the skinny jean rant

As I travel along this journey called Islam my heart is becoming hard; I am becoming cold. Ten years ago I was beaming with light and my heart was wide open, yet somehow throughout the years I have become disillusioned and tired. This is not due to the tenants of my faith, nor does my broken heart lay in any one line of the Beautiful Book. No. It is from the hypocritical, self-righteous and shame mongering individuals in our communities. I am talking about judgement and backstabbing. I am talking about skinny jeans. You know what I am talking about. That girl who doesn’t wear hijab properly, if even at all; is it your duty to tell her? Why do we feel the need to tell her? Do you think she doesn’t know?  
There are many reasons for people’s appearance, and it is not for anyone but God to judge. Yes, we do have guidelines that are very clear but unless the individual is doing it with pure intentions it is meaningless and void. Islam, beautiful Islam, is a religion based on community, however, it is also based on something else: our personal relationship with our Lord. Each of us has a chance in this life to engage in a beautiful relationship with God, yet I find that it often times becomes congested and clogged with the interference of those who “love us” or who are “just looking out for you.” It really concerns me that most people assume someone is a good Muslimah based solely on hijab/niqab and abaya. Why are we so concerned with condiments and toppings? Where is the meat? Where is the substance? Why do we assume so much? We don’t want Westerners and non-Muslims to judge us, yet we believe it’s okay to harshly judge one another. Did you know that the Muslimah working in that restaurant was physically threatened? And that girl who is wearing hijab with a t-shirt just decided to come closer to her faith last week?  Who are we to belittle and attack concerning that which we truly don’t know? 
Now please, don’t get me wrong. I realise that we believe in reminding one another and encouraging each other to reach our full potential. It’s just that the way we are going about it is all wrong. Anas (RA) said, “I served Rasulullah (SAW) for ten years. During that time, he never once said to me as much as ‘Oof’ if I did something wrong. He never asked me, if I had failed to do something, ‘Why did you not do it?,’ and he never said to me, if I had done something wrong, ‘Why did you do it?” (Al-Bukhari) Abdullah ibn Muhammad ibn Munazil (RA), of the early Muslims, said, “The believer seeks excuses for their brethren, while the hypocrite seeks out the faults of their brethren.” [Sulami, Adab al-Suhba] These two hadith are among many that champion against an unhealthy concern with others. This problem is so pervasive that I often wonder about the intention of the wardens of our beautiful religion.  
I am truly sorry if this post rubs you the wrong way, but it’s true and somebody had to say it. It may as well have been me. We are supposed to embody the scriptures and live in peace and love with everyone. In my experience anyone who has welcomed me with open arms has always had a much stronger effect on my heart then someone who is attacking me because I am wearing pants in the masjid. A negative approach is wrong and hurtful and it simply doesn’t work. Let’s be friends and grow together.
 
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About sabr33n

Debra Schubert is pursuing a bachelor of Social Work at the University of Regina, where she is also a research assistant in the Department of Religious Studies. She is a blogger and focuses primarily on social justice issues from an Islamic perspective. She is an activist in her community and dedicates much of her time to community engagement activities. She is a Muslim convert from a Jewish and Roman Catholic upbringing. She is one of the founding members of the “Federation for Canadian Muslim Social Services” that was established in 2014 and currently sits as secretary on the executive board. She is a member of the Islamic Association of Saskatchewan’s social committee and also serves on the programming and youth organizing committees for NAIN 2015. View all posts by sabr33n

26 responses to “the skinny jean rant

  • karimah bint dawoud

    Maashallah! well done and well, said, please know there are lots of other sisters who think like you have been along the similar journey and face the same C**P from some of these sisters, there is a trend normally those who follow wanna be salafis who are the word when it comes to this

  • Muslim Sistah

    MashaAllah, SO well written, this was going to be the next topic for my own blog!! 🙂 I am sick of tired of Muslims judging other Muslims based on what they are wearing…it’s superficial and truly none of their business. Even with the image above, I really disagree with “scales” such as that, since some girls take it literally to mean “oh, I wear the abaya, therefore I must be the BEST Muslim possible”. We need to place less emphasis on judging girls for not covering dead protein cells (aka their hair) and instead help them build up their inner moral and character.

