image credit Elle Magazine
The rise of Hijabistas, Muslim women with headscarves who are also fashionistas in their own right, has been phenomenal, thanks to social media.
On every social media channel, you can find a fashionable muslim woman showing their latest style, whether in clothing or even in their hijab styles and tutorials. They’re mostly young, beautiful and social media savvy. To most, they just want to show their love for fashion and being Muslim at the same time.
Unknowingly, these Hijabistas have created a movement in their own right. It’s a global movement that’s a show of force to dispel the Western bias and criticism that being covered means being oppressed, dictated by the men in their lives. It’s also a challenge to the Western myth that female beauty is only appreciated by exposing the skin and curves.
From Hijabistas living in the West, to those living in Muslim majority Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian countries, they’re making waves and making hijab fashion mainstream.
Ten years ago, even in Muslim majority countries (with minorities practicing other faiths), hijab wearing women were in the minority. Wearing hijab meant you were ultra religious, backward and probably from rural areas, even if, in reality you were educated in the West and raised an urbanite your entire life.
But now, wearing hijab is an affirmation that being Muslim and covered can mean that you’re also hip, trendy and worldly. One does not have to give up her desire to live in this life just to hope for paradise in the next life.
Conservative Muslims and their preachers have often scorn at these women. Wearing hijab means more than just covering one’s hair, as it also means covering one’s beauty. Beauty is not to be paraded publicly but confined and celebrated in the realm of one’s home.
Even if you agree with this point of view, you and the Muslim conservatives are missing an important point.
Unintentionally, Hijabistas encourage other Muslim women to wear the Hijab. While Muslim women wear the hijab first and foremost to please God, Hijabistas give them the courage to wear hijab where otherwise they’ll be hesitant to wear one for fear of discrimination, or ridicule.
Unlike the stereotype Western perception of Muslim women being forced to wear the hijab by their fathers or husbands, most Muslim women choose to wear the hijab at some point in their lives.
It’s often through a revival of their personal faiths that may coincide with a life event or experience. However, while they may have a desire to wear the hijab, some are held back for fear of ridiculed, or discriminated in the workplace, school or college.
So these women may take some courage from Hijabistas who show the world that they’re not afraid of showing their Muslim identity and at the same time, fashion savvy.
Even some Western fashion houses and brands have featured hijab and women in hijab in their collections. Some have even hired real Hijabistas in their features (instead of just any model wearing a hijab): UK-based Mariah Idrissi, US-based Nura Afia and Halima Aden are just to name a few.
When hijab becomes mainstream, even in the West, it’s a great service for Muslim women everywhere.
As the hijab is an outward symbol of the Islamic faith, it’s mainstream acceptance has made it a fashion choice and a material possession.
Fashion can be made for the masses at affordable prices and have commodity value, or be made for premium to an exclusive club afforded by the rich. The choice is purely for the consumers to choose…depending on which income category one falls into.
Just because you’re fulfilling your religious obligation, it doesn’t mean you have to be cheap when you can afford to be premium. Duck Scarves by Malaysian Hijabista, Entrepreneur and reality TV star Vivy Yusof is a testament that you can be faithful even in luxury.
Where some people have been critical of some hijab fashion houses pricing their hijab at premium prices, saying that a $200 scarf does not guarantee one’s place in paradise and the money is better spent on charity instead…
If you have to choose how best to spend your $200 either for fashion for yourself or food for your family, then obviously you are not the intended target audience…
If all Muslims must show their piety from only living a Zuhd (rejecting comfort and luxury) life, then why don’t we criticise those who drive Mercedeses and other premium cars or carry LV handbags, asking them instead to spend it on charity instead of luxuries….
Because these people can do both… Plus, there is no prohibition in Islam that prevents a Muslim from spending on his wealth for himself and his family, for as long he fulfills his Islamic obligations.
At the end of the day, or the end of your life, is your faith in God and how faithful you are to God that matters.
The road to faith is many, some may be unconventional as these Hijabistas, but we Muslims must acknowledge their service to the Ummah, even if their service is an unintentional one. Empowering other Muslim women to wear the hijab. Thank you Hijabistas!
Farah Ishak is a Content Writer at Halalop. She grew up in the United Kingdom where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Management. Later, she completed her MBA and held senior-level positions in Malaysian based MNC. She left the corporate world to be with her young kids. She is passionate about issues concerning Muslim women, Startups and Muslim businesses in general.
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