Growing up, you read me the Ugly Duckling. And for years I believed that was me. For so long you taught me I was nothing more than a bad copy of the standard.
I couldn't run as fast or lift as much. I didn't make the same money and I cried too often. I grew up in a man's world where I didn't belong.
And when I couldn't be him, I wanted only to please him. I put on your make-up and wore your short skirts. I gave my life, my body, my dignity, for the cause of being pretty. I knew that no matter what I did, I was worthy only to the degree that I could please and be beautiful for my master. And so I spent my life on the cover of Cosmo and gave my body for you to sell.
I was a slave, but you taught me I was free. I was your object, but you swore it was success. You taught me that my purpose in life was to be on display, to attract, and be beautiful for men. You had me believe that my body was created to market your cars. And you raised me to think I was an ugly duckling.
But you lied.
Islam tells me, I'm a swan. I'm different-it's meant to be that way. And my body, my soul, was created for something more.
God says in the Quran: 'O mankind, We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another (not that you may despise each other). Verily, the most honored of you in the sight of God is the one who is most righteous" (Quran 49:13).
So I am honored. But it is not by my relationship to men. My value as a woman is not measured by the size of my waist or the number of men who like me. My worth as a human being is measured on a higher scale: a scale of righteousness and piety. And my purpose in life-despite what the fashion magazines say-is something more sublime than just looking good for men.
And so God tells me to cover myself, to hide my beauty and to tell the world that I'm not here to please men with my body; I'm here to please God. God elevates the dignity of a woman's body by commanding that it be respected and covered, shown only to the deserving-only to the man I marry.
So to those who wish to 'liberate' me, I have only one thing to say:
Thanks, but no thanks.
I'm not here to be on display. And my body is not for public consumption. I will not be reduced to an object, or a pair of legs to sell shoes. I'm a soul, a mind, a servant of God. My worth is defined by the beauty of my soul, my heart, my moral character. So, I won't worship your beauty standards, and I don't submit to your fashion sense. My submission is to something higher.
With my veil I put my faith on display-rather than my beauty. My value as a human is defined by my relationship with God, not by my looks. So I cover the irrelevant. And when you look at me, you don't see a body. You view me only for what I am: a servant of my Creator.
So you see, as a Muslim woman, I've been liberated from a silent kind of bondage. I don't answer to the slaves of God on earth. I answer to their king.
Yasmin Mogahed received a B.S. in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is currently a graduate student in Journalism/Mass Communications at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and working as a free lance writer. She can be reached at [email protected]
Baraka Allah lki
One of the few articles which appreciate the female beauty in the right way.If the thinkin of my sister here can effect even one muslim,i believe she has made a difference.
Great work sister
Keep it up
May God show us all the right path
My only objection to hijab is that women should not be forced into it, or punished because a tiny fraction of skin shows. At some point, men have to take responsibility for their own sexuality.
We can promote Islam only by applying Islam to our ownself and exercising its golden commands.
God Bless each and every Muslim and to give them courage to exhibit the true spirit of Islam in themselves.
we as muslims need to get together and educate ourselves with the true values of islam and definitely in doing so we will save ourselves and the society from a number of problems
Alhamdulilah, let us give thanks to Allah S.W.T for giving us strong imaan and lets pray that more women will follow your example.
With our veils, we put our Faith in display!
As salaam alaikum!
I hope you will deepen your religion and I wish that ALLAH makes all your wishes reality and forgive us for our mistakes.
excuse me for my bad english.
Just because a person wears a headscarf does not mean that that person is pious. I have met plenty of people (both muslims and non muslims) who are much more pious and SINCERE to their beliefs than those who wear a headscarf. As a muslim, I don't believe that by covering you head will make you closer to god. What you choose to wear (or not wear) is not an accurate measure of your piety. IT is your actions, the deeds you do in your daily life which carry greater weight.
This article is a teaching tool for the Muslim girls who belieive that they are under oppersion. It gives detailed picture the womer who are slaves to their culture. Pravo Again!!
selam-aleikum sisters and brothers emina
Much heat has been generated in the Imrana case. I think much of it was avoidable but with the media having become so proactive, the Muslim intellingentsia and the Ulemas have to take stock of this new reality. It is time we understand, things will now have to be done differently if we wish to avoid such mud splashing and a more vigorous and renewed call for a Common Civil Code.
The piece below from MYB for your info. I had even fsent this to Milli Gazette and Yogi Sikand for publication.
