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Muslim Women's Struggles in the Western Area

Muslim Women's Struggles in the Western Area
“Aren’t you too hot in that?” Living in a Western society is one of the biggest tests a
Muslim woman can face in finding Allah and closeness to her Deen. Growing up as a
Pakistani-American I experienced the inevitable identity crisis that every child of an
Immigrant faces. I was always too brown to feel like an American and I was considered too
white-washed by community standards to be considered “Desi”. Similar to the cultural crisis,
as a Muslim woman living in the United States I face the same dilemma when it comes to
Islam. Western society often symbolizes the concept of “Dunya” and its false illusions and
glamour. “This worldly life is no more than play and amusement. But the Hereafter is indeed
the real life if only they knew.” [29:64] Our environment is very frequently normalized haram
or temptations of haram that slowly seep into our morals, our perception of beauty, and
spirituality. What you focus on grows. Eventually, if someone shows you something and tells
you something a part of you might believe it even if it’s wrong. I too became a victim of this.
As a woman, we’ve been fed that the ultimate end-all-be-all goal is being beautiful.
Westernized beauty is characterized too often by things such as immodest trendy clothes, to
show off and attain a body that genetically isn’t possible for every woman to replicate, or to
have European features that no amount of makeup will give you. We are living and have
grown up in a capitalist cut-throat society that tells us that we aren’t beautiful enough and that
to be beautiful we have to buy all these products to conceal and morph our faces and do
whatever we need to look outwardly beautiful to other people and for other people. When you
look and dress this way then men will find you desirable, then people will want to be your
friend, then jobs will hire you, then you’ll be perceived as someone of value by others and
eventually yourself. The issue isn’t wanting to be beautiful but it’s Western society’s notion
of what beautiful is and how to become it. Looking beautiful in the eyes of Allah is what lies
in your soul. Looking beautiful in the eyes of Allah is creating a character and heart that is
timeless, that won't fade with age and that is treasurable. Western beauty standards have
brainwashed so many of our minds unconsciously, including myself. Once you look through
the veil of this Dunya, you see that no matter how many compliments you get on how pretty
you are outward, you’ll always be left with an emptiness that stems from the absence of Allah
in how you curate your beauty. "Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest."
[13:28]. The peace truly lies in becoming a beautiful Muslim. The most beautiful I’ve ever
felt is in wearing an abaya, in wearing a Hijab, in praying all my Salah, in remembering
Allah, and in beautifying my character. At the end of the day, the emotions will wear off from
the compliments and from the rush of buying a cute but immodest outfit and you’ll still feel
that innate human unfulfillment. The only reason why modesty is difficult is because it’s not
normalized. As Muslim women, we need to redefine beauty. Beauty is in having control over
who perceives sacred parts of yourself, it’s in making sure others want you for who you are
not what you look like and it’s in being Islamically angelic inwardly and reminding others of
Allah. Don’t let Western society deceive you. You can be stylish and beautiful in an abaya,
hijab, or whatever way you choose to dress modestly. You can be beautiful even when you
choose to conceal your outward beauty. You are the creation of Allah and you are beautiful
even if you don’t look like the “norm’. You are beautiful for simply existing because Allah

chose you to be Muslim. Allah chose you to be His servant. Our Rabb that created mosaic
sunrises and starry nights chose you Alhamdulilah.

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