A Letter to the Culture that Raised Me


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]



Disclaimer
The opinions expressed herein, through this post or comments, contain positions and viewpoints that are not necessarily those of IslamiCity. These are offered as a means for IslamiCity to stimulate dialogue and discussion in our continuing mission of being an educational organization. The IslamiCity site may occasionally contain copyrighted material the use of which may not always have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. IslamiCity is making such material available in its effort to advance understanding of humanitarian, education, democracy, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, and such (and all) material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml If you wish to use any copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

  112 Comments   Comment

  1. meera from abu dhabi

    amazing areticle!i would advice all da people to read this article and to think about their life!! and i should agree with her and CONGRATULATIONS!!!! im so glad that she has written this article!!

  2. abdulhakeem olaniyi thompson from nigeria

    with article like this fear of allah swt can be injected into minds across the globe thanks.i am passionat about this site

  3. Shaker from Yemen

    Congratulations for this article that reflects the honor and dignity that have been given to Muslim women. Their veil is her meaning of existence and they have to be proud of this Great religion which reserve her dignity for the Hereafter.

    Baraka Allah lki

  4. Obaid from USA

    Excellent article. It makes me proud to hear sisters who think so eloquently about Hijab and its purpose. Well written.

  5. Izzat Jahan from Pakistan

    What a beautiful article. I have always debated the significance of Hijab. This article has so eloquently explained what it feels to be a muslima who practices taking Hijab.

  6. fahad from kuwait

    MashAllah,

    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

    salaam

  7. Farah from Pakistan

    Mashallah...its an article that gives you courage of being obedient to Allah...and it gives you the courage and makes you strong in adhering to what u suppose to do,,,good work!

  8. hadiza from nigeria

    this is one of the most beautiful things i've read on hijab. i was so moved i had tears in my eyes. i only wish every sister would read and appreciate the truth in the message

  9. Sumaya from USA

    This article is one of the most powerful positive statements about hijab that I have read. I agree with many of the author's statements.

    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.

  10. Fahim from Pakistan/Lahore

    This is the spirit that is required for every woman and a mother to bring up social reform from within a home "the unit of a society". This will also mitigate the myth that this is a man's world. I believe man and woman both are the custodians of Gods' world. Both are equally responsible for what is going good or bad. The lesson I have learnt from " A Letter to the Culture that Raised Me" is the selfaccountability on the scales defined by God and communicated to us by Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

    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.

    Allah Hafiz

  11. Najwah from USA

    Wearing your head covering is obedience to Allah. We don't get to choose what we will follow and what we won't without penality. I have no idea what penalty there is for not complying, but I am not willing to risk it. I do know, you can tell what team someone is on by the uniform they wear. It is just as simple as that. Everyone in the world can tell a muslim woman when they see one. I 've never read anywhere that women cannot wear make-up. We are still women after all. We don't stop being women because we wear the hijab. Allah tells us what to do. That is the bottom line. If you don't want to be muslim, then be something else. Just because the Christian and Jewish women want to disrobe, what does that have to do with us? But then we are told in the Hadith, we will follow the jews and the christians in their every footstep. This is evident here. Please sisters, hold fast to the rope of Allah with your molar teeth. The way some people talk about answering to Allah is scary. They think it a simple thing. I am sure it is not. Allah said, you thought it was a thing small and of asurety it was a tremendous thing. So let those who want to do part of the religion and leave off what they don't want to Allah. We will all have to stand before Him. Just make sure you said something about it when it was mentioned to have your slate clear on this and any other situation. As for the brothers, that is something they will have to deal with and stand for as well. I'm not going to be under the boot of any man. My Lord is Allah. But I will do what I need to do to win the Pleasure of Allah. I suggest, those who call themselves muslim to do the same thing. It's just my opinion.

  12. anbrin from india

    iam totally for it. this is a true picture of a muslim women,unlike the concept forwarded by some that women in islam are subjugated and restricted to their viels. its unfortunate that most women don't understand their own importance.

