How do I look?
[an editorial view by Um Noah]
“How do I look?” a most common phrase used these days in our society. In a world where young and fit overcomes intellect and faith. This, among the non-Muslim population, does not surprise me. It doesn’t take much to open a magazine and see all of the ‘attractive’ young people trying to sell us the jeans and toothpaste. And why not? Doesn’t it make sense that if it is attractive on the outside it must be just as attractive on the inside? But in this land of non-Muslims outer beauty is revered because the inside has been neglected. What once used to be noble traits; honesty, intellect, honor, and faith in God, have been replaced with; self gratification, self admiration, beauty, greed and well.....you know the rest.
But have times changed for us Muslims too? Have we moved from seeking the cover of vogue to the cover of ‘Niqab weekly’? I have become increasing aware that the majority of the websites dedicated to Muslim women contain an inordinate number of articles talking about how to cover. What to wear, how to wear it, what is best to wear and so on. Going so far as to criticize and judge others for their lack of committing to a certain way of covering. Assuming that the outside indeed reflects the inside. This is not exclusive to the women. I have read some articles pleading with the Muslim men to grow the beards or reap the punishments of their treacherous refusal. I will say there are many good articles out there that do stress increasing our knowledge, but not nearly as much as the ones that have focused on what we should appear to be. By Allah’s infinite mercy He has blessed us with some time to grow in this Faith. There is so much room for us to be different and yet still be one Ummah. I have found a renewed meaning to ‘You can’t always judge a book by it’s cover.’ I pray that I can meet anyone with this open mind and not seal it with a one sided view. As a revert to Islam it has taken me a short 15 years to finally appreciate my brothers and sisters for who they are in the stages that Allah has put us all in.
O you who believe! Let not a group scoff at another group, it may be that the latter are better than the former; nor let (some) women scoff at other women, it may be that the latter are better than the former, nor defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames. How bad is it, to insult one's brother after having Faith [i.e. to call your Muslim brother (a faithful believer) as: "O sinner", or "O wicked", etc.]. And whosoever does not repent, then such are indeed Zâlimûn (wrong-doers, etc.).