Every little girl is a princess in the palace of her parents’ heart and little Muslimahs aren’t exception to this.
Princesses dress in a royal manner, their clothing is well thought and chosen to fit their status, but do our little Muslimahs really dress in royal manner? Do we as Muslim parents give enough thought to their clothing? Do we choose for them the clothing that fits their status as Muslimahs?
In my humble opinion, very few do.
It is mind boggling how people consider hijab and haya to be concepts that need to be taught to our Muslim girls only once they have seen blood in their underpants.
Yes, hijab becomes fardh after a girl starts menstruating i.e. Becomes adult by islamic law.
But when does haya become fardh?
Is there ever a time when haya is not required or not needed?
Many will come to haunt me saying before reaching maturity we shouldn’t kill fun or ruin childhood years of our children. I understand. But kindly allow me to share my point of view on the matter.
I strongly believe haya is instilled since beginning. While some childish acts are okay, we don’t expect our kids to act like adults, we are not so strict, etc…we do have to raise them in a manner that haya is always part of their lives without us throwing any rules at them.
Though haya is a huge concept, I am going to stick to the clothing part of it for today.
If we look at most of the clothing out there for little baby girls or toddlers they seem to be unnecessarily exposing. I genuinely do not understand need for a toddler to wear backless tops or shoulder down dresses or transparent clothing or sleeveless shirts or even shorts or skirts. Earlier only women were used as sexual objects, but unfortunately now even little girls are…SubhanAllah.
It is weird how even as Muslims we find such clothing to be “cute” or “beautiful,” instead of exposing or revealing or inappropriate.
Recently, I heard Shame series at Bayyinah TV (they are great ma sha ALLAH) and would like to share a few short points from that over here:
- Story of Adam (alayhi salam) and Hawa (alayhi salam) tells us that Shaitan’s ultimate agenda is to humiliate human beings by getting their clothes removed!
- Clothes are divine gift that Allah (Subhanahu wa tala) gave to Adam and Hawa.
- Clothing beauties us – Not the other way around!!
They Will Make Choices Tomorrow Based on Our Today’s Choice: What we choose for our children when they are little kids sets the standard for them of what kinda clothes they should wear later on in lives. Only till first few years of their lives are we going to pick for them, then they will. You and I can’t make our daughters wear sleeveless tops till they are 5-6 years old and then wonder why they create a fuss over our rule of not wearing those any more as soon as they start looking more mature. Our today’s “right” will define “right” for them later in their lives, actions speak louder than words. Don’t give them a list of rules later in life, rather raise them with a lifestyle that doesn’t require you to verbalize rules.
One’s Clothing Affects One’s Psychological State: What a person wears affects his/her own psychology and there is no doubt about it. With growing age, if our girls wear provocative clothing they are bound to feel in a certain way. I believe any woman would testify to that but if there is any confusion kindly do research on it for your own sake.
One’s Clothing Affects How People Perceive Us: I understand we live a world where we say who cares what others think, but as far as I understand our religion – it cares about society and it’s peace. We can’t walk naked and expect people to lower their gaze, we need to first fulfill our responsibility of dressing modestly. Same is true for our young daughters. We don’t need to present them as little women to the world when they are simply innocent little girls. Pedophiles are increasing for a reason, unfortunately.
Above being said, I am not trying to convince anyone to put hijab on a one year old. All I am saying is, we need to be mindful of what we put on our little Muslimahs. They are learning since birth like little sponges (I follow Montessori approach that children learn and absorb since childhood).
I am not a specialist in this department. As parents, Zawji and I sit and talk time to time on how we want to go about Ruqaiya’s clothing at that given stage. We have had our share of scratching heads to draw a proper line without going extreme on any side.
I would like to share a few rules that we have been following since her birth and still try to follow. These rules really came as a result of a lot of talking between me & Zawji alhamdulillah. And we seek ALLAH’s help in this constant parenting process. The only intention for sharing our rules is to make it somewhat easy for someone who may be interested in change (in sha ALLAH) because I know how much we would have appreciated if we could have gotten any help in the matter.
From Birth till 18 months:
- Sleevesless and shorter than knees clothes are only in front of Baba and Mama, and grandparents.
- I don’t let her roam around in just a onesie. She has to have some bottom pant or legging or something, even if it’s only me and she in home. She needs to know this is how “normal” is.
- No human or animal images on clothes (that is simply due to religious preference).
- If it is an exposing kinda dress, even if she has onesie underneath and tights still not going to let her wear it in front of people. I just feel covering those parts still let’s mind wander.
- Her books don’t have girls with short or exposing clothes – they learn from books whole lot.
- We as parents try to be careful of what we wear in front of her.
After 18 months: all above plus:
- No more sleeveless even in home.
As Ruqaiya grows we as parents will sit and re-evaluate where we stand.
If you agree with my point of view and have any additional advise do share it with me in comments. Would love to learn and improve 🙂
And if you do not agree with my point of view, it’s okay – your choice 🙂