Confessions of a non-hijabi

Published: September 2, 2012

Approximately three of every five of these religious madams I've come across, offer namaz (prayers) about once a day, often before exams, and never during holidays. PHOTO: FILE

As a teen, a couple of years ago, influenced by society and culture, I decided to wear a scarf over my head whenever I went out. Then, as the wheels of maturity turned, I wriggled out of the cocoon of ignorant following and started to question myself.

Why exactly did I cover my head?

Was it because some of my friends had adopted the practice and many people I knew did the same?

I stopped. That was it! Guilty as charged.

As expected from any mother who took pride in the fact that her daughter had become a ‘modest little lady’, my mother was slightly curious and disapproving of this sudden change of heart when I stopped covering my head. Before you judge me for my bold admission, I ask of you to read on and consider the grounds on which I took such a decision, for I am nor a modern ‘liberal’ damsel nor the prodigy of Maya Khan.

Let us first explore why these ladies wear a hijab (headscarf) in the first place.

Before I committed to the decision of shedding my scarf, I ventured to ask girls I knew, and random women I met at the bazaars (who were not very candid) why exactly they wear hijabs. These were some of the answers I found ricocheting back at me;

My fiancée tells me to.

Mum won’t let me go out till I wear one.

Pehenna chahiye (one should wear it).

It gives me a sense of security when I go to the university. Plus, it saves me from all the trouble of doing my hair everyday.

I’m covering my satar, behen. (Satar: Prescribed Islamic method of covering one’s body)

This last one, who said she wanted to cover her satar using her abaya, to this day, wears hers with folded sleeves with the dupatta (scarf) sliding on to her shoulders. Apparently, it does not really matter how sincerely you wear your hijab as long as you’re wearing it.

What I learned was that donning a hijab in Pakistan is more of a culture practised due to family and spousal insistence. The commandments of God apparently do not play a strong role in many women’s decision to adopt a head-scarf.

Thus, I began to wonder, does culture or familial insistence hold more weight than the word of God?

I look around myself every day and see women in all kinds of flashy abayas. These have appliqués and karhaai and can be anything from bell sleeved to body fitted. They are all designed to radiate a sense of fashion – not to provide complete covering as is their so-called purpose. There are some who even get their hijabs fitted because they look ‘too fat’ unless they are altered to their size. Some wear their head-scarves so that their long braids fall on their backs and then there are those who don the Islamic headscarf during the day but appear at weddings with no trace of modesty – hair straightened and streaked, and clothes that wouldn’t remotely imply any Islamic undertone.

Modest hijabi by day and savvy-liberal by night?

‘Sab chalta hai’ (everything goes), they say upon my startled gestures.

What is more disturbing is that approximately three of every five of these religious madams I’ve come across, offer prayers about once a day – often before exams and never during holidays.

It may no longer come as a surprise that a bigger fraction of these ladies, who are from considerably respectable backgrounds, indulge in illegitimate relationships with men from their universities or over the internet.

Respected reader, I am but a 16-year-old girl, seeking the will and raza (permission) of Allah (SWT) through the self pursuit for answers to life; a life where the principles of religion stand before the opinions of those around us and where they hold more significance than the stereotypical ideologies imposed by society in the name of Islam.

I beg of all the ladies out there, not to exploit the idea of the hijab and to re-evaluate their reasonings if necessary and reconsider the act of covering up if it is not what they intend to do sincerely from the heart.

If I am wrong in my approach of religion, may God forgive me and if you are wrong in your approach, may God forgive you.

Follow Arfa on Twitter @Ezazi_

Arfa.Ezazi

Arfa Ezazi

An avid reader and blogger who frequently indulges in poetry and Tweets @Ezazi

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

More by this writer

  • Confused

    Hijab is like ear piercing. I don’t understand the need for people to do it, neither do I like it, but I bear with it anyhow.Recommend

  • http://www.itblabbers.blogspot.com/ M.L

    What kind of logic dictates that you cease doing the right thing simply because you find your intention for doing it questionable?Recommend

  • Faisal

    It’s a pity the way ET allows a 16 years old kid to interpret basic Islamic values according to her convenience and disapproving a large majority of Muslim sisters who practice Hijab or veil. So sad!! Recommend

  • Parvez

    Liked the candid way in wich you have addressed this subject.
    I think if you follow a middle-of-the-road policy and dress modestly, thats all thats required.Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/jag.nathan.7 Jag Nathan

    @Faisal:
    If as per Islamic law and practice a 9 year old can be married off and then forced to have sex with a 70 year geezer, why would you think a 16 year old is incompetent to think through and interpret basic Islamic Values? Recommend

  • Munis

    @Faisal
    Do you mean she doesn’t have a right to say what she thinks about the matter ? Recommend

  • Marium

    All that matters, or should matter to you, is your intention for covering up – not that of others . =)Recommend

  • Usman Ahmed

    indeed on of the best reads on tribune… thought provoking and well written…..Recommend

  • azaz

    why you see other people doing wrong or good dont seek reason of getting away with hijab… if you cnt go with it anymore then just keep quiet rather defaming and start questioning about it which is very high value in our religionRecommend

  • hijabi

    Funny how some people view hijabs.
    I wear it because its my protection, a gift from Allah. A hijab, in its truest sense.Recommend

  • http://romaisas.blogspot.com Romaisa

    I spent yesterday writing a blog about what the hijab means to me and I see this blog post today. Kindly click on my name to get a reply for your blog :)

    P.S. on behalf of my fellow hijabis, I would request you to kindly not categorize us all in one category, just like you are asking us to not judge you; we would love it if you returned the favor as well. One love! Recommend

  • Syeda Jafri

    If u had started it by understanding the purpose behind Islamic Hijab, then you wouldn’t have to remove it later. Secondly, even if all the girls u asked gave some lame excuses, is this a logic to start or end a practice? I mean its hilarious how you can start doing something and stop doing it & then quote how those who are doing it, have no good intention of doing it! I wonder why you did not come across some one performing proper hijab for the pleasure of Allah alone.

