Hijab a girl in veil

What is Hijab?
What is Hijab? | Source

The veil is a contentious issue that has been much debated and protested against particularly in the West and some parts of the East. Feminists criticise it arguing that the veil reinforces women’s subordination to men. 

Do me a big favour next time you see a Muslim woman wearing a veil, go and ask her if she is forced to wear it or is she doing it out of choice.  It will no doubt surprise you, that every woman you ask will always tell you that it is because she wants to wear it and not because it is being forced on her.

It is extremely difficult to do justice to this topic without going into a lengthy analysis of when, why and what was revealed how it is applied by people who profess to be Muslims and the reasons why in the West the wearing of the veil has become such a hot topic.  My intention is to briefly try and tackle the application of the veil and its principles also address its associated misconceptions.  I humbly request that you keep an open mind and bear with this rather lengthy article, no doubt we all want to point fingers when things are truly wrong in society but intelligent people always go to all lengths to make sure that what they call wrong is not based on someone else’s distorted or biased viewpoint of the world.

Life is too short to hurt others...we need to learn living together - we can do it!
Life is too short to hurt others...we need to learn living together - we can do it!

A popular western notion that the veil is a symbol of Muslim women's oppression is very untrue and anyone who wishes to find out the truth, why Muslim women choose to wear the veil then they should ask no one or believe nothing other than the women who actually wear the veil, only they can tell you why they choose to wear the veil and cover up their modesty.

In fact you can do the same by asking a Christian Nun, why she wears a habit and dresses so modestly. A nun's outfit is called a habit. There are many different orders of nuns, and each order wears its own variation of the habit. Most traditional habits consist of the same basic pieces, though in different colours.  All nuns wear a veil that covers their head their dress code is not much different from that of a Muslim lady.  So why is there so much debate (debate by itself is not a bad thing, but debate which has negative connotations does usually lend itself to denigration and disagreement between people) on the issue of Muslim woman wearing the veil?  I blame the media and the politicians for this, as they have driven non-Muslims and now some Muslims also being preoccupied with the view that Woman wearing the veil are subjugated, exploited and forced into living in that manner.

What is wrong with Modesty?
What is wrong with Modesty?

Let’s look at one Christian woman who almost everyone knows or has heard about and see what she used to wear.

Mother Teresa a winner of the Nobel peace prize in 1979 and world renowned for her humanitarian work, she always dressed modestly in accordance with her faith.  Many nuns and devout Christians and Jews around the world choose to dress modestly and wear the veil.

It has been commanded in the Bible and the Torah for woman to dress modestly and that includes wearing the veil.  In my view there is no difference between the veils that a Christian or Jewish woman wears to that a Muslim woman would wear.  I then wonder way there is such a debate and astonishment when Muslim woman wear the veil, why are they regarded as being subjugated and assumed by the Western media that Muslim men regard their mothers, wives, sisters and daughters as second class citizens?

The Matter of Dress Code

In today’s free and liberated world women are encouraged to dress themselves in the most up to date fashions, which every year concentrate on quite intentionally on exposing yet another erogenous zone to the public gaze!

A Mini Skirt
A Mini Skirt

The Skirt Revolution

We have seen the rise and fall of the mini-skirt, here is an image if you can’t remember what it looks like or don’t know what it is.  How liberating is that.  Just think of the attention from all those men, got to be a good thing for those who crave manly attention.

A Micro Skirt
A Micro Skirt

The popularity of the micro-skirt, and women wearing them...ahhh what an age we live in, let’s face it in a hot country what better way to keep yourself cool than to wear one of these. Bad for the guy’s though, trying to remain attentive to the job in hand must be difficult to say the least. Here’s an image of micro-skirt (I like to call it “leave nothing to the imagination” skirt).

The determinants of female attractiveness include those features that display good health and fitness for reproduction and the sustenance of infants. These include the following correlates of fertility:

§ Youth

§ Waist-to-hip ratio

§ Breast size

§ Breast symmetry

§ Body mass proportion

§ Facial symmetry

Features such as a symmetrical face, large breasts, and low waist-to-hip ratio are commonly considered attractive in women because they are thought to indicate physical health and high fertility to a potential mate.

