Our Hijab Scene

It was second year of medical school and a small group of us decided to jalan2 at Egypt. Mainly to see the majestic pyramids and sphinx. We have never been so interested in World History before that we actually took the initiative to read history before we came. We enjoyed the food – shish kebab, lamb and all.. although one of my vegetarian friends  couldn’t help lamenting , “makan aubergine lagi.. skit2 aubergine.. dah jadi terung dah muka aku ni”

Egypt

Travelling as a student means budget. Cheap rooms, transport and full use of our student cards. So our time was greatly spent on people watching as we wait for the train, for the meals, for the room etc. I remembered being in awe looking at the young ladies of Cairo being all fashionable in their clothing and hijab at the railway station. Back then, muslimah wear in Msia is baju longsleeve sukan with jeans or at most an old ladies blouse in trying to appear ‘different’. Nowadays, Msia’s hijab scene is so varied and is to die for. The colors are exciting, the style is just ‘vogue’. So much so we are seeing the active sprouting of online boutiques selling appropriate muslimah wear.

Instagram on the other hand, is flooded with #ootd  #muslimahfashion

Every woman just appeared so pretty and empowered. I couldn’t help being carried away admiring their prowess and choice of clothing until I came across a picture while exploring Instagram.

To me it was just a picture of girls in their hijab celebrating a moment of happiness together. It looked like a baby shower for one of the ladies and so these group of young mothers decided to take a groufie. Naturally, once it is posted on Instagram under a public setting, comments would ensue. The usual comments were like

“nice!’

or “so happy for you guys” all positive until one apparently very upset Instagram user using a pseudonym said, “how revolting and disgusting, aurat is not just the hijab!”

Eventhough I was not in the picture, I was taken aback. I had to read it again to make sure I got it right. Why would this person say something like that. This lovely picture of girls in their long dresses and jubah with hijab was being labeled as ‘revolting’ and swaying from the concept of aurat!! It was easy to just dismiss the comment and mark the person as a party pooper. Or A traditionalist. Or An extremist. But I didn’t disregard it. I took note and decided to ponder this negativity and search for the meaning of ‘revolting and disgusting’ from this users point of view. i wanted to understand why.

I had another look of the photo searching for clues of sin. Then it struck me – there is something wrong with the photo. While it is harsh to scream out SIN, it was worth thinking about. The user wasn’t entirely biased or making false accusations. The Wrong is there but the teguran was still I feel … could be gentler. For even I could make the same mistake.

Back to the picture, I began to see the don’ts in muslimah wear. Their jubah were actually tight-fitting and they were posing in a very ‘compromising and seducing’ position. Butts out, chest out and one even had her hands placed nicely on a well-defined baby bump – underneath the long maternity dress. It was just like my ustazah used to say in class – jangan menampakkan rupa tubuh badan dalam menjaga aurat. Regardless if its a baby bump or a news set of boÔbs. Another lady was blowing imaginary kisses in between her two other friends throwing cheeky, flirting smiles. Again, a reminder to be modest and practice ‘malu‘ in our daily living. It was a moment of harsh reality. What appeared to be an innocent photograph had more meaning insinuating within. Not to mention the crimes I have committed when it comes to choice of colors or materials of my baju kurung. Or the exposed forearm and foot which takes more effort to cover.

It is easy to overlook on these things because they are rarely discussed or pointed out in daily living and workplace unless one actively goes for usrah or ceramah keagamaan. I suppose we should be grateful to have these muslimah fashion police around although much hikmah in dakwah is appreciated. 

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3R : Read, Reflect, Respond

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