Reflecting on the Hijab

By Qismah bint Faisal


As sisters living in the west we sometimes struggle with our faith, this beautiful deen which is Islam. Walking down any street or through a busy mall it’s clear that society always targets women. Ads are plastered all over walls, billboards with half naked women, which confuse one as to what is actually being sold. Take a look at the women in today’s modern day society and you’ll see girls as young as twelve suffering from the ills of bulimia and anorexia. We live in a society where women are portrayed as nothing but objects used for pleasure. They say there is equality but all one has to do is look at the statistics of women and men in the labor force to know that equality is non -existant in this society. Take a glance at the statistics of women sexually abused, raped, and kidnapped and you will come to a sure realization that in fact the western society is no where near being civilized but rather is one of the most barbaric systems to have ever been implemented on the earth. The only rule that is dignified, civilized and liberating is the shari'ah of Allah ta'ala. The shari'ah that calls for women to spring forth from under the clutch of man. However only a people with true 'aql and a humbled heart will come to understand this.

The issue of hijab today,however, has lit up and caught fire all across the globe. The hijab has been attacked repeatedly by those "moderate muslims" ( those who propogate nothing else but kufr) whose only attempt is to abrogate the ruling of al hijab in the Quraan and the sunnah. Allah has mentioned clearly in the Quraan several times and in several places that hijab is an obligation for every muslimah during the time of the prophet (saw) and today. As Allah (swt) mentions:

“O Prophet, tell your wives and daughters and the believing women to draw their outer garments around them (when they go out or are among men). That is better in order that they may be known (to be Muslims) and not annoyed…” (Qur’an 33:59).
Allah (swt) says:

“And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts) and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent (like both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer palms of hands or one eye or dress like veil, gloves, headcover, apron), and to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms) and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband’s fathers, or their sons, or their husband’s sons, or their brothers or their brother’s sons, or their sister’s sons, or their (Muslim) women (i.e. their sisters in Islam), or the (female) slaves whom their right hands possess, or old male servants who lack vigour, or small children who have no sense of feminine sex. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And all of you beg Allaah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful” [al-Noor 24:31]

We see the proof in the ahadith as well:

It was narrated from Safiyyah bint Shaybah that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) used to say: When these words were revealed – “and to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms)” – they took their izaars (a kind of garment) and tore them from the edges and covered their faces with them. (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4481)

Ibn Hajar said in Fath al-Baari: There is a report of Ibn Abi Haatim via ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Uthmaan ibn Khaytham from Safiyyah that explains that. This report says: We mentioned the women of Quraysh and their virtues in the presence of ‘Aa’ishah and she said: “The women of Quraysh are good, but by Allaah I have never seen any better than the women of the Ansaar, or any who believed the Book of Allaah more strongly or had more faith in the Revelation. When Soorat al-Noor was revealed – “and to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms)” – their menfolk came to them and recited to them what had been revealed, and there was not one woman among them who did not go to her apron, and the following morning they prayed wrapped up as if there were crows on their heads.

These proofs that have been listed above are but a few among the many evidences that are in support of hijab. Allah has made very clear His command to the muslimaat of the ummah. O you who have cast your fingers in your ears and have taken some of the ayaat of Allah ta'ala and have left the others! Do you not fear the punishment of Allah (swt)? Do you not use your intellect? Allah (swt) tells us many times that He only allows those who have a sound intellect to understand His signs. How dare you attempt to deprive the muslim women of the honor and the great blessing that is in al hijaab?! How is it that you encourage the rulers of kufr to ban the niqab and the hijab? Sisters must make clear to these enemies of Allah and His messenger (saw) that we will never put down our hijab at the hands of the munafiqeen. We will continue to raise our veiled heads up high even if it means that our souls will be snatched away from us simply for fulfilling this virtuous command of Allah ta'ala.

As for our sisters whose minds have been contaminated by the hypocrites who spread the evil ideologies of feminism, know that islam has liberated you way before the west even associated freedom with women. My dear sisters, you will only come to realize how islam has freed women by looking at the status of the women before us. Analyze the status of women in antiquity. It's eminent in the book of Thucydides where after reciting a long speech about the virtues of men in the ancient greek wars he mentions a couple lines about women in which he says: " I can say all I have to say in a short word of advice. Your great glory is not to be inferior to what God has made you, and the greatest glory of a woman is to be least talked about by men, whether they are praising you or critizing you". We see the absolute contrary to this in the Quraan where Allah mentions many times the great merit of the women in the past including Maryam (as) and Aasiyah (may Allah be pleased with her).

My sisters, hijab is not simply limited to the khimar tied on our heads, but rather it has rules and regulations that must be adhered to. The scholars have mentioned certain criteria for the covering to be considered correct hijab. The list is as follows:

1.The hijaab must cover her entire body

2. It should be thick enough to conceal what is underneath it

3. It should be loose-fitting ( that means none of those tight jeans that are designed to expose the woman's figure)

4. It should not be so attractive as to call men’s attention to it

5. It should not be perfumed

6. It should not be a dress of fame and vanity (i.e., it should not be extravagant or excessively opulent)

7. It should not resemble the dress of men

8. It should not resemble the dress of kaafir women

9. It should not be adorned with any crosses or pictures of animate beings

The issue of hijab has been brushed aside by many of the leaders of the muslim communities in the west. Perhaps, that is why we see so many sisters who do not observe the correct hijab. In my opinion, the topic of hijab should have been discussed and closed a long time ago. Any woman that calls herself muslim should willingly fulfill this command of Allah ta'ala without the need of persuasion or arguementation. This ummah is not willing to accept the basics wholeheartedly-maybe this is why we are the weakest and most victimized of people.

And Allah Knows Best



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