More On “Muslimah Sexiness”

Let’s leave aside the motivations of men for a second and let’s talk about sisters. Why do you think other Muslim women push the idea that we all have to be quiet, demure, soft-spoken, dull and practically afraid of men? If a woman is stylish (in terms of her dress), friendly, assertive , and outspoken why do some Muslim women rush to give her an “Islamic” makeover?

My opinion:
For one, I think the same brand of female cattiness and competition that I witness in the dunya is present in the masjid and in the Muslim community. I have noticed how sisters size one another up in the masjid, how they will cut another woman down (under the guise of giving nasiha or advice) out of what is clearly jealousy, and, let’s be honest, the fear that their husband might “notice” a sister who is attractive. Sometimes it’s as if our minds can’t process the idea that we are different, that we are diverse in terms of personality, style of dress, and ideas about femininity. We are not a uniform group. In fact, we constantly say as much when talking to non-Muslims! We want them to accept our diversity as Muslim women, yet when we are together, it seems like we rush to whip one another into conformity.

Secondly, I feel like sisters are trying to beat one another at the piety game and the strictest sister wins! I’ll never forget the day I was at the masjid and a group of women I was sitting with started discussing thong underwear and how non-Muslim women were foolish (read:whorish) for wearing those things. Though the women didn’t quite say they were haram, you got the idea that they were unacceptable. I could not keep my mouth shut any longer. I asked them how underwear could be considered unacceptable from an Islamic perspective. Isn’t that a personal choice? And why is it any of our business what someone is wearing underneath their clothing? Boy, they looked at me like I was harlot extraordinaire.

Lastly, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that SOME SISTERS are using Islam to mask their own personal issues with self-esteem and insecurity. I say this not to be arrogant or mean but to speak the truth. We need to put this on the table. There are sisters who do not feel good about themselves and rather then address their issues they become the most aggressive, outspoken advocates of “proper” Islamic dress and “proper” Islamic behavior. If they see a sister who is attractive and confident they feel threatened by her. Some of them worry that their husbands will see the sister and desire her. And, as the story goes with insecure women, rather than say “mashallah” or admire the sister’s beauty they take her presence as condemnation of their own existence. Claws come out and the haya police are on patrol. I leave you with an example:

I attended a masjid picnic. I had already received glares from some sisters because I had shown up wearing a long-sleeved shirt, a reddish flair skirt and gold sandals (feet out) instead of an abaya and closed-toed shoes. Another sister- let’s call her Dina for clarity’s sake- who is very beautiful, mashallah, came to the picnic wearing a long shirt and pants with a matching shayla wrap. There is something very fashion-model about Dina. It might be her build (she is slim), her height (she is tall) or her facial features (which are unique, soft and alluring). She carries herself with quiet confidence. I could feel some of the women becoming uneasy. If I received glares they were feeling very threatened by her. (Keep in mind the men were not far away from us). After hanging out for some time, one of the sisters abruptly asked Dina why she was wearing pants. Didn’t she know pants were haram? She also asked why “this” was hanging out. (Dina’s shayla had moved to the side and was showing a bit of her neck). I glance around and noticed the other women with smiles on their faces or nods of approval. Clearly, Dina was taken aback. She started to explain her view on pants while simultaneously shifting her hijab. I was pissed off because I could tell jealously, not concern was the sister’s motivation. I had seen her sizing Dina up while quickly giving herself a once over. I interjected and asked what was wrong with what Dina was wearing. Her shirt was practically to her knees. Furthermore, why was she calling Dina out in front of everyone?

Later, I walked up to Dina and another sister. Dina was on the verge of tears and the sister she was standing with was assuring her that the other sisters were concerned for her, that they want for their sisters what they want for themselves, and they really didn’t mean any harm. I have never heard such a load of b.s. before in my life. I told Dina plainly, the sister was rude to you. There is no justification for what she did. Dina thanked me for coming to aid.

I wish I could’ve told her the real truth: you are beautiful and confident. That is why she the sister chose to publicly shame you. Something about your demeanor, your air, dug deep down into the well of these sisters’ insecurities and they needed to make you feel small. (It didn’t help that their husbands were not far away either). It had nothing to do with her pants, hijab, haya or concern. It was nothing more than age old jealousy, for that I apologize sister.

Let’s discuss.

62 responses to “More On “Muslimah Sexiness”

  1. ooowie, you have never lied! Shortly after I got married I moved to philly. Now me being from Minnesota, I didn’t wear black, no niqab, no gloves and I like lighter colors. Those sisters looked down their nose at me and told my husband that I was going to hell. Nevermind, some sisters that cover the most are the biggest hellraisers. Cattiness is in full effect in the Muslim community. Some under the pretense of helping you are actually trying to shame you and put you down. Case in point..we have a lot of sisters from somewhere(oh I don’t know, maybe eastern Africa) who wear long skirts and the hijab down to their ankles. Anyone that walks in with something other than what they are wearing instantly gets a side eye and the whispering starts.

    I believe..maybe, no, a lot of us as Muslimah’s have let ourselves go, we get married, gain weight and get comfortable, trust I picked up 40 pounds after marriage. Then you see a nice looking, sexy diva Muslimah strutting in with heels and her designer shades and it’s on and popping. The goal of the day is to shut her down and make her self esteem so low under the guise of bettering her Islam, “oh sister, you shouldn’t wear that, or you shouldn’t walk like that, or you shouldn’t swallow like that, damn, you shouldn’t even breathe like that.”

    Maybe, competition is high amongst the Muslimah’s to get and keep a Muslim man, we not only have to deal with each other, but with the non-believers(cause you know these brothers will stress that argument to death, though, I personally don’t believe that women of the book exist today, but that’s a whole different topic) If the Muslimah’s can break down a pretty sister, then maybe she won’t come to the Masjid as much and then they don’t have to worry about her catching their husband’s eye.

    I believe that you can be outspoken, assertive and friendly, I for one am not softspoken in the workplace, I am assertive and I don’t hesitate to challenge a man. If a Muslimah pretends to be,”quite, demure, soft-spoken, dull and practically afraid of men,” and she is not where does that benefit her?

  2. Wow Jamerican, I think you have summarized what I’ve been thinking for a while now. I can’t add anything to the discussion right now, but WOW!

  3. I couldn’t agree with you more!

  4. OH Dang! I just read Sula and The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison so the ideas of jealously, ostracization and the harmfulness of a fixation on narrow definitions beauty are all on my mind. First I have to say that most of us have seen this our whole lives-in and outside of Muslim circles. Remember how the guys acted everytime a new (good looking) girl showed up to school? Remember how, inevitably, the girls found a way to find flaws in this girl-to hate on her no matter how nice she was?

    Hmm. What to say? There is indeed some hater-ation within women especially when it comes to feeling one upped by another women in the looks (and boldness) department. Wonder why we don’t compete over whose read the most or knows the most Qur’an? Nah, many of us just leave that up to the brothers.

    Is it because we are too aware of the fact that many of us are powerless in our communities and within our individual lives so we police other sisters to try to get some type of leverage?

