah, and Allah recompenses us when we do leave something behind for His sake. It helps to remember that you’re not totally cut off once you wear hijaab, it’s just that you have to adjust your lifestyle a bit, and sometimes that does involve making sacrifices. But in the end this world is temporary, we can die at anytime, and we just don’t know when that time will come, so you have to do what you can now, while your in good health to do good deeds.

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  83. Victoria

    Beautiful reminder. I think it’s great that it came from a brother actually. The issue is not what the “convertible hijab” refers to it’s the fact that the term is even used without knowing the circumstances behind it. We should encourage the sisters, not mock or make fun of them. Some are struggling and some are not aware of the proper requirements.

    I’ve actually seen one sister in a masjid pray her entire salat with no hijab on. Just t-shirt and jeans. I’m sure she didn’t know any better. Another sister I met had really long hair and only covered her head portion during the salat. I saw her at jumah and asked my friend if she always prayed this way and she said yes. I asked why no one told her and she just shrugged. Now I’m a convert and this sister is from Pakistan–go figure. I proceeded to inform her that she needed to cover her hair also. And she said “but I have long hair.” I explained that it can be tied up and many sisters have long hair. She looked around he room as if in total shock that she had been praying this way forever and how come no one told her. She tied her hair up and prayed her salat like that from then on. All this time she was under the impression that the head must be covered and only the hair that lays on the head—-quite understandable.

    Imagine if we had let her continue to go on this way, we would be responsible for it—not her for not knowing.

    Great reminder of how we sometimes get so self righteous that we forget our responsibilities to properly guide and remind each other and not to harm others with our tongues. Jazakallah Khair

    Sister Christina, you are in my duas. May Allah (swt) make it easy on you. Like sister oumabdurrahman said, Allah really helps you and rewards you when you do it for His sake. I initially postponed it for fear of not finding a job and funny I got rejected for all jobs until I put my hijab on and I got the first job I interviewed for afterwards and it was better than all of the others. One day it just hit me that my rizaq is from Allah anyway and that me fearing others was shirk. I put it on the same day. I lived in a state and city where even the Muslims hardly covered but a few sisters were enough for support.

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  84. yasmine

    Assalamoalaikum, this is very strange for me as i dont know who i am writing to… i am in need of help and advice from any sisters that are able to guide me. I am 20 years old.My father is iranian however is not a Muslim, infact to some extent he is against Islam. My mother is portuguese and she was raised as a catholic. they both believe in God but they dont follow a particular faith. being a Muslim in my home is very difficult for me, my parents dont buy halal meat, they all eat pork and drink alcohol (including my younger brother). I taught myself about Islam, i taught myself how to do wuthu and how to pray but i am finding it so hard to practise Islam freely, without having to hope someone doesnt walk in when im praying, or without being afraid to play adhan in my room incase someone hears, asking for halal meat or being so hungry yet not being able to eat with my family because dinner means pork or regular haram meat.when my parents went away i felt at ease, i could pray where i wanted and leave all the doors open, i could play the adhan as loud as i wanted, i could recite the Q’uran to myself loudly. i felt so happy then… i want to become hijabi but i dont know how it will be possible. I dont know how my family would react. i have tried hinting alot of things to them and they have been oblivious to it. i know that Islam is the right for me, i pray that Inshalla one day i will have a family of my own and i can raise my children the right way, the Islamic way. i dont want to go against my belief, i dont want to go against Islam but i also dont want to go against my family or lose them… i dont know if ive explained everything properly and i dont really know what advice i am askng for, but if there is anyone with a similar situation to me ,someone who has overcome a similar issue or if you have any sort of advice please do comment as it will help me so so much.

    Thank you very very much….

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  85. vasis

    wow, this is nicely said. you found some great points which people often overlook. i feel like people do make a mockery out of sisters who are struggling with hijab. Jazakullah for the insight. Oh and i really like the term “potential hijabi”!!!

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  86. zara

    I absolutely loved reading this post … I myself am a stuggling hijabi … not in the sense that i put it on/take it off constantly … however i continously stuggle with staying strong enough to keep it on permanently … [ive been wearing it since a year now] … i continuously read posts online about this issue and have found most posters [genreally hijabis] being extremely judgemental about those of us who arent strong enough and end up taking the hijab off … It is not easy to wear hijab in many western countries … there is a lot of sterotyping and negative judgement .. its harder to get jobs in some cases … for some its harder to get married … for others its simply a self confidence/depression issue … the only reason i feel strong enough to keep stuggling is because of the large amount of support i get from family and friends [both hijab wearing and non-hijabis] … I hope that those who took time reading this post take away a good example and truly try to be more supportive of those who are struggling with hijab =)

