Sunday, June 3, 2012

Modesty and covering up.

I ain't talking about rest of the world, though over here if  a woman is little  presentable she is consider as a loose character woman. If she is quite a fashionista she is  dub as a whore. It was always  like that tough since last 10 years this thing has increased a lot.  When I was growing up  these things were not  "issue" but now teen gal points me of not wearing typical hijab.

First of all try to understand where I am coming from.We ( Pak gal) live quite a careful life. We take every step after thinking 1000x. Our family honor is associate with us. Our family name is more important. Peeps judge our small, small actions.

And, I ain't writing this for gaining sympathy of wear what you want to wear, I am not liberal either.

I grew up in 90s, and  wear Salwar, Kameez with Dupatta on daily basis. It is not just me, 90 percent wears Salwar Kameez.  Those who beg to differ are in minority and after few tries they come back to Sharwar Kammez.Yes, it is like that. Nothing else works here, like it or not. Check the normal, average streets of Karachi and gimme the fact and figure how many gals here  do  so called immodest dressing.

I started wearing Dupatta in 3rd grade. Now when ever I left home my head  and bosoms are covered with it, and I try my best to keep my gaze down. And FYI, Dupatta is more bigger than any scarf, and our women from up north wear Chader, which is more bigger than Dupatta, however  we  are  still  not hijabi.

Covering up  is compulsory in Islam, Muslim women are covering like that since ages, and no one used to point finger on them. Now it has become some sorta war and controversy  in other part of the world, and trend over here.

Because of this trend  Shalwar, Kameez and Dupatta, which is pretty  enough to cover one gal from head to toe is not hijab. More I  am digging  about this subject, more I feel bad about my self, like I am doing some sorta sin. I seriously don't know since when only scarf and Abaya has become hijab.

 Hijab is an  Arabic word "hijaba," which means to hide from view. And one can be covered by any type of cloth. I strongly believe covering one self is Allah's command and there is nothing to debate about it. It's for our own good, and it safes one from lotta a trouble. But ain't he just commend us to cover up and be modest?

 Al- Qurran says :

"Order the Muslim men to lower down their sights a little and to guard their private parts. This is cleaner for them, undoubtedly, Allah is Aware of their deeds."
"And order the Muslim women to lower down their sights a little and guard their chastity;" Al-Qurran, Surah An-Nur: Ayat 30-31

 This is for men too. My point is there is no specific uniform for a man and woman. You can be modest by wearing anything, by covering  your  hair, ankles, wrists with any type of cloth. I am also not giving any fatwa but I'm  requesting not polarize this world further in to hijabi and non-hijabi. I know so many Hindu, Jew and Christan  people who are equally modest.  Islam is not only about Hijab. The right words, I reckon are covering up and  modesty. No one like immodesty. Whether it's West or East.Islam or any part of the world.

And one more thing:
My hair ain't a sex symbol. My face ain't a sex symbol.
Your mind is dirty. 

Allah knows the best. 


  1. It must be difficult Izdiher.........

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  3. Nobody should be forced to cover up, the same way nobody should be forced to uncover. I agree with you, there are many ways to be modest.I don't belive covering your hair is the "ultimate modesty" .

  4. Dear Izdiher, I think it is good for all women to be modest in their dress but I don't feel that it should be a command or rule to have to cover one's face and hair or their body completely. Yes, you can still wear normal clothes and be modest. Anyway, your hair and face are too beautiful to be hidden away. :)
    xoxoxo ♡

  5. My way of dress has changed over time, the more I read and the more I learn changes how I view my coverings. I started with jeans and long shirts with a scarf, and worked up to an abaya with dupatta. I also know many modest women who wear only pants/tunics/scarves.

    I agree that you can be modest wearing almost anything, scarf and abaya can also be very immodest(very fitted abaya- what is the point if I can still see your booty?). Shalwar kameez by itself can be very modest or very immodest depending on fabric/cut/fit/etc. It depends on the person, not really the clothes.

