Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Beautiful women making the front page of magazines and newspapers splashed with airbrushed models and celebrities. Not to mention, TV and social media platforms buzzing with news of how flawlessly beautiful this celebrity is and how amazingly tanned that celebrity is... Well, this is an everyday happening and people have become obsessed with the beauty standards of this world.
The media have been successful in achieving many things and one of its greatest traps is that it has caused women to succumb to the beauty standards of today. Every young girl who flips through a magazine will find themselves yearning to look as perfect as those airbrushed and photoshopped women and teenage girls in particularly, are willing to go to any length to match up with these beauty standards. This is why we see so many young girls lying in hospital beds as a result of anorexia as they tortured their body into being slim, girls disfiguring their faces to make it look more model-like and in some extreme cases, some women even going to the extent of setting their own beauty standard that is a level ahead. I don't even have to say how disastrous this is and if young girls haven't tried out those, they fall into depression because they can't match the standards the world expects of them.
This is the false facade of all the beauty standards of the media: They take a celebrity or a model, apply tons of makeup on her, erase her 'imperfections' with foundation, give a more alluring lip tone with lipstick, make her eyes look more appealing with layers of eye shadow, make her eyes look rounded and huge with a thick line of eye-liner and fake eyelashes and make her face look slimmer and her cheeks more hollowed with blush and all those other make-up stuff. Then the hair. It's coloured, styled and perfect. Well, you get the picture: they completely erase the imperfections of a woman and paint another 'perfect' reflection of herself through make-up. Then, they do a professional photo-shoot where any further imperfections are erased. And it doesn't end there. Finally, they photoshop that picture, cut off part of the body to make the waist smaller, the hip curvier and the body more toned. Even the hair is volumed up and the cheeks are more hollowed in, the eyes are made to look bigger and the photo undergoes so many enhancing steps where you finally end up with something you totally aren't. After all this, there isn't much left of who you really are.
Why would anyone want to look like someone they know they aren't? Why would they want to erase their identity and their features just so that they reach up to the beauty standards of the world? And where does all this lead to- nothing but self-loathing once you look at yourself with all your make-up removed and you hardly recognize who it is that's staring back at you on the mirror. Women might as well wear a mask when they go out because more or less, this is what make-up does. This is where the beauty standards of this world leads to. A totally different person that you are not and all this just so that people will say you're an attractive women. I mean, where is the self satisfaction? When will these women ever learn to be satisfied with the way they look? And this... is this what the famed 'liberation of women' is about? Being unsatisfied with who you are that you change how you look like? Seriously!
This is where I'm going to talk about the beauty standards of Islam:
"We have certainly created man in the best of stature" - Al Quran 95:4
This is what Islam says. Allah created us in the best form and we are beautiful just the way we are, Alhamdulillah. We don't need make-up or photoshopped pictures of ourselves to know that we're beautiful. Islam teaches us that we are beautiful just the way we are.
In fact, while the beauty standards of the world is that you change yourself to make you look more presentable, Islam forbids us from doing anything that would change the way we look.
“Allaah has cursed the woman who does tattoos and the one who has them done, the woman who plucks eyebrows (al-naamisah) and the one who has it done (al-mutanammisah), and the one who files her teeth for the purpose of beauty, altering the creation of Allaah.”
(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5931; Muslim, 2125)
Allaah tells us that the Shaytaan said:
“ ‘and indeed I will order them to change the nature created by Allaah’” [al-Nisa’ 4:119]
Don't fall into the trap of Shaytan sisters. Today, it is so upsetting to see that makeup has almost become an obligatory part of the Hijab for some sisters. Be proud of how Allah has created you. Allah knows that your skin tone, the shape of your eyebrows, your figure, your hair, your eyes and your entire body is the best for you. Why do you want to change it? Learn to be comfortable in your own skin. In your own self. This is the beauty standard Islam teaches us.
"Allahumma anta hasanta khalqi fahassin khuluqi"
O Allah, you have made my body beautiful, so beautify my character too.
Friday, December 12, 2014
A calamity that brings you closer to Allah is indeed the greatest blessing of all. Allah sends you trials, only to purify you and open up your eyes to the truth. Seek Him and He will guide you to Light
It was the Summer of 2013, and actually during the blessed month of Ramadhan, when I decided to make the beautiful change in my life - Alhamdulillah.
Until around May 2012, I was never practising. I was the usual teenager - doing whatever pleased me, and never really thought about our true purpose here. Life, for me then, was all about friends, and making the 'most' of life. Little did I know, them 'friends' and the things that I did during then, would turn out to be the biggest regret of my life.
Although my father was always one to encourage us to read Salah, cover ourselves, and was big on instilling deen into our lives - it did not really affect us. And honestly admitting, we did not follow Islam, TRULY, from the heart, then.
I wore hijab, then, because my dad expected it. No other reason - May Allah (subhanahu wa ta'aala) forgive me. So when I found any slight opportunity to remove it, I ensured that I did. I never wore it, then, for the sake of Allah.
This was all until, May 2012. Alhamdulillah, that month was the turning point for me.