    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

  13. Airah Shaheena Gee Bee from Muslim Mindanao, Philippines

    Masha Allah, Allahu Akbar!

    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!

    Wasalaam.

  14. Diana from USA

    I really enjoyed reading this article. It reminded me of what I am grateful for. Sometimes I feel like I don't want to wear my Hijab and abaya's I feel that I would be free. This article was a reminder that I am truly free when I leave my house with my Hijab and Abaya on, at worked i'm respected with my knowledge and not looks.

  15. S TYLER from USA

    ALLAHU AKBAR. MORE WOMEN SHOULD FEEL THIS WAY AND NOT BE ASHAMED TO EXPRESS IT. I APPLAUD YOUR EFFORTS IN THIS ARTICLE.

  16. Fatima Altaf from Pakistan

    Mashaallah! Your article clearly speaks the truth about this so-called women liberation movement, and the fact that its actual aim is to enslave women to tha whims of men. And more importantly, it gives confidence to the muslim woman who is trying to cover herself in today's scenario, which is no doubt very difficult. Jazakillahu khair.

  17. AmericanMuslimah from USA

    Masha'Allah wa Allahu Akbar! I thought the article was very nice, masha'Allah and well put together. Despite what some DEVIANT/WEAK muslimahs may have to say, the khimar or head scarf is obligatory! The same One who made fasting, paying zakat, praying 5 times a day, and making Hajj obligatory made covering properly OBLIGATORY! Islam is not about picking and choosing. Only the Hypocrites and sinners pick and choose. Don't let the comments of IGNORANT and WEAK muslims disturb you.

    As salaam alaikum!

  18. Michelle from USA

    I grew up here in the United States as a non-Muslim and am well aware of the pressures out there to look a certain way and act a certain way. There are so many young ladies out there lost, who are not aware of God's way and the fact that it is the character inside that really counts. They have become slaves to this public image, are losing their self respect, are developing diseases like anorexia, bolemia, committing suicide, etc. Society's response is that it is their own fault when society put them on this track in the first place by bombarding us all with these media images. So when the next 14 year old girl dies from one of these diseases, is it her fault or do we share responsibility for not living up to our Deen and setting the right example. In no way can we judge a book by its cover - of course it is actions and intentions that really count, but we Muslims are aware of the importance of modesty (and many other religious people are as well). We understand in the words of God that we have a responsiblity to be modest and must set an example for others. We need to be leaders and not followers in this society which is not guided by any religion. Because we are guided by the right religion, we owe it to all young ladies Muslim and non-Muslim to live like it in all ways.

  19. Saba Taimoori from New Zealand

    Askm sis, first of all, MashahAllah u have done the right thing.Nomatter wat people say, its you who is to be questioned. So go ahead Allah is with you

  20. Muslim Mother of 3 from U.S.A.

    Scarfs are not the only thing that will get a woman into Jannat. It will be our 5 pillars. Yes, it is important for a woman not dress in tight or revealing clothing, but it is more important for that woman to pray 5 times a day, keep her fasts, perform Hajj, pay Zakat, and to perform Jihad when necessary. THOSE are the most important things that will be judged first. Also,there are so many women/girls who wear headscarfs and then they gossip and also pray one or two times a day, and also date, and also eat haram. We put too much focus on the headscarf and make our religion more difficult than it really is.

  21. Binyamin Villaran from Mexico

    What a marvelously articulate way of explaining the motives behind the veil! A true education for all non-Muslims that can be applied even in our society. Those were the values of our parents times and they are indeed timeless....

  22. Garba S from Nigeria

    Barakal Allahu fik, sister Yasmin may Allah strengthened our faith and multiply the likes of you in this Ummah

  23. Yasmin from INDIA

    Beautiful. Outward beauty is but skin deep, it is inner beauty which can be our salvation.

