[Article taken from ‘Invitation to Islam’ newsletter, September 1997]

Amidst the hustle and bustle of a teeming metropolis, a solitary figure traverses. She moves steadily in her black garment which shields her against the tyranny of this life. Whilst others around her rush frantically, she move with tranquillity and ease. The peace which she achieves beneath this veil of hers, is immense. It is a liberation beyond measure. Is this a princess of royal blood? No. Is she a head of state? No. So who is this woman of serenity? This is a woman of Hijaab. A woman amongst many women. A Muslim Woman.

The site of a woman covering from top to bottom, is not so rare anymore in the major cities of the West. For many Westerners it represents the oppression which Islam imposes upon women. For Muslims however, it is the realisation that Islam will eventually reach every corner of this planet. This is not surprising, considering that Islam is the fastest growing religion on Earth. What is surprising, for Westerners, is that 7 out of 10 (70%) people who become Muslim are Women! It is these same women who then go on to willingly observe the Hijab without coercion or force. The women of Hijaab in the cities of London, Paris, New York etc, are not all immigrants who have just stepped off the boat, as many people think. Rather, many of them tend to be women of high intellect and education. Women who have experienced the bitterness of western oppression. Women of diverse nationalities and races, who are brought together as one, under the banner of Islam.

An Islaamic Duty

Ever since the appearance of Hijaab in the west, there has been a constant crusade against this noble act. The hypocrisy[1] of the Western media has been evident for many years now, through its constant attacks on Islam and Hijaab. Despite these attempts, women in Hijaab are still on the increase. Thus, a new crusade had to be launched by the advocates of “liberation” and “freedom”. For a while now, many Western critics have insisted that the Hijaab has nothing to do with Islaam. They claim that it is a cultural practice and not a religious one. This has been broadcast in the Western media with the aid of its puppets, the modernist Muslims. People such as Dr Zaki Badawi[2], have pushed this erroneous view for a number of years now. This has led to much confusion amongst ignorant Muslims, and many Muslim women are being led into depriving themselves of this great benefit. So what is the reality behind this issue? Is the Hijaab obligatory?

Hijab is an Arabic word which literally means a cover, a screen or a partition. Islamically it refers to the dress code of the Muslim woman. In answering the above question, as Muslims we unashamedly say, Yes!, the Hijaab IS OBLIGATORY!! The proofs for this obligation are many, but due to lack of space we will only quote two here. In the Qur’an Allaah says:

“And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their modesty, and not to display their adornment except that which appears ordinarily thereof, and to draw their veils over their necks and bosoms..”

(Sura An-Noor 24:31)

About the words “..except that which appears ordinarily thereof..”, then the scholars of Islam have explained that these words refer to the hands and face of a woman. This is supported by the hadith of the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) : “Aisha reported that Asmaa, the daughter of Abu Bakr, entered into the presence of the Messenger of Allaah wearing thin transparent clothing, So the Messenger of Allaah turned away from her saying : ‘O’ Asmaa, when a women reaches the age of menstruation, it is not allowed that any of her should be seen except this’ – and he pointed to his face and two hands.”[3] The Hijaab is therefore something which MUST cover the entire body of a woman, except her face and hands.[4] It is NOT a simple headscarf which many women wear, because a piece of cloth on the head does not conceal the parts of a woman’s body, which when exposed, are the result of much strife. Besides covering the entire body, the Hijaab also has other conditions, such as not being tight, transparent, too colourful or resembling the clothes of a man. These conditions are also proven from Islaam.[5]

The Benefits of Hijaab

-Obedience- Whilst other women are subjected to the pressures and slavery of modern society, the Muslim woman is truly free from this. In the west, women are expected to conform to the liberal fashions which appear daily. These fashions and expectations are often shaped by men. In this way, women become the slaves of society and man. Hijab is the liberator of this slavery. It takes women away from the obedience of man, to the obedience of the Most Perfect, Allaah. This obedience will only bring about good, because we believe that Allaah is the Most Kind and the Most Just. Slavery to the one with such characteristics, is a slavery of reward and contentment. It is not a slavery from which your fellow human (the woman) is exploited and oppressed, just because your desires and lusts run wild.

As a command of Allaah, the Hijaab has united the hearts of so many. Hijaab knows no colour, nationality, race, height or weight. Through obedience to Allaah, it truly unites the women of the world. Thus, this unification has surpassed the ranks and shallowness of all female liberation movements. Christian nuns, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, feminists, lesbians, women boxers and even female gang members, are all known to have become united under Islam and its Hijaab. It is truly a force to be reckoned with. It must be remembered that this obedience to Allaah is a voluntary act from most Muslim women. Many assume that those brought up as Muslims, have always been wearing Hijaab. However, this is not so. Many Muslim women (especially in the UK), who are Muslim by name, often know very little of Islam. When they discover its true meaning, most of them willingly adopt the Hijaab simply to obey their Creator, and not because of any external pressures.
Wearing the Hijaab is no futile action. A woman may go through much trial and tribulation[6] because she has obeyed Allaah. But the fulfilment of this action will never go unnoticed, as Allaah say :

“Never will I allow to be lost the actions of any of you; whether male or female”

(Surah Al-Imran 3:195).

The result of these obedient actions will be an everlasting reward. A reward which all Muslim women aspire for. A reward called paradise :

“And whosoever does righteous actions- whether male or female, and is a believer, will enter paradise”

(Sura An-Nisa 4:124).

