Saturday, 8 September 2012


The first thought that comes to mind whenever the word hijab is mentioned is usually the head veil and long jubah Muslimahs don. I do not blame you. It was my first thought too.

For men:
Surah An Nur Ayat 30: "Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that they will make for greater purity for them and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do."

And then...

For women:
Surah An Nur Ayat 31: "And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' fathers, their sons..."

There are 6 criteria for observing the hijab according to Al-Quran and Sunnah, and I am still on my hijrah toward being a hijabi. A slow and steady makeover of my wardrobe has started and is continuing...

Credits to Dr. Zakir Naik in his book "20 Most Common Questions About Islam", and I qoute:

"1. Extent
The first criterion is the extent of the body that should be covered. This is different for men and women. The extent of covering obligatory on the male body is to cover the body at least from the navel to the knees. For women, the extent of covering obligatory is to cover the complete body except the face and hands up to the wrist. If they wish to, they can cover even these parts of the body. Some scholars of Islam insist that the face and the hands are part of the obligatory extent of hijab."

I admire The Other Half for always observing this dressing code. Even at the pool. So far, I still do reveal my face and wrist...and here is my experience in relation to "extent" as qouted above.

When I first reverted, I was a casual hijabi. I would wear a transparent silk selendang to the sekolah pondok classes on weekends, tops.

Then I tried the inner anak tudung with tudung and selendang on for aqad nikah and majlis menyambut menantu (wedding reception).

Since I was going to attempt covering my aurat, I then continued wearing some tudung express with long sleeved shirts with jeans during my mini honeymoon at Cameron Highlands, as I figured it would be cool enough for outdoor testrun.
When the mini honeymoon ended, and I reported to Petronas, it seemed natural to continue wearing my daily loose cotton baju kurung with tudung express. Honestly, it was hot during my daily walk to and fro Corinthian to KLCC via the KLCC Park but I persevered, and perhaps tried my best by thinking that hellfire is hotter! I also got wiser in choice of style and material to keep cool.

Slowly and surely, I just grew into this habit. Felt naked without my head veil on.

Every now and then, when in a rush, after putting on my long sleeved shirts with jeans, with no time to spare to properly dry my hair, I would bring my tudung express out with me and put it on upon arriving at the car park before alighting the car.

One day, The Little Girl instructed me to put my tudung express on before leaving the house. Oh, bless this child!

Now I try to work out washing my hair and time it takes to blow dry before leaving home. Alhamdulillah so far it is working out!

Dr. Zakir Naik has also summarised the remaining 5 points which apply pari passu to men and women, and I put in bold my own checklist/comments:

"2. The clothes worn should be loose and should not reveal the figure. Bye bye skinny jeans. I have donated all my thights recently to Oxfam.

3. The clothes worn should not be transparent such that one can see through them. I can save some nice shirts that border on being transparent by always pulling a cardigan completely over them and share only the long cuffs with you on a very cold day in England - not Malaysia.

4. The clothes worn should not be so glamourous as to attract the opposite sex. Let's just save those for my alone private time with The Other Half, ok? It is perfectly halal between us.

5. The clothes worn should not resemble that of the opposite sex. Here is my "biggest" struggle: I am still wearing a lot of jeans for ease of chasing after The Little Girl. I will soon replace them with palazzo pants that look like skirts. Then pray never to trip over them.

6. The clothes worn should not resemble that of the unbeliever i.e. they should not wear clothes that are special identities or symbols of the unbeliever religions. I have not worn my cross on a necklace but still have it as a keepsake, and the time has come for me to sell it then donate whatever little proceeds of the sale for a charitable cause."

I feel that the hijab is an outward expression of my inner faith.

As Dr. Zakir Naik rightfully puts it, "Hijab includes conduct and behaviour, inter alia. Complete hijab besides the 6 main criteria of clothing, also includes the moral conduct, behaviour, attitude and intention of the individual. A person only fulfilling the criteria of hijab of the clothes is observing hijab in a limited sense. Hijab of the clothes should be accompanied by hijab of the eyes, hijab of the heart, hijab of the thought and hijab of intention. It also includes the way a person walks, the way a person talks, the way he behaves, etc."

Oh, I have such a hijrah towards hijab to make. May Allah make this hijrah easier for me (and you), Amin!


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