Muslimah Sexiness?

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Being no stranger to controversy, it’s time for me to open up another can of worms. I want to talk about “Muslimah Sexiness.” I would like to have a very frank and honest conversation about being and feeling sexy as a Muslimah. Can we? Should we? Do we?

Let me start by confessing something to you. I am flirtatious by nature. I’ve always been that way. After I became Muslim I was fed a thousand and one lectures about the “appropriate way” to conduct myself as a Muslim woman. I was told I needed to be shy, demure, quiet, and formal- almost afraid of “strange men.” All of these things were against my nature. The fact remains that I am not shy, demure, quiet or formal (in that way at least.) Since I am not those things I tried my best to fake it. I emulated the behavior of the women I saw at the masjid. Somehow it didn’t work though. Instead of coming across as shy or demure when interacting with the opposite sex, I often came across as rude, aloof, stuck up, cold or unnecessarily formal. I just didn’t know how to make my interaction natural. I started asking myself, why is this hard? What is it that you used to do before?

I come from two cultures where the women- for better or for worse- flaunt what they have. They are not shy or demure. They are stunning and bold. They engage in playful banter with members of the opposite sex, they roll their body in a seductive manner knowing full well that men are watching, they highlight their “assets” and make men swoon from their sex appeal. All of these things are against Islam. So, how do you make the switch when you come from an environment that is completely contrary to Islam? Many of us are lying to ourselves when we say we became Muslim and it simply “changed” over night.

I had a very honest conversation with two friends of mine. Both are converts- one from Latin America and another one from the Caribbean. They admitted to feeling, at times, “frumpy” and “old” in the headscarf and modest clothing. They felt ignored, unattractive and undesirable in the eyes of Muslim and non-Muslim men alike. They felt that Muslim men often placed them on a “purity pedestal” and non-Muslim men simply looked passed them. By the same token, both women felt ashamed of their feelings since their feelings run counter to everything we have been told about Muslim women and sexuality. During the course of our conversation we realized we were trying to reconcile two very different identities and lifestyles- our old one and our new one. We were left with a few questions: How do you go from being a sexy, hot, Jamerican/West Indian/Latina to being a pious, proper, Muslimah? Can the two exist in one body? Do you have to wait for marriage in order to feel sexy and irresistible? And what if your husband (for whatever reason) doesn’t provide you with that attention? Can you be hot and a Muslimah at the same time? Should you even want to? Better yet, what if you are sexy by nature? What if you can’t hide it?

Before a chorus of “astagfirullahs” assault this post, hear me out. Let’s try to be real for once. Most women enjoy feeling loved, attractive, sexy, and wanted. Most importantly, many of us like the attention we receive from the opposite sex. I can already envision the comments suggesting if the woman is single she should get married. (Again, what if her husband does not give her that attention?) Or better yet, I can envision some of you saying, “we should not care about these things because the Akirah/Quranic teaching/Islam/Sunnah is more important.” That still does not resolve the dilemma. The question remains: Can you be a Muslimah and hot/sexy? If so, how and in what context? Is the quiet, demure, shy, Muslimah persona a universal one? What is appropriate Muslimah behavior? (Please don’t just post Quran or Ahadith, help me understand your perspective).

Let’s discuss.

80 responses to “Muslimah Sexiness?

  1. salam alaiky :)

    dont worry about me i will not preach u.
    thought provoking that’s what i think of this post
    & i wish i had an answer to ur questions all of which i have to say had an automatic answer in my head previously. i think being sexy has to do with a lot of things, whether u were born as one & the envirnoment u were raised in also has an important part & of course ur personal choices. to be more specific i know am no angelina jolie & i was raised in an environment that teaches us women to be formal & direct with men, & as much as being admired is appealing i never appreciated being stared at. besided am really low maintenace in comparison to other women & being sexy requires energy.

    p.s: i’m at work & when i logged in to ur blog the pic scared the hell out of me :)

  2. Interesting. As a Black woman who chose to wear the hijab I have to say that it is relevant to me. As I see my cousins and other Black sisters not shy away from leaving very little to men’s imagination and working it, I’m mot really envious but sometimes, just sometimes I wish I could get some attention. Just feel that regardless of what I’m wearing someone could find me attractive more than I wish I could be dressed like that.

    I am naturally outspoken, I don’t mind looking straight at someone’s face and maintaining eye contact, I smile and can even compliment a man. Flirtatious? Maybe sometimes but I catch myself quickly b/c in most cases it’s not even like I’m attracted or ‘want’ the guy. I however tend to be soft spoken and people have to get closer to me or ask me to repeat myself. So there are contradictions there. Before wearing the hijab, people used to tell me that I catwalk, it’s seriously unintentional. I think b/c I walk fast, it appears like that. I try to dress as modestly as I can, I maintain this rule: I have to be able to pray in what I’m wearing otherwise I’m not wearing it. So it works pretty well.

    The solution, I think will depend on people’s personalities and why they are trying to get that attention. I don’t think that speaking out, being assertive and eye contact are necessarily being a bad Muslim or not being modest. Again we go back to what is your intention. As long as one puts a distance between the opposite sex and oneself and makes it clear that cheerfulness, laughter, assertiveness are in no way encouraging it’s fine. I don’t hesitate to embrace these qualities but I’m also very quick to put someone back in his place when he starts adventuring himself into unwanted territories. I’ve been in cases where I was dressed down, minding my own business and even with a stern look and yet have been approached by people or told I was ‘cute’, ‘beautiful’, etc.

    I’ve felt attractive and even beautiful without even having to look around or to interact with anyone. So I’d say that it can be an inner feeling. I do feel that femininity is engrained and men, Muslims or not, look for it in a woman. There’s nothing wrong with giving a preview to men [by showing the qualities I’ve listed above] as to one’s sense of self by keeping it halal.

  3. looooooooooooooool the pic is only a heel

  4. YES!!!
    Great post.

    I am a muslim man. That said. Here goes the can of worms being opened further.

    I think that it is admirable for you to think about this and bring it up becuase so many of my/our sisters are forgetting to be attractive to themselves as well. And if you feel frumpy unattractive…well it reflects in everything you do. (Note, this is my opinion.)

    All my life, I have been on the look out for women who can do the balancing act. I thought of them as an NY muslimah. Like, Can rock the fly jeans, tims, a hoodie, and a cute matching scarf. Or the girl that even if she was in an abayyah, was loose enough to be modest, slim enough to be interesting, and did her self up just right to be attractive, but not over the top. Even the over the top ones (Go to somewhere like Egypt and see the skin tight outfits that are worn with hijabs).

    I feel that all of these rules are wrote by these old mullahs and sheikhs who are not ‘keeping it real’. Islam is a religion of inclusion. But so much is exluded.

    Be sexy. Feel good about yourself. You notice some guy checking you out, you dont have to respond, but it will make you feel good knowing ‘you got it like that’.

    Well, there you go. :D

  5. *comment edited*

    @Itmeansunique

    thanks for the fashion advice! queer eye for the straight muslimah, i like it.

  6. This is a great post! We ain’t nuns & priests.

    Interestingly growing up I always found my Muslim sisters to be some of the most sensual & sexual women that I knew. Because they believed in an elevated holistic femininity they were not too shy to talk about sex, to feel confident in their bodies or to play with make-up, heels, colors (even furs) in abaya and all. I am not sure if this has something to do with the fact that these were predominately African-American communities???

    I can’t say that this universalizing demure Muslim womanhood is a recent development but it is something that I don’t live up to and which really doesn’t fit me. I mean it literally doesn’t fit me-as a big bodied girl : ) standing at a noticeable 5 foot 10.

    REAL TAlK-my husband admits now to checking out those assets every time we met up before marriage-he really couldn’t not see it. LOL

    Have you noticed that most, if not all, of the pious images/silhouettes of Muslim women are thin, small chested, and tiny. Um, its a lot easier to hide those type of frames under abaya and jilbab, right?

    I never was THE sexy girl but I was/am obsessed with beauty, scent, romance and too be honest, erotics. Not the after midnight cable television version of erotics-but the art (ethics) of sensuality and seduction.

    Like Mohja Kahf has written how did Muslims, with one of the most sex positive inherently beautiful & natural religions, end up with the reputation of being all puritan like? In fact, despite what people think, her erotic writings infused with spiritual richness are exactly the type of frankness that we need.

    Your post is dead on.

  7. Serenity Love Divine Earth

    Sexy is in the eye of the beholder. I have found no matter how modest we behave or dress, someone is going to find it attractive and blame you for tantalizing. I have given up on “modesty for the masses”. I have learned to define my own standards for modesty and adhere to them. Consequently I have learned how to ignore judgmental folks that have complaints.

    Peace

  8. Thank you!!

    Unfortunately, I don’t really have any suggestions, but I agree with Y.S. about being sexy for yourself. It helps if you’re physically fit, I think (I mean, whether you are fat, thin, or somewhere in between, feeling HEALTHY in your own body and HAPPY with it).

    Well, salsa and other dancing usually makes me feel pretty good! Even though I’m terrible at it, and it would probably make me feel even better if I learned how to do it right!

