Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Not the way my husband dresses I don't. He always covers his awrah, and while he is less into sunnah dressing than me, he always covers what he's supposed to (shoulder, belly-button, sexy abbs). My husband is almost always in long sleeves, and he is always scented nice, and when he goes swimming, he covers his stomach and chest with a surf suit because that is more modest, and he doesn't want women checking out his physical beauty and more than I want men other than the love of my life seeing MY beauty and personality and sexuality. My husband likes fashion and shopping (more than most Canadian men I know), and he's a fan of graphic tees, vests, blazers, fedoras, scarves round the neck, and sneakers (he's got more shoes than I do but I am competing in purses). The two of us share my pink shemagh (and I'm happy that I got a man that isn't afraid to wear pink). I still would prefer him to wear a thobe and ghutra in the West, but I am not gonna pressure him, like he never pressured me to wear abaya or even hijab. After all, he is very stringent on the sunnah of using miswaak and rinsing the mouth and smelling all good. Alhamdulilah, he has always been more on with me to do the fard obligations than the sunnah of the fard but he couldn't care less if I wore a pink dishdasha over a black abaya in the West. He worries about my safety and wishes I'd wear less black and seems afraid that I might someday wear niqab here and get attacked by neo nazis, but he supports me when I feel strongly on an issue so long as I am doing everything more important than that particular idea in my head already. For example, before I wear niqab, he'd like to see me ALWAYS praying nafl. Muslim men have hijab too. Their hijab is to lower their gaze, and cover their awrah, and then fulfill their other obligations, and then do all the sunnah they can. I DO resent Muslim men who wear bathing suits that expose their awrah while their wives are in full niqab on the beach, or who dress like male models and leer at women while their sisters and mothers are well-behaved at home. THESE MEN I bare my TEETH for. And I DETEST. DETEST UTTERLY AND COMPLETELY. These fools and tools are the reason I appreciate one of the aspects of my hijab, although my hijab is more than an aspect of "sheild".LOL, and I had to include this, because inshaAllah the daughter I have will have my husband's curly hair (he says inshaAllah not) and his complexion (this he says sure but hopes she gets my weirdo eyes). I will teach my daughter that hijab is something that deserves respect and is a grown up thing. One that represents her freedom as a woman to move about in the world and make her own decisions. Underneath of that responsibility (and true freedom is at the same time the most dire responsibility) she can be safe to show every aspect that she is, and develop all facets of herself without impediment.
On my return I had a suitcase of souvenirs. I dressed up my friends in hijab and niqab and burqa and abaya and Omani hats and robes complete with curved khanjars and we posed for pictures and none of it touched me... I had heard the Azan and it was in the back of my head as the most beautiful sound I had ever heard...but it was in the back of my head as another language... words I could not understand.
The hijab was a cashmere pashmina that made me sweaty that I wore only to show off my pretty caftans when I was in Oman, and to visit the grand mosque there, until a friend here told me that someone had called him "a sand nigger". I didn't know how to wear a scarf but I immediately wrapped that bulky pashmina around my head until it choked me and I wore it to work the next day. A cab driver, who worked with Muslims, said "salaam alaykom". My manager told me to take it off.
It was "a safety hazard"--- it could "get caught on something". I looked around me. One girl wore a bandana on her head, another guy a baseball cap. One guy called my arab friend "a terrorist" when we discussed the subject. I would put the hijab back on whenever the manager wasn't there. I would put it on when I left work. I would take it off when I walked home. One day, my manager, R, he caught me wearing it again. He knew that an Arab student I knew from school wanted to win me over (as this particlar Arab was quite good looking and it was all the silly girls at my work could talk about) so in front of everyone he said: "You know a muslim man can beat his wife and can have sex with her whenever he wants to." I nodded but was too shamed to explain to him everything that I did know. R was Jewish and a soldier in Israel a long time ago, so I understood his prejudice (and everyone- one of my best friends in the world who taught me the most about prejudice was a Jewish girl I'd die for---so don't post any Jew dissing comments here). He talked to me later, but I still put in my notice. I didn't want to work for a place that would not allow a hijab but would allow a baseball cap or bandana. I couldn't.
Hijab has taught me alot about Islam. It is one of the reasons I read the Qu'ran with a heart for understanding. It has taught me that race doesn't matter, physical form is not the most important thing (I know alot of girls who lose weight when they start to wear proper hijab because they are no longer stressing about an ideal body image and they look more to their families than their peers for emotional support so develop more vivid goals for themselves, and pursue the creative facets of themselves that more adolescent girls are losing every day, sadly). Wearing it means I can no longer go out clubbing with girlfriends---as thin a peice of fabric as it has been, it has been strainer through which I have sifted my personal relationships: I have learnt those who have loved me for me, and those who only loved me because of what I could do for them. Friends that missed the drinking party me may have abandoned me for the next buzz, the next high, the next handsome stranger, but I have gained the knowledge of friends who get high on my presence, on my ideas, on my private non-alcholic crazy Africano township jive wannabe belly dancer Canadian dancing. I also get a gift not many white girls with white skin get: I get to know who is really prejudiced and who is not, something that can take years of knowing someone in our politcally correct environment, I can know in minutes.
