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Practicing Islam in Long, Long Prayer Garments


A response to “Practicing Islam in Short Shorts”

“I suppose it’s natural to feel judged when we know we’re not living right. Our guilty conscience projects on everything around us. Innocent laughter becomes mockery. A fleeting frown becomes scorn. Even dhikr (remembrance of Allah) becomes offensive. But it’s so much easier to just start living right than to expend so much energy complaining about all the people judging us for doing wrong.”

— from the journal of Umm Zakiyyah

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The scenario I’m about to describe has happened to me more times than I can count, in more cities than I can remember, mostly here in the U.S. and at times during my travels to Muslim countries.

I walk into a store. There’s a woman shopping there that I know is Muslim. In some scenarios, she’s standing behind the cash register tallying up totals and returning change to customers. She’s not wearing a headscarf. Her clothes are tight against her body. Her neck and cleavage visible. Arms exposed to the wrists. Bare legs showing in her mini dress or short shorts. She’s Muslim. I know it. But no one around her knows it. I stare at her briefly and think to myself, “She can’t tell if I’m staring because I think she is a shameful spectacle or because I know something that we both share.”

I realize that this must make her uncomfortable, so I look away. I want to say something. Something that indicates that I’m not staring because of how she chooses to uncover herself. Something that indicates that some of my closest friends and family dress like her. That I grew up in a mostly non-Muslim family and an American Muslim community where the majority of women dress like her. That I also struggle in my practice of Islam, though in a way not so visible to others. That I also face East and recite Qur’an when I pray.

Should I greet her with “As-salaamu’alaikum?” I ask myself.

Then I look at what I picked out to wear on this day. A wide, formless abaya. My hair is covered in a dull-colored hijab. Then I remember my face veil, my niqaab. It has become a part of my face. I usually don’t notice it until I have to blow my nose or eat in public, or until I meet someone unaccustomed to this form of Islamic dress.

I decide not to say anything to her. I pretend we have nothing in common and that I don’t understand her religious beliefs or the Arabic we both recite in prayer. The reason I don’t connect with her is that I’m not prepared for a possibly judgmental glance up and down my body. I don’t want to read her mind as she hesitantly (if at all) responds, “Wa’alaiku mus salaam.”

I’m guilty of judging and projecting my thoughts onto her before giving her a chance to receive this information and respond to it. It’s wrong. My hesitation in these scenarios comes from knowing that a sizable number of people from my religion look at people dressed like me and write us off as women who have lost their way and joined an extremist path of Islam. I cover my hair…and my face (The most popular Islamic opinion allows a woman’s face to be shown, so covering it is extreme to some Muslims). Nothing in my outward appearance speaks to or represents my open-mindedness and my love for all my Muslim brothers and sisters, no matter their personal struggles or how they dress.

However, I am a normal Muslim. I pray (five times a day, every day), fast, recite the travel supplication before I start my car’s engine, pay my zakaah (an obligatory charity paid on one’s wealth for all who can afford it) and most importantly, I believe in Allah and hope for His mercy and forgiveness when I die. There are many like me. We don’t believe in picking and choosing which parts of Islam we will follow or believe in while still calling our belief system Islam. Yes, we fall short repeatedly and sin often, but we call our shortcomings “human fault” and our sin “disobedience to Allah.” Despite our natural human diversity, we believe in a monolithic path to Paradise: It’s called the Straight Path in the Qur’an. We love Islam, and because we love it so much, we refuse to reduce it to an ever-changing, flexible belief system based on the whims and desires of ourselves and others. We’re uncomfortable trying to pass for non-Muslims or “non-practicing Muslims,” even if it saves us from one or more of the following: unsolicited warnings about how people who dress like us should stop judging others; being called a Wahhabi or extremist before we even open our mouths to share what we think or believe; unwelcomed advice from a stranger that starts with “You don’t have to dress like that here in [insert country]”; or an impromptu lecture, straight from an Islamophobic textbook that I knew was nonsense at age 13.

Islamic studies were part of my upbringing until I graduated from high school. (I’m indigenous American and my parents converted to Islam). However, the textbooks about Islam in my school portrayed people who look like me as fundamentalists and extremists and said we were followers of the Wahhabi sect of Islam (though I’d never heard of that group until I opened those books). The first time I realized it was okay to verbalize how nonsensical these stereotypes were was when I studied Islam for myself and realized that Allah has a special place in Paradise for everyone who dies as a believer, no matter how they looked or dressed on earth, and no matter how many faults and sins they had.

That was all the permission I needed to allow myself to believe in a more compassionate religious outlook than the one spoken about in those textbooks, and from the mouths of the Muslims who called me a Wahhabi or extremist for merely loving to obey my Lord.

My parents and many of my Muslim friends are pretty religious. They don’t know my sins, and I don’t know theirs. I’m honestly not quite sure how they would react to knowing what I struggle with every day, but I’m not exactly ready to uncover what Allah has concealed for me for so long. They encourage me and others like me to wear hijab and don modest clothes, but they don’t make a big fuss about it. Like most good parents and Muslim friends, they don’t want me doing anything harmful to my soul. They would not approve of the sins that I battle in private, so I keep them to myself and cry to Allah.

If it were to ever become fairly evident that I’m not keeping up with my prayers, my parents would give me gentle reminders, saying, “Keep up your prayers, sugar,” and my friends say, “Let’s pray together.” Though my parents didn’t memorize the Qur’an themselves, they always encouraged me and my siblings to study and memorize Qur’an. If they found me or my sisters talking to any “male friends,” they swiftly invited the young men over and taught them about Islam, but my parents would never compromise our modesty and dignity by allowing us to walk out the house alone with those men. My parents hoped their children would follow in their footsteps, and they hoped we’d improve on the choices they’d made.

I’m steadfast in my belief that adhering to the fundamentals of Islam while respecting other beliefs from afar is the reason I remain Muslim today. I don’t feel the need to study Buddhism, Hinduism, or Christianity to get closer to Islam. Islam brings me closer to Islam because that’s what submission means, a lesson none of the Muslims who judge me have been able to pass on in their teachings, though it’s what they claim to uphold.

But they taught me how to obsess about the mundane, about all the things I’m doing incorrectly and therefore prove that my “religiousness” is just a show. They taught me shame. They taught me guilt. They taught me that the eyes of people are more important than the judgment of Allah. They taught me that it’s better to take off hijab completely if I can’t get everything else right. They taught me that it’s better to give up practicing Islam in public if I sin in private. They said, “Don’t be a hypocrite.”

But what they were really saying was, “Join us, and feel free to disobey Allah without shame.”

They taught me that I can wear short shorts, smoke weed, drink liquor, reject hadith, and then point to the hypocrisy of scholars to defend my sin and faulty beliefs.

They taught me fear. They taught me that being a good Muslim is difficult. That remaining Muslim isn’t as simple as holding on to my fundamental beliefs, praying my five prayers, and striving to obey Allah in my dress and behavior despite my falling short from time to time. They taught me that if I’m sincere, I’ll announce my sins amongst friends and online, and make any fleeting doubts about my faith the foundation of my outlook in life. They taught me that a “real Muslim” doesn’t hide her sins from others unless she’s a religious hypocrite trying to fool the world.

If I listened to them, I might have rejected Islam. So I took a break from being around them. I didn’t do it because I was judging them. I did it because I feared for my soul.

I saw how many youth (and grown men and women) they’d pushed from Islam. I saw how many girls they encouraged to remove their hijab, telling them, “Cover when you’re ready, not now!” I saw how many people stopped praying and practicing Islam under their mantra (borrowed from hadith), “Al’amal bi niyaat,” which means actions are dependent on their intentions, and under their other mantra“Al deenu yusr, which translates to “religion is ease.”

They made me feel like I was just going through the motions of prayer to show off. They did everything they could to push me from returning to the prayer rug, even when I wasn’t around them. They did everything they could to poke fun of people who looked like me. They did everything they could to praise the “sincerity” and “honesty” of people who looked like them. They did everything they could to paint themselves the victim and me the judgmental aggressor, even when I didn’t even open my mouth. They did everything they could to make me feel like a liar when I said, sincerely, that I don’t see myself as different from any other Muslim, no matter how they dress. They did everything they could to make me feel like an extremist for believing that I couldn’t pick and choose what I wanted to believe in or follow from the Qur’an and authentic hadith.

So I left their company and kept them in my prayers.

I knew actions are dependent on intentions, and I knew my religion is easy. But they tried to convince me that I could disobey Allah while claiming my heart and intentions were good. They tried to convince me that the ease of Islam was stringent and difficult, and that the path of disobedience was the “balanced, middle path.”