    Other than this, I personally have not come across many families who support hijab in its true meaning. Those observing hijhab have to face a LOT of criticism from our confused society as well!Recommend

  • http://www.nerdcrunch.com NerdCrunch

    Why not also write an article on people who claim to be Muslim but are all in for secularism, lesbians and gays, party, sex and booze etc? They claim to be Muslims yet they cant provide a single argument from Quran or Hadith to support the above mentioned things.

    Yet on your very small data set, you have made all these conclusion and criticizing hijab wearing women and teaching them what Islam is? Recommend

  • Rameez

    A 16 year old passing judgements regarding religious matters.

    Did you even bother to read any Islamic texts regarding hijab ?

    Absolute rubbish. Recommend

  • Amir

    The answer is to make your intention pure and carry on with Hijab for the sake of the pleasure of Allah rather than the society…Recommend

  • Anum Talat

    A good read, indeed!! I don’t know why some girls who wear a hijab think that girls don’t don it are immodest or they are not Muslims,
    they cover their heads only in schools, colleges or university or when going out, but in gatherings, they don’t wear it!! Where is the pure intention of covering your head?
    one of my friend who started taking hijab in the final year of o’levels is practicing it really well.she doesn’t wear it only in her college but dons it in front of her cousins as well.Recommend

  • trueee

    totally agree i follow the same story i used to cover up now dont, um as ive found so many hijabis , who would play and back stab you and have no sense of morality as to how to speak to the young or old, they like to play games,on one hand showing the world how modest they are by the way they dress and on the other hand shunning all forget islamic even human values just because the society would not question them as they are hijabi women. i atleast wont want to be associated with such a hypocrite clan!
    very well observed and please our religion says to question so to find a light or using your brains to actualy experience and find the right way should be appreciated!
    you have thought what many grown up ladies wouldnt have, i appreciate atleast that all are not sheep..cover up when you actually feel like, not because some one has instructed you..
    cheers!Recommend

  • Ahmed Shaikh

    You are spot on!!! I see girls wearing tight jeans and short tops and a scarf on their heads…its like making fun of your own religion. Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/430/faraz-talat/ Faraz Talat

    For any real social progress, society must make the necessary jump from consistently debating women’s apparel to discussing men’s behavior and collective psyche.

    The concept of “boys will be boys” is hailed as the ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card for misogynists and plain rape-apologists. It’s the idea that the price for a man’s disrespectful attitude should be paid not by the man himself, but by the women who has to relinquish her own liberties in order to stay safe.

    This idea needs to dieRecommend

  • Sarah

    So let me get this straight. If u find some goodness that people ate practicing for the wrong intentions, wud u try to correct ur intention or abandon that goodness urself? If people tell the truth only bec they fear getting caught when lying, u wud abandon truth? Kind of shooting urself in the foot for other peoples faults nahin? Ur analysis is peob right, u drew the wrong conclusion. If one does it after reading the Quran, then the reasons for doing it will be correct, the intention will be correct and u will not make such erroneous conclusions by looking at people. We do things bec of a principle, not bec of what others do or don’t. No persons perfect, but words of Allah the glorious are. They should be the basis for our actions. Recommend

  • Assam

    @Arfa excellent article. Keep up the good work. Yes may Allah indeed forgive us all :)Recommend

  • ZeBirdie

    @Arfa, You rock. I don’t get why people are bashing this article by saying that a 16 year old can’t make a judgement about the hijaab. Anybody and everybody is allowed to interpret it in their own ways. I think that ladies must understand what hijaab actually means by studying seriously about it before doing it or they will end up degrading it just like those who cover their heads and wear half-sleeves and fitted shirts.Recommend

  • Michelle

    If I hadn’t read the article, I’d know it was a good and necessary one just from the responses. If you’ll look, you’ll notice the people disagreeing with you are using personal attacks, implying your age should keep you from questioning (spoiler alert: If you question this at age 60, there will be some OTHER reason you shouldn’t question – they’ll say you need to be a scholar or whatever), you’re disparaging other people, etc.

    In short, keep up the good work. This is bullying behavior that’s on display in this comment thread. It means you just wrote something important.Recommend

  • herpyderpy

    Your observation is correct though you should know everyone is responsible for their own doings…

    I like your article though highlighting the hypocritical attitudes etc.Recommend

  • Vikram

    @Sarah: All Muslims read the same Quran. Saudis think BURQA is hijab, Pakistanis think a Salwar Kameez with a Chunni is enough, some other Muslims think Islam does not require any burqa or veil or covering of hair with a scarf tied tightly.

    Also women claim many different reasons for doing it. What is the truth?