There are good times. There are bad: There is the man on Halloween who saw me in my abaya and asked me to sing O Canada, and when I did, commented "Good, it's just a costume"-or the women seeing me pushing a baby stroller who whisper very loudly "She's too young be married off to make babies" when there is a teen mother with no head scarf sitting next to me, with no wedding ring who they do not want to do anything to help obviously fifteen -the woman who challeged me "to live my life" when she sees me wearing a niqab and reading Hirsi Ali's "Infidel" in Chapters... There are also the amazing: the homeless man across from my house who defended me when a man was harassing me about my abaya with the words "Leave her alone-she's a middle-eastern Audrey Hepburn!" (so sweet, and when does being compared to Audrey Hepburn NOT make you feel good???)- the women that tell me my hijab looks beautiful- the little girl who wants her picture taken with me at my work because she thinks I'm a princess in my abaya and shayla- the fact that construction workers who normally whistle at women walking by fall silent at the sight of my niqab and I hear them say "she is still beautiful... A real lady." When I walk to Juma (I usually don't wear niqab but if I wanna wear sparkly earring to Juma I wear a niqab over them so that all the Muslim boys outside will be as silent as those construction workers)- the people who honestly want to know why I became I muslim (they are worth it all)... My personal favorites are though, of course, those moments that make me laugh: the man that asked me straight-faced if I was a ninja (hiiii-yahhh!-when I was in karate they called me the ballerina so you can see why this far-fetched country boy made me laugh), and this sweet little old lady client of mine. She came up to the counter, and gently patted my sleeve. It was hot out so I was wearing my lightest hijab, a white cotton pashmina, and she patted my arm so that I would lean close to hear what she had to say. "Dear," she said to me. "You really should be at home. You shouldn't be working." I was confused. "I feel fine," I told her. "I want to work." I said this, because some people have this prejudice that muslim women aren't allowed to work, and their husbands force them to stay at home. LOL. That was not her point though. Honestly concerned about health as most seniors are she said: "You shouldn't be working with a head injury." LOL. Isn't that the sweetest, funniest thing?
Share your funny hijab moments here, please.
Friday, March 27, 2009
The Qu'ran also says that the best garment we can wear is one of God-consciousness (which is, to dress in awareness of the Creator, and to dress with the soul aim of pleasing Allah subhanhu wa ta ala).
When I used to pray at home, I would forget this, and throw on a beat up old sheet and cover my body with it, but I would never think of doing da'wah work at my workplace in that same sheet. Yes, my goal in dressing well in hijab in my daily routine, is to make Islam a more approachable subject for non-muslims. If we can start a subect that leads to Islam on the grounds of, "I love your ring" or "that's pretty embroidery on your head-scarf" or "I didn't know Muslims could wear colour" than alhamdulilah!!!!!!!! I got to tell them about Aisha R.A wearings rings and more important conduct of the Sahabiyat than that one issue. I got to explain how I became a Muslim and how hijab is freedom. I get to tell them how Muslims themselves often confuse culture for Islam.
These are all good things, but I shouldn't forget to dress well when praising Allah subhanhu wa ta'ala (when I can, I mean, between scrubbing the bathroom with bleach and doing the dishes I'm sure my Creator is fine with a clean modest sheet), but when I have the time, why don't I dress in my prettiest jalibiyia and hijab? At home, why don't I put on my glittery caftan, and line my eyes with kohl, (AFTER WUDU ALL) and do my hair under my hijab, and put that hijab on neatly styled, and spend a bit of time on my salat. It isn't a condition upon women, that we do sunnah and nafl salat and dress in beautiful modest clothes in the process, but why not? There is reward for dressing beautifully for our husbands. There is the MOST reward for dressing beautiful and modestly and praising Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala during salat.
If I am praying at home, I try to put away ten minutes for dressing for salat in the evening (which is when I have the most time). I put on my jalibiyia (if I were going out in front of non-maharam men I would choose clean modesty over brilliant beauty), I make wudu, I put on make-up (if I were going in front of non-maharam I wouldn't do defined makeup), do my hair, style my hijab, and then I try and spend at least the same ammount of time or x3 in salat. We would put this much effort in for visiting our friends, so I see it important for me to call on my Creator.