Intuitively, I knew they were calling me to Hellfire under the guise of Islam. But my nafs, that weakness in myself, made me inclined to believe that I should follow them and not Qur’an and hadith. So I had to leave them alone.

Exploring the depths of my soul brought to light what was happening to me and others like me. But I felt powerless to speak up. I didn’t know what to say when they said, “Don’t judge me!” as they proceeded to bash and judge everyone else. I didn’t know what to say when they said, “Only Allah can judge!” as they proceeded to oppose Allah’s judgments themselves.

By Allah! I was confounded and confused. I prayed to Allah for strength, guidance, and direction.

How did this happen? How did it happen that only the openly sinful had the right to speak without interruption while the rest of us were silenced lest we be called judgmental or extreme? How did it happen that only the defiantly disobedient had the right to patience and good treatment while the rest of us were openly insulted, publicly humiliated, and mercilessly called to account for our wrongs? How did it happen that blogging about open sin and rejecting hadith was heralded as “inspirational” while the mere whisper of “Fear and obey Allah” was denounced as insensitive and “demotivating” to one struggling on the Path?

But please don’t get me wrong. All is not well in “my crowd” either. Shaytaan is busy stirring up animosity and division amongst us too, telling us to wrinkle our noses at those who don’t wear proper hijab. To storm the Facebook pages, YouTube channels, and sites of those who follow the opinion that not all music is haraam. To insist that everyone must follow our sheikh, our scholar, or our school of thought lest they are followers of Shaytaan. To insist that matters of difference of opinion must be treated like clear matters and foundational beliefs. To insist that you must choose a label or a group unless you are not a “real Muslim,” or not Muslim at all. To even insist that it is closer to righteousness to remain silent when someone is doing open wrong, imagining that your wide smile alone will “charm them” back to the right path.

So, no, I don’t feel comfortable in “my crowd,” or any crowd, truthfully. As I mentioned before, there are many like me. We are outliers, outsiders, passing through Muslim communities of East and West, sometimes in the vicinity of Muslims, sometimes in the vicinity of non-Muslims.

When confronted, our stance on religion is waived off as rebellious because we refuse to be pigeonholed into a single group. But despite our feeling of not belonging, we are, generally speaking, not tormented by our “lonely” existence. We live very healthy, dynamic, diverse lives. We’ve established connections and common ground with many different groups of people, and we don’t feel like the judgmental pariahs people paint us to be (or the judgmental pariahs others are often toward us). We’ve accepted that until a drastic spiritual change happens, we’re going to continue to operate in dual or multiple groups. Because no one quite knows what to make of people who want no belonging to any label except that of Muslim or believer in Allah.

So if you see me outside (or in the store), I’d appreciate if you leave off labels like Wahhabi and extremist and instead take a moment to get to know me beyond the cloth on my head or veil on my face. I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t shout, “Don’t judge me!” when you know full well what you’re doing is wrong. I’d appreciate it if you would stop saying, “Only Allah can judge!” when all I’m doing is sharing what He’s already judged as wrong or right. I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t try to silence me as you hide behind the veil of victimhood, enabling you to freely announce and celebrate your faulty beliefs and sins.

But if you do choose that path, that path of dishonesty in front of yourself and Allah, no worries. Because I have a new mantra these days, inspired by the short surah titled Al-Kaafiroon (the Disbelievers). No, I could never claim that anyone who says, Laa ilaaha illaAllah is a disbeliever no matter what they think of me, and no matter how far their outward appearance strays from Islam. But the last ayah of this surah resonates with me as I think of all those who call me judgmental (or extreme) because I want Paradise so much that I call others to it whenever I can. The last ayah states, “Lakum deenukum wa liya deen,” meaning, “For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.”

…A simple phrase that holds the power of interconnectedness in spite of our differences. A verse that can empower me to smile at and greet the woman wearing short shorts and no hijab, without fear of judgment. And a simple phrase that represents a perfect faith, empowering me to keep practicing Islam despite my human faults and sins…and despite the Muslims who tell me that, when I get confused and weak, it is Islam that is in need of fixing, not me.


Umm Zakiyyah is the internationally acclaimed author of the If I Should Speak trilogy. Her latest novel Muslim Girl is now available.

To learn more about the author, visit or subscribe to her YouTube channel.

Copyright © 2015 by Al-Walaa Publications. All Rights Reserved.

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Daughter of American converts to Islam, Umm Zakiyyah, also known by her birth name Ruby Moore and her "Muslim" name Baiyinah Siddeeq, is the internationally acclaimed, award-winning author of more than twenty-five books, including novels, short stories, and self-help. Her books are used in high schools and universities in the United States and worldwide, and her work has been translated into multiple languages. Her work has earned praise from writers, professors, and filmmakers. Her novel His Other Wife is now a short film. Umm Zakiyyah has traveled the world training both first-time authors and published writers in story writing. Her clients include journalists, professional athletes, educators, and entertainers. Dr. Robert D. Crane, advisor to former US President Nixon, said of Umm Zakiyyah, “…no amount of training can bring a person without superb, natural talent to captivate the reader as she does and exert a permanent intellectual and emotional impact.” Professor K. Bryant of Howard University said of If I Should Speak, “The novel belongs to…a genre worthy of scholarly study.” Umm Zakiyyah has a BA degree in Elementary Education, an MA in English Language Learning, and Cambridge’s CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults). She has more than fifteen years experience teaching writing in the United States and abroad and has worked as a consultant for Macmillan Education. Umm Zakiyyah studied Arabic, Qur’an, Islamic sciences, ‘aqeedah, and tafseer in America, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia for more than fifteen years. She currently teaches tajweed (rules of reciting Qur’an) and tafseer. In 2020, Umm Zakiyyah started the UZ Heart & Soul Care community in which she shares lessons she learned on her emotional and spiritual healing journey at Follow her online: Website: Instagram: @uzauthor Twitter: @uzauthor YouTube: uzreflections



  1. Rashad

    March 13, 2015 at 1:29 AM

    This. Is. Genius.

    • Heather

      March 15, 2015 at 4:13 PM

      Completely. Alhamdullilah.

    • Aisha

      March 19, 2015 at 12:47 PM

      Agreed. Pure genius. Talk bout good literature!

    • Anonymous

      April 22, 2015 at 12:51 PM

      This is simply amazing…it brings comfort to the heart to know that there are other people going through the same thing..May Allah subhana wa ta’ala make it easy on us.

      • Bintsheikh

        January 8, 2016 at 6:32 AM

        Exactly! You said it all. Aameen.

  2. Maya

    March 13, 2015 at 1:48 AM

    Ma shaa Allah.
    Ironically enough, for some random reason or the other I happened to come across the “Practicing Islam in Short Shorts” article barely an hour ago, while struggling to fall asleep. It left me in a rather contemplative state, with issues that I felt really needed to be addressed (such as the judgment she, like so many other Muslims face) and likewise, troubled by others and couldn’t help but wish she at least knew–not to believe in a purely self-interpreted version of Islam, free to follow the whims of her nafs, and most importantly believing that nothing she does is wrong– thus setting her own relative scale of morality as the precedent.
    Alhumdullilah that I found this article in my mailbox within the hour. I truly believe that you went above and beyond doing the response justice. Barak’Allah feekum, and may Allah azawajjal and His Angels be pleased with you :)

  3. Tom the Taalib

    March 13, 2015 at 2:12 AM

    Allahu akbar! Great response. Social media has enabled us to shelter ourselves with a bubble of like-minded individuals. Hence issues like these are talked about in very simplistic ways because the audience already believes what the author is about to say. This response goes beyond preaching to the choir, it is a nuanced and just exploration of how each side experiences judgment, yet remains critical of each’s claims to victimhood. May Allah guide us all to what he loves.

  4. Taban

    March 13, 2015 at 2:25 AM

    Asalaamualaikum sister i liked it very much it was refection of my thoughts many times when my cousins treat me like that i feel frustrated this article covered every aspect of what i wanted to say to them jazakillah khairan even though i dont wear niqab i still suffer from that look which shows that i am an extremist

  5. GregAbdul

    March 13, 2015 at 3:12 AM

    You wear Niqab!