    This 16 year old girl is more intelligent then many 60 yr olds.

    Suadis say burqa is required for religious reasons, some other Muslims say Saudi women wear Burqa as a cultural thing.Recommend

  • http://www.zealforwriting.blogspot.com Sarah B. Haider

    What’s so bad if a 16-year old has rightly pointed out the prevalent hypocrisy in our society? Seriously, I don’t wear a hijab, but I hate how some pseudo-hijabis wear it, and they take it off on weddings and other events. Plus, I wonder what’s the good use of covering hair when they wear tight fitted clothes, most of them do not even cover their buttocks and chests with a dupatta as these days dupatta is out of fashion. Don’t they realise why would men be interested in their hair when all your assets are visible to them? Sheer hypocrisy!Recommend

  • http://twitter.com/Ezazi_ Arfa Ezazi

    I never said one should cease doing Hijab. I mean, we need to re-assess our values. Hypocrisy in the form of doing Hijab one day, not the other, then again is surely to be worse than trying to establish one’s basics first, like Namaz, kindness and virtue. You can’t put the roof on a house until the pillars are strong. It defies logic. Don’t get me wrong. One of my best friends does Hijab (not in the stereo typical sense of the word) and I respect her for that, and every other Muslim sister who does it. But surely, Hijab is a way of life, a preservation of the dignity of woman-hood and a complete violation if you’re doing it yet involving in illicit activities with the opposite sex? I’m in no way saying that one shouldn’t do it if they suppose they’re doing it WITH THE RIGHT INTENTION but the concept that it has given birth to is wrong. Really, people, read the article before commenting, half of you’s answers are there. Give a second read to the last paras.

    Peace out.Recommend

  • Muhammad Mustaqeem Yousfani

    Perfectly written Arfa ! :),
    Agree with you at an utmost level! This is the era where you have to face these kind of things around you.
    Thus, I began to wonder, does culture or familial insistence hold more weight than the word of ALLAH?
    Yes this is a bitter and ground reality we should accept. ( Though this is NOT good )
    Keep up the good work and Start wearing Hijab ! You will find peace. a request
    JAZAKALLAHRecommend

  • Hooria Imran

    I have been in the same situation for the past five or six months. The thing is, Hijab is an important, personal choice and people need to understand that. Growing girls start covering – usually as they reach puberty – simply because ‘all the girls in the family do it’; because they’re expected to do it. I mean, I realize that may not be the case in some families… but that’s certainly how it was for me? And it’s kind of like, the experience of being a “Hijabi” is insincere and hence incomplete, because the real essence of Hijab is missing – and yes, I do think that covering without the proper intention or your own true choice is not Hijab. It’s just wrapping a headscarf around your head.

    So when I turned thirteen, my mother started dropping hints that I should cover inexcusably while going out from that point on. And because it seemed like a good idea, and I was eager for it, I acquiesced. I didn’t usually give it much thought before the novelty started wearing off, and ‘growing up’ started to settle in. I mean, thirteen’s a naive enough age. But then I wasn’t thirteen or fourteen or fifteen anymore, and there were questions in my head. Like, why? Why did I really begin? What are the implications? What does this entail?

    People need to realize it’s a woman’s choice. And a complex choice. Often, people stop covering, and words like, “Iska tou scarf wscarf sab utar gaya.” The fact that people make such a big deal out of what a woman prefers to put on her head and what she does not, it masks a dangerous mindset; society is always trying to take the freedom of choice away from women when it comes to their bodies or whatever they wish to do with them. The guilt and the confusion is enough cause of distress as it is, without a whole lot of unwanted opinions being thrown at them. (Just like the comments on this article: the Hijab is a good, right thing, so not having enough faith in the “rightness” of your intention just doesn’t matter. I’m sorry, but you don’t have any right to say. You never will. Trust me, there was a time when I started to feel like the scarf on my head was some sort of weird parasite – which it isn’t, and shouldn’t be – but the bitterness and the pressure made it that way. And the Hijab is not degraded when I say this; it’s when ignorant, twisted words and ideologies turn Hijab into something it is not that it’s degraded. If the Hijab offers protection, don’t you think you have a responsibility to it to be sincere in your decision too? Allah didn’t tell us to find our own answers for no reason. I’m seventeen and still confused about mine.)

    Anyway, good article. One part that doesn’t sit well with me:

    “What is more disturbing is that approximately three of every five of these religious madams I’ve come across, offer prayers about once a day – often before exams and never during holidays.

    It may no longer come as a surprise that a bigger fraction of these ladies, who are from considerably respectable backgrounds, indulge in illegitimate relationships with men from their universities or over the internet.”