The Qu'ran says "... Say: 'What has My Lord to do with you if you do not call on Him?'" (Surat al-Furqan: 77) I really feel that if I call upon My Lord, the Compassionate, the Merciful, the One, with as much effort or hundred times more so, then put forward for people. I never, never want to be asked if I cared for the opinion of a person more than I did for Allah`s.
Here is a dua that is good to recite whenever getting dressed, but is very specific to the puting on of new clothes. It may be recited in English, but the sunnah is to do so in Arabic. Both are good and valid:
Allaahumma lakal-hamdu Anta kasawtaneehi, asàluka min khayrihi wa khayri maa suni`a lahu, wa a`oothu bika min sharrihi wa sharri maa suni`a lahu.
Oh Allah, Praise be to You. You have clothed me. I ask You for its goodness and the goodness of what it has been made for and I seek Your protection from the evil of it and the evil of what it has been made for.
(Reported by Abu Dawood and at-Tirmidhee)
Cream abaya from http://www.aabuk.com/product_details.php?id=161&picid=3&PHPSESSID=70c1502fba8679242740c7d7fc167f26 for $44.99 GBP
Cream Niqab and Hijab set from http://www.hijabgirl.com/sn1002.html for $7.95 USD
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Well, I was asked to come up with a couple California looks, and we'll start with L.A.: stars in this abaya conjure Hollywood nights. Abaya http://www.desertstore.com/abaya/balloon-sleeves-abaya-1785.html for $62.72 USD. I'd totally style this Roxy print scarf http://www.buckle.com/product/product_detail.jsp;jsessionid=JMlfyjTGzB1wFkkQmk14Lhkb20JnyTyHyttNVGvF5vHHtbkWs3mn!-1392185229?prd=74910454C13MU&cm_mmc=LinkShare*Women%27s%2520Accessories*Roxy%2520Providence%2520Scarf&siteID=Hy3bqNL2jtQ-feLAp3hPdyGD5ue4uRGMYw&sku=7487490000&bmUID=1238115711268 for $22.00 USD into a niqab (were I famous, like if they ever want to add a Muslimah character on the Desperate Housewives cast). I like it with vintage style accessories (shades of course) in retro shapes. Does it work for you Melissa?
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
I admit, I totally forgot to look up the price on this one, but gold embroidery is such a Gulf classic.
Here is my take. Gold sandals from le Chateau (I can't buy Jimmy Choo). Cute bronze lipgloss and natural brown eyeshadows (there will be men there besides my milk brother---hey, this is a question for the other converts---do any of you have a milk brother or am I like the only one?). Gold cuff bracelets also from le chateau worn over the sleeves of this abaya from http://www.al-ikhlas.com/items/abaya/a7601-8c-detail.htm for $56.00 USD. And a big splurge that I don't think I'll ever do (I can make my own) but... purple frilled scarf from http://www.forzieri.com/usa/product_view.asp?l=usa&c=usa&pf_id=bs04017-002&id_valore1=&id_valore2=&id_valore3=&id_valore4=183&id_valore5=&dept_id=3 for $87.00 USD.
To wear pants so that they resemble jilbab step #3: if your pants are tighter, cover with top at least to mid thigh though the ankles are best. This way the top is acting as the jilbab, and this is closer to what the respected scholars' opinions about what jilbab is than pants acting as the jilbab anyway. This is the only cicumstance in which pants may be worn a Islamically-correct jilbab!
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Eggplant and lavendar abaya http://caftanonline.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=4 for $38.oo USD Plum abaya http://www.al-hijaab.com/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=1257 f0r $45.00 GBP. Plum abaya from http://www.hedeyah.com/abaya_017_m.asp?cat=35 for $54.90 USD
Plum (and cream) abaya Dress Purple and Cream Delicate Size M for $24.99 GBP
Aubergine overhead abaya Purple Open Overhead Abaya for $24.99 GBP.
Aubergine Niqab (tie back three layers with eye mesh and nose string) Aubergine 3 Layers Niqab - Eye Mesh - Nose String for $9.99 GBP. Aubergine abaya from http://www.al-hijaab.com/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=1409 for $40.00 GBP.
Aubergine frilled abaya from http://www.2hijab.com/royal_abaya.asp?PARTNER=nor for $59.90 USD.
Orchid abaya http://www.al-ikhlas.com/items/abaya/a7601-8c-detail.htm for $56.00 USD
Dark Orchid abaya from http://www.arabiannites.co.uk/casualwear/7256.html for $45.00 GBP.
Lilac abaya from http://www.muslimahessentials.com/two-layer-elegant-jilbab-with-embroidered-sleeves-and-embroidered-shawl-74-p.asp for $36.95 GBP.