    …just kidding. Both of the problem behaviors you discuss, I think, are caused often by our non Muslim influences. I had a boss who for years has told me, I need to practice “tolerance” meaning, I should shave, go with them to bars. let my supervisors tell me who to sleep with and not pray at work. Obvious women with their goodies out are not in any way getting the message that’s it’s okay from the Quran or the Sunnah. In the West there is a lot of pressure and we are very busy and I know I don’t study as much as I need to. It is easy, if you are not very focused to not only not pray, but to not study and remember what Islam really is. Sometimes I encounter Muslims who have not been to the masjid in a long time and you can tell. We are not talking about out-of-towners, but local Muslims who have been so busy…and then they finally get to the masjid…and then they try to remember what they were taught when they were 10 years old, and then to show it to someone they see not from the old country…and too often they get the things wrong they are trying to teach, due to their lack of practice. You can write Sister. May Allah reward you and help me not judge any Niqabi I see from now on.

  6. Amel

    March 13, 2015 at 5:11 AM

    As-salamu Alaykum,

    For those who don’t know what this article is in response to, here is the original piece:

    I loved your rebuttal and thank you for taking the time to write it.

    As someone who wears hijab, I have, many times, been humbled by the experience of assuming a non-hijabi saw me in a particular light and then finding out that I was wrong about my assumptions.

    It really goes both ways, and it would be a lot healthier if we tried not to make instantaneous assessments of the people we encounter from day to day, especially when they are strangers. We all have different backgrounds and reasons for being where we are today.

  7. Taban

    March 13, 2015 at 6:05 AM

    sister i didnt knew this was your response to above article wow ur response is perfect . we need these kinds of articles!!

  8. Thameena

    March 13, 2015 at 8:40 AM

    MashaAllah well said,sister!

  9. Iqra

    March 13, 2015 at 10:04 AM

    Jazakumullah khairan kaseera for this comprehensive article.

    Honestly speaking, I didn’t even bother to click on “Practicing Islam in short shorts” when it came up in my Facebook news feed. I thought, “Another Islam-bashing article about how I can go naked, skip prayer, and still please Allah through my own definition of spirituality”. But this rebuttal is gold.

    I loved the part where it said that I don’t need to study other religions. I think the same. I’d rather put the time and effort into knowing my own deen instead!

  10. zaynab tyty

    March 13, 2015 at 10:04 AM

    This was brilliantly written sis. may Almighty Allah reward you abundantly.

    i actually searched to see if there was a response to the gawker article “Practicing Islam in short shorts” when i came across this.

    To be honest, i was very bothered because the article had more than 900 comments and it definitely went viral with three of my co-workers sharing the link with me over and over.

    That article was a lesson for me, i have seen a sister who was once an atheist writing against Islam. Now she is a Muslim and she cries every time she remembers what she wrote and how she misled so many people.

    as i read the article, i could not help but notice how she wrote about her inadequacies

    May Almighty guide us aright and make us stop broadcasting our sins and inadequacies.

    Abu Hurayrah said: I heard Allah’s Messenger saying. “All the sins of my followers will be forgiven except those of the Mujahirin (those who commit a sin openly or disclose their sins to the people). An example of such disclosure is that a person commits a sin at night and though Allah screens it from the public, then he comes in the morning, and says, ‘O so-and-so, I did such-and-such (evil) deed yesterday,’ though he spent his night screened by his Lord (none knowing about his sin) and in the morning he removes Allah’s screen from himself.”

    (Reported by Muslim)

  11. Hana

    March 13, 2015 at 12:23 PM

    THANK YOU! For writing this so beautifully. For addressing the writer of the other article so respectfully, yet without shying away from what needs to be said. You really embodied the ideals a Muslim needs to possess. Well done. Bravo! I pray you use your skill in writing to benefit our lost Muslim youth. MashaAllah. :)

  12. Shazia

    March 13, 2015 at 4:46 PM

    You wrote the words that were in many of our minds and you wrote them with dignity and tolerance. I agree, some of us are outliers. But as long as we have the guidance of Allah swt and His mercy, I would be an outlier any day. JazakAllah Khairun.

  13. m

    March 13, 2015 at 5:00 PM

    I have never liked rebuttals. The person who the article practicing Islam in short shorts is obviously struggling, they need dua not rebuttals. This actually gives the original article more attention than it deserves.

    • June

      March 14, 2015 at 10:17 AM

      You are right. They need dua. And the author acknowledged that “So I left their company and kept them in my prayers.”

      • aisha

        March 19, 2015 at 10:00 AM

        and you need dua for your ignorance and youre judgemental attitude! it amazes me how these sle frighteous “holier than thou” muslims always have such a “nice nasty” approach to other muslims. Oh she disagrees with me? she disagrees with how i interpret islam” I WILL PRAY FOR HER!
        No you need prayer!
        I was soo shocked at the comments here from condescending Muslims that i HAVE CREATED A VIDEO ON IT! This is exactly why I will never befriend a Muslim! Even Umar ibn al khattab(radiallahuanhu) has said that a smart non muslim is better than an ignorant muslim!
        your condescending “bitchy” ways will do nothing to help potential reverts or Muslims already in the masjid! THATS WHY PEOPLE DONT COME TO THE MASJID! leering judgemental eyes!
        I respect hijab and all but a rag doesnt make you better than me or anyone! I pray for you because you are ignorant and arrogant! which is a bigger sin!

      • M. Mahmud

        March 24, 2015 at 12:04 AM

        “I pray for you because you are ignorant and arrogant! which is a bigger sin!”

        Aisha-trying practicing what you preach instead of doing the opposite at the same time your are preaching it. Hypocrisy(English sense of the word) can turn people away from the deen more than “being judgmental”.

  14. A, L, M

    March 13, 2015 at 5:44 PM

    Wow, the point of practicing islam in short shorts was to show the crippling effects of judgemental muslims on other muslims who in turn, separate themselves further from the community instead of towards.
    Listen to this:
    “I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t shout, “Don’t judge me!” when you know full well what you’re doing is wrong. I’d appreciate it if you would stop saying, “Only Allah can judge!” when all I’m doing is sharing what He’s already judged as wrong or right. I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t try to silence me as you hide behind the veil of victimhood, enabling you to freely announce and celebrate your faulty beliefs and sins.”

    This is the definition of judgemental. You’re part of the problem. And they’re right when they say you shouldn’t try to judge them because you assume you’re right and theyre wrong. That’s super self righteous, stop standing behind the “I just want jannah for you” veil, this is a very primitive instinct to being called out on your self righteous “naseeha”. Stay in your lane, if they’re saying “don’t judge me” they obviously know what’s right and wrong, youre just adding to the problem.

    • ismail

      March 13, 2015 at 8:07 PM

      Interesting. You call the sister primitive for having a different opinion? Moreover you actually categorize her statements as self righteous without knowing her intentions? Sounds rather judgmental to me. The human beings who scare me the most are the ones who don’t see themselves. They are most vulnerable to treacherous hypocrisy. Our brains were made to judge and analyze information and situations and we couldn’t stop it if we tried.
      Not only did you judge this article, you sentenced this sister personally calling her “the problem”.
      That’s a BIG problem. And yes this comment was a “judgement”.

      • Ali

        March 14, 2015 at 3:05 AM

        Did you read the original article? If so put the paragraphs side by side and then re-read the part you mentioned above.

    • M. Mahmud

      March 14, 2015 at 1:46 AM

      That is utterly absurd. Islam is not an agnostic religion. There is nothing judgmental or arrogant if I know right from wrong. Allah sent down a Furqaan to separate the two, he didn’t give you the right to create some vague postmodern religion where one cannot judge the actions of another.

    • Ali

      March 14, 2015 at 3:19 AM

      Firstly, this is a direct response article please see the original.

      Second, notice the wordings used throughout. While the author had to rigidly mimick the format and sentences of the original she did make clear things like, “things Allah has already judged as right and wrong” thus these things are clear.

      Thirdly, naseehah is obligatory (wajib) on everyone, whether they have some sins or not. As is “amr bil ma’ruf wa nahy an al munkar” which is to be done in an appropriate way that is aimed at rectifying and correcting individuals and society. Sometimes firmly or gently. This article was beautiful as a response and not overly harsh.

      Fourthly, please ponder and imagine the person referenced walking down the streets of Medinah in the time of the Companions with everything outward spitting in the face of Islam. What would the Prophet and Companions do? They would have corrected it.

      They would have done the same with someone outwardly good though they would have corrected once they saw bad from that person – which would come later since the outward is good. This article does great at also displaying the point that you can struggle with some things without nullification of your good.

      Validation of sins, openly exposing it and encouraging it is greatly worse than the sin itself, especially when one feels regret and tries to overcome it. From this point and many other fundamental aspects of Islam that the first article was ignorant of, this article is a great response to shine an Islamic view on an unislamic article written by a Muslim.

