The Hijab Issue
The hijab issue is one that is never-ending. There will always be new perspectives on it, new ways to attack it, and a million ways to look at it. No doubt it is controversial and has had its fair share of coverage in the news, slammed by feminists groups, propagated by another and discussed in various levels of society.
Last week, I read a very honest post about the hijab. Actually, to be exact, the people who don this. Some areas call them the “Hijabi” while in this area where Malay is a medium that is commonly associated with Muslims, they’re called the “Tudung Girl”. So this post caught my attention and I got the permission to replicate it here. I think there are a lot of people out there who have thoughts on this issue and I really want to hear them.
This was what was written:
“Wahlau. I really can’t stand tudung girls. Like you know my normal attire to school is shorts and some random top, and I go and pray in that shorts and same random top, and I face this whole panopticon of tudung girls. Okay lah, maybe my fault, cos who ask me to go and wear like that right and then still dare to put my face at a place where people pray? (God is my bestfriend4evaz la, we maintain a good relationship that way). But they also lah! Wear tudung then hold hands with boyfriend lah, take photos rapat-rapat lah, outside wear tudung but on Friendster hair all shown lah.. stuff that holier-than-thou attitude in your tudung man. Or use it to cover your face sekali next time when you do all the things you should not do as a tudung so that nobody can recognise you. Tudung is NOT JUST AN ARTICLE OF CLOTHING, BUT A WAY OF LIFE. AND AN IDENTITY. Want to wear tudung don’t wear tight clothes! Want to wear tudung don’t hold hands with boyfriend! Want to wear tudung DON’T GO AND ACTION JUDGE OTHER PEOPLE WHEN YOU YOURSELF ARE LIKE THAT. MENYAMPAH SIA. DON’T CLAIM TO BE A ‘MODERN AND LIBERAL-MINDED TUDUNG’ LAH SIA, THAT IS LIKE ME SAYING I AM A MUSLIM LESBIAN. Disclaimer: I obviously don’t hate ALL tudung girls, just some.”
My reply to this was:
“Want to wear tudung don’t wear tight clothes! Want to wear tudung don’t hold hands with boyfriend!“
of course one shouldn’t do all these with or without the tudung. but wearing the tudung suddenly it becomes more incumbent upon them to not do it more than others? because the tudung is more visible that you’re a muslim? so because people are watching you, so you gotta live up to certain expectations? i’m gonna sound dogmatic here but a law is a law. wearing a hijab is as important as praying 5 times a day. its like, you wear tudung but your perangai (attitude) like nonsense, thats your problem between you and Allah. just like praying. pray still must pray, but whether you khusyu’ or not, its between you and Allah.
i’m not defending anyone. i think no one has a right to judge another. if they give you looks for wearing what you wear, you won’t feel guilty or annoyed if you’re doing the right thing. if anyone reads what you wrote up there (description of the tudung girl) and feels guilty or annoyed, perhaps its because they know its not the right thing either. i mean its just like a guy with tattoos and gold hair who walks in a mosque, i’m sure he expects to get strange looks. it doesnt necessarily mean people are looking down on him, they probably have good intentions, its just something ‘strange’. you know?
either way, the whole holier-than-thou attitude is uncalled for la obviously.”
The reply to my reply was:
“Yeah I guess there’s a difference between living up to social expectations and religious (by this I mean God’s) expectations and that even though at the end of the day it’s the latter that matters, right now, both are intertwined and it’s hard to separate the two.
And I don’t know if this happens to you but when you talked about visibility, immediately what came to mind was David Matza’s works. How being “deviant” is all about the visibility of the actions, and when we are talking about social responsibility, yes, wearing tudung brings about more responsibility because you are immediately more obviously a Muslim. And especially in light of all the bad stuff related to our religion, it is suddenly more incumbent upon you (not you per se but you as in tudung wearers okay!) to uphold the social responsibility of a Muslim, because this social responsibility is connected to your religious responsibility.”
And then I said:
“you know when you talked about social & religious expectation, i was reminded of ‘amar ma’ruf nahi munkar’. and the hadith of Rasulullah SAW when he said “When any one of you sees anything that is disapproved (of by Allah), let him change it with his hand. If he is not able to do so, then let him change it with his tongue. And if he is not able to do so, then let him change it with his heart, though that is the weakest (kind of) faith.”
(sorry i had to cut & paste the hadith, i’m just afraid of distorting his words.)
but since we’re having an objective discussion (i hope), let me just continue. yeah so i was thinking maybe why the Singapore Muslim society is so horrible in our akhlak is because we don’t practise amar ma’ruf nahi munkar. just thinking aloud only, i’m not sure. but of course i don’t agree at all to the malaysian system of being kaypoh. i think it should be a more cultural thing rather than a top-down approach. like my Ustaz says, in egypt, people do tegur each other openly if they see someone doing something against the rules of Allah, so even though we all know Allah watches everything we do, sometimes we forget, and these people help to remind us that not only are they watching us, but so is Allah. and in that way, everyone is ever-watchful in everything they do. which is good la kan.
but because of the culture in singapore, where you hear people say, ‘kubur aku, aku punye pasal’ (its my grave, its my problem) (its no longer one kubur, one person now anyway) or you know, the whole freedom of choice and ‘i will live with the consequences myself’ attitude.. no one really wants to speak out when they see something wrong.
okay moving on to the topic of visibility.. i do agree that especially in these times, it is more incumbent upon myself to be a good ambassador of Islam. BUT. if we are going to talk about Islam in our society, and maybe even in SEA, malay (almost equal) = muslim. so it doesnt matter if one wears tudung or not, as long as you’re malay, most people will assume you’re muslim as well. so esp in our society, everyone has a role to play to clean up the image of Islam.”
I hope I get to hear some responses & that everyone keeps their cool when replying because we only want to have an objective & honest discussion. I think the only way we can get to the bottom of this issue : About the behaviour of certain Tudung Girls and what they represent; is to discuss it and find out what everyone else thinks about it. InsyaAllah, everyone will benefit from it.
This is obviously not restricted to my Muslim friends. I want to know what our non-Muslim friends think about the hijab and about these girls. Do you expect your Muslim friend who wears the tudung to act differently from another Muslim friend that doesn’t?
Looking forward to hearing from everyone! Come on, spam the comments section. :)