  9. Salaamu alaykum.. I know exactly what you mean. As a black woman in the South, being “thick” is something that’s always talked about. Most of the black men around here are attracted to curvaceous (sp?) women. A lot of us (black women in general) down here fit that description, and a lot of us take pride in it and thus flaunt it (in many different ways). I don’t think being sexy/attractive has to mean wearing clothing that you cannot pray in (Nice rule, Y.S.). And I don’t think it’s at all necessary to be frumpy just because you’re Muslim. But as mentioned, “sexy” can also be a state of mind. Also, I think flirtatious characteristics come from socialisation, and people cannot help the way they’re socialised. It’s the same for me. I’m sort of naturally “flirtatious” as well. It’s just the way that I talk to people and my tone of voice. And I laugh a lot. I can’t really help it. I try to make people feel comfortable when they talk to me, and I think it’s often construed as “flirting.” I don’t intend for it to be that way. It’s just that, being a black Southerner, these characteristics are common (IMHO, anyway).

  10. Great post!

    I have lost 92 pounds over the last couple of years and am trying to lose a little bit more. Now that I can actually fit clothing in regular stores, I find myself struggling with what to buy. How fitted is too fitted, is this going to reveal too much, do I want to show my feet, wear those heels? Will Allah be pleased with what I am wearing? I’ve always said that I was sexy no matter how heavy I was. I’ve always gotten the stares, even when I wear my tent dresses, they make me uncomfortable, but in my head, I’m like, yea, I got it like that! LOL!
    The thing is that men have active imaginations and no matter what we wear, they are going to find us attractive. I find myself wanting the attention but when i actually get it, I start feeling dirty, because some men are lewd about it. You have to admit, when an attractive man gives you some attention, you kind of smile on the inside. I don’t bat my lashes or anything like that, but that ego tries to get the best of me :)

    But yet and still modesty is important but I see a lot of Muslimahs walking around in clothing that they have no business wearing, I want to say, sister that tight skirt and short sleeve shirt is totally defeating the purpose of your hijab.

    I think that sexy is something that you naturally have…just like men have swag(ya Allah!!! I love a man with swagger) You don’t have to try and you can’t really overdo it.

  11. As most of the others have stated, I know that it’s important to “stay sexy” for yourself. Wear the clothes that you would wear outside..jewelry, shoes, hair and all. Only be sure to grab that abaya before leavin’ out the door. When I first made shahadah, I would solely focus on having the prettiest and most stylish abayas and clothes for going outside….but these days to be plain, sharply pressed and neat is more my speed. I put so much into what I have on underneath that the outside is the least of my worries. Alhamdullilah I do have a husband that gives me all the attention that I need and more. That, I do know is VERY important to a Muslimah and makes the SEXY issue not much of an issue at all. OVERALL…Dress up, pamper yourself. Truly make hijab a conscious CHOICE and not a CRUTCH; that way when you go out ur thinkin’ “Hmmph!!! If yall’ only knew how a sista’ is handlin’!!!” LOL.

  12. Amazing, that a Muslim woman would want attention from non-mahram men so she can “feel good”. I guess that’s the foundation of all the fornication that goes on in BAM community.

    All of the ancient Prophets (alayhimus salaatu wa salam) and the Messenger of Allaah (salallaahu alayhi wa salam) said,

    “If you have no shame, then do as you please”.

    Go ahead, do what ever you want. One day you’re going to be standing before Allaah, and He will tell you that you were wrong!

    Then what!?!

  13. Salaams,

    This is a great post!

    My husband & I have often discussed living in the US where flirtation and sexiness are so much a part of daily interactions while still maintaining not only one’s own modesty but also that necessary spark between husband & wife, which can be smothered by restricting our libidos sometimes.

    Perhaps I’ll write about how it impacts marriage sometime.

    Just know that you’re not alone – thanks for writing this!

    Warmly,
    Baraka

  14. I believe in femininity- I have seen how some muslimat go about in male-walking shoes; brisk men-like interactions; frowns; frumpy clothes- and it reminds me of an American Sheikh who once said to all and sundry at Jummah that if your clothes looked like you took it out of a dirty laundry bin- you should have washed, ironed it and scented the darn thing before putting it on-the Prophet SAW was carefull and precise about his looks, clothes and bearing- we should be no less…

    The balance has been disrupted because too many out there want to scare you out of your femeninity by stating anything in color, smelling good, looking good is a sexual invitation to fitna binging! Let’s get real- a woman is a woman- to turn her into anyting else is going against Allah’s design-

    In a day I go from wearing scrubs and lab coats when not in the Operating Room areas to regular clothes that I am comfortable in with a matching hijab, bracelets, heels and those things that make me feel my good all feminine self- not the bombshell -just feminine…

    And when I am with hubby I turn and pump up the volume- why because that’s for whom I dress sexy for- so I will do the saris with the cute cholies for my hubby!

    Sis, find your feminine balance; wear what makes you feel good about who you are and what you do- and smile to the world without letting go of that certain “hijab” that says I am woman- but not for sale!

    Shy is only natural when its your natural state of mind- anything artificial even those that go against your natural ways will never come across as anything but artificial and well simply a lie…

  15. Masha’Allah I love these kind of open thoughtful posts.
    Good for you for starting it.

    I do think you can be sexy and personable inside and out. Even in full abaya. You gave me post topic lol I’ll link.

    I think it is totally how you are raised. Most of my friends growing up weren’t into the I’m so sexy check me out stuff. They were normal, more into brains than skirts, kinda people. So was I. But deep down I’m a wild chick and I ‘d love to flaunt what I got. but I don’t knwo how because I wasn’t raised that way. So even when I go out men do turn a head here or there but it’s not cause what I wear. Maybe it’s my constant smile. I dunno really. Sometimes sure I like it on the inside. But I don’t go and flirt anyone up. Yet at the same time usually us mommies are too tired to get our groove on durring the day or night so it’s hard. I miss going to malls and trying on everything that wouldn’t possibly fit in a million years. Now all I can do is just look around. Wistfully here and wistfully there.
    Esp. lingerie stores. Here in UAE you don’t just stand outside one and debate if something is Hot or sexy enough. You rush in making sure not to many poeple saw you enter then don’t make eye contact with anyone leaving. And that’s not even buying anyting! That’s just browsing! I miss hanging out at Victoria Secret with my girls and laughing at thongs or debating full cup or demi cups. Here no no! Gotta be all hush hush. Prolly the first time I even wrote thong on the internet :p
    Also I think it’s who you are shopping with. i shop with kids. So not about to have time for girly stuff. If I had some wild inside girls like me for sure at the mall i’d be braver to let out my inner self and have a debate or two.
    How to reconsile the two, I dunno. I think we all struggle with that. Husband wishes I were more seductive but I’m not a confident persona bout body image and such so i feel I SHOULDn’t be sexy at all, at home or one the streets. Yet I wanna be… sigh* Girl why you gotta write such mind boggling posts :p…*
    So of course outside I’m MORE quiet and surely not rockin like I do at home but even at home I’m too modest. I dress kinda frumpy and feel kinda frumpy. Am I frumpy? Dunno guess so. I fell less frumpy out on the streets cause in the abaya I look like just curvy shapless. Like they see I’m a woman but I think they tend to check out the face more. As an American I’m open and friendly and all that but I don’t go around commenting men lol.
    Good topic and I can’t wait to read more about what others say.

  16. Warda, walaikum salaam, thanks for stopping by and sharing your perspective. Don’t let the fishnets scare you away, lol.

    —-

    Y.S., I agree with you about the dress 100%. I have to pray at work or sometimes when I’m out and about so if I can’t pray in it I don’t wear it. But beyond dress there is the issue of personality. I have learned to tone it waaay down and, as you’ve indicated, put up the blocks when I need to. Yet, I know I am not responsible if someone is attracted to me either. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you wear, what you say, how you behave or anything, men are attracted- period.

    —-

    Itmeansunique, I appreciate you sharing your perspective as a man. Too many brothers are busy pretending they want this pious, shy, demure sister on one hand but then on the other they’re watching Shakira shake it on TV or non-Muslim women walking down the street. What kind of message does it send to us when brothers are putting Muslim women on a “purity pedestal” but when it comes to attraction they’re looking elsewhere? I dare say that Muslim men, in general, are very formal with us (out of respect) and don’t seem to know how to talk to us in a natural way. Yet, they go to work and chat it up with Becky Non-Muslim like it’s nothing.

    —-
    Samira, another valuable point. When did the puritanical vibe take over? Seems like it’s always been there. Yes, we have our bounds in Islam. We have our parameters but I think some people have taken it to the extreme. I know I am walking a fine line by even opening up this subject because many Muslims can’t even admit that they have struggles let alone discuss a subject like this.

    You said, “Have you noticed that most, if not all, of the pious images/silhouettes of Muslim women are thin, small chested, and tiny. Um, its a lot easier to hide those type of frames under abaya and jilbab, right?”

    *nodding my head vigorously*

    —-
    Serenity, you said “Sexy is in the eye of the beholder. I have found no matter how modest we behave or dress, someone is going to find it attractive and blame you for tantalizing. I have given up on “modesty for the masses”

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I’m tired of being blamed for what other people feel and think about me. Okay, if I’m flirting, I can agree that I bare some measure of responsibility. But what about when I’m minding my own business? Do I have to wear a tent, walk with my head hung low, and act like I am afraid of men so that they won’t be attracted to me? It is high time Muslim men and women alike stop blaming Muslim women for men’s attractions/perversions/sickness etc.

