Uncovered Too: Women Who Took Off The Hijab Speak Out!

Uncovered2

Published On Ink Of Faith, March 9th, 2015

Uncovered Too: Women Who Took Off The Hijab Speak Out!

Standing behind bars in prison uniform it suddenly occurs to me that ‘orange’ is so NOT my color! Prosecutors and defendants exchange witness lists, while the judge slams that golden gavel and yells “SILENCE IN THE COURT ROOM!”.

Here come the opening statements. This isn’t going to be pleasant people.
Oh my God, what have I done?

“Ms. Mohsen is the new kid on the block, your honor. She had no right to judge ‘uncovered’ women in her last article. A life sentence in jail is what this so called Islamic writer deserves!” The Prosecutor argues.

“Life sentence? Dramatic much?!” I mumble to myself.

“Your honor, with all due respect, my client did not mean to offend or judge anyone. If anything, the whole reason behind this writing was to celebrate the ‘true icons’ like she mentioned. After all, Hijab is an Islamic obligation, according to chapter 24, verse 31 of the Holy Qur’an.” My lawyer explains.
Way to go girl!

My wild imagination aside, the feedback on the article “Uncovered: Why More Women Are Taking Off Their Hijab” was overwhelmingly vast I literally had to lock myself up and stare at the wall for a while. Gratefully, most of the comments were extremely positive and uplifting, and I humbly take this opportunity to thank our readers for this overpoweringly huge boost. Even so, still some people perceived the writing (or perhaps me) as judgmental, superficial, narrow-minded, and one reader basically asked me to shut up!

Rejection and criticism can be great tools in helping us develop thicker skin. One of my greatest teachers once said: “Let no praise make you arrogant and let no condemnation drag you down.” While it gave me utmost joy to celebrate those beautiful strangers who still continue to wear the Hijab, I think it’s only respectful to reveal the other side of the story, about the Muslim women who decided to take it off… The ones who felt judged, criticized and, most of all, misunderstood…

Who Are We Judge?

But is that what my article sounded like to non-Hijabis? Like I’m judging them? If the answer is yes then I’m beyond mortified, and I truly apologize. Only Allah knows that wasn’t my intention.

Islam is the true reflection of humility, compassion, peace and love. As much as I respect veiled women, as much as it would break my heart to see them looking down on others who chose to take it off or not put it on. My own sister and many of my best friends aren’t wearing the Hijab, yet they probably do more good than I do. We are all slaves of the Great Lord, and none of us is perfect.

“O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them……” (Surat Al-Ĥujurāt, Verse 11, Holy Qur’an)

Confusion Is Messing Us Up!

“OBJECTION! Your honor she’s obviously swaying from the main subject. The issue of Hijab is argued to be debatable and Ms. Mohsen is still assuming her opinion of it being an obligation is the definite one! She even had the audacity to call any other view ‘nauseating’ ” The Prosecutor turns red with anger at this point. “She’s interpreting the Holy Qur’an according to her own understanding! Why isn’t she giving uncovered women the same rights to interpret it differently?”

Why is my lawyer silent? Like HELLO! Say something!
She’s disappointed at my choice of words, isn’t she? I described the act of women spreading their doubts about Hijab as ‘appalling’ and ‘absurd’… Yes that wasn’t very nice. My mom was disappointed too! Well, that just proves my point that none of us is perfect. I admit I should have been more eloquent in expressing my disagreement. Now please allow me to elaborate on why I disagree in a more logical way.

Okay. So you’re on a plane and the flight attendant says “Ladies and gentlemen, please contact the airline manufacturing department to provide you with seatbelts, and once they’re delivered, please fasten them so we can finally take off!”

No that’s not what happens, simply because the seatbelts are already there, you just need to fasten them, that’s it, right?

What about the head covers? Allah did NOT say “Oh Mohamed, tell the women to go buy a piece of cloth, and call it a headscarf, veil, khimar or hijab and then cover their hair and necks with it.” No that’s not what happened either, simply because women at that time already wore head covers, they were just asked to wrap them tightly so their ears, necks and chests don’t show. No wonder there were no riots or debates about the obligation of wearing the hijab at that time.

