Image Courtesy: https://standup4islam.wordpress.com

Can we think of this scenario together please? Yes, thank you for your undivided attention.

So, we all know that Mombasa has been having high crime rates in the recent years right? The youth gangs, mapangas and all the radical groups. Yet if you ask anyone, they’ll tell you that Nairobi is the scariest and most dangerous place in this regard. Isn’t it why we call it Nairobbery? Whether you are in Mombasa or Nairobi, there is a probability that you might actually be attacked or robbed in either places right? But you’d still take extra precautions to safeguard yourself when in Nairobi than in Mombasa, am I wrong? Great. We agree till this point. Naturally, this is the logical way to deal with these two scenarios according to the threat.

Now that scenario aside, here is a totally different scenario. I have seen this quote several times and I feel it is very deep. It goes like this:
“Was it really my fault?” asked the short skirt.
“No, it happened with me too,” replied the burqa.

It is very very deep and what we can stipulate from this quote is that:
#Rape is real.
#Anyone can be a rape victim despite their religion, their age, their looks, their clothing, their race or their lifestyle. Whether you wear rags and live in the streets or are a classy, married woman in your home, rape could get to you.
#We are in a cruel, evil and ugly world. This is our reality.

I mean, this is such a messed up world we are in at the moment. So messed up. We have people marrying their dogs and incest seems normal. How more messed up can it be than it already is really? We have people raping 5 month old babies and 98 year old men. Yes, men are raped too. We are lost and a twisted society.

Now that we have known we live in a perverted world, what are the chances that the one in a burqa will be raped compared to the one wearing provocatively?

The truth is, chances may be close to 50-50 because rapists are just rapists. They just go with how their self drives them. And that’s how scary it is. Nonetheless, wouldn’t you try at least do whatever you can, to not provoke unnecessary emotions in the man across the street?

Scientifically, men have as much as 20 times more testosterone in their systems than women. This makes men typically aggressive, dominant and more narrowly focused on the physical aspects of sex. They say that in men, the dominant perceptual sense is vision, which is typically not the case with women. In a situation where a woman sees a potential relationship/marriage in a man, he sees her physical features and what he can do to her. Yep, lust is the word. Now, this obviously doesn’t justify when men misbehave towards women but at least we are enlightened that men are naturally inclined to women unlike the magnitude women are inclined to men. It is definitely not the same.

Daleel in the qur’an? Allah (S.W) says in surat Al-Imran: {Beautified for men is the love of things they covet (desire); women, children, much of gold and silver (wealth), branded beautiful horses, cattle and well-tilled land. This is the pleasure of the present world’s life; but Allah has the excellent return (Paradise with flowing rivers, etc.) with Him.} So women are like gems in the eyes of men and this is mentioned in many hadiths, ayats which state that women are for men. Have you seen anywhere in the holy books where it is written on how men are a gift for the women or anything of the sort? No. Because women are the gifts, they are the ones who are precious. This is also why the man has to pay dowry when he wants to marry a lady. She is his gem. Not the other way round. We women hold a high status because yes, a man can’t do without a woman. It was why our mother Hawa (R.A.A) was brought into this world; for Adam. Not Adam being brought for Hawa. Are you getting the picture? I hope so.

I am just trying to break this down into small bits so we can stay on the same page.

From the scientific fact mentioned and the ayah up there, do we finally see the wisdom why Allah (S.W.) to cover herself entirely while the man is asked to cover only what is between his knees and belly button? Yes, because men are never going to change any time soon. They’ll still stare at you and there is a high probability your daughter will be cat-called and her daughter too. They are naturally and biologically inclined to look at you and flirt and just try to sweep you away. It is not right. It definitely isn’t but the reality is that our world is perverted and with social media being here, immorality will remain a challenge for a long time. The few good men who actually observe self-control and respect women, doesn’t mean their testosterone is any less, it just means they made a choice to behave appropriately (cheers to the good men aye?)

Getting to my point now, dear fellow Muslim ladies, don’t you think we have a responsibility to actually TRY and not provoke these beastly men? Back to the Mombasa/Nairobi example. Don’t we think our dressing does have an effect to a certain extent on how men react towards us?

I am sorry but I don’t really agree with ‘my dress, my choice’ because one, it puts our worldly pleasures ahead of what Allah has actually asked from us. Do you think the ladies who observe proper hijab don’t wish sometimes they could also doll themselves up and share their images with the world and get praises? That is a natural desire…yet they swallow it up and just laugh when people tell them they look like hababas in their jilbabs and all other kinds of jokes and mockery. It is a struggle for them too yet they still choose deen over dunya. Number two, we tend to forget that our actions do have consequences. Would you rather have a strange man staring at you with your body curves exposed or with you in a full hijab? Rape and harassment aside, we know that that is beyond our control and as said earlier, sometimes you could get raped either way. But still, wouldn’t you feel a little bit safer, even if just a tiny bit, safer being in a burqa and he can’t really see you as YOU with all your curves and all that? I intentionally highlighted the word ‘strange man’ because however much you think you know someone; this man who could even be your relative, you just never know when they might actually turn against you. This includes a father, an uncle or even a brother. So yes, they are still strange men and that’s why despite us being allowed to be comfortably dressed in front of our mahrams, there is still a limit on how much they should see and a level of modesty to observe. A man is still a man at the end of the day and satan doesn’t take a break just because these are people too close to you. The only who man who won’t be a stranger to you is your husband who rightfully deserves to see you.