      • Sana

        March 19, 2015 at 12:53 AM

        So unless you’re dressed in s potatoe bag you’re sinning? What gives you the right to prance around and condemn people? Not every muslim wears hijab and I wish you would be staring at my clothes,, I have a few choice words. The nerve of you

    • ARA79

      March 14, 2015 at 5:31 PM

      Yes…this article really bothered me. Mainly because the “response” to the “Short shorts” piece seems to have missed the main points of that article. And it really bothers me that we are simply talking past each other.

      That passage you cited was definitely part of the problem. If the other person “knows they are wrong,” as the author claims, what is the purpose of drawing attention to their mistake? In my experience, it’s usually just rude–which is why ppl may be dismissing her “advice.” There is nothing inaccurate or offensive about saying “Only Allah can judge.” What is easy or obvious to some may not be so to others. Allah has given us rules, yes, but He has not, for most of us, actually declared His judgment. (Hence the whole Qiyamah thing–that is the day when Allah will issue His judgments). Most likely these ppl are saying “Don’t judge me” b/c they don’t necessarily want to discuss the issue with the unsolicited advice-giver, who appears not to be very good at understanding alternative perspectives. That is something one may gain from studying other religions and worldview….just saying.

      Personally, I have received advice from friends and family which I disagreed with, and was even angered by, but I did not dismiss them this way–b/c it was obvious to me that they cared, understood (or tried to), and offered advice in appropriate ways and contexts. Then there have been others whose advice or judgmental comments were delivered so obnoxiously that I pretty much never spoke to them again. If ppl feel the need to “shout ‘Don’t judge me'” when you talk to them, you are probably not in the first group.

      Seems like many of us lack the ability to see the world from another’s perspective. I thought the “Short shorts” article did a decent job of trying to bridge that gap. This article did not.
      For instance, in “Short shorts,” she makes an argument about tafsir and hadith being influenced by cultures of extreme patriarchy; Umm Zakiyah does not address tis at all, and just dismisses her as one who has “faulty beliefs” (apparently not worth voicing) and one who picks and chooses which parts of Islam to follow. Commenters took it a step further and accuse the “Short shorts” author of blindly following her nafs. No one actually addressed the statement she made explaining her viewpoint. I guess everyone was too overwhelmed by the images of whiskey and weed to actually engage in a substantive discourse….

      • A, L, M

        March 14, 2015 at 6:02 PM

        I agree, the discussion I’m eluding to is one of non-binary religious beliefs. People bring to their religion their own values, and religion’s job isn’t to give you the values. For instance, if your social, gender, economic, environmental factors are one of someone living in a war torn, impoverished area, your interpretation of the same Islamic text is different from someone living in a Western society.

        The mistake I see in all these responses is saying like the man above “shine an Islamic view on an unislamic article written by a Muslim.” just adds to the binary belief of YOUR definition of Islam over someone else’s. For someone living in a war torn country, Islam is all about injustice, and fighting back oppression, that’s what they seek in the religion, thats the lens they view the texts in. If you live in a priveleged Western society, but face judgement all the time, your interpretation of your religious text, whether it’s Islam, Judaism, Christianity, etc, is that you seek the religious text through the lens of a religion based in understanding and not one of judging others under the guise of “wanting jannah for them”.

        The replies I’ve gotten are just proving my point even more that the judgement muslims in this community who don’t conform to YOUR idea of Islam face is because of your binary “Islamic/UnIslamic” lens. It’s not your job to tell someone his actions are UnIslamic, because Islam is between me and my god, not between me and your definition of Islam. Yes, this sister has the right to express her opinions, and yes she has the right to interpret her faith how she would like. It doesn’t mean her lens of Islam is more Islamic than someone else’s. That’s just a faulty argument. Islam is in fact malleable, that’s the beauty of it. ISIS claims they are Islamic, and you claim you are Islamic. You pull up texts that prove your point, they pull up texts to prove theirs. Are you seeing what I’m saying? You get from the religion what you seek, it’s definitely not binary, and this article just adds to the binary belief of your interpretation of “islamic/unislamic”

      • Umm Zakiyyah

        March 14, 2015 at 7:02 PM

        Thank you for your honest feedback.

        You say, “For instance, in “Short shorts,” she makes an argument about tafsir and hadith being influenced by cultures of extreme patriarchy; Umm Zakiyah does not address tis at all, and just dismisses her as one who has “faulty beliefs” (apparently not worth voicing) and one who picks and chooses which parts of Islam to follow.”

        The “Short shorts” post uses an argument very similar to the atheist argument of ‘Religions do bad; therefore religions are wrong. Or people who believe in God do wrong, so believing in God must be wrong’: “Exploring…gave me the tools I needed to critically look at the hypocrisy of the ‘ulama’a (Islamic elites/scholars/clerics). I realized that I did not have to practice my religion from the point of view of a largely misogynistic group of people. Two years ago, I denounced most hadith (prophetic traditions and sayings), fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and tafseer (interpretation) because these three things, all of which play a huge part in how Islam is practiced today, are filtered through the perspective of Muslims born into normalized extreme patriarchy.”

        It is well-known that the hypocrisy or wrongs of people have nothing at all to do with the authenticity or trustworthiness of anything they claim to believe (or specialize in), religious or otherwise. To argue differently is about as sensible as saying “I reject the United States constitution because American politicians use it for their own [insert racist, misogynistic, etc.] purposes.” This is not only faulty logic. It is faulty belief.

        Based on my own studies of Islam and my travels, I too have a critical eye about things passed on through certain “Islamic scholars.” However, this critical eye makes me question interpretations of religious texts that do not reflect the prophetic Sunnah or Islamic fundamentals; it does not make me disbelieve in the religious texts themselves. To reject most hadith (which by definition originate from the Prophet, peace be upon him), is faulty belief.

        Had the Short shorts post said “I reject the interpretation of most hadith,” then there would be no need to mention faulty belief.

        There was no need for me to *directly* address the issue of the hypocrisy of scholars and problematic interpretations because the author didn’t even directly address these issues herself. She mentioned these points then jumped right into rejecting hadith (a faulty belief system).

        You say, “Allah has given us rules, yes, but He has not, for most of us, actually declared His judgment. (Hence the whole Qiyamah thing–that is the day when Allah will issue His judgments).”

        It appears you are confusing what the word “judgment” means in the contexts of *both* articles. Neither the Short shorts article nor mine were discussing ultimate judgment in the Hereafter. Qiyaamah judgment is about declaring who will be in Paradise and who will be in Hell.

        Before we can talk about “judging people” in this world, we first need to define in concrete terms what it means to “judge someone.” Most often, saying someone “judged someone” is an emotional statement that basically means someone pointed out something wrong you did (or said). And if that’s the “judgment” none of us should be involved in, then the Short shorts article was wrong to “judge” Wahhabis, hypocritical scholars, etc; I was wrong to “judge” her position; you were wrong to “judge” my post; and MM and other sites should disable the “Comment” feature that allows readers to “judge” writers.

        If that’s the “non-judgmental” world people believe we should live in, it sounds like a very scary (and wrong) way to live. However, if such a world existed, it wouldn’t really matter whether or not it was wrong. Because the “non-judgmental” world would dictate that no wrong can ever be pointed out; thus opening up the doors to perpetual, never-ending, unopposed wrongdoing until the Day of Judgment. In fact, this “no wrong can be pointed out” is the foundation of systems of religious (and political) tyranny. And that does not sound like the life Allah tells us to establish in this world.

        May Allah guide us back to His religion.

      • M. Mahmud

        March 23, 2015 at 11:48 PM

        “Islam is in fact malleable,”

        Again, in the sense you used this phrase, this is utterly absurd. Islam is not malleable. Performing Salah in short shorts is not from Islam neither is cutting off peoples heads with goat knives. We have every right to declare clear matters to be right or wrong because Allah sent us a Furqan to separate between right and wrong. Islam is not a free for all. Muslims ARE entitled to judge wrong actions from right actions.

    • Katya

      March 16, 2015 at 3:02 PM

      A, L, M,

      Well done!

      I totally agree with you on what you wrote. I found that section of the blog to be very defensively written and contradictory. I mean how can the author say that they are open to others’ religions and beliefs when they are being judgmental of how someone else practices their religion. The author is clearly trying to be open minded while still being judgmental and considering their way of practicing the most noble, and that does not work with sending a clear message to readers of the article. It is clearly hypocritical and doesn’t send a positive message to others.