    This perpetuates the Perhezgaar!Hijabi stereotype, kind of. I get what you mean, that Hijab is about Haya in the first place, and having relationships and stuff basically goes against that, but you might want to consider the fact that, in a way, it’s oversimplification. Might want to steer clear of that?Recommend

  • Raza

    Excellent articles; make a solid point without any trace of pomposity. Recommend

  • GhostRider

    Hijab is a personal choice…as for you interpreting it on the basis of observations and a few random chats is wrong…study about islam (not ahadees ki kitab) but philosophical discourse and find your way forward…. as for me religions is personal and all you have to do is to follow 5 pillars and be polite and good to people in general.Recommend

  • Magenta

    I agree. In Pakistan, or in most Muslim countries, hijab is more of a cultural practice and less of a religious one- generally. some are forced to do it and others do it to fit in- they dont know the significance of it so obviously they don’t do it properly but just for a show. As a hijabi myself, and I’m not perfect in my hijab by no means, your criticism struck hard. Why? Because I chose to wear hijab after a visit to America, a non-Muslim country, when I saw Muslims practising their deen in a much better way than the ones back home. I was inspired to dig deep and learn more about it. When I did start hijab, I got criticised by lots of friends and family, but I didn’t blame them. I was like them not too long ago. I didn’t know about hijab and how it’s a command from Allah swt. So before you start wearing, you should learn more about it because only then can you truly accept it. May Allah guide us all.Recommend

  • Anum

    I really don’t understand that are you really serious in commenting that three of every five of these religious madams offers prayers just once a day, often before exams and all the crap?! Would you please also state about those non-hijabi madams that whether they perform prayers five times a day?? I feel pity for what you think about the hijabi girls and portraying all those respected ladies with some of them who are just doing it because the society imposes them to do it. I myself take hijab and let me tell you that nobody in my immediate family takes hijab, neither has anyone imposed any such obligation on me. Alhamdullilah, I also pray 5 times a day even when I am not having any exams and I know know a lot of hijabi madams who does the same :) A kind request to you that please stop viewing all the people with just a single lens and open your eyes and mind before writing such sensitive topics. May Allah bless you!Recommend

  • http://Faheem Saman

    Dear Little girl,
    Hijaab is mandatory. You dont have any choice for that. Don’t judge people with everything in their lives. Like if a person doesnt take hijab and offer prayers five times a day. Prayers are still accepted. GOD rewards everything seperately. So you cannot say that if a girl wears hijaab and doesnt offer prayers, her act of taking hijaab is not rewarded. Be the reason of taking hijaab is anything.. It is something that MUST be appreciated as it is rewarded unconditionally. Yes there are people out there who make fun of hijaab by taking it and dropping it with their convenience but there are also some girls who take hijaab properly and without any impositions on them. Your article reflects your immature and negative thinking. Don’t mind but instead of dropping hijaab u could have studied the religion and started taking it to please GOD, if u think this should be the only reason for your act (which is right actually).

    Think positively and start taking hijaab again with a different thinking.Recommend

  • Anonymous

    @Rameez: give her a break will u? She is not passing judgements here, she is just stating the facts of a survey she took, and this is an independent country and everyone has a right to say anything they want. There is a possibility that the person u accused is more religious then u, no one can compare anyone’s religious values with themselves, what if she understood the scriptures more then u did? Recommend

  • Scr

    It’s not islamic at all it’s not based in the Quran, i know i might get thousands of replies posting the same ayats of te Quran they have been since many years, but if you read them without any bias you’ll see NO WHERE is it mandatory. Also some weir hadiths might come your way just ignore them, their weak and don’t make sense if you anylise them logicallyRecommend

  • FrndsZone(.)com

    Hmmmm, every child comes of his/her age. To follow or not to follow the religion is up to the person, but by not following are we doing good to ourselves? Every person has right to speak, but i think kido its not your age to write on these things. As following or practicing the religion are separate things. Some things do look like bondage but they do carry some good points in it. To follow or not is up to a person, as every person is responsible for his/her own deeds after death. Stay blessed!Recommend

  • FrndsZone(.)com

    @Sarah:
    AgreedRecommend

  • Mariyum

    That’s such a true reflection of the ignorant society we live in today that blindly follows practices just for the sake of it and for all the wrong reasons.
    I appreciate every Muslim sister who practices Hijab in its true form and understands why Allah SWT stresses women covering up and those who seek the pleasure of Allah in obeying him.
    May Allah guide us all, Ameen.
    Excellently well-written article,Ezazi :)Recommend

  • Fatima Omar

    Excellent article! It’s amazing that in today’s day & age, women still believe in covering themselves up from top to toe. it’s about the culture, i would perhaps cover my head while going to a local bazaar but would gladly wear a skimpy outfit while going to a high end party. Does this make me a bad muslim or a practical contemporary muslim? Recommend

  • Anonymous

    @Fatima Omar: are u for reals? Wow okay, no offense but well the writer wasn’t exactly on ur side I think, she was saying that there are people who do this! And she don’t want to be one hence she stopped wearing a scarf! It isn’t abt who is doing what but why? Recommend

  • Hazal Kaya lover

    You spoke my heart out!
    P.S, I am 15 :DRecommend

  • Vikram

    @Hooria Imran: The thing is, Hijab is an important, personal choice and people need to understand that

    If Hijab is religious, did God say you have a choice to do it or not do it.
    If it is choice, it is just like choice for wearing any thing like Jeans or hijab or tops.Recommend

  • Magenta

    @Scr: There’s not ONE respectable Islamic scholar who says hijab isn’t mandatory. Are you saying you’re more knowledgeable than them? It’s one thing to accept something as right and not doing it but a whole different thing when you try justifying falsehood.Recommend

  • http://Gilgit Zaman Punyali

    You abandoned Hijab because some ladies you know weren’t practising according to its soul. What kind of logic is that?
    Thats why, “Islam is the best religion and the Muslims are the worst nation”. (Anonymous)Recommend

  • Ash

    Hijab is not a choice for muslim women… Its obligatory! So muslim women out there… Plz stop making excuses and start wearing it. Make it the new trend! And the few women who just cover their heads with jeans or wear flashy abbayas, stop criticising them! Atleast they were bold enough to take the first step! Inshallah Allah will help them take the next step! And muslims please stop discussing whether hijab is obligatory or not, IT IS! And if u think its not, its time u pick up the quran and read it with translation! If u dont take a hijab just say i dont take it, i wish i could and i respect people who do! Recommend

  • Vikram

    @Mariyum: I appreciate every Muslim sister who practices Hijab in its true form and understands why Allah SWT stresses women covering up and those who seek the pleasure of Allah in obeying him.

