One of the standard, accepted ideas in the west is the one that says the hijab is required only if you are married or if you are going to the mosque. Other than that most western muslima do not wear one nor do they consider wearing one or not wearing one and act of rebellion. One of the first things I learned was from a Lebanese woman who owned a restaurant in the city. She challenged me to read the Quran and find where it specifically said you must ‘cover’ NO MATTER WHAT!

There are things in the hadiths that outline this but they are not in the Quran. It IS clear about married women and about being in a mosque. People do nit-pick over translations but, by and large, unless you marry or you are in a mosque it is considered acceptable to simply be modestly dressed. That means your knees and elbows are covered. I think the salwaar-kameez is beautiful and forgiving of flaws and that is acceptable to me as is a long sleeved maxi-dress.

There are woman who are not married who wear the hijab as a statement. Often they are singled out for ‘special attention’ in public buildings. I know this because I used to wear one, in the beginning, quite often and I took quite a bit of flack for it. I was searched at a major airport for wearing that, (among other things).

The last time I was in college I used to see girls with exceptionally tight clothes and huge boots wearing a hijab. I was watching a video of a western sister who tosses out all the arguments about ‘you are not a real hijabi if you wear make-up and high heels’ and she chooses to wear one with make-up and high heels and thinks hijabs are cute. (Some of them ARE cute!)

But she is uniquely SINCERE in her desire to be a true muslima so how can we judge her intent? We are not supposed to judge people because each of our journeys is only our own and no one elses. It would be easy to call her out for hypocrisy but then we are all hypocrites to some degree…in the strictest interpretation of Sharia none of us should be here being ‘muharram’ with the opposite gender but we all are being that way and Facebook is huge.

I am not married. If I do not wear a hijab I do not see myself as breaking any law. Like one of my cyber kids said, “Don’t worry aunty you are too old to make anyone sin.”

Actually, when I wear one of those I often feel quite vain because they hide the falling neck and they are awesome for ‘bad hair days’. Are those valid reasons to wear a hijab?

If we all get VERY VERY real with ourselves and the world around us it becomes clear that none of us has the right to say that I am more modest because you cannot see the shape of my body when I leave the house as opposed to another in more modest because she wears a hijab and you can see she has a shape with the jeans and the high heels. This is the WEST! You are doing an AWESOME job if you can keep your daughters away from shorts shorts and bikinis!

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