    But many people agree that an outer covering like a chador or an abaya is a must due to Surah 33 ayah 59-
    "O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allah is Ever OftForgiving, Most Merciful."

  6. hm... This is all very difficult to understand from an outsider's perspective, if only because my chinese parents are much more relaxed about my attire. As long as it's not venturing into trashy and distasteful in comparison with the rest of the Vancouver population, bring on the short shorts.

    I do dislike how our outer appearance matter so much to other people though, especially in the way of honor. For example, at work, I am on my best behavior because I work in the same company as my dad and don't want to make him look bad. With dyed bronde hair (and contemplating a purple streak), people aren't always going to think well of me because I don't look "natural" or "normal". I think it's difficult to find a good balance between expressing my self-originality and conforming with the status quo to avoid stigmatization.

    anyways, fabulous post :)
    mad love,

  7. Very interesting! Change some of the words and your post could apply to the USA.

  8. Back about 150 years ago, even in America something like showing off your ankles was considered as bad as streaking. I was wonder how someone back in the "olden" days would react to something as mild as a public beach if they were hypothetically transported there.

  9. Lovely post my dear! In the Islam we have to cover up by wearing a scarf, etc. For example, we muslimas can consider ourself like a pearl in the ocean. Why, by covering up we are less vulnerable if it comes to zina. But now, thesedays hijab has become a fashionstatement. May Allah forgive us for that.


  10. You know, I never thought about it that way.. "Your mind is dirty!" In other words, If a woman chooses to not cover up completely, it's not necessarily that she's a bad person.. it's just that other's think differently. Their mind is dirty not the woman's. But I think everyone should have the right to dress the way they think is appropriate.. and not be ridiculed to death. If they want to cover up, peace be unto them.. if not, to each their own.

  11. I'm so glad you wrote about this, Izdiher! :) this is a great post! It's even more wonderful to hear the "average" Pakistani girl's perspective on this. When I was in Pakistan (though I'm from the north - Swat!), we didn't have this "hijab" problem either. The dupatta/chadar was always accepted as even more important than the "small" scarf that Arab and other Middle Eastern women as well as Muslim women in the west wear. Frankly, I think it's more important to cover your bosoms and body shape/curves/etc. than it is to cover your hair! Most of the hijabis I know, the ones who point at us Pakistanis for wearing our dupatta/chadar "wrongly" just because it doesn't cover every single strand of hair on our head, are the same ones whose butts and body shape and curves and bosoms are very much accentuated with their "hijab" (which is just a small scarf that covers only their head)... whereas we Pakistanis for the most part don't take covering every single strand of hair as seriously as we do covering the head, however loosely so, and our curves, breasts, etc. I prefer the latter style of hijab :) It's more modest than the ones by the judgmental hijabis who are quick to dismiss us as residents of hellfire in the hereafter.

    Me, personally, I don't care much for this stuff. What's modest to me isn't gonna be modest to someone else, and the Qur'an actually doesn't define what modesty is. As far as the Qur'an goes, you just have to cover your "bosoms"! The rest of the ideas for modesty come from hadiths, most of which were written decades after the Prophet's passing away so he wasn't even there to confirm them, and other ideas of modesty aren't even FROM hadiths: they're from a group of *men* (yes, men :D) from a certain society (Arab) in a certain time period (approximately 7th to 10th centuries) who said "This is hijab, this is not hijab" ... historically, this issue is very deep and problematic AND controversial, since ... well, imagine a group of men deciding what turns them on when they see a woman and then declaring that ALL women (all free women, that is; slave women were never allowed to wear the hijab) cover those body parts :| But what about what turns a woman on when she sees a man? What if a woman is attracted to a man's hair or his neck or his legs or his arms or his chest - but, you see, women weren't included in the circle of the debaters who were issuing these rules and guidelines.

    Unfortunate stuff. And then they dare to wonder why we question these man-made rules 1400 years later :|

  12. I come from a liberal Muslim family from India. Never wore a hijab or anything that is considered as 'modest' in our culture.