    —-
    musicalchef, maybe you should get a salsa DVD and work it out at home. ;) Too bad you’re not around my hijabi Latina friends. They could teach you some moves!


    xey, you said “I think flirtatious characteristics come from socialisation, and people cannot help the way they’re socialised. It’s the same for me. I’m sort of naturally “flirtatious” as well. It’s just the way that I talk to people and my tone of voice. And I laugh a lot. I can’t really help it. I try to make people feel comfortable when they talk to me, and I think it’s often construed as “flirting.” I don’t intend for it to be that way.”

    Ditto for me. Sometimes people think I am flirting when I really am not. Even in this post I said that I consider myself flirtatious but I don’t know if it’s really that. I am pretty comfortable around men. Prior to Islam, I preferred having male friends to female friends. Some of what has been considering “flirting” on my part has really been me just being kind and friendly. As Y.S. said, you have to know when to put people (men) in their place. I try to pay attention to any “turns” in the conversation then put a screeching halt to it.

  17. Why did you not approve my previous comment?

    • John, I didn’t approve your comment because I found it to be outside of the bounds of the discussion I am trying to generate. I am not suggesting that Muslim women rip off their hijabs or niqabs and flaunt it. I also did not appreciate your remark about rape.

  18. Sakeenah, congrats on the weight loss. I’d like to lose 10-15 lbs. You have some suggestions?

    Can I be real with you about something? Many women want the attention, attraction or whatever only when we want it and from who we want it. That’s our contradiction. It’s sometimes the mixed message women send in the dunya when they are dressed in a provocative way. It invites the good, the bad and everything else. I think that is where the Islamic dress code comes in and of course the correct behavior. But then I find myself going back to my original question, what is “appropriate” Islamic behavior? Can I be a Muslimah and be friendly, outgoing and chatty with men or is that unacceptable? Will my internal sexiness be picked up by men? Am I to blame if a man I am friendly with tries to hit on me? Better yet, is his attraction to me wrong? I’ve been asked out plenty of times by non-Muslim and Muslim men and I’ve said no. That was it…


    Waridi, I am not an abaya-only kinda sister. I’m certainly not a “plain” kind of sister either. If I had to dress like that I’d feel depressed. I think I can dress within the bounds of Islam and still look nice, pretty and presentable. Why is it either you have to be plain (which equals frumpy in my mind) or all out there? Is there no middle ground?


    Daud, I don’t think I can even form a decent, unoffensive response to your comment….Thanks for the fire and brimstone though.


    Baraka, Let me know if you decide to write something. I’d be interested in reading it.


    Inal, you said, “The balance has been disrupted because too many out there want to scare you out of your femeninity by stating anything in color, smelling good, looking good is a sexual invitation to fitna binging! Let’s get real- a woman is a woman- to turn her into anyting else is going against Allah’s design-”

    Thank you, thank you. I couldn’t agree more. Nothing much to add to your statement.

    You also said, “Shy is only natural when its your natural state of mind- anything artificial even those that go against your natural ways will never come across as anything but artificial and well simply a lie…”

    And you know what, I lived the lie for far too long. I am not suggesting that it’s acceptable to flirt or to take things too far but at the same time I need to be true to who I am. I guess balance is- once again- the key here.

  19. It’s typical in Dar al-Islam, wouldn’t want to disrupt the peace, especially if it’s anything that offends Muslims. Islam doesn’t promote free speech anyway so I can’t say I’m surprised.

    I’ll just hang out in Dar al-Harb, I guess.

    • Thanks for stopping by John. I’m sorry I couldn’t bash my faith or joke about sexual assault in the way that you wanted. :(

  20. curiousmuslimah

    Great post and interesting questions. I struggled how to reconcile the two me’s? Can I be dark, eccentric and sexual and still be a good Muslim? I just stopped worrying about it recently. I am never going to be proper or shy or really fit the stereotypical Muslimah persona. Like someone else pretty much said above said to be anything other than yourself comes off as fake.

    I am still looking for the balance but I am very glad I am getting started now in my early development as a Muslim. I will say I am pretty much sexy and look good just for me. I am oblivious to male attention! Flirting is completely wasted on me.

  21. How refreshing!

    Girl, where you been all these 13 years since I took my big, gorgeous, cappacino skinned, lipsticked lipped, business suited, smiling self to a masjid in Bed-Stuy Brooklyn to take shahaada with my hot, hot attorney friend. The sisters in abayas, niqab and purda gave us “proper’ hijabs and tucked each of my sister’s stray hairs in. I was told that I had to grow out my short fro’ as Allah forbade women from looking like men. (I might have looked like a lot of things. But a man aint one of them). They advised my sister that she had to change professions as practicing law was not acceptable in Islam. I was supposed to change professions because I had too many dealings with men. They told her she needed to wear perda as her eyes were too big and seductive. They told me to wipe that smile off my face as that smile was the work of shaitan – or else wear niqab. And of course we both needed to get married…you know the drill.

    We walked out of that masjid with our great big hijabs that day floating on air and strutting down the street and into the subway like queens of the Nile. Muslimahs finally! Proud, regal, beautiful. Neither of us were being intentionally seductive. But that day, our energy, our confidence, our joy drew all kinds of people to us like magnets. Many spoke, many looked. That day, lipstick removed, body covered to the waist with this giant taupe scarf, I got more acknowledgment (all respectful) from men than on any other day of my life!

    It wasn’t a big leap to add hijab to my already modest, elegant style. It looked nice, not frumpy. And my enthusiasm about being a Muslimah got me through any momentary discomforts I had. I liked…loved being identified as a Muslim. My energy, my deen, my manner, my confidence were very seductive to people. There was nothing hootchie about me. I was highly regarded by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Unfortunately the only brother witht he nerve to ask me to marry him was one with two wives already. He told who told me I would have be in by 6:00 every day. Great, hilarious guy. But…no thanks.

    I went to a Muslim country, as a single woman, and I saw a pervasive subtle sensualtiy in the women that did not characterize American women. Didn’t matter if they were blacked down head to toenails or if they wore very from fitting blouses and denin skirts. The women were…women. It was as though there was an art to the beautification process. They exuded sensuality. There was henna, hairless bodies, and a whole lot of commotion that was far beyond my ability and interest. But it was more a way of being. They recognized and appreciated that they were something different from men. They were not trying to compete with men, or to think like men. They also did not try to hide the fact that they were beautifying themselves for their husbands (or men they viewed as potential husbands.) Despite my admiration and respect for these women, I was not one of them. I had no desire to be one of them.

    At my wedding, fully covered in my wedding dress and white hijab, I recall a sister tapping me on the shoulder and whispering, “Sister, be careful how you move your hips.” Here I was dancing, as modestly as I know how, in a circle of women only and someone is telling me this? I tried stupidly to dance without moving my hips. That was the beginning.

    Let me get to the point. I am going through an evolution with this modesty, sensuality, sexuality thing. Really. After I married and started pretending to be who I thought my husband wanted me to be, after I started wearing hijab for reasons that were not my own, after I started feeling oppressed, after I started acting and behaving in a way that felt inauthentic to me, after I lost my style and my flare, after I started dressing like a ‘foreigner’, after I started avoiding eye contact with men, after I lost my smile and my charm, after I became unnatural, I lost my spirit, I lost my sensuality. After all of that, l left my hijab and my husband in search of that sister who walked into that Brooklyn masjid with that great big smile on her face.

    I can’t be her again.. But by the grace of Allah, when I catch my stride, I will hold her high, smile my smile, stand tall, walk strong, express my style, and be who the hell I am. And I aint apologizing to nobody!

    The end!!

    • WOWOWOWOW, I’m amazed…this is such an interesting topic, and I loved what a lot of people had to say here, esp. YS, and INAL, but after reading Amina’s post, I got goose bumps, and became very emotional…wow…that was amazing. Your post shed light on a lot of things, and I must say, I was that same person after I started wearing the hijab, I did not know where the boundary was between modesty, and femininity. I think that being oneself, being comfortable in what we do and what we wear is very important. After I started wearing the hijab, I started dressing differently, I thought looking good would lead to problems with the hijabi police officers…LOL…so, I wore things just to steer clear from any comments from anyone…but that didn’t help, at work, I ran into problems with people expressing their hatred for Islam, people asking me about 911 as if I had something to do with it, etc. It took a long time until I finally realized after having various discussions with various people that we are supposed to invite people to Islam, and the only way we can give dawah is by being normal, spreading goodness, instead of hatred. Showing people that assimilation is accepted in Islam, keeping our prayer in our mind, we should dress in that manner which does not interfere with the norm of society. People are open to accepting new things, we just have to know how to present ourselves. At the end of the day, Islam is not about having an indentity crisis, but being who we are, and appreciating what Allah has given us.