    Is it because we go into Islam thinking that we won’t be judged by our looks-although we still rest notions of piety completely on how we look-and we get angry when a beautiful, confident sister disrupts this uniformity exposing the fact that we have confidence issues and anger that we hide under the biggest khimar and jilbab?

    I don’t know -JAM- I don’t like the way sisters gang up on each other and I do think that we as women have to take responsibility for our behaviors.

    At the same time- is there a way that the competition for access to male power and privilege through marriage produces these behaviors? Do you think if some Muslim women had more going for their identities than the idea of being desirable to a husband or hanging on his coattails that they would care as much about how some other sister looked?

  5. I can relate SO much to that post… After being for a while on the ‘other’ side (after being ‘brainwashed’ by the haya police), I realized nothing in islam says you have to look ridiculous or wear only black. I decided I wanted to look pretty again and that modesty didn’t have to rhyme with ugliness and conformity. Now, I see the glances you’re talking about and if I don’t wear my hijab ‘like we should’, wrapped around my head twice with a pin here and another one there, I feel I’m in front of the court – even with my own ‘friends’. As if it has something to do with eman, subhanallah!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts out loud, I finally see that I’m not the only one having them ;).

  6. Sis, now its my turn to say thank you! I have seen so much of what you’re saying and then some, to keep me away from forming friendships or even superficial acquaintances with Muslimat. Sad ain’t it?!

    Yes these women ARE afraid of their husband’s roving eyes (when you got the privilege of having four wives, them eyes will always be searching and wives who fear those eyes will do anything to another woman so the woman can’t be seen); afraid that she may not have what it takes to be the same as the one they are so juicily shredding to pieces; then of course, “I can make myself feel taller if I cut you down a notch or two” huh? And because they have believed it is better to be “barefoot and pregnant”, so shy read terrified -that you wouldn’t dare be what you need to be- maybe going back to school; maybe going to work to feel alive; maybe losing those pounds that are entirely your complainsencey’s fault; that they are not waking up and smelling the coffee and stopping to realize for a long moment that what comes out of their mouth is not sanctioned by Allah – only the Prophet SAW had that privilege…it may be causing more harm in their book than helping any Muslimat out there…

    What I don’t understand is why this behaviour is not seen as being just as bad if not worse than backbitting- oh yes excuse me, its not backbitting if I tell her to her face in the most Islamically worded way as possible! And where are all those rules written? The pants, the color thing, the intelligence that must be lacking; the authenticity that needs to go underground so we can all be one happy ummah… Its like the invention of the bra and girdle for women- a man’s idea of caging!

    I don’t buy it; won’t agree to it consciously or not – there is something intrinsically wrong with our Muslim society that many will not see, examine, admit to -let alone discuss. A pack of blind men/women leading the blind over a cliff from where I’m standing in an isolation I would rather not have but must if I am to survive as a human being…

  7. I agree. I see that a lot. It is sad. Some women say they are very religious… They read the Quran wear Niqabs, Jilbabs etc. And yet they still talk about other sisters in a bad way… I find that to be disgusting. I really feel bad for “Dina” though. Its good that you spoke up for her. May Allah, Reward you Insha’ Allah. This all the Shaytaans doing. They follow his wishes when they put another Muslim down like that. In the Masjid it happens a lot. I partially agree with Sakeenah I also see that in the Horn African community. As an Horn African I have witnessed this kind of a situation. But not all Horn Africans and Muslim women do this. In fact other communities do the same. We can’t judge other Muslims but pants are not to be worn at all. But that is personal choice. I will not put anyone down for their style of dress.

  8. *poetry snaps* great post samah!

  9. @Khadija- its interesting the practice of certain cultural norms by the varied Muslims of the world- in Yemen; Afghanistan; Pakistan, for example most women especially those of the rural areas (which in some cases is where the majority of those populations are concentrated) wear pants under their skirts or long tunics-these highland women be it for protection against the weather, the terrain, etc., see it as obligatory- I know when I am in Yemen those pants are “de rigour”…yet none of the women I have met or are related to by marriage tell me it is a religious rule…or when I go back “home” to Jordan, especially to Irbid where most now where the long jilbab with pants do I hear that the wearing of pants is or not a no-no…it makes one wonder the root of these customs among Muslims and how in the case of Muslims in America those cultural pieces get tangled into the rules that define piety.

    I remember meeting or actually being introduced to a group of women from Yemen and another from Jordan at a Masjid here in NY where one group stereotyped themselves for their benefit to be seen as a coherent group- but most of what they said they did, they never did it back home- example many more Jordanian women go to the Masjid while many less in Yemen go- one because construction of Masajid differs greatly in both countries- and the movement of women also differs greatly-here it being told by that group of Yemeni women you would have thought they were experts in Masjid ettiquette- yet I know from experience having travelled extensively through Yemen that most women, except in particular towns don’t ever see the inside of the Masjid.

    And its these statements that those who have never been exposed that truly believe what is coming out of these women’s and sometimes men’s mouths…like some men who will swear up and down that women wear hijab even at home- because that is what they have seen in their family-and obviously in the homes they may visit because the women (at least in the visitors homes) have donned their hijab for strangers… But then does that make it a rule that women must wear hijab even at home?

  10. I couldn’t agree more with Samira who said : ” Is it because we are too aware of the fact that many of us are powerless in our communities and within our individual lives so we police other sisters to try to get some type of leverage?”
    I know lots of muslimas who work and are fufilled personally and professionally who do not have this jealousy issues ( looks and what not) when they are with other sisters.

  11. As-Salaamu ‘alaikum,

    Can I just add, with regards to the “pants debate”, that what some ulama might frown upon is wearing them without anything on top, particularly round the waist level. Women wear trousers traditionally in many Muslim countries, particularly Pakistan, but they wear something on top of them. I’ve been told that this is the traditional dress for Moroccan women as well, and I’ve seen pictures of northern Nigerian women wearing what would be called shalwar-kameez elsewhere. The Prophet (sall’ Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) actually praised a woman for wearing trousers when her jilbab blew up and would otherwise have revealed everything.

    This is actually the same for men. In fact, for men, they can be even more revealing, particularly when men bend over in prayer (I have seen the undignifying effect of this more than once). In many African countries, like Somalia and Kenya, women only wear long skirts, and I’ve met Somali women who hate wearing trousers and it’s been the source of some problems with Somali women workers in America as I’ve heard, but wearing trousers under a long overgarment is permissible.

  12. As salaamu alaikum ,sister samah I really would like to give a warm thank you for posting muslimah sexiness 1 and 2. Both post has helped tremendously ,for myself they help to confirm that it’s ok to feel sexy that actually there is nothing wrong with sexiness in Islam ( as long as it is directed appropriately) this post has also helped me understand sisters in the way of their behavior from time to time , I’ve been struggling with this very thing ( post 2) since I’ve accepted Islam( which has only been 6 years ) , I couldn’t quite put my hands on the unfriendly, standoffish way, and down right rude behavior from some sisters . However i’ve just recently come to accept and believe that there are sisters who are quite insecure and who may in fact hide behind what they feel is knowledge in the deen or the fact that they may believe that you should dress a certain way and if you dont then they THINK they are the better muslimah No matter how pious or reserved they come across some also have a way of putting a wall up , due to the fact they see something in you that they wish they had in themselves. Masha Allah. As salaamu alaikum.

