Monday, April 20, 2009

Conversation with my cousin

I went to my cousin's house yesterday for the afternoon. We hung out a bit while our daughters played together outside on the farm and talked about various subjects. Her pregnancy, the kids, my marriage, religious stuff...

We talked about mosque and so I said that when I go, I wear the hijab. It's not that they "force" me to, but that I do it as a sign of respect, and that I don't mind at all to wear hijab when I go there. I explained that I had a friend who came with us to the mosque once and did not wear hijab and the women just saw her as a non-Muslim visitor and were not offended by her showing her hair at the mosque so it's not about "forcing" hijab on people.

She asked if my husband has ever tried to force me to wear it. I said that no, he didn't. Especially seeing as I was not Muslim. If I were, he'd probably encourage me to wear it, but it would be my personal choice. So she made a face and was like, "He's not going to want Nora to wear that thing, will he?!" and I told her that yes, he will encourage her to wear it, but again, it will be her choice.

She didn't really seem to get that it was a woman's choice to wear hijab or not to. That yes, there were instances where a father, or sometimes husband, would force a woman to wear it even if she didn't want to. The case I personally knew of and told her about was close to the way a father doesn't let a teenage daughter go out in a mini-skirt here even if she wishes she could. And she might even go ahead and wear it behind her father's back. She's forced to wear a longer skirt in that way, just like a teenager might be forced to wear hijab by her dad. I told her there were cultures that forced hijab, like in Saudi Arabia, but that Islam didn't. And respecting Islam meant respecting the woman's choice to wear it. It was up to her to follow what is an Islamic requirement.

She gave me an overall look at how she viewed it with this comment: "Basically the hijab covers the woman's hair and everything from anyone except the husband... That's such jealously!"

So I tried to make it clear that it was not the husband forcing the woman to wear it because he was jealous, and I tried to show her the beauty of hijab as well as I could... I told her it was a requirement in Islam because of what it said in the Qur'an, and that it did in fact have many benefits. It was a completely different view than our's that a woman should dress up and look sexy for her husband while keeping her appearance modest for others when we here often hang out in sweats at home with no make-up and then show off the boob crack to go out with strangers. And I tried to show her that a woman does get more respect when she's dressed modestly (without necessarily wearing hijab, but just regular modest clothes for the example) than when she's wearing a mini-skirt with a crack-exposing halter top.

She mostly seemed offended at this point because she shows her crack and wears short skirts. But she defended herself with the fact that she doesn't wear both in the same outfit. Well, it *is* more modest so I'll give her that. She's not "slutty" though overall, she's just not ashamed of her body and likes to go out.

I'm not sure she understood fully. It's hard to until you really open your mind to it, but maybe she is closer to it at least!

7 Comentários:

human about said...

assalamualaikum, can we exchange link ?. thanx. wassalam

Jamaican Hijabi said...

Nice post Sis, I liked how you explained the hijab and modesty to your cousin MashaAllah!, LOL it is so true what you said 'we here often hang out in sweats at home with no make-up and then show off the boob crack to go out with strangers' they have it all upside down, because when the husbands are out they are bombarded with 'sexy' dressed women everywhere and then they come home to a wife in sweats and a t-shirt, no make up and unkempt hair...ok maybe I'm being overly dramatic, but you get the picture :)

Candice said...

That's a great additional point. Not only are we putting the importance on the wrong people, the society as a whole being this way is contributing to more temptation to cheat.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

I personally love dressing more modestly and wearing hijab at times. I wore it when I visited Egypt and Dubai too as well as whenever I go in a mosque. I think it definitely gets you a better reception and a higher level of respect. Remember also that Christian women used to dress more modestly and wear coverings too. P.S. I just started reading your blog and see that you have some very good posts, so I'll defintely be back!

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

It's true that women who wear the hijab (at least here in Egypt) get more respect and are seen as more religious, even though from personal experience many hijabis/niqabis I've met here are not particularly religious/moral. I think, however, that it is problematic to judge women that way: many many Muslim women who choose not to veil are as religious as women who choose to veil. We can't judge how religious someone it according to only that.

Candice said...

Stacy: Thanks for visiting, I hope to see you back!

CLA: It's always better not to judge, that's for sure!

Anisah said...

hiya :) I just love it when they call it "that thing"
I had a lady at work tell me once to take that awful thing off ! with a Texas accent lol

b4 I wore hijab, I did a little try out... I wore jeans and t shirt..etc to a mall one day and Hijab another day.
I realized then right off the difference. you DO get more respect with hijab..and if not men just lok at you like ur what they are shopping for ! like a piece of meat.
So really I would rather be stared at for wearing a hijab..rather than my sex appeal.

good post and good explaining !

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