  22. brookeakaummbadier

    All I can really add here is with regards to “I often came across as rude”-yes, I had similar feelings in a sort of adjustment stage and see this from other sisters quite a bit. I felt that I had to get my bitch on. I hope I have grown out of that and have found an appropriate balance. There is deep platonic love that I feel for my brothers and in that sense I only want to project respect and love towards them. Also, ironically, I have a long-worn urban scowl and now have to remind myself to smile–project the friendly Muslim. I also wear colorful hijabs for this reason of wanting to be more approachable to the non-Muslims, though really I think I would be perfectly content in no nonsense tie-back black/grey chadors.
    L&P

  23. As salaamu alaikum samah007, really, really, good post , I’ve really enjoyed reading this post as well as the responses. This is why I enjoy your post and continue to visit your blog , you discuss real issues , just plain simple things that muslim and non- muslim woman may or may not face often. Masha Allah , this particular post really has begun a thought process for me , Masha Allah . shukrn. I really don’t have a direct answer or comment for you as of yet , what I can say is that I do believe that muslimah’s should have a sense of feeling sexy , and hold on to that , but I think we as muslimah’s should also show restraint and make sure that feeling of sexyness does not become a sign of arrongance , I also believe that we should not flaunt this feeling of sexiness in front of or around strange men . we must remember what we are , Muslimah’s , and we are people’s teacher’s through our behavior. If the sister or sisters are married this behavior should only be for our husbands to enjoy . We must continue to show a form of modesty . As salaamu alaikum

  24. You go Jamerican! Leave those haters outside.

  25. I think that most girls look cuter wearing hijab, it focuses on their face, brings a sense of purity and innocence to their aura. And niqab makes them even more alluring, the mystery, “she must be amazingly beautiful to hide herself like that, or have a jealous husband hiding her for only himself to see, or keeping herself for a lucky man…” (cliche’, I know, roll your eyes :D).

    But I find that there is more sexual tension between muslim men and women than between muslims and non muslims…

  26. Didn’t you say hat you wanted REAL FEEDBACK?
    Why must you be so “snippy”? I never said that you had to be plain…and my mention of abaya was more personal than anything. I was not trying to pretend that I could enforce any kind of dress code on YOU or anyone else, for that matter. You making reference to feeling “depressed” if you dressed that way, was to be insulting and mean. I was simply sharing MY way of seeing things…so kudos for you!!! You don’t have to be frumpy, on my account.

  27. I’m sorry, but I had to write again. I LOVE THIS POST! So many of us Muslimah’s struggle with what we are told we SHOULD be or how we SHOULD act. I hate that, and it’s not only from men. It’s from the women too! Like a foot or a wrist is going to cause a man to die from lust. YA ALLAH!! I pity men sometimes(literally)

    Yea, I want attention from men, but let me tell you what type of man I want attention from…no kids…can get and keep a job…tall, chocolate and sexy, will approach me with respect, won’t be sitting on my couch all day, eating my food, talking about my rights, my rights, my rights. This brother better come correct and he better have some money, because he is not spending mine. Goodness, I sound like my sister. He better have some deen and he had better not be thinking that he is going to spend day and night outside of the home. I think that you can be a Muslimah and be sexy. We can’t control our walk, our talk, our eyes or even our face, a man is a man is a man and MEN LIKE WOMEN. Yes, your internal sexiness will be picked on because men are programmed to pick up on it and no you are not to be blamed because a man finds you attractive, that is on him. So many, brothers AND sisters tell us it’s our fault and it is not. You needs to be lowering that gaze brother.

  28. Waridi, I was not trying to be snippy. I reread your comment and I reread mine and I apologize if that is how it came off. That was certainly not my intention. Since your comment started out by saying “you” I thought you were offering your advice on how I should dress. I was telling why I didn’t think the style of dress you were talking about would work for me, who is diva-style, in many ways. I was not trying to insult you. Again, I apologize if I offended you.

  29. It’s interesting that many brothers are conspicuously missing from the commentary. Guess I’m gonna have to do another call out soon.

  30. The stereotypical Muslimah persona does not exist. A Muslimah raised in a rural area will be different to the one raised in a city in a Muslim country. Class, location, local culture, education will determine a Muslimah’s behaviour rather than a theoretical Islamic view of women that many Muslimah’s in the West try to construct. This behaviour makes us not be true to ourselves. I am a confident person and i make eye contact when i speak to people. Why should i be expected to lower my gaze at a man i am not even remotely attracted to just because he has a penis? And so what if i find a man attractive or he finds me attractive? It is part of life. Why should i be expected to not treat male cousins for example like family because someone else tells us they could be a potential future husband when i have been raised to view them like my brothers?

    Since i have started wearing the hijab i get zero attention from non muslim men, i do not crave for the attention because i am still me but with a head covering and i find myself attractive. Feeling sexy is something you have to work at and does not come natural. Whether it is losing weight, wearing sexy lingerie, sylish clothing, never leaving the house without no lipstick. It is about making an effort and it makes us feel good. When a Muslimah is true to herself she will find her comfort zone and create a balance between being modest and feeling sexy without it being dictated by others.

  31. Salaam,

    What is “sexy”? For the Western convert, many things we ‘”Western” people do day to day – general friendliness, attention to our appearance (not to be a hootchy), shaking hands (gasp!), and joking are not sexualized activities. Yet witin the Muslim community – if I am not plain jane, mouth shut, eyes down then I am fitna! Of course guys can do the opposite – dress up, bath in perfume, gel their hair and be ten shades of sexy because they are men and apparently hijab doesn’t apply to them outside of not showing their knees. It can make a girl a schizophrenic trying to balance themselves. I went through my phase – trying to walk the walk (where the burden of society’s moral fiber rests solely on it’s women) and ended up with no self-esteem and very angry (gee, I wonder why?). Now when I am in the real world (no offense)- I dress modestly but I carry my head high, joke, be friendly, and interact as I always did. With the Muslims – I am literally rude and cold to men – lest they think wrong of me and keep it wrapped up and generally wear the quiet, all business facade. It is sad. There is nothing wrong with being a dynamic person and I will no longer feel shame or think the only person who can see my personality is my husband. ALthough I still play dead in the community – lest they talk about me. I think the over-sexualization by some have created this problem, whereas if we all just went about our business abiding by the moderate rules (by that expectations for men and women) – we would be fine.

  32. U got me AGAIN J…okay..
    first let me say Asalaamu Alaikum all,
    Beauty and sexiness is in the eye of the muslimah. I think that one has to love oneself as you are 1st before you and emit or emot sexiness or beauty.

    Personally I am a modest dresser..but I do have my own style. I’m neither a marm or frumpy. I wear make up, I like heels and my husband has no problem with it. For one I do it for me. It make MEEE feel good..than interns makes him smile.

    I am only speakin for me and my experience, but your right…muslim women, converts or those raised in the deen cannot lable ‘sexiness’ as a ‘dunya thang’ cuz it’s not. Sexiness and beauty is natural, just to be shared between a husband and wife.

    I’m not a flirter…althought I’ve been ‘babied’ and ‘sweethearted’ by non muslim men. I keep all talk appropriate.

    Great topic…I love it!!

    B Beautiful
    Umm Amirah

  33. Great topic! I would say being sexy for its own sake is a big no-no. When I see a woman strip her body bare or shake her booty just for attention, her obvious insecurity overshadows any sex appeal she might gain. However when a woman uses her body for some activity that just happens to be beautiful, it’s amazing to see and very attractive indeed. Whether she dances salsa or ballet, plays a sport, jogs around a park, or just speed walks across town, the natural movement of a well-cared-for body in clothes fitting for the activity is appealing.

    The 2008 Olympics had some Muslim male and female athletes and they were dressed to compete. Some would argue the outfits in say, track and field or volleyball were too revealing, but these contestants were there to perform, not to simply stand there and look cute. There are also many dignified Muslim women who wear fitted leotards to dance ballet or modern.

    The key is that both men and women should dress in ways that make us feel both comfortable and strong. Certain super-sexy outfits are just not comfortable in public, and extremely restrictive outfits limit women’s physical and social strength. But if you wear what makes you feel comfortable and strong, you will feel more desirable and you will be more attractive.

  34. Assalamu walaikum sister!

    Again, I think you have hit home with this topic, because you have struck a chord with me. You are correct that everyone woman wants to feel attractive and loved. I can best answer this with a short story.

    I decided, if I were going to wear hijab, I was going to do it fashionably since I would become a visual representation of my faith. I would be the antithesis of the “repressed woman” that people think that we muslimahs are.

    Once, I went to visit a friend who used to wear hijab in the strictest sense– all black and shapeless. Well, after she was married, she felt deprived, so she decided to forgo wearing hijab. She confessed to me that I, in my “fashionable” hijab made her feel like she wanted to wear it again because I exemplified to her that she could wear hijab and not feel deprived and down on her self-image.

    Now mind you, I do not wear hijab to “show off”, contrary to what others may interpret, but I really want to make it a part of my life and lifestyle. Until you do that, you cannot feel at peace with the change that you make in your outward appearance.

    And I am not striving for attention, but it is flattering when guys and girls compliment my taste. It’s all about how you want to live in the path of Allah. Besides, Allah wants us to dress nicely and look attractive (gasp). There are no injunctions against that, is there? Only you know what is in your heart about your intentions.

  35. Assalaamu aleykum wa rahmatullah, thank you for bringing this up. This is something I’ve struggled with a bit as someone who was always flirtatious and open about my sexuality before converting to Islam. It’s hard to adjust to at first, although I’ve found the way other people view me now is harder to accept than my own self-image – for example, I’ve had male friends tell me they feel strange around me because they feel like I’m a nun. I’m like…what?! I am still the same person, just with more clothes on.

