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Muslim Women's Struggles

Muslim Women's Struggles



“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.


- By Marium Azeem, Jan 15 2024