QUESTION OF HIJAB:
do Muslim women have to cover their
heads?” This question is one which is
asked by Muslim and non-Muslim alike.
For many women it is the truest test of
being a Muslim.
answer to the question is very simple -
Muslim women observe HIJAB (covering the
head and the body) because Allah has
told them to do so.
Prophet, tell your wives and
daughters and the believing women
to draw their outer garments
around them (when they go out or
are among men). That is better in
order that they may be known (to
be Muslims) and not annoyed...”
secondary reasons include the
requirement for modesty in both men and
women. Both will then be evaluated for
intelligence and skills instead of looks
and sexuality. An Iranian school girl is
quoted as saying, “We want to stop men
from treating us like sex objects, as
they have always done. We want them to
ignore our appearance and to be
attentive to our personalities and mind.
We want them to take us seriously and
treat us as equals and not just chase us
around for our bodies and physical
Muslim woman who covers her head is
making a statement about her identity.
Anyone who sees her will know that she
is a Muslim and has a good moral
character. Many Muslim women who cover
are filled with dignity and self esteem;
they are pleased to be identified as a
Muslim woman. As a chaste, modest, pure
woman, she does not want her sexuality
to enter into interactions with men in
the smallest degree. A woman who covers
herself is concealing her sexuality but
allowing her femininity to be brought
to the believing man 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
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...”
has no fixed standard as to the style of
dress or type of clothing that Muslims
must wear. However, some requirements
must be met. The first of these
requirements is the parts of the body
which must be covered.
second requirement is looseness. The
clothing must be loose enough so as not
to describe the shape of the woman’s
body. One desirable way to hide the
shape of the body is to wear a cloak
over other clothes. However, if the
clothing is loose enough, an outer
garment is not necessary.
is the third requirement. The clothing
must be thick enough so as not to show
the color of the skin it covers or the
shape of the body.
requirement is an over-all dignified
appearance. The clothing should not
attract men’s attention to the woman.
It should not be shiny and flashy so
that everyone notices the dress and the
addition there are other requirements:
must not dress so as to appear as
should not dress in imitation of the
clothing should be modest, not
excessively fancy and also not
excessively ragged to gain others
admiration or sympathy.
forgotten is the fact that modern
Western dress is a new invention.
Looking at the clothing of women as
recently as seventy years ago, we see
clothing similar to hijab. These active
and hard-working women of the West were
not inhibited by their clothing which
consisted of long, full dresses and
various types of head covering. Muslim
women who wear hijab do not find it
impractical or interfering with their
activities in all levels and walks of
is not merely a covering dress but more
importantly, it is behavior, manners,
speech and appearance in public. Dress
is only one facet of the total being.
basic requirement of the Muslim woman’s
dress apply to the Muslim man’s
clothing with the difference being manly
in degree. Modesty requires that the
area between the navel and the knee be
covered in front of all people except
the wife. The clothing of men should not
be like the dress of women, nor should
it be tight or provocative. A Muslim
should dress to show his identity as a
Muslim. Men are not allowed to wear gold
or silk. However, both are allowed for
both men and women, clothing
requirements are not meant to be a
restriction but rather a way in which
society will function in a proper,
it gives me freedom.
are taught from early childhood that
their worth is proportional to their
attractiveness. We feel compelled to
pursue abstract notions of beauty, half
realizing that such a pursuit is futile.
women reject this form of oppression,
they face ridicule and contempt. Whether
it’s women who refuse to wear makeup
or to shave their legs, or to expose
their bodies, society, both men and
women, have trouble dealing with them.
the Western world, the hijab has come to
symbolize either forced silence or
radical, unconscionable militancy.
Actually, it’s neither. It is simply a
woman’s assertion that judgment of her
physical person is to play no role
whatsoever in social interaction.
the hijab has given me freedom from
constant attention to my physical self.
Because my appearance is not subjected
to public scrutiny, my beauty, or
perhaps lack of it, has been removed
from the realm of what can legitimately
one knows whether my hair looks as if I
just stepped out of a salon, whether or
not I can pinch an inch, or even if I
have unsightly stretch marks. And
because no one knows, no one cares.
that one has to meet the impossible male
standards of beauty is tiring and often
humiliating. I should know, I spent my
entire teenage years trying to do it. It
was a borderline bulimic and spent a lot
of money I didn’t have on potions and
lotions in hopes of becoming the next
definition of beauty is ever-changing;
waifish is good, waifish is bad,
athletic is good -- sorry, athletic is
bad. Narrow hips? Great. Narrow hips?
are not going to achieve equality with
the right to bear their breasts in
public, as some people would like to
have you believe. That would only make
us party to our own objectification.
True equality will be had only when
women don’t need to display themselves
to get attention and won’t need to
defend their decision to keep their
bodies to themselves.