  • Miss Direkshun

    I don’t get is sis, some people don’t know, my own in laws in their thirties and fourties weren’t clear on the verses of hijab and the obligations and for a time thought we were going ott in wearing abayah etc. The thing that made my sis in law at age of 40 or so start covering was a conversation with a sister in a Drs surgery who asked her why she didn’t. My sis in law had been married for 25 years, had 6 kids, all her girls wore hijab but she didn’t.

    I also agree that everyone is on a journey, we never know how far they have already come. But how can we support and encourage them without asking questions and discussing things with them.

    and yes hijab is not just an outer garment it is an inner thing as well.

    and how does judging other people with comments like “wannabe salafis” help your cause to tell others not to judge?

    Hamdun al-Qassar, one of the great early Muslims, said, “If a friend among your friends errs, make seventy excuses for them. If your hearts are unable to do this, then know that the shortcoming is in your own selves.” [Imam Bayhaqi, Shu`ab al-Iman,7.522]]

    that doesn’t mean let others make excuses for skinny jean hijabis, but you dont have to for “wannabe salafis!” or people who you perceive to judge you! Instead of judging them back and saying they “assume someone is a good Muslimah based solely on hijab/niqab and abaya” and they are “harshly judging” why not make 70 excuses for them as well?

    and to be honest part of wearing jilbaab is to be recognised “O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (jilbaabs) all over their bodies That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) ”

    In Islam we are taught to judge by what is apparent as we can’t see in to anyone’s hearts.

    Abu Sa’eed Al Khidree narrated:
    “A man came to Muhammad (saw), with squinted eyes, with large jaws, with a big forehead and a huge beard, a completely shaven head, with a very high izaar, and he shouted at the Prophet (saw) “Fear Allah!” and he (saw) replied: “dare you, am I not the most god fearing man? Allah trusts me from the seventh heaven, and you do not trust me?” Khalid bin Waleed was there at that time, he said “shouldn’t I strike his neck?” he (saw) said, “No, because he prays.” Khalid said: “how many pray on their tongue, what is not in their heart?” the Prophet (saw) said: “Allah did not order me to open their chest to judge on what is in the heart. ” [Muslim]

    Abu Izz Al Hanafi said:
    “We have been ordered to judge by the apparent, and Allah forbade us to doubt people, and to follow what we do not have knowledge, (Allah (swt) said: ) “O Believers, avoid the doubt … [49: 12] & [isra: 36]” [Aqeedah Tahaqiyyah]

    Anyway sisters, check this out http://muslimahdirections.wordpress.com/muslimah-matter-circles/172-2/

    • sabr33n

      Salam alaikum Miss Direkshun,
      yes I agree with you. However, I never said not to start a dialogue. I am saying that it must be done in a way that isn’t belittling or judging. Looking down on others isn’t the way to pull them close to you or Islam. Open hearts is what will bring us all together. My whole article is about not judging others, and it isn’t in my nature to do so.
      When I said “assume someone is a good Muslimah based solely on hijab/niqab and abaya” I am not insinuating that we should judge anyone. I am simply stating that wearing a hijab doesn’t make you a good Muslim. It is a part of Islam but not the end all and be all of Islam. It is important to look at the big picture. What is better? A hijabi that isn’t praying or a praying non hijabi? We need to get our priorities in order. I am not lumping every hijabi together and saying anything. We all sin and it isn’t for anyone to judge. The question here is, why do we take someone more seriously just because they are wearing a scarf? Does that make them a knowledgeable person?
      Please, always remember the saying “It isn’t what you said, it’s how you said it.” That is the point of this article.

      • Miss Direkshun

        We take them more seriously because Islam tells us to judge by what is apparent. There are numerous hadiths about it, and scholarly rulings. If someone is wearing correct Islamic dress then it is apparent that islam is important to them, and they want to be immediately recognised as a Muslimah. If someone is not wearing Islamic dress we cannot look in to their heart or in to their homes and see if they pray. So we judge by what is apparent.

