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Switch to Forum Live View My hijab, or my job?
7 years ago  ::  Oct 25, 2007 - 11:48PM #1
witness22
Posts: 6
Asalamu alaikum. I hope I'm posting this in the right place.

I am seriously considering taking Islam as my faith. I've only been studying it for a few weeks, and there's many questions I still need answered first, but no other religion has captured both my heart and mind the way Islam has. I pray at the correct times whenever I can, or as close to it as I can get, and even if I don't convert I find myself loving the hijab and Islamic ways of dressing. But I've discovered that I work in an environment with deep-running prejudices and fears.

I told my boss that I wanted to wear the hijab to work one day to see how customers would react (and secretly to see how my coworkers would react). My conservative Christian boss was shocked at first (no one has any idea that I'm considering converting) and almost said no, but eventually agreed, thinking I was doing it as a social experiment since I want to go into theology. But he said I could only do it on a day when the store owner wasn't there, because if the owner saw me in the hijab he would "blow up". When I asked why, my boss told me that it was because the owner was a "good, faithful Christian" - a very complimentary, twisted synonym for "intolerant" in this situation. In the process of talking about me doing this "experiment" my boss also told me that there was actually a rule against it. Well, actually the rule is against wearing hats, but the rule says "no headgear", and now that I've brought this up "headgear" is now being interpreted as including hijab - and it was made very clear to me that this is the one and only time I will be allowed to do this "experiment", and that if it starts causing any problems with customers, I am to immediately take it off (although I think my coworkers are already reacting much more than the customers will).

So I'm faced with a dilemma: I want to wear the hijab! Even if I don't convert, I think I want to wear it. But now I could get fired, not on the basis of my religion, but because I'm wearing a headscarf. Do they really think that if I put a piece of fabric on my head it makes me a different person than I was yesterday? No! It is only an external expression seen today of what was already in my heart yesterday, and many days before that. But it has been made clear to me that these men I work with are extremely conservative Christians who want the entire world to be a reflection of themselves and their values, and I'm already forced to sit all day and listen to them vent their prejudices, and there is no room in their hearts for tolerance.

Part of me wants to start wearing the hijab just to get myself fired so I don't have to listen to their hate anymore. I took this job out of desperation, and I don't like the work or the people I work with. But to get the job I had to give my word that I would work there for a year. It's only been three months. As wrong as all this is, I'm not sure it would make it right to break my promise. It takes a month to train someone for this job, sometimes longer, so if I quit during the middle of the busy season I would be leaving them in a lurch. Part of me has no problem with that - if they don't want to work with a muslim, I don't want to work with them (really I'm rather afraid to), and I'd rather quit than have them looking for ways to fire me. I know that if I did convert they wouldn't allow me to pray at work - I had to fight with them and almost pass out just to get a lunch break! But on the other hand, the owner's son has cancer, and I have heard him crying to God to know why his son has to suffer, and I don't want to add to his burdens by breaking my word and putting him in a hard place.

So, the dilemma is: my hijab, or my job? Please give me advice!

Peace and blessings upon you all.
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6 years ago  ::  Oct 27, 2007 - 11:06PM #2
monotheist
Posts: 6
[QUOTE=witness22;23599]Asalamu alaikum. I hope I'm posting this in the right place.

I am seriously considering taking Islam as my faith. I've only been studying it for a few weeks, and there's many questions I still need answered first, but no other religion has captured both my heart and mind the way Islam has. I pray at the correct times whenever I can, or as close to it as I can get, and even if I don't convert I find myself loving the hijab and Islamic ways of dressing. But I've discovered that I work in an environment with deep-running prejudices and fears.

I told my boss that I wanted to wear the hijab to work one day to see how customers would react (and secretly to see how my coworkers would react). My conservative Christian boss was shocked at first (no one has any idea that I'm considering converting) and almost said no, but eventually agreed, thinking I was doing it as a social experiment since I want to go into theology. But he said I could only do it on a day when the store owner wasn't there, because if the owner saw me in the hijab he would "blow up". When I asked why, my boss told me that it was because the owner was a "good, faithful Christian" - a very complimentary, twisted synonym for "intolerant" in this situation. In the process of talking about me doing this "experiment" my boss also told me that there was actually a rule against it. Well, actually the rule is against wearing hats, but the rule says "no headgear", and now that I've brought this up "headgear" is now being interpreted as including hijab - and it was made very clear to me that this is the one and only time I will be allowed to do this "experiment", and that if it starts causing any problems with customers, I am to immediately take it off (although I think my coworkers are already reacting much more than the customers will).

