Tuesday, September 16, 2008

You know what I am before you know who I am.

My original concept for this was to have the words form the image of the woman wearing the scarf, a textual graphic, similar to the Islamic calligraphy where verses of the Quran are written stylistically to curve into and form shapes from nature. 

But, I am artistically-inept, any rendering would have been as elegant as a crayon left to melt in the sun.  The next best thing was to turn to photoshop and manipulate an image sourced from a google search.

The rationale: Ramadaan tends to froth up the visual Islam; the conventional markers of the Faith such as the hijab and the beard. It is a time for questions from those you work with, study with or buy fruit from. Challenge the existing perceptions, unsettle the mindsets, uncover their minds, educate.

32 comments:

Safiyyah said...

Not to undermine anyones good intentions nor appear holy than thou, but I havent quite been able to grasp why people would do hijab in Ramadan and not out of it, some insight please?

KimyaShafinaaz said...

:)

M Junaid said...

i notice the little 'saaleha.com' watermark.

safiyyah - I used to wonder that as well. Then I realised that im happy that they are trying in Ramadan, and thats good enough for me :)

Blue Sunflower said...

You've been tagged....

blue

Princess said...

MJ I agree, they trying. The effort counts

Nafisa said...

Donning the scarves and the growing beards in Ramadaan only smacks of hypocrisy. Its just a show. To whom? I dont know.

Fatima said...

I can write a whole book on my thoughts on this.

In fact, I went off into a rant.
So I deleted it and I will just say this:

I agree with Nafisa and Safiyyah.

I don't agree that hijab is for one month only. If they really want to try, they will try out of Ramadaan as well.


Thus, I have a challenge for those that only wear it for Ramadaan. Try wearing it for a day out of Ramadaan.
At least for Eid.
Then the next day.
Then the day after...
try it...it's not that bad at all...and as Saaleha's image post says, "uncover your mind", perhaps the hijab will do that for you :)

Perhaps the guys can stay away from the razor a few days out of Ramadaan. Try that beard for a few extra days...go on...it's not that bad.

Saaleha Bamjee-Mayet said...

'friday muslims' and 'Ramadaan akhi's and apa's' used to irk me, borne out of that very same sense of 'this is hypocrisy'.
This Ramadaan however, I felt differently, it occurred to me that perhaps the internal processes of a growing spirituality was being manifested in the external, with the hope that this 'inside out-ing' asserts in place something that goes well beyond Eid.

Work in Progress said...

I totally agree with Nafisa. Does wearing a scarf or growing a beard in Ramadaan make u any more of a muslim than u r the rest of the year? Suppose u r really trying, then y not try to wear the scarf / not shave ur beard for Eid day also? And the day after? And then u can say u tried. It's like wearing an abaya on a Friday but neglecting ur salaah every other day of the week. Who is it meant to impress? Personally I think that its' what's on the inside that counts - that's what determines how good a Muslim u are.

KimyaShafinaaz said...

i have a problem with people donning hijab and thinking that makes them (better) muslims. maybe they are. maybe. i dont know. its the thinking..

Saaleha Bamjee-Mayet said...

You raise a valid point Shafinaaz. While a pedestrian perception would be that someone in hijab is somewhat more observant than someone who doesn't cover the hair, we know this reasoning to be skewed.
A red nose may make you look like a clown, but it doesn't make you funny.
For a people who are meant to leave the judging up to the Almighty, we sure do a great job of doling it out anyway.

Saaleha Bamjee-Mayet said...

To add: I struggle with judgment. My first comment is indicative of that. It's dust-in-the-eye-and-blink instant, and I believe it's a great leap for self-actualisation when there's that pause just after we see something and just before we cast an opinion.

Anonymous said...

Something I remember from school days... someone complained to one of our Islamic Studies teachers that it was pointless for girls who dressed in figure revealing clothes to conceal their hair. The teacher replied, 'Look at it this way, they are doing one more right than you're doing...' It's that kind of mindset we have to adopt, to get off our high horses, stop being presumptious about what other people are trying to achieve with the hijab.

Muhammad said...

I used to be of the "at least they're trying" and "at least they're doing something" school of though but I left it because people just leave it at that stage. It becomes habit. donning our Isamic identities just becomes a ritual on friday's and Ramadan and we don't do it out of love for Allah(SWT) we do it out of habit and societal norm. And believe me, we south African Muslims have a lotof societal norms which we adhere to simple becasue we fear judgment and not because of any true adhering to any idea of Sunnah or pleasing Allah(SWT).

We are all pretty intellgient and can understand things and want to make ourselves better, so why not hold ourselves to the highest standard instead of justifying why we can stay on the lowest level?

I'm sorry to say this but this debate has happened tons of times before and all it is is mental masturbation.

Khadija said...

One of the most pertinent ahadith that ought to inform our dealing with brothers and sisters, 'Actions are judged by their intentions.' The Almighty is the true judge, He knows the reality.

Just as we shouldn't be too quick to judge the more overt display of Muslim identity in Ramadan, let's also think kindly of those among us who observe hijab more perennially.

Like Fatima I can go on and on, and too have delted alot of what I meant to say.
Taqabal allahu minna saalih ala3maal. May Allah accept our good actions.

KimyaShafinaaz said...

im not going to stare at the screen and purport how many salaahs i pray, etc. but i have yet to meet someone who will look me in the eye and say: hypocrite when iv walked out of the hair salon with a fresh head of blonde streaks. or better yet, call me a disbeliever? its a pity, indeed, now that i know the thoughts do tend to make their way around.

please take comments in light of debate. but the next time you see me without hijab, please say a little prayer for my salvation before you condemn me? im always greedy for dua's..

Allah knows best. May He Guide us to that path of actualisation..

Tickle said...

wearing a scarf, hijab or growing a beard is not a reflection of your beliefs or faith. you do not need to be outwardly muslim in order to represent your faith.

i dont wear a scarf (full-time). im one of those wild things who like her hair perfectly straightened, or up in a pony. but then, there are also those moments where il put a pretty scarf on cos i liked the colours, or dug deep into my cupboards for a pretty abaya, cos i felt like wearing one ... or felt like it was appropraite to the place i was going...

but, that all doesnt happen during ramadaan. it should happen when one feels the need to. and if it means covering up, by one's own choice, then so be it.

"now, where's my scarf-pin.." ;)

- saaleha looks pretty in a scarf! -

Saaleha Bamjee-Mayet said...

May we never fall to the condemnation of our siblings in Faith.

I concur with Khadija.

This Ramadaan has done much for me by way of catalysing the examination of my own prejudices and judgements, I hope you all have your own moments of light:)

Just to be clear, in case it wasn't evident in the actual post, in which case it's my failing, the implicit idea of "uncover your mind while I cover my head", is aimed at non-muslims who may misunderstand those who choose to wear the hijab/khimar.

Aasia said...

well, I have heard this over and over. wearing hijaab doesn't make better.

I am caught though, traditionally girls have been wearing hijab in Ramadaan and if for no other reason, maybe that should be good enough.

I see girls not only NOT wearing hijab, but not even doing anything else islamic. When does progression end, and corruption set in.

Truly, I am caught between 2 worlds

Dew said...

It's not really difficult to guess why some women wear scarf in Ramadaan or on Fridays - In Ramadaan you do extra - you read Quraan, make more dua, read tarweeh you make an attempt, you do things you wouldn't normally do. It's the same with dressing, you try. No one should judge another for that.

But I have to agree with Muhammad on that, once it actually just becomes a habit,just something you do for the sake of doing then yes, thats where its gets a bit...hypocritical and pointless.

And Allah knows best.

Zahera said...

>>please take comments in light of debate. but the next time you see me without hijab, please say a little prayer for my salvation before you condemn me? im always greedy for dua's..

LOL i love you Shafs! :-D
Maybe people forget the reason for wearing hijab. It has nothing to do with it being Ramadhan and the holy month blah blah. Sure i can understand that people want to try and make more of an effort and Alhamdullilah so many of those efforts are taken forth even after Ramadhan passes us. However, maybe its important that we question WHY we do certain things rather than thinking we have to do it for people or for show.

Women wear the hijab because Allah Ta'ala has commanded us to wear it. Its as simple as that. Some can adhere to it whilst others cant. The same woman who wears a hijab might find praying salaah on time difficult whilst another who doesnt wear hijab prays every salaah on time! We are all alswerable for our own deeds-thats the bottom line.

Maybe the key to every one of our actions (not only in Ramadhan) is to question whether Allah Ta'ala will be pelased with you for doing such a thing.

Waseem said...

+1 for at least they are trying. I wouldnt be too quick to brand people hypocrite or whatever, cos only Allah knows their true intentions.

I think your post was clear, Saaleha.
Hopefully, we all can use the opportunity this month gives us.

Anonymous said...

I found this an interesting debate so I'd like to represent the
"hypocrites" who wear hijab in ramadhaan more than out of it. (I'm aiming my comments at other comments.)

Firstly, we know we should wear hijaab throughout the year - but we are weak and silly and want to 'look good', we know it's a sin but then again, everyone sins - they just have different ideas of what their sins are. People always judge the non-hijab wearers when they wear hijab. You can't say they're hypocrites, you have no idea what is in their hearts. Who are you to judge?

Secondly, in Ramadhaan - we realize we want to be good, and strengthen our eemaan. We wear it for ourselves (I mean, who is gonna be impressed anyway?) and for the maximum benefit of this month. We abstain from all sins, or try our best to - so our fasting can be accepted and our 'ibaadah greater. How do you know we do not hope to remain that way for the rest of our lives?

I went to madrassah and the girls there were always judging other Muslim girls in secular schools who they looked down on, don't make the mistake of lessening YOUR eemaan and status by succumbing to holier-than-thou assumptions because you feel you are better - it's a common mistake and something to improve on for Muslims everywhere. Then we will have unity, love, and the strength we so clearly lack.