  24. Fatima from Germany

    Esselamualeykum.I am so proud to have a sister like you. it is very difficult in our time and in a nonmuslim country to protect and practice the Islam free without any problems, because devil does not sleeps.

    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.

    vesselam

  25. maddy from NYC

    Yes there are certain aspects of western culture that promote certain ideals for women but you have a choice of whether to conform to those norms.

    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.

  26. Zeinab from USA

    Mashallah!! Mabruuk Sister Yasmin!!

    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!!

  27. Amatallah from USA

    Excellent! I will print this for my teen and pre-teen daughters to read. The authors bio shows them that they can and will be successful if they place faith in Allah and not worry about the latest fashions and trends. They are not for the uplift of any woman! Thank You sister Yasmin!

  28. Yusuf from USA

    I agree with Seema who states that we are all responsible for our actions. One can be covered from head to toe and still be a bad person....we must focus on being a better person and take responsibility for our actions....controlling negative urges that lead to negative events count as good deeds. We all have choices!

  29. emina from austria

    Its just that everyone comes to the conclusion that the islam is the only truth in this whole world.And i do totally agree with this opinion from that letter

    selam-aleikum sisters and brothers emina

  30. muhammad abdullah from nigeria

    may Allah give us the wisdom to think and act as muslims and also contribute immensely just like sis yasmin.Allah's way is surely the only way.

  31. musa, murtala mohammed from Nigeria

    May Allah give our entire muslim ummah the wisdom to believe and understand the faith, Allah (swta) is always willing to assist whoever comes to HIM with open heart, May ALLAH blessed all those who believe and live according to the will of ALLAH, please can you give me the sister's e-mail address.

    Ma'salam

    Murtala

  32. S.A.R. Adil from India

    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.

  33. S.A.R. Adil from Bangalore, India

    Very profound and well written. It is important to condition the mindset of our young women in such a way that they are able to see and feel contentment and satisfaction is indeed possible in being Islamic attired. Being able to achieve and yet be able to stand out as a woman of virtue can be a great substitute for the superficial high of modern attire and revealing clothes.

    S.A.R. Adil

  34. Kassim Khamara from Sweden

    Yes Sister Yasmin, you are great and I hope that your message would be read by both Muslims and Non-muslims worldwide.

  35. Naz from Malaysia

    Sister Yasmin,

    What a great way to frame the Muslim position on hijab. And I loved your the conclusion to your piece. Congratulations!

  36. Robert from USA

    Very inspiring article. Sisters, recognize the gift of beauty bestowed upon you by ALLAH. Remember, it is he who we all must return. Obey his laws and he will continue to encourage sisters such as the writer to write such inspiring articles.

  37. umar abdullahi from nigeria

    Modern world branded women as models,miss this or that,beauty this or that only to promote promiscuity.

  38. Mominah Nadia from Pakistan

    Very beautifully written. Very inspiring, indeed. I hope Allah swt will guide us all to the path of righteousness. Ameen.

  39. Junaid from India

    Ma'shallah, a very simple, easily understandable article,

    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.

  40. Weaam AL-Attaya from United Arab Emirates

    I beleive that this is a wonderful article truly beautiful and very expressive

  41. Student_Doctor from Chicago, IL USA

    Assalaamu alaikum,

    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.

  42. Mohamed Ahmed from US

    Masha'Allah Sister, may Allah Sub'Hana Wata'allah Give you all the strength and Bless you In everything you do. This article has made me cry, to see what you have said about Muslim woman. I Pray to Allah(SW) to give us more muslim women like you. i will print this article with your permission and distribute copies to every muslim young woman. Mash'Allah, Jazaaki Allah Kheir.

  43. Ayesha (formerly Kris) from US

    JazakAllah sister this is a good article. I am unsure of why so many sisters need to feel so threatened by sisters who choose to wear Hijab and display their faith. Seema even if you choose not wear hijab that is your choice but please don't hate sisters who make the choice to wear it. It is a beautiful article and as an American revert I agree with it strongly.

