“Oh My GOD! You’re still wearing the veil! Congratulations!”
That’s the new greeting my friends and I share now. We joke about it, but coming to think of this newly disclosed trend, I suddenly realize it’s so NOT funny! Off the top of my head, I can name over twenty women who have removed their Hijab in the past year, and as one by one of my family and friends throw in their scarves, it gets harder to be amongst the few girls still standing.
This comes from nowhere near a high horse! I’m not here to judge or criticize. I know these ‘uncovered’ women. I love them and respect them and I’ve witnessed their struggles for years. I’ve seen them fight invisible battles before giving up, and if God didn’t give me the stamina and strength, perhaps I might have been one of them.
I make no condemnations, assumptions or speculations. I’m only here to unveil the truth shared by Muslim women brave and honest enough to explain why they took off their Hijab.
Veiled women make the conscious decision to cover their beauty, and for the most part, feel like they’ve become unattractive in the process. It’s a feminine instinct to take pride in our looks. We go bankrupt buying anti-aging creams, designer outfits and high-heeled shoes because the way we present ourselves is part of who we are. We strive on compliments and hidden glances of admiration, and losing that makes us feel old, rejected or excluded. Deep down we all love attention and we all want to be noticed.
Letting down your hair and showing off the body you’ve been starving for the past month makes you feel powerful and sexy. It beats wrapping a scarf around your head and looking like Granma, doesn’t it?
Curvy, sensual, pouty, toned, with a full mane flowing around your perfectly made-up face…. Isn’t this the glamorous definition of beauty the media is slowly engraving in our minds?
Muslim women are taking off the Hijab because they have a suffocating need to ‘fit in’. They want to feel young and pretty and desirable. If uncovering themselves gets them the attention or the acceptance they yearn for, then that’s their choice, but does it really? All I know, me being a psychologist, is that self-confidence doesn’t derive from how others make you feel, but rather from how you feel about yourself, regardless what the rest of the world thinks. Confidence is the main source of attractiveness. I know veiled women who walk into the room and enthrall people with their elegance, and other women in provocative clothes who arouse disgust instead of splendor. If you think about it, covering up is actually the essence of confidence. I pray women would stop blaming Hijab for their insecurities, and develop the attitudes of ‘leaders’. We all seek admiration, and you would be lying to yourself if you disagree, but the question is, will you get that love if you displease your Lord?
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “If Allah loves a person, He calls Gabriel saying, ‘Allah loves so and-so; O Gabriel! Love him.’ Gabriel would love him and make an announcement amongst the inhabitants of the Heaven. ‘Allah loves so-and-so, therefore you should love him also,’ and so all the inhabitants of the Heaven would love him, and then he is granted the pleasure of the people on the earth.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 6040)
Confession: I’ve been postponing writing this article for a while, fearing I wouldn’t be able to maintain my calm in this section, where we actually ‘DISCUSS’ and ‘PROVE’ whether Hijab is an Islamic obligation or not. Apparently, this is one of the reasons why Muslim women are taking off their headscarves. They doubt it’s a Quranic command to start with. Not only that, but they’re going around justifying and convincing others of their new ‘findings’. I’m sorry but I can’t help being horrified and a bit nauseated by this absurdness to be perfectly honest. Even my eleven-year-old daughter was appalled by the fabrication! She said, and I quote: “Like hello! Gag me with a spoon!”
Taking off the Hijab is between a woman and her Lord, but debating the clear requirement of it is between her and the rest of us Muslims! No one can force you to do something you’re not convinced of, but spreading that doubt and shaking the ground under other steadfast women isn’t something we can take lightly. I’m pleading with all the analytical, philosophical minds out there, keep your opinion of how you ‘choose’ to understand the Qur’an to yourself. Trust me, you don’t want to take responsibility for those who listen and follow. You don’t want to take other women down with you to feel better about your decision. We all have a huge load of sins to carry; we don’t need other people’s loads too! Ask Allah to guide you instead of guiding others away from Him.
Aisha (God be pleased with her) said: “May Allah have mercy on the early immigrant women. When the verse “That they should draw their veils (head covers) over their bosoms” was revealed, they tore their thick outer garments and made veils from them.“ (Sahih (Al-Albani)- Sunan Abi Dawud 4102)
There’s a link today between the desire to get married and the decision to take off the headscarf. Women are starting to believe they’re out of the running if they’re veiled, because handsome, successful, rich Muslim men are looking for ‘hot babes’. Single women fear their lives would be doomed if they presented themselves as good, devout Muslim brides.