*source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical_attractiveness

The determinants of female attractiveness are well maintained and enhanced by the two skirts in the image.

There have been many fashions that have hit the high street over the decades since the so called women’s liberation things like the wet look, hot pants, see-thru, the topless, the thong and other garments designed to display or emphasize the intimate parts of a woman’s body.

A similar trend is also being adopted by the male fashion industry, with skin-tight clothing.  Men’s fashion designers appear to have come to a temporary standstill until men are liberated enough to accept topless or see-thru trousers.

The intention of the modern dress is to reveal the figure while the intention of the Islamic dress code is to conceal it, at least in public. 

It is therefore required for a Muslim woman when she goes out, to wear a dress that covers her, from head to foot and does not reveal her figure.  The requirement for a modest behaviour is not recommended for the women only but in the Quran Allah (Subhanahu Wa Taala) states:

“Tell believers (as in Men) to avert their glances and to guard their private parts; that is purer for them.  Allah (Subhanahu Wa Taala) is informed about anything they do.  Tell believing women to avert their glances and guard their private parts and not to display their charms except what (normally) appears of them.  They should draw their coverings over their bosoms and not show their charms except to their husbands...” (Quran 24:30-31)

Benefits of Hijab.
Benefits of Hijab.

Key

1.       Hijab is Tahara (Purity) for believing men and women since it guards against the desire of the heart.

2.       Hijab is an act of obedience to Allah (Subhanahu Wa Taala) and His Messenger (Sallallahu Alihi Wassallam).

3.       Adherence to Hijab is a manifestation for chastity and modesty.

Profound consideration has been given to women’s affairs in the Islamic law (shame really that only the negative elements of its application and interpretation by men is conveyed to the world by media).  One topic that is mainly discussed is the application of Hijab in relation to a woman.  The restrictions (I would argue that the word restrictions is a negative and draws men to postulate force and intimidation being applied it should really be recommendation as Allah (Subhanahu Wa Taala) the Merciful does not force anyone to believe or obey) placed upon her regarding dress and the display of her beauty is only to guard against all ways of corruption (in a sexual context, being led astray) arising from such dazzling displays of women’s beauty.

What Islam has established (and requires believing men and women to observe) is not a restriction on the freedom of women but is a firm protection for her and society from falling down to the lowest levels of humility, as it can be observed in today’s liberated society.  Women are forced into illicit and immoral professions, some women today due to financial reasons actually accept jobs in these markets freely and try and pass off the immorality of their actions as, I enjoy it and it’s a job, it pays well and so on.

It cannot be denied that Hijab is an integral part of modesty and shame (Haya), which helps in preventing a woman or man from falling into temptations of evil.  Most people justify their wrongful deed of not observing Hijab by claiming, it does not matter what you wear on the outside it’s what is in the inside (heart) that counts.  How feeble-minded is such a person who hides behind these excuses, that they do not realise, a day will come, where that very beauty one tries to portray will no longer remain, every reason for not donning the Hijab will be baseless, one will be required to repay the debt of disobeying the commands of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Taala). 

Just think about the number of families that have been ruined due to one or another partner having an affair in the office (what instigated that affair (not someone wearing a Hijab, but most likely by someone flaunting her beauty), and we all know very well that men are always attracted to beautiful women).

What is Hijab?

The physical form of Hijab is a head-covering for women it is meant to cover all of your hair from your forehead, over your ears and covering your neck.  The Hijab makes up a part of the required clothing of a Muslim woman.  There are other additions such as a Jilbab and Niqab.

The image below shows the different types of Islamic dresses that Muslim women wear to observe Hijab:

Types of Islamic Dress
Types of Islamic Dress

The aim of Hijab is to preserve the modesty and identity of Muslim women.  It is mentioned in the Quran Surah Al-Ahzab 33:59)

“Tell you wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks all over their bodies.  That will be better, that they should be known as free respectable women so as not to be annoyed.”

Beautiful Woman - Should be a Modest Woman!
Beautiful Woman - Should be a Modest Woman!

