Salam alaikum sisters, it has been a while since I have written anything close to Islamic thoughts or questions, so I thought why not write about something I have been pondering for some time?
Today as I was opening the store, Ahmad was in his play area and the lady that works with us hadn't arrived yet. So I had a lot of quiet time to think while putting things in the showcases. While doing so, I was reminiscing my last trip to Missouri which was in November 2012, seeing my family and visiting my Mennonite friends.
When I went to visit my Mennonite friends there was one conversation- more like a short discussion- that I have never been able to get out of my head. I have pondered over it a lot and thought to share my thoughts on what we spoke about.
As I am sure most of you know, Mennonites are well known of their modesty, humility, and kindness (that is until the ridiculous show "Breaking Amish" came out). Anyhoo, while I spent my 1 week visit there, we discussed many things, but one thing we spoke about was what they thought of how Muslim women dressed. Do bear in mind, my Mennonite friends are very blunt and basically will tell you exactly what you asked without sugar coating it- which is exactly how I like to be answered. :) The lady answered,
"If you ask me, I think you all dress worldly".
I was quite taken aback by her answer as normally I wear the Abaya (or clothes that resemble the Abaya), and just happened to wear sweaters over it as it was very cold in Missouri while I was there. So I asked her to clarify what she meant when she said worldly, and she said my sweaters I wore would be considered worldly. I found that kind of contradictory as every Mennonite lady I have met in their sect of Mennonites, would wear store bought sweaters, jackets, high heels, etc. Even the print of their dresses can be very bright and bold. But what I am writing isn't to dissect what she said to me, but rather, put out questions and thoughts on it.
Would it be too bold to say that following "fashion" would be considered worldly? Or even to ask what exactly is considered "worldly" in Islam? In all honesty, I have never heard my fellow Muslim sisters use "worldly", instead, I hear "haram", "immodest", etc. In the eyes of my humble Mennonite friends, and ex-church members in the SDA church, jewelry or any other flashiness or vanity is considered "worldly". For Mennonites, it is an OBLIGATION to wear modest clothing that resembles their fellow church members, as it is also an OBLIGATION for the men to wear a beard and not being allowed to wear shirts with animations on them (excluding stripes or plaid). They do not whatsoever follow a "culture" or "society" but rather, they have stayed pretty much intact as their ancestors (other than using electricity, running water and cars).
Would wearing jeans and tight fitting clothes be considered worldly? Would conforming to society's standards by following their "fashion fads" be considered worldly?
As Muslim women, we often pride ourselves saying,
"I wear the hijab to avoid conforming to the society's standards".
But wouldn't following fashion fads be the same as conforming to society's standards, instead, just throwing a scarf on top of it?
I find that the Mennonites do not question what they believe, because they believe it is true. If we as Muslims find Islam is 100% true, why do we question or falter in what Islam teaches? I can understand there are moments in life when we must question and weigh what we believe, but once you come to the conclusion that what you believe is 100% true, why must we question, neglect, or excuse the smaller things in our faith?
When I first reverted (converted) to Islam, I was with a sister. Before Islam, I never paid attention to fashion, but after Islam, this sister, who I looked up to, stressed that we have to look somewhat "fashionable" as already we are ridiculed for the hijab. Why be ridiculed for not fitting in fashion wise? I do agree we as Muslimahs are practically "ambassadors" of Islam. We truly represent our religion when we walk out of homes with our hijab on, but we will only show what Islam truly is, if we follow the Islamic standards and not society's standards. If you go out of your home with Abaya (or clothes that resemble the abaya), and you are clean and do not smell foul, why is anything else necessary?
This post isn't pointing at anyone and saying they are wrong, rather it is a collaboration of all thoughts I have been pondering lately. Let me know your opinions and thoughts on this subject. Also, there are no Islamic thoughts as a basis of this post, but just what I have been thinking of lately. Do your research and follow what you believe 100%! Again these are just my thoughts and I am putting this out for a discussion. :)