        Apart from that, yes maybe people need to have more hikmah when giving naseehah, but we can make 70 excuses and say;
        1)They don’t realise they are coming across belittling
        2)their intention is not to judge
        3)they care about our akhirah

        and so on. The same way you are saying make excuses for those not wearing correct hijab, lets make excuses for those who are not going about giving naseehah in the correct manner.

      • sabr33n

        I agree to make excuses for them. However, I feel it is necessary to bring this issue to the table because it’s something that the other side never get’s to say. And this article doesn’t even have to be about hijab specifically, it can be about any naseeha. It can be about the snide and judgemental remarks that people make to one another every day and it’s ok. But it isn’t. Hijab is a beautiful thing but it’s time that someone let them know. Sometimes we open our mouths and hurt people deeply without even thinking.

      • Miss Direkshun

        that’s true sis

        we should remember the manner of our Prophet sallalahu allayhi wa salaam.

  • shallen

    mashallah, Finally someone said it! we should all be patient with each other and help each other to climb in eman.. not criticize or belittle them. we all sli8p in eman and last thing we need is for some sister to approch us when we are down asn say “haram ‘ on u. Why not pray for our sisters when we slip !! Instead of confronting them. do u really think they didnt realise that taking hijab off wasnt a great idea.. do u honestly think they are NOT suffering enough.. lets be more supportive of each other !!! love u sis.. great article cant wait to hear more from u.

  • Asiyah

    I lovvvve it when someone voices my sentiments = )

  • M. R. R.

    The command to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil is a duty upon every Muslim. While I agree that there are some who like to shout out others faults to the world, there are also people who give gentle reminders in private. These two groups ought not to be lumped together.
    I see the first hadeeth of the first paragraph and raise you this: Consider the role of the Prophet (PBUH) as a messenger whose message was a warning to the people. As a “living Quran,” if you will, He most certainly did forbid what was evil. Muslims are also allowed to do so, either by action of hand, by spoken word, or by private thought.

  • nd

    MRR, can you elaborate what you mean by “action of hand”? I don’t find it convincing to compare the knowledge of the Prophet, peace be upon him and his progeny, and the knowledge of you or me. When we come across people who interpret the Quran differently than we interpret the Quran, we shouldn’t let our nafs stop us from admiring the diversity in Allah’s creation for in each others’ interpretations we may learn more about our Creator.

  • Love Islam

    The real point is, no matter what you wear, your final judgment comes from Allah. The picture “rating scale” is in my opinion, created by a person — that has nothing to do with Allah’s rating scale. And there are definately much more beautiful ways to be mirrors to each other as sister in Islam. Recall Imam An-Nawawi’s Hadith #4 – “I swear by Allah, other than Whom there is no God, certainly one of you will definately perform the deeds of the People of Paradise until there is not between him and Paradise excep an arm’s length and then what has been recorded for him will over take him and he shall perform the deeds of the people of Hell and enter it. And certainly, one of you will definitely perform the acts of the people of Hell until there is not between him and Hell except an arm’s length and then what has been recorded for him will over take him and he shall perform the deeds of the people of Paradise and enter it”. Check out any commentary regarding this hadith, but summarizing Jamaladin Zarabozo, a person will be judged according to his belief and actions at the time of his death. It means that every Muslim must be on guard at all times to make sure he does not stray from the path. He must alway pursue those avenues that will strengthen his faith, revive it and keep it strong. And he must always stay away from avenues that weaken and damage his faith as he does not know what they may lead him to and may end up in dying in a wretched state. Negativity only breeds more negativity. Our deen is beautiful, we need to beautify our actions, not just for ourselves, but for those around us – Muslim and non-Muslim alike

  • Abyan

    LOVED IT, the awareness the bold to the point constructive criticism. Everyone talks about but nobody really address the issue. Good job Debra ❤

