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The hijab is...

The hijab is...Published: Friday, 18 April, 2008, 01:30 AM Doha Time

THE hijab is an act of obedience to Allah, “It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have an option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, has indeed strayed in a plain error.” [33:36]

Allah also says, “And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things) and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc) and not to show off their adornment except what must (ordinarily) appear thereof, that they should draw their veils over their Juyubihinna.” [24:31]. This verse contains two main injunctions:
*A woman should not show her beauty or adornments except what appears in uncontrolled circumstances such as the wind blowing her clothes for example, and

A woman should not show her beauty or adornments except what appears in uncontrolled circumstances such as the wind blowing her clothes for example, and
*The head covers should be drawn so as to cover the hair, the neck and the bosom.
Scholars differed whether the veil cover of the body must include the hands and face or not. Most scholars agree that it is preferable, if not mandatory, for women to cover their faces, and Allah knows best.

Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, makes the compliance of wearing the hijab a condition of chastity and modesty. He says, “O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) over their bodies (when outdoors). That is most convenient that they should be known and not molested.” [33:59]

This is an evidence that it is the exposure of a woman’s beauty, that arouses sexual desire in men, and thus may be harmful to her. When the cause of the attraction ends, the restriction is removed. This is illustrated in the case of elderly women who may have lost every aspect of attraction. Allah made it permissible for them to lay aside their outer garments and expose their faces and hands, reminding them however, that is still better for them to keep their modesty.

The molestation and exploitation of women is a disease that has been in the hearts of the sons of Adam since the dawn of time. (It is no wonder that prostitution is often referred to as the world’s oldest profession). The Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, has informed us in a hadith, “That there is no disease or sickness except that Allah has created a cure for it.” The cure for this disease of the heart can be found in the verses of the Qur’an, wherein Allah tells His Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, to address the believers, “O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) over their bodies (when out of doors). That is most convenient that they should be known and not be molested.” [33:59]
The cure is hijab: the inner and outer covering of the members of the society. The hijab is one of the Commands of Allah, and it makes for greater purity for the hearts of believing men and women because it screens against desires of the heart. As Allah tells us in the Qur’an, “And when you ask them (the Prophet’s wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen, that is purer for your hearts and theirs.” [33:53]

When the hijab is left off, the heart is more inclined to lead by its lusts and its desires, but when the private parts and the adornments are covered, this leads to the prevention of evil in the land. Much consideration has been given by the Shari’ah in respect to the affairs of Muslim women. These considerations and laws have primarily been laid down to protect her chastity, her honour and her position in society. The laws that have been placed upon the Muslim woman in regards to her dress and the display of her beauty serves ultimately to protect her and the society as a whole from falling down into the lowest depths of moral corruption.

Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, says, “O children of Adam! We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover yourselves (screen your private parts, etc) and as an adornment. But the raiment of righteousness, that is better.” [7:26]. Today, the common ways of dressing are mostly for displaying the female beauty or showing off her social or financial status, and hardly taken as a cover and shield for the woman’s body. To the believing women, however, the purpose is to safeguard their bodies in direct obedience to the order of Allah. To them, it is an assertion of emaan and a way of attaining righteousness.

...Haya and Gheerah
The hijab fits the sound innate and natural fitrah and feeling of women and men which call for haya and gheerah. Haya is inhibition or bashfulness and it is a part of one’s faith to show haya and demand it from those who are his responsibility. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said, “Haya is part of emaan.” (Bukhari). And when the woman wears hijab she is affirming that part of her faith and helping her parents or husband fulfil their responsibilities to Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala. Gheerah is the innate character in man which makes him not accept other men illicitly look at his wife, daughters, sisters and mother. Gheerah is what makes man safeguard relative women from strangers. The hijab fulfils and maintains this vital element in the family and the society as a whole. But the mixing of sexes and absence of hijab destroys the gheerah in men. And because the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, told us, “A Muslim is the brother of the Muslim” Muslim men have gheerah for all Muslim women and do not accept for them what they do not accept for their own sisters.

...symbol of Islam
Among the fundamental principles of Islam is that faith is a statement on the tongue, a belief in the heart, which in turn manifests itself on the limbs of the body. It is therefore inconceivable that women who testify to their belief in Allah and His Messenger, and who have faith in their hearts, would then choose to manifest their belief by going out in clothes that do not distinguish them from the disbelieving women. The consequence for this type of action is clear, for the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said, “Whoever resembles a people becomes one of them.” (Abu Dawoud).

For many women who enter Islam and even those who are raised in non-religious Muslim households, the road to observing the proper hijab can be a very difficult one. It means overcoming the idea that the hijab worn by the women in the West can be different from the hijab worn by those in the Middle East. It also often means overcoming the notion that the hijab is something cultural, and that as a Black, Indian or Malaysian sister, the hijab can be a reflection of a particular cultural background. Hijab is a symbol of Islam.


Posted by Khairun Nisa

Labels: Hijab   

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