  13. I think this is true. I have met sisters who display an overly judgmental spirit and demeanor with other sisters (and even non-Muslims) and are very gossip-y, and I wonder if maybe these sisters have something missing from their lives or have very low self-esteem. I don’t understand how one can try to behave as if she is the epitome of perfection in Islam yet talk so badly about other Muslim women (behind their backs) or make them feel worthless (in front of others).

  14. Oh, and regarding the thong underwear, I agree wholeheartedly… Who cares what underwear someone wears or does not wear? How is that even an issue???

  15. As-Salaamu ‘alaikum


    Here we go again, someone (particularily a man) telling us how to wear our pants or skirts, or how it is permissible or not. Or the use of the Ulama which consist of more men (who have exclude our participation for a long time) constructing our image as women. For the love of Allah this is just another form of silencing us, please try not to talk about our bodies without including us. And why are we always told to dress in some one else’s countries cultural traditional dress as an Islamic reference that is not a strong argument.

    When you speak of the North of Nigeria (where I’m from)you need to specify which tribes, the rural or the urban and which generation of woman because they greatly differ! This also applies to the other African countries like Khadijia said not all Horn of African women wear. Yusuf, I’m surprized you throw in that one sentence concerning men clothing (how unusual to hear it). To bad men don’t get this daily interferences in their clothing.

    Our wardrobe is our business!

  16. Assalamu Alaikum Sisters!

    I just wanted to say that I commiserate with you, dear sister because when I was growing up, I was taught to be straightforward and honest with everyone, male or female. Compounded with that is the fact that when I was growing up, I was overshadowed by my two best friends, who garnered a lot of attention (some wanted, and some unwanted) from the opposite sex due to their curviness. Long story short, I felt like I was often their “spokeswoman” because they thought that I didn’t have anything to be shy or demure about (read: I was a skinny stringbean, LOL).

    Well, even know when I wear hijab, it’s hard for me NOT to be outspoken because it’s like second nature. I find it very hard to restrain myself from discussing anything with anyone. Luckily, my husband is a wonderful man who knows how I am, and knows that I have no malice in my heart. Sometimes, I feel more at ease talking to males than females with their pettiness…I’d rather be talking politics than parties if you know what I mean. LOL.

    Yes, I will be brutally honest and say that I have felt a twinge of envy? whenever I see a well-put-together woman especially in front of my man…but honestly, who hasn’t? But I know not to say anything, because at the end of the day, I do my best by my man, and he knows. And that’s all that matters, I think.

  17. I agree, to a point. But then … I recently watched some National Geographic documentary on hajj. Just the basics, following a couple of people as they made the journey, among them an American woman convert. Her beauty was obvious, but her — distinctly atypical for a hajjah — dress was distracting and, combined with her height, slender build, blonde hair, etc, was an easy mark for cattiness. I felt badly for taking such notice myself … I mean, the sister was on hajj for pity’s sake, I should have been happy for her, not doing the mental “what is she thinking?” dance.

    It wasn’t that I felt jealous of her or anything of the sort — believe me, I was so surprised by *how* distracted I was by her that I spent a good while thinking about *why*. It was just that her choices so violated my sense of propriety. It was, for me, watching something that sincerely read as inappropriate behavior, and my emotional response was the same as though I had happened upon any other inappropriate behavior. Now, that doesn’t mean I was right in casting judgment … she wasn’t exactly kicked out of the KSA, her dress couldn’t have been THAT bad … but just that there’s a range of reasons behind sisters cutting one another down over what amounts to personal style, some of which do still have something to do with honest, if sometimes erroneous, senses of right and wrong.

  18. As-Salaamu ‘alaikum,

    @Faduma: the women I saw were in pictures from a Nigerian newspaper; I believe they were college students in the north-west of Nigeria – Kano, I think.

    Where I grew up and converted to Islam (Croydon, south London) there was actually a lot of pressure on Muslim males to dress a certain way and lots of people ready to call you a faasiq if you didn’t dress similarly to them – long beard, trousers a certain length, not wearing “kuffar dress”. The “salafis”, Tablighi Jama’at and one group of Sufis who were prominent at that time were the usual suspects. Where I live now (mainly Arab community) it isn’t so bad.

    Actually, I only joined this conversation when a woman came on here and basically said haraam, in not so many words. I said that pants aren’t haraam, with conditions. Also, you can’t just dismiss “the ulama” as just “more men” (particularly when it’s been established that women are more than capable of bullying each other about matters of dress, and I’ve seen more than a few marriage ads from women which say that if you don’t dress their way then don’t apply). The ulama don’t just speak off the top of their heads or out of prejudice.

  19. wow..
    i just came across the last 2 posts so I’m sort of commenting on both together.. i hope u don’t mind

    first SA,
    As a Muslim i don’t think there is any topic that can’t be discussed by Muslims, maybe with certain constraints,
    from all that has been reported of our true role model rasul-ullah his attitude towards the questions and problems of his people was always: en allaha la yastahy mn al haq.
    “Indeed Allah is not shy (when speaking) of the truth”
    so 🙂 i would like to respond to several issues, which i will put in point form for the sake of coherency 🙂

    I come from a multi-national, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic background, I had plenty of confusion growing up. until i returned to Islam i had no idea “who” i was. I won’t pretend that finally wearing Hijab wasn’t the most difficult decision i ever made. the feeling of alienation i felt looking in the mirror before i went out.. “that is not me!”.. was overwhelming.
    then one day i had a discussion about this with myself, i had been raised to believe that how u look/dress is a reflection of who u are..
    Even if we assume this to be correct(which of course it isn’t) then what is it my appearance now reflects? nothing of my character certainly, nothing of the fearless, self confidant person with a sharp sarcastic sense of humor who couldn’t care less what the world thought of her..
    but then i realized what my appearance did reflect was my willingness to submit to the will of Allah regardless of how tough it was.
    and in that moment i realized that Insha allah, my Hijab would be the reflection of my best characteristic. may Allah help me in keeping it up as the burden never really lightens.
    what i find strange about many of the comments here is the concept of a women’s attractiveness being measured by the reaction of others towards her, mainly other men!! i find that very strange.
    Hijab is only a cover, that hides a part of you from others, it doesn’t change who u are in any way or even how u look
    when u come to think of it.. i still have long crazy curls that fly all over the place, the only difference is no one can see them.
    i believe every women to be inherently beautiful and sexy, otherwise they would not have been required to cover that with hijab in the first place
    and sexiness is not just the act or art of appearing sexy to others, its a quality within each of us. If a “sexy” women (lets say a professional model) is sitting home alone in a sweatsuit reading a book, with no one to admire her, is she any less sexy or beautiful?
    isn’t she the same person everyone admired on the runway last night?
    Its the same for all of us, just because we don’t show our sense of humor doesn’t mean we don’t have one, just because we don’t flaunt our sexiness doesn’t mean we don’t possess it

