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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Islam and fashion




Fashion as we identify today means to wear classy, stylish and trendy clothes, or we can say wearing branded  and  expensive clothes. Fashion is not only restricted to clothes,  but before using or buying anything like shoes, cosmetics, purse,furniture,  television, mobile, computer  etc., we first check whether it is in fashion or out of fashion.
According to Oxford Dictionary, the word ‘fashion’ means ‘manner or way of doing something’.  Actually there is no such thing as "out of fashion" because fashion is only a means of one’s expression.
In every individual, a unique expression of his/her style, personality and character are being reflected. Therefore, fashion is an appearance and a sort of means to communicate. However, fashion is always unique and distinctive to one and all.
First of all there is a need to redefine the term ‘fashion’. Fashion is not restricted to any single area of life i.e. costume or appearance but it has a very wide range in almost every field of life like architecture, fine art, dance, style of communication, commercial trends, management, politics, medical etc. So, we can easily say that fashion is social. 
Fashion in real meaning is not to wear trendy, expensive and attractive clothes. Instead Fashion is a style, it is a make. It is an appearance. So, whatsoever one is wearing must suit him/her. Frankly fashion is not to wear what others wear. It is not to copy others.
However do we ever look with Islamic point of view before following or adapting any type of fashion, specially the dress code.  An important aspect of religion that must be observed is the Islamic code of clothing for both men and women. The appearance is a symbol of what one has in his/her heart.
Sadly today’s modern society is madly and blindly running behind fashion.  In fact, we can see there has been introduced and injected vulgarity in our society in the name of fashion and style.
The unique Islamic code of dress is one of many things that differentiates Muslims and Non-Muslims. Islam does not restrict anyone to wear good clothes or to practice fashion. What it restricts, is not to wear such clothes that do not cover the body in a decent manner.
Today the veil, or better known as the 'hijab’ is no longer regarded as a black piece of cloth which was just used to cover the body for Muslim women across the world.
Perhaps  today majority of women seem unclothed even after wearing hijab. Or we can see they are  covered but at the same time uncovered, Most women by adapting sexy outfits to the hijab, try attempting to be veiled and appealing at the same time.
Muslim ladies across different nationalities and cultures have discovered a new way of wearing their veils and head scarves, through a display of colors, fabrics, shapes and styles.  Islamic fashion shows have now become more widespread, in order to project the modern Muslim woman.
And in today’s ever evolving world of multimedia, young people have taken easy-to-find hijab tutorials online. Have the Muslim women forgotten the essence of hijab? Is hijab now seen simply as a fashion statement?
Nowadays, everybody wants to be attractive and eye-catching, which has given rise to a fashionable, version of hijab. Modern stylish hijabs, specially the jilbabs  are tight fitting and therefore revealing the neck and parts of the body, and hence fail to fulfil the essence of what it means to be veiled.
Stylish earrings popping out of the headscarf, lot of make-up, odd combinations of colors, skin-tight clothes wrapped around the body are common among many veiled women.
The hijab or the scarf is not supposed to stand out, it is supposed to be simple and plain but now a days hijabs and scarves are  layered with colorful bands, and lot of stone work on it to make it different stylish attractive and to match the latest fashion.
In fact hijab itself does not mean a specific thing, perhaps the hijab style does. Hijab is not a sign of religiosity anymore. Unfortunately it has become a fashion to copy the Khaleeji hijab style, women layering their scarves, using hair clips to create big camel hump in order to create more attraction to their looks.
Not only has the head scarf become a fashion statement for youths, but the niqaab has too, now we hardly see  women in black niqaab anymore. It has all of a sudden turned into bright pinks and blues, with Smokey eye-shadows, high heels which attract unwanted attention with the noise they make and the way they make the hips sway.
Furthermore they give the illusion of greater height than what is natural. All this done just to follow or to be in fashion.
Our Prophet (pbuh) said;
Whoever bears arms against us is not one of us and whoever cheats us is not one of us.” (Sahih Muslim p.70 v.1)
If we think positively, we all know that such stylish, colorful and so called trendy clothes, in fact, do not suit the Islamic code of dressing, but is a symbol to make oneself different from others. Islam allows fashion but within certain limits and provisions.
Those women who wear transparent or tight-fitting clothes should reflect over Prophet’s (pbuh)  remark that such women are in fact uncovered, and they won't even smell the fragrance of paradise. Even if transparent and netted scarves are worn,  to display hair deliberately is not  allowed in Islam.
Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta`ala mentioned in the Holy Quran:
O Prophet! Say to your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers that they let down upon them their over garments; this will be more proper, that they may be known, and thus they will not be given trouble; and Allah is Forgiving and Merciful" (Surah Al Ahzaab; verse 59).
Hence our dress must cover our body properly and decently. The design of our dress must avoid three grave sins: show off, arrogance, and self- indulgence. Also clothing should not be worn for the purpose of gaining reputation or increasing one's status in society.
Ibn 'Abbas said, "Eat what you like and wear what you like as but avoid two things: extravagance and arrogance." (Bukhari)
Islam inspires people to be proud of who they are. Muslims should look like Muslims, and not like mere imitations of people of other faiths around them.
The Quran describes:
O children of Adam! We have bestowed upon you clothing to cover your private parts and as adornment. But the clothing of righteousness - that is best. That is from the signs of Allah that perhaps they will remember”. (Surah Al A’raf  verse 26).
Clothing worn by Muslims should be clean and decent, neither excessively fancy nor ragged. One should not dress in order to increase the admiration or sympathy of others.The overall appearance of a person should be dignified and modest.
Our clothes should cover the body adequately with dignity and good looks. It should not fail to satisfy the requirements of adequate cover-up of the body. Nor should they be so ugly and awkward that instead of increasing beauty, it grades the persons appearance.
It is a personal choice to submit to Allah rather than the fashion of society. It is a choice to be beautiful in front of Allah, rather than to people. And it is a choice to cover and dignify the body Allah has blessed us with, rather than give in to a culture that shows women only to be a sex object.
However Islamic clothing is just one aspect of modesty. More significantly, one must be modest in behavior, manners, speech and appearance in public. Outfit is only one aspect of the total being, and merely reflects what is existing in individual's heart.
However, hijab should not just be seen as a cloth one puts on herself. Fairly hijab is a symbol of our worship and subjection to Deity. It is a symbol of modesty, that is not just about our attire, it lightens to our whole way and manner of life.An additional piece of cloth will not be more favorable to Allah than what is in one’s heart and mind.
Clothes should be considered a great bounty of Allah, and one should wear them properly and decently and always express thanks to the Almighty.
Thus we should wear clothes according to the Islamic code of dressing and to please Allah. It will assume a degree of Ibadah and lean to the nearness on Allah “And Only Allah gives divine guidance and He is the True Helper.”
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