My heart is torn between East and West. I live somewhere between the present and the past. I don't know who I am.
What’s a bit surprising to me is that, when it comes to discussions of Hijab, or as much as I hate this concept, “explanations of Hijab” to non-Muslims, everything is touched upon — fashion industry, the male gaze, feminist rhetoric, female empowerment, convenience, culture, tradition, “But everyone else covers, too! [insert picture of women following 20 major and minor world religion with some sort of head covering] — just not Divine commandment. At the end of the day, we do wear this because He commanded us to. We cover, in this specific way, because this is how we were commanded to cover. (If you’re gonna pollute my askbox with anonymous demands for proof for this - don’t bother. I’m not about to pass Fatwas, sorry.)
Yes, the Hijab has liberating effects, it has empowering effects, it has a thousand blessings in disguise. But those are effects, not causes. The way prayer has a thousand benefits, yet the reason we pray is not because of those benefits, it’s because we are commanded to.
“Commandment” has negative connotations. But God doesn’t command for His own good. He doesn’t need us to pray to Him, He doesn’t need us to wear Hijab for him. A central Shari’i principal is to bring benefit or prevent harm. Look at each commandment, at each rule — it brings benefit or prevents harm.
Excellent point and very well-put.
Today at Fajr, I was clearing up in the kitchen with my dad and I found a bag of rice under the sink. I picked it up so I could put it away in one of the cupboards but my dad stopped me and told me to leave it where it was.
"Why?" I asked. "There’s plenty of space in the cupboard."
He smiled and said “It’s not for us, it’s for the birds.”
I had no idea what he was talking about. He smiled again, grabbed the bag of rice and motioned for me to follow him to the garden door. There, perched on the garden fence outside, waiting patiently for him were five little birds. He unlocked the door, grabbed a handful of rice and scattered it on the ground. The birds swooped down on the grains. More birds came to join them, chirping happily at their good fortune.
"You see these birds habibty? Allah provides for them and many others like them. Allah provides for every creature on this earth through his sources. Why can’t we be one of those sources that Allah provides for his creatures through? Why can’t we be givers, not takers?"
"Allah provides for us too, but we don’t rely on him in the same way as these birds do, unwaveringly, unquestionably."
He took my hand in his and placed some rice in it. He then looked me in the eye and said:
The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) told us “If you relied on Allah with a true reliance, He would provide for you the same as He provides birds: they set off in the early morning with empty stomachs and return back at the end of the day with full stomachs.”
"I want you to be like these birds habibty. Depend on no one but Allah, rely on no one but him. Never doubt his ability to provide or his power to bless even the smallest or the most unfortunate of his creatures. Never forget that habibty"
This is why my dad is the most special man on earth <3
So last week I was teaching my kids at Saturday school about the life of Prophet Yusuf (PUH) and I asked them at the end what they learnt from his story. This one kid puts his hand up and says in the most serious tone:
"Miss, this story is very important because it teaches us that you should know how to get out of a well in case your brothers throw you down one"
I honestly couldn’t stop laughing for the whole lesson. Kids are so precious!