Muslims and Putting things into Proper Perspective

I was listening to yet another lecture on hijab with Yasir Qadhi and there was nothing very unique about it, it was very dumbed down and simple and it was the usual stuff. But something at the end sort of struck me when he spoke about the *importance* of hijab. He said something to the effect of we shouldn’t put it before everything, like it’s not more important than praying and other things but we’re also not going to say that the way we dress is irrelevant, because it is relevant. It seems like people don’t like to hear that last part. Now before everyone jumps on me, I know and believe that hijab is fard by ijma, there’s no ikhtilaf on at least covering everything but face, hands (and feet? I’m not going to get into this, that is not the point of my post so don’t bother.) I get that.

I just feel like the outward aspect of hijab is so emphasized for some women that once they wear it, they think they’re done and this is a phenomenon that can be pretty damaging. I know many parents that I know of want their daughter to wear at least the headscarf and ignore what type of clothing she wears, so we have so many girls in tight clothing and hijab. These negative things are only coming from us giving an outward symbol more importance than the qualities of modesty and chastity and the type of clothing worn.

We all know that “hijab” was revealed in Medina so the women were already intensely faithful. But we’ve gotten to the point where if a Muslim woman who might come from a non-practicing family shows up to MSA wants to learn more about her deen, the first thing she might be presented with is a headcover or she might be lectured on why hijab is fard. I’ve seen this. (I’ve actually been that girl but alhamdulilah I was born a Muslim and didn’t know much and learned a lot and nobody ever spoke about hijab but I ended up choosing it myself after guess what? learning about my religion) The girl never comes back to MSA. Duh I wouldn’t either. It’s very possible in this day and age that she might not even know basic seerah or some sciences of the Qu’ran and people are lecturing her about hijab as if it’s the criteria. Like Shaykh Hamza says, it’s an obligation but don’t make it a hijab between her and her deen. It can’t be a hijab between her and her deen. That’s so detrimental. If a Muslim boy wanted to learn more would you lecture him about kufis, beards and thobes?

Like Dr. Jackson said: “Social order should not be based on a perfect Muslim.” The Muslim community needs to be more inclusive.

I hear about these MSAs that don’t have any non-hijabi members. Now I understand a lot of them may not be interested in MSA but i can’t believe that about all of them. They complain about MSAs being too condescending and exclusive. That is not the way. Only with God’s grace was I not in a horrible MSA like that, or else I would have ran away from this deen and I seek refuge with Allah.

People come into university very confused and girls and guys come in and are interested in MSA. Those freshman events are pivotal and important. The MSA after all and said is done is a STUDENT organization funded by the UNIVERSITY. It is not a Sunni organiation, it is not a Shia organization it is not a male organization it is not a caliphate it is not the Kingdon of Saudi Arabia. After all, a non Muslim could lawfully be President because it’s student run primarily. I could be president of the Jewish Students Association whether I’d be elected is another story, but the point is these are student clubs so not being inclusive is foolish.



  1. Cozy Sister Said:

    Yes, so much is made of this! I wear hijab and believe that it is required, but when it reaches the point that people who come to learn about the deen are being made to feel unwelcome, that is going too far. The effect putting on hijab has on a woman’s social and professional life is similar to that of a man choosing to permanently adopt thobes as everydaywear. It is extremely difficult. Don’t put that on her when she still doesn’t know how to perform salah, and still hasn’t read through the Qur’an a few times, or whatever. She needs strong faith before attempting something so difficult, so give her the evidence and the knowledge that will strengthen her so that she is ready. And be patient, because you have shortcomings too.

  2. I think you make a very valid point. I am not a hijabi and find comfort in the fact that you are one and still see that The emphasis that active MSA Muslims place on hijab can definitely be a bit stifling.

    I think the reason that clothing is impressed/stressed is because it’s easy. Hijab in a way is a distinguishing marke so it’s an easy way to identify people who “think the way you do.” Or the kind of Muslims who you should be hanging out with/encouraging other Muslims to be.

    At least, this is the way I have tried to rationalize the whole thing. (granted this is further complicated by an observation made by many a non-hijabi that a woman can wear a tight shirt with a scarf and no one flinches, yet the girl with no scarf and loose clothing gets the “evil eye.”)

    In the end, it’s sad though, because I know first hand how over-emphasis on the exterior can sour an individual on trying to commune with Muslims. People either end up leaving or creating the non-hijabi factions within the MSA (pure craziness).

    At any rate, thanks for the posting about this.

  3. btw, I love Sherman Jackson! Mashallah! he is an amazing speaker!

  4. Fatima Said:

    Yes, hijab is required.
    But, the thing that we have to remember is, our intention is what counts. When these girls put on hijab just because someone told them too, they are not receiving any benefit from it.
    These girls need to learn about, and strengthen their faith and their relationship with Allah and then, when they decide to put on hijab it will have been their choice.
    At the prophet’s (sws) time, the command to cover wasnt the first thing Allah sent. Rather, It came after people had a length of time during which they were taught their beliefs and became strong and sure of them. So, when they were told to cover, they did it with sicere devotion.
    Do you get what i mean?… So, it’s a requirement but, you can’t expect a girl who doesn’t know much about her beliefs to just autimatically one day put on hijab. just because you grew up in a muslim household doesnt mean you know all about islam. So, if we work on our faith, hijab will naturally just come next.

  5. thanks for your comments gazelle!


  6. Zeynab Said:

    YES, YES, YES!
    Community, a relationship with Allah, and love are what’s important. A judgmental local ummah with a gossipy crowd and intolerant members/administrators hurts us all–both in the short run and in the long term.

  7. Samira Said:

    I love this blog! I work in a university and I typically wear a head covering and a scarf around my neck and bosom. Of course to non-Muslim people in my department it screams “MUSLIM!” and to girls who wear HIJAB with the capital H(meaning one piece of material pinned in a uniform way) it’s not exactly IT!

    But I FEEL that it is proper and as a young academic woman I like the way I dress. I feel professional and modest. In fact most of the older Muslim women academics I know (who do cover) dress like me.

    I’m proud to be a modest Muslim woman and I feel free to choose how I wear hijab. Allahu Alam!

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