-A Shield- Allaah says :

“O’ Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their veils over their bodies. That is most convenient that they should be recognised and not be molested”

(Sura Al-Ahzab 33:59)

One of the greatest benefits of Hijaab, is the natural protection it gives to a woman. By wearing Hijaab, a woman shields herself from the rampant desires of man. By his very nature, man is a creature of intense desire. The Hijaab controls this desire and thus not only protects the woman, but also the man. Sexually motivated crimes in the west are on the increase. Rape, molestation and harassment are reaching epidemic levels. Undoubtedly the clothing of a woman has something to do with this. When women walk around with literally nothing on, some men see it as a signal to do as they please. This results in the honour of a woman being scarred for life. The Muslim woman does not have this problem. She knows that when she walks on the streets, the men will not look at her. Why? Because there is nothing for them to look at!! She feels like a princess who is shielded from the savages of her domain. Peace and security is felt beneath the veil. The woman of Hijaab does not have to reveal her body in order to gain respect. She does not have to have her ‘bits’ hanging out so that men can drool over her. If a man desires her, then it has to be for her religion and intellect. The Hijaab gives him no other choice. She is a woman who is truly shielded from the nature of man.[7]

-Nature- The nature of a woman is fundamentally different from man. Women are more timid, gentle and caring then men. This is the reason why they have been chosen (by Allaah) to be the perfect rearers of children. The Hijaab reinforces this nature of the woman. We praise Allaah that he has ordered this Hijaab, for the world that we live in seeks to change our very nature as human beings. Men try to be women and women try to be men. People are being led into confusion by the political correctness which is so popular in our societies. Many women have jumped onto the bandwagon of feminism and lesbianism, shouting how evil and oppressive men are. But when one looks at these sad creatures, their delusion is clear. While claiming to hate men, their attire suggests otherwise. Short hair, bomber jackets and steel toecapped boots, are the vogue for these women. Their hatred for men is so much, that their very appearance resembles the enemy!! Some of these women have even gone to the extreme of growing masses of facial hair. The hideous site of these bearded ladies, is enough to put anyone off their dinner!!! Such depravity is far from natural. The Hijab on the other hand, enables the woman to stay as a woman. Rather then being a monstrosity, a woman in Hijab is like an oyster with a beautiful pearl inside it. Her femininity has stayed feminine, without being altered into masculinity. There is no doubt about it, this is a TRUE WOMAN.

-Honour- Contrary to the tales of the media, the Hijab provides an honour for the woman like no other garment does. For many women, a dress designed by Versace[8] or Armani is all the honour they need. But the Hijaab carries far more honour then these worthless clothes. Whilst the dresses of the catwalks are designed by mere mortals, the Hijaab comes from the one who is immortal, Allaah. Through it a woman is held with the utmost respect. True Muslim men are obliged to keep their Muslim sisters away from the corruption of this world. Thus a Muslim will not allow for someone to ogle his wife, chat her up or harass her. The honour of a Muslim woman demands that this does not happen. How contrary this is to life in the west. Men in the west feel no obligation to protect women from the harms of society. This is why a man will allow his wife to be a stripper, call-girl and even a prostitute. Honour knows no place in the west. This honour will only be achieved from Islam and its Hijab.

The honour of a Muslim woman is so high, that we believe that the state of a society is dependent upon its women. If the women are corrupt and immoral, then the society will be corrupt and immoral. If the women are righteous and god-fearing, then the society will be righteous and god-fearing. Women are the educators of the nation. But if they have no honour and have been corrupted, then society will be void of education and steeped in ignorance. This is the predicament of a society which rejects Hijab. This is the predicament of all Western societies, which stubbornly cling onto their depressing ways of life.

Those who seek to reject Hijab after reading this, then their loss will eventually become apparent. But those who seek to please Allaah through this action, can be sure that this good can only bring more good:

“Is there any reward for good – other then goodness?”

(Sura Ar-Rahman 55:60)

Footnotes:-

1. The British media is an example of this. Whilst condemning the Hijaab as oppressive, it is well known that newspapers such as The Sun and The News of the World, often display pictures of naked women. This of course, is the liberation which the West claims to give women!
2. Dr Zaki Badawi is a self-styled mufti who is unfortunately seen as a public face of Islam. A number of years ago, Dr. Badawi appeared on Dutch T.V. proclaiming that Hijaab was not obligatory. This announcement caused much confusion and resulted in some women taking their Hijaab off.
3. Authentic – Reported by Al-Bayhaqee.
4. Even though it is not obligatory to cover the face and hands, it is without doubt recommended that the niqaab (the face veil) and/or gloves be worn. Such acts are seen as modesty and piety from the woman, and they can only bring her more reward.
5. The proofs for these conditions can be found in an excellent book entitled “The Islamic ruling regarding Women’s dress, according to the Qur’an and Sunnah” by Abu Bilal Mustafa Al-Kanadi.
6. Wearing Hijaab in the West can be a struggle for many women. The hypocrisy of the West is such, that it does not respect this choice which is made willingly, and subjects these women to much psychological pressure. 2 years ago, two Muslim girls were even expelled from a school in France because they wore Hijaab. Freedom has truly been given a new meaning!
7. “A view through Hijaab” is an informative account of life in Hijaab. Written by Khaula Nakata, it is the experience of Hijaab as seen through the eyes of a Japanese woman who embraced Islam.
8. There will be no more dresses designed by Gianni Versace!! The evils of Homosexuality ensured that this man (?) reaped the fruits of his unholy labour.