Regards. S.A.R. Adil
May Allah protect and help the Muslims, but every day we are subject to new challenges. Some regrettably created by ourselves. The latest is a double tragedy, the case of Imraana in Uttar Pradesh in India. I say double because the first tragedy was the rape itself, compounded of course by the fact that the rapist was her own father-in-law. A relationship that Islam makes mahram, someone who is equal to her father and who can never marry the woman ever. To add to that tragedy is the tragedy of the fatwa issued in this case where the Mufti seems to have ignored the spirit of the law and merely applied its word. The fatwa says that since she has had this relationship (of carnal knowledge) with her father-in-law, her marriage to her husband (his son) is invalid and so she can't go back to him.
This fatwa is based on Imaam Abu Haneefa's ruling that when a woman has sex after marriage with her husband she becomes the mother of all his children and so can't marry his son, even though that son may be from a previous marriage. Imaam Abu Haneefa's ruling includes the possibility that the woman (daughter-in-law) and the man (father-in-law) may have an illegal sexual relationship in which case also her marriage to the son will become invalid. Fair enough. But in both these cases the ruling relates to consensual sex where both the daughter-in-law and father-in-law agree to do this reprehensible act.
What a great way to frame the Muslim position on hijab. And I loved your the conclusion to your piece. Congratulations!
Read Sis seema's view - This article too does not mention about convering the head, but, for your explanation- Read the hadith and you will know that prophet muhammed (SAWS) and almost all the prophets adviced (not forced)women not to display their hair (cover the head). In fact it is also sunnah for men to cover their head. Nobody here is blaming the society, read it and it is all about us - we make the society what it is.
Coming back to the article - read it twice, thrice if you like - understand the essence, and put it in to a realistic context, open up your heart and then read. Inshallah you will understand better.
Women, in scientific terms, are more *evolved* physically and mentally - thats how allah has created them. (physcially here does not mean strength, it means they have a more well defined physical development process and mentally means they mature faster, better and can use both - emotional part and the decision making part of their brains at the same time). If she has been considered weak, it is only because of her exploitation by the modern form of pseudofeminism.
Any person, women or men, feel exhilirated when they are respected for their beauty and grace - but this is momentary, age takes away a lot of things. But, if you were respected for righteousness and piety, neither age nor death shall reduce that respect. What goes for women goes for men too.
Read the Quran for practising what it teaches, read the hadith on how to implement/incorporate the teachings - Do not read them to prove/disprove whats being practised in the society.
A person who was raised in this society with different parents who promoted different values and encouraged different ideals cannot be judged by me or by anyone else because there is only one judge. Who knows how much influence society has on people, who knows how much influence comes from our parent. So, with that in mind a person reading this article cannot criticize it or take credit away from the person because they did not live that person's life and doesn't know what he/she had to deal with, that is why Allah is the only judge. This author is a Muslim. We should support her a servant of our Creator and show respect and learn from her courage. SubhanAllah, she is writing an article and is a living example of the beauty of Islam, what are we doing?
As for the hijab comments others mentioned, I suggest you (Seema, Imran A) do some studying before giving a Fatwa about hijab. Hijab (covering everything but the face and hands with modest clothing) is absolutely required and it serves as a visual indication of a person's commitment to their Master, King, Owner of the Day.
Allah is Most Merciful to have given the power of writing and such inspiring words to the sister. Allahu Akbar!
I appriciate sis "Yasmin Mogahed" and may Allah accept her Service and Devotion to Allah ...Ameen
I am happy to be a Muslim woman, there is no shame in wearing "baggy" clothes, being modest and shy and segregating the sexes (up to a certain point)...
Just because one wears hijab doesn't mean one must look unpleasing to the eye...and besides, I happen to think that sisters wearing hijabs with long skirts and blouses/jackets are just as beautiful as those sisters that wear the burqah or the chador or the shalwar qameez.
Personally, my self confidence has gone up so much since I started wearing hijab almost 3 years ago at age 16. Alhamdulillah a thousand times and more!!
I don't have to constantly worry about it I look fatter or uglier than my friend in public or worry about whether my legs are looking alright before I put on that pair of shorts...those days are over Alhamdulillah.
In hijab, I feel special, protected, LOVED even...when I am among my fellow Muslims. So many people (brothers mostly) that I never would have known were Muslim have said salaam randomly in public. A few have stopped traffic just so I could cross a busy street...it's such a great feeling to be a part of the Muslim Ummah.
I cannot lie and say I have never felt degraded by Muslim men but you know what? Those Muslim men that made me feel that way weren't following the Sunnah and I know for a fact that none were educated - Islamically or secularly.
