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Why I Don’t Need a Makeup Tutorial to Teach Me How to Wear a Hijab


This was original posted on Under a Blue Tree

By Maryam S.

When I first started wearing hijab, my mother would pin it for me every day—a square scarf that she’d fold into a triangle, pin under my chin, and whose ends I would then tie into a little knot on my chest. I’d go to school (where my sister and I were the only girls in hijab) like that, thinking that I looked pretty good, especially if I was wearing a particular blue silky scarf that made 5th-grade me feel glamorous. There were other aspects of my wardrobe that I wished I could change at 10 years old (namely the many denim shirts with flower decals that my mother loved buying me so much)—but I can’t recall feeling inferior to anyone because of my hijab style (or lack thereof, really) at that point in my life.

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Fast forward 15 years. My fashion sense has developed considerably, and my hijab has gone through various style-phases, but it’s still there on my head, though it’s now more often secured with 3 pins instead of 1. But when I see images and videos of hijabis who teach others online how to wear this piece of cloth, now I feel somewhat inadequate. I had never considered that not being amongst many others who wore hijab during my youth could have had its benefits. But perhaps it allowed me to define for myself what my hijab should look like. (messinascatering) I wonder how my formative pre-teen and teen years, as well as my concept of hijab, would have been different had I had access to hijab and makeup tutorials when I first started out—or, more importantly, had there been girls around me who followed them. I was content with my cotton scarves and bubble gum lip balm. But if I was 10 years old today, I think I’d be draping necklaces on my head and yearning for red lips.

I had the opportunity to grow into my hijab, to have it contribute to my own personal style and sense of individuality—and I believe that that is a right that every woman has. The requirements of hijab are a foundation around which women of different cultures, ages, and circumstances can work. As long as everything that needs to be covered is properly covered, one cannot call another woman’s hijab incorrect simply because it is different from her own.

But there is a key difference between shaping my hijab around the standards laid out in the Islamic tradition and styling my hijab around the standards laid out by society. The desire to conform is something real and it’s something that I fight against almost on a daily basis. What I was shocked to experience was feeling the need to continue that internal fight while around other Muslim women. I think the woman in a flowy tunic with white skinny jeans and stiletto heels looks beautiful, and the woman with red lipstick against a black hijab is striking, but I know that certain elements of their style are not ones that I can mimic with a clear conscience. And so the battle against myself and the beauty norms that I see around me, but that I choose not to adopt in an effort to please God, has permeated even my safe space.

I recently came across a video tutorial on “hijabi makeup”—how to dress up your face in order to make it stand out from the background of your hijab. There are tutorials on how to style your hijab with matching makeup for holiday celebrations, tutorials on “everyday makeup” for hijabis as though we can’t step outside without properly pink cheeks, ones for hijabis with blue eyes vs. brown eyes. The conversation still exists on the oxymoron of hijab with makeup, but each Islamic conference that I attend shows me that the norm is swiftly moving away from clean faces.

The fact that mainstream messages regarding women’s beauty standards have permeated into Muslim fashion is a testament to the rapid growth and development of our community, but also something that each Muslim woman should take the time to notice and consider on an individual level. I have to remind myself on an almost daily basis about the spirit behind my hijab. I style it and match it, but remind myself that it is not an accessory. It is a form of worship to my Creator that I get to show to the world every minute that I’m outside. And so I try to guard my hijab as I do any other form of worship. As its purpose is submission to God, I try to ensure that I am not simultaneously “submitting” to anyone else’s code of dress while wearing my hijab.

There is a difference between looking presentable and looking like a presentation. I know that any hijab will turn heads, but I am careful in ensuring that the one who turns will have nothing to see when he/she takes a second look. Stiletto heels, red lipstick, smoky eyes, jewels on my forehead—all of these will hold a stranger’s gaze on me and, for that reason, work directly against the spirit of the cloth on my head.

I find it to be a mercy that God revealed in the Qur’an that the believing women must “not reveal their beauty except that which [naturally] appears thereof” [Ch. The Light: verse 31]. We were created beautiful as humans, and certain manifestations of that cannot be hidden—and God is telling us that when they’re natural, that is normal. But when we place them there to beautify and accentuate, then they’re no longer natural, and that should not be part of our normal.

In conversations about hijab, the question arises of whether one has the right to deem another’s choices right or wrong. While our focus is on ourselves, it is natural for us to compare ourselves to others and to participate in an exchange of ideas on an experience that we share. For that reason, every woman has a place in the discussion, and we welcome its continuation in the comments below.

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  1. Amatullah

    September 4, 2014 at 3:37 AM

    Hey wow! That is ALSO exactly how I started off with Hijab, the triangular scarf pinned at cheek :) You made me nostalgic. And mine has also undergone different styles – And Alhamdulillah none of them involving makeup. Just a triangular scarf to a rectangle wrapped around my head and falling below my shoulders, then onto a scarf which would come upto my elbows and now one which covers me till my waist back and front. Lol. I feel good, secured and at peace wherever I go :) This is my “normal” clothing and anything other than this seems “abnormal”. Sadly, I see so many sisters racing towards trendy hijabs and matching eye shadows but Alhamdulillah I never felt they looked beautiful that way. And i say Alhamdulillah for this! The worst part is that you can’t teach them ‘Hijab’ because they already ‘wear hijab’. May Allah guide us all..

    • Amatullah

      September 4, 2014 at 4:12 AM

      * the triangular scarf pinned under my chin :)
      what was I thinking!

    • Samreen

      September 8, 2014 at 11:18 PM

      I do wish that one day there will be atleast *half as much* emphasis on our muslim young men lowering their gaze compared to our muslim society’s obsession with hijab.

  2. Maryam

    September 4, 2014 at 3:39 AM

    Totally agree with your comments, sis. Hijab does naturally attract attention in non-Muslim countries in a good way for a good cause, making it known who we are: “O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e., screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allah is Ever OftForgiving, Most Merciful” [al-Ahzaab 33:59]

    However, the propose of covering is not to attract NEGATIVE attention, which make up and tight clothes do. May Allaah SWT guide us and our beloved sisters (and brothers ;) to do what pleases Him first and foremost.

    • ever

      September 6, 2014 at 7:29 AM

      Assalamu alaykum everyone. How do we get our sisters who make hijab/makeup tutorials to read this beneficial piece?

      • Samreen

        September 8, 2014 at 11:16 PM

        Dear Sister: these sisters who make these videos are actually role models for a lot of teenagers byt teaching them to balance their beauty with their responsibility as muslim women.

        Unfortunately, we as muslim community do not inspire the love of hijab with our constant regulation of ‘hide everything: your voice/face/body/hands/feets/hair/cells etc etc are awrah’. In reality it creates a prison for our teenage girls where they must hide their personality (how we present ourself is a huge part of our personality).

        • HH

          January 26, 2020 at 8:09 PM

          Its important to recognize why the do wear the make up etc you make a good point sister. They are looking to exert their personality.

  3. Sumaya

    September 4, 2014 at 8:20 AM

    This is so well written and relevant. Masha Allah. I admire the way you targeted the issue.

