Friday, June 18, 2010

So what's that thing on your head?

Muslim dress has been extensively discussed and debated over. From experience I can say that religion is not difficult, nor has God wanted it to be so. The Prophet said, "Religion (Islam) is very easy and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way. So you should not be extremists, but try to be near perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded; and gain strength by offering the prayers in the mornings, afternoons and during the last hour of the night."

Modesty is a big part of the Muslim faith. It isn’t just a reference to our clothing, but it also refers to how one should act. The topic of hijab has already been blogged about here on Symphonic-Discord. But we really haven’t gone into the proper overall attire for women AND men. Today I want to address a few issues regarding what Muslim women and men are supposed to wear, or not wear. There are different opinions from different scholars regarding the matter. As per all religions, there is a wide spectrum of religiousness and, depending on where your level of faith is, you’ll have a different opinion. So the best way to go is to post up quotations from the Qur’an, the Muslim Holy book, as well as some quotations from our Beloved Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, as he was sent as an example for us to follow. You can’t go wrong with that.

I did state that modesty includes action as well, but it’ll make for a really long blog post, so I’ll do a part two on the other parts of modesty in the near future, inshaAllah.


Not every man has the right to look at us. Since the dawn of time women have been used as sex objects, used, and then casually tossed aside. We have been viewed and treated as property. We have been passed from man to man as a temporary pleasure. Women in Islam are on a higher pedestal than men. We are honored. Not every man has a right to look at us. The only men allowed to see you without the headscarf as your father, brothers, sons, nephews, uncles, grandfathers etc, it’s all in the first quote below. And of course your husband. With your husband there is no privacy or barrier.

Here’s an excerpt from somewhere. It's about Muhammad Ali giving his daughter advice about modesty. I think he hit the nail on the head when he's describing the value of a woman and how she shouldn't give herself away like she's not any worth.
“When we arrived, the chauffer escorted my youngest sister, Laila, and me to my father’s suite. As usual, he was hiding behind the door waiting to scare us. And we exchanged as many hugs and kisses as we could possibly give in one day.

“My father then took a good look at us. He sat me down in his lap and said something I will never forget. He looked me straight in the eyes and said: ‘Hana, everything that God made valuable in the world is covered and hard to get to. Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected. Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell. Where do you find gold? Way down and in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You’ve got to work hard to get them.’

“He looked at me again with serious eyes and said, ‘Your body is sacred. You’re far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too.’”

So how and what are we supposed to wear?

The clothing should cover everything but the face and hands and feet. Most women follow this.
The wives of the prophet Muhammad covered their faces and so did many women around the time of the Prophet when Islam was revealed. So some women also cover their faces, as the wives of the Prophet serve as examples as well. But I think the mainstream agrees that covering the face gives you brownie points. Mad props to women who do.

Also, some women wear a Burqa, which is a long robe that loosely covers everything. It's the easiest way to cover oneself and quickest. My mommy wears one. Maybe I will, too, in the future. But, you can still be within the Islamic requirements if you don't wear it.

It shouldn’t be see through. Sheer material is a no-no unless you have something under it to cover your body. Thin clothing that shows off your body shape shouldn’t be worn since, well, it shows off your body, duh.

It should be loose. You can wear clothes but not really wear clothes since you can pretty much size a person up if they’re wearing really tight stuff. So the clothing should not reveal our shape when we’re out in public.

Vanity. Clothing should not be worn with the intention of it being to bring attention to yourself. For example, if you buy something because it’s expensive and you want people to know that it was expensive. It shouldn’t be to get attention.

I suppose makeup falls under this category. Don't layer it on and look like a barbie or something.
Here’s are some quotes giving some idea of how Muslim women should dress.

here are some related quotes to the general post:
The Qur’an says: "And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their private parts from sin and not show of their adornment except only that which is apparent, and draw their headcovers over their necks and bosoms and not reveal their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers, or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women (i.e., their sisters in Islam), or their female slaves whom their right hands possess, or old male servants free of physical desires, or small children who have no sense of women's nakedness. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And turn unto Allah altogether, O you Believers, in order that you may attain success.[An-Nur, 24:31]
O Prophet, Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their outer garments about themselves (when they go out). That is better so that they may be recognised and not molested. And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. [Al-Ahzaab, 33:59]
It was narrated by the companions of the prophet, peace be upon him:
Abu Dawood narrates that `Aishah (RAA) said: "Asmaa' the daughter of Abu Bakr (RAA) came to see the Messenger of Allah (SAAWS) wearing a thin dress; so Allah's Messenger (SAAWS) turned away from her and said: O Asmaa', once a woman reaches the age of menstruation, no part of her body should be seen but this-and he pointed to his face and hands.”
Let me stress here that this is the dress that should be worn OUTSIDE the home.

