“Hijab: To Wear or Not to Wear?”
Hafsa loves her body. She has had people tell her countless times that she could be a model if she wanted to. Hafsa is a Muslimah, but she does not really get the whole hijab thing. She thinks it’s great that some women want to wear hijab, but she thinks it is a choice and it is not really for her. Besides, why should she cover something that Allah (SWT) has made so beautiful?
Eman loves her hijab. She has had people tell her that she should wear clothes that flatter her figure more and show her curves. However, she does not really get why she should compromise her deen just to show some skin or hair. She knows some women struggle with hijab, but it reminds Eman of Allah (SWT) and his commandments. Besides, why should she put anything above what Allah (SWT) has commanded for the believing women to do?
We so often see these situations similar to Eman and Hafsa, as well as everything in between. Every Muslimah’s hijab journey and struggle with the hijab is different. However, despite where you are in your journey, there is one thing that all (yes, ALL) Muslim women should agree on; the hijab is a commandment from Allah (SWT). Hijab is mandatory. The fact that hijab is mandatory should not be up for debate. The fact that hijab is mandatory should not be controversial. The fact that hijab is mandatory should not be scrutinized by feminists wanting to ‘free oppressed women’ from the shackles of men.
The truth is that we are living in a society where choice is the golden key to freedom. By their standards, liberation at its finest is being able to conform to the Western dress and dress however YOU want.\
As Muslimahs, we strive to not even speak, eat, or behave in any manner that is displeasing to Allah (SWT). We are quick to follow the commandments of Allah (SWT) when they are convenient for us, but what about when we are struggling? Islam is perfect, we are not. However, we still follow the commandments of Allah (SWT) because we know there is a higher purpose and benefit that we may not be able to comprehend.
It is stated in the Qu’ran,
“O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.” [Quran 33:59]
We are told again in the Qu’ran in Chapter 24, verse 31:
“And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment [i.e., beauty] except to their husbands, their fathers..”
It was further was narrated from Safiyyah bint Shaybah that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah SWT 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. [Bukhaari, 4481]
The believing women of that time did not hesitate to cover themselves, so why do we?
So often, Muslimahs try to interpret the Qu’ran themselves or seek another source that will validate what they want to hear. However, we must remember that the Qu’ran is not open to our interpretation based solely upon the translation. We follow the word of Allah (SWT) as outlined in the Qu’ran, hadith, and by scholars. They are not mutually exclusive. We take the Qu’ran and Sunnah as a whole. And it is clear that hijab is mandatory in Islam.
It is natural to have doubts and it is natural to struggle for the sake of Allah (SWT). Even if you are struggling with hijab, it is important to still understand that it is an obligation upon us as Muslim women. We should not get into making complex the details of why we are wearing hijab because the answer is simple.
So, next time someone asks: “Why do you wear hijab?”
Answer them with a simple, but beautiful answer: “Because I am a Muslim woman and I was commanded to do so by Allah (SWT).”