A film footage of Palestine in 1896 was recently published online thanks to Lobster Films. It shows Palestinians of all faiths – Christians, Jews and Muslims – living side by side, and praying side by side. I transcribed the narration below.
15 years later, the cinema is taking its first steps. Cameramen employed by the Lumiere Brothers filming in Jerusalem’s station, provide the first moving pictures taken in Palestine. From now on, the camera’s a recording eye and what it records is this: A society much like that of Cairo, Damascus, or Beirut, in an Arab city much like any other.
By the end of the 19th century, Palestine has 500,000 inhabitants, of whom 30,000 live in Jerusalem. A veiled woman, a Sunni Muslim, one of the majority. An orthodox Jew. He too turns away from the camera. Here we have an Armenian pope. Each of the Christian denominations…
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The Hijab has become an issue of much controversy in our community. On one hand, you have some who wear the hijab and become complacent with their acts or worship while forgetting their sins, and can even at times be judgmental towards non-hijabis. In this case, the substance of the hijab is lost and reduced to a piece of cloth.
On the other hand, you have some who feel independent of the hijab, feel like they can just do other acts of worship in place of that obligation, and some who even no longer consider it an obligation. And believe it or not, though to a lesser extent, I’ve seen some non-hijabis who are just as judgmental towards hijabis. In this case, the form of the hijab is lost and reduced to either a matter of culture or a voluntary good deed.
In both cases, the hijab is the casualty. So let me be clear about this before proceeding:
1. The hijab is by the Quran, Sunnah, and Consensus of Muslim scholars for 1400 years, an obligation.
2. You cannot say that the one who doesn’t wear the hijab isn’t a real Muslim. She may be excelling in other aspects of faith despite falling short of this obligation.
3. Those other aspects of faith do not absolve one of the obligation of hijab, nor does wearing hijab absolve one of the other obligations.
4. No one of us knows who is most beloved to Allah amongst us and that should not even be included in this discussion.
Now with that being said, there is no greater time to start wearing the Hijab than this month. I know many sincere sisters who are hesitant to start and what better time than these fleeting moments of Ramadan? This is a blessed opportunity to show Allah that you’re turning the page and ready to take your faith a step further for His sake. Hijab is amongst the symbols of taqwa (piety) for which fasting has been revealed. You are showing Allah that His sight is far greater and more beloved to you than the cheap gazes of man. It is an outward expression of an inner realization. My dear sister, take that step now as you do not know what the future holds. It’ll be tough, but seek the support of other sisters and more importantly inner strength from Allah.
Yes, I may be a guy and not understand how hard it is. But Allah is the Creator and has legislated it while saying that he doesn’t task a soul beyond its scope. And so it is only a sincere advice from your brother.
And as a note to ALL, lets encourage one another to do good as Allah tells us in the Quran. Don’t put people down but instead help them realize what they’re capable of. When you know a sister struggling with hijab, don’t tell her off but instead encourage her. And if you know a sister whose hijab isn’t perfect, don’t make her feel like she’s made no sacrifice at all and might as well not be wearing hijab in the first place but instead help her complete it. And if you know a sister who JUST started wearing hijab, celebrate that occasion by giving her a gift, throwing her a party, etc. as a means of showing her that you are there for her to help her fulfill this obligation.
May Allah bless ALL of our sisters and brothers, and guide us to that which is most pleasing to Him. Ameen