The word hijab, for anyone with any understanding of the "Islamic" meaning of it, refers to a whole scheme of modesty; of modest dress, speech, behaviour and, if I may use a popular concept, attitude. At a lot of times following the activism and rhetoric around the issue, it really becomes difficult to believe that some of the people so passionate about it have this in mind. Very often Muslims themselves act like it is just a synonym for "headscarf" and the whole discussion of proper dress and behaviour for Muslims--which should not just be a matter for the ladies to bear the whole burden of in the first place--boils down to wearing a headscarf; a very particular kind of headscarf.
And that worries me. Very much.
That's where I am coming from.
As we Muslims say, Wallahu Aalam; o
not to belittle your 'rant'... but hijabi's are hot...
well atleast they make an effort to do better than most of us do. i can give leeway if some pants are tight, or a shirt is not long enough. people in tank tops and low risers should not criticize...
So far as I understand it, Hijab is quite similar to the Jewish practice of tz'niyyut (Ashkenazi ("European"/ Western Jewish) pronunciation is often "tzniyyuss"), or "modesty"/ "chastity" from the root word, "tzehnah" (Tzaddi [with Segol underneath]-Noon [with Pataḥ underneath]-Ayyin), or "austerity"/ modesty.
At girls' schools, they teach a little song, "Tzneeuss, Tzneeuss/ Cover your/ Elbows and/ Knee-uss --/ All the way/ Up to your/ Collarbone!/ Then you are/ Ready to/ Leave your home!// Tzneeuss! Tzneeuss!/ Cover your/ Elbows and/ Knee-uss --/ Your collar-/Bone's covered/ And when you're/ A [i]kallah[/i] ["bride"], / Your Hair should/ Be also/ Because it's/ Halachah ["Jewish Law" -- yeah, the rhyme scheme is great until then...]!"
I remember when I was little mentally picking out scarves for my decolletage, scarves for my head, or maybe wigs ([i]sheitels[/i] are the rabbinically-kosher ones. I understand that Halal works on such an imamic permission-by-case basis as well.). And long, flowing skirts. Then the school I went to lost too many students to continue and we had to go secular or go to a really fundamentalist-level Orthodox school.
I really admire teenaged girls and college women who decide on their own to be Hijabis. It is hard to dress differently, and even harder, in the 2010's, to explain that you're doing it because it makes you feel closer to God. I know the feeling of closeness that wearing modest clothing and learning Hebrew and that God loves and sends to the World to Come all his Children who follow basic moral precepts.
I feel sorry for women raised without the feeling of safety that modesty can bring a little girl.
Thank you for addressing this topic. I wish there were a middle-of-the-road imam blogging about such things who wasn't trying to get votes or converts so people asking non-fatwah questions (academic questions of basic articles and precepts of Islam, that is) could learn about Islam.
There is so much we have in common. It is a real shame that there cannot be some... Some [i]place[/i] to discuss, without the implied, hostile, "I'm Right -- You're Wrong," etc., one sees so often in interfaith discussions of any substance.
Oh well. Mashallah (Barukh Hu u'Varukh Shemo).
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