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YOHO – You Only Hijab Once

Lifetime Hijab

Sakeena Suliman – Opinion | 27 Ramadan 1434

YOHO means You Only Hijab Once.

Ramadaan is nearing its end. This is made clearer every weekend by the throng of Muslims frequenting all the shopping malls, boutiques, the Oriental Plaza and our very own Muslim made “Las Vegas”, where “the Strip” in this case is lined with food outlets instead of casinos. No, not the Zoo Lake, we reserve that for Eid day Tawaafs – I’m talking about Mint Road, Fordsburg.

This very special month is almost over, and when the gates of Hell are opened up and Shaytaan is let loose once the month is over, so is our hair. The once a year Hijab is thrown back into the drawer which sadly gets locked up unless of course there’s a funeral to attend.

Funerals tend to be the only place we dress modestly these days. Our need to look respectful for the dead who can’t see us for those few hours is much more important than respecting ourselves for the One who sees us every second.

Before you jump to conclusions and start frothing at the mouth with “how dare she” and “she’s so judgemental”, please breathe or even better perform a whudhu. I’ve dared and my darings are no judgement just observations based on the fact that I’ve made the following lame statements at one point.

If your justification for wearing the hijab once a year is, “at least I’m respecting the month of Ramadaan”, what about the other 11 months then? It’s true, a beautiful month and one to be respected, but respected even more. It’s not meant to be the only month we practice respect, tolerance and Islam in.

Ramadaan isn’t supposed to be a 30 day detox where we rehearse obligatory habits and dress that are designed to be inculcated every day of our lives.

What seems to have made wearing hijab easier is the fact that it’s become a fashion statement – sometimes an eye sore, place giant camel hump here.

What is hijab? Is it just the scarf we use to cover our heads? Or does it encompass everything: hijab of the head, body and behaviour by means of modesty?

We’ve even coined the fashionable term hijabi for women who wear it every day. Whereas Muslims – male and female, yes hijab is for our male brothers also – who don the hijab are just Muslims.

The reasoning “it’s what’s inside that really counts” is made. That can’t be denied, but then why was it made compulsory to wear the hijab? Also, often heard is the guilt soothing: “I’ve seen people who ‘dress Muslim’ behave really badly and contradict the clothes they wear”. Doesn’t that mean that both are important yet separate obligations that go towards forming a Muslim “appearance”?

Some women intend to wear “hijab” when they get older even though death is standing on everyone’s doorstep, hand in position. We just don’t know when he’s going to knock. It would be sad if your first day to wear the hijab was to be your last.

By saying this I’m not saying that there is any difference between a woman who chooses to dress according to the tenets of Islam and one who doesn’t. I am not suggesting the one is more Allah conscious than the other. I’m saying both are obligations and we should stop using the one to justify the lack of the other, in both cases.

What should motivate us is that were Muhammad SAW to visit us and look for people from his Ummah, would we want to be someone he passes by merely because we’re not dressed like someone from his Ummah? And further if he notices us because we are dressed accordingly, would we want to disappoint him by our words, manner and action?

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