Thursday, 6 December 2007

Hijab Fashion Shows - What do these say about Hijab?

Islamic fashion shows are becoming popular in some Muslim countries as well as the West. Many of them feel compelled to demonstrate what an Islamic dresscode entails. It's true, models are dressed up in different forms of hijab - where the model is covered from head to toe, save for their faces and hands.

Fashion designers use different fabrics, colour and cuts to display a full hijabi attire that Muslim women are allowed to wear in public. However, not all fabrics, colour and cuttings adhere to Islamic ruling. Some fabrics are transparent, displaying inner garments of the model, which are clingy or body-fitting. Though there is no general restriction on colour in Islam - some designers combine colours of their outfits, or emphasise highly on one fluorescent colour - defying the whole purpose of Hijab - which is set out NOT to attract attention. Some fittings are a cut too tight and show off the Muslim woman's figure. Though these types of clothing are not appropriate for a Muslim woman when in the presence of non-Mahrams, she is allowed to wear them in the comfort of their her own home - with her Muslim sisters and Mahram brothers in Islam.

So, if Islamic fashion shows comply completely with Islamic rulings, are they allowed? Sheikh Mohamed El-Moctar El-Shinqiti, director of the Islamic Center of South Plains, Lubbock, Texas still says "no."

With models walking up and down the catwalk with an array of spectators gliding their eyes all over them commenting on their "appearance", there is nothing really to be modest about. Hijab disallows and disencourages non-Mahram men from looking at women and requests them to question their faith and modesty when in the vicinity of non-Mahram sisters. Modesty and shyness is no longer an element of Hijab if it is being paraded around by models, who need to use their appearances as the core element of their career. And in general, most models do not even observe Hijab in their daily lives.

Muslim fashion designers therefore, are required to find alternate creative means in promoting their work. In fact, they should look into the more "religious" aspect of Hijabi clothing rather than prey upon the aesthetics and materialism that Islamic fashion shows entail.

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