The word Hijab literally means a curtain or a veil.
In Surah Nur Ayat 30 of the Holy Qu’ran, Allah (swt) states, “Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that will make for greater purity for them, and God is well acquainted with what they do”.
Thereafter in Ayat 31, Allah (swt) continues on the same addressing women: “And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be mindful of their chastity, and not to display their charms (in public) beyond what may (decently) be apparent thereof, hence let them draw their head coverings over their bosoms….”
Both, Muslim men and women are required to be modest while mingling with unrelated members of the opposite gender. Ironically the verse for men is before the verse for women.
The way we communicate, laugh, our behavior and social etiquette in general should all be transmitted to the other party in a way that does not attract any wrong form of attention towards us.
We are required to “lower our gazes” and respect other men or women by not eyeing them from head to toe and this modesty must also be obvious in the way we dress too.
Hence the physical Hijab establishes healthy distances of physical contact.
I have been wearing the hijaab since I became a Muslim – however I still notice how other women dress and wear their hijaab!
I guess it’s in women’s nature to do so.
Whether one is wearing it for the first time or since the past 20 years, every now and then we all have our struggles at this journey, but our faith in Allah (swt) and basic knowledge is what helps keeps our feet firm.
We always have the fear with the “what if” statements running through our mind at high speed before getting into unknown territory or somewhere we haven’t been before.
– What if I look much older than my age?
– What If it doesn’t suit me?
– What if others see me as being oppressed?
– What if people talk behind my back?
– What if I feel too hot?
My mind always says to me, this is only our mind playing games and satan trying to deviate us from what is right. It surely takes a strong will to ward off Satan’s whisperings.
Then again we always have those few bad eggs in our community who would want to put us down by calling us various names or taunting us without thinking about its effects. For those handful all we have to do is, ‘let it enter from one ear and out the other, just be thick skinned’.
When I am in my hijaab, people think me to be 5-6 and sometimes even 7 years younger than my actual age.
Hence the fear of (looking old) is generally our fear of how others would perceive us to be and many times it’s actually not the case.
Indeed there are surely various different hijaabs you get in the market as well as numerous ways of wearing it and every person wears it as they think it suits them. As long as the objective is achieved there is no hard and fast rule per se.
The way I wear my hijaab is not liked by many as some say it hides part of my cheeks but I still love seeing myself wearing it that way and even after trying to change cant seem to like any other way, hence I continue to wear it as per my liking.
Below are the most important reasons why Muslim women observe the Hijab –
To Please our Lord
From the time we readily accept Islam as our way of life, there is a pre requisite in doing so!
It is called “Tasleeh” in Arabic which means ‘submission’.
Our submission to God is what tells ourselves
“I may or may not see the wisdom of why a piece of cloth covering my hair and body makes me a good person in the eyes of God but the fact that my Lord has said it, and there is wisdom behind it, it is therefore enough for me to submit to the world of hijaab”
Imam Ali (the Holy Prophet Mohammed successor) says:
“Islam means submission and submission brings certainty”
Allah (swt) says- You take one step towards me, I will take 10 steps towards you”
The moment you go towards Allah, He will lead you the rest of the way.
All you need is trust and submission and you will surely get your certainty in what your doing.
Allah in Hadith Qudsi (Words of Allah that are not in the Quran) says-
“My servant i am the living that doesn’t die
You obey me in what I have ordered you, I will make u the living that never die
My servant I am the rich that doesn’t become poor,
obey me in what I have ordered you, I will make you the rich that never becomes poor
My servant I am the one who says to something be and it will be,
you obey me in what I have ordered you, iIwill make u have the ability to say be and
it will be.”
To expose our True Worth
The Hijab is viewed as a liberation for women, in that the covering brings about “an aura of respect” and women are recognized as individuals who is free to be who she is inside and are admired for their mind and personality, “not for their beauty or lack of it and not as sex objects and lusted after.
In an article titled, “My Body Is My Own Business” by Ms. Naheed Mustafa , a young Canadian born and raised, university-educated Muslim woman writes, “The Quran [ which is the Holy Book for Muslims] teaches us that men and women are equal, that individuals should not be judged according to gender, beauty, wealth or privilege. The only thing that makes one person better than another is his or her character.”
She goes on to say, “In the Western world, the hijab has come to symbolize either forced silence or radical, unconscionable militancy.
Actually, it’s neither. It is simply a woman’s assertion that judgment of her physical person is to play no role whatsoever in social interaction.”
When a girl covers herself she puts herself on a higher mantle and men look at her with respect and she is noticed for her intellect, faith and personality rather than her beauty.
In many societies, especially in the West, women are taught from early childhood that their worth is proportional to their attractiveness and are compelled to follow the male standards of beauty and abstract notions of what is attractive, little realizing that such pursuit is futile and often humiliating.
However on the contrary Islam promotes modesty, Chastity and piety through the institution of veiling.
We do not have to live up to expectations of others about what is desirable and what is not.
We do not have to use our body and charms to get recognition or acceptance in society.
It surely is very different and upgrading from the cruel methods that other societies subject the women, in that their worth is also many times judged by their physical appearance.
As a Protection
Another benefit for us to wear the hijaab is that it’s our protection from being exploited.
The western ideology of, ‘if you have it, you should flash it!’ is quite opposite to the Islamic principle.
In an interview with former rapper “Napoleon” from Tupac Shakur’s band, the OutLawz, revert Mutah Beale said, “The music industry is where they really exploit and degrade women. We’d pay them a hundred bucks to strip for our music videos, and they’d do it!”
Sadly, women have become well accustomed to this routine and also take pride in displaying their beauty.
Islam states that when women display their beauty to everybody, they degrade themselves by becoming objects of desire and become vulnerable to men, who look at them as “gratification for their urge”.
Hijab helps us change that by categorizing us into the class of modest & respectable women, who cannot be dealt or viewed to anyone’s individual fancy.
Since we are known for our gentleness, delicateness, and beauty, this surely solves the problem of sexual harassment and unwanted advances, which is demeaning for women.
In an article I recently read about ‘why wear the hijaab?’
The writer states a very beautiful point about why we wear the hijab and I could surely relate to her comment,
She writes – “Regardless of age or marital status, every female loves attention and being cared for. For most women, satisfying that need comes from compliments of others in private and public. Muslim women who conceal their physical points of attraction in public only seek that attention from their loved ones in private.
The logic behind this practice is almost convincing enough to experiment.
In principal by covering up, we demand self-respect from the public, as we do not allow ourselves to be judged based on our beauty (or the lack thereof). On the other hand, our families provide us with the respect and honor we deserve as they realize that we are not letting strange men take a bite of our beauty by way of exposing ourselves, but rather, we are limiting the right to enjoy our beauty to our husbands. In addition, a Muslim woman’s Hijab allows the husband the honor of having a wife who finds him worthy enough to preserve herself only for him. In return, he provides her with all that extra attention that every woman desires. This also satisfies the man’s natural instinct of admiring a woman’s beauty, and thus he has greater motivation to avoid “checking out” random women and to lower his gaze, as his wife doesn’t allow herself to be ogled at and admired by other men either. Often labeled as “jealousy” by so-called Western “relationship experts”, this kind of respect and preserving oneself solely for one’s partner is actually the key to lifelong marital happiness and success.”
Indeed we see our hijaab like the crown a queen wears.
No matter what happens, Inshallah I will always wear it with confidence and pride – I accept it as not only obeying HIM but also being guided by HIM to do so.
Was salaam alaykum