  4. Sister

    September 4, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    A beautifully balanced piece. JazakhaAllah Khair.

    Women love to be fashionable, but I think we need to create the right space for that. We have wedding jilbabs rather than segregated weddings.

    Also, I think we need to tackle the issue of self-esteem. There is a real fear today among young girls and their mothers about fitting into society, thus many are avoiding putting on the hijab at the right age.

  5. Amara H.

    September 4, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    Well written and beautifully expressed sentiments. I keep wondering if some of the sisters who do the hijab/ makeup tutorials are aware of what the purpose of hijab is. I know I too will not be in trend with the new mipster generation, but surely, pleasing Allah rather than allowing ourselves to become slaves to fashions should take precedence. May Allah guide us all. Ameen.

    • Samreen

      September 8, 2014 at 11:13 PM

      Dear Sister: While I understand and appreciate your concern, but labeling your fellow sisters in Islam as ‘mipsters’ creates a ‘us vs them’ scenario which is not helpful. As sisters in islam we should encourage others to better ourselves rather than judge them based on their looks.

      Also, what do you think the purpose of hijab is? For me the purpose of hijab is to show our humbleness and humility to Allah (swt) that he alone takes priority over every single aspect of my life.

      I am sorry to say but the whole concept of ‘hijab as modesty’ has been disproven based on historical evidence (ex: the slaves during the time of the prophet walked around without tops!!!!). Furthermore, using hijab as a shield to avoid male gaze doesn’t really work either. In western society a women in hijab gathers more attention (male & female) than a scantily clad women and makes it difficult to go about her business. Also, as a women I am not responsible for a man’s gaze. If there is fitnah in his heart, I know Allah (swt) is my guardian and he will protect me.

      • Nadine

        September 14, 2014 at 3:21 AM

        “I am sorry to say but the whole concept of ‘hijab as modesty’ has been disproven based on historical evidence (ex: the slaves during the time of the prophet walked around without tops!!!!)”

        Salam Samreen, could you cite your source? That’s interesting.

      • Samreen

        September 15, 2014 at 2:52 PM

        Sahihi Hadiths (Bukhari Sharif): Abu Huraira narrated, “ in the battle Khaibar, when Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) recived Safiyya Bint Huyay Ibn al- Akhtab one of His ‘Sahaba’ asked , O Messenger of God, what will be the status of Safiyya ? Then Messenger of God replied, “tomorrow if you see her covered with veil than she is my wife; if you see her without veil than she is a slave girl (Books of al-Sira).” It can be noted here, Safiyya was the 10th wife of Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) and was, of course, veiled head to foot to separate from an ordinary Slave girls.

      • Amina

        July 12, 2015 at 1:49 AM

        Can you shut up

  6. Fi (@embers8)

    September 4, 2014 at 3:12 PM

    Why no love for the triangular headscarf with a pin under the chin? I still wear mine like that! And it’s super comfy too. Although, sadly, they are being phased out in favour of rectangular scarfs which I don’t like cos I can’t abide all that draping around my neck – makes me feel suffocated.

    In regards to the rest of the article, I agree with your points :) All that make up seems to be an effort to counteract the affect of the hijab.

    • June

      September 5, 2014 at 3:00 PM

      Assalamu alaykum,
      I’m with you. I wear the triangle style or my al-amira hijab which I feel gives the same stylistic result without the pin. I feel like the long scarf type hijabs are strangling me (though I did find one way to wrap it that keeps it off my neck but it involves at least four pins and I’m sooooo not good with pins.) When I visited my husband’s home country all the girls were saying I looked like a grandma wearing the triangle style! They would help me wrap myself up in the long scarf when I would go out but I was never comfy in it and boy was I happy to put my al-amira back on when I got home!

  7. Amatallah

    September 4, 2014 at 4:55 PM

    Asalaamu alaykum, sister. I loved your article and I agree with you. Sadly, I still find it hard to leave my face completely unadorned beneath my hijab because of the culture I grew up in. To this day, even though I am a practicing Muslimah who understands and loves the spirit of hijab, I always feel like I need to fix my complexion’s imperfections with light foundation or powder. It’s very hard for me to leave the house without it. I don’t use eye shadow, mascara, or lipstick, though; I am not trying to be glamorous — just “not ugly.”

    I was raised a Christian in the U.S. and I remember my mom encouraging me to wear makeup as soon as I was about 12 years old. It was a woman’s duty, she explained, to appear attractive. According to my mom, to walk out the door without some makeup to mask one’s imperfections (like a pimple, or redness), at the *very* least, was akin to walking out the door with garbage on one’s clothes. It was just unacceptable.

    There was a time I rebelled and didn’t wear makeup; my mom harped on me and begged me to consider how much better I’d look with it on. The same way she encouraged me to wear earrings, more fashionable clothes, lose weight, fix my hair . . . it was a never-ending list of enhancements. “You must suffer to be beautiful,” she would tell me. To this day, my mom won’t so much as go to the grocery store without spending about 30 minutes on her own makeup. It’s like she feels she OWES society a “decent-looking” face; maybe she thinks people might be too shocked or upset by her age-appropriate wrinkles or age spots? Does she think everyone at Target is scrutinizing her face? And why does she even care?

    Anyway, I think because of this long-held attitude I grew up with, It’s hard for me to go makeup-free, even when I know I should. I feel like my skin’s imperfections are too obvious and ugly, and it’s my duty to “clean myself up.”

    In addition to dealing with my family’s reaction to hijab in general over the years, I’ve had to ignore my mom’s insinuations about my too-thick eyebrows because now that I’m Muslim, I don’t tweeze them. In addition, even after she’s basically accepted my new Islamic wardrobe, I’ve had to put up with her suggestions about more fashionable clothes, better colors, more makeup, etc. It’s exhausting.

    I know I need to please Allah SWT but it can be very hard not to try to appease the people in your life who nag you about looking better. It can make you feel SO bad about yourself if you have people in your life who tell you you look drab, pale, unattractive, older than your age . . when you dress modestly and humbly. I’m sure other sisters out there can relate. Perhaps it’s their husband or sister or friend who nags them, but in the end, it’s the same blow to the self-esteem.

    I’ve had Muslim sisters tell me I look SO MUCH younger without my hijab. And SO MUCH thinner without a long abaya. And SO MUCH better when I wear makeup, especially eye liner. I am not even a very style-conscious or vain person, but even I cannot deny that those words are hard on my self-esteem. :-(

    Can anyone else relate to this?!

    May Allah swt bless us all and give us the strength to submit only to Him. Ameen.

    • z

      September 4, 2014 at 7:25 PM

      Dear sister, I totally can relate to your feelings. I know that my problem is my nafs. I am finding it hard to like myself, my look when not putting a light make up/eye liner before leaving the house. I do not feel like it’s me, do not feel confident leaving the house without feeling that I am not too stand out from others. Sadly others in my case it’s mostly not practising islamic way of life people and too judgemental society,not like in north america)) (I have some experience to compare). My situation is worse than yours, I guess, since I even do not wear abayas, and even skirts, I do not wear them on a daily basis. I wear a bit looser than usual pants and a tunic. I believe this is also due to past experience of not wearing hijab, of fitting into society, of that attitude that ‘I am putting make up for myself and not others’.. I understand that life is a test. And I try to start wearing skirts, but then I remember/afraid of all the looks that I get and words that I might hear from my mother-in-low and others, so I prefer to just put up with my usual style..