Sadly, someone I grew up with, passed away from cancer. She was only 19 when she left this dunya and returned to Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala. Her being so young, and also just the shock of the illness she died from - cancer, further overwhelmed me. Until that day, never had I heard of anybody die from an illness like cancer, at such a young age.
(May Allah (subhanahu wa ta'aala) pardon her and grant her the best of Jannah.)
I found myself then thinking, what guarantee do I have that I am not next? If Allah took my soul now, how would I be able to answer Him? Never had I prayed Salah regularly, nor observed hijab properly, and so on. I realized I had so much to answer for. SubhanAllah.
On the very same day she passed away, I remember being seated on the prayer mat, crying my eyes out to the One who created this dunya, to the One who created me. I realized just exactly what I had been ignoring, all this time - the fact that there is no escape from death, regardless of age and place; and that it will most certainly come - no matter what.
I remember reflecting on my past. All the wrong that I had done came pouring into my mind. Astagfirullah. My guilt and fear only increased more. I desperately wanted to undo the past so bad, and kept kicking myself as to why I was the evil person I was.. May Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala forgive all my sins - major and minor.
So from that day, Alhamdulillah, I made a promise that I will never miss my Salah. Everything changed from then. I started to become more attached to the deen and, it actually, became my whole life. Which is how it should be anyway.
Slowly slowly, I started to make small but steady changes in my life, Alhamdulillah. My dress sense eventually changed. I kept thinking to myself, 'if I died right now, in this state, would Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala be pleased with me?' And from thereon, I made the decision to wear the abaya, Alhamdulillah.
As months went by, and my attachment and love for Allah increased, all that mattered to me was Islam. I remember literally looking, walking, talking, sleeping, eating, and always remembering the Most High, the Most Merciful. Coming close to deen was the best thing that ever happened to me.
Anyway, I remember being in a conversation, with a close friend. We were sat discussing the jilbab/abaya, and I think she asked me something like "Would you ever wear the Niqab?"
I remember myself saying, "I've worn the jilbab, that is enough for me. I will never wear the Niqab."
(Note, I said this in a sincere and respectful way, not in a mocking manner.)
And then, a few months down the line - the same friend and myself were, again, having another discussion about the Niqab. I mentioned to her, how it is, now, something that I will definitely wear one day. I never said when - but I just knew that it is something I definitely wanted to do in the future, (if Allah willed.)
Subhanallah, I find it beyond amazing how Allah can place noor into your hearts, and completely change your mind, to doing something you said you would never do. Allahu Akbar. He truly is the Turner of hearts.
As weeks went by, I began thinking more of the Niqab. Also, at that point in my life, I was going through something quite personal and difficult. Through this test, I didn't want my iman to slip. I wanted to it to keep raising. I wanted to do something for the deen, and wanted it to become a means of bringing me closer to Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala.
I then started to ask my best friend about the Niqab, as, she has always worn it from a very young age - Ma sha Allah. I remember her saying people have different opinions about it but nowadays, due to the fitna in society, it has become fardh on us. After hearing that, although I still hadn't made my mind up completely on whether I was going to wear it or not, my heart definitely became more encouraged and opened to the idea - Alhamdulillah.
Significantly, another incident also contributed towards my decision to wear the Niqab, Alhamdulillah. It was, once, when I went into town during Ramadhan 2013. The stares and dirty looks from men angered me. I always felt guilty and wanted to put an end to these stares. I remember going home, and contemplating on the unfortunate fact of how we are sadly, experiencing mass levels of fitna, today.
That, then, made me think about how, if I put the Niqab on, it would In sha Allah stop the dirty looks, and serve as a protection from fitna, In sha Allah.
I also thought about the reward that I would, In sha Allah, get from the Almighty, if I took this step.
I then, also, remember speaking to another friend, who also wears the Niqab Ma sha Allah.
What she said to me, next, was the turning point SubhanAllah:
"The reason you're thinking of wearing the Niqab, is because Allah wants you to wear it. Good thoughts come from Allah."
SubhanAllah, when I read that message, I can't even describe the emotions that overtook me. All I knew was that there was no turning back now. I was now a 100% sure on wearing it.
And there we have it.
31st July 2013 was the day that my Niqab journey began. Alhamdulillah.
I cannot even begin to put into words what the Niqab has done to my life. Since wearing it, I feel further fearless, empowered, and beautiful!
Whilst the ignorant mock and laugh at us, I laugh at them. Why? Because they remain heedless of the beauty and power of the Hijab/Niqab. Only those who wear it truly for the sake of Allah will understand exactly just how it liberates and empowers us women!
For those that see the Niqab as a sign of oppression, in reality, it is YOUR mind that is oppressed. You have cowardly allowed society and media brainwash you.
Whereas, us Muslimahs? We are strong enough to abandon what society, media and people think. We wear the Hijab/Niqab proudly, regardless of what people have to say; and will continue to do so In sha Allah.
You claim that we're weak beings; but how does that even begin to make sense, when WE are the ones in control of what you see, of us? To me, that's total freedom.
Now remind me again - who are the weak and oppressed?
Note: If you would like to share your Hijab or Niqab stories or experiences, send us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org and share your story to inspire Muslimahs all over!