  44. Sulaiman S. Abubakar from Nigeria

    Assalam alaikum Sisters Seema and Garnets, how logical is it that you judge Islam with what a muslim did wrongly? it will be unjust on your part to say we muslims are backward coz we lay emphasis on the Hijab, it is a divine instruction so we need to follow it. The islamic dress worn by a woman does not prevent her from doing all that she's allowed to within the limits. I pray Allah assists us to understand the deen and practice it according to the sunnah.

  45. Bethany from USA

    You are awesome and brave. But you are still a model........a role-model. I pray that someday I too will have the strength to put my faith in front of my fear.

  46. Mohamed Ghabour from USA

    I applaud the uplifting spirit in your article( or may I say articles). Did I read one of your articles here before, I think abour Daawa? Would you believe that men in USA are actually being inspired and are drawing from the strength the women who covered their hair or kept it covered after september 2001. In absence of universal Muslim leaders, Islam's greatness, including women's, is coming back with the individual efforts of people like yourself.

  47. Ahmad from UK

    Excellent word from a true Mogaheda alhamdolillah. Learn more about Hijab and the Hijab campaing at http://www.prohijab.net.

    Allah is Most Merciful to have given the power of writing and such inspiring words to the sister. Allahu Akbar!

  48. Mohammed Abdul Malik -- Web Developer Saudi Aramco from India

    Mashallah, The article is an Eye-opener to the Carp(s) who Criticize ISLAMIC value of Hijaab.

    I appriciate sis "Yasmin Mogahed" and may Allah accept her Service and Devotion to Allah ...Ameen

  49. Varnaud Shamsideen from USA

    Alhamdu li-llah!!! May Allah bless you, my sister!

  50. Natasha from usa

    To all those that are criticizing and complaining: if you don't like the hijab, that's your decision...go ahead and deny one of Allah and His Messenger's direct commands (told to us in the Qur'an and made even clearer through authentic ahadith).

    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

  51. Heather from US

    El HamduAllah for liberation from many forms of bondage. Islam affords dignity to all people - especially women. May Allah protect and guide all of us.

  52. Anwar from united states

    I believe it is a beautiful article and pray that more sisters uphold similar values. Truely, All Praise is due to only Allah, and not man.

  53. Sahar from USA

    Mashallah sister!!!! May Allah reward you for articulating that which we veiled sisters know to be true!!!

  54. zulfiqar from india

    islam updated till doomsday, this is a beautiful views abt islam.

  55. Imran A from usa

    To me the modesty of a woman is more important. I do support modesty. Hijab (Hya) in the eyes is more worthy. Only Allah is a judge. There are several things that Muslims should work for betterment of women, for example, education.

  56. Syed from Canada

    Well written article, thanks sis yasmin.

    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.

  57. yaquba abubakar kurba from nigeria

    that is how our muslim sisters should be thinking as muslims.islam has already liberated them.they should fear Allah not bow down to the ideology of western form of liberation which is mere slavery.

  58. Seema

    It is not specifically written in the Quran to cover your head. It is written to cover your bosom. I believe the point of that ayah is modesty. The fact there is so much intense focus on head covering in islam nowadays has trivialized other very important issues. I think you should quit focusing on my head and start focusing on something more important-like yourself since you'll be answering for yourself on the day of judgement. and this society has done nothing to you that you haven't done to yourself, so quit blaming society for your shortcomings people.

  59. Salim Chishti from USA

    bismillahir rahmanir raheem, masha'allah sister! And thank you Jazak'allah khayr for your comments. I will be able to show them to other sisters to support them in their hard times.

    Imam Salim

  60. Imran A from USA

    I agree with Seema. Look like Muslim are just stuck in this hijab and veil issue and can not move forward.

    And Garnet made some good point, too.

  61. Sabah from USA

    mashallah... beautiful article... enough said...

  62. clement khan from usa

    Dear Yasmin,

    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!