  • desert maniac

    Hello Sabreen,

    I “used to be” one of those people who try to subtly tell others that what they’re doing is wrong. My motive was because I truly thought god would hold me accountable for not conveying his message when I could based on the hadeeth (if one of you saw a wrongdoing, change it with your hand, tongue or deny it in your heart, and that is the weakest of eman). Coming from Saudi Arabia, we are taught that an important duty upon us all is to perform
    أمر بالمعروف والنهي عن المنكر
    or “the call for virtue and forbidding the evil”. Establishing this policing attitude guarantees that everyone conforms for fear of consequences such as shunning, being stigmatized, keeping the unity.
    It is one verse in the quran that has taken a whole life of it’s own and became a strong elements in shaping an entire society. (i’m sure you’ve heard of Saudi’s religious police? 🙂

    upon coming to North America, this has slowly changed, as did many other things in my understanding of Islam and the world. I now understand the other point of view. I know many Muslimahs (converts and born-muslim) who go through the same issue (and more)..

    speaking of appearances, I think we people are quick to judge appearances because it is the only tangible thing we can truly see for ourselves from first glance (as opposed to knowing if a backbiter, evil, lier, etc, which only days can reveal).

    Everyday I put the muslim dress, i think of the image that I carry, and everyday I feel it is getting heavier because of the expectations that come with this appearance, I used to struggle with whether to express a certain opinion just because i am trapped in that pious image, now, i just say it anyway just for the heck of it, i guess the shock of breaking the stereotype amuses me 🙂

    anyway, i’m rambling here, so just stay strong, and know that you are not alone in being one against a society. 🙂

    m.

  • anonymously speaking

    salam , first of all i would like to say inshALLAH we are all guided to the right path, and become closer and closer to ALLAH every day.
    judging people is wrong but advising your muslim bothers and sisters of what is right is not wrong (and you stated that above) but i would like to respond to a few of the passages in your write-up

    so to respond to this part of the rant —->> “That girl who doesn’t wear hijab properly, if even at all; is it your duty to tell her? Why do we feel the need to tell her? Do you think she doesn’t know?”

    in this passage your admitting that the hijab isn’t worn properly by some ppl, if you know its not proper, why do it ? why is one turning a blind eye towards what is right ( and is clearly apparent to us ) ?

    also this part —> “Each of us has a chance in this life to engage in a beautiful relationship with God, yet I find that it often times becomes congested and clogged with the interference of those who “love us” or who are “just looking out for you.” ”

    response to that: The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Each of you is the mirror of his brother, so if he sees a fault in him he should wipe it away from him.” [Tirmidhi]

    its our duty as true believers to help out one another and always advise one another about whats best for us , so try not to think of it as “congested” .

    so basically what im trying to say here is, what might come off as “judgement” is really just advice from a caring muslim brother or sister , there’s an arabic saying that goes : “the one that remains silent about what is right, is equivalent to a silent devil”. i’m not trying to insult you in any way , but honestly i just really want to emphasize the importance of brotherhood in islam.

    salams
    and keep on smiling (it’s a sadaqah ) 🙂

    • sabr33n

      Wa alaikum salam “anonymously”
      1. Ameen
      2. It isn’t for me to judge what is right or wrong. We have all been mandated to practice hijab, however, it is my belief that although it is mandatory it is also a personal decision and something sacred between you and God. I never said not to discuss it. However, we need to make sure that the way we approach one another on these topics is in a way that is respectful and not embarrassing. There are ways of approaching things. You can’t just pounce. Before I put on the hijab women that I don’t even know would tell me I have to wear it. I had only been a Muslim for 2 months. This is too much. I had more important things to instill into my heart than the hijab. I think that we can learn a big lesson from the way in which alcohol was slowly banned from Islam. God didn’t immediately forbid it. No, rather it was slowly removed. As this was happening the hearts of the sahaba were being filled with noor and eman. So much so that when it was finally forbidden there were rivers of alcohol flowing through the streets and when the revelation came there are reports of sahaba spitting alcohol out. This is how we should be, we should be filled with so much love for Allah (AZJ) and the Prophet (SWS) that we would be willing to do anything to please Him (Allah). And it doesn’t start with hijab. You don’t need to wear hijab to be called a Muslim. But the only thing that truly defines a Muslim and separates him or her from disbelief is the prayer. I personally believe that we need to get back to the basics and focus on getting ourselves up to par.
      3. I can never deny a hadith of the Prophet (SWS) and I am in no way cherry picking here. The point isn’t to correct. The point is if you feel the need to correct, you do it lovingly and that you check your intentions before doing so. Sometimes we just open our mouths and say whatever, but this is wrong. We need to truly evaluate why you need to approach the topic. and again “it isn’t what you said, it’s how you said it” That’s what counts.
      Thank you

