I don’t wear a Hijab, but my heart is clean!”

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

170720-brands-selling-hijabs-feature“All of my Ummah will be forgiven except those who sin openly…” [1]

Sinning privately is between Allah and His servant and a struggle that only He knows about and which In sha Allah He will give His servant the Tawfiq to repent for. Openly sinning with no remorse is tantamount to a public challenge to Allah and it doesn’t just remain between a servant and his Lord, but with the people too. One is to unashamedly disobey Allah and then to further justify the sin, but “Allah will not help a people until they help themselves.” [2]

Lately, I seem to have come across many sisters who give reasons for their Hijab – or lack thereof!

“I’m not ready for the Hijab yet!”
“So what if my hair is uncovered? My heart is clean!”
“Don’t tell me to wear Hijab, only Allah can judge me.”

Naturally, it led to many debates where not everyone agreed. Hence, this is merely an opinion.

At random, I started looking at other commandments of Allah. His order to fulfil the obligation of Salah comes with the condition that one has reached the age of puberty, is sane, and is a Muslim. Similarly, the donning of Hijab becomes compulsory once a woman reaches the age of puberty. But why are sisters so quick to make excuses like, “I’m not ready yet” and, “But my heart is clean,” when we don’t make the same excuses for our Zakah and fasting the month of Ramadhan?

My mind is at awe with the women around my Nabi ﷺ who dropped all they had in order to comply to another commandment of Allah with the hope of coming closer to Him. Fatimah Al-Zahrah (R), the queen of the women of Jannah, was the epitome of modesty at the time of Nabi ﷺ and continues to serve as an example until the end of time. Similarly, Umm Khallad (R) who upon hearing of the martyrdom of her beloved son on the battlefield, rushed to it whilst veiled. When asked how she managed to cover in such a state, she responded, “I have lost my son, but I have not lost my modesty.” [3]

Such women had the purest of hearts and yet they did not make the excuses we make because it is not befitting for a Muslim woman to ask for a concession in a matter that Allah and His Nabi (S) have ordained for us!

It may be true that a sister without the Hijab may have a heart purer and Taqwa stronger than that of a sister fully covered. However, when a Muslim woman CHOOSES not to wear the Hijab out of her own free-will (without a valid Shar’i reason), she becomes another fallen brick in the wall that divides us as an Ummah because she has chosen to hide her identity. Those who wear the Hijab (despite their struggles) are then labelled fanatics and extremists because another side has presented a “liberal” image which shows the world that it clearly isn’t mandatory to wear the Hijab and it can’t really be part of the faith! And so in this manner, she makes it harder for her “Hijabi” sister to practice her faith.

Those who refuse the Hijab claiming only Allah can judge them, remember that indeed Allah WILL judge them. Let’s help one another to become stronger in our faith and show the world that we are proud of our identity. May Allah help each of us in our struggles and only He knows what they are.

Do you agree? Disagree? All comments welcome, but please be courteous.plain-chiffon-hijab-plain-chiffon-charcoal-hijab-1_large

[1] Bukhari and Muslim
[2] Surah Ra’ad (13:11)
[3] Abu Dawud

Zainab Bint Husain (Allah protect her)

10 Muharram 1440

I am a Mustish?!

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

britishI am a Muslim. I am British.
I am British. I am a Muslim.
I am a British Muslim.
Do the order of words REALLY matter?
Muslim British, British Muslim.
A cup of tea is what I crave,
Digestives and Custard Creams are my fave.
At the same time, the headscarf I wear,
And YouTube I scour to fashion it with care.
Awkward weather conversations and polite queuing,
HP sauce, marmite and cows mooing.
At the same time, I rush out to perform my prayer,
Because for me, this makes my daily endeavours clear.
You tell me I must choose,
But neither I am willing to lose.
For both are a part of me,
So please, allow me to be.
I am a Muslim. I am British.
I am British. I am a Muslim.
I am a British Muslim.
Do the order of words REALLY matter?
Muslim British, British Muslim.
Written by Apa Fatima Ahmed, Teacher at Islamiyah School, (Masjid Sajedeen Open Day 2018).

Attractive Hijabs & Shari’ah


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Living in the west, the hijab has become a potent indicator of identity with many non-Muslims viewing it as a political statement. However, it is pertinent to note that the hijab is, first and foremost, an act of worship that women engage in, and an act undertaken to seek the pleasure of one’s Lord.

The definition of a hijab is fiercely contested by many Muslims, and unfortunately most of those who engage in the topic are unaware that it is very much defined by Islamic law, the Shari’ah, and not cultural habits or one’s idea of what modesty is, or should be.

