“Among the believers are men true to what they promised Allah. Among them is he who has fulfilled his vow [to the death], and among them is he who awaits [his chance]. And they did not alter [the terms of their commitment] by any alteration.” (The Noble Quran 33:23)
Attending some recent gatherings out and about in the community had me taken aback at how disconnected I felt to the new trends around me, especially when it comes to the brothers. I can understand that we want to look presentable and put together in the public eye, but the tight pants, pencil beards and rooster haircuts were cringe worthy and hardly reasonable. I didn’t know whether to lower my gaze, get angry or laugh. I think I did all three.
Sitting in segregated gatherings, I was happy to see many young girls guarding their hayyah (modesty) and really living the Islamic dress code and Hijab. My thirteen-year-old daughter is my constant shadow these days, so I worry about what she is exposed to and what she sees, especially when it comes to elder teens and millennials she may look up to and inevitably be influenced by. It was nice to see her being exposed to these Sisters. Their husband on the other hand, I could have done without.
The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Faith consists of more than sixty branches (i.e. parts). And haya is a part of faith.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari]
Not only did these brothers not respect the segregation, but their clothing left little to the imagination, if you know what I mean. As they entered on the women, without announcement, many Sisters were left scrambling to cover up. I reflexively lowered my gaze seeing that they were far more dolled up than the Sisters and that their suits were so tight, I was honesty surprised they were able to move. I held myself back from covering my daughter’s eyes and making a scene, but it just seemed so vulgar. I mean the contrast in the room was astounding. The women sitting in abayas and loose clothing with their Hijabs intact and the walking contradictions, our Brothers, with long beards, silken ties and big gold watches, bodies squeezed into skinny pants and short tight jackets, which hugged every curve and roll. Astaghfirullah…what can I say?
“Ali (RA) reported that the Prophet (SAW) took some silk in his right hand and some gold in his left, declaring, “These two are haram for the males among my followers.” (Reported by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, an-Nasa’i, Ibn Hayyan, and Ibn Majah, who reports the additional phrase, “but halal for the females.”).
“Umar (RA) reported that he heard the Prophet (SAW) say, “Do not wear silk, for those who wear it in this life shall not wear it in the Hereafter.” (Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim). On another occasion, referring to a silken garment, he (SAW) said, “This is the dress of a man who has no character.” [Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Don’t think I want to tear a brother down, let’s be real here. I want to help build them up. I don’t think it’s very fair that these Brothers claim to be practicing Muslims, most guilt their wives into taking modesty to extremes, then go around wearing clothing that make them look naked and socialize with strange women freely. I feel as if women get called out on this behavior so much more than men, when in reality it’s their problem too. More and more I am seeing this trend of practicing Brothers, leaders in the community included, thinking that they have every freedom when it comes to following fashion and immodest behavior, when that could be further from the truth.
Look, if you don’t want to follow the Hijab and Islamic dress code, that’s your choice, it’s better that you don’t do something that you are not on board with, but to claim to follow it and then demean it in such a way is seriously flawed and irresponsible. We have to step back and see what we are doing. In an attempt to appear “normal” or in tune with the secular mainstream are we forgetting our dignity?
To be Muslim is to submit to the will of Allah, but when I see how we demean ourselves in such a manner I don’t see that as submission to Allah, I don’t see that as someone who truly understands modesty and what it entails. I feel sick and sad from it. I know it isn’t easy living in a world where the media, social and otherwise, rule over our minds and hearts, but we have to be diligent in our submission and our efforts. If we are going to represent Islam, we should then represent Islam, not our interpretation of what modesty means. Your knowledge and your understanding must show through your actions and appearance. This is what people judge you on, what they judge your people on, what they judge Islam on.
So Brother, where are you going? I see you at the weddings, I see you while shopping, I see you at the Masajid, but I cannot see your dignity, I cannot see your direction and I certainly cannot see your Deen. You wear it on the outside half-heartedly, because maybe it isn’t inside of you. I hear about you from the women and children of your homes and they’re not painting a pretty picture. What good is a beard, what good is a kufi, what good are the hiked up pants when your heart is not invested. Who are you? What do you want in life?
Are you the ones that will protect and honor us? The ones who will stand up in the front lines to defend us? How? With your emotional rants and goofy attitudes, frail or fat figures, squeezed into second skin like clothing or perhaps after you get the gel in your bouffant hairdos just right (that Hadith about women at the End of Times with Bactrian Camel-like hair that you all just love to quote to tell us about how our hair or hijabs are too high, well, it doesn’t exempt your coif, Brother)? What’s the matter with you? How will you protect us when you cannot protect yourselves? How will you help us when you cannot help yourselves? Don’t fail in the duty that was given to you by Allah, Brother. Subhan’Allah, don’t fail us.