      • Amatullah

        September 5, 2014 at 12:44 AM

        “Laqad Khalaqnal Insaana fee Ahsani Taqweem”
        [We have certainly created man in the best of stature; (95:4)]

      • mariam

        September 6, 2014 at 8:31 PM

        I know how you feel sister, except i grew up with people, men and women, telling me how beautiful I am, that I should model, i look like that actress/model, i look like a peacock lol etc. It seriously made me obsesseddddddd with my looks, made me go crazy, until alhumdillilah Allah Subhana Watala guided me and I became a niqabi :) I finally feel free from the shackles! May Allah help you and strengthen you sister, much love !

    • cecilia

      September 5, 2014 at 11:19 AM

      As I was reading your comment an blog post by one of my friends came to mind. Maybe it will help you.
      May Allah make it easy for you.

      • Amatallah

        September 7, 2014 at 8:32 PM

        Thank you so much, Sr. Cecilia! I loved this blog!

    • Sarah

      September 5, 2014 at 12:06 PM

      I’m sorry you’re having a tough time. I have dealt with the same things you have but now that I’m older, I handle them a lot better. I used to have low self esteem as well – and still deal with it sometimes – but one piece of advice I can give you is that if you think you look beautiful, it is very easy to go against societal norms.

      Inshallah, just work on that and the rest will become easier because then the people around you will have nothing to use against you. If you find that too difficult, just try to remember why you dress the way you do. Do that every day and tell yourself that Allah thinks your beautiful no matter what anyone else thinks and His opinion of you is the only one that matters in the end. Make sure to remind yourself of that and other peoples opinions will slowly start becoming irrelevant.

      I hope this helps!

    • jannahhaqq

      September 6, 2014 at 11:59 AM

      I dont think theres anything wrong with just wearing foundation or powder to cover imperfections or keep the face less shiny. I believe Aisha (r.a.) did make mention of allowances like trimming face hair etc to make the face more presentable. Although if I’m wrong, may Allah forgive me. Its things like mascara and lipstick that makes a woman’s face stand out more.

    • Zeinab

      September 7, 2014 at 6:37 PM


      There is a difference between corrective makeup (which, according to some schools of thought, is acceptable) and makeup that adorns. Corrective makeup doesn’t catch the eye; it really just makes the face look even and clean. And when your face is the only thing that shows, that’s important. Quite frankly, if I don’t wear concealer to cover the dark circles under my eyes, I’ll look pretty miserable/angry/ill, and wearing it does not make me look flashy. Still hoping that one day, I’ll achieve that inner-noor that makes concealer unnecessary lol.

      We have to remember that along with our modesty, we have the image of Islam in our hands, so we must look approachable (without transgressing the limits, of course).

      Very thoughtful piece, by the way. :)

    • Quicksilver

      July 5, 2015 at 9:45 AM

      Assalamualykum Sister,

      Though I do not live in a western society and I was born a Muslim but the situation in the Indian subcontinent isn’t any better. I started praying regularly and wearing hijab in college when I lived away from home. When I moved back home and joined work I had to put up with the kind of response you talk about but maybe not to this scale. At work none of the females in my department wear hijab and dress smartly, sometimes I do want to touch up a little bit here and there but I try to hold back. Initially my mum would insist on doing this and that but now she has given up on me (she hated the black abaya). My colleagues would also say “No point buying pretty clothes, no one can see you.” Once I explained to them my intent and now they are very respectful of my choices. The pangs are always there. As a woman its hard not to accentuate your beauty but the reward is with Allah SWT. Greater the obstacle, greater the glory in overcoming it. May Allah SWT make it easy for us all :)

    • Cheryfa Jamal

      July 12, 2015 at 12:39 AM

      Wa Alaikum Assalam Sister,

      Yes, I can totally relate. I too, am a convert, and it took me awhile to peel away the layers of make-up in my daily routine, until I was able to go out ‘barefaced’. It also took me awhile to become comfortable looking at my own face in the mirror. With time, I finally began to like my own face, and now, I’m comfortable with it even as I watch it age.

      I am grateful for the fact that I am no longer young, fit and attractive anymore, too, because I felt the trappings of insecurity and the need to always be more attractive. The height of my beauty years were my most insecure, my most painful, due to my constant need for validation from men admiring me. Now that I’ve lost my youth and beauty, I am so much more relaxed, and consequently, it is much easier for me now, as a Muslim, to just drape cloth to cover my shape. Being overweight has been a blessing for me, because my ego can no longer override my modesty (well, I still have to battle my desire to use khol, perfume and lots of jewelry outside).

      Though I too abhor the designer hijabs, tight jilbabs and bling, I think we need to understand the insecurity that youth and beauty create in our sisters. I’ve watched the giant poofy flower bumps (like the humps of camels), and the perfectly laid drape around the head which is so fashionable amongst the teens, seen jilbabs that belong on a runway, and seriously shake my head when I see a hijabi in skinny jeans or worse, skin tight leotards (seriously, sisters, you are wearing clothing, but you’re actually naked. What is the point of covering your hair when the men can see your hoo-hoo?)

      I’m sure one day, our fashionista hijabis will regret being the subject of ahadith, but until that day, all we can do is keep control of our own nafs and our own hijab. Eventually, each and every sister will calm down and stop worrying about her beauty in front of strangers, and take our example as role models. If we can let go of the need to show off, each one of them can too.

      May Allah make it easy for them, ameen.

  8. Hyde

    September 5, 2014 at 9:16 AM

    Good article. The fascination with a piece of clothing never seems to end…

  9. Sult

    September 5, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    thank you for the article-i know everyone is different in terms of style, what they are comfortable with and thier understanding of hijab, but i have never been as conscious of my scarf “style” as i am now. when i started the hijab, i wore it and made it look good along with how i dressed and still try to do so. but with these videos and the increase of superficiality with media, i think like most teens, the pressure to look a certain way is getting more and more difficult. don’t get me wrong, i think it’s very natural for girls and women to want to be appreciated for their qualities and that does include their beauty. but it seems that has taken a new extreme where many are obsessing over their looks and only their looks. and i say this admitting that i like to look good, sophisticated, and i am not perfect with my hijab-Allah help me. at the same time however, it is hard to wear hijab and dress modestly, and in my experience from a teenager to a young adult, it gets more difficult in a superficial world where so much is placed on how you look esp WOMEN. and i will add that the muslim community perpetuates unfortunate standards of beauty-i see so many girls concerned about their skin color bc of standards within the community and seek attention outside of the community where darker skin or more ‘exotic’ looks are appreciated. there are plenty of complex issues involved but it’s all intertwined. It’s quite unfortunate and we need muslimas to be more confident-about their deen, their modesty, their qualifications, how intelligent they are, how they contribute to the community and yes, confident and secure about their looks as well. everything must be in balance. Alhamdulillah, Allah gave us the honor of wearing hijab and I pray that Allah give us all, men and women, the proper understanding of modesty.

