“Allah does not look at your figures, nor at your attire but He looks at your hearts [and deeds].” [Muslim]
It's ironic how some people talk of Islam as though women have been given no rights at all and that being brought up to live with modesty, associate only with the men that matter in our lives (our mahrams), wearing the Hijab/Niqab and getting married and caring for children is like living a caged up life. What's more ironic is that the same people who portray this false image of Muslim women are the ones who are, more often than not, leading a purposeless life.
Allah has created us for a purpose- which is to worship Him- and we simply can't forget about our purpose of existence and live life to the fullest, because as they say 'You life only once'. I'm not saying that you shouldn't live life to the fullest. Of course we should because this life is a gift from Allah to us, but we must never forget our main purpose which is to worship Him. If we wake up each day with no purpose to drive us, it's natural that we'll be like the walking dead and getting through a day will turn out to be a chore. Living with no restrictions and believing that this is freedom is absolutely foolish. Why? Because everything has its limits and so does freedom. When you exceed that limit, you can never make sense of your life.
What I'm trying to talk about here is that people, women in particular, don't realize their worth. We happen to blindly believe in whatever that we see on the media and movies and we tend to believe that that is life. Well you know what? It's not. It's all one huge lie and if we fall into that trap, then Shaitan has won won us over, Na'oozhubillah.
There is a reason why I say that what you see on the media are lies. How many times have we heard of celebrities suffering from depression and anxiety, which has even lead to suicide. Think of it- these celebrities apparently have everything they need: beauty, money, status, fame and of course, their freedom. Then why do they fall into depression? Everything that they have cannot keep them happy because they are straying away from the purpose of their creation. We have been created to obey and worship Allah and this is what our hearts yearn for. It's the Fitrah in which every single person is created with. So when we deprive ourselves of this, we get depressed and in extreme cases, even suicidal.
Pictures of celebrities and models are all over the web and on newspapers and even on the media, they are spoken of as mere entertainment and sexual objects. What's more, there is an entire community behind them that is dedicated solely to carefully scrutinizing and condemning the bodies of celebrities and models when they fail to get back in shape one month after giving birth or if they wear something which clearly doesn't meet the fashion standards of the current time or if their makeup isn't right or their skin has started sagging... I mean, you get the picture. A woman has no right over how she can behave and dress. Everything should be within the framework of fashion and when society dictates the way a woman must dress or be, then seriously, that is what is true oppression.
This kind of scrutiny is allowed and even welcomed by the media but how is that when it comes to a Muslim woman who chooses to cover herself with modesty and guard her chastity, it immediately opens up a plethora of opinions where they claim that Islam oppresses women.
In Islam, we women know our worth.
We refuse to bow down to the fashion of this world. Our submission is not to fashion nor is it to the media. It is only to Allah and this is the kind of freedom that brings immeasurable peace to our hearts.
We refuse to live by the kind of freedom portrayed by the media where the more skin you show, the more freedom people tend to think we are. No matter what anyone says, freedom can only truly be felt through modesty and people are going to respect you only if you respect yourself and your body.
We refuse to have pre-marital or extra-marital affairs where a woman if used up shamelessly by a man she hardly knows and then tossed over like some object that is not valued. We Muslim women uphold our chastity and modesty where we are respected for who we are.
We refuse to feel precious by caking ourselves with layers of makeup and then falling hopelessly depressed when we look at ourselves in the mirror without any makeup. The beauty standards of Islam teaches us to be happy in our own skin and we don't have to put up a fake makeup-ed face to feel confident and good.
Our freedom lies in obeying Allah, being modest and comfortable with who we are and we refuse to be subservient to fashion or men. We know our worth.