    Hijab was one of my favorite things about reverting, I won’t lie. I am not sorority-girl hot but I used to get sexually harassed all the time, even though I always dressed modestly. Now I can step out of my house and feel comfortable because I don’t get that as much – I guess because I’m automatically marked out as “religious.” On the other hand, I felt like wearing the abaya also frees me in some ways from the tyranny of having to be fashionable. I can wear whatever I want, as long as I’m covered. It’s made me so much more comfortable in my own skin, which makes me more self-confident, which makes me feel more desirable and attractive.

  36. Salam Sister Amina,
    I LOOOOVED your story. Really so much.

    Please tell me what steps you’re taking to find yourself.
    I’d love some advice.
    Sometimes I feel not like I’ve lost her but that she’s never been allowed out. Locked away in some deep dark dungeon because she’s too darn cute for her own good.

    I do want to be more outgoing and dress differently and act a little differently but I also don’t want to do something that is haram. So what are you doing to find her?

    Not just Amina what are ANY of you doing?

  37. How can I subscribe to your blog??? I can’t find the “follow” button anywhere!

  38. In all things, we should be mindful of set limits. Transgressions are something that we should avoid as good people, not only good Muslims. I don’t know why people need to feel validated by other’s opinions and constant feedback. It may not have to do with shyness per se, but I think that it is at the very least an insecurity to desire attention all the time. If not that, then one should consider themself more than a little narcissistic; and learning to tame their ego should be a big priority. To literally seek the attention of men and feel some sense of accomplishment when it is given is exactly what an exhibitionist does. Go ahead and dance your inner pole dance. Who cares.

  39. as salaam alaykum,

    Honestly, I have had so many thoughts on this issue that I think I could write a whole series of articles.

    One big problem for a lot of Western Muslimat and Urban Muslimat across the globe is that we spend too much time in hijab. I don’t think we were meant to be so covered so much of the time. It’s not healthy. Also, there isn’t a lot of time or space that where we can express our full femininity in the presence of friends and family.

    This, I think, is one of many reasons why we see so much problematic hijab. We live in a hypersexualized society and we live hyperrestricted lives.

    Its natural for us to want to express our femininity and not necessarily in an overtly sexual way. I also think restricting your femininity can have a negative impact on your spirituality. One thing I take away from hadith is a heavy emphasis on genderizing. Women and men should put special effort into grooming themselves in ways that are culturally accepted as appropriate for their sex and avoid dressing in ways that masculinize women or feminize men.

    I think one of the solutions is really putting more time and effort into the things that make us feel feminine underneath. Wear the sexiest, prettiest lingerie you can afford. Keep your hair neat and well groomed under that headscarf, if you wear one. I’ve put a lot of effort into finding hairstyles that look nice when I take off my scarf. Flat, matted “hijab hair” is not a must. Strategically place some perfume oil on certain spots, not so that anyone walking by knows all your business, but enough so that someone who hugs you notices. And always wear earrings, a necklace, anklets and/or bracelets if it makes you feel good. Shoot, get that navel pierced if it makes you feel hot. Modesty does not mean let yourself go. I think, in fact, that sexual modesty should increase your sensitivity to sexual stimuli and focus it like a laser beam on making marital intimacy fire.

    I also think we need to a lot more sister parties and for those of us who are married, make sure to keep the sexy in your relationship. Flirt with your spouse!

  40. @ Saliha. I think you are really onto something about spending too much time in hijab. For hijabis that work a lot or for those who just in the public there can be a disconnect between you as a sensual being and the layers of clothing that you wear to negotiate the public sphere.

    Even now with increased technology (YouTube, podcasts) we are needing to present the hijabed self more often. It is in fact harder to distinguish between the public and the private. Then you also have that non-mahram thing.

    I have heard many hijabis say that “they don’t even realize there hijab is on anymore” or “its just like a second skin.” But the thing is that it is not skin!

    I know what those statements might be expressing is comfort (especially when people make the hijab so abject and political all the time) but I knew something was up when I organized a meeting for sisters (at a single sister’s house so there was no threat of male intrusion) and no one but me took their scarf off.

    We acknowledged it by joking about bad hair-but I was thinking dang sisters it can’t be that bad and if it is-let’s work on reclaiming our hair-trying out hairstyles, loving our various textures and length rather than acting like it doesn’t exist and staying covered all the time.

  41. @saliha and nodding to samira

    I agree. I think she’s on to something. I need to mull her words over for a while, allowing my thoughts to take shape.

    I love this entire paragraph:

    “I think one of the solutions is really putting more time and effort into the things that make us feel feminine underneath. Wear the sexiest, prettiest lingerie you can afford. Keep your hair neat and well groomed under that headscarf, if you wear one. I’ve put a lot of effort into finding hairstyles that look nice when I take off my scarf. Flat, matted “hijab hair” is not a must. Strategically place some perfume oil on certain spots, not so that anyone walking by knows all your business, but enough so that someone who hugs you notices. And always wear earrings, a necklace, anklets and/or bracelets if it makes you feel good. Shoot, get that navel pierced if it makes you feel hot. Modesty does not mean let yourself go. I think, in fact, that sexual modesty should increase your sensitivity to sexual stimuli and focus it like a laser beam on making marital intimacy fire.”

  42. Wow, great comments. I think that by denying these feelings we deny our true nature and instinct: to feel loved and have others (mainly the opposite sex) feel attracted to us. I have to admit, I wear the hijab, but at times I do feel “old” and “unattractive” in the hijab. Sometimes I do want other men to notice me, even though I am married and have a wonderful husband who compliments me almost every day. It’s something that is in all of us. Maybe that’s what makes hijab so hard sometimes. However, I do admit that I wear make-up, and I LOVE make-up, this is a weakness in me. Make-up makes me feel sexy and beautiful in the hijab, and I try to wear cute clothing to compliment it. I feel more confident and attractive. I have even talked to my husband about this (no he didn’t freak out!) and we both agreed that it is a perfectly natural feeling to want to be noticed and notice others. I even sometimes tell him “look at that girl Reza, she’s so beautiful” or “Wow, that guy on TV is handsome” and he either agrees or disagrees. There is no jealousy in our relationship because we trust each other. My husband is a college instructor, and sometimes girls, his present and former students, will email him or give him gifts. This doesn’t bother me a bit, because I know that he has given me his heart, and me his. I talk to other males, his friends or at work, and he knows this, because he knows that I will always be faithful to him. In conclusion, I think it’s fine to act out on your instincts in this culture where being noticed is such a big part of this (keep in mind that open behavior might not be accepted in some other cultures so I am just talking of this one).
    Anyway, sometimes we need to feel beautiful, not just on the outside but on the inside, and being vain creatures because Allah has made us that way, that’s why it’s such a blessing to keep your feelings in control by hijab. But sometimes a little make-up doesn’t hurt to make you feel like a woman, and I think in the end Allah understands and looks at your intentions.

  43. Salam,
    Masha’allah !! I converted to Islam 9 years ago, and I also tried very hard to watch the ladies in our mosque to see how to behave more proper than I was used to. I have always been told that my eyes smile for me, and yes I am a flirt as well. Maybe something to do with being a Scorpio too ??

    I believe many Muslim woman forget that they are WOMEN and not just a wife and mother !! They forget to take care of themselves and allow themselves to BE and FEEL sexy……..
    If your husband does not notice or give the attention us ladies need……………THEN WAKE HIM UP !! Surprise him, and you will also be surprised.

    If you are married then save the SEXY for him, but always remember Allah knows our intentions !!

  44. For sister Amina and her beautiful story,
    Love it, and love you already without knowing you. Keep up your strength. I admire your courage to never let go of who you truly are. You are my hero! :)

  45. Daud, for the sake of all that is good, calm down and enjoy freedom of speech. It’s refreshing.

  46. Salam Everyone,

    Cool post/blog Samah007. It was just sent to me from a sweetheart of a sister/friend.
    You asked –

    1.. Can a muslimah be hot and sexy?
    Yeah, Ithink she can, on her own turf.

    When she’s out and about, that’s another story.
    She can look good by wearing nice clothes, a clean hijab, or well kept hair if she’s not a hijabi. Not the flashy kinda crapola that’s out there.

    I don’t know how many hijabi Muslim women I have seen in over 30 years wearing the rankiest, stinkiest, dirtiest, tattered hijabs ever so as to not draw attention to them or because they have lots of stuff to take care of other than washing their hijabs….no sarcasm there, just a fact of life…(that’s a hint guys, do the laundry)

    The reality is those are the kinda hijabi’s who get noticed because of their sloppiness. It only generates a ton of negative vibes from almost everyone, Muslim or non.
    I mean really, ewwww.

    There is nothing wrong with showing a humbleness of pride in our public appearances. It’s not any oxymoronic thang to say either. Just check on your intentions before you head out the door. Inshallah.

    2. The quiet demure Muslimah description you asked about. hahahahahaha. Seriously. hahahahhaa.

    Women are women. We talk, we laugh, we cry, etc.
    Trying to get me to be otherwise is a bunch of hoooey.
    Bend the rib, don’t break it.

    Yeah sure I should lower my voice, etc. when I am out and about in public. And that’s cool, but don’t try to break my spirit in the process.