  10. umm Aaminah

    September 5, 2014 at 8:10 PM

    Very well written. A much needed issue in these times when societal pressure is all about fame and looks.
    Sisters look into ‘Sisters Achieve your dunya and aakhirah dreams’ online course.
    It will change the way you think and feel leaving your home with your hijab, Bi’izhnilAllah.

    • S-

      September 5, 2014 at 11:45 PM

      I am going to say it, “Muslim women need to stop focusing on Hijjab altogether and focus on more productive subjects that have greater impact on the Muslims. Hijab is leading to spiritual arrogance and divide among Muslim women. What is “spiritual arrogance? Spiritual arrogance means that one truly believes that he or she is spiritually superior to another. . ‘Arrogance is a kind of inflated view of oneself that cannot see the obvious – which is that one is just like others, with the same flaws as everyone else’. There are Muslims that might be judged as spiritually weak because they don’t practice hijjab, or deemed as wearing improper hijjab. Their “assumed” weaknesses might be visible and public to other judgmental Muslims, but imagine the same Muslims might have hidden diseases of the heart and minds; arrogance,, envy, extremism, rigidity, lacking compassion and understanding, unapproachable and incapable of opening their hearts to people. We have to remember everyone has personal weakness and flaws, that which we do not see might be greater than the flaws we think we see in others. Hijab is a thing a part…. it is the totality of one’s character and conduct, along with the Mercy of Allah to guide our hearts and minds to reason and do good that will ultimately determine our fate. …We need to bring back the Prophet’s (SAW) practice of humility.

      • M

        September 6, 2014 at 4:42 AM

        S- JazakAllah for your comment.
        The issue of arrogance/judging people encompasses far more than hijab; discussing hijab and hijab itself are not the problem. Just as people should not judge sisters who do not wear hijab and they also should not judge sisters (including hijabis) for the things you listed (arrogance, envy, lacking compassion etc.)
        Unfortunately there is an increasingly prevalent perception that somehow hijab is associated with arrogance. Is it not an act of humility? Like you said, everyone has flaws, so what is wrong with assuming good about our hijabi sisters? or our non-hijabi sisters? It’s not our place (nor is it practical) to judge between them, but only to encourage good. If hijab is among and individual’s means of pleasing Allah (SWT) it is important that it is also encouraged (along with other acts of worship, of course).
        I hope I understood your comment as you intended and you, mine. Allah (SWT) knows best.

      • Sarah

        September 6, 2014 at 10:33 AM

        No one is denying that hijabi women aren’t perfect but by saying generalizing that they are arrogant you are doing the same thing you’re advocating against: the judgement of other peoples faith based on their outward appearance. You’re making an unfair generalization based on little to no evidence


    • sister Fatime

      April 11, 2016 at 11:26 PM

      Assalamu alaikum sister, I know I am 2 years “late” on this post. lol but it is still relevant today. Hijab is a journey, and we should respect each sister’s path inshaAllah. For me however, make up is not something the Prophet (sws) would have approved of if I were to visit him. Even on the Day of Judgement, how can we present an excuse for putting make up with hijab in front of Allah swt? We justify a lot of our actions based on people’s opinions. “Well, it’s peer pressure”, “Muslims judge too much. I will wear it anyway”. My dear, focus on Allah’s pleasure. Think about it. Would Maryam mother of jesus (pbuh) adorn herself in public?

      I know… I know It’s hard. Hijab is a life long struggle, I have my own insecurities too sometimes. That is when our sincerity on this act of worship is questioned. Has hijab become another part of our attire, or is it still a commitment to obey our Lord? Think about it. Think about the reward of wearing it properly, in a way that God Himself would approve of.

      Let’s find halal alternatives! We are women, and women love to look pretty. Why not beautify ourselves at home then? Why not organize “female only” parties, just like our Saudi sisters do? That way, our natural instinct is redirected towards that which is halal. When we flaunt our features, what makes us different than someone who does not believe in Allah?

      This is a reminder to myself first, Allah knows best and I hope my sisters (who are struggling with make up) that Allah help you to rise a step above all of that. I used to wear make up wayyy before wearing hijab and I got tired to find myself ugly without it. Now that I don’t wear it, it has almost become a beauty statement, believe it or not. People know how I look like without it, so when I go home and beautify myself, I admire and value that process even more, because it is a precious treasure :) alhamdulillah.

  12. wandpen

    September 7, 2014 at 1:06 AM

    Jazakumullah khair for this well written and insightful post.

  13. Falak Ibrahim

    September 7, 2014 at 2:41 PM

    What a wonderfully worded article masha’Allah

    I really haven’t enjoyed a piece of writing like this in a while!

    Thank you Maryam for writing this! I dont know you but I love you for the sake of Allah!


  14. Sarah

    September 7, 2014 at 5:11 PM


    I understand the concern with oxymoronic hijab, which definitely can occur when it feels like people are beginning to ‘mince about’ in hijab and make clothing gradually tighter and more form-fitting, and the overall trend of ‘hijab videos’ has taken a huge and unfortunate turn in this direction over the past few years. And I sympathize with the fact that the more practical sisters amongst us, who found particular relief in the ‘handiness’ of being able to throw on your hijab and not worry about your appearance, may feel distressed that a form of dress that they originally saw as liberating is beginning to conform to what they see as constricting values.

    On the other hand – I sincerely feel that many practicing sisters, particularly in the West, really do misunderstand some of these videos. Honestly, I personally know many girls who began to wear hijab through watching these videos back in the day because they finally saw role models – they finally began to understand how to look put-together whilst wearing hijab. When I look at any women’s magazines, or tips on for example trends in style and colors and patterns – none of them account for a woman being covered from top to toe in jilbab-like clothing.

    Here is the key to the misunderstanding – dressing stylishly is not about ‘attracting attention’ with your clothing. This is an extremely Western concept, in my eyes – as a lady of African descent, I would recommend reading Chimamanda Adichi’s article called “Why can’t a smart woman love fashion?” to understand my different viewpoint. In the West, the idea is that one dresses up merely for ‘smart occasions’, painting on makeup etc to ‘hide blemishes’ or ‘attract men’ or show off wealth or meet the status quo. Whereas for me, in Sudan, it was considered a form of basic politeness to others, and a form of self-respect, to look nice and put-together and wear beautiful clothing whilst not wearing anything tight or revealing. It’s still the norm in Sudan to wear the traditional brightly colored wraps which cover just as well as abayas (and are, in my eyes, closer to what the Sahabiyat wore), and it is perfectly normal there for women to follow trends of style and color and embroidery and fabrics and patterns, and no one has ever berated them saying that these fashions were wrong or demeaning to women.