    Muslim women are required to wear Hijab in the presence of men who are not mahram. can we put a line under those last 2 words?
    What is it that stops women dressing however they want at home, or at gatherings of women only or at family occasions? i think its about making the effort, sometimes just small things.. put on a pair of dangly earrings when ur friends are coming over for coffee, get a new haircut, if u wear a abaya, wear tight jeans and a slinky top underneath.. or what ever makes u feel good..
    and why are we not more generous with our compliments towards our Muslim sisters? why don’t we make each other feel good about how we look?
    it true that a women needs to feel attractive but why is it the men at work/in the car next to u at the traffic light/ standing in front of u at the mosque that validate that feeling? why not your friends and family and husband (if ur married)?
    speaking of married, i noticed not many people addressed the issue of a wife who doesn’t get the right attention from her husband.. as i’m not married myself i can only assume that it’s something a couple can work out together. a man should make his wife feel desired after all she has given up all other men for his sake, he should show his appreciation 🙂

    TO ALL WOMEN: u are beautiful and sexy whether u know it or not. The only constraint on this sexiness is how u use it and who u display it to. which brings me to an important point. there are some who talk about being naturally flirtatious, i would ask them: what if i’m naturally rude? or mean? or a liar? If i try to be polite to everyone am i wearing a mask of assumed virtue, pretending to be someone that i’m not? Islam does not deny these characteristics inside us, it only helps us deal with them and guides us in how to use them.
    for some, not at all (lying) for some as necessary (rudeness) for some for the appropriate person (flirting). Lets face it. In Islam there are only 2 types of men: mahram or not, its that simple. and aside from maharem, there is no other permissible relationship between men and women save the brotherhood of belonging to one ummah. I’m not saying ignore them, be cold or rude. what i am saying is: there is no “friendship” between opposite sexes in any sense of that word.
    I work in a mixed environment, and most of my colleagues are men, we have work related meetings, we set business plans together, we keep each other updated. but under no circumstances do i let any of them feel we have a “personal” relationship. we don’t share jokes, and personal experiences and opinions on un-work-related topics.

    In this context how can a man’s reaction to how u look make u feel more or less attractive?

    I also won’t deny the feeling of being judged by others who dress in a certain way, not only conservative sisters but more liberal ones too! 🙂 more confusion. Its hard to tell who is right. But i find in this matter that we can be guided safely by the teachings and actions of our prophet (pbuh) and his companions, and by the teachings of the Quran. Its true u can’t go by the opinions of others but the guidelines are
    clear: It should not be form-fitting (tight) or see-through, and it should cover your hair and entire body. other than that, its just details, Hijab is a personal thing, everyone should wear what they are comfortable with, and if its not the same as others in your community, so be it.
    everyone is different, and we all admire different qualities in each other. for some an Islamic-ly compliant fashionista is admirable, and for others a beautiful sister who tries to rise above the temptations of dunya and dresses simply.
    I’ve lived in so many different places and met so many different people that i marvel at the sheer diversity of human beings. subhan allah 🙂
    Let us each look to what is good and admirable in our sisters instead of what they are doing wrong.

    but about the women who are moved by jealousy to “advise” a good looking sister who is within eyesight of their husbands, wouldn’t they be better off advising the husbands to lower their gazes. really! if u can’t trust your husband to control himself then talking/taking down sisters isn’t gonna protect u!

    sorry for going on for so long 🙂 and thanks for the thought provoking topic

  20. What could you have said more to Dina? What you said at the end of your post. That’s what you shoudl have really told her. Then she might understand it all better. And next time we see it happening maybe we shoudl actaully SAY exactly that. Insha’Allah.

    I linked my own post back to you 🙂

    Love the comments in here.

  21. Love this post. You are right on. These are things my friends and I always discuss. It’s sad but true!

  22. I’m sorry everyone I will try to respond to some of your comments ASAP.

    Please Yusuf, Faduma and others can we please not reduce this topic to whether pants are acceptable in Islam? I am very happy with the different perspectives people have offered on the topic and I’d hate to see us divert into issues of fiqh and religious interpretation.

    American Muslima Writer,

    I wanted to say all of those things to Dina but I felt it was something I should’ve said in private to her and I never got a moment alone with her.

  23. Well said, sister! I always feel like Dina when I am at gatehrings with certain Muslimahs… judemental women never faze me, though, alhamdulillah!

  24. Woohoo! Ignore the obvious typos! lol… what I meant was *gatherings & *judgemental!

  25. As-Salaamu ‘alaikum

    @Yusuf, I’m sorry- I miss took your comment to mean something entirely different. Please accept my apology.

    Jamerican, your experience made me think hard about the aggressive behaviour of some women I encounter at my Mosque- and also a few Dina’s aswell.

  26. salam 🙂

    if i may share, i think ladies should truly believe they’re valued by their deeds – not beauty. out there, there are disfigured ladies. so i hope we truly believe that the physical is a trial, beautiful or not.

    honestly this drama is perplexing me. if you’re me, i dunno what war will ensue, as for some reason in the office i always sit next to sexy girls! one says “on the way” as “underwear”. but i guess, i dunno what to do about it. perhaps we all will be better muslimahs – there’s always things to work on in everyone of us. in me.


  27. Sssheesshhhh, we women can be such a pain, :)!!

    Gawd, it’s too bad I wasn’t with you two at that picnic.
    Tell ’em off, with a smile, kill ’em with kindness.

    I’m sick and tired of the holier than thou attitudes of some members of our communities, whether they be newbies from overseas, or long time immigrants, or born again Muslims, etc.

    Aww, jealousy, when it rears it’s ugly head, so many are touched by it’s charm.

    To us women then, are we are own worst enemy?

    ‘Tis a shame if we are, a disgusting shame.

  28. Wait a gol-darn-minute on the pants issue. I’ve heard this cultural baloney before.

    Ohhh, women can’t wear pants, it’s not lady like, blah, blah, blah…

    Men are not to imitate women and so on and so forth.

    There’s this kinda cultural clothing that those there men wear in the ME that resembles a *GASP* dress, you know, a thobe.

    Yeah, I’ve heard the explanation of it is not a *GASP* dress because it is from the Arab culture, like it’s a GET OUT OF JAIL FREE CARD excuse for years, or some such hooey.

    Pick and choose the cultural selection of your choice for your religious make-up.

    But I digress….

    What about the story of the woman who fell off of her donkey while passing the Propet (PBUH) and his Companions?

    She fell to the ground, her dress was kinda upside down, they were concerned for her safety.

    Her modesty was after that. They noted that she wore pants underneath her dress.

    Anywoo, Thanks again everyone for such a great discussion.

    Peace Out!

