Friday, October 7, 2011

And Again.

Bismillahiramaniraheem...Salaam sisters! This is for you "wants to wear hijab" and "Edana" and "smith" who have left comments on my previous posts. Your loyalty and interest is all I need to start again, sharing my views on the topic of wearing a headscarf in America.

Let's see, about two weeks ago, I had a conversation with my husband. It was intellectual, empathic, personal, and psychological. I do not want to get into the specifics of the points that were made yet, for I fear that since it has been such a short time, I am afraid if I spill it all out, it will become overly stated as "IT IS DONE," in which case I feel hesitant to commit to that sentiment, I don't want to jinx myself as I have in the past. I do not want to go backwards, only forwards, InshaaAllah. Bottom line, since that conversation I have been wearing my headscarf in the most proper manner as I can manage, a huge leap from the half on, half off, completely off, confusing, anxiety provoking daily struggles with that loaded concept of hijabi life to one of solid clarity and integrity. Please say your dua for me in hopes that I can maintain this 2 week old behavior and let it grow and grow so as to root itself in my mind, heart, and soul so that I never return again to the worries, the dilemmas, the confusions. Alhamdulillah.

In a related topic, creating a hijabi styled wardrobe takes a lot of effort, time, and knowledge, and also expense...if one is wanting to create a proper yet diverse set of options. At this point I am struggling with the "hijabi essentials," which in short form would include the obvious need for headscarves, proper long sleeved tops and bottoms, skirts, stockings, shoes, arm sleeves, neck extentions, underbonnets, pins, brooches, and the overwhelming "hijab tutorials" that have invaded YouTube. These videos offer a lovely view of different styles, yet they have yet to meet my needs in terms of being what I can feel is my style of Hijab. Amenakin has a great following and a great style, yet I feel her designs are for the younger set of girls. I would feel overwhelmed with all the pins and drapes as I must rush to get the kids to school, wanting a slimmer look rather than a large flowing wrapped layered look. I spend hours online trying to find products to meet my needs in terms of body size, fabric options, scarf types, and my personal rules regarding the use of jewelry and make up and flashy blinged out scarves. I am a mother of 3, 34 years old, I am gracefully surrendering the things of youth, thus, I can no longer wear zebra print underscarves of shiny sparkling sequined hijabs. And my climate is one of extreme heat. I currently do not have a supply of modest yet ultra-cool options. I'm still learning, it is exciting, yet I am hesitant to get carried away. I want to take it slow. I have been wearing one black jersey scarf everyday, pinned at the neck and folded around shoulders and chest. Depending on the style of the top, some days I feel covered properly, other days when the skin of my neck or chest escapes my attempts at clumsily pinning the fabric together leave me feeling embarassed. These are just flying thoughts through my mind. I hope it finds peace as well as continue to excite me in its many positive options will open, InshaaAllah. And brooches, I need simple brooches for tying the scarf. And I need shorter cardigans. And I need long sleeve knit shirts in every color. And petite size yoga pants (those are the sweat pants of my generation), and I need scarves that are light and opaque and do not drown my petite frame in bulging fabrics. Abayas are not my style, unless they are slightly modified to fit in an edgy style, and will have to be customized to meet my short, post-3 c-section baby delivery body. Thank you for reading and supporting and joining me. May God the Merciful keep you in His favor!

I'm Back.

Dear friends, I know at one point I had a handful of lovely followers. I am wondering if you are still here. If so, please comment. I want to continue to share my thoughts and discoveries on this. I'll do it anyway, but if I get some replies from you, I'll definitely do it sooner, inshaaAllah. Thank you for all your comments since the beginning.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

All My Secrets Away

I've had a couple of  well-meaning persons give me their opinions and advice regarding the fact that I STILL struggle with wearing the scarf, that I STILL complain about wearing it, and that I STILL don't understand what it means to wear it.

They say it's simple and should be easy if I just make up my mind once and for all. Funny thing is, I DO make up my mind, but my mind keeps changing. I wear it fine when I go out with other adults, but when I'm's not that I feel more free---it's the opposite--alone, I feel more scared and vulnerable, so I don't wear it just fine. I feel bad about that, I do. Still, I have to justify it to myself: my anxiety is too high, my experience is too difficult.

I get defensive. I get down. This blog is stupid. Why am I writing this blog? This blog is...done.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Headcovering--It Ain't Just For Muslims!

