I recently came across this extensive comment by Najah under a Facebook status and after reading it, I knew I had to get her permission to share it. Sadly the lollipop analogy is not dying out anytime soon and in fact, it seems that people are getting more creative with the objects and food they liken Muslim Women to. If you’re someone who doesn’t understand why these analogies are problematic, definitely give this a read!
Can we please, not do this thing of likening a woman’s hijab to food? It really is demeaning and does nothing to depict women’s struggle to observe hijab.It should not even be related.
Hijab is much more than what we wear. It is the response of a woman to Her Lord’s command. It is the obedience of Allah’s words. It much more than sweet, bananas, plates of food, or whatever it is people come up with. Yes, those analogies are easier to comprehend, but by reducing the hijab to those baser things, we devalue it. The hijab covers a woman’s speech, how she moves, and how she relates with people. Yes, it is all essentially in the dress, but it is much more than that, and I believe it would do us a world of good to give the best analogy to it. From what I’ve observed in the hijab journey of most sisters who observe the hijab diligently today, most would tell you about this desire to obey Allah, this strong will to please their Lord, and rarely about how they felt like a plate of food.
It is also wise to note that women love adorning themselves and they love adornments. They also love compliments. So, naturally, when a woman dresses well, she feels good when others notice. This happens even in the gatherings of sisters in hijab. It is a woman thing, and it takes ‘Iman to give that up. And most sisters have done it, but not most would be pleased being likened to a lollipop.
Allah enjoins some things and gives us reason. He forbids others and we may never comprehend His reasons. And some He doesn’t even give reasons for. I personally tell people that if the hijab wasn’t a direct command from Allah, probably, no amount of comparison or scholarly opinion would make me observe it. I love gele and aso oke. Would I ever wear it right now? AudhubiLlah, never. If Allah didn’t command me to wear hijab, I would gladly do so. And that goes for every other way of dressing that I and the society I live in might not think is indecent, but that does not necessarily fulfil the conditions of hijab. For most, it is not about what others think, but more of what they want to or wish to wear.
The summary of all this ‘surutu’ is that, we should compare the hijab with what it’s worth: Loving our Creator, obeying Him because of that, fearing His anger at our disobedience, and hoping to earn Allah’s pleasure as reward. Sisters need to know why the hijab is important, and that in the end, it is basically for them.
I pray Allah makes easy our affairs. I pray He increases us in Ikhlas, ‘Iman and Ihsan. May He guide us aright and make our feet firm on His path.