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God wants beauty pageants

I am not a fan of beauty pageants. The shallowness of the whole concept where perfect looking women strut the stage in bikinis and pretty dresses is absurd- the fact that one of them takes the label of Miss World or Miss Universe is even more so.

As a single mother, I work hard all day, I write and speak for my rights as a woman, I create art, do a full time job, cook and clean and provide for my child among other things. After all that and more, I am still able to have fun and look good (sometimes). I should be Miss World! Not some makeup-coated young girl who has yet to make her mark in life.

When they are told that being judged on looks (along with wishing for world peace) and winning the contest is going to be the greatest achievement of life, you are not empowering them or anyone else who looks up to them. But this is an opinion devoid of any religious or even feminist associations.

Recently I heard of Miss World Muslimah, a beauty pageant for Muslim women. Opponents of Miss World (opponents of bikinis actually) hailed the initiative especially this year, since the pageant, for the first time in 3 years, became open to Muslim women from all over the world.

One of the criteria for participating was that one must wear the hijab daily. The other must have been that one should have a good figure, but also be able to hide one’s body in an expert manner so the contours still show. The third criteria might have been to wear layers of make up so people’s attention is diverted from the hijab to the face. For me, regular beauty pageants are shallow but not hypocritical. Unfortunately, Miss Muslimah is both.

Whether Islam prescribes wearing hijabs and veils or not is an ongoing argument between the moderates and the not-so-moderates. But one thing I know for sure as a Muslim is, that our religion promotes simplicity and modesty, both for men and women.

In Miss Muslimah, the contestants sporting fashionable hijabs and reciting the Quran are neither simple nor modest. Religion and your love for God is a personal matter that is graceful only when you are not boasting about it in front of the whole world and that too in fancy dresses.

Religion in the hands of humankind has unfortunately become more and more focused on what appears. That in itself is a contradiction to my beliefs. Religion is supposed to guide you to be a good person, a better human being and to nurture your soul.

That is why the basic principles of all religions of the world are almost the same. How can your outward appearance and your knowledge of a holy book’s versus even imply that you are a good human being worthy of respect and following? Many (Muslim) pedophiles have learnt the Quran by heart and offer their prayers five times a day. Does that make them a role model?

Many women who choose to wear hijabs could also include horrible people who lie and cheat. It is the same as all bikini clad women not being termed as prostitutes. At least in regular beauty pageants, they judge physical beauty and not claim otherwise. Miss Muslimah, on the other hand, judges beauty in a particular package but brands it differently.

We Muslims believe that God is our witness and our judge. Who is good and who is not, is a decision God makes. But then we try to become God and that too, in organized contests.

Author: Soofia Says

Editor: Manasi Gopalakrishnan


26.09.2013 | 11:14