In recent decades the community I come from has shifted its focus in several aspects. I am being conservative by only referring to my community, when truthfully these shifts have been in lieu with the evolving global environment. We cannot argue that there has been a serious lack of values and an overwhelming sense of superficiality dominating many aspects of life. As a reaction to this development, religious communities, which are supposedly the dispensers and enforces of such values, become all the more coercive and uncompromising in enforcing their respective laws. These laws are seen as barriers between them and the corruption of the outside world. There was suddenly so much emphasis on building a unique, Islamic image that would give its followers a sense of security. Of course, after much branding and marketing, this successfully gave birth to an ‘Islamic’ pseudo-culture, much based on long-accepted traditions and superficial understanding.
Little did these enforcers know that they have become exactly like their worldly nemeses. They are just as superficial, arrogant, hypocritical but most importantly, judgmental of the people around them, and each other. But of course, all that is merely my opinion.
So now everything ‘Islamic’ has a theme, so to speak. Suddenly, a certain way of speaking is more Islamic than any other mode of talk, for instance. Akhi, Ukhti, you must speak with correctly transliterated Arabic words even though you haven’t a clue about Arabic grammar because it is the language of the Al-Qur’aan and of Jannah. Also, it makes you look a lot smarter than you really are. Suddenly, the Arab way of dress is deemed more ‘Islamic’, because any other clothing is deemed an imitation of the infidels – thus I surmise from here that anything non-Arab is virtually cursed to Hell. But let’s not forget that the Arab culture was once Paganist, and even now still belong to several other ancient faiths.
Now, still on the topic of dress, it would be unwise to say that only women who dress a certain way are ‘religiously approved’ (for lack of a better term). But sadly it has long been so, and from experience, it is believed a woman can be chaste and well-mannered, but all that will go to waste if she didn’t wear the Hijab. Again, the chauvinistic misconception of socially acceptable Muslims (as mentioned in the earlier article) is at play. I’d hardly think God would be so petty to throw her to hell just for that, you know.
That said, I think the headscarf has been overly glorified for the wrong reasons. Not only are the various scholarly opinions related about this unknown at large, the judicial instruments and developments herewith are totally ignored. For some reason or other context has lost its relevance almost entirely in the formation of customs, which is pure insanity. There isn’t a problem with donning it, of course. The problem is the way we see the individuals who don’t.
I’ve had numerous Muslim friends (converts or otherwise) who did not grow up accustomed to wearing it and to my knowledge now suffer under the judgmental eyes of the local Muslim community. This undertaking was to prove a point. I know I don’t need society’s approval to be modest. I don’t need to be part of a shallow community that validates me by what I wear.
And these are my rants.