I find the history of headcovering fascinating. I came upon a website, Biblical Research Reports, which discusses the edicts of certain Christian and Jewish views on the rule of headcovering, fascinating and comforting and validating. Covering the head is not something that just us "crazy backward weirdo" Muslims's a historically religious act of devotion, respectable, reputable, and sensible (for those devoted to God at least). I admire the way Christians take their faith not only to heart, but into practice. Many follow the law of their Bible as given to them in 1 Corinthians 11: ...
But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved. 6 For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head.

Here is a fine article that discusses the application of this Biblical passage from writer Myron Dorst on the site, Biblical Research Reports, refuting the claim of other Christians who, according the Dorst and others, have distorted the meaning of I Corinthians 11:

I began a study on the headcovering when I was in college to find a basis that God no longer required the headcovering for today. I did not see a need for it. As I have studied the head covering in depth, I have discovered that there are many myths about the headcovering stated as truth. These false teachings are in many of the commentaries. They have been preached from the pulpit and have been passed from one Christian to another to give a "clear" understanding of what they want the Bible to say, but they have no Biblical or historical basis. They have been repeated so often that people believe them to be true and don't verify it for themselves. After all, many of those repeating these myths have their PhD. As a result the church is teaching, acting, and reacting on the subject of the head veil based on faulty information. In general, I have found a lack of quality scholarly research on the headcovering. ...It has been amazing to me in studying the headcovering how much we have been told by Christian sources that is not true. It appears that despite the high level of education today among Christians, many people are relying on other people's research or opinions rather then studying things for themselves. I challenge you to study 1 Corinthians 11 and other subjects for yourself as if you were hunting for hidden treasure (Proverbs 2:4). It is amazing what you will discover. Don't ignore Christ's commands in 1 Corinthians 11 just because "everyone else" thinks the headcovering does not apply to today.

So, I , Scarf Ace, am drawn to such analysis of the use of religious scripture in explaining the use of headcovering. And I am drawn to the common worship of God, that is mentioned in the Quran, regarding Christians and Jews:
3:113] Not all of them are alike: Of the People of the Book are a portion that stand (For the right): They rehearse the Signs of Allah all night long, and they prostrate themselves in adoration.

Of course, Islamic doctrine would differ on the details, e.g., Muslims women cover their hair at the command of God, and God only, not specifically Jesus Christ (May God's peace be upon him), simply put because we differentiate the role of Christ from the role of God. Also, the shaving of the head is not an option for a Muslim woman. Yet the common theme remains: Religious devotion is connected to female believers wearing a headscarf, of some sort, the type of which is of course in debate, but still the covering of the head remains a sign of worship of a single Lord, a rejection of the dismissive notion of modern "reform," or the call of the masses to just "get with times" and drop the commands of God which are clearly stated in the Biblical text for Christianity and Judaism, and the Quranic text for Muslims.

Read the entire article posted above, and peruse its other articles. It connects me to my fellow lovers of God, the People of the Book as referred to in the Quran. May God show us the clarity we all seek.

We all know what Catholic nuns often look like and how they forbid marriage and a life outside of their convent, but are we aware that there are several other Christian sects and communities who live typical lives of marriage, children, and housework, who love God but do not express this love by "marrying Christ" and entirely giving up a worldly life of wife or mother, or resignation to an order of Convent (not that I disrespect these Catholic sisters)? I am merely saying, that a "common" Christian or Jewish woman is bound to cover her hair in the same manner as a "common" Muslim woman is, to go about their daily lives with LIBERATION of the spirit as per use of their headcovering, to demonstrate and practice modesty and freedom from the shackles of pop cultural indoctrination of "beauty, sexuality, and the worldliness" of peer pressure and the industries that profit off of such exploitation of our dignity as women and our souls as human beings. To follow the law of their religious doctrine, not just in blind faith, but in earnest, LOGICAL, sensible, beautiful reason. Reason, the law of cause and effect, the distinction of active knowledge, and not the fog of following the man-made "feels" good attitude, or consuming the inundated values of the for profit beauty industries presented so "innocently" and seductively. Modesty is normal, and rational, and not weird. Not strange and NOT oppressive.

I send a cyber hug to my sisters, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and other faiths who believe that what they wear is an important choice that should have the support of the Divine Wisdom, rather than the support of whatever talk show or celebrity trend or fashion magazine.