    Sometimes when I am in meetings with the dudes of the masjid, (I am on the committee), I say stuff.

    Lots of times, really, I just listen. But when I do talk I attempt to keep it short and to the point with a touch of my Irish sarcasm to boot. That’s because it’s me, it’s who I am, I am not going to deny it. I am not an Arab, or a Malay, or a Pak or a Indi Muslim, as Popeye used to say, I yam what I yam….in other words my way does in it’s own due course, gets the point across.

    We are reminded about the diversity of mankind to learn from not to hide from or deny it’s existence.

    Like I wrote, when I/we am/are silent, people listen. Less is more. hahahaha on me with this long response.

    And what about culture clash? It’s a clash of values, ideas, morals…. What happens when your culture clashes with some of the Islamic teachings?

    Then maybe we need to do our best to tone it down, take out the bad that contradicts the Islamic teachings but don’t end up being a prude in the process. This uppity stuff just reminds me of other religionists with their holier than thou attitudes. Yuck. It’s like everyone’s a judge and we’re all going to burn in hell. Think Mercy, not just for yourself but for your fellow humankind. I wrote humankind, not Muslims only, get my point? We’re all in this together folks. No need for anyone to be sitting on their high horses without a 10 foot ladder to descend from.

    3.What is appropriate Muslimah behavior? For that ? I would like to refer to a story of Aisha (May Allah Bless her) the Prophet’s (PBUH) wife.

    The story of when she was jealous of her co wife who had more to offer the dinner guests of the Prophet (PBUH) than what Aisha (MABH) had to offer in her food stores.

    She threw the plate of food on the floor in a jealous rage. Broke the plate, ruined the food, did not get yelled at, or hit, or anything like that but was told to replace all that she destroyed.

    Is that appropriate behavior for a wife of the Prophet (PBUH)? (or any of us regular folk?)

    No, not really, but it does show her humanity. Ain’t no one perfect.

    We have guidelines, we do our best to follow them, sometimes we mess up, sometimes we follow them really nicely and it’s great when we do.

    Also, on a personal note: as a meno….pausal Muslim American hippie hen, of many years,
    what I be is what I be. And in the being I do mess up, but still carry on. Go back to the rib, bend it, don’t break it.

    Thanks again for the cool post and enlightening discussions from ya’all. I appreciate it.

    Peace Out.

  47. Jam- once upon a time I used to go to a sister’s gathering every month or so where we would discuss a pre-arranged topic- Washing of the Dead (that one has helped was truly educational); discussion on famous poets like Rummi and Hafiz; and even a memorable one on the famous or infamous character of the Mulla Nasrudin (we laughed, cried and had some heated moments with this topic); and some were on books like “Living Islam Out Loud”; the novel called “The Saddlebag” on the occurrences of a group of people and a corpse during a Hajj…

    Those halaqat were extraordinary because we would bring material to support our comments; the host sister had a prodigous library for us to hunt down references- and we always came prepared for the topic or book discussion because the sister would email us at least two months in advance- one day a sister (who had given birth recently) called in so we could put her on loud speaker- she so did NOT want to miss our discussion…

    Those were happy days- our husbands would get together at another house and we would chip in to have food delivered and pay for a few teenagers to watch the kids that were of the “mobile” age…

    There wasn’t a topic we didn’t think off limits…alas those women have all moved on… Some had to part to go back to native countries…others now too busy even for the phone call- and the one thorn in all this is that one sister who at the beginning had been single then to the end married an ultra-controlling and of “interesting leanings” in Islam husband- became someone we did not recognize- and the last two halaqat deteriorated into “our now irreparable ways”; our sinful tendencies; our innappropriate hijabs; and gasp! Women taking their jilabs, abayas, and hijabs off in a gathering of women…she stated in the last session that she had described us to her husband- “because she kept no secrets from him” and he had called us all deviated hussies!!!

    So we went from being interesting three dimensional people- to forced flat cardboard cookie cutters- there went our gatherings…

  48. Pingback: Friday Links — March 13, 2009 « Muslimah Media Watch

  49. asa. jak for the thought-provoking post. i feel my best when i am healthy and fit. knowing that i can run for more than an hour makes me feel good about myself and affects the way that i carry myself.
    one day it hit me that my wardrobe was comprised primarily of outdoor-clothes…no short skirts, halters, etc. and who wants to be all bundled up at home. alhamdulillah, i made some much needed changes which my husband also appreciates.
    many aspects @ islam seem unatural or forced to this revert. e.g., my daughter participates in an enrichment activities. there is another black girl in the class. her father brings her. back in the day i would have introduced myself or at the very least acknowledged the brother bc that is what black folks do. i don’t like and feel uncomfortable not acknowledging another black person, especially when they are the only other black person in the room. for now, i have remained silent but on the inside i am so glad that there is another little girl in the class who looks like mine and am so glad that her father brings her.

    • muslimahlocs, I recently decided to break out of not talking to other Black people the way I used to. (Well, I actually mean Black men, I speak to Black women, lol). The way I see it is like this: I need that connection- especially at work. When I wasn’t interacting with Black men (in addition to Black women) the way I do now I was left out of the loop and had to fend for myself. I realize part of the reason I felt so isolated is because I wasn’t receiving support on any front. (Again, especially at work). Most of the Muslims here are immigrants and refugees. It seems we have two very different agendas so I couldn’t turn to them for support the way I can with other Black people (Muslim or not.) Some of the Black men look surprised because they’re used to Muslim women (women who look and dress like me) staying away completely and not even looking them in the face. But once they discover I’m “Black” they’re like, Oh, okay, I get it!

      Do I believe I may be treading on dangerous ground? Sometimes yes. Honestly, I haven’t figure out how to make this all work out just yet. Insha’allah…

  50. I absolutely loved this post! I tried my best to skim through the comments in hopes that I don’t repeat what anyone said.

    But basically this is how I see it. Allah loves beauty and I believe hijab was a way not only for women to “cover” or be “modest” but to show off their beauty in a subtle way.

    What I mean by this is, if you look at today’s society a lot of women have lost that bit of femininity and hijab brings that back to the surface.

    What’s sexier than a well dressed Muslim woman in a flowing outfit that conceals just enough to keep people guessing? When a woman goes out in super tight outfits leaving little to the imagination, it’s not sexy… it’s boring.

    If I ever feel down about hijab I try to turn it around and look at it positively. When I see Muslim women who know how to dress to the nines.. there is something sexy and sophisticated about them.

    Sexy does not have to be something sleazy or left for the bedroom, it can be used to describe a real woman. A woman who knows how to be confident and show her femininity instead of hiding in genderless attire.

    I’m not sure if I’m making sense.. but that’s just how I feel about it :)

  51. as a cultural and islamic woman i find that most traditions seem to define themselves based on what the women are doing. many times i think a woman has two selves- the natural, sexual self, who wants to do what comes normally, and the more refined, spiritual self, who recognizes her own value and is careful about how- and whom- she displays her charms to. for black muslims especially sometimes the war is between the african and the islamic self. i am in the midst now of making some spiritual transitions- and i think this topic is an important one. i discussed it in a myspace blog, part of which i will share here, with your permission…

    People seem to think that because a woman is in a headwrap or long skirt or loose clothes that she loses her sexuality, and that is just not true. However, that sexuality is not for everyone to see. If it is not directed towards you, then we do not feel we need to show you anything. I think of it like this. I once bought a beautiful cloth from an Indian store in Chicago. It was turquoise, like the sea, and threaded with gold. I wanted to use it to wrap my head, but since it was silk, it was too slippery. But I knew it was too pretty to just stick up in the closet. So I cut a little piece off and used it for my altar. Then I cut another little piece of and used it to cover part of my countertop. Then I cut another piece off and did something that I don’t even remember now. The more I cut it, the more raggedy it got. The strings started hanging off all the little pieces. Soon they looked dirty and wrinkled, even after I washed them. All those little dingy pieces didn’t look anything like the cloth I had bought that was laced with gold.

    Now I ain’t comparing a woman to a scarf, by any means. But what I am trying to say is that women in our lifestyle do not give out pieces of themselves to any man that walks by. Under the scarves and the long skirts, we are still sexual, still woman, still like to lay up under a strongback man on a hot day. But he gotta come correct. Men with a lotta drama…lotta women…lotta bad habits…we pull our cloths around us and keep going. For the brother that is righteous, well….that’s between him and us.

  52. Growing up as a Muslima in the U.S. I was never told by my religious parents what kind of clothes I should wear or whether my behavior was appropriate or not. When I was 15 yrs old I wore my hijab on my own. I wasnt forced to do it by my parents or anyone else- I did it for Allah.

    I don’t have problems with other mutahajiba’s in terms of my dress (I wear jeans/dress pants almost all the time). I do, however, find it offensive when a non-mutahajiba trying to lecture me on what’s appropriate mutahajiba behavior/actions/places to go/dress, etc. I’ve been told my non-mutahajiba girls that arent the slightest religious: “your hair is showing” or “you shouldnt act that way, you should be more quiet” or “you went to a concert? thats not a place for a mutahajibah!” etc. etc. Oh my Allah!