While the world falls apart, you have to worry more about the seam of your jeans splitting east and west across your behind. Where did you take this turn to indifference? When did you start thinking that “hipster style” was somehow the new Islamic dress code? When did our roles become so ambiguous that you can shame yourself to the point of posting photos of yourself standing in front of a mirror and taking selfies while flexing and making duck-faces just so that you can feel some semblance of validation? You. A man. A Muslim man. A man on the Quran and way of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) degrading yourself in such a way…I am devastated to even put it into words.
Listen, I know that both Sisters and Brothers have much work to do when it comes to knowledge, understanding and action, but why is it that you can be a mirror for sisters to cluck your tongues at, but turn blind to your own reflections? I am flabbergasted at the level of hypocrisy that some of us tote. Where is our Taqwa?
You got “Insha’Allah, Masha’Allah and Astaghfirullah” on the tongue, but look like a bearded, brooding James Dean wannabe on the outside. How can a Sister take that seriously? How can she be expected to look to that image and think, “yes, this man can lead me”? Dressed like that and behaving the way you do, you think the line of potential brides at your door must mean that you are something special, the most eligible bachelor that ever lived. Well, the truth is that you are able to be picky when choosing a mate, no matter at what age or status, because of the plethora of choices you have. You are being settled for, because of the lack of choices that Sisters have and you don’t even know it. That is it and please don’t get it twisted. Take it down a notch Brother, your ego is showing right along with your awrah (intimate parts). You expect a perfect wife to have class and modesty, but where is yours? Where is your identity and influence? What makes you different and desirable in Deen? What do you truly have to offer, besides a title? It’s a harsh reality, but we must face it to bring change.
I never willingly speak about proper Hijab or clothing, but this was just too much for me to digest. This is Nasihah (sincere advice) from your Sister in Islam. Sometimes, it takes strong words to act as an alarm for true awakening, a loud noise in a crowded room on fire to really signify the seriousness of a situation. This only comes from a place of love. I don’t go around screaming in the faces of random hipsters about their direction in life, but I want my Brothers in Islam, the men who represent us, to carry grace and dignity wherever they go. I don’t want them to look and act just like everyone else or appear as a mere irrelevant joke. It breaks my heart.
Wake up Brother, the Muslim male identity is being systematically dismantled and you are sleeping on. Sisters are out there representing, wearing our identities each and everyday facing bigotry and idiocy, while you slip into the crowd incognito leaving us without support, without your allegiance. Please understand the world we live in and above all the time we are living in. You are praying in jama’ah (congregation) in the front rows, giving aggressive Dawah like evangelists, shaking your head in arrogance at all those that don’t “do it like you do it”, but it is all in vain if you act in haste without knowledge or consideration, are ignorant about the needs of your own families and are blind to the plight of your communities all while dawning muscle shirts and man buns. Subhan’Allah.
The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and his Sahaba (RA) stood for you, sacrificed for you, loved you without knowing you; don’t let it all be fruitless in this time, because you have become heedless. As the Prophesies about the End of Times come to pass like sand falling through an hourglass, you cannot just live in your own delusional world, pretending like everything is okay. If you study Islam then you know that is far from true. While your people wander the earth with no place to go, starve to death in the scorching heat and have “mega-bombs” dropped on their heads, you would rather discuss the brand of beard wax you should purchase to make it softer and fuller, because, well, it’s a Sunnah after all. May Allah forgive us!
This is the time to prepare ourselves and our future generations to stand for truth and justice. Weak people who accept every whim and fancy of the dunya are not going to find solid ground to stand on when the time comes. They will go down with this dajjalic system they covet and hoard. This is truth. This is justice. So, please be true to yourself as you can never be to anyone else. As you are, as you stand today, can you be one of those warriors that I tell my children about who will come towards the End of Time to stand on guard for the Muslim Ummah? Is that you my Brother? Do you have it in you?
Think. That’s all I ask. What is your motivation? Who are you supposed to be? What will you stand for when it’s time to take a true stand? What truly makes you a man?
In the end, just take a minute my Brother to truly understand what I mean:
Imagine the last large gathering or function you went to, imagine the clothing you wore, imagine the way you shaped your beard, imagine the way you styled your hair, imagine the shoes you wore and the way you behaved, what you spoke about, where your gaze landed…can you see it all? Is it there in front of you? Are you staring at that reflection?
Now…imagine the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) standing in front of you.
Who are you Brother? I beg you. Who are you?