Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Are we wearing our hijab properly?

Nowadays, we are witnessing a very disturbing trend in hijab style. Sisters are wearing hijab (?) but not really fulfilling the basic requirements of hijab. Thanks to most of the young hijabi sisters, it has become a norm to wear lots of make up, wearing very eye catchy and tight-fitting and see-through clothes. May be only one thing hasn’t changed that much and that is not to show the hair as if hijab is only to cover our hair and everything else can be on display! I feel very sad seeing the state of our hijab. What's the point of wearing hijab then?  Where are we heading? I am not just witnessing this new trend in the West but almost every other parts of the world thanks to global media and culture. I wanted to write about this issue for a long time but felt it can be quite a sensitive issue to deal with. Seeing my own family and friends getting sucked into this silly trend made me feel determined to write about it. Allah (swt) knows my intention. This post is first and foremost for my own sake as I am also a hijabi person and want to follow the requirements of hijab properly just to please my Lord. I also thought that when as Muslim we see something is wrong we are told to voice our concern in a polite way to encouarge and help brothers and sisters to correct themselves. Moreover, I am a mother now so I have a huge responsibility to educate my children about the true values and norms of our faith insha-Allah. I hope this post will also help our sisters and brothers to understand the real hijab insha-Allah. Before dealing with the issue I would like to share some sample of so-called hijab we can witness around us so that you can get an idea of what I am referring to.

I think the rise of the new so-called ‘trendy’ hijab style is due to our sheer ignorance and lack of understanding about what hijab really means and what it actually requires. The word "hijab" or "ḥijāb" (Arabic: حجاب he-zjab) refers to both the head covering traditionally worn by Muslim women and modest Muslim styles of dress in general. The Arabic word literally means curtain or cover (noun). Most Islamic legal systems define this type of modest dressing as covering everything except the face and hands in public. According to Islamic scholarship, hijab is given the wider meaning of modesty, privacy, and morality. So it’s not just a piece of cloth but it is a symbol for us as Muslims to behave in a modest way and present ourselves as well-balanced Muslims. The Qur'an instructs both Muslim men and women to dress in a modest way.

The clearest verse on the requirement of the hijab (for men and women) is Surah Al-Nur (Light) 24:30–31 which says, “[Prophet], tell believing men to lower their eyes and guard their private parts: this is purer for them Allah is well aware of everything they do. And tell believing women that they should lower their eyes, guard their private parts and not display their charms beyond what [it is acceptable] to reveal; they should draw their coverings over their neckline and not reveal their charms except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their womenfolk, their slaves, such men who attend them who have no desire or children who are not aware of women’s nakedness; they should not stamp their feet so as to draw attention to any hidden charms. Believers, all of you, turn to Allah so that you may prosper.”

It has also mentioned in the Qur’an, “O Prophet! Enjoin your wives, your daughters, and the wives of true believers that they should cast their outer garments over their body (when they are outside): That is most convenient, that they may be distinguished and not be harassed. [...] (Qur'an 33:58–59)

The four major Sunni schools of thought (Hanafi, Shafi'i, Maliki and Hanbali) hold that entire body of the woman, except her face and hands must be covered during prayer and in public settings. There are those who allow the feet to be uncovered as well as the hands and face. However, some scholars encourage covering the face, while some follow the opinion that it is only not obligatory to cover the face and the hands but mustahab (Highly recommended). Some niqabi sisters follow this argument and that’s why they cover their face and hands too.
According to majority of Muslims scholars, it is recommended that women wear clothing that is not very fitting to the body: either modest forms of western clothing (long shirts and skirts), or the more traditional jilbāb, a high-necked, loose robe that covers the arms and legs. A khimār or shaylah, a scarf or cowl that covers all but the face, is also worn in many different styles. As a practical matter, however, the opinion that Muslim men must cover themselves between the navel and the knees is predominant, and most Muslims believe that a man who fails to observe this requirement during salah must perform the prayer again, properly covered, in order for it to be valid. Three of the four Sunni Madh'hab, or schools of law, require that the knees be covered; the Maliki school recommends but does not require knee covering. According to some hadith, Muslim men are asked not to wear gold jewellery, silk clothing, or other adornments that are considered feminine. Some scholars say that these prohibitions should be generalized to prohibit the lavish display of wealth on one's person.
If you read the tafseer ( explanation) of the Quranic verses on Hijab, you can easily notice the basic criteria of hijab. Hijab is meant to help us lead a simple and humble life. We are told to cover ourselves in a way so that we are not creating fitna by getting the wrong attention from the non mahrams. Allah (swt) also mentions very clearly in the Qur’an who are allowed to see us without hijab and when we are wearing our hijab, we are not suppose to beautify ourselves in such a way that creates attention.

