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Why do I wear Hijab? Is it just Modesty that I attain?

Updated on July 30, 2014

You may have reached this page or this question due to mere curiosity. Perhaps you are wondering why some Muslim women resemble the look of the medieval ladies.

Perhaps you are intrigued by the psychology underlying this dress code. Are they genuinely protecting themselves from lustful treatments in a society where porn is few steps or clicks away? Or is their femininity being abated by societies that ratify unnecessary obligations.

An Inner Dialogue

Perhaps you are a hesitant female who is mentally strained between two distinct yet valid voices. I personally had the longest mental struggle before finding peace with the strongest voice.

The personal decision to wear the Hijab was definitely a unique resolution that has been shaping my decisions, my interactions with people, males in particular, and my lifestyle in general.

To answer the question imposed in the title, the hijab is worn for many reasons, some of which are bright and some of which are painfully dark. The reasons are endless with philosophies spanning from modesty and purity to femininity and sexuality.

But personally, I find it to be the most empowering political statement against objectification. On daily basis, Im bombarded with media that uses objectification and sexism to sell anything from supplies to services. I am fed up with media that draws the illusion that being scantily clad empowers women when all it does is force more women towards irrational and unhealthy beauty standards. But the question remains, why the hijab in particular? Why don't Muslim women just wear regular modest clothes, for instance business casual dress codes. After all, hair is just dead protein :P

And the answer is that the hijab as a dress code is interpreted in the Quran by some, which Muslims believe to be the literal word of God. Other muslim women interpret the Ayat (verses) differently and choose to go with another definition of Hijab and to them I salut those women for embracing what seems right to them. Come to think of it, we all have our own set of policies, from corporate companies to schools, who is to say that what any chooses is wrong? To me the perfect attire to anyone is one that is not being worn due to coercion and one that brings a sense of representation to its owner.

The hijab is also found in many other religious scriptures in both Christianity and Judaism, but due to my limited knowledge of these scriptures, I will respect my ignorance and speak of what I know which is the Quran.

The divinity of this book is not something I claim because I was raised as a Muslim in an Eastern country; if anything I condemned and continue to condemn many of the eastern practices that are claimed to be Islamic.

Nor do I say this out of a blind belief. I simply say this because after reading, contemplating, and analyzing this book at least a dozen times, I failed to find a single discrepancy.

The more I got into distinct sessions of deep contemplating, pondering, and even questioning, the more I was convinced that not a single Ayah i.e. miracle of the Quraan could have possibly been written by a human.

Do they not ponder on the Qur'an (with care)? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy. [4:82]

Quraan orders individuals to contemplate, be it contemplating the complex universe, the purpose of your existence or anything else that is ought to intrigue you as an individual and differentiate you from other species. It condemns those who follow their ancestors without paying much regard to the followed practices.

Therefore, when attempting to find a definition for modesty in a world where alleged modesty and nudity are few steps apart, I chose to embrace the Quran's definition of modest fashion.

Wearing the Hijab for the wrong reasons

Nonetheless, the hijab like any other dress can unfortunately be worn for the wrong reasons either voluntarily or involuntarily. Being forced to do it is obviously wrong on all levels. However, it can still be worn for the wrong reasons voluntarily, for instance, to conform with a certain society or simply by following the customary practices of one's family i.e. mothers and aunts.

But the Quran, the same book that obliges women to wear the hijab, is the same book that condemns blind following:

When they are told: “Follow what God has revealed,” they say, “No, we follow only the ways of our fathers.” What if their parents lacked understanding, and were not guided?


But rather use the senses you have been blessed with …

And pursue not that of which thou hast no knowledge; for every act of hearing, or of seeing or of (feeling in) the heart will be enquired into (on the Day of Reckoning). [17:36]


Needless to say that this book is what one would call a heavy read. Do not expect to skim it the way you skim a novel. I mean for God’s sake and if you do not believe in one then for the sake of all the random particles that brought the cosmic explosion, you don’t study an academic book by going over the biased reviews or by skimming the pages with a prejudice mind.

So how would one expect to obtain a just verdict of a divine book that is supposed to serve humanity for infinity; a book that mesmerized poets and scientists alike, without putting some genuine effort? Obviously extra effort would potentially be required if one is looking at a translated version of the sacred book.

It is reasonable to assume that one should be able to tell the difference between this

And this ...