(Okay, I just heard someone slam the table and yell “OBJECTION”. I guess I hang out with too many lawyers LOL)
My apologies. Let me rephrase. Single women worry they’ll end up old and alone if they don’t step up and ‘flaunt’ what they’ve got. They think covering their beauty will slim down their chances of finding the ‘right’ guy. But where is the fear of attracting the wrong guy? The man who only cares about appearances and is embarrassed of his own religion? Isn’t ending up with a man like that worse than any other nightmare?
It’s not just single women; it’s the married ones too. Many husbands are making their wives’ lives miserable because they suddenly resent their veil. Instead of showering these women with love and compliments, they make them feel small and inadequate. I see beautiful veiled wives struggling every day, trying their best to look good for an outing with their husbands, hiding their tears and heartache of feeling like they’re not ‘good enough’. I’ve heard Islamic scholars advise some wives to take off their Hijab if their husband threaten them with divorce! This is as sad and shameful as it gets. The constant fear of being rejected or cast aside simply because you’re obeying God’s rules is beyond painful. Instead of taking pride in being modest and shielding their beauty like a precious gem, veiled wives are being emotionally blackmailed into taking off their Hijab to ‘save’ their marriage!
These are the battles happening in our Muslim homes, and I pray from the bottom of my heart for God to heal men’s hearts, and take the blindfolds off their eyes. Part of a man’s job is to protect his woman, make her feel loved and appreciated, and be possessive and jealous over her heart, soul and beauty. (Yes we find such men extremely charming by the way!)
“It’s just not who I am!”
This is one of the common denominator for most uncovered women today. A woman innocently wraps a scarf around her head, eager to fulfill her obligation and please Allah, only to end up feeling like she’s becoming someone she’s not. Sometimes the aggravation of losing your identity or being stereotyped into a certain sector reaches a point of explosion. Let’s face it; some non-Muslims are losing sleep over their obsession with destroying Islam. It’s all carefully planned out and the poison is spreading subtly within us. Terrorists, narrow-minded, bigots, extremists, bombers… Aren’t these the labels many of us are constantly bombarded with nowadays?
The truth is, the frustration mostly arises from the lack of passion. A lot of Muslim women wear the headscarf for all the wrong reasons. Some of them were forced into it at a young age, and grew up detesting it. Others felt the need to dress up the part, not really pondering on why and how it affects them deep inside.
Like praying and giving charity and all the other beautiful Islamic practices that purify our souls, if you don’t let yourself fall in love with the act and the concept behind it, you’ll never find peace. Yes we seek love and appreciation, but it’s not through ‘fitting in’ that we will ever get what we are looking for. We need to live up to the teachings of our own religion, because even if the ‘wrong’ has become so normal, it still doesn’t make it ‘right’.
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Islam initiated as something strange, and it would revert to its (old position) of being strange. so good tidings for the stranger.” (Sahih Muslim 145)
Some of the lucky and blessed veiled women have made their Hijab part of who they are instead of what they’re not. The dress code blends in with their lives like a beautiful ray of light. They understand that the essence of Islam is acceptance, obedience and peaceful submission to the One and Only Creator. The struggle is subdued when they remember to take pride in being Allah’s slaves and in being representatives of Islam, not only through wearing a headscarf; but through kindness, compassion, modesty and humility. It’s not that piece of cloth they wrap around their heads that makes them better people; it’s the choice to stay on the right path, even if they have to do it alone. Allah looks at the heart, not the head cover. He looks at our intentions and the purity of our faith. Allah alone is the final Judge and that’s all that matters in the end.
To all the women who took off their Hijab because they couldn’t do it anymore… I ask your forgiveness if I have offended you in any way, and I pray you find the peace you are looking for… The kind of peace that brings you closer to the Most Merciful God….
To all the men who watch their women struggle day in and day out, I hope you’ll put that extra effort and time to show them your love and support, and make them feel special … The best husband is the one who makes his woman feel like the perfect wife…
And to all of the beautiful strangers, the true icons, the confident women who hold on to their faith and beliefs, and who still find peace in wearing the Hijab… I humbly applaud your strength and I pray God fills your lives with blessings and joy…
May you always shine….
And may we all see the light