    Clement

  63. Lisa from USA

    Yasmin, very well written and well spoken. More young girls need to read this type of article. Perhaps then, they will feel good about themselves based upon who they are, not for what society says they should be.

  64. Fatima Awad from usa

    I believe that a woman is one of Allah's most beautiful creations and so therefore like a beautiful pearl, she should be prevented from being tarnished by outside forces by staying in her shell. This preserves her human dignity and keeps her duties and rols as a woman in tact. For all those people who say that hijab oppresses women, I would like to ask them where do they get their ideas from? Do they get these ideas about oppression from the present time or do they get their ideas from the time of the first Muslims at the time of the prophet PBUH, when the social status of women was raised. This was a time in which the principles of Islam were accurately observed and women felt liberated from the bondage of being treated and viewed as a sex slave. when they surrendered to Allah, they got all their power back. One of the ways that they got all their power back was when He ordered them to wear the hijab and they did with every ounce of dignity and pride in them. Do you think that they cared about what non believing men and women like Britney Spears and Michael Jackson thought of them? They were giving dawah to people like this and they were helping to change the filthy society that has returned to haunt us today. The difference between them and us is that we are scared of the kuffar and we have adopted the idea of "IF YOU CAN'T BEAT THEM, JOIN THEM" Why should we join them, when they need Allah's guidance today more that ever before. We would be losers to do that. I know that that's not always easy because we have to first undo the psychological and spiritual damage that our parents did to us because they were extremely confused as a result of all the backwardness they saw back in their homelands whether they be Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, India and any other so called "Muslim" nation that has totally forgotten, abused, perverted, eradicated, the true Islam that existed centuries ago but was wiped out by the ignorant forces of Western

  65. Adam Ibrahim Muhammad from Nigeria

    My Dear Seema, did you tell the Imam you have no husband and he still insisted on not seeing you? If the answer is yes, then the Imam is wrong. And you know, nobody (even the Imam) is above erring in whatever we do.

    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).

    Peace.

  66. Sameena from US/India

    Thanks Seema for telling it like it is. Muslim women like you give me hope for our Islamic society. From one Muslim sister to another: THANK YOU.

  67. Seema from U.S.

    Let me tell, I've grown up in the U.S. and I never felt like a "bad copy of the standard". I'll tell who did make me feel bad about myself: Muslim men. I had never felt second class until one day I moved to a new area and asked to speak to the Imam about becoming a member of the mosque. The man refused to see me saying he'd talk to my husband but not me. Now, what if I didn't have a husband? this was very disturbing to me; that i can feel safe with non-muslim male coworkers, but not my fellow muslim brother? Shame on this mentality. It is not right. I believe this constant talk of women and dress (when did it become the sixth pillar of islam?) is leading us to ignorant ways. No wonder we muslims as a people are so weak; we don't stand up for each other, we have no respect for one another, and we treat each other like crap. It's a total shame.

  68. Fatima from Ireland

    Why are muslims always focusing on women and modesty? I believe this is a great setback to our people as a whole as we have totally ignored the other half who make up the ummah; yes, the men. The men are out of control and we have no one to blame but ourselves; muslim women who have allowed this to happen. No muslim is walking around naked, so drop the issue and move onto the real problems we are facing.

  69. Amina from USA

    I think if you are really modest, you wouldn't be wearing all that make-up manufactured by the "men" you are accusing of making you think you were an "ugly duckling". Growing up in the average american town and having American friends, most girls don't care too much about trying to look like Cosmo covers. This perception by Muslims that all the women in the U.S. strive to be like super models to please men is misinterpreted. Supermodels are for the movies and TV; that is their career. Most of America is average schmos. Unfortunately, this perception that everyone tries to be a supermodel has caused problems in muslim nations and among muslims who aren't comfortable with their identity. It is the muslim girls in the muslim nations who are watching american and european TV who are trying to look like them. The americans here know this is just tv. Now there is a reason the diet business is a billion-dollar industry. It's because americans are too fat and there are serious health concerns for those with obesity here (which is most people, men and women). There is too much food and with cars abdundantly available, not enough exercise. Anyhow, it's not healthy to always think about women's looks as muslims in general are doing now. Perhaps we should be focused on REAL women's issues that are going on in muslim countries today, such as honor killings or female genital mutilitation. Just a thought. Moderation is a term lost among muslims. One day, insha'Allah we'll find it again.