    I don’t appreciate non-mutahajiba’s or even mutahajiba’s to tell me how to act or what to wear. I wear what I think Allah will be pleased with. I am on this earth to please HIM and no one else. If anyone was told anything like that they should definately stand up for themselves and not allow anyone to judge them. Remind them that Allah does the judging..if they want to give advice they should take it somewhere else.

  53. “Instead of coming across as shy or demure when interacting with the opposite sex, I often came across as rude, aloof, stuck up, cold or unnecessarily formal.”

    As a Muslim (man), let me say, you must have been doing something right; this is exactly how 99% of Muslim girls are. LOL

    • Those who follow the rulles of Allah ta ala, are not rude. They are just muslims. you are not welcomed and suposse to be friend, or ‘nice’ and ‘soo charming and chatti’ with a girl(muslimah) get real and don’t feel ofended, just back off when u see a sister. just have distance between them, or else u must been mistaking the religion.

  54. Ms AlleSanDr|a

    Hi, I’m a Muslimah too. N I know what u mean ;) Usually I would wear clothes that has at least a waist cutting, but not fitting! N I would apply some light make-up.

    Being confident in my fashion sense is sexy to me ;)

  55. As-salamu alaikum wa rahmetullahi wa barakatuh all u muslims. this is an interesting subject, but I just don’t understand how come u ask such thing.. I mean I don’t know how long time u have been muslim and how much knowledge u have, and the thing that u said, please don’t come with aya from the qur’an or hadith.. then hey if u don’t want islamic opinion, why ask muslims for something like that, just go out and act like a disbeliver? cuz a real muslim go after the wur’an and sunnah.. go then and flirt and do whatever to get attention. so MY advice (itaqullah) fear Allah, and u don’t have to be shy or whatever other things u got to know how to be, fear Allah and u will hate to have attention in that way, from men that are not halal for u, because they are jahanam for u. If u want to be sexy and everything else u wish to be, and feel beautiful, be that to ur husband, because others have no right to see u that way.. I MEAN IF U R MUSLIM. and one should feel ashame, and subhanAllah this is a very strange subjact, a muslimah woman to ask for advice of other how to solve this, if she want to show her sexynes and get attention. come one.. la hawla wala quwata ila bilah.

  56. salam shahidah…

    islam is perfect cz it come from ALLAH..the only GOD..The God who create us..So HE know what is the best for us..everything that HE ask to do should have hikmah (good reason) beside it..sometime we can find the answer but sometime we can’t..

    so, shahidah, i think you should to learn more about islam..you should ask the one who close with ALLAH..you should to read more about islam.then u will find the truth.

    our destination are same.heaven.heaven for people who follow the rule.in 1000,only 1 will to heaven.the other wiil to hell.so, lets us ask ourselve,we r in manority or majority?..only minority will follow the rule.

    shahidah, i have a lot to say but i’m not good in english.cannot to explain in english..i just hope u will obey the syariat..
    salam..

  57. I find this topic so fascinating. I am Jamaican, living in Jamaica but I am not a muslim. I went to visit some friends in the Middle East and my eyes were open. First of all, the women discussed sexual topics openly. Many stores downtown had sexy lingerie on display. The air was thick with sensuality. Yet, the women were 100% times more feminine and sexy than the exposed women on the streets of Kingston.

    I really think that sensuality is all about confidence. It is the way you walk, the way you hold your head. It is an aura. Dressing for yourself and your spouse is also a huge confidence booster. I threw out all my frumpy undies and nighties, I have become more playful. Such a small change has made a big difference. I also feel younger. People have made these comments.

    Most days I do look muslim as I wear modest clothes. I do not wear a hijab but I do wrap my hair at times. Contrary to popular opinion here, this has made me “mysterious” rather than “nun-like”. I have only ever had positive feedback. Again this also has boosted my confidence which in turn has made me feel more feminine.

    So I say, sure go ahead and explore your sensual side, put on that mascara and a pretty hijab. Slap on some heels and some unique jewellery. As a Caribbean woman I know the importance of colours, textures and smells. Have some fun.

  58. asalam walaaikum hi samaah i was born muslim but i spoke with you before about wearing my khimar etc. part of the reason i didnt want to cover was due to my insecurities within then u myself. i even emailed u seeking advice. and a humdillah. i am covered now and still sexy. thank u allah im already married. my husband loves how i coordinate my khinatr and clothes or overgarmet etc. sis you are a blessing. but i must share something with you. i live in brooklyn nyc. where one day i was on train iwasnt covered yet. but an orthodox Jew (no im not discrimatory against ANYONE) but he started off making small friendly talk then being. overly flirtatious talking about see thru blouses and my breasts and other sexually blunt things. i felt so disgusting . and i guess my aspect of life changed. is it the only way i feel beautiful is if a man is gawking at my behind or my top half. no if u need to expose yourself and solicit in an unmannerable to feel sexy u need to look deeper into yourself. at times i want to go get my hair done and show it off. but now its ramadan kareem and all i want to do is thank allah and ask for forgiveness. and show my husband how im all his . and when i get home and the kids are sleep. i hope this is not haram. but i throw on my fishnets for my hubby. but i must say im one fly modest confident, smart SEXY hijab muslimah. Why show what you have isnt that desrving to your companion? or better yet showing all your goods and extra “qualities” what is left for a person to wonder youve put ita ll out there. nothing left that just for your husbands eyes. allah doesnt want his most precious creatures(women) to be sexual eyecandy . we are meant to be respected partners and wives. and remeber sisters hijanb niqab whatever. the eyes are the most revealing and sexy thing next to your heart n soul. ps i love u smah and thank u ill send u pics of me dipped and dapper muslimah style

    • Ebony view my comment on this article, I agreed with your point of view, all women are gifts from God not pieces of meat in a butcher’s store window, I admire your convictions to please only your husband, a custom all women should obey and men should protect

  59. oh yeah being overly shy or submissive has never been sexy either . playing dumb , or acting so shy u seem a bit u know ? um slow. as long as u r not throwing yourself at brothers its amazing what people find flirtattious its not ur fault some of us have charm with captivating eyes n smiles. well anyway i dont wanna be like any other sister if we all acted the same life would be wack different people different perrsonalities. as long as u r not flirting with someones hubby

  60. This is a very interesting topic I have no comment of my own other than you have lot courage to bring this topic forth.

  61. Hi,

    I just found your blog this evening, and I am sooooooo loving it. I know you posted this over a year ago, but I definitely am glad I found the entry. I’m a new revert, and am struggling to balance my old life with my new life—your posts are inspiration and encouragement.

  62. In my view, sexiness is a frame of mind and not a goal or measurement to achieve, I do not wish to regale you with passages from my faith that I believe has help me to express my own individual sexual acumen. As the word is defined in the dictionary; Sexy or sexiness is defined; 1. Sexually interesting or exciting; “radiating” (incandescent as in giving off and not showing out) sexuality: the sexiest professor on campus. 2. Excitingly appealing; glamorous. As you can see by these two examples sexiness is a frame of mind and not a physical characteristic, and it boils down to personal preference as what is sexy to me may be lame to someone else. I think Muslim women are beautiful (sexy) I can tell by looking in her eyes, you can cover a woman’s body but you can not hide her spirit. As I read your article I thought I would never want to suppress the beauty of a woman. And according to my faith, my God made every woman beautiful but only to one man, “Genesis 2:18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Focus on the word “helper” and notice it did not say “helper(s)” I find no crime in expressing the beauty of a woman as long as you are practicing self control and not fishing for her phone number a na-no second after paying her a compliment. The fact that the traditional Muslim woman is dressed from head to toe makes her all the more appealing to me, but I have see unappealing Muslims I am not talking the shape of their bodies; I have seen Muslim and non-Muslim women I will not give a second look to. For me the beauty of a woman is not in her hips or the shade of lipstick on her lips but in her spirit, when she walks talk she is amazingly beautiful. My preference I do not care for shy women, I mean she does not have to be rowdy drinking and cussing like a sailor on shore leave, but I find modesty and intelligence very sexy in any woman. Because of how I was raised not talking spiritually wise but environment wise and I was raise by my father to appreciate women to respect them by my mother, both of their contributions gives me respect from women that like me. And I get respect from those even if they don’t like me. (Another topic, another time) bottom line women, all women Muslim included deserve what they are due, respect, honor and appreciation, because they are all sexy.

  63. As Salamu alaykum,

    Firstly I would like to say that a Muslimah can only be sexual in any way with her husband. Any other sexiness is regarded as inappropriate and the Sahaba would get mad to the point that they would tell the wife she better watch herself. So lets be real sis! I see the Ghetto style you are coming with so lets take it there!
    1) In the Quran is the blueprint for how you must act!
    2) In the Sunnah the Prophet (saw) was shyer than a Virgin and Uthman Ibn Affan (Ra) was so shy he was rewarded with too daughters of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) and thus was called Dhun Nurayn.

    I understand your frustration being a Revert myself, its like this for brothers too, No one way streets, Sisters be flirting that is for sure! Lets just say that! Brothers flirt more! But the problem arrives at the allowance of the Eyes to Wander and then the body follows and this is why they will testify before Allah against you for letting anything come into the heart to move them!

    If a sister wants to get freaky so to speak! Do it with your hubby at night while the kids are asleep!

    Then go from Hijabee too Victorias Secret its all good! Ameen!

