Sunday, November 1, 2009

Arab Wannabe??



Today I was reading through some of my favorite blogs and I came across the term "Arab Wannabe" as applied to someone who wears black abaya. I wear black abayat and this hurt my feelings... as if someone were making fun of me for dressing this way because I am not Arab.

(One of my favorites from

It got me thinking... Am I an Arab wannabe because of the way that I dress??

Now I look at my motivation for wearing black abaya most days:
1. I'm poor and alhamdulillah sisters out there GENEROUSLY offered me abayat in order to properly clothe myself when I converted. they just happened to be black. (Thanks Rayyan, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE the ones you gave me <3)
2. I like the open style of abaya and it's difficult to find these in other colors.
3. I'm extremely curvy, as Allah made me, and abaya is honestly the only thing I wear that I feel appropriately and modestly covered in.
4. I think they are pretty.

Now as none of my reasons include fitting in with the "Arab" crowd or trying to be "Arab" in anyway, I feel as it is a little rash to label everyone wearing black abaya and shayla as "Arab Wannabe"

So sisters please... don't hurt others feelings in this way. We are all trying our best to please Allah subhana wa ta'ala and we don't need to push each other down.


.::Tuttie::. said...

my feelings were hurt too and I stopped going to some of those blogs as it wasn't benefiting me at ALL. Now imagine that I decided to wear the niqab and I got even more 'arab wannabe' tags. My reward is with Allah swt anyways so I stopped stressing.

Rubber said...

yeah..i get the same,
they do it out of jealousy, sis.
innocent people often dont attribute those motives to other people, but trust me that is the harsh truth. absolutely ridiculous as it might be. no lol at all. sis, like my own mom started acting weird when i started covering happens sis....
like those who rebel against Allah...even if they are ur own parents, like ur own family...theyll try ruining ur spiritual life, sis. it sucks...
trust me i have seen this destructive side...

Rubber said...

habil vs. qabil all over again..
and they ask how do u know Allah wants u to cover

it is insane sis
how we run away from reason,

nor said...

me not arab..but i love black abaya.almost all the abayas i have, mostly are black..only one grey and few boring like dat.:P

its ok , sis, i tink as long what we wear,abaya or not, as long as it's covering the aurat and we are comfortable in it..i tink we just try to ignore such remarks. :P

Habibti said...

dont listen to others just be you Allah knows your intentions.

Banana Anne said...

Salaam alaikum,
I admit that I used to be one of the people that thought converts that wore abayas, especially black abayas with lots of embroidery/decoration, were "trying to be Arab", or using these clothes to somehow compensate for not speaking Arabic or something. Now, however, my opinion has changed. Of course wearing traditionally Arab clothes does not make one an Arab, nor does it mean that the person wearing it is trying to fit a certain mold. Abayas fulfill the Islamic requirement for hijab, and they are very hassle-free, so I understand why so many women wear them. I am still not a big fan of black abayas myself; I prefer browns, whites, and earthy colors. I also personally feel more comfortable in more "Western" clothes like long skirts, wide pants, long coats, and button-down jilbabs in denim and corduroy because I think they look neat and Islamically appropriate while remaining within the norm of what I usually see people wearing. But I am much less likely to dub someone an "Arab wannabe" for wearing an abaya.

NeverEver said...

Tuttie: I hate to think that other people feel this way too, but it's nice to know I'm not alone. I think that is good advice.

Rubber: Crazy... i know

Nor & Habibti: I will try to ignore more in the future, inshaAllah. I will just try to avoid these situations.

Anne: I think normal western clothes can look really modest on some people.. but alas I am just not one of them... even loose coats still show my shape. Abayat are the only things I've found that cover effectively to a level that I'm comfortable with.

Laila said...

No you're not an Arab wannabe.

Jeans were invented in western USA. Does that mean when I wear jeans I am an American wannabe? No. Cultures evolve and are influenced by each other. The abaya is evolving as it travels to other cultures, you can even get them in denim. In essence it is a simple, versatile garment so it's no surprise that its usage will spread beyond its origins, like with jeans. I don't know why people have to view things so rigidly, as if cultures are static and well-defined.

Mon Vie & Etc said...

Sister, don't take it to heart. You are doing your best to please Allah and not people. It doesn't matter what you do because people will always find something to say. I've been saving up to completely hijabify my wardrobe and I was thinking about buying some abayas. But the problem is, is that 1. they are so expensive where i live, like £50 for a plain one. and 2. I only have one, which I use for prayer and that one sort of hangs off my curves. But hopefully I'll be able to find one and sister wear your abaya regardless of what others say.

NeverEver said...

Laila/Sarah: How true, how true!

Mon Vie: Thanks for the support my dear, inshaAllah you get the wardrobe of your dreams :-D

rahma said...

Assalamu Alaikum,

I think it's a critique that comes from experience. There ARE converts who are taught that the only way to be muslim is to embrace arab culture whole heartedly, and that everything else is of the kufar. There ARE people who say that you can ONLY wear black abayas, and nothing else. The convert tries to become arab (or pakistani or whatever othe dominant group of muslim is around) and completely loses themselves in it. Unfortunately, oftentimes these converts will "burn out," having given up too much of themselves to continue practicing islam.

Making snide remarks about black abayas isn't right, but the malidise of wannabe arab syndrome shouldn't be ignore. Not that I'm saying you have it, nor do I. My favorite abaya is one I bought 8 years ago and is black. I'll cry when it falls apart.

But, 6 days out of 7, I wear modest western clothes - skirt, long sleeve shirt + scarf. I don't feel that I *need* to wear an abaya to be modest (which is something I've been told more than once).

NeverEver said...

I wear my an abaya 7 days out of 7. I don't think it is the only appropriate jilbab, but it is definitely the one I prefer.

I don't like to think that if some sister saw me, this is what would go through her mind. Shouldn't we just be thankful to Allah that our sisters are covering appropriately?

Hijab Chic said...

As salam alaykum Sis,

How does that make someone a "wannabe Arab" if she chooses to cover her hair and body like Allah, subhana wa ta'ala has commanded in the Quran?
The commandment of hijab and jilbab is the same for all women, no matter what nationality.

I think wearing an abaya is the best way to cover a woman's body completely, so I'm proud to wear it and I also think abayas are very beautiful.

It's so annoying when sisters start picking on each other this way, especially new converts. What are the converts supposed to wear if only Turkish women were allowed to wear the Turkish style hijab and only Arab women were allowed to wear abaya? Doesn't make sense...

Just hold your head high and be strong. May Allah reward you for your hardships!

Candice said...

They are just ignorant! You are doing your best to dress appropriately and Islamically! It does not seem to have anything to do with Arab culture.

And I personally don't think there would be anything wrong with appreciating a culture and making it part of your life, even if that was the case (I see that it's not for you though!). People just have trouble understanding that. And understanding the difference between Arab and Islamic.

NeverEver said...

Hijab Chic: Thank you for your support sister and you are very right. What am I- a (mostly) French descended American chick- supposed to wear if only "Arabs" get to wear abaya?

Candice: Of course I do appreciate the Arab culture, especially as a lot of parts of it are influenced so strongly by Islam, but there are so many reasons for dressing this way, I just don't see why I shouldn't :-P

Rubber said...

Shouldn't we just be thankful to Allah that our sisters are covering appropriately?

i so wish
people had clean brains
like u , most dont.
i mean really women get jealous...!!

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