    How can you tell the difference between a sister who practices hijab in true form and one who doesn’t practice in true form?

    Can a non-Hijabi sister be better then many so called Hijabi sisters?Recommend

  • Adnan

    very nicely written …. but I would recommend you to read Quran with translation … than u will realize Quran stats to cover ur body in a way it does not invite men … so do it if u feel its better dont get distracted by hypocritical people around you …Recommend

  • Really guys?

    Guys, just want to say that she herself wrote 16 year old, if she dint, those who are just accusing her of being a child wouldn’t be able to do that, this article above wouldn’t have been a 16 yr olds confession, u cannot judge her by her age, just remember u were once a 16 year old yourself and this ain’t a way to lead anyone astray, but her confession and it’s explanation, nothing else! And it’s her own opinion, why do u care? No ones stopping u from ur practices! First understand it then comment! – Ezazi FTW :) Recommend

  • Sanakhawan Syed

    Well done Arfa!
    The primary reason of our failing society is fairly reflected by the norms and practices that are followed without any sense of proper understanding and the urge to inquire! Our society would be a much better only if more people question the very norms we have been following, not to dismiss them but to understand better the reasons for such societal norms and form correct views concerning issues like hijab etc.
    As for the superiority of the word of God over the social norms, it is sad to observe that people act more in accordance to social norms than taking into account the word of God.
    God bless!Recommend

  • Muhammad Omair

    I stopped reading at the point where she said she went to her friends to ask why they wore Hijab. You wear Hijab for Allah. Period. Just like with every good deed you do for the sake of Allah, you wear Hijab for his pleasure as well. Not knowing the basics just shows your level of ignorance and idiocy. Terrible blog and opinion. Recommend

  • Muhammad Omair

    @Jag Nathan:

    What a terrible analogy. This 16 year old girl doesn’t even know the basics of Hijab, hence shouldn’t even be allowed to speak about it. You do your research regarding something on which you wish to express your opinion (and by research I mean proper research, not just randomly asking people’s opinions) otherwise you will just sound stupid. And she is immature to say the least to even talk about it. Recommend

  • Muhammad Omair

    @ZeBirdie:

    Alright so let me get this straight. If tomorrow someone starts degrading “Namaaz” saying it’s not practiced the way it should be hence I ain’t practicing it, will we still tolerate this nonsense? The fact is, this article will attract negative comments because it’s utterly stupid and ignorant. Its like saying, I don’t like to read the Holy Quran because its in Arabic and I cant understand it neither do every Urdu speaking individual. Idiocy at its best. Recommend

  • sh

    @hijabi:
    what exactly does the hijab protect you from???? do other girls who do not don the hijab NOT have the same level of protection?? very ambiguous, flawed and INCORRECT statement from you!Recommend

  • Ambreen Qureshi

    I’m glad that somebody pointed out the hypocrisy of this hijab system.Recommend

  • Dante

    The best way to get revenge against hijabi girls?

    Put on a hijab yourself.Recommend

  • RK Singh

    wow. Just wow.Recommend

  • DG

    May I ask you to go back to the history and find out when this tradition started and why.

    There may be different reasons but it might be a combination of few things.

    1. Find out what has been copied from the Jewish tradition (like circumsicion) and what has been the back ground

    2. Find out from the societal needs of that region (Middle east) and that time. Like nomads attacking, plundering and also taking away good looking women. This may be another reason not to show body or face to strangers

    3. Find out the climatic and environmental need like saving from scorching sun or sand dust.

    (The fasting during Ramzan might be out of the need for the condition the soldiers in desert condition to carryon fighting without food or water)

    Every tradition or culture have roots. They should be understood properly so that we can decide on which ones are still valid and should be carried on as festival or tradition.Recommend

  • http://myspace.com/taravadu Kulamarva Balakrishna

    Vienna,September 3,2012
    Very interesting narrative Arfa Ezazi. I want to tell you some
    reasons why women hide their head and face that I learned
    in Tehran some forty two years ago from the editor of the
    Persian Ettehad daily. He said to me that religion is an excuse.
    The real reason is women feel insecure if they are ugly. It is
    reasonable to cover ugliness.But Iranian wearing of Chadar is
    by biting it.I have visited many Iranian houses at North Abbasabad
    where the women first cooked delicious food and spread colourful
    kelims over them fine sheets to sit on for lunch. As the eldest lady
    host kept asking me questions with curiosity on India and my
    family members from mother downwards the younger women
    and men sat around me silently and eating. I felt at home as
    I ate answering questions.When I was a child my neighbours,
    many Muslim children used to play with me. Their seniors including
    young women visited my house for work covering their head
    by a pig tail dupatta tied to the head showing off their midriff
    proudly.They would get food and drink from my mother or aunt
    whom they called “padtyere”. It never occurred to me to ask
    them the meaning of the head pig tail.Today when I visit my
    village I see so many walking black tents, I am expected to
    takem to be Muslim females of all ages.Once they arrive at
    the airport security check they remove the tent,fold it to give
    to their husbands or brothers to hide in a fashionable office
    case! Then they introduce who they are. They are re no more
    than the fish we all are in the water!
    Taravadu Taranga trust for Media Monitoring TTTMM India
    –Kulamarva BalakrishnaRecommend