    I also wanted to comment on coolred’s posts … i really appreciate people like her … those who dig deeper into religion and try to learn and understand religion on their own terms … I strongly believe that it is our responsibility as Muslims to never just sit there and accept what others before us have declared as truth to be absolute truth … only God’s words in the Quran can be taken as absolute truth … everything else should be up to debate … The fact that extremely knowledgeable and religious people [who i am guessing were all male] decided a long time ago that the issue about Hijab is clear cut … does not mean that we all shuld just blindly believe it … [if people just blindly kept believeing what their religious and knowledgeable forefathers believed... then no one would ever have converted to Islam in the first place] at the very least we should not discourage discourse about it … since discussion allows others to further their knowlege and perhaps increase their faith … I also noted many rude replies to her posts … and very discouraging and insulting ones … while she still replied with respect … guess the initial post by br saqib didnt quiet register … set a good example … speak with respect .. do not insult the person you are trying to convince … only then may you succeed in some manner … if you insult you only confirm her previous beliefs … or drive her away from discussing it and perhaps finding truth in your statements

    As for myself I have only started my journey on the hijab issue … with further research.. prayer… and further gained knowledge and discussions … my opinion about hijab may or may not change … however fact is that i have only undertaken this journey to become closer to Allah … not for anyone elses approval or disapproval …

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    • paz786

      salaam sister Zara

      thank you for your insightful comments well- written and I completely agree- i was shoked at the mob-like response to cooolred’s comments. MashAllah she is using her mind and asking qustions, isnt that what we should all be doing? One thing I’ve found as a muslim which I’ve never been able to reconcile is the blatant lack of respect given to females in Islam esp from muslim brothers- It really saddens me. growing up the lack of respect I found in the muslim community directed towards women drove me away rather than bring me closer to it. Alhumdulilah, Allah guides and none other.Today still women are suffering at the hands of male chauvinistic men who use religion to asserttheir superiority over women and abuse thir positions.

      Wearinh hijab is a very difficult thing to do esp here in the west and sometimes its not always suitable to do so. Yes, of course it is good if women wear it but the point Im trying to make is how dare all these men start to pass judgement and attack women who choose not to wear it? Who are they? They are not Allah, they have no right to judge. What is more important being a good muslim or carrying the appearance of a muslim.

      Coolred has displayed more taqwa and adab in her communications than any of these ‘supposed muslim males’ who presume to be so knowledgable. If anything the long discussion about hijab has only further proved without a doubt the sad state of our Ummah. Islam is not all about the Hijab. Islam is about submitting to Allah. That means we submit in our hearts first, we recognise our own intrinsic dependence on allah- we recognise we know nothing. We are humble before our Lord. where is the humility amongst these muslim men? this is the reason women have turned away from Islam, why many women and men are discouraged from embracing our beautiful Deen. Because of the extremist, arrogant, oppressive pack mentality illustrated by these bloggers. Is this Islam? We must be careful not to drive people away from Islam with all this mysogynistic behaviour- i have personally met people who were turned away from becoming muslim due to the bad treatment of supposed muslims that they met. We are supposed to call out in a beautiful way, to have rahma in our hearts where is the rahma in these muslim men??

      I maintain my position and do not believe that a woman will go to hell because she did not wear hijab. My mother whi is in my eyes, the closest person I know who has a pure heart and practicing muslim all her life told me: ‘the mot important thing is to wear the hijab of the heart’. The Hijab of the Heart is not just for women but applies equally if not moreso to the men of this Ummah who so desperatly need to take stock of their own hearts and recognise their own failings and rectify them rather than ‘crucify’ those who are on their own paths of truth seeking answers. The Hijab of the Heart means to LIVE Islam dont talk it or write it. I stumbled across this blog by allah’s Will, I was seekign some kind og guidance, inadvertently I may have found it by reading through the comments on this page. What I have found is all the relgion in the world doesnt matter if you dont have understanding, compassion, sincerity or honesty in your heart. Islam is the only way thats true but we have reduced it to rituals and dogma. We have become stuck in the details- look up, look above there is another world.The one of truth that very often is the one which is less travelled upon. Stop the hate and spread goodness and kindness and dont presume to know who is safe from the hellfire. No one knows. Peace

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  87. Khadija

    I agree with the poster above regarding coolred.
    Coolred has awesome insight to give even though I usually fundamentally disagree with her and she is respectful. she never heckles the comments section.

    I don’t know why people reply to her so disrespectfully.

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    • paz786

      salaa khadijah please read all my comments on this page- thank you.

      Lets stop criminalising women..and show correct adab if we say we are muslims..

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  88. coolred38

    The hecklers are generally those who have run out of “proof” or “logic” and thus resort to “witch burning”…lol. It bothers me not at all. Neither I, nor any other Muslim woman, needs their approval for the beliefs we hold. Im not interested in pleasing them, bowing to their “superior” knowledge, nor turning off my ability to think just to “fit in”…and follow the consensus…the consensus will not be standing up for me on Judgment Day…and Im ok with that.

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