Reach a Modesty Milestone This Ramadan
I had a bit of an epiphany a few weeks prior to Ramadan. For the past year or so, in addition to sharing written reflections on social media, I was sharing more photos of myself and my outfits. As I read comments on one of my recent posts, I went into somewhat of a panic. How is this benefitting me? How is it benefiting others? Is flaunting myself on my public account helping me grow towards Allah or distracting me from Him?
Over the past few months I had seen many Muslim influencers discuss the changes that they are making in order to dress more modestly, and I found it incredibly inspiring. As difficult a decision as it was to make, I ultimately came to the conclusion that in order to move forward in my own personal modesty journey, I needed to focus more on sharing my writing and step away from the fashion content.
No matter where we are in our individual journeys, we can all strive to move forward. Otherwise, complacency can keep us stuck in the same spot for years. Ramadan is our yearly opportunity for self reflection, sacrifice, and spiritual growth. It’s a time for us to get honest with ourselves about where we are in our individual faith journeys, where we’d like to go, and what may be holding us back from getting closer to our destination.
Here are 5 steps you can take to move you forward, no matter where you currently stand in your modesty journey, and the inspiring Muslim influencers who have taken them, too.
1. Dressing more modestly: Leana Deeb
Depending on whether or not you wear hijab, dressing more modestly can look different for each person. For some, it may be wearing looser jeans. For others, it may be wearing longer tops. For Leana Deeb, it has been showing less skin. A few months ago, Leana decided to commit to this change as part of her growing closer to her faith.
“This is just my religious views and what makes me feel comfortable,” Leana said recently on TikTok. “To be honest, I didn’t feel confident when I was showing my skin. That’s why I have been slowly trying to cover up.”
🤝♬ Where you are (Vocals only) - Halal Beats
She deleted most of her previous content from her TikTok and Instagram accounts, which she admits was a difficult decision to make.
“I didn’t want to take my content down… I look back at your comments and that is literally what keeps me going, is you guys. And so that makes me upset,” she said to her followers. “But I also know that I am going to provide you with more content and I am going to work harder so I can show you guys that I can do this without showing my skin.”
2. Transitioning into wearing the hijab full time: Mariam Kudsi & Ascia Sahar
One of the biggest, most life changing steps a Muslim woman takes in her life is making the decision to wear the hijab full time. Exactly 1 year ago, Mariam Kudsi decided to make this change on the first day of Ramadan.
“Tears of joy coming down my face as I am typing this,” she wrote in an Instagram post. “This is something I’ve always dreamt of committing to but never saw myself in the steps of doing so until just a few months back.”
Prior to becoming a hijabi, Mariam actually modeled hijabs for VELA - which she says is her biggest inspiration along with co-founder and creative director, Marwa Atik.
“I’ve always told myself that whenever the time comes where I officialize my hijab, I will rave about my love for VELA,” she said. “It’s something so close to my heart now because of the impact this company and people have brought me.”
While it may be intimidating to take the plunge into wearing the hijab full time overnight, many women, like Ascia Sahar, practice wearing the hijab on Fridays. She began sharing her reflections and hijabi OOTD every week as part of her #JummahHijabSeries.
“Wherever you are on your journey, understand that nothing is impossible,” she said in one of her reflections. “Lead without judging yourself or others. Wearing my VELA hijab on Fridays alone has helped me realign my intentions.”
3. Minimizing makeup: Mara & Zainab Ashraf
There are different reasons why we wear makeup. For some, it’s to camouflage imperfections and insecurities. For others, it’s a form of artistry and self expression. However, if we’re honest with ourselves, heavy makeup can also be alluring and hold us back on our modesty journey. In this day and age, when we’re surrounded by filters and ever changing beauty standards, wearing light makeup or giving it up completely is a huge sacrifice. Mara is now makeup free after struggling with self image and comparing herself to those who had different face shapes, makeup routines and genetics.
“Filters and angles have been so normalized that when I saw photos of myself, I couldn’t believe that’s what I looked like,” Mara told me. “A makeup-free journey is a mental challenge, but remember Quran 32:7, [Allah] has perfected everything He created. And He originated the creation of humankind from clay.”
She now takes the things she enjoyed from makeup, such as self care, femininity, and confidence, and found it in other routines.
“Self care became a nightly skincare routine. Femininity became the way I dressed and curling my eyelashes. Confidence became appreciating my features individually and together as my own unique beauty.”
Zainab Ashraf decided to minimize her makeup 3 weeks ago, and while it has been challenging, she is taking small steps by slowly transitioning from a full face to the “no makeup makeup” look. She has swapped darker lip shades with clear lip balm, black mascara with brown mascara, and foundation with good skincare. She was inspired by other Muslim influencers who have recently shared how they are minimizing makeup, including Mara.
“Who you follow on social media affects the way you see and think,” Zainab said. “If you're going to follow girls who aren't dressed as modestly, that’s going to have an impact on you. When you're following girls that are growing in their journey towards Islam, they can help you grow, too. Something inside of me just kind of clicked. Allah gives hidaya (guidance) to whoever He wishes.”
4. Opting for fuller coverage hijab styles: Ahdilah
Another way to grow in our modesty is to perfect the way that we wear our hijabs, whether that is making sure the hair is fully covered in the front, not exposing the neck, or draping the scarf across our chest for extra coverage. In the weeks leading up to Ramadan, Ahdilah decided that in addition to wearing less makeup, she would also practice a more full coverage, proper hijab.
“I want to start practicing a more accurate hijab that feels more modest to me,” she said in a recent TikTok where she shares her updated hijab style.
She says she is motivated by the ayah in the Qur’an that says, “...and not display their beauty except what is apparent, and they should place their khimar over their bosoms...” (24:31)
5. Adding more abayas to your wardrobe: Duha Dallah
There’s a certain ease and elegance to abayas. Their flowy nature makes it a great way to level up in modesty as it hides the figure. Duha Dallah began wearing abayas more often after a recent trip to Umrah. Being surrounded by Muslims in an Islamic country was one of the most humbling and inspiring experiences she’s ever had.
“Going to Saudi Arabia and actually experiencing our religion in the most magnificent place made me fall in love more with the modesty our religion requires,” she told me. “I love the modesty of the abaya as well as the elegance and even the convenience of it. I feel so empowered in an abaya. I truly wish it was more common here, that more people understood it, and tolerated seeing people wearing it.”
She realizes that while everyone is on their own path in their hijab journey and it’s not an easy one, especially living in America, there is a particular hadith that keeps her motivated.
“Allah says take one step towards me and I will take ten steps towards you. Walk towards me, I will run towards you. So it doesn’t matter what kind of step you take, big or small, just remember that Allah sees the change you’re taking, even those tiny steps that you try to take. Alhamdulillah for the beauty of our religion.”
May Allah keep us steadfast and may He allow us to use this month as an opportunity to grow in our modesty and move closer towards Him. Ameen!
I love this entire conversation. There are so many ways to be modest and sharing examples of other Muslim women who are implementing steps to be more modest is truly inspiring. Thank you for making these conversations normal. ❤️