Summer time is always the hardest for me; being a modest Muslim is always easy in the winter. Hiding behind layers of clothing is a choice of necessity, not desire. I can wear long sleeves and dark jeans without having to explain myself.
But when that snow starts melting, and the sun starts beating a little stronger, I really struggle. During the cold seasons, you (and everyone else) have to be modest so you don’t freeze to death of hypothermia. But during the summer time, modesty is a choice you actively have to make for yourself.
Having to explain to non-Muslim friends why you are fully clothed in 90 degree weather is not any easy conversation. And soon, you start to run out of fake excuses for why you can’t hang out at the pool or lay out on the beach so that you don’t have to go swimming in a full body suit.
It’s moments like these where the small, insistent voice inside my head tries to break me down. “It’s too hot not to wear shorts”
“it’s fine, wearing a tank top won’t be the end of the world”
And it’s times like this, when it seems like everywhere I turn a girl is wearing a tribal-print crop top with daisy dukes, that I need to remind myself that my choice to dress modestly is more than just putting on longer pieces of clothing. It’s something that is bigger than me. Modesty is not a clothing choice, it is a lifestyle choice.
It’s not just the choice to wear the hijab; it’s the choice to be kind to your neighbors and enemies alike. It’s not just the choice to cover your body; it’s the choice to be compassionate to the poor. The Quran says it best, “Allah orders justice, kindness and good conduct. He forbids injustice, immorality and oppression” 16:90 (Surah an-Nahl).
Your modesty is more than what you wear, it’s who you are.
I know it seems hard when everyone and their mother is half naked. But at the end of the day, what other people wear doesn’t matter because their choices are their choices. Allah (SWT) gave you the power to make decisions about your own body for yourself. In times like these I have to remind myself that life is the ultimate test, and everything I do is leading towards something. And when I have the best intentions, and I make good, honest and kind decisions, I am moving forward in the right direction. That’s modesty. Choosing to be modest is hard, but it’s absolutely worth doing.
Insallah in this life and the next. It might not seem like anyone cares that you’re trying to be modest, but Allah (SWT) cares. He see’s your efforts, and they won’t go unrewarded.
We all struggle, and we are all in different stages of our own journeys. It’s O.K. to make mistakes and have set backs because Allah (SWT) is the most merciful, the most kind.
Here are a few Islamic quotes that help me in times of struggle and remind me why I chose a lifestyle of modesty:
1. And whomsoever Allah guides, there is none that can mislead him.” The Quran 39:37 (Surah az-Zumar)
2. “They plan, and Allah plans. Surely, Allah is the Best of planners.” The Quran 08:30 (Surah al-Anfal)
3. “Your Lord has not forsaken you, nor does He hate you.” 93:03 (Surah ad-Dhuha)
4. “Do not lose hope, nor be sad. You will surely be victorious if you are true in Faith.” 03:139 (Surah al-Imran)
5. “If Allah finds any good in your heart, He will give you something better than what has been taken from you.” 08:70 (Surah al-Anfal)
6. “Surely, Allah will fully compensate you for your deeds. Indeed, He is Aware of all that you do.” 11:111 (Surah Hud)
7. “Everyone is rewarded for the effort one makes.” 20:15 (Surah Ta-Ha)
8. “Be patient. Surely, Allah loves those who are patient.” 08:46 (Surah al-Anfal)
Written by: Tahmina Hassan