Appearances are Deceptive

Saba Savera

Representational photo showing students protesting against acid attack on a girl student in Srinagar. Pic: Bilal Bahadur.
Representational photo showing students protesting against acid attack on a girl student in Srinagar. Pic: Bilal Bahadur.

There’s nothing new or original left to say about hijab. People have aired their views; tried to clear out the confusions. They have done it boldly and with eloquence. But I, as a girl who has become the object of criticism, don’t want to remain silent! I want to express what I feel.

Women have been classified into the society (among other criteria) also on the basis of hijab—as hijabi and non-hijabi women. It is believed that wearing the hijab instantly renders one modest. But that isn’t true!

Hijab is a concerted effort towards modesty. Modesty is a disposition, an attitude. One can wear hijab and act completely immodest of which you may find several examples nowadays. Or, you may not wear hijab and yet exude modesty from head to toe—through your behaviour, your communication etc.

The issue of hijab has divided our community. On both sides there is misconception, judgments, misinterpreted facts and egos. Those who wear hijab can deliberately, or, inadvertently behave in a conceited and sanctimonious way – as though, they are the only ones with a claim on modesty, piety and morality. While as non-hijabi women are often looked down upon as immoral, misjudged and mistreated.

If at all our patriarch society is so sensitive about this particular issue, then why do men ogle women? Stare at their breasts and bum? Who gives them the right to do so? The oft-quoted fact, rather an excuse behind their madness is simple: “girls deserve such treatment for not wearing hijab!”

Seriously? Are you kidding me by justifying your wayward acts by squarely blaming our dress code?

And, isn’t it a sleazy act to further entitle girls with no hijab as call girls? Am I a public property, immoral and cheap because of my non-Islamic dress code? Does that mean I am eager to sleep with every other men? Who gives you the right to grope me in a crowded bus, to touch me sexually? What gives you the right to grab my private parts in a congested place? Just my dress code?

This is highly pathetic and indeed shameful! Isn’t this wrong? Why those who lambast me for my attire remains indifferent to my plight? Why don’t they criticize this? Doesn’t Islam apply here? Does my un-Islamic dress code give you a free hand over me? You get angry when a boy stares at your sister but don’t feel ashamed while doing the same with other girls? Is that what Islam teaches us?

For God’s sake, get a life!

From my views, I may sound or appear as a west promoter. Or, a liberalist. Or, the one trying to champion the cause of women rights. If that’s the case then you are wrong!

I firmly and truly believe in the Islamic teachings. And, I am a proud Muslim. What I fail to understand is the biased and prejudicial approach used in our society. The way a girl is labelled as immoral and indecent just because of her attire is condemnable and wrong.

I believe it is the western propaganda that aims at taking us away from Islam. It has invaded in our lives; in our social affairs; in everything we do; in our clothes; in our speech and in our behaviour.

Our generation is being fed and reared on an unremitting flow of western ideas and influence. By following the western culture we feel satisfied; we feel superior and advanced. The westernization is perpetually robbing us of our distinct and unique culture. It is therefore the responsibility of teachers, parents, educational, religious institutions and Islamic scholars to educate the masses about it.

That will do more good than the derogatory comments passed on the women which has a reverse effect. Our own Muslim brothers are making it difficult for us to wear hijab than non-Muslims.

Before pointing a finger at any woman, do think about every sin you committed in private or in public during that very day. Men also come into the ambit of behaving and dressing modestly.

Allah has asked men to lower their gaze and to not look lustfully towards women. But no such criticism follows when men openly flout the Islamic teachings as is seen in case of women. They smoke and drink. They grope you in a crowded bus, fall on you, innocently. They indulge in every kind of immoral activity. But nobody castigates such things and tells them that flood was a consequence of their un-Islamic behaviour!

Why this hypocrisy? And for that matter, there are myriad of evils in our society—be it corruption, interest, un-Islamic marriages etc. Let’s not just criticize dress code of women!

Don’t we share the same faith? Aren’t all of us blessed with the ultimate truth of deen? Let’s not judge one another because Allah is the only and best judge. We should not act sanctimoniously. For who knows, which person has a higher regard near Allah. Only Allah alone can judge and He alone has the right to judge!

The girl you consider immoral might have a link with Allah stronger than you have. We can’t say who is spiritually more superior!

(The author is studying law from University of Kashmir.)

I agree to the Terms and Conditions of Kashmir Life


  1. Islam it is yes or no there is no way between…if you are Muslim then cover your body as per islamic rituals…No body is asking for how much faithfull you are, Allah has made you and it is who has ordered you to cover your body Allahs Knows what is best for you…And think why Precious things are kept covered and hidden…woman is a precursor of coming generation if she is wayward the coming generation will also be same…

  2. i agree with ur viewpoint as fr as others evils r concerned but promotion of immodesty is usually done by girls because of their attractive which nature has bestowed them…… if a girl wants to get respect in the society she should behave modestly…….. APPEARANCES are deceptive but not ALWAYS…… May ALMIGHTY protect our sisters Aameen..

  3. Hijab iz just a modest dress. And that is the rationale and the teaching behind the wearing of hijab is that it is to promote modesty, not only in a physical sense but also in a mind-set.Hijab is often misunderstood because of those who would take things to extremes. “One of the greatest beauties of Islam is that there is choice, and we are actually told in the Quran that there is no compulsion in the matters of religion. And yet many times, across the Muslim world, this is overlooked..


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