Abez sez Assalamualaikum!

I went to a tea party today and had an interesting conversation about modesty and scarfyism (aka Hijab) and I was reminded of the fact that most people have no idea what’s going on inside of my head. I assume they all know why I wear a scarf, but that’s an error on my part, I suppose. Oh well. Here’s my attempt at rectifying it.

Never, in my entire life, had I imagined I would ever wear a scarf. Being a product of American society, I believed that modesty was oppression and man’s attempt to safe-guard his chattel, viz- his women, from those who would seek to steal them. It turns out that my idea was just slightly off, that modesty is not man’s attempt at safeguarding his chattel, it is woman’s attempt to safeguard her sexuality and humanity both.

So why do women’s sexuality and humanity need protecting, because we women are weak? No, because our society is weak. And what we are protecting ourselves against? Many things, but two major ones are:

1. The misuse of the power of human sexuality.

2. The dehumanization (and subsequent abuse!) of women through the overemphasis of sexual attributes.

Sexuality has power, really? Yes, really. Advertisers know it makes the marketing world go round, and they use sex-appeal to sell everything from shampoo to shoes. The power of sexuality has become a tool used for manipulation, but this is not what God gave us sexuality for.

Ideally, the human sexual experience is a private and passionate bond, a consummation of love and devotion. Though it is not the sole component of love, it is certainly a primary ingredient, and when enjoyed within the boundaries of marriage, it is even considered a meritorious act in Islam.

Currently, however, the human sexual experience has been stripped down to an animal act. It is no longer beautiful or special, it is fast, cheap, and largely free. It comes with no strings attached, in other words, no prerequisites of devotion or love. It cheapness and availability have turned it into a marketable product, and instead of selling products, advertisers are often selling sex and presenting their products as the appropriate accessories.

Hundreds of times a day, millions of times a year, women are made to display what would normally be private sexual behavior on camera to sell, to entertain, to cheapen the power of their sexuality to such an extent that it is meaningless. The sexy woman turns and gives an alluring look to the camera. (an alluring look, which under normal circumstances, would be reserved only for the man she would be sharing her life and bed with) She blinks and smiles meaningfully, her moist lips parting over perfect teeth. (an intimate gestured reduced to the cheapness of a marketing tactic) She stares longingly at the camera, and therefore at you, and eventually sips her cola. Drink Coke.

We’ve saturated the market to such an extent that we don’t think anything of a woman’s smile anymore. Here, women on billboards and magazines smile all the time and we don’t think anything of it. And yet, in more conservative cultures, a woman’s smile is still beautiful. It seems strange doesn’t it, that the smile of a woman would be a gentle and comforting gesture, a rare and precious gift.

Everyone believes in modesty in some form or another. Some people believe it starts at the calves, because legs are attractive, and they won’t wear anything shorter than that. Some people believe it starts at the elbows, because arms are attractive, so they won’t wear sleeveless dresses. Muslims believe that modesty starts at the wrist, ankles, and face, because all of the woman is attractive. We also believe that modesty is a state of behavior and mind as well as a choice of wardrobe. I’m sure many people agree that a woman in hijab who still flirts outrageously is outside the boundaries of modesty, so I don’t think I need to explain why modesty in behavior is inseparable from modesty in dress.

Not behaving in an overtly sexual manner in public, on screen or off screen, is part of behavioral modesty, and distancing ourselves from immodesty (on TV, in films, in music videos, etc) is part of keeping our actions consistent with our beliefs. To take enjoyment from watching other people do what we believe is wrong smacks of hypocrisy, does it not?

I know I’ve wandered a bit off topic, but this all ties into why I wear a scarf, why I won’t chill with guys, why I don’t watch tv or movies, why I won’t watch women sell themselves in music videos or listen to the songs from these videos either. (You wouldn’t watch a totally anti-Islamic video, therefore you wouldn’t buy the soundtrack either, would you?) There are other reasons for why I don’t listen to haram music, but that’s another blog.

Well, now that I’ve aired some of my brains in public, I’ve opened myself up to feedback. Some of it will be criticism I suppose, from people who maintain that man is more civilized then he was in ancient times, so it’s not like we need modesty to protect women anymore. Yeah, right.

Humor me. Let’s count to thirteen.

1…

2…

3…

4…

5…

6…

7…

8…

9…

10…

11…

12…

13…

Statistically speaking, a woman is raped every thirteen seconds in the US. How can this be happening if man is supposed to be more civilized now than he was before? Because society’s sexuality is out of control right now. We’ve got sex being broadcasted at us on TV, sung about on the radio, actually done on the big screen. Man is not more civilized than he was before, he’s LESS, and because he‘s always got the engine running, he tends to behave badly. Rape and prostitution have and will always exist in society because biologically, historically, inevitably, man is a sexually-oriented animal (I mean mankind, I’m not a femi-nazi) and there will always be a need for preventative measures (modesty) to keep sexuality in its proper place (the bedroom) and under control. Khallas.

Anything good or correct I have said is from the blessings and grace of Allah, and anything bad or incorrect is from myself or Shaitan. I seek refuge in Allah and ask His forgiveness. May He has mercy on all of us.

Leave a Reply

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: