I've been getting a few requests to do a post on the manners of a Muslim woman outside the home, so here it is. I think one thing a lot of sisters forget is that hijab is not just a headscarf, hijab is the way you dress, but it's also the way you carry yourself, the way you speak and the way you conduct yourself in different situations.
There are so many things that I see Muslim girls do that really makes me cringe! Things like swearing, shouting and showing off in public. I was watching a video by sisters about coming out of the hijabi closet so to speak and the second sister in the video said something that I totally agree with. She said that once a woman steps out of her house in a hijab she is automatically an ambassador for Islam, the reputation of Islam depends on her whether she likes it or not. When you go out in hijab people know you are a Muslim because this is the one thing that makes us stand out from the kuffar. Your hijab gives in direct dawah to people around you, when someone sees a woman in hijab they assume that the way you are behaving in public is because of what Islam has taught you. You represent the Muslim women of today, don't let it be a contradiction of the way Allah tells us to behave...'modestly'.
During college I was standing in the corridor next to this girl in niqaab who suddenly started shouting (well, speaking very loudly) and I realised that she was actually speaking on the phone she wasn't speaking in a polite manner and the way she spoke just sounded very uneducated. Even to this day if I hear a sister shouting or talking very loudly with her friends, laughing and quite obviously attention seeking it makes me cringe. Sisters that is not hijab! We are Muslim women not drunk chavs after a binge drink on a Friday night. Sorry if that sounded harsh but women should not be loud and obnoxious, remember we are all representing Islam we should not speak in a way that draws attention to us especially in the places where there are non-mahram men.
Another thing which I absolutely a million percent hate is when people swear, all the time! I hear sisters in hijab who are having a conversation and every second word is a swear word, SubhanAllah, I get it if you lose your temper and swear because it just came out although again that's not attractive especially in public but some people swear because it has become a habit. Let me tell you, it's not very ladylike and is really vile when a woman in hijab swears. Really what would the prophet pbuh and women of Islam RA (Khadija, Maryam, Fatima) think of these women? Do you really want the angels to be piling up your scale of bad deeds with swear words? I think we all have enough on our scale of bad deeds compared to our good deeds without adding more in the form of swear words.
Muslim women should not seek attention when they are outside in public, this seeking attention whether it's in the form of dress, attitude, speech or even the way you walk is not acceptable in Islam not just because it's not modest but because this immodesty may lead to fitna.
The Etiquette of Women walking in the Street
Allah's saying: (And let them not stamp their feet...)
During Jahiliyyah, when women walked in the street wearing anklets and no one could hear them, they would stamp their feet so that men could hear their anklets ringing. Allah forbade the believing women to do this.
By the same token, if there is any other kind of adornment that is hidden, women are forbidden to make any movements that would reveal what is hidden, because Allah says: (And let them not stamp their feet...) to the end of it.
From that, women are also prohibited from wearing scent and perfume when they are going outside the home, lest men should smell their perfume. Abu `Isa At-Tirmidhi recorded that Abu Musa, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Prophet said:
(Every eye commits fornication and adultery, and when a woman puts on perfume and passes through a gathering, she is such and such) -- meaning an adulteress.
He said, "And there is a similar report from Abu Hurayrah, and this is Hasan Sahih.'' It was also recorded by Abu Dawud and An-Nasa'i.
By the same token, women are also forbidden to walk in the middle of the street, because of what this involves of wanton display.
Abu Dawud recorded that Abu Usayd Al-Ansari said that he heard the Messenger of Allah , as he was coming out of the Masjid and men and women were mixing in the street, telling the women:
(Keep back, for you have no right to walk in the middle of the street. You should keep to the sides of the road.)
The women used to cling to the walls so much that their clothes would catch on the walls.
(And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful.) means, practice what you are commanded in these beautiful manners and praiseworthy characteristics, and give up the evil ways of the people of Jahiliyyah
And Allah is the source of strength.
(32. And marry those among you who are single (Al-Ayama) and the pious of your servants and maidservants. If they be poor, Allah will enrich them out of His bounty. And Allah is All- Sufficient, All-Knowing.
(34. And indeed We have sent down for you Ayat that make things plain, and the example of those who passed away before you, and an admonition for those who have Taqwa.)
". . . then be not soft in speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease should be moved with desire, but speak in an honourable manner." [al-Ahzaab 33:32]
Ibn Katheer, may Allaah have mercy on him, said in his Tafseer: "This means that they should not speak softly. Allaah commanded them to speak in a concise and decisive manner (i.e., they should be serious and brief in their speech, and not be vague or talk aimlessly). There should be no possible indication on the face that could be taken to indicate any softness in the heart, as the Arab women (before Islaam) used to do when speaking to men, by making their voices soft like women who are taking care of small children, or like prostitutes. Allaah forbade women to do that.
The phrase "lest he in whose heart is a disease should be moved with desire" means lest such a person should hope for immoral deeds, indecency or romance. "Speaking in an honourable manner" means speaking in a way that does not go against Sharee’ah or offend people. Women are encouraged when speaking to men to whom they are not related and to mahrams among their in-laws to be somewhat rough or abrupt in their speech, without raising the voice, because they are commanded to lower their voice.
Speaking with a woman to whom one is not related (i.e., not mahram) should only be for a specific need, such as asking a question, buying or selling, asking about the head of the household, and so on. Such conversations should be brief, with nothing doubtful in either what is said or how it is said.
So we've gone through how women should not behave, talk, walk, conduct themselves because of the bad picture it paints of Islam and all Muslim women now lets move on to what women should do.
Like I said above, women in hijab automatically represent Islam to the outside world so we should all be striving to give the best example of Muslims and muslim women in particular through our own actions. Things like helping an elderly person on to and off of the bus or giving up your seat for them shows that Muslim women are compassionate and kind. Going out of your way to help someone and even just a friendly smile at another woman or a young child is a gesture of kindness, common manners such as saying excuse me, please and thank you show that we are not part of some uncivilised culture but are polite and appreciative. not only will that present a positive picture of Muslim women, you will also receive reward from Allah for doing these good deeds inshaAllah.
So remember no attention seeking, no swearing, no speaking/laughing too loudly. Keep your convo's with non-mahram to an absolute minimum. Be aware of your your behaviour & show Muslims and Muslim women in particular in a good light. The portrayal of Islam depends on each and every one of us.