Rules are there for a reason. Allah (swt) know what is good for us and what can cause us harm. Let us follow His Qur’an to save ourselves from any sort of harm. Come on sisters! Let us wear hijab properly and let us get our intention right. We are here to please Allah (swt) and no one else! Our ultimate success lies in getting closer to Him. Thanks to internet and all the social networks we are commiting more sins by publicising our beauty with hijab (?) and we are claming that we are proud Muslimahs! Are we really proud of our faith? If so, how come we are not following the basic rules of our faith? Do you think Allah (swt) is unawre of what we are doing?
I know it’s a big trial (fitna) for our young sisters and brothers living in a world where look, size matters more than intellect, moral values, skills etc. Even our faith acknowledges this fact and that’s why we will get more reward if we follow the faith wholeheartedly while young as it is really very hard given all the temptations around us. We need to seek knowledge and know what our faith is all about. Only through knowledge we can empower ourselves and create a strong Muslim identity insha-Allah so that all the secular and non-islamic norms and values will not seem so cool to us. I would like to finish this post with a beautiful supplication done by a group of practising youth who are mentioned in Surah Al-kahf. They wanted to follow the faith properly but the society they were living in was so anti-Islam that it was almost impossible for them to remain Allah-conscious people and that’s why they decided to hide in the cave. Allah (swt) was so impressed by their faith and action that He (swt) made them a symbol of a great miracle ‘The people of the cave’. They said, “ Our Lord, grant us Your Mercy and find us a good way out of our ordeal.” (Surah Al-Kahf:18:10)

May Allah (swt) forgive us, have mercy on us and guide us to the right path, ameen!

On a lighter note, MashAllah brother Baba Ali did a great video on hijab named ‘That’s not hijab’. MashAllah I think he did it really nicely without sounding preachy.

There is also another great video on hijab mashAllah


Arifa - Your sister in islam said...

Just wanted to say JazakhAllah sister, for your post as it is true, we really need to at least make aware of this arising situation. Astagfirullah.

I myself was in a situation which Allah has helped me from. Where my own husband thought it was acceptable to wear the hijab in the improper way as you described.
Alhumdalillah he saw sense and understood where I was coming from. May Allah forgive our ummah of its sins, and guide us to be people he is pleased with InshAllah. I really fear for the future of our children and the generations to come. May Allah make us all strong in faith and protect us from the evils. Ameen.

Emma said...

Masha'Allah such a fantastic post sis!
As a revert muslimah who covers properly I know that people treat me differently now compared to when I was not muslim. The only way that strangers would know I'm muslim is because of what I am wearing so it is obviously my hijab which has caused the change in behavior.
I often wonder if the young muslimahs who choose to wear a small scarf with jeans say, are not caught in the middle of trying to conform to the western ideals that they have been brought up with and their religion. That coupled with the fact that there are few role models of successful (by western standards)hijab wearing muslimahs I think gives the impression that to 'get on' one must not look too different from the majority. I believe that the only way that this can change is through education. even if they know it,sisters need to whole heartedly believe that whatever is meant for them will be for them and the fact that they wear loose clothing and a long scarf will not change who they marry or how much money they have ect. but it will mean that they are following their religion properly which is ultimately what we should all be aiming for.
May Allah guide us and give us the strength and confidence to be proud of our religion and all that it entails.Ameen.

Anonymous said...

Excellent article mashaAllaah!
It's upsetting too when we see so many 'Islamic' stores and outlets actually promoting these styles and clothes, selling niqaabs alongside hijab headbands and jewels :(

Anonymous said...

I guess it is a trend that none of us can stop and it will increase over time. However, we must educate people. good article

Anonymous said...

I suppose it's another sign of the hypocrisy that is so prevalent amongst the Ummah. It can be quite confusing for sisters who are new to the deen as to what actually IS the correct way to dress Islamically.

Anonymous said...

Better to wear it incorrectly than not at all me thinks and insha Allah it will lead to wearing it correctly once the sisters become aware insha Allah x mk dua for them

Anonymous said...

Alhumdulillah its an excellent article and well written. u have certainly hit the nail on the head cos itstead of hijab detracting attention from u it seems to be attracting more attention.

Anonymous said...

Deep stuff sumaiya as always masha allah, personally I struggle to put any of the trendy styles honestly, sometimes I really wonder how do sisters manage to do it so ''trendy''. so for me if some one decides to wear the Hijab the simplest w...ay is to wear a one coulored garment/scarf and try to cover with it as much as possible. I do accept that some people will always be more aware of the fashion then other's but making the Hijab as something else than fulfilling it's basic purpose is simply weird. excellnt choice of topic masha allah.

Anonymous said...

Jazakallah kheir. Masha'Allah a very well written article and some great comments. May Allah guide us and protect us all and help us to fulfill this oligation in a way that is pleasing to him. Ameen.

Umm Imran said...

Assalamu alaikum my dear sisters, jazakallah khairan for your beautiful comments. I am glad to know that it's just not me who feels like we are compromising our hijab to a lot extent just to please our own nafs as well as the society in general. May Allah swt forgive us and guide us to the right path insha-Allah.

Anonymous said...

Assalamu alaikum sis, just to let you know that there are some sisters who forced to wear it by their family and I know quite allot So maybe that why they do it and another thing is that it is really sound that it is always about the girls and their but the guys can wear what ever they want and is never an issue I find this disturbing.

Umm Imran said...

Assalamu alaikum dear sis, jazakallah khairan for your comments. I am also aware of sisters who are forced by their family to wear hijab which is quite sad amd unfortunate. Hijab is a symbol for Muslims to express their happiness and satisfaction in abiding by Allah swt's rules. We definitely need to love wearing it. I think anything we do to please Allah swt needs to come from our heart not by force or threat. I did mention about hijab rulings regarding men qouting the Qur'an and the sunnah of our beloved prophet saw. We need to remember that Islam as a way of life is perfect but we Muslims are imperfect and no way our wrong and biased action should be seen as Islamic. Sadly, due to lack of knowledge and understading of our beautiful faith, most of us are very ignorant about our responsibilities as Muslims. May Allah swt forgive us and help us in purifying our heart and getting closer to Him insha-Allah.

Umme Hafsah said...


This video actually explains what hijab means, hope it will help u