Take the verse above and compare to the image below, I wonder if you have seen or heard of a similar situation as that depicted in the picture (in a way, I guess there are many women out there who would really want that kind of attention , if that is the case then go ahead and wear what you like, equally there are many women who don’t like that attention from strangers in which case the society should allow them to wear what they want – seems fair to me...what do you think?).

What are they using to sell the Car?
What are they using to sell the Car?
What has the woman got to do with used cars? Think Eye-Candy!
What has the woman got to do with used cars? Think Eye-Candy!
Does she need to show all to sell perfume?
Does she need to show all to sell perfume?

Many women who wear Hijab find that it is liberating, they don’t waste time trying to gain the approval of the opposite sex or their friends, also when these women are interacting with the world at large they find that people value them for their brains and contribution at a personal level rather than their body or sex appeal.

One sister who recently reverted to Islam and began to wear the Hijab said that she felt protected and relieved. She is respected more and people actually listen to what she says instead of talking to her chest. Today, some Muslim girls and women are in a position where they want to wear the Hijab, but are too scared due to negative media coverage. Many worry about what people might think or say to them.

In the world now a woman’s body has become a commodity for display. Take a look at some of the adverts below and ask yourself these questions:

(a) What are they selling?

(b) Why are they using a woman in the Ad?

(c) Is she dressed or is she undressed?

(d) Did this ad attract my attention, because of the product their selling or is it that sexy woman?

We should remember that Allah (Subhanahu Wa Taala) is everywhere, when we do not follow his guidance then we are in disobedience and therefore what are the chances of entering paradise in the life hereafter (Don’t be fooled into thinking that the life in this world is the end). As Muslims we follow the teachings of Islam, which means submission to Allah’s will and obedience to His commands.

The Hijab is a symbol of devotion for every Muslim woman, just like a Nun wears a head covering or veil. Dressing semi-naked gives the impression that you are open to being approached by any man. The Hijab is a statement, which clearly say’s “I am forbidden to you”, so as a man you are not allowed to view the woman wearing the Hijab as an object of desire or sexual fascination. It acts as a barrier for the “MIND” between men and women who are strangers or are not married to each other.

Islam is not a religion that oppresses women, but it actually gives true liberation and sets them free from the man-made shackles that we see in today’s society, don’t take my word for it go and ask a Muslim women, what she feels about wearing the veil.

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Comments 12 comments

kristen yousef 2 years ago

Au fait, what do you have to say for women converts to islam? They surely aren't 'programmed' to wear the hijab since birth!

In fact, in the bible, women were supposed to shave off their hair if they couldn't wear veils. Please understand that it's a woman's choice to cover up and dress modestly whether she is a Christian or muslim or Buddhist or even atheist. By the way, you can never know if a woman is really 'forced' to dress modestly. The fact is, whatever the media throws out (which is normally the negative stuff - example - Africa, most of what you hear about it is disease and poverty, you seldom get to hear or see the good stuff about Africa), people believe blindly. Same with Afghanistan, they only show the parts where people hate their lives - they never show us the good sides where people live modestly and are truly happy. Why?

Peace


Zubair Ahmed profile image

Zubair Ahmed 3 years ago Author

Hi rebeccamealey,

Many thanks for reading and the comment. I'm glad that you respect others view and dress code, there are many in this world who do not and work on forcing people to abandon their desired dress code simple to appease the majority. Example France Brukha ban etc.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

I like my head free and my hair loose, but I respect everyone's rights! I'm just a country girl from the Southeastern USA!


Zubair Ahmed profile image

Zubair Ahmed 3 years ago Author

hi wba108,

Thank you for reading and the comment. Yes you are right in that most if not all religions teach modesty and discretion. Shame really in society today we prefer to be nude then covered.


wba108@yahoo.com profile image

wba108@yahoo.com 3 years ago from upstate, NY

An interesting look into Islam. There is a a parallel in the between Islam and some sects of Christians regarding appropriate dress. The Bible says in Proverbs 11:22 - "As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout,

So is a lovely woman who lacks discretion."


