Many people see Muslim women covered head to toe and think, “Oppressed! He (referring to her husband) is forcing her to dress like that! After all every woman desires to wear miniskirts, tank tops and shorts of her own free will! Only an ignorant woman would wear long sleeves and pants in the heat of summer!”
I (the author of this article) am an American, born and raised in a free country. I was encouraged to wear make-up and dress provocatively. I was told, “If you got it, flaunt it.” So I flaunted it. Then I grew up and started questioning life, religion and morals. So I became a Muslim on my own accord and decided to dress conservatively.
QURAAN SHARIEF ADVISES MODESTY
If you ask a Muslim woman why she dresses the way she does, she will reply, “Because Allah Jalla Jala Laho told me to.” She isn’t trying to avoid the question, she is following her religion. The Quraan Sharief advises men and women to, “Lower your gazes and guard your modesty.” Both men and women are given explicit instructions about the portions of the body that should be covered in mixed company. The way this instruction has been interpreted varies greatly. Some women wear a heavy cloak-like garment that reveals only the eyes (niqab), some wear tent-like coverings over their clothes and a scarf on their head and others wear the hijab over western clothing.
For me (the above author) conservative is like this:
Long sleeved dress extending to the mid-calf.
Long loose pants (shalwar)
Long loose dress extending to the ankle.
No low necklines.
No see-through material.
No clingy material.
Neat hair that remains fully covered.
To cover ones face fully (Niqaab)
She should not wear fashionable clothes.
She should not attract attention to herself through her clothing.
She should not speak loudly.
To wear full Jilbab over her clothing when she leaves the home.
All types of clothing should not be provocative or revealing in any way. A Muslim woman’s clothing should be completely conservative and not in conformity to fashions and trends.
MODERN REASONS FOR MODESTY
As a revert Muslim I don’t accept things blindly and I look for more real-life, modern reasons for the things I do. Here are some reasons why I dress conservatively.
People look at you, not your figure.
People judge you based on your opinions and personality, not your body.
Men do not interfere with a woman who is dressed modestly.
People listen when you speak.
Most people treat you with respect.
You save your sensuality and beauty for the one who truly matters-your husband.
It gives a woman dignity.
It allows a woman to be who she is and not what others want her to be.
There are also family and social benefits in dressing conservatively. Therefore the next time you see a covered woman, try to think of her in a new way. Avoid the assumption that she is oppressed by a tyrannical religion. Consider the possibility that she is an intelligent woman who has made a conscious decision to dress modestly.