  • Umer

    I like the way a girl who is just in her transformation phase of adult-hood address a serious issue. Sister Arfa first of fall do not be discouraged by the fact that few hijabi’s are not doing this practice in its true spirit, ALLAH has shown you the true light that to do everything with in the premises which Hazarat Muhammmad (S.A.W) have told us and to do it only and only for ALLAH (subhan-u-watallah). So it is requested to make this neeat and read the life of our esteemed mother (wives of Hazarat Muhammad (s.a.w)) and start doing hijab as the way they used to do.Recommend

  • http://yahoo.com ArfaKboyfriend

    A great piece of writing. Reminded me of the time I questioned the rationale for wearing cloths, then I asked people why they wore cloths and found out rubbish responses like it looks good, i like the embroidery, I want to protect myself etc etc..

    therefore, Now I am proud to roam around nude. I beg everyone (esp.) ladies out there, not to exploit the idea of wearing cloths and to re-evaluate their reasonings if necessary and reconsider the act of covering up if it is not what they intend to do sincerely from the heart.

    If I am wrong in my approach of religion, may God forgive me and if you are wrong in your approach, may God forgive you.Recommend

  • Saif Khan

    @Jag Nathan:
    Islam doesn’t allow what you think. Its the ignorant practice of Muslims in some part of the countries.Recommend

  • Waqar

    @ Jag Nathan:
    and you also don’t have any right to ridicule any one’s religion in the name of freedom of expression. Also ET please make sure the nature of comments before posting. And what about the you liberals?????Recommend

  • nomi

    83% of Egyptian women claim harassment in a country where most women cover up.

    So protection is not the issue. If someone wears it fine, but do not force it. If women are scared of men, make law and order better.

    Its amazing that how most men have come down heard on the writer as if men are the guardians of faith. Muslim men too are famous for horrendous things, but they dont talk about it.

    Typical parochial mentality that questions the right of the people to question.

    Pakistani society is deeply hypocritical, but what they do not understand that their hypocrisy is taken to be the hypocrisy in Islam and the religion suffers. Recommend

  • Fatima Omar

    @Waqar:
    No one is ridiculling our religion, we are ridiculing it ourselves by encouraging suffocating practices like wearing hijab. I’m a Muslim myself but see no harm in wearing anything that suits the occasion, like a sari on a wedding, a skirt at a party, a bikini on a beach and a scarf in a mosque. This is Islam to me and I’m proud to be a part of this wonderful & diverse community.Recommend

  • Umair

    When its hard to praactice, it becomes easy to write :) Recommend

  • Anwer Chughtai

    Dear Arfa,

    It takes courage and intelligence to write your views as candidly as you have written and for that you make me very proud of you.

    Islam is being practiced in a very strange way in Pakistan. Most of the people either do not read about Islam or make interpretations of their own to justify and sometimes thrust their own point of view on others. Glass is half full or half empty, does not change the level of water in it.

    I am glad to see the young generation of Pakistan questioning and reasoning the actions they are sometimes thrust upon in the name of religion. This is sign of hope for a positive change.

    Please keep up the good work of reasoning and may Allah you show the light to the right way.

    Best.Recommend

  • Irfan Khan

    The thing we usually try to do is a constant struggle in justifying our every deed and action (we can call it human psychology). Not only the issue discussed in this article but many other are dealth with biased opinions. WHAT I DO, UNTILL AND UNLESS I IS THE SUBJECT, IS RIGHT IN EVERY SENSE. We all agree that everyone has choice either to wear a Niqab or No, But there should be no attempt in clarifying the matter in one’s own interest. That much I want to say.

    We have forgotten nearly every detail of what Islam says about Niqab and related disciplins. Like the author saying about fashion reflecting Burqas etc. Clearly, they are not what they are intended for.

    “‘worst is not a bad deed itself (could be forgotten) but its justification to make it right.’

    Anyway, Well writen article. Keep it UP.Recommend

  • Shuja Ul Islam

    u took a poke at a very sensitive topic..young lady..!!Recommend

  • SAM

    @ Anum & Sanum & Maryam

    Totally agreed.

    People including the writer are trying to oppose women who wear hijab just because they themselves dont wear it. But they dont realise that going on Satan path is always joyful. I mean come on… Is this the only thing left that we criticise ladies who wear hijab. Quran clearly orders woman to wear hijab. So there should not been any argument on it. Yes the argument should be that woman should know that according to Quran it is mandatory woman to wear hijab. More quranic education should be made common. Awareness amongst ladies should be brought up so that they know the true essense of wearing a hijab.

