Every woman has her own reasons for wearing whatever she chooses to wear, whether those reasons are dictated by her love of fashion, religion, or her friends. I wear hijab because I believe it is required of me by Allah. Some people may disagree with this, but I also believe in covering fashionably. I won’t wear dresses that resemble potato sacks and I refuse to commit myself to one color when there are so many beautiful colors for us to enjoy. I believe in the possibility of achieving a balance between modesty and fashion, without compromising either one.
On my recent quest for ideas, I came across an old copy of Muslim Girl magazine. I was so excited that I never even bothered to flip through it before I bought it (or else I would have realized that the issue was over a year old and still being sold on the stands). I feel the need to make a disclaimer before I continue: I am not the hijab police. You will never see me shaking my finger at a woman for not wearing hijab, because her decision not to do so is between her and Allah. I can only concern myself with the people inside my household. I am not out to “save all of mankind from the pits of hell”. Back to the topic. When I opened the year-old issue of Muslim Girl magazine, I couldn’t hide my disappointment. I didn’t see many pages at all that I could relate to as a Muslim woman. In fact, there weren’t many pages that looked any different from an issue of Marie Clare, or InStyle. The women pictured in hijab were reserved for the last few pages, and the clothing they wore resembled what I see non Muslim women at work wearing. Again, I am not judging the Muslimah who chooses skinny jeans over an abaya. That’s her business. But one of my gripes is that a publication which assumes its audience will be primarily Muslim women has certain standards to uphold. Instead of highlighting women without hijab who happens to be donning the latest in thigh high boots, why not offer some suggestions on how to care for hair underneath hijab? Or ways to stay cool in the summer without forsaking modesty? I would have loved to see some suggestions that actually applied to me as a Muslim woman, but this one lacked sorely in that arena.
The hijab and its wearers are already shown more than their fair share of disdain by people who happen not to be Muslim. You can imagine how discouraging it was to come across a magazine that was supposed to be for me, but at the same time made me feel like I “wasn’t with the times” because I chose to wear hijab. I have come to the conclusion that there is no middle ground when it comes to fashion in Islam (at least as far as magazines are concerned). You either have to be all the way to the right, or all the way to the left. Those of us who happen to fall somewhere in between are on our own.