“And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their head covers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women….”. (Surat An-Nūr, 24:31, Holy Qur’an)

To those who argue that Hijab isn’t an Islamic obligation and that I’m only sharing my personal understanding of the Qur’an, the above verses are not my words, they’re Allah Almighty’s words, and they’re pretty straight forward. It is for this very same reason that females cover their hair and bodies when they pray, even though it’s not mentioned anywhere in the Holy Qur’an. That is basically because proper Hijab is our Islamic attire till this day, and it wasn’t just bounded to the times of the blessed Prophet (PBUH). Why else would God explain in details the specific men we are allowed to show our adornment to, if everyone is allowed to see us with no head covers to begin with?

One of the greatest trials we are facing in the modern world are the alterations of certain matters in Islam into uncertain ones. Some skeptics explain that Riba is lawful and that drinking certain kinds of alcohol is permissible and that Hijab is not at all an obligation. Of course we are all allowed the freedom of speech, but it’s the confusion that is messing us up, and it’s somehow making Muslims abide by the beliefs that are convenient to their lives only. If uncovered women are okay with standing before Almighty Allah on the Day of Judgment and testifying they’re not convinced of Hijab, then by all means let them share their doubts and I’ll stay out of it! (Hey, where’s my mute button?)

Are You Up For A Big Surprise?

Time to blow this story wide-open girls! Because it’s not only in Islam that women are required to cover up. It’s also in all the Holy Books.

“Excuse me Miss. Do you have a copy of the Holy Bible? Yes there it is!”

“For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or to be shaved, she should wear a veil. For a man ought not to have his head veiled, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man” (Corinthians 11:6-7, Holy Bible) 

In Judaism, head or hair covering is known as ‘Kisui rosh’. It’s mentioned in the Torah. In fact, some interpretations of the verses explain it as form of adultery for women not to cover their hair.

…”then, that head or hair covering was law for the daughters of Israel” (Sifrei Bamidbar 11)

So I’m ‘Uncovered’! Shoot Me!

I’m not here to defend the women who took off their headscarves, but certainly no one is allowed to shoot them down either! It’s our obligation to remind ourselves and others to do the right thing, and it’s also our choice to take the advice or leave it. Again it’s not the veil, it’s the ‘Taqwa’, faith and good manners that count the most. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) sums it up beautifully in one of his hadiths…

Abu Hurayra said, “The Prophet (PBUH) was asked,
“Messenger of Allah! A certain woman prays in the night, fasts in the day, acts and gives ‘sadaqa’ (charity), but injures her neighbors with her tongue.”
The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, ‘There is no good in her. She is one of the people of the Fire.”They said, “Another woman prays the prescribed prayers and gives bits of curd as sadaqa and does not injure anyone.”The Messenger of Allah, (PBUH) said, ‘She is one of the people of the Garden.'” (Sahih (Al-Albani) Al Adab Al Mufrad 119)

I know non-Hijabi women who spend their time helping the needy and memorizing the Qur’an, and other Hijabis who wear skin-tight outfits and are the biggest gossipmongers ever! Some women posted comments saying they took off their Hijab because they’re being assaulted by non-Muslims in the West. I honestly understand their fear, and only God knows what they’re going through to hold on to their Islam. It’s time we face the ultimate truth, we are not here to judge. we are all only here to worship the Great Lord and help each other stay on the right track.

If we were all sentenced because of our personal choices, then there wouldn’t be not one innocent human being living on this planet. I remind myself before anyone else that I’m a weak sinner. The temptations of this world get to us, and God knows we are only human. We silence that voice inside reminding us of the Hereafter because it’s so difficult to resist our cravings. It’s beyond difficult! We don’t wanna be reminded to eat healthy while we’re enjoying a delicious Nutella covered piece of cake. We don’t wanna think of Judgment Day when we wear tight or revealing dresses and get showered with compliments and admiring looks. We just wanna scream at the top of our lungs ‘STOP! Stop telling me I don’t pray enough or I should read more Qur’an! Stop reminding me of my shortcomings! Don’t you think they’re already killing me?!”

Every person giving you advice is already struggling with a sin of his or her own to start with. We are all scared and insecure. But what else can we do except be there for each other…? The wrong has become so common; it’s a miracle some people are still holding on to what’s right…. It’s at times like this that I need you and you need me….

