As a Muslimah, you are required to exhibit modesty in your clothing as a form of faith. Modesty as a Muslimah involves concealing and securing those attractive areas of your body. This form of dressing will aid you with the freedom needed to move around in the public and not be harassed or objectified into a sex symbol. It will also dignify your status as a woman. Veiling is wisdom that was sent down by Allah as an inspiration to the Prophet (SAW), and many benefit from adhering to this divine inspired guidance.
Recently, I read an article in Spain where Spanish women were the target of insults based on their dressing mode. If you’ve ever been to Spain, you may know that it can get pretty warm during the summer. Many people keep cool with short pants and altered tops. Apparently, a Muslim man publicly insulted all women that expose their bodies, and he was met with a lot of backlash by the Spaniards. One person said, “In Spain our women are free. If you don’t like it, get out.” I thought to myself “free.” What exactly does freedom mean in this context? Does freedom mean that you are free to indulge in excesses that can become a nuisance to yourself and the society that you live in? Does freedom mean you are free to make choices that can lead to your downfall like taking drugs or engaging in a dangerous lifestyle? It’s interesting how people use and perceive the word freedom.
People of dignity understand that freedom comes with great responsibility. We aren’t free to destroy. We are only free to create innovative technologies and progressive ideas that will benefit ourselves, our communities and humankind. Another concerned citizen said, “A woman shouldn’t have to veil herself to curb the appetite of the man. The man is the one with the problem. Not the woman.” After reading these comments, I then realized that many are misconstrued about the purpose of the veil. The veil represents taking responsibility for how you present yourself to the public; with you, the presenter having the primary responsibility. Would you go to a professional job interview in beach attire and expect to be taken seriously? Traditionally, a woman’s sexuality is linked to her dressing. If you’re opportune with beautiful hair, height, structure and complexion, it automatically turns into desire and attraction to the opposite sex.
In some cases, it can even stir up jealousy from the same sex. The veil helps to curve that. Many veiled women enjoy being well covered. Jamilah Isa, a mother and wife from Chicago shared that since adhering to the veil, not only does she reduce her exposure to the harsh Chicago winter cold, but her veil also serves as a screen to the public. I could relate. I tend to be fashion savvy and colourful in my attire, and when I dress up in my fashion savvy attire with a veil, it creates a distance between me and public and communicates something differently about me. For one, the distance that the veil creates is appreciated by me because I appreciate privacy. Secondly, my beauty is transformed into modesty and creative energy, except of pure sex appeal. Without the veil, it’s assumed that you’re approachable in some cases. In worst cases, your being unveiled objectifies you to the sexual advances and desires of people.
Using the veil helps to aid in reducing the sexual energy associated with a woman’s beauty. Another benefit is that you won’t receive the scrutiny of how your hair looks, the colour, length and texture. That being said, the exact frame of your physical structure can’t easily be determined, which in all cases is good for you. Most importantly, you communicate respect, modesty and piousness in adhering to your veil. You’re not just a woman that needs a date or to be wooed by unserious onlookers, but you’re a woman that represents womanhood and femininity at its highest. Although many Muslimahs are required to veil up, there are many that don’t. While I’m the last person to judge and become overbearing in my speech, I do have a little advice.
If you want to be taken more seriously in your requests and needs, and if you need a little more privacy, respect, and honour as a woman, veil yourself. It doesn’t stop the attraction, and it won’t shield you from the public in totality, but it surely sets a well balanced and needed barrier, and commands the respect that we all need as women. Laurat Ogunjobi is a writer and graduate student in Spain. She’s lives with her husband and family in Barcelona. She is the Founder of Cush Consulting Group, a multicultural public relations and communications consultancy focusing on educational, philanthropic and cultural venues.