Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Hijab and Body Image

Assalamu'alaykum and hello to all HijabiTopians!

Hijab... what comes to mind when we hear the word? Is it just a piece of clothing? Is it a woman's traditional head cover? How can wearing a hijab influence your own body image?

Most of the time a woman with a head scarf is automatically labeled as a woman who is following Islam, a Muslimah. Hijab is a piece of fabric designed to properly cover as a religious obligation. Yes, it is a piece of fabric, and most of the time very modest one, but it carries more significance. First and foremost, it is a commend of Allah to observe hijab, to dress modestly. Hijab is much more than a cover for the hair. It is a sign of obedience to God All-Wise. It is a whole attitude of a person and there is a lot of wisdom behind it.

From a very young age our precious daughters are taught to be modest in the way they dress and the way they behave. As they become young ladies we teach them not to be loud, to be gentle, to lower their gaze, to dress modestly, to keep adornments for inside the home and not to display them publicly. We teach them how to be beautiful ladies, but more importantly how to use their intellect, how to be creative, confident, proactive and independent thinkers. We, as parents strive to give them the best education possible, because that in turn carries onto generations to come. They, as future wives will be strong support for their husbands, and as future mothers, will educate their children.  

They are not being taught that beautifying themselves will raise their status in society or be the source of their happiness. On the contrary, they are being taught that the real beauty of a person comes from the inside. The beauty of the heart is the lasting, true beauty. It is not the pretty face or gorgeous hair, it is all in the heart. They are learning how to be good Muslims and by that they are becoming obedient children to their parents, good friends and mindful citizens. Concentrating on building their character diverts their focus from the secondary issues such as body image, many women struggle with.

In Islam God All-Mighty orders all believing women to cover their body, including the head as we read in the Quraan:

"And say to the believing women that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts and do not display their ornaments except what appears thereof, and let them wear their head-coverings over their bosoms, and not display their ornaments except to (...) Qur'an (24:31) 

As Muslim women we opt for wearing hijab because of our beliefs, teachings of our religion to be modest and to preserve our dignity. Contrary to many accusations that hijab is forced upon us by our husbands, (which by the way would not be such a bad idea in some cases) we find that piece of clothing as liberating, and can not see ourselves without it. 

All cultures and religions have their specific dress codes. All people follow some sort of guidelines, be it fashion or faith. We are all free to choose what we believe is better for us, and since Muslims believe in teachings of Islam and take it seriously, hence choose to follow the Islamic dress code.  

Below is a link to a post on NPR we find very interesting, on how covering with hijab may aid woman's body image, supported by studies. We hope you will enjoy the read and will leave us a comment below on how you feel about hijab.

MGiL (Muslim Girl in Love) for HijabiTopia  

No comments:

Post a Comment