At home, you don’t have to wear a scarf on your head, you don’t have to be covered head to toe. Women in front of women have to cover from the navel to the knee. But I think that exposing your chest is not okay, except if you’re breastfeeding or something. I mean, you can’t walk around topless in front of other women. Lol eew??


Men have to cover from their navel to the knee. But I mean, they can’t walk around shirtless to show off, nor should they wear clingy shirts or anything if it’s secretly to get people to notice their abs or whatever. Their pants shouldn’t be tight either.

And they can’t wear silk or gold because those are seen as feminine things and men and women shouldn’t imitate each other.

Do you guys have any questions??

Q. So what's that thing on your head?
A. It's called a hijab. You can read more about it here. :)

Q. FU, Don’t you get tired of covering yourself all the time?
A. Hmm, good question. I’d have to say that yes, sometimes I want to dress like a hoochie mama. But I do know why hijab was commanded by God and it’s for our own benefit. What random guy has the right to look at me like a piece of meat? Why should I feel like I have to dress a certain way to get acceptance from guys? Why do I even need their acceptance?

BUT instead of girls’ night out we have a Girls’ night IN. This is where we can wear whatever, get our hurr and makeup done all pretty and glamorous and dance and have a good time. We do not miss the men.

Q. Don’t you get hot in the summer?
A. I did once upon a time. But there are breathable but not transparent clothing out there that has made that much easier. I got used to it.

Q. Where do you buy your clothes from? Most of the clothes in the stores don’t comply with the Islamic dress code.
A. We go to normal stores. We buy normal clothes. We just have to tweak them. For example, I could wear a dress with nice pants or jeans. I cover my arms with a matching cardigan or a long sleeves shirt underneath. I can later use that dress as a girl party dress and glam it up with pretty accessories. I just killed two birds with one stone yayy.

Q. How come some women cover their hair and some don’t? Some women say that covering their hair is not mandatory.
A. As observed in all religions, every person is at a different level of faith. It’s difficult for a woman to start wearing the hijab out of fear of backlash, or whatever personal issues one may have with it. Some people are not ready to wear it yet. There is no compulsion in religion. Not covering doesn’t take one out of the fold of Islam. The passage from the Qur’an specifically states to cover ones head so the argument saying it’s not required is weak.

Q. When do you have to start dressing modestly?
A. At puberty.

Q. Why are your clothes so colorful/accessories so coordinated? Doesn't that defeat the purpose of wearing Hijab and being modest?
A. Well there is no restriction on color. Maybe avoid red but WE DON’T HAVE TO WEAR BLACK. When we’re in public we shouldn’t call attention to ourselves. IN MY OWN PERSONAL OPINION {THAT CAN BE WRONG} I feel like wearing black head to toe might be calling more attention here in America than wearing colors. Imagine: it’s summer. Everyone’s all bright and colorful then in the crowd you see someone in black. All black. Idk. They pop out more to me. To each his own but we don’t have to wear black. As for jewelry, some say adorning oneself outside of the home is not encouraged {I couldn’t find anything about this}, but hey, no one is perfect. Islam didn’t ban us from our culture. Indian clothes are pretty blingy compared to other ethnic dresses but in that crowd I wouldn’t be standing out. We can still wear out cultural dresses so long as it complies with the general guidelines. {There are examples of Indian/Pakistani/Bangali clothing below. They’re pretty similar.}

Q. Do you guys swim? Do you have to cover yourself then, too?
A. Yesss! We swim and we do!! We wear legging and long shirts. That's not safe, I know. When I was younger a lot of the Muslim girls and women in the area would rent out a pool to go swimming once a week. it was fun. No men allowed of course. And we had a female lifeguard. When we get out of the water our clothes are all clingy, which is why most women don't go swimming in public pools or beaches. So the recent popular solution has been the Burqini. Burqa + Binki. HOW COOL IS THAT? See?

Q. Wouldn't the way you described how you dress look all..frumpy?
A. Hmm that's for you to decide. I think we look pretty good. :) Note: these are some of us and our friends. Not all these girls are authors and not all the authors are in these pictures.

If you guys have any other questions, feel free to as us anytime. Just leave it in the comments or email us at :)


PI said...

AHHHH i love the pics, especially the first 3, dang look at that sari! work it girl
mA mA

PI said...

oh and WOW, excellent summary/insight

Constructive Attitude said...


أم الخــلـود said...

Please Make Nation of Muhammad Very strong Put this logo in your blog.

And please help me for make this Campaign Internationality in anther blog of Muslim.

I am from Makkah and I don’t no English very well only Arabic.

Thank you
God bless us

The Link:

Girl On A Journey said...

This post cleared up alotta questions I was intimidated to ask. :)

MaryAnne said...

Wow, very informative! And the burkini (did I spell that right?), wow.