You know what’s the saddest part of this story? We are denial. We are in denial that our actions have consequences. We are in denial that we are going wrong. Just to set this straight, I am in the least bit appropriate to talk about the perfect and proper hijab because I also know I am not exactly there. But I also know that this is a concern that we should talk about. My dear sister, when you share your photos of yourself without hijab or an improper dressing, you don’t get to complain when men misbehave because both you and the man are in the wrong. You provoked him, he misbehaved. Both are wrong. So you don’t get to remove the blame from yourself…at least not entirely. And when a fellow lady comes up to you and humbly (I said humbly) asks you about your hijab or advises you about your improper dressing, you say, ‘You can’t judge me. Only God can.’

Where we go wrong is not just the sinning, it is the exposing the sin and bringing God into the equation by saying only He can judge you. Sinning is one thing and exposing our sins is another. We all sin in our different ways and perhaps at this point you don’t observe the right hijab. That is fine sister. Strive to be a better human being. Pray a lot and get closer to Allah. But you deciding to expose it with the justification that only God should judge you, is you being in denial that your actions have consequences. The prophet peace be upon him said, as stated in sahih Bukhari,
“All of my ummah (nation of followers) will be excused, except for the mujaahireen (those who make their sins known). And verily it is a kind of mujaaharah (exposing one’s sins) that a man does something (sinful) at night, and then in the morning, when Allaah has screened his sin for him, he says, ‘Hey So-and-So! I did such-and-such last night…’ And the night passed with His Lord screening him, and he wakes up casting aside the screen of Allaah from himself.”

We all trip, we all make mistakes…why are we so quick to attack anyone who comes to us to correct us? Why are so bitter to anyone who actually just wants the best for us? We sin, we expose the sin…fine. Someone comes to us in a good way and shows us how we are losing our sense of direction yet we backlash them and criticize them publicly because ‘they are being judgmental’

If one is an influencer,the situation becomes even worse because several people amongst the followers who look up to them would regard their actions and words as bible truth and imitate them because they are the role models. Imagine on yaumul qiyamah seeing yourself with a lot of bad deeds, not because you did them but because you did them and influenced other people to follow your footsteps. That said, I really appreciate social media influencers who actually speak out about their hijab (or any other) of their struggles openly and they don’t deny they are in the wrong, instead, the say openly how they are trying to change and become better individuals such that their followers don’t get a twisted view and do the wrong as well.

We need to accept our mistakes. We need to stop being in denial and accept that our actions have consequences. We have a choice here; whether to be Muslimahs who sin but are striving to change and be better or Muslimahs who sin, expose and justify their sins. (This applies to men too)

That said, if you see me tripping, girl, please find me. Please tell me. Please splash water on my face and widen my eyes. Knock my head hard if I become rebellious and reject the truth. I do want someone to love and care for me enough to show me when I am going wrong. Because yes, those who care for you truly will always try to lead you to what is right.

P.S I know this article will probably provoke some bitterness and anger, so here’s my apology in advance. It is not because I am perfect or being judgmental; it is only out of my deep concern on this matter that I write this. It is also okay if you don’t agree with my ‘thinking out loud’, let us agree to disagree. May Allah guide us all, ameen.

The Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) conveyed to us something of the previous prophets’ messages, that “If you have no shame, then do as you wish!”

I rest my case.

When I was 10 years old and the dream of becoming a doctor was still beautiful and naive, I met with Dr. Khadija. In my memory, I can still see this lady in full hijab plus niqab walking quickly towards my dad and I, apologizing for being late and excusing herself to go and change. When she came back, she had not done much of changing except for removing her niqab and putting on her white coat. As we walked around the hospital to have various tests done, I remember seeing eyes looking at her with such admiration, respect; she was the doctor, who would dare disrespect a doctor. And right then I knew that I wanted to be a doctor like her i;e never abandoning my hijab for my career.

Well that was long ago. I was too naive for this world. I never knew Islamophobia existed or could exist, I saw any Muslim lady without hijab to be lacking and I seriously did not understand the struggle people might be going through to be able to adorn the hijab. Right now I can say I know better. I have experienced discrimination due to my hijab, I know people who have undergone nasty situations because of it and all over social media we see sisters from different parts of the world being treated unfairly due to hijab. The enemies of Islam and Muslims are doing their best to ensure the world perceive hijab as a form of oppression, danger, threat, terrorism, naivety, uneducated, backward or any other word that makes it as something negative as possible. Thus the need for more correct information to be put out there and so I write.