Here is a site that sells common Christian headcoverings:

Christian headcovering
Of course, as in the Muslim world, there is strong debate among the Christian sects and Jewish sects as to whether headcoverings are necessary in our "modern times," and even if they are truly commanded by God's Word. The following text is from:
According to Jewish law, married women are required to cover their hair which is earlier referred to as the "law of the Jewish People", but subsequently it is known as the "law of Moses". Women usually cover their hair with a snood, wig or scarf, but some women use hats also for the same purpose.
However the practice of covering hair by women by any of the above practices is being debated vociferously. Some of the early Rabbis encouraged the use of hair coverings, but some have expressed their disapproval of the practice. Even orthodox modern women, who belong to a generation before, have left the habit of covering their hair except when they are in the synagogue. But the practice of covering the hair has been voluntarily opted by the present generation of women, which is quite unusual considering the hectic pace of modern civilization. They believe to convey modesty in their appearance, which is after all one component of moral attitude. It is left to the individual women living in a particular location and atmosphere to decide on whether to cover the hair or not. It is being insisted more as a symbolic gesture of feminism rather than anything else. From the Article,

And it is also noted in these communities, Muslim, Christian, and Judaism, that purity of the soul can not be attained by the mere act of covering one's head, which is a behaviour linked to belief, but is not the end all and be all to determine one's inner purity.
When we say someone is modest, it includes their attitudes towards other members of the family, community and strangers, appearance that will not provoke someone into doing physically outrageous things and the way of conducting life in the right sense of direction and purpose.
There is no doubt that women occupy a special place in the family and every one looks to them for support. The conduct of women will have a bearing in the bringing up of children, which does have a lasting effect on the society. When women veer off course without any modesty, there will be no controlling factor in the family and it goes to ruins quite quickly. In this sense, it is important that women must be physically and mentally modest, to offset the pressures of life and act as a fulcrum around which the entire family revolves, which is necessary for the whole society.
And from the same article, it is conveyed that being modest is not so difficult, it takes a bit of true THINKING and resolve. These following passages are from a Christian website, but express a line of thinking that is clearly in line with Muslim thought on the same subject.
The pressures of life and the temptations around us make it difficult to lead a modest life. When we observe life around us, we see fall in moral values, money doing things which was earlier not seen and so many things unheard of in the earlier years. To keep out of these so called pleasures is difficult, but not impossible to surmount them successfully. When we say women have to be physically modest, it does not mean that women have to be frugal without any pleasures or enjoyment. It means they have to stay in moderation within the limits and never fall for things that lead them to destruction. It is agreed that peer pressure and family pressures will be huge and demanding, but you have to find ways to keep within limits, which is good for both the family and society. It is easy to fall prey to temptations, but the after effects will be more on the women than men. That is why, it is important that women must show more maturity and moderation. The scars that befall women after undertaking unnecessary or voyeuristic pleasures take a long time to heal and hence prudence must be maintained at all times.
Women can be modest with the available means. When you hanker after things beyond your means, you will have to face the consequences. Businesses in order to capture or expand their business portray or show women in a demeaning manner by showing their body without any remorse. When we see some of the advertisements in the papers or television, women seem to canvass for products meant for only men, which is mere physical exploitation of women. They are not promoting the sensible capabilities of women and are under the mistaken notion that when women bare all, the products can be sold quickly which is foolish thinking.
Women can utilize the clothes meaningfully and alter them to suit their body measurements in a dignified manner. People always look in awe when women are dignified and will be naturally afraid to pass comments on them. When women present themselves in an attractive but pleasant way, nobody will have inkling to harm them or offer unsolicited advice to them. We can infer that our mannerisms will have an impact on the minds of the onlookers and it is up to us to present ourselves creditably.
Women can use headgear to sport an attractive look without demeaning any religion or culture. Some of the headgear available in the market is simply superb and you can use them to your advantage. After all, any form of clothing should enhance your appearance in the right way and not arouse sexual feelings in men. It depends on our choice and when we make the right choice, there is no way women can be looked upon down.
Women can be physically attractive with clothing or make up, but care must be taken not to arouse negative feelings. You can make use of beauty enhancement techniques to uplift your appearance, but doing it with physical show of skin will attract comments from all quarters. When women are within their family values, no trouble visits them and they can lead a peaceful and happy life.
When physical appearance is outrageous or flashy, naturally it will invite things which are not necessary. It depends on your mental make up and when you are mentally strong, you will not fall prey to pleasures of life. This does not mean you have to be without any pleasure, but your pleasures must not be demeaned by others. When women show moral values, nobody dares to touch them or heap insults.
These ideas go to show that my fellow People of the Book can share the idea that those in our Western media who consider a woman's right to dress as she pleases, from the likes of Lady Gaga and Britney Spears, to the so-called "tasteful" use of cleavage and booty inhancing jeans, or lushious colored lips and sexy hair is not as liberating as it seems, and is rather a form of slavery and exploitation, causing the woman to chip away at her precious soul. But I guess that only matters to those who actually bonder the workings of the soul and its connections to our daily choices, our fashion "mistakes," and our search for true worth as it is judged by others, by ourselves, and by God.