      • 'Abdullah

        March 17, 2015 at 3:38 PM

        “I mean how can the author say that they are open to others’ religions and beliefs when they are being judgmental of how someone else practices their religion”

        Because shes practicing the religion in the wrong way….

        “But I don’t think I can share it now because as u said, this paragraph will help further reinforce the ” judgemental” argument.”

        Wait, what? To everyone here who keeps saying that this response was “judgmental”. There is a fine line between being “judgmental” and “correcting a person’s wrong understanding of Islam”. Please think about that for a second. I hope people understand the difference.

        The author of this response did an excellent job. I do not think it was a harsh response. This type of an answer clarified the errors of “short shorts”. Other methods probably would not have done the same.

      • Tom the Taalib

        March 18, 2015 at 3:49 AM

        I believe one of the author’s (UZ) points in the comments section above was that everyone here is involved in judging. You can’t possibly remove judgment from the equation: you’re judging the author, I’m judging your response, etc. The much more interesting point to ponder is:

        What principles or values are informing our judgments (where do they come from?)

        Both authors claim their viewpoints are derived from Islam. The difference is that UZ insists on using all of Islam’s revelatory texts and considering them as a whole before making a judgment whereas the “Short Shorts” author insists on selecting from Islam only what seems relevant to her (for example, denying the hadith).

        The two authors took these two different methods because at the heart of everything they have two different definitions of Islam, or even of religion in general. UZ implicitly defines religion (Islam) as belonging to God: what is and isn’t Islam has been defined by God in the revelations. On the other hand, the author of the Short Shorts article implicitly defines religion (Islam) as belonging to its practitioners (Muslims), to be reshaped by them according to perceived necessity no matter how far from the original Islam it is taken.

        UZ’s definition has proof from within Islam’s sources of revelation and the other author’s doesn’t. More importantly, the Short Shorts author’s definition of religion is essentially atheistic in that is puts people in the role of creating religious meaning and practice. This is nearly identical to the view of secular anthropologists who view religion as a social phenomenon that provides feelings of belonging, hope, and order, etc. but still believe that humans essentially made it up in the first place. Also importantly, despite perceptions to the contrary, UZ’s definition of Islam is much more humble and less judgmental in reality because she’s merely adapting her own criteria to that already laid out by God, whereas the other author feels it’s necessary to bring her own criteria from her own ideas and judge according to that.

        A final observation: “Being open” to where other people are at in their religious practice can mean a lot of things. Does it mean accepting everything that person does? Yes and no: yes in that every Muslim can say that we try to follow Islam but we all fall short in different ways and we can commiserate and cooperate on trying to be better while acknowledging our imperfections. Let’s call this accepting the reality. It’s another thing entirely to say that everything a person does is right and correct according to the religion. Let’s call this accepting as the truth. As I understood it UZ is calling for accepting the reality of all Muslims but not accepting the truth of their mistakes. You are constructing a “binary” (to use ALM’s term) between “acceptance/openness” on one hand and “judgment” on the other. There’s no need for such a binary, according to UZ’s statements, you can accept the reality, be open to, and understanding of people’s shortcomings while still pointing out the fact that it’s wrong according to the religion.

    • Samina

      March 17, 2015 at 3:10 PM

      The entire rebuttal was excellent till I came to this paragraph that you mentioned. Yes, I do agree , as a hijabi that it does take away from all the arguments the author puts forth uptill then. That paragraph does sound judgemental and might I add a bit harsh. I feel bad cause that “praticing Islam in short shorts” article which was shared extensively on social media irked me quiet a bit and this seemed to be the best thing to share to show thats there’s this other side to the argument too. But I don’t think I can share it now because as u said, this paragraph will help further reinforce the ” judgemental” argument.
      JazakAllah khair to the author though cause besides that it truly is very well expressed.

    • Cherie

      March 27, 2015 at 10:19 AM

      I couldn’t agree more. This article really misses the point. It feels like she either didn’t read or couldn’t process it as a normal human being. She’s too far into her way of life that she is not able to take a step back from it. This is why so many people stay away from religion. They fear not being able to be open about how they feel and what they think. I kind of feel like this is similar to when racist people say very racist things at the exact same time as they are claiming racism doesn’t exist.

  15. Farnaz

    March 13, 2015 at 6:32 PM

    You are a brilliant wordsmith mA! This is perfect!

  16. Miriam

    March 13, 2015 at 10:20 PM


    I just read through the short shorts article. It made my mouth drop open. Good thing I read this one first. Thank you Umm Zakiyyah for writing this.

  17. Khadijah

    March 13, 2015 at 10:41 PM

    You give me strength to be a better muslim. Thank you for responding the way you did..

  18. Peace

    March 13, 2015 at 11:11 PM

    Assalaam-u-‘Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakaatuh…

    Wonderful Masha’Allah! THAT is what I call a response!

    Nowadays, one of the biggest dilemmas of our society is the increasing number of online self-proclaimed muftees who have zero Islamic scholarship or even understanding of the basics of our Deen, and yet are willing to brazenly preach their insightful revelations to the rest of the world (that are basically nothing but a pile of cherry-picked principles and ideas, tested by and satisfactory to no one but themselves). Check out the comments on that article and you’ll see there is hardly any Muslim name.

    Although this particular one by no doubt another ‘practising’ Muslim did catch my eye:

    “Hello.. I Live in France, it’s been 2 years,, I felt like you are talking about me, my parents and even my sister!! and I guess I am at the same stage you are, about rejecting all the “ulama” .. now I only depend on the Quran, and some of the hadith that I find logical.

    Thank you for the article”

    This is all what she is going to achieve, reinterpreting the definition of Islam as ‘submission to the nafs’.

    Innaa lillahi wa innaa ilaihi raji’oon.

    May Allah guide them and us…

  19. The Hobbit

    March 14, 2015 at 12:18 AM

    I read the original article and I was so deeply troubled by that I found myself depressed, I make du’a for my sister Thanatos El-Naggar and her well being. And I express my utmost gratitude and thanks to Sister Umm Zakiyyah for the appropriate response. The article (by the will of ALLAH) has cooled the hearts of the believers.

    وكفى الله المؤمنين الجدال

    • Mimosa

      March 15, 2015 at 3:55 AM

      That side blow is completely unneccessary and devalues your islamically noble intention of making dua for her.

      • The Hobbit

        March 15, 2015 at 5:53 AM

        Which side blow? What are you talking about? It’s not a good characteristic to always be paranoid and feel like people are taking shots at you, as a matter of fact that is the attribute of a hypocrite. ALLAH says in suratul Munafiqun (Hypocrite):

        يحسبون كل صيحة عليهم
        (They think that all the call/accusations are against them)

        Always feel that someone is calling them out. ولتعرفنهم في لحن القول والله يعلم أعمالكم
        (And you will surely know them by their speech, and ALLAH knows their doings)

        And way to go ahead and say that my du’a for the sister Thanaa is of no value. Does all ask you first regarding whose du’a is of value or not before responding to them. Stay within your limits.

        • ukhty

          March 15, 2015 at 6:42 AM

          guys plzzz dont fight with each other “believers should be merciful to each other”says Nouman Ali Khan

    • Mimosa

      March 15, 2015 at 2:26 PM

      Thanatos… Really? Is that a mere coincidence? An honest mistake? I’m sorry then, your right is upon me. If not, I correct myself: your post devalues your *statement* of your islamically noble intention of making dua for her.
      And may Allah reward you for pointing out the attributes of the hypocrites. I JUST noticed them myself.

      • The Hobbit

        March 15, 2015 at 4:24 PM

        It was a typo, the autocorrect doesn’t recognize most muslims names, so it improvises. Not a big deal man. I am pretty sure you have had typos in your writings and it was not what you intended.

        Btw I wasn’t calling you a munafiq, I was just saying that hypocrites tend to feel like someone is always out to get them, because of their insecurities.

        But I agree with “ukhty” about not fighting, I apologize for going off. Thank you for the reminder, ALLAH says in the Quran

        فذكر إن الذكر تنفع المؤمنين
        (So remind [them] because verily reminders benefits the believers)

        As for being kind to each other, then ALLAH says:

        والذين معهو أشدآء على الكفار رحماء بينهم
        (And those [believers] who are with him [Muhammad] hare firm against the disbelievers, extremely kind/warms/gentle with the believers)

        ALLAH also says in the Quran:

        ولا تستوى الحسنة ولا السيئة ادفع بالتي هي أحسن فإذا الذي بينك وبينه عداوة كأنه ولي حميم
        (And not equal are the good and the evil, Respond to evil with that which is better/best, then he between whom and you was enmity would be as if he were a warm friend)



      • The Hobbit

        March 15, 2015 at 4:44 PM

        It was a typo man. The autocorrect doesn’t recognize muslim names, so it improvises. Not a big deal. I am pretty sure you have had typos in your writings before and you didn’t intend it.

