Sunday, August 16, 2009

Muslim. Hijab. Conservative Garb No Longer?

Taken from The Customized Hijab (linked below).

So I was walking to the Broad Street Line in the 15th street free interchange from the Market Frankfort Line (Septa) yesterday and I came across a sight that definitely confused me. I noticed a black female, approximately between 17-20 wearing a long black Hijab and hot pants.... Now, I never thought these two article of clothing would come into the same sphere. The Hijab is a statement of religious and social values that include conservative dress for females: "In one tradition, the Prophet Muhammad is quoted as saying: '...If the woman reaches the age of puberty, no part of her body should be seen but this --- and he pointed to his face and hands'". (Linked from: Hijab in the Workplace) This conversation encompasses a much grander social, religious, and moral sphere than the small issue I am touching on today, but when I envision a female in a Hijab, I see a statement of either a religious consciousness or a social choice of conservative dress and living. I do not equate it to a showcase of skin or a way to allure interested parties to you, as I would hot pants. Women wear hot pants generally to make a statement, to appeal to the opposite/same sex, and to garner attention (usually of the sexual type). It is a clearly revealing item of clothing and in a world society where the Hijab is majorly connected with a religion that promotes female and male conservative actions and dress, I would think the paring of the two an oxymoron.

But maybe this is a new trend in Islamic religious culture? Is this an example of Muslim women seeking a freer mode of dress? Or this particular female's way of rebelling against her Muslim religion and culture? However, there is also the idea that she was not in fact Muslim, though her Hijab points otherwise from my general experience. But even if she was not Muslim the pairing of the two garments still points to a dramatic cross of style and dress.

I happened upon this piece that illuminates more of what I have touched on: The Customized Hijab.

I suppose the larger question is what has the Hijab evolved into, religiously, socially, culturally, and in the fashion industry? Is it now becoming only a garment meant to showcase a religious connection/belief, no longer a religious lifestyle? And how does one equate a garment equated with such conservatism with the continually more risque/revealing fashion trends of today? Does it even need to be? I have seen Muslim young adults in Philadelphia wearing tight jeans and shirts, which begs the question of whether there is some sort of regional acceptance of a much less conservative dress? As I am not Muslim myself, I cannot judge what is conservatively fitting in Muslim culture, only say my take from what I have read and learned from Muslim friends.

So what's your take? What does the Hijab mean to you in this quickly evolving world?

9 comments:

Mark said...

I think the hot-pants wearing muslim girl is the worst fear of the middle eastern world and the reason they hate us(understandably so, that look is ridiculous. Hot pants should be banned along with sharia law. Tit for tat). While being an obvious religious statement, the Hijab can often be used to legitimize rape. If not worn by a woman, a man cannot be held accountable for his sexual urges and so, if he happens to rape a hijab-less woman, it was her own fault. In actuality, there are statistic that look at the numbers of women raped with and without the burqa... which i don't think really speaks for too much and i think the results are obvious (more women not wearing a hijab are raped. surprise surprise). And there is not a regional acceptance as much as both a ruling body able to convict you as well as, well, men running around perfectly allowed by law to rape you. I think in America this is more comparable to the different types of jewish people you see, like the orthodox jews who all dress the same in the black coats no matter the temperature outside and the payot (the jewish sideburns) for the hassidic jews. Then there are those who only wear the yarmulke, and then those who don't even wear that. It basically comes down to freedom of practice and although that one girl may not be following so strictly the koran, she still chooses to identify herself as muslim suggesting, hopefully, a dedication to the core values of the religion - though I tend not to trust anyone wearing hotpants myself.

-mark

Anonymous said...

"If not worn by a woman, a man cannot be held accountable for his sexual urges and so, if he happens to rape a hijab-less woman, it was her own fault."

mark, that is absolutely incorrect. please check your facts next time you want to post something.

Anonymous said...

"If not worn by a woman, a man cannot be held accountable for his sexual urges and so, if he happens to rape a hijab-less woman, it was her own fault."

mark, next time you want to post something, be sure to check your facts. you are absolutely incorrect.

to the writer of this blog, as you mentioned you are not muslim, i'm sure it would be greatly appreciated if you refrained from generalizing an aspect of religion based off of whatever observations you might have made. perhaps discussing something more relevant to your own life will be more beneficial to you and whoever your readers may be.

20s in america said...

"to the writer of this blog, as you mentioned you are not muslim, i'm sure it would be greatly appreciated if you refrained from generalizing an aspect of religion based off of whatever observations you might have made. perhaps discussing something more relevant to your own life will be more beneficial to you and whoever your readers may be."

