Asalamu Alaykum Br. Suhaib,
I had a question. I don’t know if this is only happening in my community, but apparently there’s this new trend in wearing hijab inappropriately – now I’m not talking about not wearing abayah or something like that. I’m talking about showing the bangs on a daily basis, if not more than just the bangs. This is obviously in addition to makeup and clothing that, in my opinion, is usually not really meeting the hijab requirements. But that’s a whole other story.
Anyway, there’s two new trends now – showing bangs or up to 1/3 of the hair sometimes, and, secondly, wearing 3/4 sleeves or wearing long sleeves but constantly rolling them up. What saddens me about this is not only is it wrong, but the people who are doing it are people who: a) did not used to do that before, b) sometimes doing it out of carelessness, sometimes on purpose, and c) leaders for younger girls in our community, and they are very much aware of the hijab requirements and are not ignorant of the deen.
I am their friend, and lately I’ve been trying to mention this in an indirect manner in various ways, but I always get the “ya, that’s true” reaction , and then no result. I wanted to see what advice you had for me, what can I do? And I mean anything other than speaking to them directly, because I know that that’s obviously one thing I can do, but it’s such a sensitive issue, I know it, so I first wanted to see if there’s any other good ways? Any good articles, videos, etc? What can I do?
Also, another issue w/this is that if you DO mention something about hijab, whether directly or indirectly, I many times get the answer/reaction of “why do people focus on hijab, on the outside so much, there’s much bigger problems going on in our religion” or “look at Saudi Arabia and all the problems it has – they keep focusing on women covering, women covering, but then look at all the fasaad that’s happening over there. That’s what you get when you lose perspective and priorities are such out of place and the focus is only on the superficial things.”
What can I do?
Wa ‘alaykum al-Salam ya sister
May Allah grant us the strength to see what our desires don’t want us to, transcendence above the murky cloudiness of what lies in our hearts and a light to see the truth and love it, even if bitter. You are asking one who is more in need of your advice, then you are of his. It is only by Allah’s mercy that when we sin, not only does He forgive, but He hides our evil.
Your concern is the concern of the prophets, reformers and those who loved Allah. There is no separation from spirituality and practice. One cannot claim to be spiritually sound and not observe, as best as he/she can, the orders of Allah. Both are cut from the same cloth and their likeness is like that of a match and flame, neither can survive independent of the other. The Prophet [sa] said, “In the body there is a piece of flesh, if it is sound, the entire body is sound, and if it is corrupted, the entire body is corrupted. Indeed, it is the heart!” [a sound hadith related by al-Bukhari from al-N'uman bin Bashir].
For that reason, may Allah have mercy upon you, the problem we are facing is one of faith. When the faith is weak, practice is weak. For that reason, we must focus on our relationship with Allah, cultivate it and nurture it. Faith is a dangerous enterprise because very few people, including myself, are willing to be firm upon themselves when auditing their souls. For that reason, I encourage you to engage these sisters, individually if possible, in faith filled moments. Prepare short talks for them about the reality of this life, the Hereafter and what our purposes are in this life. Take them on nature hikes, see the creation of Allah and work to bring them in touch with their purpose. A great idea is to watch nature videos. They are some of the best ways to teach faith to others. Then, pray Qiyam and remind each other about Allah, about this life and the noble legacy of Muslim women. You are, all of you, walking in the steps of ‘Aiesha, basking in the light of Fatimah and struggling with your faith like Um Salamah. In addition, pray for them and be there for them. One cannot be a caller if she is lost in the call and for gets those she is calling. You must sincerely care and love these sisters. If not, your words will be like blessed rain that falls on rocks.
After some time, as the faith begins to increase find the right moment to address this issue and teach our sisters the fiqh of dress. When one says, “Why are you talking about Hijab and not such and such thing” remind them that Hijab is an individual obligation that each and every woman will be asked about. Thus, the first priority is one’s soul and salvation. Allah says, “Save yourselves and your families from the fire.” Thus, we should not be tricked by visions of grandeur, forgetting our own responsibility with Allah. The Prophet [as] said, “Ever soul awakens as a seller for itself; destroying it or saving it.”
We are here for you and more than willing to stay in contact with you. You be strong, face this challenge with faith and remember, “Islam started as something strange and it will return to strangeness. So give glad tiding to the strangers.”
Allah knows best