In discussing the hijab, Islamic jurists have stipulated a number of conditions for it to be a hijab in the Islamic sense. In brief, these conditions are that one’s clothing must cover the entire body in a way that the shape of the body is not apparent and the material must not be so thin that one can see through it. Clothing should not resemble that which is specific to men nor the disbelievers. It should not be attractive to men, nor should women be perfumed in public. The main aim of hijab is to stop fitnah; females who are attractive by nature attract the gaze of males which then leads to other greater sins such as fornication and adultery. Allah commanded women neither to display their adornment nor to display any form of behaviour that might attract the attention of men. Allah says,

“And tell the believing women to lower their gaze, and protect their private parts and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils all over Juyubihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms, etc.) and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands fathers, their sons, their husbands sons, their brothers or their brothers sons, or their sisters sons, or their women, or the female slaves whom their right hands possess, or old male servants who lack vigour, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful.”[1]
The Shari’ah also prohibits women from speaking softly for essentially the same reason – to prevent fitnah. Allah says,
“O wives of the Prophet! You are not like any other women. If you keep your duty (to Allah), then be not soft in speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease (of hypocrisy, or evil desire for adultery, etc.) should be moved with desire, but speak in an honourable manner. And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance, and perform As-Salat, and give Zakat, and obey Allah and His Messenger.”[2]

As the verse states, Allah forbids the wives of the Prophet to incite the desires of weak men, and given that this effective cause (illah) is to do with desire which is found everywhere, then this command should certainly be applied to all other women as well.

In fact, scholars from various schools of thought prohibit women from raising their voices in public, even if it be the utterance of the talbiyah during hajj or the adhan (call to prayer) between females. The Shari’ah also prohibits men to visit lonely women and to stay alone with them. It also prohibited men to look at women. Allah says,
“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.). That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do.”[3]

On the streets of London, Amsterdam and other big cities in Europe we witness various types of un-Islamic hijabs. Tight Jeans (also known as ‘skinny jeans’), long leather high heeled boots and tight shirts with a head scarf are all typical representations of the kind of hijab that is now being promoted by many young and middle aged Muslim women. Fancy scarves are also a form of covering that is seen as a ‘Shari’ah compliant hijab’. Indeed, the way many Muslim women adorn the hijab defeats the whole purpose of hijab itself. Furthermore, western women are very fond of attracting the interest and attention of men. It seems that many of our Muslims sisters have been influenced by this and have started to wear clothes to attract the admiration of “brothers” in an enticing way.

One of the main problems is limiting the hijab as being a manifestation of female Muslim identity. When France banned the hijab they looked at it as a religious symbol unable to understand the meaning of ibaadah (worship). However, it is unfortunate to see many Muslims treating it as merely a form of identity, and once the symbolic representation has been accomplished the necessity to perform it in a way that meets its conditions laid down by Allah is overlooked. This is one of subtly reprehensible values that many western Muslims have unknowingly adopted. We have to understand that Islamic practices including observing the hijab are actions of ibaadah. They are meant to please Allah, avoid being disobedient, and earn hasanaat in order to attain a high rank in paradise. Allah says,

And (remember) when it was said to them: “Dwell in this town (Jerusalem) and eat therefrom wherever you wish, and say, (O Allah) forgive our sins; and enter the gate prostrate (bowing with humility). We shall forgive you your wrong-doings. We shall increase (the reward) for the good-doers.”[4]

In misunderstanding the fundamental aim of entering paradise, we lose in this life and the hereafter as any other aim is considered by Shari’ah as a worldly one. The reward of worldly aims is given in this life and no reward will be given after death. Allah says,

Whosoever desires the life of the world and its glitter; to them We shall pay in full (the wages of) their deeds therein, and they will have no diminution therein.[5]

This is a major mistake that many Muslims fall into when undertaking many Islamic practices. Having the correct aim in wearing the hijab is the first and main step towards a solution for this problem. It should be noted that projecting concerns about this non-shar’ii form of hijab does not imply discouraging Muslim women from observing a limited form of hijab which they have chosen, but instead it serves to encourage Muslim women to progress to observe the correct method of hijab. The intention of this article is driven by the desire for improvement and progress and not to incite women to withdraw from the hijab completely.

Some Muslims posit that we should not be strict in calling for the proper observance of many Islamic practices in the west, and as such, we should encourage Muslim women to do as much as they are, without criticism, even if some do not complete such observance. Undoubtedly we agree to encouraging Muslim women to do as much as they can, but correcting wrong or incomplete Islamic practices is an obligation upon those who know.

It is indeed the case that many sisters are completely ignorant about the conditions of the legally valid hijab, and hence it is incumbent upon us to raise awareness of the legal conditions and features of a correct hijab. Knowledge is the cure for many of our mistakes. Advising sisters who undoubtedly wear the hijab out of good intentions as well as educating their parents is another way towards solving this issue. It might be a good idea to print and distribute some leaflets that describe the authentic hijab in a way that goes beyond merely a head covering.

Notes: www.islam21c.com

Islam21c requests all the readers of this article, and others, to share it on your facebook, twitter, and other platforms to further spread our efforts.
[1] 24:31
[2] 33:32-33
[3] 24:30
[4] 7:161
[5] 11:15

Unveiling the reality

Umm Abdullah writes her own personal experience of life with the Niqab.