        And I wasn’t calling you a munafiq, I was just saying that hypocrites always tend to feel that people are out their to get them, and that is because of their own insecurities.

        Thank you “ukhty” for the reminder. ALLAH says in the Quran:

        فذكر إن الذكر تنفع المؤمنين
        (So remind [them] for verily reminders benefit the believers)

        As far as being kind to each other is concerned, then ALLAH says:

        والذين معه آشدآء على الكفار رحماء بينهم
        (And those [believers] who are with him [Muhammad] are firm against the disbelievers and kind/gentle/warm with the believers)

        Hey also says:
        ولا تستوى الحسنة ولا السيئة ادفع بالتي هي أحسن فإذا الذي بينك وبينه عداوة كأنه ولي حميم
        (And not equal are the good and the evil, so respond [to evil] with that which is best, then he between whom and you was enmity will be as if he were a warm friend)


    • cncrnd

      March 15, 2015 at 2:33 PM

      @ukhty: Allah (swt) and His messenger (asws) said it first.

      • ukhty

        March 15, 2015 at 6:40 PM

        but modesty was there from the time of Adam alaihisalaam – ‘Nouman Ali Khan’ .its already in our firah by the will of Allah subhanhuwataala

  20. Ali

    March 14, 2015 at 3:01 AM

    Has this been submitted to also be on truestories.gawker along with the other article?

  21. ameera romero quinzon

    March 14, 2015 at 4:33 AM

    Mashaallah! Superbly written with the issues falling one after the other that i honestly believe has brought many clarifications on the tackled issues.

    May the great Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) reward you more with the grace to write even better, with the clarity of mind to see what is right and wrong in all your endeavors in writing and in your daily living and the sweetness of tongue that you write truth beautifully for Allah’s greater glory. May He also gift you with the strength and the swiftness of your hands to type the words that’s fitted for everyone to read and know and live by. Jazakallah khair.

  22. halah azim

    March 14, 2015 at 8:23 AM

    EXCELLENT. THANK YOU SOOOOOOO MUCH for this. I’m sharing this now. May Allah bless you with alfirdaus

  23. Menahil

    March 14, 2015 at 8:30 AM

    Thank you for the great response! You beautifully wrote down every thought I had while reading the original article.

  24. Muslimah DownUnder

    March 14, 2015 at 10:23 AM

    Wow. I read this article first then the original. And all I can say is that is really saddens me the way people like to “cherry-pick” and then use those cherries to justify themselves. For me personally, Islam has always been “take me or leave me”. If you follow it then follow it completely. I always try my best not to judge cherry-pickers….when I catch myself doing so then I always remind myself that I am not perfect and hence am in no position to judge anybody…Allah may like something in the other person, something which I may not have.
    This article is the perfect response to the original. And it also leaves you wondering about the state of the ummah. Personally, I reckon that we as a nation have lost uniformity….everyone judges based on ur “sect”. Internal conflict has damaged us more than anything else.

  25. Nuriddeen

    March 14, 2015 at 2:55 PM

    Excellent response, I hope we can start giving eachother gentle advice like this instead of fearing being judged or being called judge mental. Excellent article :-)

  26. Fasihuddin Shoeb

    March 14, 2015 at 4:23 PM

    MashaAllah. This article is so much more than a mere response to the original one.
    It is truly scary how our natural instinct is to judge people as soon as we look at them. May Allah help us overcome that.

    Quoting a comment above:
    “May the great Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) reward you more with the grace to write even better, with the clarity of mind to see what is right and wrong in all your endeavors in writing and in your daily living and the sweetness of tongue that you write truth beautifully for Allah’s greater glory. May He also gift you with the strength and the swiftness of your hands to type the words that’s fit for everyone to read and know and live by. Jazakallah khair.”

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    March 14, 2015 at 5:01 PM

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  28. Spirituality

    March 14, 2015 at 7:14 PM

    As Salamu Alaikum,

    I had conflicting responses reading this article.

    First of all, I agree with others: amazing writing, sister!

    For those who have not read the original article, “Practicing Islam in Short Shorts” I highly recommend it, as one cannot fully appreciate the brilliance of this article unless one read the original.

    That being said, I am saddened by both articles…here is my response to all my Muslim sisters, whether they wear long prayer clothes with Niqab or short shorts or anything in between.

    Sisters, we are so much more than our clothing :D! Isn’t it time we stopped defining ourselves, and others, primarily by the clothes we wear?

    (This is not to deny that Islam has a dress code: in that sense, the sister wearing the long prayer clothes is adhering more closely to the Islamic regulations.)

    But, we are so much more than our clothing! Why not focus on other key aspects of ourselves and others?

    Regarding ourselves: why not define ourselves as ‘Practicing Islam by connecting to Allah’ or ‘Practicing Islam by being good to our families’ or ‘Practicing Islam by volunteering in a homeless shelter’ or ‘Practicing Islam by perfecting our worship’ or “Practicing Islam by excelling in school/work?”

    Regarding others: Lets strive to look beyond what other wear, and strive to see the positive characteristics in our fellow sisters. It maybe hard, but so worth it! Maybe the sister in short shorts has a sweet smile. Maybe the sister in Niqab has the kindest eyes! If if you actually know the other sister, (as both articles claim) there is even more opportunity to focus on positives. Maybe the sister in short shorts makes awesome brownies for the bake sale. Maybe the sister in Niqab makes some mean samosas! Maybe the sister in short shorts is a whiz in math. Maybe the sister in Niqab is an amazing author. You get the idea.

    Both sisters wonder ‘should I greet the other person’? I say, Don’t hesitate! Put a big smile on your face and say “As Salamu Alaikum!” Or, perhaps, “Hey! How are you doing” (If you think this will make the sister more comfortable). Once we focus on the positives, it should be much easier.

    Once we build bridges, we are in a much better position to give naseeha to the other, whether the other sister needs to work on their clothing, their manners that may come across as harsh, or whatever else it maybe…

    Anyway, I end by saying: Sister, I know you have been judged, I know the pain you feel. I love you, you are my sister in Islam. May Allah guide us all!

  29. Siraaj

    March 14, 2015 at 7:54 PM

    Born into “Extreme normalized patriarchy” therefore all opinions are in its service, consciously, unconsciously, or subconsciously. Everyone is guilty until proven innocent. All evidences used to demonstrate a principled stance are suspect.

    To the sister, I’d like to remind her she’s also born into patriarchy. Her fellow feminists will agree that the images of women’s bodies in magazines, movies, and pop culture are a reflection of male domination of media, corporate america, and the government.

    Given this, I see you haven’t any agency either, not in any real sense. You are unconsciously a byproduct of a different type of extreme normalized patriarchy. Your claims to acting without coercion are false, as short shorts have been normalized into your psyche in order to promote an agenda that places the worth of a female in her body rather than her humanity.

    Guilty until proven innocent.

  30. 'Abdullah

    March 15, 2015 at 6:00 AM

    MashAllah, extremely well written article. EVERY youth living in the west should definitely read this response. This article speaks for many of us practicing Muslims in the west. It is very difficult to find such well written pieces like this. MashAllah, may Allah Ta’ala make this article a means of guidance for many and may Allah Ta’ala grant the writer the tawfeeq (opportunity) to write more beneficial articles. Aameen.

  31. ukhty

    March 15, 2015 at 1:54 PM

    it just hit me sister y article is called practicing islam in long long ‘prayer garments’ bcoz if u pray salah u will definetly wear decent clothes at that time does that mean u r agreeing with so called ‘patriarchal rules’ no it rather means ur fitrah does not allow u to pray in short shorts dat means there is something wrong with it
    u dont need a faqih to tell u this ur inner voice is enough .Our CREATOR has set rules for us nd He subhanhuwataala knows whats good for us!!!

  32. Abdurahman

    March 16, 2015 at 8:10 AM

    Mashallah what a great response

  33. Suhura

    March 17, 2015 at 11:57 PM

    MashaaAllah…Umm Zakiyyay, thank you for writing such a beautiful response to the short shorts article. You have truly taken the words right out of our mouth.
    I myself have been judgemental. My younger sis wears a niqab and I wasn’t very nice to her when she first adorned it, but after some time I realized that she is taking steps to get closer to Allah and that I should be saluting her instead of being mean. Who am I to say otherwise when my knowledge is so limited.
    Although I do not wear a niqab I still feel the same, judged by non hijabis. This is what we go thru ever so often, sometimes leaving us with doubtful thoughts of our own sincerity towards Allah. But Alhamdulillah HE has not let us go astray… I hope one day I can meet you and give you a hug!!