Quran 33:59] O Prophet! say to your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers that they let down upon them their over-garments; this will be more proper, that they may be known, and thus they will not be given trouble; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
That is not to say that for my part I condemn the young and old women who are drawn to the pleasure of displaying their beauty through artificial means, who wish to display it for whatever reasons, for self-esteem, for self-acceptance, for the sake of enjoyment, for I too, did and do those things, I, too, struggle with my vanity. To those of you who seek to be free of this struggle, I send you a cyber hug as well. As the final Divine Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s) said:
Deal gently with a people, and be not harsh; cheer them and condemn not.
Still, I pray that God gives me time to follow the clearest, most noble path, and gives me a long life in my search to do as pleases Him, The Most Beneficient, The Most Merciful.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Feel So Different

I feel a lot more connected to and confident in wearing my headscarf now. So many good people sacrifice so much for standing up for their truth, why can't I let go of my past, my "bad experience" in high school and suffer my bit of social anxiety and/or possible misunderstanding and discrimination, and be near to those I wish to stand with---those other women I see at the stores who wear their scarves with ease, the few at the park who wear it at the swings with their kids, the tall elegant woman I saw walking in full black garb with such dignity and bravery--those who have died for the honor of their beliefs of Islam--shouldn't I think of them when I fearfully step out into the world--them, instead of thinking of the ones who will wonder, question, stare, assume, or hurt me?

Instead of feeling judged and misunderstood by the non-Muslims at my kids' school, or the ones who shop where I shop, or the ones who sit parked at the stop light next to me--instead of assuming they DON'T LIKE me, why not feel that they might feel compassion for me, admiration for me, a human connection to me, think that they, in fact, may go out of their way to be friendly to me to show me their kindness. And even if these kind strangers are few and far between--shouldn't I now feel that they, along with my fellow Muslims, are more important than the ones whose eyes shoot arrows of bigotry and judgement. I should. I should feel better about my scarf, I should feel different about wearing a headscarf in America.

And though I may have bad days, or months, when I lose touch with my resolve, when I sheepishly and desperately want to blend in and therefore let that scarf slip down, just for the sake of a few carefree breaths, maybe I can THINK clearly, and FEEL better, and GET better. By God's Grace.

This song by Sinead O'Connor sums up the bit of courage and insight I've developed by God's Grace, and sums up my feelings nicely...

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change
Courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference

I am not like I was before
I thought that nothing would change me
I was not listening anymore
Still you continued to affect me
I was not thinking anymore
Although I said I still was
I'd said "I don't want anymore"
Because of bad experience
But now I feel so different
I feel so different
I feel so different
I have not seen freedom before
And I did not expect to
Don't let me forget now I'm here
Help me to help you to behold you
I started off with many friends
And we spent a long time talking
I thought they meant every word they said
But like everyone else they were stalling
And now they seem so different
They seem so different
They seem so different
I should have hatred for you
But I do not have any
And I have always loved you
Oh you have taught me plenty
The whole time I'd never seen
All you had spread before me
The whole time I'd never seen
All I'd need was inside me
Now I feel so different
I feel so different
I feel so different
I feel so different
I feel so different

above image found HERE

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


After you have brought knowledge in line with your intellect, try and give it to your heart; when it goes to the heart, it will be the promoter of affairs (affect your actions). This will be the knowledge that moves you. When you don’t send knowledge to your heart and just learn it, it becomes a box that you have stored memories in, like a library, and this knowledge itself will become a veil.”
- Imam Khomeini (r.a.)