By Sumayyah Joan
It will be three years since I stood before two Muslim sisters and declared openly my belief in God (Allah) and His Messenger, Peace be upon him, and thus freeing and liberating myself from my former self-imposed bondage. Stepping out of the darkness of disbelief into the light of Islam, it’s funny that I found such freedom in the very thing that was keeping me from Islam in the first place – the hijab.
Even though I get the wide gamut of strange stares, points and comments, this covering makes me feel honored, safe and cherished.
The word hijab comes from the Arabic word “hajaba” meaning to hide from view or to conceal. Women who don’t reveal their beauty in this society and give in to this oppressive system, are looked upon as invisible, without sexuality and backward.
Because I’m often mistaken for a nun, or terrorist, I feel the reactions to the hijab for many women, is the truest test of being a Muslim.
But in reality, the hijab is easy!
In instructing us to wear the hijab, Allah has given Muslim women what they can bear of injunctions and obligations. For Allah says:
“ And we do not lay on any soul a burden except to the extent of its ability, and with Us (God) is a Book which speaks the truth…” Qur’an 23:62
Unfortunately, Satan and his cohorts are calling the Muslim woman to enslave her to the creation, and to forget about her servitude to her Creator. Chastity, modesty and piety are deceptively marked as shackles on personal freedom.
Allah Ta’ala warns the believers that they should not let Satan deceive them, as he deceived their parents, Adam and Eve. Under the guises of fashion, culture, and modernism, Satan has succeeded and is succeeding to lead the Muslim woman –and all women- into immodesty.
Since the heyday of the feminist movement, there has been an increasing amount of scrutiny placed on the dress and status of Muslim women.
According to these “liberated” women, the hijab not only covers the head, but also covers the mind, will and intellect. They say that our dress code is outdated and oppressive, and it stops us from being productive human beings. They speak out of ignorance when they say that our hijab does not belong in these modern times, when due to the constant decrease in moral values in the world today, circumstances make the hijab even more necessary.
From the dawn of civilization, flowing dresses and headscarves have always been associated with “Godliness” or “God consciousness”. Even the Christian pictorial representation of the earlier prophets and their womenfolk bear familiar likeness to the dress ordained for Muslim men and women (e.g. Mary). This tradition of modesty is reflected in the Qur’an (7:26), wherein Allah says:
“O Children of Adam! We (God) have bestowed clothing upon you to cover yourselves and as an adornment (for beauty); and the clothing of righteousness – that is best. ”Qur’an 7:26
Allah enjoined hijab on the Muslim woman to protect her from harm.
He knows His creation, and knows that when women make a dazzling display of themselves, with immodest clothes, perfumed bodies and made-up faces, it serves to increase the sexual deviance of the overall society. Many of those who are misguided however, would have us think that the hijab is a portable prison that restricts our minds, lives and hearts. It is none of these things, and in order not to fall victim to their plots, we must begin to understand what the hijab truly is- a source of liberation, dignity and protection.
What the Hijab is…
🔹An act of Obedience to The Creator.
🔹An Act of Honour & Dignity.
🔹An act of Belief & Faith.
🔹An act of Modesty.An act of Purity.
🔹An act of Bashfulness.An act of Righteousness.
What the Hijab is NOT…
♦It is NOT something new. Muslim women follow the example of righteous women in the past such as Mary, the mother of Jesus.
♦It is NOT a symbol of oppression.
♦It is NOT required in non-public places where there are only muslim females and close male relatives.
♦It is NOT a means to restrict a woman’s freedom to express her views and opinion, or to have an education and a career.
♦It is NOT an act of defiance, confrontation or protest to non-Muslims.
♦It is NOT a portable prison.
“ Indeed, the men who submit and the women who submit, the believing men and the believing women, the obedient men and the obedient women, the truthful men and the truthful women, the patient men and the patient women, the humble men and the humble women, the charitable men and the charitable women, the fasting men and the fasting women, the men who guard their private parts and the women who do so, and the men who remember Allah often and the women who remember – Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a mighty reward. ” [Qur’an 33:35]