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Hijab, A Liberating Choice by Nayzak Hijab, A Liberating Choice by Nayzak
Assalaamu alaikum [peace be to you]

I found this article by Hanan Hawary and wanted to share it with you my friends. it's a little long. but I promise, it's good:


What made me want to cover my hair?...

A simple passage from the Qur’an that says:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُل لِّأَزْوَاجِكَ وَبَنَاتِكَ وَنِسَاءِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِن جَلَابِيبِهِنَّ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ أَدْنَىٰ أَن يُعْرَفْنَ فَلَا يُؤْذَيْنَ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا
"O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad); that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft- Forgiving, Most Merciful."

[translation of 33:59]

I kept thinking about the message in this passage. It basically tells women to cover themselves because it is a protection. I think it is very important to note that the passage expresses, “that they should be known”. This is key in understanding the head cover. I started to think about the society I live in (North America) and the way they view women. On the surface it seems that women here have respect, freedom and liberation. I started to look under the surface and truly reflect on my personal experiences and I began to see the objectification of women in this culture. This awakening opened my eyes to many issues. In a world where women are trying to force their bodies into genetic impossibilities, I have found hijab to be the ultimate protection against these irrational expectations. I used to be a modest dresser, missing only the scarf from my outfit, but I was not “known” as a Muslim until I put the scarf on.

People will stop and ask me, “Why do you dress that way?” I take no offense since I also had the same question. Some people will comment that “we live in the United States”, as if this information would “liberate” me from my “oppressive” attire. Still, most people just look, stare or glare making me aware of my “foreign” appearance. I don’t blame people for their ignorance on this matter because the majority of their exposure comes from the western media, which generally depicts the Muslim woman in head cover as “oppressed” and subservient to man. The reality of why women choose to wear hijab is different than these misconceptions and can lead to true liberation and inner peace.

The most obvious form of protection offered from wearing the hijab is from direct male physical advances. The hijab sends a message to people that indecent advances are unwelcome. It is easy to see that a woman in hijab does not draw the same attention as a woman dressed in modern clothes.
Some people think it is no longer necessary to cover, but the message of the Qur’an is eternal. Now, more than ever, women are being attacked and molested. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, “Somewhere in America, a woman is raped every 2 minutes”. In the book, A Natural History of Rape, Randy Thornhill and Craig T. Palmer say that women of reproductive age should “dress with caution” and “the way they dress can put them at risk (for rape).” The hijab helps take the attention away from a woman’s physical form, which could help deter potential attackers.

Some say, “Why should the woman have to carry the burden of deterring men?” and “it’s the men who need to control themselves.” My response is that would be great in an ideal society, but in reality, we know this will never be the case. Knowing this, why shouldn’t we take the initiative to protect ourselves?

Women throughout history have been objectified. “In America, women spend $40 billion on cosmetics each year… and most advertisements use women to sell products” (Lacina, 2002). Today, a woman’s self-worth is almost exclusively centered on her physical form. Things like weight become issues of great anxiety for the majority of young women. In a culture where a woman's value is determined by the attractiveness of her body, her identity becomes closely connected with how she looks. This causes the culture to view women's bodies as objects which, in turn, cause women to see themselves as objects (John Berger, Ways of Seeing, 1984). The barrage of photos in advertising, which contain unnatural, computer enhanced images of models set unattainable standards for women. The Muslim woman is set free from these unrealistic expectations by simply covering her body.

Women in modern society are used in selling everything from cosmetics to cars and in using women this way, they are perceived as objects. Objectification is a form of oppression. In being made objects, women are dehumanized—their intelligence, abilities and feelings are ignored and they are valued solely for their bodies (Kano, 1987). The Muslim woman in hijab leaves no room for objectification and makes it apparent that what is within her is more important than her physical being. I believe that if women could get out of the traps of objectification and stop demeaning their intelligence by exposing more of their bodies, then equality could be achieved. Equal, not because we are “sexy” but because our sexuality is irrelevant. True liberation is achieved when our physical bodies are no longer the focal point and our intelligence becomes our most visible quality.