As far as your personal photos, y'all are the most stylish Muslim gals I've ever seen! :-)

Soda and Candy said...

Wow, this was really interesting and informative, thank you!

I absolutely respect a woman who makes her own choice about what to wear. If you choose to wear these things because you believe it is the right thing to do, then more power to you.
I do think it's wrong to judge someone else for what they do or don't wear or which guidelines they do or don't follow, and I absolutely condemn anyone who forces another person into it, or harms another person for refusing to do it. (Naturally I don't think any of the Symphonic Discord ladies would do or condone any such thing)

I like that you mention there are actually guidelines for a man's modesty as well. We must remember that men are just as accountable and responsible for their own actions and behaviors as women are.

Soda and Candy said...


I LOVE traditional Indian & Bangali styles and I would absolutely wear sari or salwar & kameez if I found any shops that sold them here : ) I think you're right about all black standing out more than colorful clothes in the US (unless you're hanging out with graphic designers, we love wearing head to toe black), and anyone who thinks a Muslim girl can't be a stylish woman needs to think again!

Falling Up said...

Girl on a Jounrey: Feel free to ask as many questions as you have about anything. We seriously won't take offense or it won't get awkward or anything. :)

MaryAnne: YEah it's supposed to be lightweight and breatheable and won't ewigh you down in the wate.r I am dying to buy one!

Soda and Candy: I'm glad :) And I agree 100%. NO one has the right to judge anyone for any reason. WE do have our guidelines but just because one doesn't follow them does NOT make them a bad person. We love everyone. <3 DO you mind me asking where you stay? If there are enough people from the Indian Subcontinent around, you might be able to find women who sell them. :)

Soda and Candy said...

I am in the Deep South in the USA. I suppose I could google it or something although I literally have not even seen one lady wearing the type of clothing I'm talking about, so I suspect it's not available in my area. Also - Do you think it would be kind of pretentious for a whitey mcwhiterson like myself to wear someone else's traditional gear though?

Falling Up said...

If you want, I will definitely try to look it up. Indians: there's no escaping them. Seriously we're everywhere. lol.

As for being able to wear the clothing: NOT AT ALL! I don't think it would look weird or inappropriate or anything! But if you were to buy one I think saris suit Caucasian people better. The only reason behind that is that here in India I have everything custom made to my body type, and there aren't many tailors in America who would stitch clothes. Saris allow for variation. :)

Muslim Girl said...

This is a great initiative guys! And I LOVE this:

"Hmm, good question. I’d have to say that yes, sometimes I want to dress like a hoochie mama."


Anastasia said...

Thanks. That was really interesting. And I think you guys look great!

pilgrimchick said...

Thank you for the insight, and I think it is important for people who are not Muslim to understand exactly what modesty means for Muslim women--a sign of empowerment. If you don't mind, I would like to ask a question, though--and I mean absolutely no offense by it--how do you as a Muslim woman feel about the lack of instructions regarding how men are to dress in your faith in comparison to how much is composed about women's dress? I understand that modesty is they keyword for both genders, but there seem to be much more specific rules for women rather than men.

Thank you for sharing.

Youthful Wisdom said...

Men have rulings on clothes just as women do. They must dress modestly and cover as well. However there is less covering for them because traditionally men were usually the one who went out and did work (in the fields, etc) so its easier not to have to cover so much.

But if you think about psychologically men and women view each other extremely differently. Men are inherently visual takes barely anything for them to be turned on. However women take much longer and are not as visual...they're more emotional in terms of attraction.

For a woman's own protection its wise to cover to maintain her dignity because women in society are usually viewed for their bodies and beauty. Women have also been sold for sex. Just look at the media right now and how they use women's bodies to sell things. With that said, there is a sense of modesty and respect with both genders.

If you look at Muslim scholars they usually also cover their hair with a scarf (men) and they wear loose modest clothing as well. Its also important to mention that women's attire in front of women is much more lax. But yea I feel very liberated to know that I'm covering to show a sense of respect and dignity about myself. And for most of civilization covering was a sign of respect...look at nuns, judges, businessmen, etc. All of these respectful and high-esteemed positions are dressed in a very decent and proper manner showing the least amount of skin.

Hope that answers your question! :)

supreem said...

it's funny how i just posted a thing about hijab on my blog on the same day... but totally different :x lol thanks for sharing!

AL said...

i loved this post n the Q&A

Falling Up said...

Thanks YW for answering that :)
Also, when I said I want to be a hoochie mama sometimes I was not implying in any way that people who don't cover themselves as Muslim women do are hoochie. lol.

Simply me said...


yay for this post :)))

and I have a burqini but I still have not had the chance to wear it! buy one and we'll look cool together

Kate said...

Thanks for informing us about this, even though it's certainly not your job. Thank you for teaching tolerance, even though that is also not your job. We have so much to learn and appreciate!