Also, there have been many more times that I have been made to feel the same, if not worse, by NON Muslim men. And it has happened before AND after wearing the hijab.
I advise all those that speak against hijab - research, reconsider, respect..how will you explain yourself when you meet your Creator?
Hijab is obligatory, you cannot deny it, this has been
To the editor, can you please provide information and Islamic legal openion about the rape care (of Imrana) in India. I don't really trust the Deouband School.
And Garnet made some good point, too.
Bravo! May Allah bless you and continue to shower His Blessings and His guidance upon you and your family. Your words are nothing but the truth! If only our people knew what benefits they deny themselves without Islam? Thank you for being you!
Is wearing hijab a sixth pillar of Islam? No. It is an instruction from Allah in the Qur'an as explained by the noble Prophet (SAW). I'm sure you know that we are in addition to sticking to the five pillars of Islam, also obligated to follow the teachings of the Qur'an as taught by the best teacher ever created the Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
As for those who are in real bondage of following their lust being object of fashion market, an admonition indeed.
We as muslim must know the basics of Hijab and then only we can teach to others, this ur artical is very high standard and I feel, you please create the Audio copy of this same in three difference language, Arabic, French and Urdu at least. This will reach to lots of people, who are adict to western world life style.
allah Bless u and most of important part is referance of Quran u have taken that was very perfect.
Please take care and
Inshallah you will get reword on Judegment day
Mehboob Alam Jinabade
May Allah unto Whom all clean hearts are open, all desires known and from Whom nothing is kept secret to protect you from all evils and to illuminate your heart with a light similar to the one that penetrated the hearts of the first people who believed in the prophethood of Sidna Muhammad. Amen
I don't object to grown women who cover themselves up, but it is extremely disturbing to me to see young girls with head scarves and veils and baggy clothing. Young girls should be able to move freely, play sports, and feel sun and fresh air on their skin and hair. Not be hindered by clothing which restricts them and is hot and uncomfortable.
I thank Allah much for your article. America in not the culture of modesty first for its woman. I pray that more American women come to Islam and bring with them their husbands and children. Modest women is the answer to most of our problems here in the USA I believe.
A modest woman has God on her side. She give Gods love to her family,the family passes that love on to the community and so on.
May Allah (SWT) continue to guide Sister Yasmin with such inspirational words & insight. I wouls also like to know why the comment section will not allow me to use my email address of [email protected], this is the same address where I receive the Islamic City newsletter.
Can you hear a gigantic AMEN!!
a very inspiring article! living in a time where scarves & beards are given a look of suspicion but we have to look past all those "trailing stares" & be confident in being muslims & be recognized as muslims.Alhmadulillah
May ALLAH be pleased with this sister.
KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.
Most women dress to please themselves and to impress other women, not men.
If one appreciates beauty, then it seems a shame to hide one's personal beauty. I enjoy making my house and garden beautiful for my family, and I also enjoy wearing modest clothes that are attractive as well. Beautiful things, whether paintings or sculture, buildings, natural landscapes, or people- all reflect the glory of God.
You men also, you better take heed.Do not treat your wives like a piece of property.Respect and honor them according to Allah's injunctions.
Simple, beautiful, true.....
May Allah(SWT) bless you and your wisdom
Beautifully written and articulated. I can relate to this article 1000 per cent! I am sure that many other sisters can as well.
Wa alaykum us salaam, Kareemah
started wearing hijab and your article has given me continuing
strength, so may Allah (swt) bless you for your efforts. Ameen.
Please,allow me to begin by saying,Allahu-Akbar,
Allahu-Akbar,Allahu-Akbar!!!! This article is so eloquently written until it brought joy to my heart reading it. I have teen-age neices and this is what I've been trying to get them to understand. You don't have to be a Muslim to be modest,modesty it an across the broad thing that all women should strive for. It is a God given right to be respected and revered. Sisters we have been endowed with a power much greater than we give ourselves. The power to be strong,intelligent,and the power to shape the way we are precieved. Oh my Allah(swt)sisters let's be the strong and the beautiful,and remember"THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE RULES THE WORLD" Shukran in advance for considering this article and these words.
I hear you and I agree with you 100%.
Islam librated women over 1400 years ago, the West began to enslave them a century ago and we will take back that freedom together soon insha-Allah. How I wish more women will have the courage to come out, like you did and say IT AS IT IS.
Salaam and may Allah give you bountiful blessings