So I'm faced with a dilemma: I want to wear the hijab! Even if I don't convert, I think I want to wear it. But now I could get fired, not on the basis of my religion, but because I'm wearing a headscarf. Do they really think that if I put a piece of fabric on my head it makes me a different person than I was yesterday? No! It is only an external expression seen today of what was already in my heart yesterday, and many days before that. But it has been made clear to me that these men I work with are extremely conservative Christians who want the entire world to be a reflection of themselves and their values, and I'm already forced to sit all day and listen to them vent their prejudices, and there is no room in their hearts for tolerance.

Part of me wants to start wearing the hijab just to get myself fired so I don't have to listen to their hate anymore. I took this job out of desperation, and I don't like the work or the people I work with. But to get the job I had to give my word that I would work there for a year. It's only been three months. As wrong as all this is, I'm not sure it would make it right to break my promise. It takes a month to train someone for this job, sometimes longer, so if I quit during the middle of the busy season I would be leaving them in a lurch. Part of me has no problem with that - if they don't want to work with a muslim, I don't want to work with them (really I'm rather afraid to), and I'd rather quit than have them looking for ways to fire me. I know that if I did convert they wouldn't allow me to pray at work - I had to fight with them and almost pass out just to get a lunch break! But on the other hand, the owner's son has cancer, and I have heard him crying to God to know why his son has to suffer, and I don't want to add to his burdens by breaking my word and putting him in a hard place.

So, the dilemma is: my hijab, or my job? Please give me advice!

Peace and blessings upon you all.[/QUOTE]

Wa'alaikum Assalam:

I became a Muslim roughly 10 years ago.  I didn't start wearing hijab until after 9/11 though... when I decided to test it out one day when there was a scarves for solidarity day about a month after 9/11.  It was very interesting.  I worked for a large Fortune 50 company in the South.  I was shocked to see the prejudice adn stereotypes come out in the open... but I was also pleasantly surprised by how many people supported me.  Even many conservative Christians.  I ended up wearing it full-time about a year later. 

Did it affect my work?? Yes.  But, I still think it was worth it.

They cannot fire you for wearing hijab.  It is illegal to do so.  You can read more about your rights at www.cair.com

Now... whether or not you should wear it, is totally up to you.  It sounds like whether or not you become a Muslim, you really don't like your current job.  So... I would start looking for a new one.  It's always easier to find a job when you have one.  Whether or not you should wear hijabs on your interviews with a new company is another decision to face.  Some employers would resent a bait-and-switch type approach... although legally they can't do a thing.  What I've done is try and talk about my hijab in a positive way... like I was meeting a guy for the first time adn I said... well, I'll be easy to find... I'll be the one with the scarf on my head. :)  If you're lookign for more conservative workwear.... try www.shukr.com  Oh... and don't wear a black hijab... IMHO that makes you look too ultraconservative.  (Even though some Sisters look fab in black.)

Does that help??

I'm really happy for you that God is leading you to Islam.  Take your time.  Try attending a mosque.  Most have classes and halaqas (study circles) for new members or people interested in Islam. 

Peace.
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 20, 2007 - 2:50AM #3
olubo
Posts: 7
Wear the hijab & if they fire you sue them for discrimination!
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 21, 2007 - 4:03PM #4
GracieMae76
Posts: 44
Yeah, I'm Christian but I say wear the hijab....its always nice to see someone dressed differently at work....I'm an open-minded person and I dont see why more American's aren't...

Plus, I'm all for bucking the 'system'....
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 21, 2007 - 9:27PM #5
Miraj
Posts: 5,023
witness22, I apologize, but I don't get this.  I'm not sure what you have been reading about Islam, but the faith is not primarily about clothing, and Allah certainly doesn't invite you to Him to give you an excuse to piss other people off.  I was asked to intervene on this thread by a Muslima who is concerned about what she is reading here.  Alhamdulillah , may Allah bless her for her warning, for there is much to be corrrected in what is being presented here. 