To all our readers, in this trial I ask you to be the jury coming up with the final verdict. I hope you’ll speak your mind and tell the rest of us how you truly feel…. And may the ones who judge you for your honesty be silenced.

And to my dearest Allah, the Most Merciful Lord, I’m down on my knees asking Your forgiveness… If my writing has hurt any of Your slaves or has pushed women away instead of bringing them closer to You, then it’s my fault not theirs. I plead guilty and I hope you’ll pardon me for not delivering the message in a way that touches people’s hearts. Islam is perfect but we aren’t, and only You know how imperfect and flawed I am, so please help me… and help us…

Because without Your guidance we are all….
Nothing at all….

Lilly S. Mohsen

22 thoughts on “Uncovered Too: Women Who Took Off The Hijab Speak Out!

  1. mansoor malick

    A  BEAUTIFUL  WRITE-UP.  MAY  ALLAH  BLESS  YOU. AMEEN mansoor   From: Lilly Mohsen’s Blog To: emthrice@yahoo.com Sent: Sunday, March 15, 2015 2:57 PM Subject: [New post] Uncovered Too: Women Who Took Off The Hijab Speak Out! #yiv8251607614 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv8251607614 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv8251607614 a.yiv8251607614primaryactionlink:link, #yiv8251607614 a.yiv8251607614primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv8251607614 a.yiv8251607614primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv8251607614 a.yiv8251607614primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv8251607614 WordPress.com | lillymohsen posted: “Uncovered Too: Women Who Took Off The Hijab Speak Out!Standing behind bars in prison uniform it suddenly occurs to me that ‘orange’ is so NOT my color! Prosecutors and defendants exchange witness lists, while the judge slams that golden gavel and ye” | |

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  2. Fza

    I needed to read this, especially today. I have been battling with taking off my hijab for countless years. I feel that the only reason I haven’t is because I am a coward. I am more afraid of what people will say than what God will think of me. I started it with my own free will and I keep coming back to the same crossroad, keep it on or take it off. I am frustrated about the fact that I have to continuously convince myself that I am doing the right thing even though I am doing it halfheartedly, in fact I am not doing it with my heart at all.

    I am a hijabi, who is skinny, but also wears tight clothes. I know it’s wrong, hypocritical and I don’t even have an excuse. I enjoy looking nice, even though it defeats the purpose of Hijab. I have gone clubbing with my hijab, I don’t drink, sleep around or any of that. I went clubbing, though I like to term it as dancing and as fun as it was, it made me realise that it isn’t my cup of tea. It was fun sure, but not something I truly enjoy.

    I was 12 when I started and 16 when I became more serious about it. It’s been 10 years since I started it. It has become part of who I am. Funny how a garment can define you.

    Anyway before I dwell on. Jazak Allah Khair. I really appreciate this.

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      1. fza

        🙂 It most certainly did. Also motivated me to start my own blog. Not necessarily to share my experiences, but more to share my thoughts. An outlet to help me gain some perspective on myself.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Sachal Smith

    The women cloths have mystical and psychological significance, and there are no religions without mysteries. The cover particularly of women, helps people to believe in mysteries, and therefore is an integral part of Islam. I mean to say that by covering women, the Muslims actually embellish the religion of Islam; and that is a fair price to pay for it.

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  4. Farrukh

    In early Islam, you had free and slave women. Free Muslim women would cover their hair. Slave Muslim women would not cover their hair. Covering the hair was to do with cultural class and has nothing to do with religion; as the religion calls simply for modesty.

    Secondly, read the Quran. The word hijab is used 7 times, not once does it refer to a piece of cloth on the head. So ask yourself why you corrupt the word of Allah, by using a word Allah uses to mean something other than what Allah uses it for.

    “Because without Your guidance we are all….” – Amen.

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    1. lillymohsen Post author

      Whoa easy there Farrukh!
      1- No human can ever “corrupt” the word of Allah.
      2- The verse I quoted is clear and I referred to hijab in all possible ways as: khimar (which is the word mentioned in the Quran) head cover, veil..etc
      3- If it’s a culture thing, I don’t think we would be obligated to cover our hair when we pray or go to Hajj
      4- Your opinion is respected, but your accusations are most certainly not. I’m sure we can all agree to disagree in a civilized and logical manner.
      May Allah guide us all.

