A few months ago in my Friday class the question came up about the proper clothing for Muslim women. Now don't roll your eyes! It is a constant struggle for some of us, and something that needs to be addressed. The question was "do we have to wear an abaya?". The instructor then quoted the following ayat:
And as for women past child-bearing who do not expect wed-lock, it is no sin on them if thy discard their outer clothing in such a way as not to show their adornment. But to refrain is better for them. And Allah is the All Hearer, All Knower. 24:60
She went on to explain that this ayat tells us that when we are out of the house that we have to wear an over garment that can only be cast off when we are past the age of child bearing, but that it is better to keep it on. Now lets ask ourselves a question. if we are not wearing something abaya like, what are we casting off? If we are wearing pants and a long shirt, what is under there when we 'cast them off'? How about salwar kameez? What is under there? Now a lot of sisters will say 'I'm not Arab, why should I wear something Arab??". The truth is... if it fits the requirement of an over garment, who cares what it is called. If you want to wear a giant sheet loosely wrapped around you, go for it. But its got to cover your 'inner clothes' and it can't be tight, transparent or short. So it became clear to me that most western clothes are not appropriate for wearing out in public. I'll start to brace myself for the storm of comments that will be coming my way over this one.
So moving on... the next thing I wanted to write about is black henna. You may, or may not know that I do henna as a little side business. I recently have been getting inquiries about doing bridal henna. This past weekend I went on a bridal consultation, and the sister asked me for the 'black henna'. For those of you that do not know, there is no such thing as black henna. What people call black henna is really just black hair dye made into a paste and put on the skin. It can cause severe burns, permanent scars and health problems. I absolutely refuse to use this death paste. Usually darker skinned sisters want this done because they say that natural henna won't show up (which it will). I calmly explained that I don't do black henna and why. She said that she had it done before and nothing happened. I calmly told her that it may not burn your skin, but it is getting into your bloodstream and causing problems. She didn't care... it was her 'big day' and she wanted it to show up. She called her sister and she came over to talk to me. She said that natural henna only lasts 3 days. I showed them what I had on my own palm and said that it had been there for 7 days and it was still dark. Her sister said it again. The bride to be said perhaps we can do a test on her before the wedding to see if it shows up. I agree, and we set a date and time to do the test. Her sister keeps going on about it not lasting. At that point I said, do you realize that as a Muslim if you knowingly do something dangerous like black henna that it could be considered a sin? Blank stare. Again, she said it was her big day. And for a final time her sister said that natural henna lasted only 3 days. I finally said, perhaps we should not do this at all. You seem to think I'm lying to you about the henna on my own hand. Oh no! they said, apologies galore. We part ways, agreeing on the date of the test. The night before the test I call to confirm and she tells me that she found someone to do black henna. Sigh. After all of the warnings and even bringing up that it could be sinful, she just didn't care. I guess its best that I didn't do it... she never would have been happy.
So I guess that is it for now, I'm all blogged out. May Allah swt keep us safe and on his straight path.