First of all, hijab is never mentioned in the Quran as clothing.  It is mentioned in the context of modesty and humility, none of which is conveyed by a piece of cloth, nor by condemning others who disagree with you.  There are several rules in Islam of which you are to be reminded.  One is that you do not back bite, gossip and use the faith to antagonize others.  You have modeled all three prohibitions in your post.  Allah says:

"Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious; for your Lord knows best who have strayed from His Path, and who are truly guided." [16:125]

It would not be fair to other Muslimas who are devout in their practice of faith to use a symbol that they hold dear to express ill-will to your boss and co-workers, and cause them harm.  Muslims are directed by God to become examples of good and fair treatment.  We are not to believe we are superior to others who hold to different faiths.  Allah alone can definitively judge between us; it is His Will that we not all be the same.  Allah says:

". . . To each among you have we prescribed a law and an open way. If God had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to God; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute;" [5:48]

I regret that any of us should allow you, encourage you, to enter into Islam or to represent it with such a distorted perception of how one is to act within one's community.  We are to keep our promises and to obey the law where we live; at work, your employer has the right to set policies that accomodate his business plan.  If he is reticent about allowing you to wear hijab, be patient; you are not even a Muslima yet.  If you decide to become a Muslima, believe that your conversion will make you a better person, not a more confrontational and alienated one.  Even if you do not convert, know that Allah is the best of planners; He will always find a way for you to express your sincerity of belief to Him and to those you encounter.

One should never come to faith with a hateful heart.  I will make dua that you will find a proper teacher who will show you the true tenets of the faith and allow you understand how to find the beauty in Islam so that you will not see it as a weapon to be used against others, but as a tool to draw them to Him through your example.

Salaam

PS - You can be fired for wearing hijab, but if you can't prove that's why you were fired, you have no case.  In all but 5 states, you can be fired for no reason at all.  Civil court cases are expensive and can drag on for years.  Justice is only theoretical for many.
Disclaimer: The opinions of this member are not primarily informed by western ethnocentric paradigms, stereotypes rooted in anti-Muslim/Islam hysteria, "Israel can do no wrong" intransigence, or the perceived need to protect the Judeo-Christian world from invading foreign religions and legal concepts.  By expressing such views, no inherent attempt is being made to derail or hijack threads, but that may be the result.  The result is not the responsibility of this member.


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6 years ago  ::  Nov 21, 2007 - 9:27PM #6
Miraj
Posts: 5,023
witness22, I apologize, but I don't get this.  I'm not sure what you have been reading about Islam, but the faith is not primarily about clothing, and Allah certainly doesn't invite you to Him to give you an excuse to piss other people off.  I was asked to intervene on this thread by a Muslima who is concerned about what she is reading here.  Alhamdulillah , may Allah bless her for her warning, for there is much to be corrrected in what is being presented here. 

First of all, hijab is never mentioned in the Quran as clothing.  It is mentioned in the context of modesty and humility, none of which is conveyed by a piece of cloth, nor by condemning others who disagree with you.  There are several rules in Islam of which you are to be reminded.  One is that you do not back bite, gossip and use the faith to antagonize others.  You have modeled all three prohibitions in your post.  Allah says:

"Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious; for your Lord knows best who have strayed from His Path, and who are truly guided." [16:125]

It would not be fair to other Muslimas who are devout in their practice of faith to use a symbol that they hold dear to express ill-will to your boss and co-workers, and cause them harm.  Muslims are directed by God to become examples of good and fair treatment.  We are not to believe we are superior to others who hold to different faiths.  Allah alone can definitively judge between us; it is His Will that we not all be the same.  Allah says:

". . . To each among you have we prescribed a law and an open way. If God had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to God; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute;" [5:48]

I regret that any of us should allow you, encourage you, to enter into Islam or to represent it with such a distorted perception of how one is to act within one's community.  We are to keep our promises and to obey the law where we live; at work, your employer has the right to set policies that accomodate his business plan.  If he is reticent about allowing you to wear hijab, be patient; you are not even a Muslima yet.  If you decide to become a Muslima, believe that your conversion will make you a better person, not a more confrontational and alienated one.  Even if you do not convert, know that Allah is the best of planners; He will always find a way for you to express your sincerity of belief to Him and to those you encounter.

One should never come to faith with a hateful heart.  I will make dua that you will find a proper teacher who will show you the true tenets of the faith and allow you understand how to find the beauty in Islam so that you will not see it as a weapon to be used against others, but as a tool to draw them to Him through your example.