    Dear Muslim Ladies think for a second that by not wearing hijab how many muslim men commit sins by looking at you. So please follow the teachings of Islam and make our society a true Islamic Society.Recommend

  • asim

    Unfortunately we the Muslims don’t have any interest at all to study Islam and to follow the practices of Islam. what we know is just to pretend ourselves as liberal Muslims. To remove the extremist tag from ourselves, we go beyond the limits. I don’t criticize girls who don’t cover themselves, but you must know what is wrong and right. Like I don’t have beard but I highly appreciate people who have beard, since its a strong part of my religion and there are very strong dictations by ALLAH SWT to have beard. Likewise, I would appreciate girls if they dont cover themselves but at least confess that they aren’t doing right thing and they must appreciate those girls who are covering themselves from top to bottom, even in this age. No matter with what intention she does it(like fear of society or family enforcement). I salute those girls who prefer their society and family more than themselves Because you only enjoy life when you live for someone rather than you live for yourself. The people who just live for themselves Undoubtedly they don’t know the real taste of living for others and they just criticize those girls and vainly imagine that these type of girls are timid.Recommend

  • J

    I completely agree with the writer. And i would like to add one more reason as to why girls opt for hijab; anr that is that it is the most secure means of hanging out with your dude without getting caught by your family. It is the perfect diguise to sneak out of your home and do whatever you want. I just want to say that women should not use hijab for the wrong reasons. You should wear it because Allah has advised so. And you must please him.Recommend

  • Waqar

    @ Fatima Omar
    You didn’t understant my point….I mentioned the comment of Jag Nathan i don’t habe any issues with the author. It’s her life and she is responsible for her deeds to Allah so it’s between her and Allah. What i’m saying that no one has the right to point his fingers to Allah and Muhammad (PBUH) in the name freedom of expression…I hope you will understad now…for your reference I’m copying Jag Nathan comment.
    If as per Islamic law and practice a 9 year old can be married off and then forced to have sex with a 70 year geezer, why would you think a 16 year old is incompetent to think through and interpret basic Islamic Values?
    We are discussing here is it right wear hijab without konwing the true essence of it….Recommend

  • abhi

    People pointing out about her age will not utter a word when a 13 year hindu girl is converted to islam on her won “free will” !Recommend

  • Shuja Ul Islam

    @fatima omar..
    u know a very crooked up version of islam..!!Recommend

  • Muhammad Omair

    @ArfaKboyfriend:

    haha awesome!!!Recommend

  • Muhammad Omair

    @nomi:

    Wait, what? Woman cover up in Egypt? Again do your research first before making such claims otherwise you’ll sound ignorant. Before Morsi came into power this year, Hosni Mubarak was the leader of Egypt and FYI there was an unofficial BAN on Hijab. More than 60% of Women in Egypt didn’t observe Hijab. No wonder they were harassed.

    How about USA? In USA women never Observed Hijab and according to 2008 Stats, every second a US Woman gets raped. But you won’t hear such stats in Saudi now will you.Recommend

  • http://India Feroz

    Why for Gods sake bring the matter of women having illegitimate relationships into this essay. This article is about the wearing of Hijab and should not be confused with the sexual escapades of different sections of society. Also do let all of us know how an relationship carried on Internet can be categorized as illegitimate ? Recommend

  • AM

    very logical and well written! good work.Recommend

  • umer

    Intention is definately necassary for any action!
    Hijab for other (mom, dad, bhai, husband, boyfriend(lol) ) would do no good unless the person wearing head scarf realizes that need to guard her modesty ! and again head scarf is the optimal gesture of a modest woman.Recommend

  • Fatima Omar

    I’m not supporting Jag Nathan here as I think even he needs to broaden up his view of the world. The issue of a 9 year old married off to a 70 year old is not a religious issue but a human rights issue which is equally prevalent across the border and is practiced by Hindus as well. The issue of closed mindedness is not restricted to Muslims as we daily see acts of extremism and intolerance from Hindus as well. But I am only concerned with this great religion of mine and its interpretaion as I see it. If someone finds this interpretation crooked, it’s not my problem. My love for Allah and his Prophet remains strong whether I’m wearing a hijab or a mini skirtRecommend

  • Muhammad Omair

    @Fatima Omar:

    Like seriously? Your Love is false if you say that it’s perfectly fine to wear a Bikini in front of other men. For example, your Father says that you won’t eat chicken from now on and despite his constant plea, you still eat chicken and claim that you love your father. It sounds stupid doesn’t it? When you Love Allah and his Prophet (PBUH) you strive to follow what they taught and believed in. You cannot go against their teachings and say that I still love them, otherwise you will just sound ignorant. You need to have a quick run through the basics of Islam before you make such claims and statements, because this way you are just ridiculing Islam and its teachings. Islam doesn’t allow you to wear Bikini. Period. And if you still do, then you are going against its teachings. Recommend

  • waqas

    @Jag Nathan:

    Speak in context because out of context things can confuse the debate.

    and @author:

    Parda is a obligation in islam , to us men , we have a clear order to lower our gaze and walk on side of path and to you (womens) a veil which can cover your face and a dress which can’t show your curves is mandatory.Recommend

  • Muhammad Omair

    @AM:

    What is so Logical about this blog, can you elaborate? It is the most ignorant blog I have read in ages. Recommend

  • Shuja Ul Islam

    @ fatima omar

    that’s where u are wrong..islam is not what we interpret of it..it is what it is..pure n simple..ways to live life are given..it up to u to opt it or not..

    but then again..u are not the only who believe so..!!Recommend

  • LawMaker

    Bystanding the Will of the article, it was written in best tone and way, writer observes society by herself stl, the thing should be realised is noOne is allowed to quit his/her ethical or religious duties on ocular grounds. If others are not committing Veil or they aint doing in proper method, they shouldnt be intactly a symbol of expression to you…EveryOne have to fill his own grave…!!
    If I am wrong in my approach of religion, may God forgive me and if you are wrong in your approach, may God forgive you.