  29. Oops! Honest mistake. I don’t think I was clear in addressing the issue of men are recommended not to imitate women and so forth.

    I was not being glib in that statement but meant to write this;

    When Muslims are recommended to not imitate the opposite sex in dress, etc. I ask myself a few questions….

    For example, who defines what is inappropriate by imitating the opposite gender?

    If Arab cultures have men wearing thobes and then to other cultures the thobe appears as though it is in the style of a woman’s long dress, who then sets the standards, the rules of dress?

    If Pakistani & Indian Muslims, male and female, wear long shirts with baggy pants, shawar kamiz, but of different styles for each gender, does that make P & I Muslims baaaad?

    Just some random pants thoughts here.

    Thanks again for your blog.

    Peace Out.

  30. Salam.
    I completely agree with you! I know some sisters advice you because they truly care for you as their sister in Islam but others do it out of jealousy, protecting their turf (hey, they don’t want a second wife, etc!)…

    It is particularly irritating to see a sister “advice” another in public. I’m often stumped and don’t know how to help the sister re-gain her self-confidence after such a public attack. Personally, it takes me ages to advice anyone because I don’t want to hurt them or appear holier-than-thou….and I definitely try not to address personal issues with public.

    What you mentioned about the thong issue is particularly annoying! I hate when people use Islam to hide their own insecurities! What evidence do they have for thongs being unacceptable. I, like you, am rather flirtatious by nature; it takes every ounce of willpower I have not to flirt. Of course, if I were married, I would flirt 24/7 with my husband cos then it would be ok. (It would be interesting if someone tries to argue that it’s unacceptable to flirt with one’s husband!!) I was born muslim so I don’t think this is a problem only converts have…I think it has to do with personality types. I enjoy feeling sexy. It’s my nature; I’m a woman. I wear a jilbab and abaya in public, of course but I dress to the nines underneath….haha, I enjoy the surprised look on people’s (women, of course) faces when they see me without abaya (in my home). I guess they expect me to be in plain clothing underneath as well…I rock my halter-neck tops/tight jeans/whatever I want to wear. Not slutty, but attractive & hot.

    And I’d like to see anyone try to tell me what underwear is/isn’t acceptable in Islam. As far as I know, you ARE supposed to look very attractive for your husband. More importantly, it’s for myself as well; I enjoy feeling attractive.

    I’m not married yet but on days when I feel depressed and need a little cheering up, I glam up and put on one of my plainer (but not ugly/shabby) abaya/jilbab. The thought that nobody knows what’s underneath this simple outer gear really makes me feel good. And because the abaya is really wide, I walk however I wish to without anybody noticing….could walk however i want to and it wouldn’t be obvious to anyone….makes me feel great.

    I think Muslim women can feel sexy without overstepping the bounds of Islam; we just need to know our limits. Dress up as much as you want as long as it’s not in front of un-related men. If you are flirty, flirt with your husband…just not with your non-mahrams. The problem arises when people start confusing the behaviour towards non-mahrams and that towards mahrams. Just because they’ve gotten used to behaving in a certain way with un-related men doesn’t mean that the same rules apply to their mahrams (especially their husband).

    In general, I do NOT try to attract any man’s attention; I don’t even want it (If I were married, of course I’d want my husband’s). But that doen’t mean I should wear all black. I like to co-ordinate my outfits; if I’m wearing a black abaya, then a pretty scarf and bag is required. I don’t like loud-coloured outfits; I go for softer/neutral tones which look pretty.

  31. UAE and Omani women wear these legging tight pants called “sirwaal” and depending on the region the shirt above ranges from maxi-dress like to knee length. The sirwal also has embroidery on the bottom…anywayz…

    I really liked both this post and the last one below it. So so so very true, every last word!

    To be honest, sometimes I do feel that it is my own fitnah that makes me want to feel attractive while still covered…but then other times I feel I have elements in my thinking that show that I have been brow beaten by the women like those who scoffed at the Dina of your anecdote. It is this weird flip-flopping feeling. Like, is it really better to wear abaya? Could I handle permanently wearing an abaya?

    Oh and ditto to the comments, I have seen some women wearing awful, old, clothes that look that they should be thrown away. I just don’t get that. I have mostly only seen that with converts, though. Dunno why that is.

  32. YourSisterInFaith

    I wore the jilbab for about five years or so and I got engaged to someone who loved that about me. Well, it turns out that if a man likes a woman because she wears the jilbab, then most probably he will expect the woman to be shy, submissive, and feminine in every sense of the traditional way that word is used. I always felt so oppressed because he wanted me to stay away from the eyes of men and that meant not being able to go to Islamic lectures or events or any such gathering that had Muslim men present. He didnt even want me to swim in my own backyard because he felt that the neighbors could see me (they clearly cannot). Anyway, we broke off our engagement (I’m sure none of you are surprised). I just wasnt the quiet girl with no opinions that he thought I was. After we broke off our engagement, I took off the jilbab and started wearing skirts and pants with long shirts. I still remained modest because I was used to having my body completely covered. I have to say that I felt soooo much more confident. It was not because I was sexier, but because I felt like I fit in more with society, while still being very modest. I felt like I had the best of both worlds. My friends started having talks with me about my shape showing and how I was the perfect example for my muslim sisters (when I used to wear the jilbab). They wanted me to go back to the jilbab because I was so beautiful in it and I stood out wearing it. In my mind, I felt that it was jealousy but I tried so desperately to get that out of my mind because I should give them the benefit of the doubt. After reading your post, I feel better about my initial thoughts that they may have been jealous. I also agree with nz that we should not feel confident based on the attention we get from men. I dont know how I feel about the word sexy. I personally dont try to look sexy, but I remember that my ex fiance told me that I was too beautiful to wear anything but a jilbab because that makes me desirable. I think men can make anything into something sexy. The most important thing is that you are modest and you feel good about yourself. I feel like I used to look like an old lady in my jilbab and now I feel like a young, healthy, happy, FREE woman. (Not to say that the jilbab oppresses, but with all of the circumstances, mentioned before, that’s the result of how I felt). It’s not a competition, and I dont think either side should think of it that way. The women who are jealous because they are not as pretty should not think that way and the women who are pretty should not think that everyone is just jealous of them. We should give each other the benefit of the doubt. I personally love your fashion sense, and I think that is a form of dawah. Non Muslims approach me so much more now because I dont look as alien to them. Like I said, I have the best of both worlds now. I can focus on my Iman now because I am a happier person. I dont know if this was just all rambling, I was aiming to make a point, its in there somewhere…lol, salaam beautiful sisters.

  33. As salaamu alaikum. Wow! I guess I’m a snob, because I don’t care what others think of my dress. I wear clothing that’s not to tight or to loose. I dress in clothing that matches my body type period.

    I find myself more attractive with niqaab especially when I wear khol, so, I stop wearing niqab and everyone can see my “ugly” face again, lol! I joke! Seriously, I do look very attractive with niqab, because I was told I my eyes are very attractive.