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      1. Farrukh

        🙂 –
        1. At no point in the Quran does Allah use the word Hijab to refer to an item of clothing, so by continuing to refer to it as one, every person who does so is misrepresenting Allah’s usage of the word 🙂
        2. Go back an look at your history, slave Muslim women were not obliged to cover their hair. Yet they were still considered Muslim. This is the simpliest of proofs that wearing a piece of cloth on your head is not a religious requirement.
        3. The above said, people are free to dress any way they like, and no other person has the right to object or impose their point of view on another.
        Ameen to your dua 🙂

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  5. Colleen

    I think of mothers who are trying to raise daughters to feel proud to wear the hijab. You are such a great support to these mothers by writing articles to support this generation. It interests me how just a piece of cloth can stir all kinds of feelings in all kinds of people. I am a middle aged woman who has worn hijab for many years now. As many young girls are feeling pressure to remove the hijab and show parts of themselves since this is the concept of youth in this social age, I am grateful to age gracefully with wearing hijab and feel the true preservation of beauty both physically & spiritually that hijab gives to each woman who chooses to wear it. Of course, someone who does not wear hijab will express that they can also be physically & spiritually attractive, however our experiences will be different. I wonder as some of the same young women age who choose not to wear hijab what their feelings would be when they grow old? Or do they think I am just an old ugly woman writing this post who needs to be wearing hijab anyway. I am not meaning to be totally sarcastic. I realize hijab is much more than issues of beauty. Please forgive any misunderstandings in my writing. I thank you Lilly for your work! May Allah help cure all of our hearts.

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    1. lillymohsen Post author

      Absolutely no misunderstanding Colleen! Your words are just as graceful as you are. Thank you for your encouraging comment. It’s that kind of positivity that keeps us going….

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  6. Aisha Persaud

    Why is this the be all and end all of a woman’s struggle with spirituality? There is so much more … I am a woman who has removed my hijab yet none of the reasons provided apply to me.
    I did not/do not have a ‘suffocating need to fit in’ or a desire for attention and affection. That’s awfully presumptuous to assume that’s why women have removed the hijab. It’s so reductive as if all women, hijabi or not, are simply obsessed with looks and attention.
    I definitely do not deny the beauty of hijab and I make dua that one day I do decide to put on the hijab again for the sole purpose of pleasing ALLAH ( Swt). With the mercy of ALLAH (swt) my hijab was never a point of holding me back to achieve my education or Alhamdulillah take off in my career.
    As a convert and a single mother of 5 children I pray to ALLAH (swt) that I am raising my children to speak and act with the clear purpose of only pleasing ALLAH (swt). I need to be sure and confident everything I do and say is only for the sake of ALLAH (swt) to be an example to my children.
    to be quite honest the first article was very much so a put off and I was quite upset that the admin had chosen to publish such an article. Alhamdulillah, thank you for the second article.
    May ALLAH (swt) forgive us all for our short comings and give us all strong Emaan to better ourselves to be granted everlasting bliss, ameen!

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  7. Sheba

    I do not wear the hijab, but have been struggling to wear it. When I read this article, I thought that these were simply some thoughts I have had in regards to wearing it (there are other reasons, but these definitely touched on some of mine). I was not offended at all, in fact, as mentioned, just laid out what I had been struggling with myself. I have many friends who do wear the hijab, and none of them have judged me for not wearing it. In fact, I am more judgemental towards myself, than they are of me. I do have friends who also made the decision to take it off, and some that still struggle with it, and I agree, some of their reasons are those listed above (though some are different, because someone had mentioned in the comments section of the previous article, everyone’s struggle is unique). Thank you very much for writing this article, and providing some insight as to what some of these women have been going through. No one is better or worse than another, as only Allah knows our sins, and what we have repented for, but it’s always important to see all sides of the story, so you can understand people better, and be more empathetic. At least that is my personal opinion, and do not judge or mean to offend anyone else for their opinions.

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  8. Pingback: [Inside The Therapist’s Office Season 2 - Ep 1] True Belief - ProductiveMuslim.com

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