The Meaning of Hijab

What is Hijab? Hijab is the Islamic modest way of dressing for women. It is not just an headscarf or covering of hair, head, neck and chest but it is a total package of modesty for Muslim women in terms of dressing, behaviors, manners and speech. Hijab is not just a mere piece of cloth, it is our identity and beauty as Muslim women according to the Quran and hadith. Several verses of the Quran reveal this fact, among which is Quran 24 vs 30-31

“Tell the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that will make for greater purity for them; and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; and that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what must ordinarily appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments”.

“Those who harass believing men and believing women undeservedly, bear (on themselves) a calumny and a grievous sin. O Prophet! Enjoin your wives, your daughters, and the wives of true believers that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): That is most convenient, that they may be distinguished and not be harassed” — Quran 33:58–59.

 

And one of  the hadith of the prophet on wearing of hijab is;

“Ayesha reported that Asmaa, the daughter of Abu Bakr came to the Messenger of Allah (SWT) while wearing thin clothing. He approached her and said, ‘O Asmaa! When a girl reaches the menstrual age, it is not proper that anything should remain exposed except this and this.’ He pointed to the face and hands.” (Abu Dawood)

Islamically, men and women are required to lower their gaze and control their desires. Though Men are allowed to expose more of their body but are encouraged to cover up and avoid tight clothing too especially during prayer while women are enjoined to cover all their body except for the hands and faces.

 

Nowadays so many meanings have been given to hijab, some women view and wear the hijab by covering only their hair with a scarf, to some women it is wearing of loose clothings’, others wear the  hijab by combining a Western-style clothes with an headscarf while others even add the wearing of niqab, or face veil, to their own hijab. It all boiled down to peoples’ choices. Some argue that being modest has nothing to do with clothing but is an inner quality of an individual but the Quran and the hadith can never be wrong! Muslims in general, and Islamic scholars’ in particular, believe the Qur’an demands that women wear the  jilbab and khimar (a piece of cloth that covers the head, or headscarf). Allah knows what is best for us, so placing this commandment in the Holy Qur’an must have been for our own good.

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