By: Zaghra Savahl
*For this article, we will be focusing on Hijab for Muslim women, even though it is compulsory for both men and women.
Hijab in Islam remains to be a center of discussion when it comes to Muslim women and till this day, has many misconceptions around it. Yet, the reason behind observing Hijab is simple. Hijab should be observed by both Muslim men and Muslim women as it is a commandment from Allah (SWT).
Let’s explore this beautiful decree by the Almighty (SWT) and find out why Muslim women take pride in it and embrace the Hijab.
1. What is Hijab?
It should be noted that the term “Hijab” has evolved into something that is used interchangeably with the headscarf worn by Muslim women today. However, Hijab in essence means the concept of decency and modesty, of which dress code is only part of it.
In the Holy Qur’an, the part that refers to dress code is the plural term “Khumur” which means head covering. The singular term is known as Khimar. In the Holy Qur’an, Allah (SWT) first gives the commandment of Hijab in terms of observing modesty and decency, and then goes on to provide the commandment of the dress code.
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 all that they do.
The Khimar during pre-Islamic times was worn to the back which exposed the ears and the necks. When the above Qur’an verse was revealed, Allah (SWT) commanded Muslim women to draw the long part of their Khimar to the front as well so that the neck and ears can be covered along with the head.
Along with the head covering, Allah (SWT) further commands Muslim women to cover their entire body through using the plural term of “Jalabib” which means a loose outer garment.
O Prophet ! Tell Thy wives and daughters, And the believing women, That they should cast Their outer garments over Their persons (when abroad) : That is most convenient, That they should be known (as such) and not molested. And God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
In essence, Hijab means modesty and decency in character and part of it is the dress code of head covering and long, loose fitting clothes that covers the entire body.
It should be noted that Full Hijab for women is not compulsory in the presence of other women and Mahramsand does not apply to young girls that have not reached puberty yet.
2. Why do Muslim Women observe Hijab?
As Muslims, our entire life should be for one purpose – that is to strive to please Allah (SWT). When Allah (SWT) commands us to do something, it becomes compulsory for us to obey. This increases our piety and grants us great rewards. The practice of observing Hijab is in the Qur’an and the Sunnah, which means that it is an Act of Worship. When we follow and reflect on what is in the Holy Qur’an, it helps you connect with your inner self, and it can be a source of guidance, meditation, and spiritual enlightenment.
Muslim women observe Hijab as a symbol of their modesty. Our appearance becomes a representation of who we are and what we believe. When Muslim women observe the Hijab, it is an expression of their identity as a Muslim woman. As Muslims, modesty is an important part of our Deen to fulfil.
In Islam, men and women share responsibility in upholding modesty and controlling their desires in society.
The Hijab aids in allowing Muslim women the freedom to be herself without worrying about how she is perceived in terms of beauty.
The focus is on her character, her skills, intellect, personality, and values.
It elevates her rank in honor and respect as she is more focused on obeying what Allah (SWT) has commanded from her rather than pleasing people on this Dunya.
What the practice of observing Hijab is not:
Muslim women who observe Hijab are not perfect Muslimahs.
There are some misconceptions about Muslimahs who observe Hijab as being “perfect Muslimahs.” This is not true. It is both harmful towards Hijabi Muslimahs and Non Hijabi Muslimahs to think like this. Firstly, observing Hijab is an Act of Worship along with all the other Acts of Worships which is commanded by Allah (SWT). Muslim women who observe Hijab are striving to please Allah (SWT) and its something that can be hard, especially in modern times where revealing the beauty of a woman is currency.
Hijabi Muslimahs are human and make mistakes and observing Hijab is a journey. It is something Muslim women should strive towards and be sincere in their action. If you are observing Hijab and are looking down on Muslim women who don’t observe Hijab, it negates the reward of it as the intention is not sincere and it is misplaced.
On the other side, Muslimahs who don’t observe Hijab, might be strong in other aspects of their faith. The important part is to strive to obey the commandments of Allah (SWT) as best you can. We follow the belief that observing Hijab in its fullest form is compulsory as it is mentioned in the Qur’an ayahs above. If you are not at a level where you want to be when it comes to observing Hijab, but need some guidance, reach out to us via our contact page to help you.
Muslim women should not be forced to observe Hijab and should not be forced to remove their Hijab either.
Allah (SWT) has given us freedom of choice as our lives on this Dunya is a test for us on whether we will be successful in the Hereafter or not. No one on this Dunya, not a single person no matter who they are, should ever force a woman to either observe Hijab or to remove her Hijab. Its her choice, no one else. The decisions we make when it comes to fulfilling acts of worship is between each individual and Allah (SWT). Only Allah (SWT) knows what is truly in our hearts as HE is the only one that is All-Knowing.
The only thing we can do as an Ummah is to guide one another so that each of us can attain a good end and Jannah in the Hereafter. However, we should always guide one another in a way that is respectful and with the best intentions.
May Allah (SWT) guide us all and accept our repentance for all our faults, wrongdoings, and mistakes.
What are your views when it comes to the Act of Worship of observing Hijab? What are some of your struggles with Hijab? What makes you love the whole concept of Hijab?