    Secondly, let’s not get out of hand here. Every sister that gives advice is not jealous of attractive sisters. What is attractive anyway? Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Some sisters just have bad “adab” period; nothing more, nothing less. If a sister feels like a dress is not appropriate, she should pull the sister aside, and speak to her. Early in my convert days, I’ve been guilty of speaking like that. I wasn’t one bit jealous of the sisters I told that to.

    Lastly, I’ve come up with a witty response to sisters that would speak about my clothing, especially when they don’t know me. I definately wouldn’t cry, lol! I would probably make her cry.

    I would simply tell her or other sisters to “buy me some clothes, because this is all I have” and then I would watch as they looked away embarassed. Laugh is on you Madame. Seriously, what if that’s all the sister had to wear? Are you stepping forward to buying her some new gear? Would you and your husband give her sadaqa? You see, you sisters need to just stop the train from going off the tracks when you see it going from side to side, just ask her to give you sadaqa. This statement has cured a lot of bad adab. I’m not shy of taking charity from other Muslims. I would simply write down my size, give to the sister in front of the others she embarassed me in front of, and tell her what color clothing I like. What is the problem here? Does this issue need all these conversations back and forth? I promise you the next time the sisters call you out like this, and you give them this response. You will be left alone, or given money to buy some news clothes. Either one works for me.

    Sexiness is a state of mind! We should just want to be healthy. Some of us look quite lovely with a few pounds on our bones. Don’t let society dictate to you how you should feel. I was a tall girl, shaping like a boy, and now I have my son and a few pounds and I’m loving it. I don’t think people should beat themselves up over a few pounds. I say “be happy and healthy” and how do you know if you are healthy. If you can walk up a flight of stairs with relative ease, you are probably healthy, no matter what the scales say.

    I want to leave you all with this information, here is the factoid about body weight and why you should just find ways to be healthy. The BWI, was created in 1943, by an insurance company. Imagine 1943 America. Blacks and other minorities was added in this study; it was only for the benefit of ” white Americans” so the BWI has bias with regards of other nationalites and groups of people body structure. Here is the link:

    Also, as far as body image and weight issues. Stress is a reason you would not lose weight. It releases to many hormones in your body. Live life, de-stress yourselves, and live your life for Allah(swt) and follow the rules of Allah(swt) and his messenger. We would get ask according to our niyyah. The Prophet Mohammed(saaws) was only here to teach and give us the commandments of Allah(swt).

    Even if you try, with good intentions sometimes to warn people they would take it as bad. Even if you did it with bad intentions some people will take it as good. Stop being mean to each other sisters. Others need to get a sense of humor and stop taking everything seriously.

    I wish you all peace, good self esteem, and real love towards each other in’shaAllah.

    Sorry, this happened to Dina, but this small issue wouldn’t have made me cry. I would probably have some new clothes by now, lol! I’m serious sisters. I would’ve told her husband she embarassed me in front of sisters about my clothes and that’s all I had to wear, so, they should buy me some clothes. I’m wick sometimes…Don’t mind me, hahaha!

  34. Bless sis–I’m not a Muslim woman, but a Rasta, and I’m struck by how much of your post relates to our communities as well. Very true words and I give thanks for your reminder that we women need to keep our focus on building each other up, not tearing each other down! I’ve seen sisters shun another sister’s good works because they did not approve of her clothing choices. In the end, it should be character and not appearance that is most important, in my opinion.

  35. Does anyone agree that polygamy (the fact that it is permitted) exxagerates sisters’ cattiness towards each other? Do you think sisters would have such a problem if they knew their husbands could not marry three more times? I have noticed sisters are more friendly now that I’m married, I guess becuase I do not pose a threat. And I have to admit it is the reason why I do not invite sisters to my house, astagfirulah.

  36. As salaam alaykum Umm Taaba,

    In Shi’a fiqh we have a concept called ‘urf, or common custom. I imagine that Sunnis have something like this as well. It is basically a recognition that Islamic law must by necessity deal with culture and so some things that may be considered makruh or in some way problematic in one culture may be mustahhab.

    Issues about proper attire often fall into this category.

  37. HijabiApprentice

    I love this sexiness series! I have so many thoughts on this subject so many awkward situations! Oy. I can even begin to share it here. I’ll definitely keep reading though. Thanks sis!

  38. Salam luckyfatima,

    Your comment of:

    “I have seen some women wearing awful, old, clothes that look that they should be thrown away. I just don’t get that. I have mostly only seen that with converts, though. Dunno why that is.”

    I’ve been a con for over 30 years and have noticed that when thangs like this occur to other cons, in my opinion only, I believe it is due to the ole MS hang ups from dayzzz gone by.

    MS – Martyrdom Syndrome

    And it’s something that has to be worked on internally by most if not all, of us cons. Again, my opinion.

    Prayer, time, life experiences do wonders, Subhanallah.

    Peace Out

  39. @Kavita: Peace.. I’d be interested in knowing how this relates to the Rasta community. Is there a particular form of dress that is more acceptable for Rastas and others that are not?

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

  41. Here’s a wild, crazy thought: Maybe the reason you’re experiencing these problems is because Islam (like most faiths, but especially Islam) gets everything about gender roles, gender relations, and sexuality (especially female sexuality) completely, utterly wrong.

  42. YourSisterinFaith- I liked reading your comment, it is uplifting.

    Khadija- Given money to buy clothing or asking for sadaqa is not dignified, i cannot see sisters taking that approach.

    I would not advice anyone on how they should dress. If it is a new convert then they will learn as they go along and from observation, no need to pull someone aside. If a sister is happy to dress in a certain way and she is happy with her decision, then it is non of my business.

  43. As-Salaamu ‘alaikum,

    I’ve been a con for over 30 years and have noticed that when thangs like this occur to other cons,

    This is the first time I’ve heard converts called cons. Over here, cons means convicts (and I don’t mean as in an intellectual conviction).

  44. In Shi’a fiqh we have a concept called ‘urf, or common custom. I imagine that Sunnis have something like this as well. It is basically a recognition that Islamic law must by necessity deal with culture and so some things that may be considered makruh or in some way problematic in one culture may be mustahhab.

    This is also true in Sunni fiqh, to a greater or lesser extent between different madhhabs. I have seen a book in which a Saudi scholar tells a woman not to wear a white jilbab because in their country (Saudia), white is what colour men’s thaubs are. But in other countries, it’s normal for women to wear white or other colours.

  45. Bless xey,
    Rastafari is not an organized religion so there are no hard and fast rules, but in general women wear modest clothing. Many Rasta women cover our heads and wear long skirts. But just like I know Muslim women who completely cover up and also know Muslim women who wear jeans and their hair out, same for Rasta women–and all variations in between. It seems in both cases there are cultural/community specific reasons as well as personal/faith-based ones.
    I have often been mistaken for a Muslim woman because of my South Asian heritage and my dress. Its interesting to see the similarities in dress code across faiths.

  46. asa. having been on the receiving end of this sort of “advice”, i feel you. sad that so many muslimahs are such haters and cannot pull themselves together enough to get over themselves and others.