    I think you can't force men to be modest. If he is a pervert he will be so if you are wearing a bikini or a salwar. In indian villages when women get raped...they are dressed pretty modest. Apparently covering our bodies doesn't help our minds to wander off.

    And why is it that they have a massive paragraph for women and 2 lines for men saying they should tell us to cover up. "And otder the Muslim women" I'm sorry but i'm slightly offended by that.

  13. hi dear! i hope you had a wonderful weeekend!!! this post is very delicate and very interesting. i guess all i can say is that each of us should have the freedom to choose.. what makes us happy and what makes us feel beautiful. it is really very hard to please everybody and not all can understand some traditions and culture.

    take care. xoxo, Haus of Gala

  14. Can understand! Modesty for sure looks good always:)

  15. Very beautiful and Interesting post Izdiher. Very well say Girl!
    Modesty is key and it's I think what all Religions say. Now Hijab is seen more as a fashionable trend, I see many girls covering their heads and wearing skinny jeans or clothes that show their shapes.
    The other day I watched a movie, called The Source, and one of the woman was saying to her son who wanted her to wear hijab, to cover her hair and face: "Hijab was introduced at the time of the Prophet to differentiate between good women and slaves, so virtuous women could be respected. Before slaves did not wear Hijab, they were considered as easy women. Nowadays they are no more slaves and all women are free and no women should be easy to possess. If a man has desire for a woman, it's Allah's will. But no man should made women slaves or ask them to wear hijab, just to make men irresponsible for their own weaknesses. Lower your gaze, manage your dirty thoughts, close your eyes and don't ask us to hide our faces."

    Stay well dear and stay true to yourself always.xx

  16. Thank you for posting this. This has made me feel better about the decision I had to make a few weeks back.

    Thank you again!

  17. When some man or woman--whether now or thousand years before--tries to force me to do--or not do--something, I rebel. Immediately!

    My mantra in the case of this post is..."LIVE AND LET LIVE". But please do not insist I live as you choose. Along with the Golden Rule ("Treat others as you wish them to treat you", God gave me a FREE WILL. He (GOD!) did NOT say what I must wear. Clothing, among other purposes is to keep me warm in winter's cold, shielded from storms, and yes, dress according to the custom of the country I choose to live. "When in Rome...etc."

    So many Peeps move to another country for it's opportunities, freedoms, and many of God's gifts bestowed thereupon...and they proceed to change the customs, beliefs, dress, schools, language, laws, and this pisses me off.

    If I move to Karachi, I gladly wear what Pak-Peeps think is appropriate, and eat your food, and work during your hours, and suffer quietly the government's misuse of resources such as electricity, water, heat...

    HEY! Is this YOUR blog or MINE, Ifrah? Sorry, I get carried away, enthusiastic, when I am excited about a social option.

    Bottom line for me is: "TO EACH HIS OWN" is the name of an old, but popular song in English world. And is the way I think.

    Ifrah, you have done an amazing work of presenting the opinions of Peeps of half the world. The "Money" agreements/arguments are all TRIVIAL to me, when beside them is placed social thought.

    What ever happened to: "Man shall earn his bread by the sweat of his brow"? (Eskimos have a tough time wrapping that thought around their brains....'sweating'--grin!)

    Hope I do not offend can always hit D E L E T E !!!!!!

  18. Heloo, I'm back LOL!

    "DIRTY" mind? FILTHY mind? Since when is a sexual thought "dirty"...this is completely unheard-of news to me. Sex is number THREE of the strongest attributes of the mind/body of humans.

    #1. LOVE (Of the soul, of the mind. For procreation, of the body also. For adoration and praise, include the Universe, please!

    2. Instinct of survival...the will to live

    3. Sex

    All given gladly to us by God, in His love and Creation--for our use--not abuse. However, when I judge another, it is ME I'm judging.

    There are many others, but these are strongest--you may form a different list. This one is mine. I do not wish to hurt the heart of another--ever. But it does happen, I am human.....