    Ustadh Luqman

    • As Salaam Alaikum
      Ustadh, Barak Allahi Feekum! I appreciate your comments and ask Allah to increase you in Al Khair, Ameen. It appears that the majority of the people don’t understand the principles of this Deen with regard to inter-personal relationship and the code of dress and conduct, so they say things like “you have lot courage to bring this topic forth.”, I would say it’s not “Courage” I’d say it is a lack of knowledge. I love sexy in the privacy of my home, if we’re out at a hotel, resort or other than that but between me and my family. I love it when my women messages me and I do the same for her and I love when we cuddle and share intimate moments.

      Let me be clear, I love to see my wives in body stockings, G-strings and other “Sexy” attire. Smelling sweet and with henna and other adornments, but know that it mine and mine alone, not like the females (Not yet a Women) that parade around with all of their skin on display, alluring every eye towards lust and sin. May Allah protect us from the evil of what they intend, Ameen!

  64. Assalam aleykum,

    Sister, we wear hijab out of love for ourselves, our brothers, and our sisters. I am Latina convert and I know that I am extremely attractive to men and women alike. Before my shahada, I would flaunt my God-given gifts around like I was the owner of such beauty. I didn’t think twice that I was encouraging men to look away from their wives, and at me. I didn’t think twice that there were other women around me who were not given “good looks” and that I was causing them to feel bad about themselves. I was harming my brothers and sisters in humanity because of my own desire to feel sexy.

    Islam taught me to be careful in everything that I do because I can harm others if I am irresponsible with the gifts he gave me. We will be held accountable on the Judgement Day for not protecting ourselves and others from things that will harm them.

    Muslimahs who flirt with Muslim men and draw gazes toward them, despite the fact that they are covered, are harming their brothers and sisters. This is haram, clear for everyone to see.

    If you want to feel attractive, dress up for yourself and belly dance at home or at a sister’s party.

    Oh and shame on the brothers who posted that they would Muslim women to loosen up around them. I bet you won’t tell that to your daughter.

    In conclusion, feeling sexy is something to do in private. No one has the right to introduce desire and all those things of the lower self into the public sphere, where humans are bound to get hurt.

  65. As salaamu alaykum to you all!

    There are several factors that need to be taken into account when looking at this subject and mashaa’Allah, the comments have covered many of them very well. The things I have been through and witnessed over the 22+ years I’ve been Muslim may be worth sharing on this topic.

    1. I became Muslim in Bahrain, so I was in the normal Islamic society where women wear their abaya and hijab as their outside clothes. The second we get into each others houses we remove them. That means we always make an effort to look decent/good/nice (choose your word, lol). Feeling good about oneself and sexy isn’t something that just comes from male attention. It is something directly related to wearing clothes and presenting oneself in a way that one feels good. The first thing I noticed in the USA and UK is that many sisters stay for a whole visit without taking off their abaya or hijab. Strange indeed! How will anyone feel good if they never sit like normal human beings chatting and discussing their hairstyles, complimenting each other on clothes, etc? It is wholly unnatural. Wear nice clothes and take your abaya off in female company so you can get your personal “feel good” back.

    2. As a new Muslimah, I was just like you. I have a bubbly personality and enjoy playful banter. Trying to find a balance between my behavior and what Islam requires of me was a struggle. I wore very nice long skirts with matching hijabs, colorful accessories, and got plenty of attention. I knew it wasn’t “Islamic” attention and hated having to deal with men approaching me or ogling me. That obviously wasn’t “right,” so I prayed to Allah for guidance on how to present myself and conduct myself. I stopped the make-up and made the clothes a bit less flashy. I had more restraint in daily interactions. However, I was far from “there.” I went through a phase of wearing abayas and my emaan increased greatly, but after landing a high-profile job, I went back to the modest covered, business attire. It was only after marriage that I finally started wearing abayas full time. How long did all that “process” take? 14 years! After another two years, I put on the niqaab…happily. Allah answered my dua’, but He set the timeline to suit my stage of development. Each one of us has to go through different stages to get somewhere good. There really aren’t any shortcuts.

    3.I have a mindset which may help, or even satisfy, some of that need to feel sexy. I dress to accentuate my physical features for my husband. I also have clothes I feel great in, even if they aren’t the same ones that my husband likes. I have to please both of us, after all. I also think to myself, when I cover it all up and go out as covered as can be, that what I have underneath that “front” is really good stuff. I know that if I wasn’t covered very well or wearing niqab that I would draw some attention. That is enough for me. To know that I have something the plenty of men would be excited to have, but I’m not giving the pleasure of seeing it, satisfies me. It’s sort of a “Naa, naa, na, naa, naa – you can’t see me!” thing. It’s not even dependent on me having a husband to reaffirm my desirability. I KNOW I am desirable, I KNOW I have many attractive features, and I feel good, wa al hamdul’Illah.

    It is not so much about others making you feel sexy or desirable. It is about YOU feeling good about yourself. The desire to look good and be considered sexy to others is born out of insufficient self confidence. Allah created you…therefore you are beautiful! Seek His guidance to build up your confidence and, inshaa’Allah, you will find yourself walking tall even if you are wearing a tent! Hopefully it won’t take you as long as it took me!

    • Salaam Mai,

      Do you think that perhaps you became more religious or began to “hide” more of your attractiveness & sexiness because you got married? For years, I’ve always told myself that I would be more religious and wear more modest clothing once I find the man of my dreams and marry. I find it extremely difficult to wear the correct Islamic dress AND marry a decent man. I notice that more and more men these days are marrying non-Muslimas or converts or non-muhajabat girls. I am in my early 30s and I know of many girls who are even older than me who are also covered who arent married. Most of the girls marrying these days are not covered- I have a belief that it stems from 911.

      • @Sarah W, over the years the depth of my religion grew and marriage just pushed it even further along. I always wore hijab though and was happiest in correct Islamic dress. BUT, I cannot help but wonder where on earth you are that the brothers don’t want sisters who cover! I don’t know any brothers who want sisters who don’t cover. It is a prerequisite, along with serious commitment to deen. I think you are fishing in a cesspool, rather than a freshwater lake. Good, practicing sisters are hard to find…as are brothers. But there are plenty of them looking for good partners.

        Believe me, if you can’t find a husband without uncovering, he isn’t worth finding. Contact me privately if you want me to check for good prospects. We have a list, LOL.

  66. Oops! Salaam alaykum again.

    One other thing that I think is important is your mindset on WHY you cover. I am pasting a post from my blog herein, because having a clear mindset about why I am covering, it gives it a whole new purpose and gives me a great feeling of pride in doing it.

    “I once used an analogy with some students about why I wear hijab/niqab. Obviously, it is not the whole reason…but it puts across the basic concept.

    I said, “If you had a cheese sandwich every day and loved it, you would be happy and content every day with that sandwich and look forward to eating it. When someone comes along and offers you peanut butter and jelly or chicken, then you start to become discontent with the cheese, wanting more variety. I cover because I don’t want to put more choices in front of the eyes of men. I want them to be content and happy with what they already have.”

    Okay, that’s enough of my rusty 2 cents on this subject.

    Salaams to you all!

  67. Salam Alaikum!!
    Can I re-blog this?
    My friend since i was 11, told me that there was a term : hijabi prostitute.
    He was actually talking abt this and more..
    MashaAllah.
    Please let me know if I can re-blog this ..
    thank you.

    HUGS!

    • I remember reading this a few years ago when initially published. And seeing all these comments are like WOW…why so close minded people?
      The religion is not meant to be an iron fist of repression of perfectly normal thoughts and queries.

      All I can do is sigh. Lighten up…just a bit.

  68. why can’t we do as the words of the song says and “let it be” I like women short tall, Islamic, Christian whatever, as long as they are true to them self, their faith and they are not misleading in their attitude or manners. I do not like the terms “sexy,” “hot,” “fine” or any other adjective that pushes a woman to be more then she is to attract a man’s attention. There is nothign wrong with being demure, soft, delicate. A woman can be both beautiful and reserved without being a “vixen” or “hottie.” My mother attracted my father and she did not look anything like Hallie Berry or Queen Latifa, if you like plus size women, and she did alright with her sexuality.

  69. Asallamu Alaikum Sister,
    I am a convert these several years, and though I am a man, I have been faced with the daily choices each muslim must make in this life of the western world. Will I do as I want, that which satisfies me, or will I do as I believe and have been taught, is satisfying to Allah (SWT)? That one realizes that there is a choice to be daily made is a blessing, and one simply asks for strength to be submissive to Allah (SWT). Though many times I feel like I know what is best for me, as I pray each time every day I remember that it is Allah (SWT) who knows and has always known what is best for me. This is the heart of my daily struggle to please my creator. My one fear in this life is that at the end of it I will have to stand before my creator and have my every thought, action, and word revealed and judged. I am sure that I will fall far short of that which I was able to have achieved, but I will continue to try to live up to the example so perfectly made for my conduct by the prophet Muhammad (SAW). So sisters I share your strugle though that which challenges me may be different from those things which challenge you as women. But I know that each of us, through patient perservence and prayer, can make those choices which will honor our creator and emulate our prophet in his perfect example. My most fervent prayer is that someday my faith will have strengthened to the point that I may be a worthy partner to a muslima who is strong in both her self, and her faith.

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