Person A: Hey, how come you’ve started taking Hijab?
Person B: Uh… I started about a month ago.
Person A: Oh! Um, that’s… that’s nice. It really suits you.
Person B: Thanks, but –
Person A: Although, I always feel one should stay, you know, in the middle.
Person B: I didn’t get that, what do you mean?
Person A: The middle path, moderation. You shouldn’t become an “extremist”, rather go with the flow, as they say.
How many times have you heard something like that? One too often, if you ask me. I’m always hearing about “moderation” and “taking the middle path” from different people, concerning some act of Ibadah or ruling in Islam. When I started covering my head, one of the first responses I received from observers was that perhaps I was drifting out into sea, alone, headed for some dark and deserted “extreme-land”. Here, in fact, I was referred to the fact that Islam is a religion of “moderation” and that I should follow “moderate Islam”.
It always made me chuckle inside. Sure, moderation is indeed the tagline of Islam and that becoming an “extremist” is discouraged. However, I wonder whether the people who were advising me had any idea of what Islam meant when it said “moderation”. I read about the Hijab in Islam and discovered that it was something that Allah(swt) loved and knew best for Muslim ladies, and He made it an obligation for us in the Quran for that reason. The Hijab is not just a sheet of cloth, it’s a lifestyle in itself… a lifestyle of submission to Allah’s command without “ifs” and “buts”. Moreover, it’s about modesty, decency and purity… both inside and outside. It’s something that we’re so unaware of, been alien to for so long, that to it’s an entirely new concept.
I realized I wanted to try to please my Lord by accepting His command over my desires. No, it wasn’t easy saying “no” to my inner desires to “flaunt it” when I’d been so used to that for so long… but small victories in daily battles helped me. There was a strong, solid sense of happiness growing inside me now – something that doesn’t just peak overnight but builds gradually into a lasting confidence. And that was when I was told I should be “moderate”.
“See, Islam is all about moderation.” (Translation: You don’t need to do it.)
“Is there any need to secure it so tightly like that?” (Translation: Why don’t you show some hair? I’m sure there must be some trick to it.)
And, the unique one…
“Yes, it’s a good thing, definitely… but see, you don’t have to express piety like that. It makes people feel like you’re making a statement against them. A simple sheet of cloth on your shoulders is exactly what the Quran means and nothing more!”
In search of the “middle path”, which they stress is essential in Islam, the advice-givers don’t realize when they stopped talking of Islam altogether, and the whole issue started revolving around personal benefits and desires… in other words, twisting and moulding Islam to how it suits man, rather than it being the other way around. Hijab is “inconvenient” so it must definitely be “extreme”… that was the conclusion they drew and pushed onto those who were trying to obey Allah as He decreed.
“Have you seen him who chooses for his god his own lust? Would you then be guardian over him?”
(Surah Al Furqan: 43)
The following is what I recently read in the Quran, and which has so many lessons in so few verses, especially when you apply it to your own person (as indeed the Quran must).
Most certainly – when the earth is smashed and blown to bits. And when the command of your Lord comes – and the angels row by row. And when hell is brought that day – on that day will man reflect, but where is the time now to think? He will say, “Alas – if only I had sent some good deeds ahead, during my lifetime!” So on that day, no one punishes like He does! And no one binds like He does! O the contented soul! Return towards your Lord – you being pleased with Him, and He pleased with you! Then enter the ranks of My chosen bondmen! And come into My Paradise!
(Surah Al Fajr: 21-30)