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Am I Not Pretty Enough for Hijab?

Questioner

D

Reply Date

Aug 18, 2017

Question

I reverted to Islam at 19 and have gone back and forth wearing niqab and hijab. Last year, I have stopped wearing hijab because I've been called ugly by complete strangers on the street and by coworkers, but not because of the hijab. People treat me differently because I am not as attractive as other women. It makes me sad and I definitely don't want to wear hijab anymore to add more attention to my ugly face. I'm not deformed nor do I have bad skin or anything like that; it's just that people don't find me pretty based on society standards, I guess. What should I do? How can I live my life with people making fun of me because I'm not considered pretty? I know that attractiveness shouldn't go with hijab as it would dilute the purpose of it. But I still I feel as though hijab should be for good looking women who have something to hide unlike me.

Counselor

Answer


Am I Not Pretty Enough for Hijab?

In this counseling answer:

“Do not worry about what strangers on the street or co-workers say because they are not close people to you whom you should care for. Even if there are close people who say these sorts of ill-mannered comments, forgive them and remember what matters at the end is Allah’s (swt) opinion of you.”


Dear sister,

First I would like to say that alhamdullilah your heart was guided to Islam. I would like to take this opportunity to share the attribute of Allah (swt), “Al-Wadood, The Most Loving, with you because I believe it can in sha’ Allah strengthen one’s faith and hope in Allah’s (swt) mercy which is one of the greatest ways of dealing with difficult times.

I also want to ensure you that regardless of how your physical appearance is, you are beautiful. Allah (swt) tells us this in the Quran when He says:

“We have certainly created humankind in the best of stature.” (95:4)

So have faith in yourself based on your faith in God and what He tells us about how He created us. Yes, some of us are born with illnesses or what society may label as a ‘disability’, but did any of us think that God actually created us ‘perfectly’ in many ways, not just physically? Those ways include our spirit, our willpower, our talents, our emotions, our ability to love, to forgive, to long for Allah (swt)?

Many of us have self-defeating and dis-empowering beliefs, not knowing that this can actually be contrary to how Allah (swt) wants us to view ourselves. If we keep putting ourselves down and holding ourselves back, how can we fulfill our role as successors on this earth and give our best to the world? If we keep beating ourselves up that we don’t fit a certain standard set by society for ‘beauty’, how will we ever be content with the way Allah (swt) created us? If we can’t love ourselves, how can we expect others to love us? We have to believe that Allah (swt), as the Master Creator, does not make errors when He creates and that He, in His Infinite Wisdom, created us in the way that is perfect for us, our situation, and our time.

Once again, this is reaffirmed for us when the verse continues by saying:

“We have certainly created humankind in the best of stature; Then We return him to the lowest of the low, Except for those who believe and do righteous deeds, for they will have a reward uninterrupted. So what yet causes you to deny the Recompense? Is not Allah the most just of judges?” (Quran 95: 4-8)

Therefore, we are assured that Allah (swt) is the Best of Judges and is the Most Just, Most Merciful, and never wrongs or oppresses anyone, or places a burden on oneself more than it can handle. Moreover, Allah (swt) assures us in this verse that those who do good are those who will have an unending reward. So in the end, it really is about our actions and our deeds as opposed to our appearance. This concept is also illustrated to us through a hadith:

“Verily, Allah does not look at your appearance or wealth, but rather He looks at your hearts and actions.” (Muslim)

So, focus on these two my dear sister – your heart and your actions – as opposed to your physical appearance. Think of all the skills and talents that Allah (swt) has bestowed you with and how you can use them to make a true difference in sha’ Allah.

Do not worry about what strangers on the street or co-workers say because they are not close people to you whom you should care for. Even if there are close people who say these sorts of ill-mannered comments, forgive them and remember what matters at the end is Allah’s (swt) opinion of you. Also, if coworkers are not being respectful, this could be considered as grounds for bullying or even discrimination, and you should have the courage and assertiveness to put a stop to it. You are a human being who deserves to be treated with respect. So, I would encourage you to read up more about assertiveness and how to state your needs respectfully and speak to a trusted person at your workplace about how to handle the situation.

In terms of hijab being only for “good looking women who have something to hide”, remember my dear sister, the hijab is an honor bestowed upon all Muslim women, regardless of their physical appearance, to be distinguished and not bothered as the verse describes:

“O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.” (33:59)

The other verse describes the hijab is:

“And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their head covers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers…” (24:31)

For a woman to cover herself may be difficult for a wide variety of reasons; it may be a test for the very ‘beautiful’ woman as deemed by society’s standards because she is hiding that beauty.

My advice to you my dear sister is to strengthen your belief and hope in Allah (swt) and call to him in du’aa’ (supplication). We need to search deep inside our hearts for our innermost desires and call unto Allah (swt) knowing that no supplication is too great for Him (swt) and that the power of du’aa’ is truly beyond our imagination. We may make a du’aa’ once or even for years and later forget about it when Allah (swt) answers it. If we were to closely examine all of the blessings in our life, we will realize that they were a result of our du’aa’ or the du’aa’ of loved ones for us by the grace of Allah (swt). We are also told in the Quran:

“Whoever fears Allah, Allah will find a way out for him (from every difficulty) and He will provide for him from sources that he could never have imagined.” (65:2-3)

Believe my dear sister that difficult times will come to an end and that experiencing your greatest weaknesses could have enabled you to develop your greatest strengths. Believe that Allah (swt), in His Infinite Wisdom and Power, will heal your pain and grant you comfort and contentment.

Salam,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.




About Um Hadi

Um Hadi has BA in Psychology & Education and acquired certifications in Leadership, Life Coaching, Adults Training, and Relationship Coaching. She is currently completing her Masters in Educational Leadership.


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