Besides, it shouldn’t be daunting to distinguish between the publications of mortal limited creatures and that of a powerful creator. Therefore, if the Quraan or any other divine book is truly the word of God, the distinct should be as bright as the sun. It should be like spotting a Shakesperean piece from the midst of first grade writing worksheets.

Test my theory by reading any of the books below =)

An old friend used to say that hair is nothing but dead protein and I guess technically speaking, he is right =)

Therefore, all other factors driving women towards wearing the hijab tie back to the former reason.

If one says that Muslim women wear the hijab solely for modesty, then who is to define 'modesty' and who is to say that hair is attractive. After all, hair is just DEAD PROTEIN.

If you say hiding femininity to ensure females are treated based on their intellect rather than their looks, then who is to say that some shallow men can't help but see sexuality in women regardless of they have on.

That is not to say that the former objectives do not glorify the Hijab and make it appealing to some females but they merely fall hierarchically underneath following God's orders.

So technically Muslim women, or at least I choose to follow God’s definition of modesty, which is to cover everything except for the face and hands in front of all men excluding certain relatives such as fathers, brothers, uncles and husbands. And pardon the cliché but they choose to follow a lifestyle that encourages both men and women to focus more on the inside and less on the outside.


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    • noorin profile image

      noorin 6 years ago from Canada

      Salam Lady_E :) I am glad you liked it =) I am indeed comfortable with it, in a matter of fact I wouldn't be otherwise =)

      I am certain that if politicians actually took the time to listen to what women demanded they would know that they are far from being oppressed ...

      Unfortunately, they speak with politicians, with men, with so-called right experts about women's rights. They speak to anyone and everyone except women themselves =S

      Keep on stepping by =)

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 6 years ago from London, UK

      Thanks for sharing this and I am glad you are comfortable with it. I am upset with what the President of France did - He shouldn't infringe on people's religion and who knows...... maybe whoever is elected after him will revoke that law.

      Peace be unto you.

      Salaam? :)

    • noorin profile image

      noorin 6 years ago from Canada

      Thanks Katiem , I am glad u liked it =) Keep on stepping by =)

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

      I agree with jadugan, good comment and well said, I like the Hijab and find it appealing not to be looked over, as it happens, to go out and privately move about without being on display sounds very appealing to me. Thank you for sharing your wonderful tribute to why you wear a Hijab. Much appreciated. :) Katie

    • noorin profile image

      noorin 6 years ago from Canada

      Thanks jadugan ... I appreciate ur kind words ... Totally agreed .. I frankly think that forcing someone to wear s.t be it wearing hijab, taking off hijab or anything else is nothin but a violation towards basic human rights !!!

    • jadugan profile image

      jadugan 6 years ago from Radford, Virginia

      I have always found the hijab to be so beautiful. I know there are so many discussions about it, but as a non-Muslim American it offends me to know that there are women who's choice to wear their hijab is taken away. To me, it is no different than wearing a cross around your neck.

      Thank you for this article. It was extremely educational.

    • noorin profile image

      noorin 6 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for the kind words. Btwy do I know u in person ?

    • Nature_Boy profile image

      Nature_Boy 6 years ago

      Dear Noorin;

      from the first time I red your great words, I asked many girls about the reasons that make them wear Hijab, but i realized that you are a different special girl.

      you have a wonderful ability to analyse and organise thoughts in a great way.

      I believe that God Orders are essentially made for human benefits

      Woman shouldn't be afraid of not bieng employed or get married becouse of wearing the hijab, that is God will reward them with better rewards.

      and I am sure that your family is proud of, as all Muslims and I do.

    • noorin profile image

      noorin 6 years ago from Canada

      Thanks @daravuthz ... Im glad my modest hub was of some insight to you ... Keep on stepping by =)

    • daravuthz profile image

      daravuthz 6 years ago from Cambodia

      Good information from you. I learn much from this hub. I think this hub very useful.

    • Rod Marsden profile image

      Rod Marsden 6 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

      Interesting...I found the inner voice dialogue informative.

      It should be noted that there are historic reasons why the French are against any symbols of any religion including their own in government places. During the French Revolution the Catholic Church was on the side of the aristocrats, the exploiters of the common people. After the revolution it was decided to separate state from all religion. Many French today are Catholic but the desire to keep the separation between state and religion remains.The Hijab comes across as a symbol of a religion therefore there lies the problem in France. They are afraid of losing their freedom to religion, any religion.