  • anonymously speaking

    salam

    i agree with approaching someone kindly when you want to advice them , and that slow and steady will always win the race. but what i don’t quite agree with is this comment ” … it doesn’t start with hijab. You don’t need to wear hijab to be called a Muslim. But the only thing that truly defines a Muslim and separates him or her from disbelief is the prayer. ”

    sister, a big part of being a well-practicing muslimah is properly wearing hijab. we can’t just say “oh just because I’m wearing it improperly doesn’t mean I’m not muslim,” no that doesn’t give us an excuse to abandon proper hijab and alter it to the way we would like it to be .

    the thing i don’t get, is why hijab is so confusing for many, why does this all have to happen , hijab and its guidelines are really simple and make total sense. personally i always wore the headscarf and “covered” my body, however i just embraced the true ettiquettes of properly covering my full body ( no jeans or body revealing clothes items allowed ) and alhamdulILLAH i actually feel sooo much happier and truly hijabi then ever before. and inshALLAH all the muslim women embrace the proper etiquettes of covering up sooner than later 🙂

    im not here to argue, i’m here to share the knowledge I’ve embraced and also share with you my own experience of becoming “properly covered”. inshALLAH all goes well with you & may ALLAH lead us all on to the right path .

    salams 🙂

  • rababe

    Salamo alaikom oukhti fi Lah,
    If we were to describe islam in one word, then this word should be hayaa. Uncovering in public means a lack of hayaa. We all know the inner discussion we are having when we show off our beauty in public, and that is not pure. Islam is about purity and purifying yourself, Everyday. It’s never over even when you wear hijab, or abaya, or etc.

  • zainab

    Aselema, Between Allah and the individual. Thats it. To concern oneself with what another thinks or to feel hurt as another feels they must voice an opionion; is a waste of faith and energy. Always one will find someone to ‘point out’ anothers faults; dress as immaculate as you wish and it shall be something other; the way you pray; the way you glance…it appears to be human nature to find fault in others. Perhaps instead of worrying what another says or thinks; one could work on our own human nature of fault finding and make sure we are without judgment to any other human being. That may take a life time of ‘work’ but does not turn ones heart cold … it turns ones heart to Allah and to the acceptance of human nature and offers freedom from worry of what another may or may not say or do. Its not ours to worry about.
    zainab (fellow convert)

  • Unknow Truth

    You to have say truth and truth hurts:

  • Zainab John

    Interesting read. I do think that we harshly judge each other, but I also think that we each have a responsibility as an individual and as a community to remind each other about the requirements of hijab. Not just our women but also our brothers. For me, that is part of what sisterhood and brotherhood means. I am often ashamed when I see hijabis showing cleavage or wearing clothes so thin that I can see their under garments or brothers walking around topless especially when they are muscular -shoeing off a six pack or wearing their pants off their hips.

    For me, I consider myself to not only be representing myself as a Muslim woman, but I think of myself as representing Islam and other Muslim women and educating Non-Muslims about hijab as well by how I observe my own hijab. So I take personal responsibility for how I observe hijab in my family, my social circles and within the community.

    I have my challenges with hijab, especially when I was younger and first decided to dress in hijab. So I am tolerant when it comes to the subject of hijab and understanding of the challenges we all face, so I am not quick to judge.

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