Okay, I think I am going to enjoy writing this post because most of the topics on this week’s episode are topics I can personally relate to. Parenting, hijab (the headscarf) and young girls wearing the headscarf.
This week “coach’s families dealt with the American Muslim dilemma of having your girls wear hijab. Apparently they have had their girls wear hijab since 3rd grade. I whole heartedly support their decision and whole-heartedly disagree with Nina. Let me explain from an Islamic point of view as well as from a Muslim American point of view.
The Islamic Point of view.
It is OBLIGATORY for Muslim women who are in puberty and sane to wear hijab. BUT Nina was right; it’s not in the Quran, just as the Quran does not tell us how to pray. Let me explain. Muslim takes direction on what is obligatory and what is optional in Islam from two sources. The Quran (The holy book) and the Hadith (The sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad). The Quran often only gives Muslims general instructions and the details and clarification comes from the hadith. So sometimes God gave directions in the revelation of a verse of Quran but then pointed the people to learn the details of that direction from the Prophet (peace be upon him) directly. An example of that is the prayer. The Quran commands us to pray 5 times a day and it tells us which direction to pray BUT it does not tell us how to pray. To learn this we had to turn to the actions and saying of the Prophet.
When the verse commanding the prayer was revealed the companions of the Prophet asked the Prophet how they should pray and he responded “pray as you have seen me pray” and he lead them and taught them the manner and details of the prayer. Every professed Muslim will attest to the fact that the Prayer in certain manner is obligatory upon every Muslim, yet the details of the prayer was not revealed in the Quran but rather instructed by the Prophet.
The Hijab hold the same status in Islam. The Clearest verse in the Quran about Hijab states in Chapter 24: Verses 30–31.
And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their khimār over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. (Quran 24:31)
The strongest evidence in the Hadith comes from the story of Asma the sister-in-law of the prophet. “Aisha (the wife of the Prophet) reported that Asmaa, the daughter of Abu Bakr, entered into the presence of the Messenger of Allaah wearing thin transparent clothing, So the Messenger of Allaah turned away from her saying : ‘O’ Asmaa, when a women reaches the age of menstruation, it is not allowed that any of her should be seen except this’ – and he pointed to his face and two hands.” (Sahih, reported from Abu Dawud and Al-Bayhaqee.)
Although there are many different evidence presented for different levels of Hijab, from wearing complete face veil to wearing a jilbab (over garment). The MINIMAL accepted among scholars of Islam is that a Muslim woman must have 3 rules of dress.
- She must cover everything but her face and her hands
- Her clothes must be loose enough that it does not show her shape
- Her clothes must be thick enough that it is not see through
I am not debating the evidence for Jilbab (over garment) or Niqab (Face veil) that is an entirely different type of post and MUCH longer. The above is just the bare minimal a Muslim woman must abide by. That does not mean that a Muslim woman who does not wear hijab is not Muslim. It does mean that a Muslim woman who does not wear hijab is sinning and will answer to her Lord accordingly.
Hijab Growing up Muslim American.
I was born and raised Muslim in America and I started wearing Hijab when I was 7 years old. To be honest I don’t remember not wearing hijab. I have school pictures from kindergarten with Hijab on. It has never really been a challenge for me because it has always been apart of my wardrobe. Just as common as choosing pants or socks my hijab has it’s own drawer in my dresser and a special hanger in my closet. Although I am not as creative as Nawal or Suehalia with Hijab but it almost always matches the outfit.
I also started my daughter wearing hijab when she was young. At 5 I began putting it on her when we went to
the Mosque and Islamic functions. At 7 I began having her wear it when we left the house, but she didn’t have to wear it in when she played in the yard. In addition she couldn’t wear shorts but I did allow short sleeves on a hot day. At 10 I required her to follow all the rules of hijab, including covering everything but her face and her hands and wearing hijab anytime she may be seen by a male who was not blood related to her.
I know that growing up a Muslim female in a country that culturally opposite to nearly every modesty rule we have can be very difficult. That in conjunction with the normal hormones and rebellion that happens to every teenage, I felt waiting until hormones kick in with puberty would be a recipe for disaster. Although it is only Islamicaly required when a girl reaches puberty, that is the worse time for a parent to make an Muslim American girl just start wearing it.
Puberty happens just when social pressure is at its peak and pier acceptance, self-esteem and identity are all on rollercoaster of hormones and emotions.
I feel it’s absolutely essential to allow girls to get use to wearing it before this time. They should already have a pride in wearing hijab and being identified, as a Muslim in addition to having built up the necessary “armor” required to wear it in American society. Even before September 11 people stared and pointed. Now it’s even more negative attention to being so apparently identified as a Muslim. As a Muslim women you have to develop a since of self worth and independence in mind and thought to constantly counter not just the “regular” I don’t have to be a certain way to be accepted, but also a firm “it’s okay to be who I am, believe what I believe, and act and dress accordingly”.
This attitude and confidence as a Muslim American Woman is not developed overnight. It is taught by example. It is taught by understanding the religion and the practical reasons behind the rules and legislation in Islam.
We can’t make our kids follow something on the “because I said so” parenting philosophy. I encourage my kids to look at current events, social and political problems then we talk about how Islam prevents or solves those problems through practical application of its laws and legislations. They see on their own why Islam is the truth and why we are Muslim.
As a family we have gone to Sabbath dinner at our Jewish colleagues house, Award ceremonies at a church and interfaith dialogs. And we have discussions about what we experience after. I always use each opportunity to discuss the differences as well as similarities between Muslims and other faiths, or Muslims and those who profess no faith. My family have broken fast with the Iftar meal and prayed in synagogue as well as in the Sunday classroom of a church. And I am proud that they have been allowed experiences I was not as a child.
I grew up very sheltered from all other religions, learning only about them through TV shows and lessons at the Mosque. To some Muslims all Jews were the enemy and all Christians were going to hell. My mother didn’t take the steps I have as a parent to have my interact with other faiths but she did talk to me a lot about the common thread and brotherhood among Muslims, Christians and Jews and even enjoyed a spirited debate with the Jehovah Witness that would stop by and invited in for tea and cake. I remember her saying “I’ll take your brochure if you’ll take mine”. She would exchange brochures and actually sit down and read it, then get the Quran or Hadith to see what Islam said on the same topic.
Okay that’s a bit off topic…but you get the point. So Episode 5 gave me a lot to talk about. And even though there is still much about the show that irritates me at times it has given me good topics to blog about and share my opinion.