If I had a penny for every time I heard that line, I would be rich by now :-) Say whaaaa? (Remember our earlier post, CLICK)
The kind of impression you make on someone can make the biggest impact on how they see your religion, your culture, you, as a Muslim woman. We live in a world where first impressions speak louder than words. The biggest part of your first impression is made up of how you dress. Yes, you! And me, of course.
You're probably thinking "well, yeah, we already know that, so what's new?" What's new is, do you really deeply think about how you dress and how you act in public as a Muslim woman? More specifically as a hijabi. Muslim women who don't wear hijab are not visibly Muslim. When you wear hijab you are a breathing, walking, talking, commercial for Islam. Anything you wear, any word that comes out of your mouth, your interactions with your kids, friends, family etc are all representations of Islam. Which means, if you're a teenager, who wears hijab and curses in public, or online, or even abbreviates curse words or uses an * to censor it and shares it on your status, you are making Islam look bad. Just saying! (I could go on and on about this topic because it actually makes my blood boil; however, I will hit the brakes now, and save that topic for another post.)
This is of course the hardest part of wearing hijab. We often want to just blend in like a chameleon. Throw on a shirt, a pair of jeans, flip flops and top it off with our hijab and walk out the door. Some what perfunctory. And a bit more mundane. The fact of the matter is, no matter where we live in the world, there is no way a hijabi can be a chameleon. Read my lips (well, your screen in this case) Not. Gonna. Happen!
So we all have to try our best, and our hardest to dress presentable, speak proper, and top it off with a smile. Yes it's arduous but believe me, it's very rewarding. After all, didn't the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) say that the best among you is the one with the best manners?
After that long intro, here is a personal example of what I'm talking about.
I take my girls to the Little Gym in Dallas when I'm visiting. My oldest one started doing gymnastics at the same location 5 years ago. And likes to join in when we are in town. There is another lovely parent who also brings her daughter perennially to the same location. We exchange hellos, and sometimes chat shortly, but usually I'm more reticent and not so loquacious. Partly because of my personality, and partly because this is the only time out of the year when I can actually spend that time reading a book.
So today while I was waiting for my daughter in the lobby, we started chatting a little bit more in detail with the lovely mom. I had mentioned to her that I moved to New York, and we started discussing the pros and cons of living in NY, and the fact that Dallas is a more conservative city and it feels safer as a mom to raise my kids in Dallas, and how the standard of living in NY is extremely high, etc etc.
The conversation lead to me being a designer. As soon as I mentioned that I'm a fashion designer, the lovely mom said "oh, so that's why! You dress so stylish because you're a designer." And she continued on telling me her perception of me, a woman who wears hijab. She added "Well, my daughter the other day was saying, 'Mom, doesn't she dress so nice? I like what she's wearing' and I told her, 'Well, yes honey, she dresses very nice, but I also noticed that every time she comes in here, she's reading a book. I think she is stylish and smart!"
I thanked the lovely lady for the approbation. It was music to my ears. It was also just another incident that served as proof to my two mottos. You are what you wear and you are what you speak!
In conclusion, hijabis: (especially younger generations, teenagers) please choose your clothes and your words wisely. :-)
Until next time,
Elif Kavakci for HijabiTopia