  70. Zardana from America

    Salaam. This article is very enlightning and it has helped me realize the importance of life. It has made me understand how a Muslim woman should be and how important it is to cover our body and be modest. Thank you.

  71. fatimah ricks from usa

    im glad there a sister out there to talk about being a muslim woman and im so glad more of my muslim sisters are standing up for what we believe in and in the way we dress salam fatimah

  72. Shakirat from Canada

    Great article!. I hope people who viewed muslim women as women in bondage realized that we are indeed happy and full of life.

    As for those who are in real bondage of following their lust being object of fashion market, an admonition indeed.

  73. Mehboob alam Jinabade from India

    Yasmin, Assalam, What ever you had said in ur aritcal is fantastic.

    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

    Wassalam

    Mehboob Alam Jinabade

  74. Asim from America

    I believe this article opens the door to all of the questions of real bueaty. Sister Yasmin you go girl.

  75. Mustapha Moutawakkil from Morocco

    The article is an eye-opening for the women who have been "objectivized" -I mean rendered to objects- by men. If only all women could read it! The view of woman not as a human being but as a toy to please man has become a rule rather than an exception in the modern world.That's why we see all this propaganda about woman's emancipation and progress. Only few have been blessed by an understanding of the trick being played on the sisters of men to incite them to reveal their legs and tempting parts of their bodies in streets that are crowded with wolves in human clothes.

    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

  76. Garnets from USA

    Why does the photo accompanying this article show a woman with gobs of makeup on her face? Seems contrary to the point of the article. The author seems extremely worked up over something that is simply not a big deal, and that most women pay no attention to anyway. Why does anyone feel threatened by a Cosmo cover or take it seriously?

    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.

  77. Ralph Witcher from USA

    Sister Yasmin,

    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.

  78. Jabril Alexander from USA

    Al humdulillah! What a wonderful article, it is my intent to share it with others. Sister Yasmin says so much with so few words. This really touches the soul & heart of the matter concerning modesty of dress in Islam, while simultaneously instilling confidence in young sisters and recent reverts to our Deen. I have seen where Sisters who revert to Islam experience difficulty in explaining to their families and peers, why they wear Hijab & loose fitting clothing; Insha'Allah this article will assist them in being able to properly discuss this issues with those who attempt to lead them astray in this area.

    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.

    Ma'Salaam

    Jabril

  79. jaimel from US

    if only this country would truly live by what it said its design was drafted for they would accept islam as the perfected way of life in which allah almighty has decreed. islam threatens the dar-ul-kuff and its theology of fitna. because islam would exstinguish the wanton and mailce of this place. i say personaly that if the women get right the men will fallow and society will be the ideal dreamland somany hope for.

  80. Paola from argentina

    Wonderful article. People all over the world (men and women), should take this view and reflect about it. the women have lost evrything in western countries. i became muslim and it is really dificult to bear and share things with this society full of disrespect. i m proud of reading this from a muslim sister. wasalam.

  81. j from usa

    Truly overwhelm by the article.It just redefine again our true essences and I hope many more have a chance to read .

  82. Ahmed from USA

    Masha-Allah, what a wonderful article, may Allah pour His blessing upon you sister, your are really a role model, if only many could listen

  83. Durrain from india

    excellent! inexplicable. What a beautifully written article

  84. L. Alahem from USA

    Asalaam Alikum,

    Can you hear a gigantic AMEN!!

