Take Off the Hijab and Smile :)


        It's been 10 years since I first went to the U.S. Immigration office.  Last week, I had to renew my Green Card so I went in for finger printing and photo shoot.  The last time I went for the photo shoot they had this rule about showing the left ear.  I think most ladies that wear scarves (hijab), would agree that full head coverage looks much more attractive than a left ear jutting out of the scarf.  I had to convince the photographer to let me cover my ear in the picture and he just gave up and said, "it's up to you - I don't guarantee this will get approved."

So, this time around I took it for granted that 10 years later nobody would question our religious right to cover what God commands us to cover.  So, I just sat down and stared into the camera with a smile when the photographer said, "you have to show your ears".  I felt a little shock.  I walked over to her and said, "Actually, I can't do that because it is not allowed in my religion."                        

"But the Green Card picture must show your ears," she said.  That made me feel a little nervous because I was wondering what the outcome would be.  Knowing the non-confrontation type of person that I was, I imagined myself coming out with a picture of myself showing my hair to the world - or the worse part for me is to have a picture of me with two ears sticking out of my scarf.  I don't mean to offend anyone, cause I realize there are many ladies out there who prefer to wear their scarves with their ears showing so that they can feel beautiful with dangling earrings.  It's a matter of taste of course.

Frankly, I didn't know which picture would be worse, but I do know that I will live with guilt for disobeying God.  (The minimal injunction on Muslim women to cover come from the narration of Asma bint Abi Bakr of the Prophet Muhammad to whom he explained that women who have reached puberty must cover every part of their body except for the face and hands. Stricter injunction includes the face as well - though some scholars say this applies only to the Prophet's female relatives)

 With this thought in mind, I nervously told her that I covered my head for a previous application 10 years ago without any problem.  So, she asked, "What is your religion?" 

I said, "ISLAM"

She said,"I'll go check. It's just that most people just take it off, that's why."

I guess most Muslim ladies who are immigrants to the United States are scared to disobey the rule.  So they took "it" off - the scarf? Or they took their ears out from the scarf.  I guess they figured, if they don't take the scarf off, they might get kicked out of the United States.  I mean, I love to be here, but the land of God is aplenty.  Realistically speaking, America has always been the promise land of religiously persecuted groups.   People of religion can be proud to obey God in America.  The American constitution protects religion and I pray that God strengthens the American people  to turn to God especially in time of adversity.

It was a big relief!  All praise be to God the Almighty. I went home feeling good.  I mean, the Muslims at the time of the Prophet Muhammad SAW went through a lot of sacrifice to declare their faith.  In exaggeration, I must say I felt like them -the companions of the Prophet when I declare "Islam" as my religion.  All I sacrificed though, was a pretty picture on a green card.

nourradiance nourradiance
36-40, F
4 Responses Aug 17, 2007

Its all about perception and it all about reflection of modesty. In the name of art and culture We Muslims do not to sell our mothers, daughter and sisters. Wise men never comments until he/she has a clear cut of concept! The person having minimum knowledge on comparative religion he/she must admit that Islam has given more flexibility on hizab given more freedom to women. On an average every day 5 people are converting to Islam from different religion and among them majority are women. Why? In Bible its mentioned several wors on using hizab and also strong punishment must have to comply if any women violates. I would appreciate to judge Islam. If you want to judge any religion then judge the book, don't judge its practicers. <br />
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No matter from which religion you are but at least read your original sc<x>ripture as it is mentioning in Bible as well that another final revision will come & also mentioned under which circumstance it (The holy Quaran) will come.<br />
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If you are a Hindu then I'm sure you must have heard about the book "VAAD", its the ultimate and final religious book for the hindues. Unfortunately most of the common hindues stops learning in initial stage that is Rayaman, Mohavarat only. Pls learn "VAAD" the ultimate and final authority for hindues and you will be wonder in "VAAD" its clearly mentioned about our prophet Mohammad when to borne, from where to come even mentioned his mother's name in Shangskrit language as "SUMOTI" in if we translate it in Arabic then it means "AMINA"<br />
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If you want to prove Quaran wrong its very simple!!! Read the Quaran with meaning and prove it wrong!! I know you can never make it!!

Interesting idea about midesty - there are many Muslim women in the UK who wear the full kebab - with little slits for the eyes - and of course this is such an attention-seeking way to dress in a Western country that imagining it to be 'modest' is laughable

Actually you call the piece of cloth that covers the face except for the eyes a 'niqab' - and it may attract attention to the presence of a lady, who is very protective of her body much like a wealthy man/woman is protective of her his/her wealth. A 'kebab' is marinated meat on stick - but a woman sometimes display her boobs on the beach like a 'kebab'. Sometimes we have to go beyond culture, and really take a look at how our culture is treating us.


Desieyez and wordgirl,<br />
Thanks for the kind response. You know, we all have certain strengths and weaknesses. Maybe right now, wordgirl, you are not so strong on hijab, but you are very prolific in spreading the good word for the sake of God. God willing, this good deed will increase your strength in other areas, including the hijab. In the meantime, maybe a hat or bandanna will do the trick?<br />
May God bless our lives in this world and the next. Amin.

masha'Allah :)<br />
I went to get my passport renewed and we had to get pictures from kinkos, and the guy at the post office said your passport won't be accepted because you have to show your hair- i was like hell no!! lol thankfully the guy didn't know what he was talking about and i went on my way with my passport in hand four weeks later