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Proper Hijaab : No Excuses!

 

 

 

Why do so many Muslims disagree about the issue of Proper Hijaab?  Both men and women, who are otherwise educated in Islam and Allah-fearing, will often give the most ignorant-sounding excuses for disliking Proper Hijaab.  Following are many of the comments that Muslims make to show that they believe Proper Hijaab to be a makruh (disliked), and insha Allah some response to them.

 

Proper Hijaab Is Only For Very Beautiful Women

Yes, I was actually once told this by a Muslim man before I became Muslim.  He insisted that I did not need to worry about veiling because only beautiful women needed to do so.  How insulting!  Who decides which women are beautiful and must veil, and which women are not beautiful and do not need to veil?  Allah has made us all unique and beautiful and Proper Hijaab protects and saves that beauty to be shared only with our closest loved ones.

 

Proper Hijaab Is a Cultural Tradition , Not an Islamic one

While many cultures before and after the Prophet’s (SAW) time also veiled their women, the purpose and style of a Muslimah’s hijab and veil is different.  We are told to draw our khimar over our bosom, something that many Jews and Christians had previously left very much uncovered.  In Islam everyone is equal and only distinguished by piety, so the veil is not worn to show class or caste, or to separate maidens from married women.  It is also not in-and-of-itself a symbol of piety, like the Catholic nuns.  All women in Islam are expected to strive towards complete piousness and all must be treated with the same level of respect, insha Allah.

 In any case, our Islamic culture is derived directly from the Qur’an where it states:

 

"O Prophet !  Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies ( i.e. screen themselves completely except the eye or one eye to see the way ) "

                                                                                            

                                                                                        Noble Qur’an Surah 33 Ayat 59

 

This is further exemplified to us by the Prophet’s (SAW) wives (RA), daughters (RA), the Companions’ wives (RA), and the women of the Ansari, who all veiled after this revelation

 

Aisha used to say: “When the Ayat ‘They should draw their veils over their necks and bosoms’ was revealed, the ladies cut their waist sheets at the edges and covered their faces with the cut pieces.”

                                                                                                                       Bukhari 6:282

 

Along these same lines, some even claim that Proper Hijaab is bid’ah (an innovation in the deen of Islam)!  Such a ludicrous statement is hardly even worth the effort of refutation, especially in light of the above evidences for veiling.  May Allah guide those who dare to declare haraam what He has ordained!

 

Since the veil was clearly worn by the women of the Prophet’s (SAW) own family, is should be clear that it is legitimate.  But some use that particular argument to mention that the Prophet’s (SAW) beloved wife Khadijah (RA) did not wear the veil.  I have never seen any evidence to clearly support whether Khadijah (RA) did or did not wear the veil, but we should note that she was deceased several years before the revelations of hijab.  To claim that because Khadijah (RA) might not have veiled we do not need to is nothing more than a cheap attempt at a magician’s slight of hand, and an insult to a woman who was the first to support our beloved Prophet (SAW) in his Islam. 

 

The Proper Hijaab Is Not Necessary In Today’s World

First we must understand that Islam is for all people and all times.  Allah’s commandments to us are just as relevant today as they were 1400 years ago.  To believe otherwise would be to doubt Allah’s Greater Knowledge and Plan for us!

We know that in this day Proper Hijaab is even more necessary for our protection than it was in the Prophet’s (SAW) time.  Not only are we exposed to so much more from which we need to cast our eyes down, but people today are more nervy and have no respect for religious obligations.  Rape and harassment are rampant and continually on the rise.  Proper Hijaab also helps race relations, which are still just as sticky today as they were 250 years ago, before emancipation of slaves in North America.  You cannot tell for sure the color of a sister’s skin when she is veiled, so you cannot pre-judge her based on that.  Proper Hijaab is part of our Islamic identity.  Wearing it leaves no doubt that we are different from the masses.

 

 

The Proper Hijaab Is Too Extreme In Western Societies And Projects The Wrong Image

Yes, perhaps Proper Hijaab is a bit “extreme” by today’s standards where girls run around in bikinis to do their grocery shopping.  But we are not meant to fit into today’s society or make the choices for our lives based on today’s ever- changing values and morals (or lack thereof, as the case may be!).  And what “image” does the Proper Hijaab project?  It projects the image of one who has submitted themselves to Allah’s All-Knowing Wisdom, and of peace, dignity, comfort, confidence, self-respect, and “leave me alone”.

 

The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said “Whoso resembles a people in appearance, he is one of them.”

                                                                                     Abu Dawood, Ahmed and others

 

 

The Proper Hijaab Is a Product Of a Male-Dominated Society And a Symbol Of Oppression Of Women; Or That Is How The West Views It And We Should Not Perpetuate Their Fears.

How can the veil be oppressive if we as women are choosing it for ourselves?  I am just one example of a single woman who has no family to pressure her into veiling, and yet I chose this for myself.  No man is telling me I have to “hide” myself, I wear my veil because I believe it is what Allah commanded of me and it is for my own good.  Perhaps instead of worrying what non-Muslims think of them, Muslim men should be more concerned with supporting their wives and daughters in their own choices!  Wouldn’t it be much better to be able to answer the ignorant comment that a man is oppressing his wife by saying “I did not tell her she had to wear it, she chose it for herself and for the pleasure of Allah, and I support her choices that she makes for herself and for Allah’s pleasure and I am happy for her that she is comfortable.”  Wow!  Not many Western men can say they are happy that their wife is happy or that they are happy to support her choices.  If a Muslim man can say this it is because he is not oppressive at all, but genuinely concerned for his wife’s welfare and happiness in this life and the hereafter.  And if some foolish non-Muslim wants to ignore what is said and believe how they want to believe regardless, well, that is none of our concern.

 Why are we so worried anyway about impressing non-Muslims?  If they do not want to understand us, nothing we say or do can make them.  In fact, they will have an even lower opinion of us for being weak and forsaking our beliefs for their insincere approval.  That would indeed make Islam a joke to them!

 

 

The Proper Hijaab Is Counterproductive To Daw’ah, Especially In The West

We all know how much wearing Proper Hijaab in fact increases our daw’ah.  It is more difficult to ignore than a simple head-scarf, and it produces more questions, which insha Allah we are able to answer.  And we must remember that anyone who is scared off from Islam because of a piece of cloth, it is because Allah has not guided them, not because of our failing them by choosing to obey Allah.  I am sure I am not the only American (or otherwise) convert that will tell you that I was terrified of Proper Hijaab, did not understand purdah, and was honestly scared and misunderstood several other aspects of Islam as well.  But that did not stop me from accepting it when Allah guided me to it, alhamdullAllah.

 

Conclusion

Insha Allah, the Proper Hijaab can actually be an opening for excellent daw’ah.  Without saying a word, we are already a “walking billboard” for Islam, and insha Allah we will also get a chance to answer comments and questions.  We must accept that Islam is perfect whether we always understand it or not, and we should not “water-down” any aspects of it because they are deemed controversial or extreme.  Do not be afraid to show Islam for all it is and all it means! 

“Today we hear many cries against the Proper Hijaab for many reasons which do not make sense… No would dare to think that the Sahabah spread Islam throughout the lands of the earth by concealing the practices they learned from the Messenger of Allah (SAW); thus as Umar ibn Al-Khuttab (RA) declared: ‘Let the Sunnah go forth and do not stop it with opinions.’