Beauty Atop Our Heads

Bismi Allah

Some people argue against the hijab's purpose in steering away the gazes of unrelated men. "What is a piece of cloth on one's head going to to do minimize men's attraction? If anything, it makes the beauty of the face all the more visible." Perhaps, but you're kidding yourself if you think that hair doesn't contribute to a person's beauty.

I never thought much of this type of thinking toward hijab, but I do recall being puzzled as to why young girls, my classmates in high school, would bring their hair brushes to school as an essential backpack item alongside their pens and notebooks. How bad could their hair possibly become in the event of a typical school day that would require a quick brushing in between classes? It boggled my mind, and in fact disgusted me because their loose hair would cover the ground and serve as a potential mess that could attach itself to the static molecules at the bottom of my jilbaab.

Nevertheless, I realized that if their hair wasn't in perfect order, their appearance would be diminished that much more. Aha! So it is a necessity to carry a hair brush. After all, what would they possibly do if a popular boy happened to pass by and there was a strand of hair out of place. Ah, what an ugly thought!

Today as I read an e-mail in my hotmail account, my eyes took note of a pesky advertisement that decorated the right side of the page. It was listing "Singles of the Week." Imagine my surprise when I read, "f, 25, blonde" - "f, 24, brunette" - "m, 31, bald." Three essential pieces of information when trying to find a romantic partner: age, gender, and hair colour. Hair colour! What an absurdity... truly.

For the record, to observe hijab is not only to cover one's hair but to cover the entire body in loose-fitting clothing. I like to think of hijab as the manifestation of an internal characteristic called hayaa (loosely translated as shyness or bashfulness). Muslim women wear hijab only because it is a command of our Lord. There are infinite benefits to it namely that it makes one modest, protects one from crude looks from some men, it is a source of self respect, and it is a symbol of faith. In the life of a Muslim, one's faith, one's iman, is incomparable to anything in this world. Without it, we are nothing.

The superficiality of the society that we live in is overwhelming. It makes a mockery of things of true worth such as having a sense of depth in one's character. It directs society's interests to a path of emptiness, to a dead end, bearing no fruits or tastes for the finer things of life. The soul will never be satisfied on this road of plastered beauty.

Beauty is deeper than what society dictates. If we but think.... If we but think. True beauty emanates from those who nurture their souls. Shaykh Hamza Yusuf once mentioned that he noticed that a lot of women in the West don't age gracefully like the women in the East. He said you could actually see the nur, the light, in the faces of the elder women in the East. These are women who have guarded their modesty in their youth and are thus able to adorn themselves with nur in their old age. SubhanAllah.

May that same nur fill our lands. May our women's beauty go beyond what the eyes see. May the light of our hearts show on our faces, our actions, and throughout our lives. May we live up to the worth for which we have been created. May we have beauty with You, Ya Rabb. Ameen.

"This hijab, this mark of piety, is an act of faith, a symbol, for all the world to see, a simple cloth to preserve her dignity. So lift the veil from your heart and seek the heart of purity. Lift the veil from your heart and seek the heart of purity. Lift the veil from your heart and see the heart of purity."
- Dawud W. Ali

Update: 2006-10-26

Excellent article: How I Came to Love the Veil by Yvonne Ridley

6 comments:

Faraz said...

Assalamu'alaykum,
One need only watch TV for a few minutes to realize how valuable hijab is: every second commercial is about some new cream or shampoo or formula for women to "restore/increase their beauty" or something. Basically, female viewers are perpetually being told that you're not beautiful enough, you need to throw all these chemicals on your face to make you look better, younger, more desirable to men.

SubhanAllah.. just a couple of days ago, there was a woman behind me in line at the airport. She was literally crying because security confiscated her makeup (no liquids/creams allowed). I'll probably write an entry about that sometime.

On that comment by Shaikh Hamza.. my paternal grandmother, who was living with us until she passed away a few years ago, had such a glow in her face subhanAllah. She was in her eighties when she passed away, but truly aged far more gracefully than any of the old ladies I see on the bus or elsewhere. Truly, she was decorated by nur.

Faraz said...

Assalamu'alaykum,

Re-reading my comment, I should probably clarify that first sentence... of course, we know how valuable hijab is because it is an Order of Allah and an instruction of the Prophet Salallahu'alayhi wa salam.

Farzeen said...

Wa 'alaykum assalaam wa rahmatu Allah

That's true about TV messages.. I wonder if these same messages tell men that their women aren't beautiful enough.. "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

Thanks for sharing that about your grandmother. I'm glad to hear that you were able to witness that nur on her :). SubhanAllah.. may Allah have mercy on her and all the deceased Muslims, ameen.

Faraz said...

Ameen to your du'a.

In the case of my grandmother, she definitely knew a few months in advance exactly when Allah would call her back. She started living with us again just before Ramadhan (she was living with my uncle in Toronto before) and spent long hours in tahajjud every night. Then, the day after Eid, she passed away peacefully in a Montreal hospital. It happened to be during Christmas time as well, and her janaazah was held on a Friday right after Jumah; I had never seen the masjid more full, since it was both the holiday season and Jum'ah time. I've heard that a large janaazah is a very good sign, alhamdolillah.

Shireen said...

salaam

So true farz..and only you can put it so straight up! .. It was truly disgusting when their hair got stuck on our jilbabs..disgusting i tell you!!

On comment on funeral Br.Faraz mentioned, if my memory serves me right (no a pharse you can see me saying but anyway..) I think it's if 500 people attend a janazah salaat then the deceased will be granted enterance into Jannah (please don't quote me on it, though i am puuuuretty sure) :) Insha'Allah....if I'm wrong forgive me..farz maybe you can look into it for me ;)

Farzeen said...

Assalaamu'alaykum

Faraz, masha'Allah, that's really good to hear. Insha'Allah there were many angels present there as well.

Shireen, I was actually hoping to find out more about what is said when there are many who attend a person's funeral, but I haven't had much 'luck' with it yet.

"Do you think that you will enter the Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity and were so shaken in spirit that even the Apostle and those of faith who were with him cried: 'When (will come) the help of God?' Ah! Verily the help of God is (always) near!" [2:214]

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"Be mindful of God, and God will protect you. Be mindful of God, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of God. If you seek help, seek help of God. Know that if the whole world were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that God had already prescribed for you. And if the whole world were to gather together to harm you, it would harm you only with something that God has already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the ink has dried."
--Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him]