Allahu a'lam,
H

Zahera said...

YOu know what i find quite interesting? Ive been in both camps. Not wearing hijab and having a completely arrogant few towards those apparent hypocrites who wore it but didnt seem any better than those who didnt, and now someone who does wear it and STILL has to deal with remarks of the opposite nature!

It seems to boil down to nothing except people not liking to be boxed or put into a category. No one likes it. Not the non hijabees and not the hijabees. People should do as they see fit, they should do accorinding to their own level of Taqwa and we as fellow muslim brothers and sisters should try and refrain from passing judgement calls on ANYONE. Infact out duas for each others guidance would be more beneficial than all the slandering. Its not some kind of contest! Where is the Imaan? Rasollalah SAW said that none of us truly believes until we wish for our brothers and sisters in Islam what we wish for ourselves!

I wish for my sisters to wear hijab! Not because i think im better than them or that wearing it makes me a better human/muslim. No, its because its a command by Allah and as a hijaabi i understand the beauty of it!I understand the reward for it- so i just want the same for my sisters.

Its a shame that nowadays your praised more for being secular in some respects than speaking out Haqq and wanting Islam for your fellow muslims because it makes you coem across self righteous,judgemental and holier than though. Maybe the same good intentions in a person who is wearing hijab only in Ramadhan are also the same good intentions that are in the hijabee sisters or the beardo brothers heart but unfortunately in todays day and age it comes across as nothign except fundamentalist, extremists and patronising. Is it a wonder muslims are scared to give dawah and Islamic advice to each other? I say no.

KimyaShafinaaz said...

zahera: love you too,sis..

but i must add that my words were tongue-in-cheek reference in light of debate, and not meant to offend anyone. stirring up debate is what we're here for. and of course, may Allah grant us the Hidayat we seek and need in our lives..

Thanks, Saaleha for offering a space to provoke thought, as always :)

And with due regard to your original intentions :P

Dew said...

Yes, the poor original concept got left behind. I apologise for this.

I think it's a fantastic concept.

Sofi said...

>>
The rationale: Ramadaan tends to froth up the visual Islam; the conventional markers of the Faith such as the hijab and the beard. It is a time for questions from those you work with, study with or buy fruit from. Challenge the existing perceptions, unsettle the mindsets, uncover their minds, educate.

ameen to that. if only more people were as intelligent as you. our ummah wouldn be in the state its in. all the other comments on this blog entry are irrelevant :p

Zahera said...

Yes sorry :-P going back to the concept- its a lovely one Sals.

Dya mean you wanted it to be somewhat similar to like the famous piece of Calligraphy of a man in sajda but its all arabic writing? Theres one of a bird and tiger too! I love those :-D

Saaleha Bamjee-Mayet said...

I'm glad I stirred something:)

@zahera: those are exactly the ones I mean.

Anonymous said...

It is (wajib) compulsory to keep a beard in islam. Do men feel that they have a choice? Also, I'm sure GOD made hair grow on a man's face (and not a womans) for a reason, not a season?

Fatima said...

i know that saaleha's original post got put on hold here and i have to apologise if i offended any people out there.
i think some people took it a bit too personally.


Zahera said...
YOu know what i find quite interesting? Ive been in both camps. Not wearing hijab and having a completely arrogant few towards those apparent hypocrites who wore it but didnt seem any better than those who didnt, and now someone who does wear it and STILL has to deal with remarks of the opposite nature!



i agree with you there. i'm going through the same thing, it's tough on both sides of the coin.
however, i find it more challenging when when non-hijabi girls ask, "so what made you decide to wear it?"
"er...it's fard?"
it's embarassing to be asked that by your fellow muslim and then be judged for following what is fard.


Zahera also said,
"I wish for my sisters to wear hijab! Not because i think im better than them or that wearing it makes me a better human/muslim. No, its because its a command by Allah and as a hijaabi i understand the beauty of it!I understand the reward for it- so i just want the same for my sisters."


It's something I wish too.
It's hard to be someone who tries to wear it, and gets questioned by non-muslims on it and then get the question, "so why do you wear it and why do other muslim girls don't wear it?"
Then you're in a situation where you wish people would wear it more often so you wouldn't have to answer a question like that.
The world is not so.
Perhaps I'm a bit of an idealist.

I pray that we remember and practice what is required of us of the whole muslim identity thing.
I get a thrill seeing hijabi people in ramadaan ...it's a great feeling really....i'm sure a lot of us feel that way.
i only wish it could be like that most days of the year.

i'm glad we're in a country where we are free to wear our hijaab and i'm glad we're not banned from wearing it, like france.

yay for the constitution :)

Nooj said...

i love this pic
i interpret it as the tug o war between ghaib and shahdah- sensing and intuition- just because your skin is black does not mean you are not fair, etc. i want to take up arabic calligraphy as a hobby iA

Profane. Profound. What's your poison?