  34. Taban

    March 18, 2015 at 12:14 AM

    i think sister umm zakkiyahs article will not change people overnight.But she has done a remarkable job writing it. if someone says anything wrong about islam privatley than u can advise him as well privately but when something wrong about islam is being exposed publicly its our duty to negate it . May Allah reward her abundantly for this article . she did what none of us dare to do bcoz we are passive but the time is near when we shuld break from our comfortable spheres of our life and serve our deen in whatevet capacity we can.

    • 'Abdullah

      March 18, 2015 at 2:39 AM

      Well said. Definitely.

  35. Truthy

    March 18, 2015 at 1:02 AM

    The articles on that muslimgirl website are typical feminist talking points. It’s either a social engineering project from the same sources that push feminism elsewhere, or there are in fact many Muslim women who subscribe to feminism and reject Islam. Either is quite possible.

    As a natural pessimist, I tend to believe the majority of Muslim women have absorbed the culture of the West and thus would make very poor mates. And so I have no interest in marrying a Western Muslim woman. I know there are a few exceptions, but that’s very difficult to find.

    People should keep in mind that Christianity was once the dominant culture of the West as well, and required women to dress modestly, to keep chaste, and to obey their husbands and for children to respect and obey their parents.

    But now look at modern Western nations, feminism has completely stripped Christianity away and replaced it. While I do believe Islam is the final, perfect religion, it is not as if Christianity and Judaism are not very similar in many ways, especially in behavior. If feminism can gut Christianity it can do it to Islam too.

    The hadith do indicate women are the greatest trial for Muslim men, and that eventually the world will end and many of the signs exist in what feminism promotes. We may be very close to the end, and our numbers are going to dwindle. Not just ours, but apparently all religious people.

    Feminism is also tied very closely to witchcraft, which is now the fastest growing “faith” in the West. Not the world, yet, but the West.

    • Sana

      March 19, 2015 at 12:58 AM

      So you want a mouse who will sit and shut up! I’d rather be a beautiful free western woman than a caged mouse! See what articles like this fo? Bring out the radical extremists! You’re so lacking as a man you can’t handle a westernized roman. Go marry a mouse/slave!

  36. Amatullah

    March 18, 2015 at 10:34 AM

    This was exemplary. I find it insane when people quote any Ayah/Hadith and interpret it to fit their whims and desires. They use it as a comeback, to support their disobedience but deep inside they know it isn’t going anywhere and that they’re the ones who are fooling themselves. I completely loved this rebuttal. And to all those, who feel this article was Judgemental, well, Allah SubhanawaTaa’la has set some limits and if their transgression isn’t thought of as bad, you really don’t agree with the limits set. Do you? It is important to learn your religion when you can’t DIFFERENTIATE between Judgement and Assertion (or sometimes plain advice). It’s rather sad to see Islamophobic youth living in our own communities. I am afraid such “open-mindedness” might take over an innocent muslim and dump them completely into the darkness. We shall be answerable to the impact we make on others.
    May Allah set our affairs straight and guide us all.

  37. ahmed

    March 18, 2015 at 12:52 PM

    Good article, good points. Abdurrahman Murphy had a good response on his fb (a concise one tackling it from a different angle). I would however respectfully disagree with two things. 1) the use of surah alkafiroon. This was addressed at the non believers who proposed worshipping Allah for one year and their idol for another. Islam is one religion with one set of rules (some disagreement over the minor issues). Thus someone wearing shorts belongs to the same religion. 2) not all women/men who come across less than Islamic fall into the category you described. Many are ashamed of their sins and aware of what is right and wronf

  38. Sana

    March 19, 2015 at 1:00 AM

    The amount of ignorance here is sickening! This is why ppl turn away from Islam! The haram police hate it when you tell them they can’t judge you! Because they want do bad yo judge others! But thanks for your radical article I will post it on the video slut shaming Muslims

    • Hue Man

      March 19, 2015 at 11:43 AM

      Is it radical to obey Allah? Is it radical to accept one’s shortcomings as a shortcoming rather than try to justify it? Is it wrong to observe and identify what Allah has allowed and what he has not allowed? Is it wrong to share what we learned with each other as to protect each other from falling into haram? Is it wrong to fall prostrate and seek Allah’s vast mercy and forgiveness? Is it wrong to wish that all Muslims would accept that we are all in err and we are all in need of guidance and self improvement?

      We as Muslims need to grow up and be mature about our Deen. NONE of us are perfect. We ALL make mistakes. Some outwardly and some inwardly. We all need to improve and repent. We all need to care for and make dua for each other. And we all need to stand firm regardless of our own religiosity when it comes to the rule of Allah and submit to the fact that it is Allah who sets the boundaries, not our desires. We all need a good friend who will tell it how it is rather than just appease our whims.

      It is very harmful to the Ummah when people go around claiming that those who choose to follow the Sunnah are radical. Its very harmful to your own improvement as a human to ignore your own shortcomings and just make excuses. We all need to improve ourselves whether we wear short shorts or long long clothing. Regardless of what you wear, we are all in need of introspection and need to assess ourselves and find our faults so that we can improve on them. We are all in need to remember the hope that Allah Will forgive any sin, as long as the heart of that sinner is sincere in repentance. How can one be sincere if he/she does not even know how to recognize that which needs fixing?

      Alhamdulilah for our beautiful lifestyle that was revealed upon our Messenger Muhammad peace and prayers upon him. Alhamdulilah that we were taught how to be the best of humans. May Allah guide us to the straight path, guide us to achieve our potential, increase our love for one another and envelope us in His mercy.

    • M. Mahmud

      March 23, 2015 at 11:53 PM

      Declaring someones action wrong is not judging. To say so is not only a contradiction of everything Allah and His Messenger brought, it is stupidity. THAT is ignorance.

  39. Tasnim

    March 19, 2015 at 1:03 PM

    wallahi wallahi loved your response mashallah…wanna giv you a big hug sis…i felt so enraged reading the other article and this one was such a rebuttal…n resonates sooo well with most of us hijabis….Hijabis rock ;)

  40. aisha

    March 19, 2015 at 1:07 PM

    A.L.M I am soo proud of you and other great Muslims! it infuriates me that unless you agree with a radica;’s interpretation of Islam…you are a sinner!

    This video was inspired by this article! this article sparked a heated debate with the Muslims and the radical conservative Muslims.
    I say radical because they are radical. Clinging tightly to their interpretation of Islam! anyone who disagrees with a judgemental radical Muslim will be told that they are “sinful” and “going to hell”. Questioning them means that you have questioned Allah/God himself! these people know NO logic. Unless you follow their warped twisted version of Islam than you are “LESS THAN”.
    I want all my Muslim sisters to know that they are never less than, their interpretation is no less valid than a person who wears niqab.
    Judgemental Muslims hav an issue with others saying that only Allah can judge! because judgemental Muslims are soo arrogant and blind that they want the divine right to play Allah and judge others! as if their judgement means anything! It is true! ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE US! dont you dare try it! it bothers you that I speak the truth? the truth that my Creator’s final judgement is THE ONLY JUDGEMENT?
    The judgemental Muslims looove to go on the net and copy/paste from random “islamic sites” and issue out religious rulings. Here is a quote DIRECTLY from Allah himself
    “O you who believe, no people shall ridicule other people, for they may be better than they. Nor shall any women ridicule other women, for they may be better than they. Nor shall you mock one another, or make fun of your names. Evil indeed is the reversion to wickedness after attaining faith. Anyone who does not repent after this, these are the transgressors.” (Ch.49 Al Hujurat V. 12)

    Allah is addressing the believers, those who have got faith in the unicity of God, that God is One, that they should well understand this verse of the Holy Quran. He is warning them that one group from among them must not mock at another group. They must not also ridicule others and look for faults in them.

    Nowadays, there are many situations in which people find faults in others, and they ridicule these people. God, the Creator (Allah), has warned people that beware of these actions for the other group whom they are mocking at may be better than them. He is also warning them that, they must not laugh at others, backbite them or spy them to find faults and create disorder and disputes, because this would be a grievous thing. There are also those types of people who are prepared to talk all sorts of things and to assemble around a table to ridicule others, and make them the subjects of their conversation. Allah warns them and say that maybe the ones whom who are taking as inferior are in fact much better than you, that they are good people with a good hearts!
    It bothers judgemental Muslims when you tell them that they shouldnt judge people!