    Just my two cents – may we all be able to live nicely together and adhere to the covering of hijab, whether we’re hijabis who love our long white khimars, or those who enjoy bright colors and trends. :)

    • Samreen

      September 8, 2014 at 11:00 PM

      Jzk sister for the beautiful thoughts. While I admit to being a novice-hijabi, the rules and regulations that we as muslim society put on our sisters in terms of ‘what to wear, what to show, what to hide’ become an irksome burden and makes me think ‘no matter what I do, its never right’. At this point, i feel the need to remind myself that I wear the hijab solely for the sake of Allah, and my adornment is a courtesy to myself and remind myself that Allah (SWT) does not love those who chose to waste his gifts (i believe beauty is a gift from Allah). I
      do admit to wearing light makeup (I do have a professional job) and it makes me feel good as a muslim women to look professional and have my hijab secured.

      the big-triangle look really doesn’t work in a western office. This is why i condone youtube videos, they allow the younger generation to integrate their muslim-american identity. I do wish the authors on muslimmatters would look into the *WHOLE* issue before pointing the blame towards ‘women’s immodesty’

  15. Saf

    September 8, 2014 at 12:22 PM

    We should asking the brothers why so many of them prefer the makeup and bright lipstick over the plain jane hijabis. Its all about demand and supply.Muslim women are also as commodified as western women are – the commodification is in the marriage market among muslims vs just a being sexy/hot market in the west.When men can stand up and say its your character that shines best,and I choose u for it, why would any women want to spend time and money and a guilty conscience over makeup? Let us teach the boys and girls good values and humility – ask the single hijabi no makeup ones how they are treated at matrimonial events,the demand for white skin,indigenous or convert and that should complete the conundrum

  16. Samreen

    September 8, 2014 at 11:01 PM

    Jzk sister for the beautiful thoughts. While I admit to being a novice-hijabi, the rules and regulations that we as muslim society put on our sisters in terms of ‘what to wear, what to show, what to hide’ become an irksome burden and makes me think ‘no matter what I do, its never right’. At this point, i feel the need to remind myself that I wear the hijab solely for the sake of Allah, and my adornment is a courtesy to myself and remind myself that Allah (SWT) does not love those who chose to waste his gifts (i believe beauty is a gift from Allah). I
    do admit to wearing light makeup (I do have a professional job) and it makes me feel good as a muslim women to look professional and have my hijab secured.

    the big-triangle look really doesn’t work in a western office. This is why i condone youtube videos, they allow the younger generation to integrate their muslim-american identity. I do wish the authors on muslimmatters would look into the *WHOLE* issue before pointing the blame towards ‘women’s immodesty’

  17. Sadaf

    September 9, 2014 at 12:05 AM

    Salams all. I was born a Muslim yet I was one of those who pray and fast and do everything else but cover their heads. When my daughter turned baligh we both decided together and took a big step and started covering ourselves. Earlier I couldn’t imagine myself stepping out to pick up the mail without blow drying my hair and now there was something on my head that not only made me look ‘dowdy’ but turned heads and brought on negative attention. All this and more went through my head at the time. My daughter had her own demons to fight. Surrounded by Muslim and non Muslim tweens who thought her mother was forcing her to take a big decision like this against her will!
    Slowly I lost all my ‘good’ friends who thought I had turned into an ‘extremist’ and made new ones at the local mosque for whom my hijab wasn’t good enough. . I would forget my socks, from lack of practice my hair would find a way to stick out or my wardrobe not having gone a complete transformation yet wouldn’t be ‘appropriate’. To top it all, my husband (who is othetwise a wonderful man alhamdulillah) didn’t approve of this new transformation that reminded him of his ‘dowdy’ old Quran teacher from childhood.
    At this point my daughter and I did watch online tutorials to fit in while we were doing everything right. . we learnt how to hold the scarf in place, how not to look unkempt when going for a professional meeting and how to find a safe spot between our two worlds. The intention never changed. . we did this for Allah and alhamdulillah we’ve been blessed to have come a long way! It’s been 3 years mashallah and we are still going strong. My daughter can tie a 3 yard scarf on her head in her sleep and Alhamdulillah my wardrobe has finally become more pious! Although my husband still hasn’t accepted it and I sometimes avoid wearing socks when going out with him or slap on make up if i know the place we are going to has women who will be flaunting every bit of their God gifted beauty, giving my husband a chance to compare.. but my daughter and I are grateful for the challenge we have taken on. I wear make up because I know my husband likes that. I try to find a balance between trends and religion because that’s what my surroundings demand. Every year we feel we take a step closer. As time passes it gets easier to give up certain things not just for us but my husband and our families are more accepting.. the important thing is that we take the people we love and are surrounded by with us on this journey.
    A bystander looking at us doesn’t see how hard it has been.. how many times this marriage has been on the verge of being non existent and how subtly we’ve had to be to bring about changes.. the intention never changed. . we do this for our Maker..As we know from the story of Hazrat Khizr a.s. and Prophet Musa a.s. In Surah Kahf that because our knowledge is limited our judgement is relative.
    I don’t discourage anyone from watching these tutorials if it becomes a tool for them to stay on the right path. At the end only Allah knows what’s in our hearts and only He can say whether the path we chose was right or wrong. :)

  18. Inayahhassan

    September 9, 2014 at 12:17 AM

    I was born in an Islamic country in a practicing Muslim family. But, following Islamic values did not come to me so naturally. I was lost for a long time until I woke up a few years ago when I was 19. This is a very sensitive topic to me, but, at the same time, I feel that I have to convey this message because I am sure that I am not the only one who went through this and certainly not the last. So, I hope it will be a journey where many of my kind can relate to. It is the journey I had to go through to love the Hijab. If anyone interested in how I came to love the Hijab, you can read it here:

  19. L

    September 11, 2014 at 12:49 AM

    Assalamualaikum Sister Maryam, thank you for writing this. I wrote something a little similar last year (, about the rise in the trend of “hijabinistas” here in Malaysia where I am and around the globe. While I believe that how anybody dons the hijab and the choices they make are purely individual, there were things I saw in videos and articles that made me uncomfortable. Without delving in too deep on whether “hijab fashion” is right or wrong, I felt there was a serious need to reassess the reasons why we wear the hijab in the first place. It goes even beyond the usual stamp of “political defiance” and “act of rebellion”.

    I remember reading a piece written by a sister a few years ago which moved me so much that I copied and saved an excerpt from it. I wish I could find the original article and name the sister. Below is what she wrote on the whys of hijab:

    “People, Muslims and non Muslims, say that the “why” is because of sexual modesty, that it is about social control for the patriarchy, that it is because of identity, that it is the politics of resistance, that it is culture. All of these whys may be true for many people, to one extent or another. But to me, as I listened to my friends and saw how they live their life, as I learned more about the Qur’an and tafsir, as I read the works of the ‘awliya, I came to realize that the best “why” is nothing more than Love. The Beloved asks, or commands, and the lover says “Yes.” That’s all. And, in my experience, far more Muslimaat have Love as their most basic reason for wearing it than all of the other whys combined.

