Alhamdullillah (Praise be to Allah). I truly regard myself as someone who is fortunate, because I always get the chance to meet people who are inspiring in so many different ways, and I have to say that a lot of them are Muslim sisters. On Saturday I had the pleasure of meeting another group of Muslim sisters who really left me feeling so inspired and positive about the contributions that Muslim sisters can make to society, while still maintaining their modesty according to Islam.
This group of sisters run a centre for people with disabilities. They have a multi-disciplinary team and thus the treatment that they provide is holistic. Of course there are the educators, some trained according to the National school curriculum, and some trained in Islamic studies. Then they have speech and hearing therapists, a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist and a psychologist. These women are all professional, they are dynamic and exciting, motivated in what they’re doing and passionate about making a difference, and they are Muslim women.
Muslim women, who are covered in hijab, some of them wear niqab as well. Muslim women who are not oppressed or stifled, but in fact encouraged to use their talents for the good of others. Some of them have managed to rope in their husbands and other family members and friends to assist as well. MashaAllah, being in the presence of this group of women reassured me of what I already know, and not that I needed reassurance, but in any case, it reminded me that Muslim women can be inspiring and positively contribute to society without compromising their modesty and Islamic ethics in any way.
This is what people today don’t seem to get. You see it’s not about the clothes we wear. No! It has nothing to do with that, clothes are just a cover, it’s not meant to be a big deal. It doesn’t mean that you cannot do anything at all because you’re covered up. It’s something like the curtains you put on your windows; the curtains serves to cover your home so that strangers cannot look inside and see the beauty of the inside of your home, but those that you invite into your house are allowed to see the beauty and to gain benefit from it. Putting curtains up in your home doesn’t make your home inaccessible, but it makes it accessible to the right people. And this is the same thing with Muslim women’s dress.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, people have blown the way Muslim women dress out of proportion and in focusing on the outside cover of a woman, they have ignored so many other things. Since when did dress determine how productive a woman can be? Here we have another good example of how Muslim women are able to do such amazing work in society, how they are able to study and become professionals and then use their qualifications to uplift their society, and the way they dress has not stopped them from doing this at all, if anything it has helped them to want to be better.
So, perhaps we need to remember that we should never judge a book by its cover, or in this case, never judge a Muslimah by her covers. I commend the hard work of my fellow Muslim sisters and I pray that Allah Almighty gives them the strength to continue with the good work that they are doing. And as always, I pray that Allah opens the eyes, hearts and minds of my fellow human beings, so that they too are able to look beyond the outer covers and begin to understand.
Image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/nomad-one/page2/