    • HUE MAN

      March 20, 2015 at 1:42 PM

      One time I asked a Sheik on behalf of another: A sister is asking if you can show me the evidence in the Quran and Sunnah for Hijab?

      He replied: The real question to ask herself is “If she sees the evidence for this will it make a difference to her?” If the answer is yes, we can look at the evidence. If the answer is no, its a waste of time.

      The point is. Do we seek the truth for what it already is or what we want it to be?

      Recently I learned from a great scholar that as Muslims, we only invite people to the path. We invite non Muslims to Islam. We invite our own selves and our fellow Muslims to the correct path. Our deen is Naseeha (advice). Once the message is delivered there is no reason to argue. Its up to each person to choose how they will live their life and we will each face Allah alone. However,there is a responsibility to at least inform each other of the knowledge we have gained regarding what is right and wrong and how to excel on the straight path. This must be done in the best possible way (Best time, place and manner). Because if we dont even do that for each other how will knowledge spread? Do we even care about each other if we hide the truth from one another?

      Recognizing the haram is not all about fear. Its about forgiveness and mercy. If that person doesnt even know they are overstepping the boundaries set by Allah, how can they even take the time to seek Allah’s vast mercy and forgiveness. How can they act upon the saying which closely means: All of the son of Adam make mistakes, and the best of those who make mistakes are those who repent to Allah.

      So please. Next time someone informs you about something they think you should improve upon; maybe they are the people who care about you most. Maybe they went home and made dua for you. Maybe they even shed tears for you. So dont let Shaytan tell you that anyone who wants you to improve is judging you. We all know that final Judgment is up to Allah alone. That does not change the fact that he sent us messengers with clear guidance and that guidance must be shared.

      • The Hobbit

        March 21, 2015 at 1:24 AM

        There are people that enjoy seeing a Muslims argue and fight amongst themselves, they like that the Muslims should be decided into “radical”, moderate, “progressive”, conservatives.

        They best way I gauge for myself if i am in the right or the wrong is by seeing who’s support am I getting. If I see that all the non-Muslims are cheering me on against another “version” of Muslims, I know immediately that this can’t be right. ALLAH says in the Quran:
        ولن ترضى عنك اليهود ولاالنصارى حتى تتبع ملتهم
        (The Jews and the Christians will not be pleased and satisfied with you until you follow them and succumb to their ways)

        I love all Muslims unconditionally, I support and encourage the practicing amongst them, and I support and encourage the non-practicing to start practicing.

        The prophet said:
        المؤمن القوي أحسن من المؤمن الضعيف وفي كل خير

        (The stronger believer is better than a weaker believer, but they both have good in them)

        So be happy ALLAH made you Muslims! =)

      • Ismail

        May 20, 2015 at 10:13 AM

        Hue Man,BarakAllah akhy for your naseeha to our sister.she clearle needs it.

    • M. Mahmud

      March 23, 2015 at 11:58 PM

      It bothers hypocrites and fasiq Muslims when you declare their injustices to be injustices. There is nothing judgmental about judging a particular action and judging based on what is apparent. The Sahaba RA did it all the time. Your philosophy is made up. In the end Allah judges everyone but in this life humans make judgement all the time.

      “I say radical because they are radical. Clinging tightly to their interpretation of Islam! anyone who disagrees with a judgemental radical Muslim”

      “these people know NO logic. Unless you follow their warped twisted version of Islam”

      Do you not see how incredibly judgemental and hypocritical(English sense of the word) you are being? Don’t expect anyone to take this invented philosophy seriously if you can’t bother to be consistent or avoid double standards. If you are literally doing the very thing you are calling against(and you certainly are) then there is no point in giving you an ear.

    • M. Mahmud

      March 24, 2015 at 12:01 AM

      And another thing-lax Muslims who dislike obeying Allah don’t have any right to their own particular version of Islam. If you dislike “radical”(again you are pulling a classic do as I say not as I do here-try to practice what you preach Aisha) Muslims for affirming their practice of Islam as correct then perhaps you should realize in all likelihood it has been authentically transmitted from Rasulullah sallahualayhiwasalam. This deen is not to be interpreted by the layman. The job was done by the classical scholars.

  41. MalikSaabSays

    March 20, 2015 at 3:31 PM

    Salam all!
    I can completely identify with the whole process which you’ve described here; something very similar happened to me, but over a long period of time and with many twists and turns.
    Interestingly I am also reminded of surah al-kafiroon, along with the various examples that Allah Most Wise has given to us, coming at the same conclusion when someone tries to market their sectarian beliefs and brand all other non-conformists as hell-bound.

    Going through the Quran gives me various reminders when having such conversations with people, such as even the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. told by his Lord that he is not there to make people believe but only to deliver a message; then the example of Prophet Nooh (Noah) how he was preaching for so long – his job likewise was not to force people to follow but just to deliver a message; and then the Quranic verses where Allah tells us how man is always in dispute, and how if He wanted He could’ve created just one religion but to separate the chaff from the grain He lets there be some stuff in religion which is absolutely clear and some which is not clear so that those of pure conviction, wisdom & understanding can be separated from the troublemakers. Reading that and many such other parts of the Quran alone gives so much insight into what attitudes one must have towards others who will at some point be in dispute because of differing opinions and viewpoints.

    So much to say, yet so little time…

  42. Hoosein Kader

    March 25, 2015 at 8:03 AM

    We can easily understand the struggle of our sister Umm Zakiyyah. In our part of the world, Myanmar, there are still Mullahs, who prohibit taking photos and seeing TV. Generally Muslims are illiterate, never study Quran or Hadith. They just listen to the foolish sermons of Mullahs and follow them, unable to verify the authenticity. We have already given our Emman to these guys. Until and unless every Muslim comes to learn Quran and Hadith, there will be no change in Muslim community.

  43. Nur

    March 26, 2015 at 9:21 PM

    Thank you for writing this. I never though before wearing niqab that Muslims would judge me, but it turned out that my fellow Muslims were my biggest critics. May Allah SWT allow us to destroy any prejudice that keeps us from loving one another for His sake.

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  45. Maha

    March 29, 2015 at 10:28 AM

    MashaAllah! Jazakillahu Khaira Sister Umm Zakiyyah

  46. m

    April 2, 2015 at 12:36 PM

    Nice article. I can relate – there is basically a ‘war’ on Islam from all sides – nafs, shayateen, muslims, non-muslims, intellectuals, non-intellectuals… At some point, we’ve got to stop judging just the non-muslims or just the non-intellectuals. At some point, we just have to state our beliefs and stop arguing. At some point, we just have to have strong faith and intuition.

    I have inner struggles too, with perfectionism (expected of me by others) and with bullying (especially the subtle kind where “anything you say or do can be used against you”)…

  47. Ismail

    May 20, 2015 at 11:13 AM

    Umm Zakiyyah,jazakallahu khayran ukhty,this article is so deep and powerful naseehah.I had to go and read the original one too in order to comment.Many of our brothers and sisters are so caught up in jahiliyyah of the secular societies,especially the born in Muslim families.They are wallowing in the lure of these cultures that they now subject the Qur’an and the Sunna to the rules of political correctness.In this deen,you hear and obey.There are set down rules to guide us in worship.It isn’t about our whims and what we find palatable.How can that sister show contempt to the ahadith and the scholars?and still some supporting her?astgaghfirullah!May Allah azza wa jal forgive her sins and may she be guided straight.Amin

  48. Hamza

    November 25, 2015 at 1:57 AM

    Good article, and good for you for letting the haters be, and removing yourself from the company of negative people. The only reason these people think this way and see these faults in others, is because they themselves have the same faults, which must be pretty manifest or otherwise they wouldn’t obsess over their fellow Muslims’ outward signs of piety.

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  50. Zia-e-Taiba

    October 18, 2016 at 2:32 AM

    Islam is very good Religion.

  51. Al Haramain Hajj & Umrah Tours Ltd

    July 4, 2018 at 12:30 PM

    Yes I agree with you. Really awful article. Thanks for sharing.

  52. London Prayer Times

    June 10, 2019 at 3:14 PM


  53. Adam Hawk

    June 25, 2021 at 1:20 PM

    Nice Post. Extremely well written article and every youth living in the west should definitely read this response. This article speaks for many of us practicing Muslims in the west. It is very difficult to find such well written pieces like this. MashAllah, may Allah Ta’ala make this article a means of guidance for many and may Allah Ta’ala grant the writer the tawfeeq (opportunity) to write more beneficial articles.

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