    Sorrie to say, but in this case, U are wrong, because you ain`t eligible to do justice with others and to urself by seeing and hearing only….Recommend

  • Fatima Omar

    You’re right, I can’t claim to love Allah unless i submit my will to Him. The day I realize that it is against His will to wear a bikini on a beach, I’ll stop doing it.Recommend

  • curious

    @Muhammad Omair:

    In USA women never Observed Hijab and according to 2008 Stats, every second a US Woman gets raped. But you won’t hear such stats in Saudi now will you.

    In Saudi Arabia, if you shout rape, without 4 Mullahs as eyewitnesses, you will get stoned for Zina. So its better to keep quiet.

    http://www.migrant-rights.org/category/women/rape/page/3/
    http://www.emirates247.com/news/region/filipina-maid-raped-by-saudi-employer-2012-07-18-1.467851

    Again do your research first before making such claims otherwise you’ll sound ignorant.

    Any idea who said this?Recommend

  • Shuja Ul Islam

    @Fatima Omar:
    you make me laugh..!!Recommend

  • Muhammad Omair

    @curious:

    Irrelevant. The website that you posted holds no credibility. I can too make websites claiming gang rapes in India. As far as the news is concerned, I never claimed that Saudi Arabia is 100% pure. But compared to countries like United States and UK where women get raped every minute, it is still far better and more civilised. Compare Saudi with western countries and then maybe you will get my point, so you still have a lot research to do. Also, you can compare the rate of prostitution in western countries compared to Iran and Saudi. Prostitution is very common in western countries and by far it is the most uncivilised and barbaric use of woman. So get your facts straight before blaming muslim countries. Recommend

  • Ahmer Shahid

    @Jag Nathan: Please try to open your heart . Islam favours the marriage on puberty and pubery ages are different based on different countries and era/time as well.

    Commenting on something which you dont know is actually “ignorance at peak” Recommend

  • Muhammad Omair

    @Fatima Omar:

    Either you are being serious or just playing. ET doesn’t allow quotes from Holy Quran and Hadis otherwise I would have bombarded you with evidence of Allah’s displeasure towards woman who shamelessly flaunt their body in front of other men. Ask your father/husband/brother how would he feel if you hang out with other men in Bikini, then maybe you might get a slight idea of Allah’s displeasure. Recommend

  • Muhammad Omair

    @curious:

    Also as far as law is concerned, it is irrelevant to this subject of Hijab. But just for the sake of clarification, Rape is not a common trait in muslim countries because a) Women are covered as they should be b) Every woman is supposed to be with her Mahram when she is out in the streets and c) Majority of people fear Allah. It is at least better than Western countries where women are allowed to roam naked and when they get raped they are given justice lols.Recommend

  • salman

    Good on you – there is nothing in the Quran saying women need to cover their head. You are not in the wrong one least bit. Recommend

  • nikhat

    every1 has his own views about hijab,whether they need it or not… i bet the 16 yr old will not think of it in the coming yrs,the same way she thinks right now
    at 16 i guess alot of people think like the way this girl thinks,even the 19-yr old girls wearing hijab and having bf at the same time and not offering namaz might also think like this when they were 16…

    views change alot with timeRecommend

  • Muhammad Abdullah

    Obviously its your life and you are free to do what you like, you stopped because you didnt knew why you were doing it. The religious texts are there and my guess is that you have done your research on that.
    Coming at it from a general perspective, as a male I have more respect for girls with hijab than those without it. If a girl in tight jeans is in trouble on the street, I guess I am less likely to stop and help her compared to a girl with hijab.
    Men and women have different mentality, men are attracted more to the female physical structure including hair, women are not like that, thats why some times they dont really understand why they should cover themselves up. Recommend

  • Vikram

    @Muhammad Omair: What percentage of Muslim men lower their gaze when they see a Muslim sister? Hijab is to protect Muslim women from Muslim men. I say that becau in Western countries majority of women don’t vieil or wear burqa and no one bothers them. In Muslim countries women even in burqa get pinched, groped, grabbed and sexually harassed by Muslim men.Recommend

  • Kamran

    Either you just wanted to please your self by following your own will,
    OR
    Please our creator Allah by following the guidelines in form of Quran and Sunnath.

    You can find 100 reasons to fulfill your own will but there’s only one way to please our creator Allah i.e. by following the Quran and Sunnath Rasool (PBUH)Recommend

  • Vikram

    @nomi: “”83% of Egyptian women claim harassment in a country where most women cover up”

    That is nice. Looks like Muslim men don’t harass 17% of Muslim sisters who are above 65 yr old. Islam is a way of life.. Recommend

  • Vikram

    @Muhammad Omair: Stop lying. Most Muslim women don’t wear Hijab in USA. How many Muslim women have been raped in USA. Search Muslim father rape on Internet and read few of the hits.Recommend