In the last few days of school, my daughter came home to tell me that some non-Muslim girls were wearing hot-shorts for school. Then came the dreaded question; “Why can’t I wear them?”
My daughter is a 9-year-old preteen and is starting to take an interest in fashion. She understands that, as Muslim women, we wear modest clothing and that, as she gets older, the clothes she wears have to cover her whole body, with the exception of her hands and face.
However, when she sees her non-Muslim friends wearing such clothes, she is sure to ask, “Why can’t she?”
Whether you like it or not, you have to be prepared for these questions, even if you know you have been educating your daughters about the importance of modesty in clothing. They are curious, inquisitive, and at an age where they want to challenge anything.
I have explained to my daughter that one of the biggest factors in our religion is modesty. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said,
“Every religion has its distinct characteristic, and the distinct characteristic of Islam is modesty.” Sunan ibn Majah, 4181.
This means both Muslim men and Muslim women should be modest in their character as well as their clothing. It is very important to explain this to our children, especially as they reach their preteen years.
I am introducing my daughter to modest clothing gradually. I do not want her to start wearing hijab and change her garments to discreet ones at the same time. This will be too much of a big change for her to handle.
Therefore, I believe that as she starts her preteen years, it is important to make subtle changes to her wardrobe so that when she starts to cover herself, it comes very naturally.
Some will say the hijab and modest clothing are not about fashion. However, this is a very unrealistic and naive view to have nowadays. We have to understand the role that fashion plays in the lives of preteen and teenage girls and young women, whether they are Muslims or not. They love fashion, they wish to be stylish, they wish to look nice.
If you can introduce the idea that modest clothing can look fashionable and chic, then you will help your girls embrace hijab a lot easier.
This is extremely important when we live in the West. Our girls are seeing their non-Muslim friends wearing the current trends of hot shorts and crop tops, and they want to copy them. This is the case even if they understand why, as Muslims, we must dress modestly. So how do we get around this?
Reinforce Modest Clothing
We must reinforce modest clothing and hijab in a positive way. We understand that Allah has ordained us to wear hijab. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t wear fashionable and trendy styles. We can.
Although my daughter is not wearing hijab just yet, I want her to feel confident and good in the clothes she likes. Recently, when we were picking her Eid outfit, we sat together and looked at some dresses that were modest and pretty and that suited my daughter’s own personal style. I told her that her style was beautiful and it boosted her confidence.
We can’t tell our girls their hijab shouldn’t be fashionable. A hijab can look stylish and modest at the same time.
In order to make your girls have self-belief and a strong, confident image of their Muslim identity, praise them and tell them how great they look when dressed modestly and, eventually, with hijab.
Make sure that they know they look good and stylish as well as discreet and respectful. Most girls love fashion, and just because they are Muslims doesn’t mean they should dress in unfashionable clothes.
When you make your daughters feel good about the way they look, you also give them the confidence to show their Muslim identity proudly.
At the end of the day, it’s about empowering our daughters to be strong, confident women ready to take on the world, as there is nothing that they can’t do as modest Muslim ladies.