Hijab is a ‘challenge to the political system’
While Hijab may have political implications, as evident in the banning of Hijab in certain countries, Muslim women who choose to practice Hijab are not doing it to challenge the political system. Islam encourages men and women to observe modesty in private and public life. Hijab is an individual’s act of faith and religious expression.
I am liberated from slavery to ‘physical perfection’
Society makes women desire to become ‘perfect objects’. The multitudes of alluring fashion magazines and cosmetic surgeries show women’s enslavement to beauty. The entertainment industry pressures teens to believe that for clothes, less is better. When we wear Hijab, we vow to liberate ourselves from such desires and serve only God.
I don’t let others judge me by my hair and curves!
In schools and professional environments, women are often judged by their looks or bodies-characteristics they neither chose nor created. Hijab forces society to judge women for their value as human beings, with intellect, principles, and feelings. A woman in Hijab sends a message, “Deal with my brain, not my body!”
I feel empowered and confident
In contrast to today’s teenage culture, where anorexia and suicide are on the rise, as women attempt to reach an unattainable ideal of beauty, Hijab frees a woman from the pressure to ‘fit in’. She does not have to worry about wearing the right kind of jeans or the right shade of eyeshadow. She can feel secure about her appearance because she cares to please only Allah.
I feel the bond of unity
Hijab identifies us as Muslims and encourages other Muslim sisters to greet us with the salutation of peace, “Assalamu Alaikum”. Hijab draws others to us and immerses us in good company.
In some Arabic-speaking countries and Western countries, the word hijab primarily refers to women’s head and body covering, but in Islamic scholarship, hijab is given the wider meaning of modesty, privacy, and morality. The word used in the Qur’an for a headscarf or veil is khimār.
‘Those who harass believing men and believing women undeservedly, bear (on themselves)
a calumny and a grievous sin. O Prophet! Enjoin your wives, your daughters, and the wives of true believers that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad) That is most convenient, that they may be distinguished and not be harassed. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.’
Proper Hijab means loose and opaque clothes. Clothes should not be alluring or similar to the clothing of men. What about guys? Islam outlines a modest dress code for men and women. The requirements are different based on the obvious physiological and psychological differences between the two genders.
Hijab does not apply only to clothes. It is a state of mind, behaviour, and lifestyle. Hijab celebrates a desirable quality called Haya (modesty), a deep concern for preserving one’s dignity. Haya is a natural feeling that brings us pain at the very idea of committing a wrong..
The Prophet (s.a.w.) said:
“Every religion has a distinct call. For Islam it is Haya (modesty).”
Since nothing but what is apparent may be shown (i.e. hands and face) the garment must be thick enough so that we cannot see the color of the skin it covers or the shape of the body. Once the Prophet (pbuh) saw Asma, the daughter of Abu Bakr, visiting Aishah while Asma was wearing a dress that was not thick enough. He turned his face away in anger and said:
“If the woman reaches the age of puberty, no part of her body should be seen, but this,” and he pointed to his face and his hands. Another time when the Prophet (pbuh) saw a bride wearing a thin dress, he said, “She is not a woman who believes in Surat-un Nur who wears this.” He also described the future condition of the Ummah which would be straying from the injunction of the Islamic dress code. “In later (generations) of my Ummah there will be women who will be dressed but naked on top of heads (what looks)like camel humps. Curse them for they am truly cursed.