I have had some unpleasant experiences and not wearing a hijab has played a part in those experiences. From where I was brought up, wearing a hijab was not a priority or rather, I was told that wearing one is compulsory after completing haj (which I haven’t and only see myself doing so way later when I am older). However, as I grow up, I see others my age wearing one and eventually learnt that wearing one is actually deemed mandatory.
So I made an effort to mix around with those who don the hijab to understand things from their perspective (since I was brought up with similar but maybe slightly different teachings). However, during those times that I try, I felt less than welcomed.
It seems that not wearing a hijab has some certain negative connotations like being less pious, less understanding of Islam etc. so I end up having to prove myself a lot more that I do have basic Islamic knowledge and that we share the same practices (fasting, praying, etc.). Though.. I am equally guilty of such a bias, seeing them as lack of understanding of current affairs of the world (since they are very heavily focused on the after life), closed-minded (follow ‘popular’ practices of the Prophet but unable to apply the same principle across other similar situations) for instance.
Such biases divide us when we should instead be sisters of the same faith. In general, from a religion perspective, wearing a hijab has positive connotations while not wearing hijab brings with it negative connotations yet I don’t see reason for this. This suggests a superiority for those wearing a hijab over those who do not. Clearly my experiences do not support this. Some people of a different faith have better character.
So is the hijab just form over substance? I would like to believe not but here’s my investigation and finding reason on this issue.
What does the Hijab represent?
Modesty. Basically everything you do should transmit to the opposite gender than does not call for the wrong attention.
From the article,
This includes “lowering our gazes” and respect other men or women by not eying them from head to toe (i.e. checking them out) – yet Malay men still catcall and Indian Muslim men still give uncomfortable stares.
Similarly, the physical Hijab establishes healthy distances of physical contact (not even a handshake with the opposite gender!). – handshakes are important gestures in the business industry so i guess this means muslim women are never to be seen in this industry?
Lastly, this modesty must also be manifested in the way we dress. – but baju kurung or rather, current fashion hugs the body in a certain way that I would not call modest.
Why wear one?
To Please Allah
Quoted from the article :
“After telling Muslim men to lower their gazes, the Holy Qur’an reminds women: “And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that they should not display their beauty and ornaments, except what (ordinarily) appear thereof.” (24:31) In line with this Qur’anic verse, we do not display our beauty simply because it is the command of our Lord!”
- ‘what ordinarily appears to be’ is defined as the face and hands though isn’t it arguable that the hair is what ordinarily appears to be too?
- Nevertheless, it is a commanment and hence, Muslim women are to submit themselves to his will.
Prevent Female Exploitation & a source of protection
Quoted from the article :
“But what Muslim women realize is that our beauty is sacred and certainly not for any random man to gawk at for pleasure.”
“Regardless of where the blame lies, there is only one way by which a woman can guard herself against such evils, and that is why Hijabi women conceal their beauty in public as much as possible.”
- Ok so beauty is dedicated to a religious purpose and furthermore, protects one from the potentiality of sexual harassment. I respect that.
- However, even when covered, some Muslim men still “checks you out” and this renders the very idea of donning the hijab moot
- Given recent happennings of ISIS (which inflicts terror on others in the name of Islam), there are some violent assaults of women with hijab
Preserving Beauty for that one partner
“Often labeled as “jealousy” by so-called Western “relationship experts”, this kind of respect and preserving oneself solely for one’s partner is actually the key to lifelong marital happiness and success.”
- hijab fashion do become the main mode of conversation (at least among those I tried to mix around with) and made me question whether it is actually a fashion statement that attracts attention rather than removing, hence, contradicting its original purpose.
- Other than preserving oneself, there are various other factors that contribute to a successful marriage. I have seen marriages of some Muslim women who wear the hijab struggling.
- Is it erroneous to think of a marriage and define it solely by satisfying the other party in the beauty deparment?
- Wouldn’t you rather learn to deal with any forms of jealousy rather than avoid it?
Judged for worth and not appearance
“A woman who observes the Hijab is freeing herself of society’s immoral and disrespectful expectations of her. A female who conceals her beauty has granted herself the power to say to the world “You know what? Everything about me besides my beauty should matter to you.””
- not sure how my hair represents beauty even when i am modestly dressed.
- I’m sure the society (which also consists of women) does not have immoral or disrespectful expectations just maybe more in industries where beauty is important (eg. modeling, entertainment) and furthermore, no one is forcing you to submit to their expectations. Even a non-hijab can refuse accepting such expectations.
So I have questions for most other points except for one where it is to submit oneself to God’s commandments. The articles are an eye opener but imma give myself some time to ponder over these questions..
Focuses more on commandment of the Quran – http://www.muhajabah.com/whyhijab.htm
Focuses more on the history – https://www.al-islam.org/hijab-muslim-womens-dress-islamic-or-cultural-sayyid-muhammad-rizvi/why-hijab