In the Name of Allah the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

‘Ban the Burqa!’ was the latest one. I would have used the powerful verb ‘hurled’ as per usual, except this time it was more of a forced, cringe-worthy, schoolboy ‘tryin to impress me mates’ type. Abuse, nonetheless.

As a British ‘Niqabi’ (as I am sometimes labelled in the long list of politically correct labels and titles) I should be quite used to these types of remarks, no? Unfortuntely not. It still winds me up, still frustrates me and yes, quite frankly, it still upsets me six years on. Despite all this, one thing that the abuse has paved way for is the love for my Niqab and with each hurl it has burned bigger and brighter.

I started wearing my Niqab at the age of 18; an age I truly believe is an age for either make or break. Usually, at this point in life it is decided whether we’re turning left, right or going straight ahead at the crossroads. I was a typical teenager who loved (and still does!) clothes, make up and dressing up so it was only natural for me to be a little apprehensive towards the idea of completely veiling myself. Although I had been wearing the Hijab from a very young age and the Abaya more recently, I simply was not feeling the idea of the Niqab. I was extremely image conscious. I was paranoid. I was embarrassed.

Weeks turned into months wherein I did research upon research through classical texts, poring over books to unveil the history behind the Niqab. At the start, I was quite simply looking for a loophole to sooth my mind’s voice, to stroke my more ‘holy’ side into a lullaby; a lullaby of lies sung in the loudest voice drowning out the other voice that was telling me the Niqab was Wajib (Islamic obligation). However, over time I came to realise myself, slowly but surely, that I was fooling nobody but myself. Allah says in the Qur’an, ‘O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks over their bodies’ (33:59). Similarly, this was echoed in authentic Prophetic narrations, when the verse ‘they should draw their veils over their necks and bosoms…’ was revealed, the ladies cut their waist sheets at the edges and covered their faces with the cut pieces’ (Bukhari, 1:4:148). That was the first step for me – understanding and whole-heartedly accepting that the veil is mandatory on all Muslim, mature women in order to protect themselves. There were no loopholes. Allah’s order is Allah’s order and for me there was no running away from it.

I firmly disagree with the notion of it being a black cloth used to cover the face, however, that WAS my perception pre-niqab days. And that’s the thing with perception – it can deceive. You may be wise and knowledgeable (not that I was or am in any way!) but even then can be overtaken by the sweet lies of perception. On the topic of perception, some people perceive women in a Niqab as being oppressed and socially controlled and to be honest, this view cannot completely be diminished as there are some for whom this is the case. But it would be outrageously ignorant to believe that this is the case for all. Out of the 354 women who were fined for wearing the Niqab in France, not one said she was forced to. Now, we don’t have any sort of data like that to compare with in Britain but what we do have is a free society. Every woman has the liberty and choice to make her own decisions. And if it’s anything to go by, the women who appeared on the Channel 4 Niqab debate all said it was their own choice to wear the Niqab. And saying that, I know I would have hit the roof before I let anyone force me!

Similarly, there’s the conception of Niqabi women being uneducated and basically at the back of the queue with a colander when God was dishing out the brains. Being a qualified teacher myself and having friends and family who wear the Niqab with professions varying from cancer research doctor to speech therapist to pharmacists, I beg to differ. And quite rightly so, I’d say! I mean, come on, don’t start on me with that one.

Some people believe wearing the Niqab is a litmus test for piety. As much as I disagree with that, I won’t hesitate to say that the Niqab can be a sign of piety if it is fully recognised as a lifestyle rather than just a face covering. I recently read an article wherein the writer wrote about how the most rudest Muslim woman she had met wore the Niqab. That is a real shame and without trying to condone her rudeness, I’d just like to put across that women in Niqab are not angels.That’s right, we are humans and sometimes, just like with everyone else, our behaviour and temperament can let us down. And just for the record, the most beautiful woman in terms of character and personality that I am blessed to know is one who wears the Niqab.

Alhamdu Lillah, I am now in my sixth year of wearing the Niqab and I have to say it has been an exhilarating journey. It has been a LOT more than a black cloth. In fact, I quite loathe calling it a ‘black cloth’. I feel it deserves a lot more respect and love than that. It is my Niqab, my protection, my motivation, my love. From the day I started wearing it, I immediately felt a heavier sense of responsibility upon my own actions. My Niqab stopped me from acting in certain ways and prompted me to act in certain other ways. I began to notice small changes in my behaviour and I was liking that.

Although it has been six years, I believe I have a long way to go. I started off as an ‘amateur’ and I am nowhere near ‘professional’ yet.  I still have days where I slack and I still groan and moan when it gets beautifully hot outside (try having an ice cream with a Niqab on!). Saying that, I have mastered the art of eating and drinking with my Niqab on and keeping it crumb-free! On a serious note, in my opinion the Niqab is more of a lifestyle than a piece of Islamic clothing and nobody can take that away from me.

Umm Abdullah
1st Dhul Hijjah 1435
Allah grant the Muslim women Hayaa (modesty) and Iffah (purity) and Ismah (protection), Ameen Ya Rabb.