Like most women I have a wardrobe full of clothes and never anything to wear, so I have been trying to think of suitable outfits I can make from my current collection during Ramadan. It shouldn’t be too tricky once I master the act of layering, and if this awful English summer continues it wouldn’t be too stifling either.
But what about my head? In my trips to Egypt I have noticed that the women colour coordinate their hijabs with their outfits masterfully. I can’t help but think they must have drawers full of different patterns, colours, length and materiel so they are prepared for what ever they throw on.
I’m slightly envious- with my atheist eyes it just seems like another accessory to play with. What girl doesn’t like thinking about what shoes will suit her new dress best? Well now I will have a slightly different twist on that.
So what does that mean? Shopping!
Last night I pulled out some clothes from my wardrobe and had them next to me as a scanned Ebay and the many online hijab shops to find scarves to go with them perfectly. I learnt it is too easy to spend money when you are doing it via a click of a button.
Once my spending binge subsided I was left feeling strange. Not just because I am now too scared to look at my bank account, but also because I feel like I wasn’t taking this seriously.
What does hijab mean? If the purpose is to cover your hair for modesty, then is it right to wear ones that are pretty, flashy, more accessory than clothing?
I have read my fair share of hijabs debates- in these it is usually men who have the loudest voice. In my mind they should focus a bit more on what is required of them, and leave the women to their own relationship with God. But hey, what do I know, I’m just a beginner.
I have worn a head scarf before as I mentioned in a previous post. Did I feel more modest, even when wearing a plain black one? No. Personally I feel more modest and unappealing when my hair is in a basic pony tail, and in the west it is certainly less likely to get attention.
Maybe I just don’t *get* it yet, the odd shopping trip with it on is hardly embracing exactly what it is about, but as I read page upon page of hijab arguing I cant help but think: “It’s just hair!”
Humans decide what is beautiful, which is why it changes over time and why cultures differ greatly. In a Muslim country where even seeing arms can be a rarity they have put them on a pedestal and made them lustrous, whereas in the west it is the norm and certainly not going to give a man a hard on. If men are used to seeing something, the desire for it diminishes.
Now that being said I have already decided that I will cover my hair as it is considered by most Muslims to be a requirement of women. But what about my pretty new scarves?
Are floral prints, stripes and bright colours alluring? I personally don’t think so. In my mind there is a difference between pretty and attractive. I can tell a little girl I find her dress pretty, am I saying it will turn men on? No of course not, in fact in my opinion many things that turn men on are actually rather unpretty!
For now I think not looking like I’m going to a funeral every time I step out isn’t haram, maybe my opinion will change whilst I study further, but for now I’m looking forward to my scarves arriving!