My first encounter with modesty in which I began to understand modesty was in sixth form. Living in a predominantly Caucasian area I had an ambivalent attitude towards hijab, covering and modesty in general. At this point what I knew about Islam was very little. Yet at the age of sixteen I adorned the Khimar (headcovering.) It was more so for cultural purposes rather than a religious statement. However, I was amazed how many people were intrigued by this cloth. During this time in France they were banning religious symbols across schools I believe. I remember being in a French lesson and being questioned about my opinion. I had a liberal approach, as I was unfamiliar with the requirements in Islam.
Admittedly, during this period Islam was an entity that I viewed as being separate from my life. It was about Islam being cohesive and coherent with my life as opposed to the other way around how it should be. Gradually I began learning more about my own faith.
The journey was phenomenal and I am still taken aback by the expanse of depth it contains. Islam relates to every aspect of our lives. Even secular systems will in some way relate back to faith. Which brings me to modesty.
Being of ethnic minority as you can imagine in a Caucasian area came with its own self development. It involved creating an identity and retaining culture without breaking barriers whilst simultaneously adhering to familial customs! Adding spirtituality to that the boundaries where diversified even more so.
As I grew in knowledge the less judgemental I became- yet it seemed around me people were ever more judgemental. Concepts of covering to me meant that the inner hijab was crucial in fact essential if the outer garments were to be worn. The idea that a veiled woman was or is better than a non veiled woman was the first thing to leave my mind. It may sound strange but I had been conditioned to think this from a young age. Hence the confusion in my mind. It was only when I learnt to separate the action from faith that my mind opened to the inevitable.
Modesty was that which you preserved within yourself. It was you or is you valuing yourself to Allah- not to man. It is how you show your obedience to Allah. This is what is honoured in Islam this is why it was revealed in the Quran. Modesty is the veil that hides the beautiful secrets you only share with that special someone that enables you to be unique. Modesty brings the focus to your mind and intellect.