    The only problem with Love is that, in my experience, many non-Muslims (and some Muslims) don’t get it. Maybe they’re not used to hearing about Love in the context of Islam. Maybe they’ve been so conditioned to the social protest/controlling sexuality arguments that Love does not compute. It’s strange that people can accept “Love” as a reason why we pray 5 times or more a day, and as a reason why we fast, but not why a woman would put a scarf on her head.

    So when they ask, we say that it’s because of modesty. It’s easier on us than facing the incredulity you get when you say, “Love.” It is fairly self-explanatory whereas “Love” sometimes requires you to delve into what, exactly, submission of the will is, what the authority of the Qur’an is. And that, my dears, points to a much larger problem as far as da’wah and perceptions of Islam and Muslims than “hijab as a contol feature of the patriarchy” or “hijab is social protest against the autocratic regimes” and all the other nonsense. For the lack of understanding of Love as a reason for something as simple as hijab means that we are not doing the best job possible in getting the Message across.“”

    I think once we understand this kind of Love, we will be able to carry out His Command in the best way we know how without factoring in too much on other things like fashion and attractiveness. How we understand this does not mean we need to do away with our own individuality. Presentation of ourselves is still important (Rasulullah peace and blessings be upon him was never scruffy or untidy) but the idea is to strike the right amount of balance so that we may carry out this act of worship in a way that we truly believe pleases our Creator.

    And Allah knows best.

  20. Rasha

    September 11, 2014 at 1:45 AM

    Well, I started off wearing it learning from the tutorials, needless to say it made me so sick that it defeated the purpose of I wearing one. Though I stopped wearing one, I really hope to begin wearing one again and without the need to doubt myself or my faith to leave it ever again. Please keep me in prayers. Thank you

  21. Rita

    September 11, 2014 at 10:09 AM

    Sisters, what I believe is important to remember is that hijab was NOT ordered as a form of worship. No where in the Quran does it say that. The observance of hijab was ordered simply as a form of IDENTIFICATION….”so as to not be harrassed”. I agree with the previous comment by a sister that historical evidence proves this. (Unfortunately, a great majority of women and men too for that matter do not have knowledge of the historical FACTS) The bigger issue I believe is that most Muslim brothers couldn’t care less if a woman wears makeup, AS LONG AS she wears a scarf over her head. Nowadays, more Muslim men are seeing their wives’ use of hijab as a status symbol. And they are taught by their families, “if your wife doesn’t wear hijab, you are not a real man, if your daughters do not wear hijab, you are not a real man,” etc, etc. etc. This is TOTALLY wrong. With new converts especially, this is a growing problem. Women are being led to have lower and lower self esteem. “You are NOT Muslim enough because you wear pants, you are NOT muslim enough because you wear perfume, you are NOT muslim enough because you wear makeup, you are NOT muslim enough because you listen to music, you are NOT muslim enough because you work and you don’t stay at home and take care of your family, you are NOT muslim enough because you don’t put up with your husband’s faults and you ask for a divorce…… is the SAME message, YOU ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH!! Sisters, especially new converts are ignorant to the fact that so much of this is cultural and has NOTHING to do with religion, but many males make it about religion to justify their comments while hiding their own faults and sins behind their beards. But, I do agree with the sister that talked about arrogance in wearing hijab. While I know that many sisters wear hijab with very humble intentions, many men say “you wear hijab becaue you are BETTER than them, you wear abaya because you are BETTER than them, you observe the strictest interpretations of the religion because you are BETTER, BETTER, BETTER than those who don’t. THIS IS CALLED AAARRRROOOOGGAANNCCEE. May Allah guide us all.

    • Tawa

      November 16, 2016 at 8:44 AM

      Salam aleikum,sister…
      As a new convert, I agree with you. I have been made to feel inadequate many times because I don’t wear a long scarf,I sometimes wear some makeup,and I still love jeans…
      muslims born into the religion tend to have this superior air,which really bothers and hurts me…
      also, I think I would be lost without some of those tutorials, because I really had no clue whatsover on scarf or hijab covering. Peace unto everyone.

  22. NJ

    September 12, 2014 at 3:35 AM

    Masha Allah, very relevant and well-written piece. This is something that’s been bugging me for a while now.

    While growing up, my Muslim friends and I really didn’t care about our clothes and looks to the point of obsession. We pitied the others who had to go to extreme lengths to look beautiful to the opposite sex. We watched them spend all their allowances on make-up, we watched them diet to the point of gaining eating disorders, we watched them measure their self-esteem by their looks and looks alone. And we hijabis felt liberated from the shackles of society’s shallow ideas of beauty.

    It’s heartbreaking that all that is changed. I do try not to judge, but I can’t help but worry about the number of ‘hijab’ and muslimah make up tutorials. Now even girls who were comfortable with wearing simple hijabis are being pressurised to slap on some make up, buy some tighter jeans, etc. Why are they being tempted, why are they forced to feel conflicted? Aren’t we Muslimah the true feminists? Why are we giving in to society’s shallow expectations,?

  23. Heather Bukhari (@heatherbukhari)

    September 12, 2014 at 11:56 PM

    As-salaam alaykum,

    I appreciate the thoughtful responses to this article, and respect the what I would interpret as sister Maryam’s intention to defend the hijab against the encroachment of ultimately objectifying forces of the global monoculture which forces us to commodify everything.

    That being said, I feel like these types of discussions put Muslim women under a microscope, when they already live in societies in which they feel generally unwelcome and overly surveilled in (I am speaking here of the dominant English-speaking countries, such as the United States, in which I reside). One of the things I have learned as a reverted Muslim in the last five years is that we have an INCREDIBLE talent for nitpicking each other, and, in my opinion, that seriously impedes our social and mental health, and our potential as Muslim women.

    Again, I acknowledge that my understanding of the intent of this article was to urge readers to restore hijab to a place of protection and dignity for women. This is absolutely commendable. However, it’s important to acknowledge that we all experience the everyday life as wearers of hijab differently. Most of the people we meet don’t have the chance to tell us their life stories. Without those, we’re just making assumptions about who they are, what they’ve gone through, and how they choose to respond to a society which denies our humanity at every given opportunity. If a sister feels empowered by red lipstick, then I say go for it. If that’s not your cup of tea, that’s all well and good. None of us has a monopoly on “proper hijab.”

    • Sara

      August 17, 2015 at 6:22 AM

      Great Thoughts Header Bukhari, First of all thanks for writting such a beautiful blog for hijab lovers. There are lot of discussions on hijabs that is hijab and muslim women . My thought is, we need to follow our traditions with some changes or modification in society for those who are looking for change. All the women should feel free to choose their style of modern hijab to keep the new generation in touch with our traditions.