Dear Anonymous,

As this is an opinion piece I feel that I have every right to state it on my blog. I do not feel that I was offensive or made generalizations, but as you stated that I did do such I am hoping you will point out where, so that I might take that into account for future reference. Also, as I have an invested interest in this topic I feel I have every right to gauge my opinion and observations. If you feel disrespected in some way feel free to comment on just what I said to make you feel as such. And please note that maybe you should refrain from telling someone what is relevant to their own life and not, comes off as if you think you are God or something...

Dear Mark,

"If not worn by a woman, a man cannot be held accountable for his sexual urges and so, if he happens to rape a hijab-less woman, it was her own fault."

Could you possibly give me some sources regarding this (I will also definitely look into this) that speak to this statement of yours? This is an interesting idea that I've heard come up many times with dissenting and agreeing parties. I won't say I agree with this statement but I am interested to see what literature there is regarding this line of thought.

Nicole

Chelsea said...

I completely agree with your right to post your opinion, so I sure hope bullies like the one who told you to post things more relevant to your life don't discourage you. I don't know you, but who cares? God bless America and our right to free speech!

The growing population of Muslims in America and Europe and how they'll incorporate their customs and religious traditions into their adopted homes is something I am and I'm sure others are interested in. What with the hyper-politically-correct world we're living in, nobody can say anything without offending someone and being sued for it. Take the Fort Hood incident - tragic, but the red flags weren't dealt with properly: "no one filed a formal, written complaint about Hasan's comments out of fear of appearing discriminatory." What kind of world are we becoming? I'm not advocating hate, but healthy debate, respect for others and free-thinking should be encouraged. You don't have to agree with me, but you don't have to walk on eggshells around me or sue me either. Common sense seems to be going out the window fast, and I'm not looking forward to where the complete lack of it will take us.

Raja Iskandar said...

Assalamualaikum/ shalom / may peace be upon all of you.

I think there is a misunderstanding concerning rape in sharia law. As far as I am concern, the closest Hudud Law that could be related to “Rape” is probably in “Hirabah” / “Robbery”. Well, to me, raping a girl from her modesty and purity is an act of robbery against her. You do not need four witnesses to prove robbery as two witnesses would suffice. Alternatively, if you cannot get two witnesses, circumstantial evidence (like DNA samples etc) could be used to prove the act of rape and would be sufficient to sustain a “Robbery” charge under Hudud Law. Worst case scenario, if the “Robbery” threshold is not met under Hudud Law, the offence would automatically fall under “Ta’zir” (which could also be defined as “Judicial Discretion”) and is similar to our current Penal Code threshold for “Rape”. It doesn't matter if the girl is wearing a hijab or hijabless. So the men will still be convicted if he commits a rape and there is no escape. The blogger does a wonderful job writing this entry noticing the obvious in recent times and it is no doubt that some of the muslims do not take religion seriously anymore. Generally a muslim lady should cover herself from head to toe and should not reveal her figure by wearing anything tight. Sorry for the late comment as I just came accross this entry.

Wassalam ( and peace)

Fatimah Bajrai said...

Oh, I agree with Raja Iskandar. I'm a Muslim and I have just recently started to wear the Hijab and I feel an awesome difference. Rape or no rape, women should still cover themselves, nonetheless. Women think wearing the Hijab hides their beauty, but the truth to it is that, hiding your beauty only makes you more precious and beautiful, no? Not everyone is allowed to see you skin and hair, doesn't that make one priceless? Well I think it does, as I have seen and felt the difference. Wearing the Hijab was a choice of my own, I was not forced or told to wear it, I was just doing what told by God and I know everything He tells us to do is the right thing and benefits us all.

Anonymous said...

First off, I think this is a wonderful post by the author. Who cares what that idiot wrote, you keep posting what YOU want. About Mark, he's kinda wrong, I agree more with Raja. (btw I'm a Muslim). Rape is rape no matter what. It's wrong in ALL books; or at least it should be. Personally, I can go on forever about the hijab and go in a billion different ways. well, it's mandatory. but it's like protection, too. but then again, in today's society people are being mean and harassing those wearing hijab simply because they wear one (I know from many many many experiences). so...yeah. i'm a little hesitant and tentative to say anything. I do it because it's part of my religion and I believe in its intended purpose. that is all.

Josie said...

first of all, i found this post to be very interesting and i thank the writer for writing it. I must admit that I am not Muslim but I have friends who are. Some one on here posted (i forget who) that because they are covered up they feel like their beauty is more precious and I have to say that I very much agree, although probably not to the same extent. I'm a teenager in America and I wish I grew up in the 40's and 50's when girls wore skirts at or below their knees and usually had their shoulders covered in public. I just miss the glamor and mystery of vintage fashion and I wish there were more role models for girls like me looking for a way to be pretty and conservative

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