  19. There is a big controversy in the West about what women should wear, and whether the Niqab should be banned. I think it will be banned, its already happening across Europe, but it conflicts with freedom of choice which is very important in the West. No one cares about the abaya though.

    I wish people were more kind than modest to be honest, too many people not helping others. I was out today and this womans heel broke, she had five bags of shopping. Out of hundreds only me and an older man helped her and got her in to a taxi, we both even offered to pay.
    But it looked like her leg was not broken.

    Inshallah she is back to normal.

  20. Interesting post! I choose to cover with hijab - even though my husband didn't approve of it - living in England where I am the only muslim in our village has been hard for me. My husband didn't want me to attract attention by covering but I don't see why I should have to fit in with the rest of the society where I live. I choose to cover and I should be respected to wear what I wish - I don't particularly like the niqab but I understand the need to allow the women to have the choice to wear it. Many think it is the men deciding for their wives to cover but I don't know of anyone personally being forced and I know a few like myself where the husbands have actually preferred their wive not to cover! I know that there are some women who are pressured to wear the hijab by their families but this isn't always the case. How you cover yourself should be a personal choice and do it a way that you are comfortable with - Allah is the judge of what you do - not society or family!

  21. At the end of the day, I think appearances are the least of our worries and our concerns. They do not ultimately represent a person's goodness or lack of. A hijabi or nonhijabi should not be concerned about the way another person is dressed. I think it's best to respect whatever statement a person may be making with the choice of their clothing. It's a shame that there's such a fixation on it.

  22. Its really difficult to change our self the way others want to see us.. But it becomes a habit after following certain rules right from our childhood and soon it also becomes our personality and we start respecting it :) I am none to comment on whats right and whats wrong.. Every religion or country have certain boundaries which are to be followed but most of the time these boundaries hinders the countries progress.. To be frank Pakistani's are so talented in every field but due to the strict boundaries set to them their talent is restricted and they are not able to explore it.. :(

  23. Great article- thank you for sharing your insight of modesty.

  24. Hmmm... I'm not a Muslim and we're never by any means required to wear a hijab (حجاب)to show modesty. But, it would be good to take not that Catholic women, esp. the religious and old women wear veils and also the brides.

    I lived in N. Africa for quite sometime and there I have learned to respect other people's culture and religion. However, I also met ultra-conservatives along the way who covered themselves totally with the burqa.

    From my reflection, I think modesty doesn't lie solely on the clothes we wear but is, instead, deeply seated in one's heart and one's mind. What is it that occupies men/women's hearts most of the time? What do we put in them?

    Again going back to your topic, it would be good to return to the roots of wearing a hijab and its purpose.

  25. Being from the United States, we're preprogrammed to react and say that one is being "oppressed" by being "forced" to wear something like a hijab. So THANK YOU for your very astute explanation! I can certainly understand the traditional cultural pressures, and also your OWN desire to stay pure before God.

    While I love our "freedom" in the States, we are corrupting that to mean that we can do anything we choose without consequence. As a result are careening toward a very God-less, potentially destructive path!

  26. Interesting...Great points from your post, and many of your readers have had some good comments as well. I would add one thing though from my perspective.

    There are of course groups in the West that seek "freedom" for all through a "do whatever you want as long as its what we want" mentality, but while physically in the US and Europe, it sometime just boils down to a security concern. We don't as normal everyday people cover the face, only police swat teams and narcotic teams on the good side, and criminals on the bad side cover the face.

    I know that in the city and area in which I came from, we were very accepting of our Islamic neighbors and whatever they wanted to do in their own house and on their own property was fine, but a covered face was a little disconcerting on the street and forbidden in any shops, schools or businesses. I can't think of a time that a true Muslim would become a criminal in the west, but the criminal element would definitely pick up on it, adapt and imitate it in an effort to get close to people undetected. Can you imagine the damage a group of young criminal men covered by large Abaya and Niquab could do to a shopkeeper who thought it was just a group of school girls?

    Sorry I was little off topic, I realize you're post was about Pakistan and modesty, not the west, just thought I'd throw that out there though.