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  31. Abu Jumanah

    November 17, 2017 at 5:43 AM

    Hijaab is an Ibadah, NOT A FASHION
    First, we must understand that wearing Hijaab is worship (Ibaadah). We also have to differentiate between Hijab/Jilbab (the outer long garment that covers a woman’s body) and Khimar (head scarf). Today many sisters think that just wearing a Khimar (head scarf) is sufficient and they wear tight tops, shirts, blazers and trousers. Some even show their skins, exposing their arms, neck, feet and ankles. They come out of their houses and even pray Salah like this. This is not permissible. Many do it out of ignorance, not bothering to learn. Others due to pressure from parents etc, others due to custom and culture and yet others really think that this is correct obtaining Fatawah from Scholars not grounded in Knowledge of the Quran and the Sunnah upon the understanding of the Companions. If we want to please Allaah – our Creator and sustainer- by worshipping Him alone and gain reward, then every act of worship and good deeds that we do has to fulfil three very essential, fundamental conditions and principles so that Allaah accepts it from us. And they are; first and foremost; we must have the correct Islamic Aqeedah in Allah, His Tawheed, Names & Attributes and all the six pillars of eemaan and all other aspects of Aqeedah such as; the bliss and punishment in the grave, jannah, jahannam, Prophet Eesaa coming back, etc. etc. and secondly; we have to do all acts of worship and good deeds for the sake of Allaah, not to show off, for fashion, for fame, for money, nor due to custom and culture, not because of parents and community telling us to do it but for Allaah’s sake and thirdly; do worship and good deeds according to the Sunnah of the Messenger, Muhammad sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam. Exactly how he has related to us in doing a certain Ibaadah. Salah, saum, Zaqah. Haj, enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, giving Da’wah, how to wear the Hijab/Jilbab. If one, two or all of these conditions are missing it will not be accepted from us. If someone wears Hijab for Allah’s sake, yet NOT according to the Sunnah, it will NOT be accepted. Likewise, if someone wears it according to the Sunnah yet NOT for Allah’s sake, it will NOT be accepted.
    So as Muslim, believing Women covering ourselves is also worship, Ibaadah and it has conditions that we need to fulfil. We will not know these conditions, except by learning and educating ourselves. For the conditions, please refer to Imaam al-Albani’s ‘The Correct Requirements of Hijaab’. Wearing the Hijaab isn’t just a matter of simply putting a piece of cloth on your head, it is an attitude, a way of thinking and behaving, and accepting yourself for who and what you are. Basically it constitutes an Islaamic way of life, it is a statement which indeed should portray a certain attitude.
    A woman may wear the correct Hijaab or just the Khimar without fulfilling the Hijaabs conditions, but if she flirts and free mixes, then she can’t be really described as wearing the Hijaab. The whole idea involves conducting oneself with dignity at all times (that means running for the bus and boisterous behaviour in public is not a good idea!!). As previously mentioned, the Hijaab depicts a statement, and that is something one should be continually aware of. It identifies you as a Muslim, and ultimately people will judge Islaam by you, and that is a heavy responsibility!! Yet sisters, we must also be thankful that by wearing the Hijaab, we go a long way in fulfilling our duties of Da’wah. Curiosity prompts people to question us, giving us the opportunity to show the non-Muslims the beauty of our religion. O.k., so we may get the stares at times (to which one rapidly becomes immune), but it is amazing how many are sincerely interested, oh and not to forget the redoubtable old British ladies on the Tube (“Oh I do like your headdress, my dear!!!”).
    Hijaab isn’t meant to restrict you from doing the kind of things you want to do. Whoever wears it correctly and conducts their behaviour properly, will attain dignity and honour in Allaah’s sight and amongst people…respect, dignity and honour will be instilled. Hijaab makes us check our behaviour continuously, preventing us from doing the things that Muslims shouldn’t be doing anyway. Anything (with the blessings of the Almighty, is possible) -studying, working etc. etc. -provided it is within the bounds of Islaam.
    Sometimes, however the decision to wear the Hijaab, let alone the Niqaab (face veil worn when alot of non-Mahram men are around, i.e. in Markets, supermarkets) can become extra complicated through external pressures, notably family and friends. Unfortunately, even some Muslims nowadays look upon the Hijaab as being too “extreme”, and the like and when these attitudes come from members of your family then the decision becomes all the more difficult. Speaking from experience, things do change, because ultimately, you are doing this for Allaah (s.w.t), and he will make it easy for you, by “softening” the hearts of those that may not be all that encouraging. Eventually they themselves will want to follow you because deep down they know that it is the right thing to do. If that doesn’t help, then this should convince you: On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said : Allaah the Almighty says: ” I am as my servant thinks I am…If he draws near to Me a hand’s span, I draw near to him an arms length; and if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a fathom’s length. And if he comes walking, I go to him at speed.”
    On the other hand, it is important to ascertain the motive for wearing the Hijaab. If you are thinking of wearing it to please your husband, to impress people at the mosque, being with the ‘in crowd’, fashion or just as a change, then please think again. Hijaab (as with everything else) is to please Allaah only, any other motive will not sustain that conviction.
    A word also to our brothers; Hijaab may seem to be merely a woman’s issue, but that is not so. Muslim men have to follow a dress code too, no matter if it isn’t as extensive as for women it still exists! The men, like women, should also wear loose clothes -so no tight fitting jeans please!! They are obligated to keep their beard and trim the moustache and keep their garments (trousers, thoub, khamees) above the ankle all the time. Their attitude to all women should also always remain respectful and business like, as the women’s attitude to men should be.
    Finally, all of the above pales in significance to the words of our Creator (subhana wa ta’ala):
    Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.). That is purer for them. Verily, Allaah is All-Aware of what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.) and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent (like palms of hands or one eye or both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer dress like veil, gloves, head-cover, apron, etc.), and to draw their veils all over Juyubihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms, etc.) and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husband’s sons, their brothers or their brother’s sons, or their sister’s sons, or their (Muslim) women (i.e. their sisters in Islam), or the (female) slaves whom their right hands possess, or old male servants who lack vigour, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful. (Al -Qur’ân, ch.24:30-31)

  32. Abu Jumanah

    November 17, 2017 at 5:45 AM

    The conditions and requirements of Hijaab from the Qur’an and the Sunnah:

    Firstly: It should cover all the body apart from whatever has been exempted (the face and the hands).

    Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allaah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”

    This aayah clearly states that it is obligatory to cover all of a woman’s beauty and adornments and not to display any part of that before non-mahram men (“strangers”) except for whatever appears unintentionally, in which case there will be no sin on them if they hasten to cover it up.

    Al-Haafiz ibn Katheer said in his Tafseer:

    This means that they should not display any part of their adornment to non-mahrams, apart from that which it is impossible to conceal. Ibn Mas’ood said: such as the cloak and robe, i.e., what the women of the Arabs used to wear, an outer garment which covered whatever the woman was wearing, except for whatever appeared from beneath the outer garment. There is no sin on a woman with regard to this because it is impossible to conceal it.

    Secondly: it should not be an adornment in and of itself.

    Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

    “… and not to show off their adornment…” [al-Noor 24:31]. The general meaning of this phrase includes the outer garment, because if it is decorated it will attract men’s attention to her. This is supported by the aayah in Soorat al-Ahzaab (interpretation of the meaning):

    “And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance” [al-Ahzaab 33:33]. It is also supported by the hadeeth in which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There are three, do not ask me about them: a man who leaves the jamaa’ah, disobeys his leader and dies disobedient; a female or male slave who runs away then dies; and a woman whose husband is absent and left her with everything she needs, and after he left she made a wanton display of herself. Do not ask about them.”