Salaam

PS - You can be fired for wearing hijab, but if you can't prove that's why you were fired, you have no case.  In all but 5 states, you can be fired for no reason at all.  Civil court cases are expensive and can drag on for years.  Justice is only theoretical for many.
Disclaimer: The opinions of this member are not primarily informed by western ethnocentric paradigms, stereotypes rooted in anti-Muslim/Islam hysteria, "Israel can do no wrong" intransigence, or the perceived need to protect the Judeo-Christian world from invading foreign religions and legal concepts.  By expressing such views, no inherent attempt is being made to derail or hijack threads, but that may be the result.  The result is not the responsibility of this member.


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6 years ago  ::  Nov 22, 2007 - 9:40AM #7
The-middle-way
Posts: 250
[QUOTE=Miraj;86564]First of all, hijab is never mentioned in the Quran as clothing.  It is mentioned in the context of modesty and humility, none of which is conveyed by a piece of cloth[/QUOTE]

Sister witness, Miraj's above opinion contradicts that of the consensus of the Scholars, as the following fatwa shows:

Why Hijab?

Answered by Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller

The Qur’anic verse, “Say to believing women, that they cast down their eyes and guard their private parts, and reveal not their adornment save such as is outward; and let them drape their headcoverings over their bosoms, and not reveal their adornment . . .” (Qur’an 24:31) is a specific requirement for Muslim women to cover their hair.

The word “headcoverings” (Ar. singular khimar, plural khumur), more familiar in our times as the hijab, is a word of well-known signification among scholars of Arabic, at their forefront the authors of the classical lexical reference dictionaries like Zabidi’s encyclopedic Taj al-‘arus or Mutarrizi’s al-Mughrib, both of which define khimar as “a woman’s headcovering”; or Fayumi’s al-Misbah or Fayruzabadi’s al-Qamus, which both define it as “a cloth with which a woman covers her head.” The Taj al-‘arus also notes that a man's turban is sometimes referred to as a khimar “because a man covers his head with it in like manner as a woman covers her head with her khimar when he disposes it in the Arab manner, turning part of it under the jaws nearly in the same manner in which a woman disposes her khimar.” These authorities are cited in the eight-volume Arabic-English Lexicon of Edward William Lane, who describes the khimar as “a woman’s muffler or veil with which she covers her head and the lower part of her face.”

There is no other lexical sense in which the word khimar may be construed. The wording of the command, however, “and let them drape their headcoverings over their bosoms,” sometimes confuses nonspecialists in the sciences of the Qur’an, and in truth, interpreting the Qur’an does sometimes require in-depth knowledge of the historical circumstances in which the various verses were revealed. In this instance, the elliptical form of the divine command is because women at the time of the revelation wore their headcovers tied back behind their necks, as some village women still do in Muslim countries, leaving the front of the neck bare, as well as the opening (Ar. singular jayb, plural juyub, translated as “bosoms” in the above verse) at the top of the dress. The Islamic revelation confirmed the practice of covering the head, understood from the use of the word khimar in the verse, but also explained that the custom of the time was not sufficient and that women were henceforth to tie the headcover in front and let it drape down to conceal the throat and the dress’s opening at the top.

This is why Muslim women cover their heads: because the Qur’an unambiguously orders them to, and there is no qualifying text or hadith or even other lexical possibility to show that the Qur’anic order might mean anything besides obligation. Rather, the hadiths all bear this meaning out, Muslim scholars are in unanimous agreement about it and have been from the time of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) down to our own day, and it is even known by all non-Muslim peoples about them.

read on:

http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp? … 3&CATE=128

Salaam.

ps: if you are dependant upon your job for your livelihood [i.e, you dont have a husband or father, etc, that supports you], then it may be that you'll be allowed to keep your job even if your not allowed to wear hijab in it; but you should look for a job that allows you to wear hijab and move jobs as soon as possible.
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 22, 2007 - 10:23AM #8
sazaj36
Posts: 331
There is no other lexical sense in which the word khimar may be construed. The wording of the command, however, “and let them drape their headcoverings over their bosoms,” sometimes confuses nonspecialists in the sciences of the Qur’an, and in truth, interpreting the Qur’an does sometimes require in-depth knowledge of the historical circumstances in which the various verses were revealed. .....

I like the use of the phrase "non specialist"...kind of makes the phrases God uses such as "easy and not a burden" when reading and understanding the Quran lose all its meaning. You got to be a specialist or your just a sad confused soul that doesnt know her "bosom" from her head.
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 22, 2007 - 11:26AM #9
The-middle-way
Posts: 250
[QUOTE=sazaj36;87409]I like the use of the phrase "non specialist"...kind of makes the phrases God uses such as "easy and not a burden" when reading and understanding the Quran lose all its meaning. You got to be a specialist or your just a sad confused soul that doesnt know her "bosom" from her head.[/QUOTE]

Assalamualikum wr wb,

It can indeed sound confusing when God seems to say that the Quran is easy to understand, so here are them verses in their correct perspective:

The question is whether the Holy Qur’ân needs anyone to explain its contents? The Holy Qur’ân in certain places seems to claim that its verses are self-explanatory, easy to understand and clear in their meanings. So, any external explanation should be uncalled for. Why, then, is the prophetic explanation so much stressed upon?

The answer to this question is found in the Holy Qur’ân itself. A combined study of the relevant verses reveals that the Holy Qur’ân deals with two different types of subjects. One is concerned with the general statements about the simple realities, and it includes the historic events relating to the former prophets and their nations, the statement of Allâh’s bounties on mankind, the creation of the heavens and the earth, the cosmological signs of the divine power and wisdom, the pleasures of the Paradise and the torture of the Hell, and subjects of similar nature.

The other type of subjects consists of the imperatives of Sharî’ah, the provisions of Islâmic law, the details of doctrinal issues, the wisdom of certain injunctions and other academic subjects.

The first type of subject, which is termed in the Holy Qur’ân as Zikr (the lesson, the sermon, the advice) is, no doubt, so easy to understand that even an illiterate rustic can benefit from it without having recourse to anyone else. It is in this type of subjects that the Holy Qur’ân says:

And surely We have made the Qur’ân easy for Zikr (getting a lesson) so is there anyone to get a lesson? (54:22)

The words “for Zikr” (getting a lesson) signify that the easiness of the Holy Qur’ân relates to the subjects of the first nature. The basic thrust of the verse is on getting lesson from the Qur’ân and its being easy for this purpose only. But by no means the proposition can be extended to the inference of legal rules and the interpretation of the legal and doctrinal provisions contained in the Book. Had the interpretation of even this type of subjects been open to everybody irrespective of the volume of his learning, the Holy Qur’ân would have not entrusted the Holy Prophet () with the functions of “teaching” and “explaining” the Book. The verses quoted earlier, which introduce the Holy Prophet () as the one who “teaches” and “explains” the Holy Qur’ân, are explicit on the point that the Book needs some messenger to teach and interpret it. Regarding the type of verses which require explanation, the Holy Qur’ân itself says,

And these similitudes We mention before the people. And nobody understands them except the learned. (29:43)

Thus, the “easiness” of the subjects of the first type does not exclude the necessity of a prophet who can explain all the legal and practical implications of the imperatives contained in the Holy Qur’ân.

http://ccm-inc.org/oldsite/iqra/article … chap2.html

ps: it is the expert Scholars that work out the Prophetic explanation and hand it down to us.

Salaam
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 22, 2007 - 12:09PM #10
The-middle-way
Posts: 250
I think another bit of confusion may have arose due to some not so acurate translations; some translations, such as Abdullah Yusuf Ali's, just says: "...that they should draw their veils over their bosoms...", (Qur’an 24:31), but what every Muslim should understand is that the translations of the Quran is never meant to be the tafsir [indepth and contextual interpretation] of the Quran and it is the fiqh [rulings derived by an expert Scholar from the Quran and the Sunnah] derived from the tafsir and the Sunnah that we should base our actions on and not the basic translations of the Quran.

Arabic words have deep meanings to them and these deep meanings are not portrayed in the basic translation; when we argue about what we believe to be a specific ruling of the Quran, we have to find out the indepth meaning of the Quranic words in question and not just take a word which was used for a basic translation into another language, as the intended meaning of Allah [swt].

Shyakh Nuh delved into the meaning further and rendered the following as the translation of the verse:

"...and let them drape their headcoverings over their bosoms . . .” (Qur’an 24:31)

Salaam.
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