Afterthoughts from last week’s post on Hijab:
There are no perfect hijabis any more than there are perfect Muslims. A woman wearing a hijab is not covering her head because she’s reached the zenith of modesty and womanly goodness (Lookit her, thinking she’s all holy…) she’s covering her head because she is trying to be modest, to be recognized as a Muslim, and to be free from the otherwise imposed status of Everybody’s Eye Candy.
It’s a bit of a universal confusion- I’m sure Christians wearing crosses may intimidate other Christians who don’t, and the same with Jews in yarmulkes, and so on. And I’m sure that there are people out there who do wear their religion to show off, but I believe that for the most part, people wear these things to remind themselves, and also, because they are trying.
I have a problem with labels. I would never, ever call myself religious. It would be an insult to religious people. I’ve actually been asked countless times- “So, are you a religious Muslim?”
“Well,” I say, very clearly remembering prayers I constantly struggle with, trees I’ve never planted and bridges I’ve knowingly burned, “No.”
“But you do that thing-” they say, pointing to my head.
“Ah, this thing…” My scarf. Yeah, I wear a scarf. SubhanAllah. But that doesn’t make me religious. It doesn’t even make me a ‘practicing’ Muslim, because no one practices perfectly. If being called a ‘Trying Muslim’ didn’t imply you were a difficult to work with and a wear on peoples’ patience, I would be ok with that, because I’m not religious, I’m very imperfectly practicing Islam, and the most generous thing I can say about myself – without first checking if there are any dark, ominous, and possibly lightning-prone clouds nearby – is that I’m trying.
So yeah, you meet hijabis who smoke, and hijabis who date, and hijabis who werk it like life is their catwalk, but just because they’re hijabis doesn’t mean their actions are any more or less unIslamic. Why is it that we’re ok when a young Muslim woman shows up in tight jeans and no hijab, but if you add a hijab, we get really offended? Because people see hijab as a symbol of Purity (uppercase) rather than a symbol of attempted modesty, and they feel that by wearing tight pants, the girl is demeaning hijab. The truth of the matter is that the girl is demeaning the girl, not the hijab, not the religion, and not the concept. Her application is far from perfect, but are we all waiting to be perfect before we start practicing Islam? Because boy is that NEVER going to happen…
Allah tells us that the person who reads/recites Qur’an fluently is rewarded for that goodness. And the person who reads with mistakes? Who has a had time? Who’s struggling? That person is rewarded double, because they’re putting all the more effort in to it. Allah knows who’s trying, and a girl who’s trying to be modest, but is obviously also struggling, should be encouraged, not condemned. And seeing her should make us look towards our own selves- why are we seeing what she does in such a negative way? Perhaps it’s self-consciousness about our own imperfections that causes resentment, and therefore- nit-pickiness in the practice of people who seem more religious than we are?
Allah knows best.