Garment of Piety


A story that highlights the importance of adorning ourselves with more than just an outer covering, by Anonymous.

Original image courtesy of Max Braun

This story revolves around four sisters who are very well settled in Hijab, whose names have been changed to maintain privacy.

Reshma never lacked confidence in Hijab. She never had the penchant for revealing any part of her body to charm others. Hijab was not a problem for her at all. That day, like any other day, she put on a long, loose shirt and wrapped a broad scarf round her head and chest. With absolutely no make-up and perfume, she set off for her regular afternoon class. As soon as she reached class, she found her non-hijabi friend waiting for her. Then began their quest for “cute” guys. The giggling that ensued attracted the most stares. Once back home, Reshma felt naked.

Sarah came back home from the hospital. Taking off her Niqaab, she began to prepare herself for a sisters’ gathering at her mansion. She had profound knowledge of her Deen which she would regularly disseminate through these gatherings. Reshma inquired about the baby that Sarah had gone to meet. “She’s going to die anyways! We cannot donate such a significant amount here!” said Sarah. As Reshma turned to leave, she stepped on a scarf that had been lying around on the floor. “Watch out Reshma! That’s a branded scarf!” yelled Sarah. Once the door slammed shut, Sarah felt naked.

Disappointed with Sarah’s remarks, Reshma returned to her room where Nooreen was searching her wardrobe, waiting to lay her hands on the perfect abaya to wear. Seeing the dejected look on Reshma’s face, Nooreen put aside her collection of abayas and sat next to Reshma. “What happened?” asked Nooreen softly. “I’m sure Sarah must have told you something while you were at her room!” she continued, raising her agitated voice. With that, she began to discuss the insensitive nature of Sarah. Soon, the mere discussion turned into an hour-long tirade against Sarah. While going out of the house, Nooreen felt naked.

Fatima loved Hijab to a great extent. Consequently, she organized a sale of scarves, abayas and intricate brooches among other things. She was waiting anxiously for Nooreen. The gate was about to be opened to visitors and there was still so much to do! Nooreen arrived just in time, along with a demure non-hijabi friend. After assigning them their duties, Fatima vented her anger on them. “You guys are messing it up! And Nooreen, I asked you to wear your best scarf! What is this that you have worn? Pathetic zebra-print!” shouted Fatima in a hoarse voice. Nooreen and her friend were bewildered.They could not fathom such an outburst for insignificant reasons. Nooreen’s friend whispered, “I don’t see humility.” Fatima overheard her and she felt naked.

Thus the day concluded.

“O children of Adam, We have bestowed upon you clothing to conceal your private parts and as adornment. But the clothing of righteousness – that is best. That is from the signs of Allah that perhaps they will remember.” [Qur’an 7:26]

In each of these cases, the sisters felt naked; they felt stripped of their Hijab; they all felt something was missing. Do you know why? It is because although they were very comfortable in modest attire, they were too naïve to trivialize the garment of piety, the garment for our souls. Reshma unwittingly gave a free rein to her eyes. Sarah’s miserliness and pride was going beyond her control. Nooreen indulged in futile discussion or backbiting. Fatima was unable to tame her temper.

My dear sisters, it is essential to clothe our souls as modestly as our body. While without a modest attire, the body feels revealed – without piety, our souls are revealed. I do not intend to discourage you by pointing out faults; instead, I wish to remind you and myself so that we can further improve ourselves. In order to solve a problem, we must first recognize it and must not ignore or trivialize it. Dress is just a facet of the entire concept of Hijab; there is a lot more to it! Often, our actions and words can put off our other sisters from not only observing Hijab (as it happened in the case of Fatima) but also from Islam itself. It is understandable that perhaps it may be difficult to improve or be perfect, and that it requires due time and effort, but it is not impossible by the help of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). So let us try sisters!

May Allah make it easier for all of us in practising Islam with perfection. Ameen.