The most important benefit of hijab for me has been the constant reminder of who I am and what I represent. When I am in public I am always aware of my actions. I realize that my interaction with other people will reinforce and shape their conceptions and misconceptions about Islam. This is very serious to me and it keeps me guarding my behavior. Islam is a beautiful way of life and I must do my best to be a good example (may Allah[God] -Glory be to him- help me in this and help us all). I understand that people will have questions about Islam and I must always be prepared to answer them. Wearing hijab also gives me discipline to seek more knowledge. This may not seem like a “protection” one would think of, but to me it is a fundamental layer of it. Without striving to be a better Muslim what good will the hijab do?



The Hijab: Myths and Misconceptions

:bulletred: Myth: The hijab is the scarf that covers a Muslim woman’s neck and hair.
:bulletgreen: Truth: Hijab refers to modesty in actions and dress including covering the entire body except the face and hands, wearing loose-fitting clothing that does not emphasize the woman’s figure, and is not revealing in any way.

:bulletred: Myth: Women who wear hijab have been forced to do so.
:bulletgreen: Truth: Wearing hijab is a decision for women, one with deep religious meaning.

:bulletred: Myth: Hijab only refers to women.
:bulletgreen: Truth: The Islamic perception of hijab applies to men as well referring to the way in which they conduct themselves.

:bulletred: Myth: Muslim women must wear hijab at all times.
:bulletgreen: Truth: Muslim women must only wear hijab when in public places and in the company of men who are not immediate family (brothers-in-law, cousins, neighbors). Muslim women can wear makeup and uncovered hair in the presence of their family and men who they cannot marry within the Islamic faith (fathers, brothers, sons, grandfathers) or at occasions where only women are present.

:bulletred: Myth: The hijab is a traditional Arab custom.
:bulletgreen: Truth: The practice of modesty and coveting the woman’s hair is mandated by Islam, and is a religious, not a cultural practice. Covering the hair out of modesty is seen in other religions as well - Mary is often depicted with her head covered; nuns take the habit.

you can read the full article here: [link]

I know some people may disagree with whatever good I say about Islam. in fact, nobody forces you to agree. my artworks represent my opinion. nobody forces you to watch and read my work. while you have freedom to express yourself, no total freedom is granted here. in my pages, you have to follow the rules in order to be respected and allowed to express yourself. they are simple. any civilized person won't find it hard to follow them.

plant respect, sow respect. plant love, sow love.
plant hate or insults and you'll fly to my block-list.

my guidelines and rules are to be found in the bottom left of my profile page.
A lot of people in America have miconceptions about the Islam faith. In fact, until recently, I had many misconceptions about the Islam faith.
The media and recent actions by the US military and terrorists both don't help either. So any clarification and information in places where uneducated people live make huge differences.

Firstly, this is my first critique, so bear with me.

Vision is 5 out of 5, if my interpretation is correct. You offer a vision of peace, coexisitance, and education on things some people don't fully understand. I agree with you and that article completly. If vision is just what the art looks like, than I still give it a 5 out of 5. The colors leap out at me, especially the white of the girls hijab (please correct me if I spelt it wrong). But the blue eyes are my favorite part of this. They seem to go through the screen, staring straight at me. But in a good way.

Originality: This basic design, while beautiful, is used fairly often. Many artworks, greeting cards, and other things use the design of someting in a circle of flowers. But there is still quite a bit of originality here.

The technique here is dazzeling. I mentioned the colors before, an they really stand out. I can't express how much I love the colors on this. I almost never color my works, because they look like a child colored it. But however you colored this, you did so expertly.

Impact. While the picture you have here is impact enough, the message you wrote beneath has a much greater, much more important impact. It certainly had an impact on me, and I hope it has an impact on all those who see this.

I will now check out the rest of your gallery. I can't wait to see what else you have here.
What do you think?
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Submitted on
April 11, 2011
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