The Hijab, By Tunde Rahman
In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful; all praise and thanks are due to Allaah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is no one worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is His messenger.
Hijab is an Arabic word which literally means ‘’ to cover, to veil or to screen”. However, it has a broader meaning in Islam. It is the principle of modesty which includes behavior as well as dress for both males and females.
Islam is a complete way of life. Every aspect of Islam is designed by Allaah (SWT) to advance a happy, healthy community and ease the path to eternal bliss in the hereafter. The purpose of hijab is to protect the society as a whole and promote modest dressing and behavior. It creates a barrier between sexes and allows us to conduct our lives in a way that is pleasing to our creator. All qualified scholars of Islam agree that fulfilling the condition of the dress code is an obligation on all Muslim men and women. Hijab is prescribed for both men and women in Islam. Hijab is prescribed for men and women in Islam based on the evidence found in the following verses of the holy Qur’an; ‘’O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of believers to bring down over themselves (part) of their garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not abused. And Allaah is ever Forgiving and Merciful.” (Qur’an 33:59) ‘’ Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that will be greater purity for them; and Allaah is well acquainted with all that you do.(Qur’an 24:30) ‘’ And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty, that they should not display their beauty and adornments except what (must necessarily) appear thereof; and they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers….……….or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And o ye believers, turn ye all together towards Allaah, that ye may attain bliss.’’ (Qur’an 24:31)
Hijab should properly be seen as simply another show of devotion to our creator. Just as He commanded us to pray and fast, we should also view hijab in the same light. Just as praying and fasting sincerely for Allaah’s pleasure brings us closer to Him, so too does wearing the hijab…….if done
with the same sincerity. However, hijab should not just be seen as a cloth one puts on the head. Rather, is should be seen as the symbol of our worship and servitude to Allaah. It is a symbol of modesty, which is not just about our attire but about our whole demeanor. If someone is wearing the hijab of modest clothing but is not modest in their behavior, they have only shown the external modesty but the internal modesty is missing. Both internal and external modesty is essential. True modesty means not only being modest in front of people, but also before Allaah (SWT). Hijab constitute not just the covering used by women but also lowering of gaze and being modest and mindful of Allaah in all we do and that is the true hijab. A muslimah on hijab
should be modest in her speech, actions, behaviour, and demeanour and should avoid everything that draws unnecessary attention to her.
If we examine carefully, the responsibilities which fall under the frame of Islamic hijab, we will find that both men and women share the task of responsibility regarding the hijab, with the specification for women in covering their body. Islam aims at establishing clean relations between sexes; spread purity and dignity among people; and safeguard the society with healthy relations. Women in Islam are commanded to cover their body due to their sensuality and instinctive nature for showing off. The natural
characteristic of women which makes them more able to attract, tempt and fascinate men is the main reason Islam tackles this point through hijab so as to discourage immorality. It is not the aim of Islam to abuse a woman’s dignity and prevent her from performing her role in the society. Neither does hijab prevent a woman from acquiring knowledge or from contributing to the betterment of human society. Rather, it bestows honour on women. Women on hijab are always treated with respect, dignity and with reverence in a society where women are seen as tools of abuse, harassment and sexual
gratification. Most importantly, it confers Allaah’s rahma and protection on the Muslim women.
And Allaah knows best!!!
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.
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