Ramadan is a time for reflection about one’s faith and character as a Muslim. Although Ramadan makes Muslims put their physical and worldly needs aside for the worship of Allah, one needs to reflect on their appearance and character–what impression they leave on the outside to their family, friends, their co-workers, or strangers. What do you look like as a Muslim? How do you dress? Why do you dress like that?

It is necessary to ask these questions regarding one’s modesty. Do you dress like everyone else? Do you dress properly rather than in sweatpants, joggers, pajamas? As a Muslim, it is your responsibility to treat yourself differently.

Yes, modesty is commonly associated with women because of their obligatory hijab, however let us give the attention to the men first. What are you wearing to salah? Skinny jeans? Underarmour? Pajamas? Men should be wearing loose-fitting clothes as well. Men have an awra from their stomach to their knees, and it is their responsibility to protect it and cover it. Especially during salah, you are standing in front of Allah, therefore this Ramadan try to go through your clothes and change up what you wear. Even if it is just dressing in a jalabiya to the masjid instead of pajama pants or skinny jeans, make that effort to change, to look better when you stand before Allah. You will be standing before Allah for taraweeh as well, so carefully choose your clothes so your awra does not get exposed as you move throughout salah or is not covered with tight, revealing clothing. Remember, just because it is covered, does not mean it is modest or proper. Besides dressing modestly to the masjid, try to make those same small changes to your everyday life: what you wear to work and school. Islam calls for us to stand firm in our faith if we are different from everyone else, so stand firm with your modesty even if no one else dresses like you.

Now, let’s talk about hijab. The same rules follow with hijab and more. Hijab involves you covering everything except for your hands and face. Especially in salah, take the extra time if you are wearing pants to put a skirt over it. We all already are used to wearing an abaya to the masjid, or a long dress, so take that chance and show how modest Muslims are outside of the masjid setting.

The actual scarf that a woman wraps around her head needs to be worn properly. Although this can be controversial, there is a way to wear hijab that makes it incomplete. Do not show your hair. There are pieces of cloth that are affordable and comfortable to wear under the hijab that can cover the front of your hair, take advantage of them. Be better in the eyes of Allah by respecting the boundary, the veil that is your responsibility to wear, and that veil constitutes every single piece of hair on your head. You are accountable to cover your hair, and if this Ramadan, that is your step forward in trying to be a better Muslim before Allah, then take it, and embrace it. Furthermore, tight clothing, just as was mentioned about men, does not mean that you are covered. Wear looser pants and change your clothes that have belts or sheer areas to appear more modest.

Today, makeup is also a very important piece that is subjective with hijab. Unless you are wearing something that covers a blemish or covers your skin to make it appear normally without emphasizing your beauty, then it is okay. However, this Ramadan, ditch the eyeshadow, leave out the contour, this month is a time for Allah, and a time for yourself. So, give your skin a chance to breathe at least when you go to the masjid or do anything this Ramadan.

Our physical desires and needs are put aside from dawn to sunset every Ramadan, so take the initiative of taking care of your physical appearance before Allah by reflecting on your modesty. Your appearance affects your character as a Muslim, and just as you are bettering your character, take care of what you wear too.

By Eman Elnatour