Monday, 31 March 2014 2 comments

MY MUSLIM JOURNEY: About wearing the Hijab


It was a long time ago since I last wrote on my blog. So today, I decided to post something that I had written not very long ago.
My American roommate (who's a Catholic) once asked me, “Why are there Muslims who do not wear hijab?” I tried not to be baffled when I heard this question from her. Indeed, I had thought that this day would come and I had kind of saved some answers with me should anyone ask this. I’m glad that I could see this coming because it gave me the chance to come up with some answers beforehand. It also gives me a reason to have some reflection on it, because as someone who had been wearing hijab since the age of 12, I guess you could say that there’s no reason for me to think about this since I am supposedly to be on the ‘right path’. Why do indeed some Muslims choose not to cover their aurat? Does this mean that they are the less better Muslims than the rest of the Muslims who do cover their aurat? What makes you a ‘good Muslim’ really?
So with the answers that I had rehearsed in my head before, this is what I said to her or for some parts, wish to say to her since I probably hadn’t been able to say everything that I wanted to. Firstly, I want you to know that it’s not just wearing the hijab. For Muslims, we are told to cover our aurat, which is some parts of your body that are not allowed to be shown to the opposite gender except for your family members (yes, I’m making a generalization here). The women are not allowed to show every inch of their body parts except for the hands and the face. So, to cover the hair, we wear hijab. And because we can only show our two hands, that’s why you would notice that women who wear the hijab would also wear long sleeve tops. We are also not allowed to wear something that is too revealing, like too much makeup or clothing that are too tight, because then there’s no point of trying to cover your aurat really. (Should I say that this is a struggle for everyone, even for myself?)

Then, to answer her real question as in to why some Muslim women don’t wear hijab, I said to her that maybe they are just not ready yet, that God still hasn’t opened up their heart to wear the hijab. “But do they know that it’s compulsory?” she asked. I said, of course they do, but again like I said they still haven’t been able to get themselves to wear the hijab. It might have been easy for me, because I grew up in a community where wearing the hijab is perceived as a must if you are a Muslim and a woman. Simply put, if you’re a Muslim girl/woman, then you are expected to wear the hijab. My mother and most of my women relatives, friends and neighbours cover their head when they are out in the public. Plus, the schools that I went to from the elementary school to high school were majorly consisted of the Muslim students so it’s a normal sight to see Muslim girls wearing the hijab to school. The same situation might not have happened to those women. Finally, I told her one thing that I personally feel strongly about. Wearing the hijab doesn’t guarantee that you have passed the test to being a good Muslim or a good human being in general. So it really saddens me when some people bluntly brand the Muslim women who do not cover their aurat (or wear hijab) as bad Muslims. Even if you perform everything that is required of you as a Muslim, say, praying five times a day, fasting or going to Mecca to perform the hajj, but you behave to other people (or other God’s creatures) with a badly manner, that clearly isn’t a portrayal of a good human being what more of a good Muslim. Based on my own experience, I know a few friends of mine who don’t wear the hijab who are actually more polite and well-mannered than some of my friends who do wear them. So you shouldn’t judge someone’s faith just because she/he doesn’t commit to one part of a Muslim’s life. Of course, wearing the hijab is compulsory; and everyone should work on improving their faith to God. We ended the conversation by her saying, “Syazana, you’re so lenient.”

I figure that her last words was a sort of compliment for me because she might have expected that I would give her a more conservative opinion considering that I wear the hijab. I’m not sure whether it’s because I’m being lenient or just sensible, but I guess as I grow older I come to realize that it doesn’t matter of how much ibadah that you have performed, but if it doesn’t influence you towards becoming a better person in terms of your attitude and personality, then something must have gone wrong somewhere. It could have been that Allah does not bless your ibadah because you are also committing far sinful acts at the same time or that you are only doing them to show off, Wallahua’lam. On a side note, it really warms my heart to know that my roommate wasn’t afraid of asking this question to me because it gave me a hint that she was comfortable to discuss this kind of matter with me. Maybe because I am easy and comfortable to approach? I don't know, I hope so. So for that, I really want to thank her. To me, discussing Islamic matters either with other Muslims or non-Muslims is a really good thing to do from time to time because that’s one way of testing how much knowledge and understanding do you really have about that particular Islamic matter despite of you having to perform it since you were so young. Wallahua’lam.

 
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