[about the picture: I admire their modesty by I myself do not like the tucked in appearence of niqabs and overhead abayas and chadors with no eyes showing. To me, it is more than what was required even of the Prophet's wives---THEY showed their hands, their rings, the kohl rimmed eye, and wore colours other than black as evidenced by sahih ahadith]
ONE FASHIONISTA CONFRONTS THE VALUE OF FASHION IN ISLAM:
"Life goes on and bumps happen and marriages end and fashion matters not in the grand scheme of things. But appearance does matter. The downs of life had me thinking for a while that it didn’t. That’s where the word balance comes in - a word which is very au courant now but which has a history with Islam. My father often likes to relate a bit about the beautiful story of the bond between Salman Al-Farsi and Abu Darda’ to highlight the importance of maintaining a balance with all the spheres in our lives:
On Leading a Balanced Way of Life: The Prophet (sa) had established the bond of brotherhood between Salman and Abu Darda’ (sp). Salman went to see Abu Darda’ and found his wife looking disheveled (her appearance was not that of a married woman). He asked her: ‘What’s wrong?’ She replied: ‘Your brother, Abu Darda’ has no worldly desires.’ Then Abu Darda’ arrived and prepared some food for Salman and said: ‘Go ahead and eat, I am fasting.’ Salman said: ‘I shall not eat unless you eat with me.’ So Abu Darda’ ate with him. At night Abu Darda’ arose for the voluntary prayer. Salman told him to go to sleep, so he slept. This happened again. Towards the latter part of the night Salman said to him: ‘Wake up’ and both offered the prayer together.
Then Salman said: ‘It is true that you owe your duty to your Lord, but you also owe a duty to yourself and to your wife. So you should carry out your duty to everyone.’ Then they went to the Prophet (sa) and related all that transpired to him. He said: ‘Salman was right.’” - Bukhari
Somehow the downs of life had shifted my mind into thinking that a woman’s appearance should be un-remarkable, un-commentable to the outside world - i.e., Islamically, she should be so blah if she were really God-fearing that her blahness indicated her level of piety. Warped, I know. On discussing the issue with friends, I found out I wasn’t the only one whose mind had shifted this way. There were a whole bunch of us walking around looking like Abu-Darda’s wife yet there was no Salman Al-Farsi [who was a non-maharam male witnessing her appearence] to ask what was wrong. This is where discussions with a Dad who happens to be an Islamic scholar is handy. He patiently explained that following hijab/dressing modestly does not automatically cancel out a pleasing and agreeable, even fashionable (!) outer appearance. In fact, the Qur’an acknowledges clothing as “a thing of beauty” - but we are also reminded in the same verse that the best garment is God-consciousness (Surah 7, verse 26). What a beautiful reminder of balance! So hijabi fashionistas - look for “things of beauty” on the racks at H&M and Zara and Precious Modesty, but while you’re looking, remember to be wearing your best outfit: God-consciousness."
Please note: this little bit was taken from another sister, and my father is a non-muslim, NOT an Islamic scholar. I totally agree with the article. As long as you are obeying the commandments of hijab (modesty for both MEN and women) you can do what you like with it. Of course it is often culture that tries to pass itself off as Islam that gets us all into a little mess with suppression, or a debasement of the standards of hijab and has everyone running around all confused.