  47. As salaamu alaikum,

    Khadijah, I’ve said the same thing. You don’t like what I’ve have on, buy something for me.

    I wasn’t begging, I have dignity, sisters should learn how to talk to each other without hurting each other feelings.

    kalimaat said “Khadija- Given money to buy clothing or asking for sadaqa is not dignified, i cannot see sisters taking that approach.”

    Where did you learn not receiving sadaqa is not dignified? Why do we collect sadaq if it’s not to be given to the needy? Why shouldn’t a poor needy person ask? How are we to know every poor person in the community? I don’t agree with this statement; things happen to people; and Allah(swt) knows this, so, that’s why we do give. This is non-sense talk sister. What if a sister was in need of food, clothing, etc., would you discourage her? that’s absoulutely non-sense. Allah(swt) commanded us to give in charity, you are not smarter than Allah(swt). Stop with your erroneous talk sister. You will make a needy person feel bad asking for something that is rightfully theirs, it’s encouraged for us to help the poor. If you need something sisters indeed ask. Don’t have so much pride until you harm yourselves, families are maybe others.

    If the sister indeed only had that to wear, and she expressed this, it is her right upon the Muslim ummah to be clothed, feed, protected, and take care of her. “Shaking my head” I see why it’s easier for some needy Muslims to go to churches, and non Muslim services, where they can get charity without being judge or called undignified.

    What Khadijah said was right…I’ve done that myself, and really nothing comes out of it; it does keep those sisters off your back. I hate people asking others, why, why, why, and when the real reason is made plain to them, they become a fitnah to the questioner. Leave off things that don’t belong to you.

    All advices are not because of jealousy. Everyone isn’t afraid of their husbands running off at the sight of a beautiful sister. I found that the sisters who stress out much about their husbands leaving is the very ones who husbands take another wife. Men don’t like cattiness as much as we don’t like it. Some women with their obessiveness drive their husbands to find another women, but you shouldn’t blame her. Why blame her? Also, I don’t really get other sisters who side eye other Muslim sisters, because their husbands might see them, when these same men see more than this at work everyday. Would you prevent them from not mingling and mixing at work? Wow! Trust if a man want to leave you, it’s so many opportunities in America to do this; with non Muslims as well as Muslims.

  48. Omg!! did i write this?? it entirely reflects my experience i have been so unfotunate in witnessing such incidents or been on the receiving end of the shaming/belittling comments everthing from appearance/politics/food to me talking about the benefits of yoga have been so threatening to some sisters that they feel the need to publicly give me condescending advice as naseehah!! thanks so much for this sister glad to know its not just something i ‘inspire’ sisters to do!

  49. Khadija and I are not the same person by the way!

  50. “Converts in shaby dress/abaya,”

    most converts are without resources to buy such clothing and this is a big problem. My first abaya a handoff was only down to my knees but I took what I could. Upon touching down in Lebanon in this “disgraceful abaya” my mother in law threw it out and I was forced to get new ones. Now I’m in UAE and cannot afford the nice abayas here so I’m still wearing mine from the past 3 years (from a flea market in ghetto lebanon). The ladies stare at me and my clothes but what else am i gonna do? Take it off? Uhh no thanks. I wear what I can.

    “Ask them to buy you clothes”

    i seriously do say something liek this. Not so bluntly but if a sister makes a comment about my abaya I just say “Well we are working on keeping food on the table first and then save up for an abaya” Just to know we have our priorities straight. I’d love it if someon after hearing that would hand me $100 to get a new abaya.

    The only problem with saying this is if they give you the money and you buy somethign that they don’t like with it they might feel more upset and make more comments. Like if they gave you money to buy abaya and you bought shirt and pants which they told you in the first place to change…. lol awkward….

    but on the whole i think this WOULD shut most of them up. Or say soemthing on the lines of ” Well I’m just trying to wear hijab right now and take it one day at a time because I don’t wanna wear bikini tomorrow.” They might make a silent Oh with their mouths and walk off.

  51. YourSisterInFaith

    Salaam U Alaykom kalimaat, I’m glad my comment was uplifting to you.
    On another more important note, I would like to say that I did not post a comment on this blog to feed into any stereotypes about Muslim women. I am concerned about people like Joe the plumber here who will use our opinions as Muslim women to bash Islam. Islam is a perfect religion that was meant to help imperfect beings try to live in a civil manner. We can only try as best as we can to follow the example of our beloved Prophet (may peace and blessing be upon him).
    With this being said, I think I speak for all of the sisters who have contributed to this blog (who are Muslim, this is judging from what I read) that we are not complaining about our gender roles in Islam or of our dresscode, we are talking about cattiness between Muslim sisters. I dont want this to be confused with my feelings about Islam. I submit to whatever is asked of me according to Islam and I do this willingly and because I CHOOSE to do this. That is not to say that I follow blindly, I am following with the light turned on. I am friendly towards non Muslims, and I dont want to disrespect Joe’s beliefs, but at the same time, I dont want him to disrespect our beliefs. Again, the topic here is Muslim women cattiness or jealousy, NOT Islam and whether it is flawed or not.
    Let’s have tolerance and respect for others please (I am speaking to myself before I speak to anyone else).
    Salaam U Alaykom (PEACE be upon you, all of you)

  52. YourSisterInFaith

    Salaam, one more thing:
    The converts that I know are absolutely beautiful, MashAllah, it’s almost as if their baby innocent status is shining through their faces. I think it’s unfair to say that they are always shabby looking. Sometimes, they are the most beautiful women in the room. I know one of you sisters mentioned that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, I couldnt agree more. I really dont think that beauty can be measured by outside appearance alone. This is how I understand this; if a person is born with a gorgeious face and a stunning body and then they get into a bad accident from which they become badly disfigured, can we say that the person is no longer beautiful? I think that beauty comes from within. The soul is what is beautiful or not. So the way someone dresses should only be a reflection of who they are. Dress in a way that makes you comfortable, while maintaining the guidelines of Islam if you choose to follow Islam. I know that the way you dress can show a lot about a person, but at the same time judging someone based on what they wear can be a big mistake. I know one sister, MashAllah, she has the noor of Iman (light of faith) radiating from her face because of how strong her faith is, and she wears pants with shirts that just cover her rear (she is very skinny so she can pull this off). One would maybe judge her by saying that she cant be that religious because she isnt wearing a jilbab. SubhanAllah, we arent supposed to judge people because we are imperfect and 99.9% of the time we are wrong. That is why only Allah can judge. That’s also why I dont think the particulars of how one dresses (there are so many different opinions which is what leads us to our initial topic of women interfering in other women’s clothing choices) is as important as just not accentuating your womanly body is (now how one does that is another story). What was my original point? Oh yeah..that the converts I know are so beautiful, MashAllah and I respect them so soo much…lol, every sentence I wrote was bringing me into another topic, sorry about that : )

  53. @ Halima

    It is undignified when the sadaqa is for an abaya and food and it is coming from sisters who are only being condescending about your dress in the first place and do not genuinely care. If you live in America isnt there a welfare system or assisstance programs you can turn to? If you are getting help then you are not “needy” so hold to your dignity before you start begging. Why use the sadaqa money for food when the money could be given to someone who lost their home for example in an unfortunate event or a failed asylum seeker who is not entitled to public funds.