Zubair Ahmed profile image

Zubair Ahmed 3 years ago Author

Hi,

Thank you for the detailed response. Can I ask how many Muslim women you personally know and have direct contact with who wear the hijab?

You see it is easy to base your perception of others on information produced by someone else, what tend to do is ask people to go and find a Muslim women wearing a hijab and ask them why they are wearing that and who is forcing them. You don't have to go to Afghanistan or some other so called oppressive Muslim countries you can do that in the US or UK.

You see the current trend in the US is that many Western educated non-subjugated, free willed and free thinking women are reverting to Islam. If Muslim women are really that oppressed then why I ask are these FREE minded, well EDUCATED women in the West accepting Islam?

Nothing personal just hope you will do some research on this matter.

All the best

Zubair


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas

I would agree that sex is over used in the promotion of too many things.

I would also say that people (both men and women) tend to think, believe, and follow the 'norms' of the society in which they grow up and in which they are socialized.

All over the world most Catholics begin their religious training around age 5-6. Really, it begins at birth. Even when Catholics do not 'practice' their religion they often continue to hold the same beliefs and values they learned as little children. The same is true of most denominations and religions. The same is even true of atheists and agnostics when it comes to the values and beliefs they learned growing up in a particular society.

So 9.9 times out of 10, if you ask a Catholic woman if she is behaving in a particular way because she is forced to do so or because she chooses to do so, she will say she chooses to do so. The thing is, she chooses to behave that way because of the way she was conditioned by her religious training and by the society she grew up in. Not a truly free choice because it is based on programming from the day she was born and she most likely has not even considered why she behaves the way she does or if she might like to behave differently if she truly felt free to change her behavior.

In the same way Muslim women "choose" to wear veils and other ethnic or religious based clothing. Muslim women in many parts of the world are not given a choice any more than women of other religions or ethnicities are given a true choice. All women are trained (programmed) to behave and think a certain way from birth and so for most women it never even occurs to them that their thoughts and actions are not original. They "choose" certain behaviors and beliefs because that is what they were programmed (sorry, trained) to believe is the right thing to do.

Some women, feminists, "choose" to examine what they were programmed by their church or by society, to believe. As women with experience and education, they sometimes may agree with the beliefs and values they were taught as little children and all through their lives, and sometimes they may not agree. When they do not agree they may choose instead to try to persuade other people (both men and women) to also examine these values and ideas/beliefs they were programmed to have and to break free of unnecessary restraints.

Back in September of 2009 Diane Sawyer, well known news correspondent for ABC News, interviewed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and she wore a hijab for that occasion. I do not believe she made a free choice to wear that veil. I believe she was told she will either wear it or she will not get the interview. Without the veil she would not be allowed to do her job even though she is not a Muslim.

I do not believe that all Muslim women wear the hijab by free choice even when they are allowed to make that choice, which I am skeptical about. I think if they choose not to wear it when they immigrate to the U.S. they pay a price. If they were to choose not to wear it in a Muslim country, I think in some cases they would be killed. Stoned to death or beheaded. I have read how women are treated and how they are abused and demeaned and undervalued (that's truly an understatement) in most Muslim countries. I do not believe women in these countries make a free 'choice' about much, if anything, in their lives. Thus the hijab is a symbol of male oppression of women because in fact most Muslim women in other countries (or often times even in this country) do not know the meaning of the word 'choose' or the phrase 'free choice.' They have been programmed from birth to believe they are inferior and must defer to men in all things. That is not my definition of choosing.

Well written, voted interesting, but never the less, I disagree.


Zubair Ahmed profile image

Zubair Ahmed 5 years ago Author

Thank you - I see my poem worked got you here but will it get you to follow me?


moneycop profile image

moneycop 5 years ago from JABALPUR

great...use of ur mind mixing all...to attract...


Zubair Ahmed profile image

Zubair Ahmed 5 years ago Author

Hi Rehana, Thank you for reading and the comment.


Rehana Stormme profile image

Rehana Stormme 5 years ago

Great article - very comprehensive!


shereen1 5 years ago

I am a muslim and i wear hijaab, still enjoy life to the max, no one forces me to wear it.

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