When the topic, ”Acceptance in the community” is being discussed, we readily look at the ones bleaching their skins, the ones wearing weaves, those who cannot leave their homes without make up or those killing themselves with impossible diets for the sake of losing weight or staying in shape. We rarely look at a Muslim lady in trouser suit and a headscarf on the head. We have all silently agreed that this is the correct look for a career Muslim lady, or something similar. Creating another form of discrimination amongst ourselves. So the ones who put on the jelbab, niqab and abaya are most probably house wives or have studied religion. For us who are engineers, doctors, lawyers, politicians and business ladies, we have our hijab adjusted to fit fashion. To make it more acceptable to our colleagues.

We have worked hard while studying for different fields of career, we did so while adorning full hijab hopefully, why then after we succeed we are quick to adjust the hijab? Why are we the ones giving the world the impression that the correct hijab is a form of limitation to our careers? What exactly does it limit us to do? Look pretty and learned? Do we realize that the message we are passing to our young ones is, the correct hijab is only for when they are in high school and below, after that it is not that necessary? When did it become more important for us to fit into the trending fashions and for our dress code to be accepted by our colleagues than abide by the laws of our Creator?

To others it might just be a dress code but we know too well that to us it is a statement of faith. A statement that the faith that we have accepted in our hearts, we are letting it show on the outside too. Making it even more important to make this statement correctly. This is a call and reminder to myself first then to you my sisters out there, lets put in the utmost effort in portraying our Faith correctly. It’s not only about being better role models to our young ones and among ourselves but it is a way of killing the stereotypes. Putting an end to thoughts such as hijab being a limitation or prevention for us to be whatever we might want to be. It will also allow any other lady interested in Islam access to correct image of a Muslim lady when she is outside her home.

We might not know this or might have chosen to ignore it; but it is true we dictate how the world treat us as individuals and also as a nation. Yes it has become hard and even dangerous to wear a headscarf let alone a full hijab. I know me suggesting this automatically qualifies my name to be under the extremists as per current world, people who make the religion difficult. I’m still not discouraged from reminding myself and my sisters. May be through this reminder, you and I will be able to create a world where correct hijab is normal. And as I have always said, lets take comfort and courage in ”… and whoever fears Allah- He will make for him a way out. And provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah- then He is sufficient for him.” (Qur’an 65:2-3). The goal is to attain Taqwa and yaqeen. Having full trust in Allah that my adorning the correct hijab is not an hindrance to reach my worldly goals nor a source of problems with others; rather an addition to my rewards and hopefully blessings in my life. And as someone puts it. ”if you stand up for All (meaning swalah) you can stand up to anything.”

One of my best friend’s dreams is to own a range rover and she would tell me how she can’t wait to be driving her range while in full hijab plus niqab. I say why stop at range? Dream of a ride in your sports car or convertible with the roof open and let your hijab be blown by the wind, with your sun glasses on. My dream is to own a motorcycle. I’m not a fun of thriller rides so this dream is usually an LOL to my friends but still, I can’t wait to take off my helmet at the end of that ride and flip my hijab. Wearing hijab should not stop you from being cool.

May Allah make it easy for us to present Islam in the correct way and may He fill our hearts with taqwa and full trust in Him, ameen.

Talking of hijab, we have an amazing hijab event coming up soon in shaa Allah. Don’t miss out! Check details in the poster below.

Photo Courtesy: Arafat Abdulrehman

If I told you the ladies above are Christians would you believe me? Do they look anything close to ‘oppressed’ or ‘denied their freedom’? Do they look unhappy or even near discomfort?? You’ve got the answer! 🙂

On Monday the 29th of February, the Muslim union of MTTI university (Mombasa Technical Training Institute) held an amazing project that involved calling non Muslims to come try out the Hijab and give their opinion of it. Mashallah around 17 ladies appeared and they seemed excited in the hijab. The project manager; Rayhan Suleiman in co-ordination with the chairman; Ahmed Abubakar, Photographer; Arafat Abdulrehman and several other Muslims appeared at the event to offer support and to tie the non Muslims the hijabs.

Don’t ask me the level of excitement. It’s all in their faces and their comments were just beautiful:

“I believe that Muslim ladies are really disciplined for most of them have beautiful hair yet they decide to wear it and cover themselves…and that, really requires discipline.”

“I really feel comfortable in the hijab and i feel beautiful”

“The hijab is a cover that Muslim ladies cover their hair with and they look decent in it which is why I admire it.”

“I feel comfy in the hijab”

“I want to take this hijab with me, is it possible??”

“The hijab makes me feel fully covered.”

“The hijab is usually worn by Muslims to show their dignity.”

If you heard all the comments then you’d really want to hug each one of them and tell them, “Sweetheart, THIS, is Islam!” All the Christians left with the hijabs and they left the Muslims with nothing than the big smiles for a job well done.

Who said to do daa’wah you have to a scholar in deen? All you have to own is the Islamic identity and have a soul that can attract others to Islam.

Mashallah for the nice performance by the Muslim Union of MTTI especially this being their very first Islamic project! May Allah bless all those who took their time and energy to be present and offer support. As for these pretty hijabaes over here, may Allah guide you to Islam and may you discover the real beauty of being in hijab. Ameen!