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