Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Bursting at the "Seems"
The other day, it seemed that a lady in a passing car was yelling something at me and my husband and it seemed to me it was something hateful and could only be because of our headgear. Now, my husband says he didn't notice anyone yelling. And I'm not even sure what she was saying or who she was yelling at. Still, just the fleeting thought that she was bashing us made my heart sink. I felt misunderstood, victimized, and scared. Thankfully, it seems that yelling lady incident was not about what was on our heads, but it was probably just in my head.
We got to the store. We saw a Muslim lady and her husband getting into their car. My husband said "As-salam-o-alaykum" to the man, and he seemed to responded hesitantly while the wife did not turn around. Then we saw some other hijabis but they didn't seem to notice us...
Now, it's not uncommon for us to greet other Muslims based on our headgear/hijab identification as Muslims. It's nice. But sometimes it can be strained and akward also. When the other Muslim seems to look away or ignore me, it makes me wonder...why? In a way, I understand it. Sometimes we just want to go about our business, not bother with being friendly, especially if we are not of the habit of doing so. Sometimes we're just not expecting so see another Muslim, so we just look away, not knowing what to do exactly.
Now I'm thinking about this other "issue" which seems to be part of the headscarf experience. So, of course, "hijab" is not just a headscarf, it means acting and thinking and dressing overall with modesty. And I've been reminded that among the Muslim women who cover, it seems there is some judgement-like thinking and chatter going on...
For example, in addition to my scarf, I have usually been wearing loose pants and a long sleeve shirt that hits me just at hip level....Some Muslims will say proper hijab should include the shirt covering your entire backside when worn with pants or skirt. Still, some Muslims will say, proper hijab means wearing the long, loose, jacket-dress called an abaya or jilbab. Some will say, proper hijab includes covering the feet, or just the top of the foot. Some will say there is no place for "fashion" in proper hijab. Still others will say proper hijab means nothing tight fitting, especially at the backside or the bust, you know... BUSTing at the seams... ;-) The photos above illustrate my examples.
Many Muslim women do not wear make-up as part of proper hijab. Some do not wear jewelry. And some believe that plucking/waxing/shaving body hair such as eyebrows is anti-hijab.
A lot of these differences depend on the type of sect one belongs to. Shia and Sunni scholars/schools of thougts may differ on what exactly proper hijab is. Still, some of the differences are cultural and personal and circumstantial. The details may seem silly. Some details are silly. But that's the fun of believing in things, in laws, in codes. Fun Fun.
I fit in somewhere in there somewhere sometimes sort of. I will wear brown lipstick when I go out to the store. I will wear make-up if I go to a formal party. I will wear a long necklace and bracelets. I was wearing flip flops until last week when I was told that my particular sect of Islam considers covering the top of the foot as part of proper hijab. I thought the whole foot could hang on out there. And maybe it still can. I haven't done my proper research into the matter just yet. I know I don't have it completely covered yet.
So I hope no other hijabi seems me and thinks, "she's not wearing proper hijab," but I'm sure they are. Seems like they just might...
Posted by Scarf Ace at 4:46 PM