    (Narrated by al-Haakim, 1/119; Ahmad, 6/19; from the hadeeth of Faddaalah bint ‘Ubayd. Its isnaad is saheeh and it is in al-Adab al-Mufrad).

    Thirdly: It should be thick and not transparent or see-through

    – because it cannot cover properly otherwise. Transparent or see-thru clothing makes a woman more tempting and beautiful. Concerning this the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “During the last days of my ummah there will be women who are clothed but naked, with something on their heads like the humps of camels. Curse them, for they are cursed.” Another hadeeth adds: “They will not enter Paradise or even smell its fragrance, although its fragrance can be detected from such and such a distance.” (Narrated by Muslim from the report of Abu Hurayrah).

    Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr said: what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) meant was women who wear clothes made of light fabric which describes and does not cover. They are clothed in name but naked in reality. [Transmitted by al-Suyooti in Tanweer al-Hawaalik, 3/103]

    Fourthly: It should be loose, not tight so that it describes any part of the body.

    The purpose of clothing is to prevent fitnah (temptation), and this can only be achieved if clothes are wide and loose. Tight clothes, even if they conceal the colour of the skin, still describe the size and shape of the body or part of it, and create a vivid image in the minds of men. The corruption or invitation to corruption that is inherent in that is quite obvious. So the clothes must be wide. Usaamah ibn Zayd said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) gave me a thick Egyptian garment that was one of the gifts given to him by Duhyat al-Kalbi, and I gave it to my wife to wear. He said, ‘Why do I not see you wearing that Egyptian garment?’ I said, ‘I gave it to my wife to wear.’ He said, ‘Tell her to wear a gown underneath it, for I am afraid that it may describe the size of her bones.’” (Narrated by al-Diyaa’ al-Maqdisi in al-Ahaadeeth al-Mukhtaarah, 1/442, and by Ahmad and al-Bayhaqi, with a hasan isnaad).

    Fifthly: It should not be perfumed with bakhoor or fragrance

    There are many ahaadeeth which forbid women to wear perfume when they go out of their houses. We will quote here some of those which have saheeh isnaads:

    Abu Moosa al-Ash’ari said: the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Any woman who puts on perfume then passes by people so that they can smell her fragrance, is an adulteress.”

    Zaynab al-Thaqafiyyah reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If any one of you (women) goes out to the mosque, let her not touch any perfume.”

    Abu Hurayrah said: the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Any woman who has scented herself with bakhoor (incense), let her not attend ‘Ishaa’ prayers with us.”

    Moosa ibn Yassaar said that a woman passed by Abu Hurayrah and her scent was overpowering. He said, “O female slave of al-Jabbaar, are you going to the mosque?” She said, “Yes,” He said, “And have you put on perfume because of that?” She said, “Yes.” He said, “Go back and wash yourself, for I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: ‘If a woman comes out to the mosque and her fragrance is overpowering, Allaah will not accept any prayer from her until she goes home and washes herself.’”

    These ahaadeeth are general in implication. Just as the prohibition covers perfume applied to the body, it also covers perfume applied to the clothes, especially in the third hadeeth, where bakhoor (incense) is mentioned, because incense is used specifically to perfume the clothes.

    The reason for this prohibition is quite clear, which is that women’s fragrance may cause undue provocation of desires. The scholars also included other things under this heading of things to be avoided by women who want to go to the mosque, such as beautiful clothes, jewellery that can be seen, excessive adornments and mingling with men. See Fath al-Baari, 2/279.

    Ibn Daqeeq al-‘Eed said: This indicates that it is forbidden for a woman who wants to go to the mosque to wear perfume, because this causes provocation of men’s desires. This was reported by al-Manaawi in Fayd al-Qadeer, in the commentary on the first hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah quoted above.

    Sixthly: It should not resemble the clothing of men

    It was reported in the saheeh ahaadeeth that a woman who imitates men in dress or in other ways is cursed. There follow some of the ahaadeeth that we know:

    Abu Hurayrah said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) cursed the man who wears women’s clothes, and the woman who wears men’s clothes.”

    ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: ‘They are not part of us, the women who imitate men and the men who imitate women.’”

    Ibn ‘Abbaas said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) cursed effeminate men and masculine women. He said, ‘Throw them out of your houses.’” He said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) expelled So and so, and ‘Umar expelled So and so.” According to another version: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) cursed men who imitate women and women who imitate men.”

    ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘There are three who will not enter Paradise and Allaah will not even look at them on the Day of Resurrection: one who disobeys his parents, a woman who imitates men, and the duyooth (cuckold, weak man who feels no jealousy over his womenfolk).”

    Ibn Abi Maleekah – whose name was ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Ubayd-Allaah – said: “It was said to ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her), ‘What if a woman wears (men’s) sandals?’ She said: ‘The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) cursed women who act like men.’”

    These ahaadeeth clearly indicate that it is forbidden for women to imitate men and vice versa, This usually includes dress and other matters, apart from the first hadeeth quoted above, which refers to dress only.

    Abu Dawood said, in Masaa’il al-Imaam Ahmad (p. 261): “I heard Ahmad being asked about a man who dresses his slave woman in a tunic. He said, ‘Do not clothe her in men’s garments, do not make her look like a man.” Abu Dawood said: “I said to Ahmad, Can he give her bachelor sandals to wear? He said, No, unless she wears them to do wudoo’. I said, What about for beauty? He said, No. I said, Can he cut her hair short? He said, No.”

    Seventhly: It should not resemble the dress of kaafir (non-Muslim) women.

    It is stated in sharee’ah that Muslims, men and women alike, should not resemble or imitate the kuffaar with regard to worship, festivals or clothing that is specific to them. This is an important Islamic principle which nowadays, unfortunately, is neglected by many Muslims, even those who care about religion and calling others to Islam. This is due either to ignorance of their religion, or because they are following their own whims and desires, or because of deviation, combined with modern customs and imitation of kaafir Europe. This was one of the causes of the Muslims’ decline and weakness, which enabled the foreigners to overwhelm and colonize them. “…Verily, Allaah will not change the condition of a people as long as they do not change their state themselves …” [al-Ra’d 13:11 – interpretation of the meaning]. If only they knew.

    It should be known that there is a great deal of saheeh evidence for these important rules in the Qur’aan and Sunnah, and that the evidence in the Qur’aan is elaborated upon in the Sunnah, as is always the case.

    Eighthly: It should not be a garment of fame and vanity.

    Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Whoever wears a garment of fame and vanity in this world, Allaah will clothe him in a garment of humiliation on the Day of Resurrection, then He will cause Fire to flame up around him.’”

    By Shaykh Al-Albani (Hijaab al-Mar’ah al-Muslimah, p. 54-67).

    Note; wearing the Niqab (face veil) is not obligatory, but it can be when men are around according to the correct view in Islam..

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