  85. aminu isa from nigeria

    alhamdulillah As muslims we need to be constantly reminded of of our basic responsibilities in worshiping ALLAH and this is one that every muslim should ponder on .may ALLAH CONTINUE TO GUIDE US ALL AMIN

  86. Zaira from Australia

    asalam o alaikum

    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

    Ma'Sallam

  87. Maryam from USA

    MashAllah! this is awesome!!! you have really put the words to those who criticize hijab straight. Jazakallah khairan, may Allah continue to guide us to the straight path. Amin

  88. Sister Aishah Ali from US

    I'm so PLEASED with this article,and to the sister that wrote this may ALLAH continue to bless you. I wish I could publish this on billboards all over the U.S. for all to see!!

    May ALLAH be pleased with this sister.

    KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.

  89. Farouq Abawi from Guam

    Assalamu Alaikum. Thank you sister. May Allah fill this world with women who think like you.

  90. Samakah1 from USA

    A man with a normal undisturbed nature loves that his partner be wholesome, clean, pious and with character. Only weak men with a twisted nature evaluate a woman based on looks only. We need to make more Dawah to make sure that men obey Allah swt this way it will be easier for everyone to live with dignity. I respect you my sister. Written by (hopefully) a man.

  91. Observer from USA

    I respect modesty, and people of many faiths (Amish and Mennonites, some Catholic nuns, Orthodox Jews, as well as strict Muslims) practice it in various ways. Some cover their heads with a veil or hat, some by wearing clothes covering their arms or wearing long skirts. It's possible to dress modestly without covering head to toe in baggy clothes, or peering out from a burquah. That only draws more attention to you in the West, not less.

    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.

  92. Tisha Saccarelli from United States

    Salaam Aleikum. May Allah be pleased with your efforts and your courage to write such a piece. It is my prayer that your writing will be an encouragement for other Muslim women throughout the world who are now giving into the Western concept of beauty. Truly patience and perseverance is beautiful in the sight of Allah and so may we all be blessed for staying true to our faith and our belief in the Creator.

  93. Saeed Khan from USA

    Alhamdullah, this sister expressed herself beautifullly .For the other sisters out there who measure themselves against men, you are using the wrong benchmark.Almighty Allah in his infinite wisdom set the standards.Follow his decree and prosper

    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.

    Brother Saeed.

  94. SRD from USA

    Assalamalaikum.....

    Simple, beautiful, true.....

    May Allah(SWT) bless you and your wisdom

  95. muslimahiman from USA

    Heartfilled! I am a sister who feels this article to the core of my soul. Thank you sister for writing this may Allah (swt) bless you!

  96. Kareemah from USA

    As salaamu alaykum,

    Beautifully written and articulated. I can relate to this article 1000 per cent! I am sure that many other sisters can as well.

    Thank you.

    Wa alaykum us salaam, Kareemah

  97. Fatema K. from USA

    There is only one word to describe an article like this... Subhanallah, and Jazakallah to the sister who wrote it.

  98. nurul hoque from USA

    Mashallah, excellent writing. it is helpful , as well uplifting especialy for our next generation muslim women who suffers a huge 'identity crisis' being raised in a dual cultural conflicts. I would encourage sister to continue her efforts the bringing back the pride being an Woman .

  99. J.R. from USA

    Assalamu Alaikum sister! Thank you for writing this. I recently

    started wearing hijab and your article has given me continuing

    strength, so may Allah (swt) bless you for your efforts. Ameen.

  100. khadijah from usa

    As-salaam-alaikum My Sisters in Islam:

    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.

    Wa-alaikum-asalaam

    Khadijah

  101. Adam Ibrahim Muhammad from Nigeria

    Salamu Alaikum Sister Yasmin,

    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.

    Bissalam.

  102. Sharifah from Singapore

    Sister Yasmin, I'm always eager to read your articles... This one too has made me understand the very nature of a woman - equal to men, yet special that she is bestowed with adornments that should be concealed and allowed to only the man she marries not to all men to see! How beautiful it is, how liberating ! Syabas to you for writing this article and please do continue to write more.

    Salaam and may Allah give you bountiful blessings