May 29, 2013

Like a Pearl in a Shell

Hana Tajima. Yuna Zarai. Dina Toki-O.

If these names strike a chord, then you have at least heard of them or been inspired by them in one way or another. Dressed modestly yet stylishly from head to toe, these three beautiful sisters are fashionistas in their own respectful way. There’s no doubt that their immaculately styled hijab has turned heads and gained the attention of Muslims, non-Muslims, hijab wearers and non-hjiab wearers.

This isn’t entirely bad considering that popular Western stereotypes about the hijab being uncool and backward for Muslim women have been thwarted by the great variety of hijab styles that have emerged. During the International Islamic Fashion Week in 2009, a Saudi designer named Amina al-Jassim commented that “modesty isn’t the opposite of fashion, and fashion isn’t about showing more of my body.”

However, when does the hijab become a source of fitnah for the Muslim woman?

Lately, I’ve noticed many hijabis in Singapore turning to the likes of Tajima and Zarai for inspiration on hijab styling. Various hijab styles popularised by Tajima and Zarai have received so much fanfare here that it’s common to see sisters with the same loose wrap hijab style when I’m walking along Arab Street. No, I’m not exaggerating.

But, the array of hijab styles isn’t the only thing that has captured my attention recently. I’m more concerned with the sprouting of campaigns such as the “wear your hijab the right way” campaign on Facebook. Now, I’m in no position to judge the intentions of those who took part in the campaign and the campaign organisers themselves because Allah knows best the secrets of all hearts. And, there’s no denying the fact that Allah loves beauty. However, I feel that the campaign has turned into a popularity and beauty contest despite its humble intentions.

How would you feel when your hijab-wearing friend posts a link on your Facebook wall just so you could “like” her photo on the campaign page among a hundred other photos? Would you support her in defeating other girls so she could be among the winners of the campaign? I don’t know about you but I most certainly wouldn’t do it.

There’s no argument that these hijabis are gorgeous, masyaAllah. But, this is exactly why I feel they ought to reconsider displaying their beauty for all to see. It irks me most when men post indecent comments on photos of hijabis worthy of their “like,” subjecting the hijabis to be victims of the mens’ nafs. It’s precisely this reason some hijab-wearing sisters I know refrain from posting their photos online. Afterall, shouldn’t a Muslim woman be like a pearl in a shell?

The bottomline is that it all comes down to one’s niyyah. One should always correct and renew her niyyah before wearing the hijab.

As for me, the hijab is more than just a fashion statement. The hijab is the mark of a Muslim woman’s piety to Allah. Yes, I’m a hijabi myself.

Guest post written by Fairuz Atiqah is a second year student in directing and playwriting for theatre at Lasalle College of the Arts.


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