I Was Called a Whore Because of This Photo

I Was Called a Whore Because of This Photo

All day, I’ve been blocking Muslims on Instagram. Men, women and children, most of them from the Middle-East.

Why? Because a modest instablog, Modestroute, that showcases Muslim women around the world, decided to repost one of my photos (above).

In the photo, I am fully clothed in all black–a faux leather jacket because I’m poor,  a shirt and a pair of jeans. I also have on hijab and black lipstick. My fist is balled high in the air and my eyes are closed. I originally posted the photo back in the summer to bring awareness to racial and social injustice. It’s a dope photo, and I got 15 mosquito bites from standing in the tall grass that day during the shoot.

Screenshot (35)

Instead of people liking the photo or just scrolling past my Black face and my fat body, they went into attack mode, swarming not only the photo on Modestroute’s page but on my personal page, too. “This is haram,” a Muslim man posted.

 I originally posted the photo back in the summer to bring awareness to racial and social injustice. tweet

“Sorry, but how is this modest?” another user asked.

“She’s gorgeous, but she can cover up more,” said a Muslim girl who hadn’t worn hijab in her profile photo.

“Muslim??? Feminist??? Make up??? Wallahi end of times is NEAR!!!” one person exclaimed.

One user argued, “Her clothes are more modest than many other Muslim girls out there. Trust me.”

“She doesn’t represent Muslims,” a girl said.

If I hadn’t represented a real Muslim woman, then who was I at all?

On my personal page, the jabs were worse. Users sought out photos and trolled in the comment sections. They said I should cover my body for the sake of Allah (SWT), that what I wore wasn’t proper hijab and I was even called a whore and shaitan (devil). They said I couldn’t possibly be Muslim. The last comment hurt most of all, that, in the eyes of others, my Islam was so deeply rooted by what I chose to wear…or not wear.

If I hadn’t represented a real Muslim woman, then who was I at all? tweet

After the attacks, I blocked so many folks that I lost count.

I’ve written about this before, but I am so very tired of having to validate my Islam. I’m tired of the “are you Muslim” question when my bio clearly states “Muslim Feminist.” I’m tired of Arab-speaking Muslims treating me as if I don’t know the rules of Islam because I’m Black, asking me if I celebrate Ramadan or if I know the Al-Fatiha by heart, and then clapping like I’m some kind of circus monkey when I reply “yes.” Why isn’t saying that I’m Muslim enough for others? When did we move into an era where we have to prove our closeness to Allah (SWT) or spirituality? And, why do some Muslims feel the need to be super-Muslim and correct every perceived wrong and cross every T? We are in a time where everyone is an internet mufti accredited by Sheikh Google.

Guess what? I know the rules of proper hijab as stated in the Holy Book, but I choose not to do it. Instead, I choose to wear tight jeans, leggings, turbans, lipstick and nail polish. It is my ultimate choice how outwardly Muslim I’d like to look, and that choice doesn’t make me any less of a Muslim. I’m sorry to burst your Islamic bubble, but I don’t go around harassing Muslims who choose to wear abayas or niqab just because I don’t wear it. Nor do I judge them solely based on what they wear or how they wear it. Newsflash: there are bad Muslims who wear modest clothing. There are bad Muslims who have full beards. There are bad Muslims all around the world. Then there are also good Muslims, who may look like me.

Why isn’t saying that I’m Muslim enough for others? tweet

When we get down to the root of Islam, there is a correct way to guide a Muslim to the straight path and bashing someone on the internet is far, far away from it. You are not helping me dress more modestly, nor are you helping me strengthen my spirituality or faith. You are only harming yourself.

We are so worried about appearances of Muslim women and girls that we forget the essence of Islam. The outer appearance is only a small portion of our belief system. Our religion encompasses all levels of spirituality from low to high, and we all struggle with different trials. I may struggle with clothing, another may struggle with speech and yet another with greed.

Should we all just start calling each other haram? Should we all begin trolling one another? Maybe we should check our intentions and understand that there is much more to a Muslim than his/her way of dress.

 

XOXO,

Leah V

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