    We do not live under an Islamic state so it is not your right to be looked after by the “ummah” because Muslims are already paying their taxes to the government. So claim your rights from the state, it does not matter whether it is a non Muslim service because beggars are not choosers. Muslims in our local mosques do not owe us anything, they help because they want to. If you are going to beg in a mosque under the pretext of an “ummah” then earn it by doing voluntary work for example.

  54. YourSisterInFaith

    Ouch Kalimaat! If someone in our ummah needs help then I would certainly hope they would come to mosque to get it. Just because we pay taxes does not mean that we are not obligated to help the ummah as well. We need to pay zakaat that helps the needy Muslims of the world. I dont think the sister was talking about begging. She was just trying to show us a way of telling a sister who is being nosey to stay out of her business in a kind of humorous, in your face sort of way. Whether you agree with that or not is not what Im concerned about. Im concerned with you saying that since we are Muslims who live in a non Muslim country, we dont need to worry about our ummah’s financial needs. Some needy Muslims dont qualify for welfare and the economy is horrible right now, I think it is important for the ummah to be able to fall back on itself for anything. Godwilling our hearts will be purified and we will be guided towards the straight path…ameen.

  55. Kalimaat,
    I will have to disagree with you on this one. I think it is okay if you want to support refugees, but your statment is problematic. You’re telling me, that I should prioritize my giving to refugees, while ignoring the needs of people right in front of me, my family, my neighbors, people who look like me, and people in my local community? Some people say that the rate of new shahadas apostating from Islam is 75%. It is statements like that that contribute to new shahadas feeling alienated. If immigrant Muslim communities only prioritize the needs of overseas Muslims and immigrants, while ignoring the reality right here in America, then they are sending the message that Islam is not an American religion. There are new shahadas who are kicked out of their homes by their parents, can’t find jobs because they wear hijab, or are struggling with major life transitions. Christian church’s have more charitable endeavors such as feeding homeless citizens, clothing citizens, providing shelter to abused women, providing job training, scholarships, and advocacy programs for the underprivileged. They reflect more of the Islamic spirit of charity than we do and this is why the American Muslim community is failing as a whole.

  56. Margari

    You have misunderstood me. I have not just mentioned a refugee but also a homeless person. I am definately for helping your own community first and prioritising their needs. My point to Halima is that a needy person should not differentiate between a Muslim or non Muslim service, especially one that is funded by the state. If you can obtain clothing and food from the state then there is no need to burden the mosque (majority of them poor). Here in the UK everyone is entitled to welfare benefits, i have not come across anyone who needed the help of the mosque for food or clothing (except asylum seekers who lose their entitlement to money and accomodation once they are refused a refugee status). If someone is in need of sadaqa money then they should come with an attitude that they are going to work for it and it is not a right.

  57. Salam Aleykum Sister. I’m new to the blog but I couldn’t help commenting.

    It looks like people have gotten off track but I wanted to comment in regards to your original post. Muslim sisters are no angels, they have same insecurities as women of any other creed. My best advice is to say “Jazakallah Khayr for your advice sister”, smile and move on. I don’t think you have to explain yourself to anyone. You can only lead by example and lead by good character. My mother always taught me being sweet to those who are sour to you is the best way forward, in this world and in the hereafter.

    Overall, as Muslims, it’s a tragedy that we focus on minor details of how long your skirt/beard is or whether you should be wearing gloves with that niqab that we lose focus of the real issues.

  58. I am new to this blog, and coming from muslim/west indian descent i must say it’s rather disconcerting that a vast majority of muslim men and more importantly women are more concerned with one’s outer rather than inner states. People abuse nasiha and actually take liberties and feel they have license to be condescending and disrespectful, under the guise of giving brotherly/sisterly advise. At the end of the day insecurity and misery is at the root. Instead of having a good opinion of the sister and giving her the benefit of the doubt, it’s easier to tear her apart. Let’s keep it real sistren, pants, thongs, abayah, niqab, shayla with neck exposed, light colors, dark colors, cultural traditions, urf, etc, this is all minutia and matters without consequence if the heart is sick. Inner states superscede outer states.

  59. As-salaamu ‘alaykum warahmatullaah,

    Your blog is extremely fascinating Mashaa’Allaah! I don’t think I’ve noticed this kinda of behaviour amongst the sisters I hang around with and its really a shame that such individuals exist! People should be more concerned about themselves rather than others and if its just a matter of keeping their husbands then they need to work on their marriage and not bring people down just to make themselves feel better!


  61. Salamu Alekum,

    Yes I completely agree with your statement. Unbelievable how the perspective of what a good muslima is about. Kind of the misinterpretation of JIHAD! I feel that the sisters instead of focusing on our Deen and Iman of every sisters they focus on trivial things and by focusing on those, these become the greatest sins of all. To demeanor is not islam, to criticise is not islam, to feel jealousy is not islam. I had a similar situation, i was wearing a beautiful long abaya, and I am a sister that will never be able to take off my tight jeans. I love tight jeans and at my age, it allow for me to not gain those extra 5 lbs that make a different. Once they fit to tight my jeans remind me to watch out and eat more healthy and lean. Anyway, I walkin and as I was crossing the middle of the mosques 1st floor, I heard a sister call out my name. She was rushing across to simply tell me that my figure was showing. So I pulled up my hijab and showed her my jeans, mind you I even had a turtle neck underneath. She repeated to me and said your sillouette is showing and that is wrong. At that moment I saw the look of jealousy, and inside I reprimended responding to her in a rude way. I proceeded to smile and I told her, “Hamdulillah, sister.” And simply walked away……she told me I am simply letting you know. And I proceed once more to say, Hamdulillah and smiled again and then I walked away. What can you do, I had the nine yards of covering on and I cant help that I have a curvy body. Well, I say pick it up with Allah if you have a problem. I smile at this, I feel that one should not even let these things bother us. I am that sister that is always looking for fashion and I love to look feminine and not sloppy. Therefore, I feel that I am unable to take away their fears and why should i worry…….I simply smile and say Hamdulillah!!!!!

  62. Salaamu Alaykum,

    Well written my muslimah sister.

    Let me tell you the MOST judgemental muslim community as far as dress goes- The Somalians=) I can testify to this because I am Somali. I wear pants, I like to look good, and everytime a sister with LONG hijab (foreign to our culture to begin with) with a long skirt practically sweeping the floor walks by me, they give me “EVIL” looks. I know they are jealous of me because they dress that way (majority) to please their families and the community. I wear whatever I want, and yes I do cover my hair. Somalis used to be moderate muslims, now Al-Shabab and the wahabi fundamentalists have brainwashed our people and forced the women to wear heavy clothes. May Allah help us.

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