      In Australia, Australian women on the beach have been hassled by Muslim youth. Since bikinis have been worn on Australian beaches since the 1960s and they are a symbol of freedom there has been an outcry against Muslim symbols. In Australia it is a case of respect the bikini as something cultural and something of the country and the hijab stands a good chance of also being accepted.

    • noorin profile image

      noorin 6 years ago from Canada

      @FCEtier thanks 4 the comment ... Keep on stepping by =)

    • FCEtier profile image

      Chip 6 years ago from Cold Mountain

      Interesting reading. Thanks for the info.

    • noorin profile image

      noorin 6 years ago from Canada

      @Randslam, thank you for the comment ...

      I totally agree on the historical facts, I am a big fond of the Al-Andalus's culture =) And I never denied the fact that early Islamists appreciated and sought both knowledge and beauty...

      Regarding ur first question, is the present instance of Islam the true Islam ? I personally don't think it is. In my personal opinion, most of the Islamic countries nowadays follow what they painted to be Islam as they allow their desires, ego and culture to define their lifestyles.

      Must women be covered to eliminate the lusts of males ? NO , THEY MUSTN'T COVER FOR THAT SOLE REASON ... But rather cover to follow the teachings of the religion they chose to attain.

      Now, I am not a scholar nor do I have the authority to claim what the Islamic teachings are ... However, I can provide a handful of qualified scholars who stated Hijab as obligatory.

      Like I said in my article, Muslim women don't just wear Hijab to eliminate the lusts of males.

      On the contrary, I said :

      "If you say hiding femininity to ensure females are treated based on their intellect rather than their looks then who is to say that some men do not get attracted and even turned on by androgynous looks?

      If you say establishing respect, then I personally have witnessed societies where Hijab failed to force respect among individuals who see nothing but sexuality when they look at women."

      I find your term "training men" amusing ... I just wonder why hasn't sophisticated entities in Magazines, Ads, and even Video Games been trained to treat women without objectifying her to feed existing lusty natures.

      Regardless, that is not the point, because I didn't accuse men of having lusty natures. I merely connected Hijab to an order in Quran. Now, whether Quran is a divine book or not is another conversation that I attempted to briefly address in the hub =) Like any other discussion, you are more than welcome to nullify my statement that Quran is the word of God and that one of its teachings is the order of Hijab =)

      Whether humans are the most noble or not ... its quite arguable ... The main reason, I said hes noble is coz one of the definitions of noble is acquiring exalted moral or mental character... Technically humans do have exalted mental character -at least on the most part- ... Failing to use that mental character is just sad ... taking things for granted and just following others in a herd of sheep is also sad ... following the teachings of a religion without critically challenging every aspect of that religion is even sadder ...

      Keep on stepping, ur comments are intriguing =)

    • randslam profile image

      Rand Zacharias 6 years ago from Kelowna, British Columbia

      I can't agree with the premise of humans being the most noble beings, or the fact that hiding beneath a curtain of darkness is God ordained, but I can respect the fact that you do.

      After a recent viewing of the origins of Islam and the takeover of Spain, al Andulas, under the muslim years a thousand years ago--the search for knowledge seemed to be the focus of Islam.

      Knowledge, Beauty, Architecture, music were sought far and wide by the early Islamists, not the covering, or removal, of natural beauty.

      The first troubadours of England received the gift of romance from the Islamic empire when Spain was lost in 1100s AD,starting an epoch of romantic thought in sir William so many hundreds of years ago.

      Is the present instance of Islam the true Islam? Must women be covered to eliminate the lusts of males, instead of the lusty natures of men trained to be kept in check and purified through discipline and natural respect?

      Just wondering.

    • noorin profile image

      noorin 6 years ago from Canada

      @msorensson I really appreciate ur comment =)

      I respect ur approach towards other religions ... If anything, it shows what an enlightened individual u are =)

      U should definitely ask 4 a Hijab =) A colourful one too =)

    • msorensson profile image

      msorensson 6 years ago

      I love this part of your hub. It is so true.

      "Perhaps you are a hesitant female who is mentally strained between two distinct yet valid voices. I personally had the longest mental struggle before finding peace with the strongest voice. "

      I just cut my hair. It is for me a source of vanity. I know so now, because I so love it.

      I love the simplicity and purity of your faith. Just like my friend in graduate school.

      I was born and raised Christian with very strong Catholic ties. Now, I accept and honor all religions.

      My muslim students loved me and gifted me beautifully every time they went back to the Middle East.

      I should have asked for a Hijab.