Hipsters Down the Lizard Hole

Hipsters Down the Lizard Hole by |


Dr. Shadee Elmasry
Dr. Shadee Elmasry was born and raised in New Jersey and studied in the Muslim world in Fez, Hadramawt, Cairo, Makka, and Madina. He completed a Masters from The George Washington University in comparative religion, then a PhD from the University of London, SOAS on “Da’wa in the Works of Imam al-Haddad.”

I'm sure most people on Facebook have already seen the video--hijabi hipsters (really we should just call them hipsters with head scarves, because contrary to popular conception, hijab is more than the scarf) basically loitering and doing nothing with pop music in the background.

We have a saying for this: "down the lizard hole". Because that's the degree to which the Prophet ﷺ described we would go to in conforming to others. A sad reality that we just can't let happen.

For a moment I was quite peeved at the video. But then I realized what it is. It is the next generation that is Muslim by no choice of their own. And it would seem, they were not taught (patronizing but true). So they are doing what human beings do: conform to what is around them.

There was once a wise man who said that everyone conforms to what is around them unless they are made conscious of it and decidedly choose otherwise. A man in the audience disagreed. The shaykh said, "What do you do?" He said, "I'm a farmer." Some time later, the man had an itch on his back and approached a tree and rubbed his back against it to get that itch. "See," the shaykh said, "You just acted like a cow."

Me personally, I get angry quickly. But I can't stay upset; it starts to weigh me down. So instead, I try to take some form of action.

Everyone should memorize this hadith, pass it on, and teach it to their kids or any youth in their family:

Allah's Messenger ﷺ said, "You will surely follow the path trodden by those before you, step-by-step and inch-by-inch, so much so that if they went down into a lizard hole, you would follow them." We said, "Allah's Messenger, do you mean Jews and Christians when you said 'those before you'?" He said, "Who else?" (Reported in Muslim, Book of Knowledge).

I see where the Mipsterz, the Muslim Hipster move, is coming from. People genuinely like the stuff around them, which includes fashion, music, food, sport, etc. That's natural. But what we must do is educate and teach every generation that your Islam is not an ethnicity you're stuck with like Italian or Korean. It's a choice. And that choice should be guided. Another important verse helps:

"Say: If you love your fathers, sons, brothers, spouses, family, wealth you acquired, business you fear would decline, and homes that please you more than you love Allah, His messenger and striving for Allah's cause, then wait until Allah brings about His decision. Allah does not guide those who are un-Godly."

A lot of us were born Muslim and got attracted to things that weren't right. But we got taught by parents and teachers who cared. They spoke loud and clear. For most of us, we got it, and it worked because our deen is based on textual evidence, not whims or culture or one power-center. We have to be those people who care enough to teach, even if that young person will turn around and roll his eyes. It will sink in and he or she will think about it, bi idhnillah (by the permission of God).

We have to remind ourselves and the youth to measure what we love. And if the Prophet ﷺ was preaching the opposite of something we came to love, then we have to change the direction our hearts. We change our actions. We have God-given willpower and we should use it to adjust ourselves, adults and youth alike.

The second thing here is the normalization movement. If normalization is getting people's eyes used to seeing Muslims, that's fine. It makes life easier. But skinny jeans and Jay Z--that's not normalization that's conformist. Beards, proper hijab, Quran, salat, taking off shoes before entering masaajid (mosques)--get people used to seeing and hearing that. That's normalization.

And lastly, this video is a disaster for anyone trying to raise girls on the Sunnah. One of the things this video breathes is this: 'Muslim girls, even though you wear hijab, you will still be gaze-worthy because you can wear skinnies and show off the shapes of your thighs and rears.' Put those sisters in skirts, or knee-length tunics and nobody watches that video.


By Dr. Shadee Elmasry, 03 Dec 2013


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