RAIMENT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
The HIJAAB word comes from the Arabic word “hajaba” meaning to hide from view or to conceal. Women, who conceal their beauty in this society and do not give into its oppressive system, are looked upon as invisible, without sexuality and backward. Muslim woman is often mistaken for a nun or for an Islamic fundamentalist terrorist. Who may be hiding God-knows what under all that stuff, or the poster-child for oppressed womanhood everywhere. I feel the HIJAAB for many women is the hardest and truest test of being a Muslim. In instructing us to wear the HIJAAB, Allaah has given Muslim women what they can bear of restrictions and obligations. For Allaah says: “And We tax not any person except according to his capacity, and with Us is a Record which speaks the truth, and they will not be wronged.”. (Qur’aan 23:62)
Unfortunately, Satan and his cohorts are calling the Muslim woman to enslave herself to the creation and to forget about her servitude to her Creator. Chastity, modesty, and piety are deceptively marketed as shackles on personal freedom. Allaah warns the believers that they should not let Satan deceive them as he deceived their parents, Adam and Eve. However, under the guise of fashion, culture, and modernism; Satan has and is succeeding in leading the Muslim woman into immodesty.
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 woman folks bear a familiar likeness to the dress ordained for Muslim men and women. This tradition of modesty is reflected in the Qur’an, wherein Allaah says: “O Children of Adam! We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover yourselves (screen your private parts, etc.) and as an adornment, and the raiment of righteousness, that is better. Such are among the Ayât (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of Allâh, that they may remember (i.e. leave falsehood and follow truth).” (Qur’aan 7:26)
Since the heydays 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 HIJAAB not only covers the head, but also covers the mind, the will, and intellect. They say that our dress code is outdated and oppressive. They assert it stops us from being productive human beings. They speak out of ignorance when they say that our HIJAAB does not belong in these modern times. Due to the constant decrease in today’s world morality generally, circumstances make the HIJAAB even more necessary.
Sex crimes are rampant and “liberated” women in the larger society now face increasingly higher chances of being raped or sexually harassed. The Federal Government conducted a survey in which they found that in America, a rape-crime is committed every six minutes on the women who uncover their beauty and show off their bodies and made-up faces for all to enjoy. They expose themselves to be harmed by wolves in human clothing. Allaah Almighty enjoined the HIJAAB on the Muslim woman to protect her from harm. He knows His creation, and knows that when women make dazzling displays of themselves, with immodest clothes, perfumed bodies and made-up faces, that it serves to increase the sexual deviance of the overall society. Many of those who are misguided would have us think though, that the HIJAAB 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 HIJAAB truly is...
THE HIJAAB IS AN ACT OF OBEDIENCE
The HIJAAB is an act of obedience to Allaah: “It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allâh and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allâh and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed in a plain error.” (Qur’aan 33:36)
Allaah 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 only that which is apparent (like palms of hands or one eye or both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer dress like veil, gloves, head-cover, apron, etc.), and to draw their veils all over Juyubihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms, etc.) ... ” (Qur’aan 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* The head covers should be drawn so as to cover the hair, the neck, and the chest.Scholars differed whether the veil cover of the body must include the hands and face or not. Most scholars agree that it is preferable, for women to cover their faces, and Allaah knows best.
THE HIJAAB IS CHASTITY
Allaah Almighty makes the compliance of wearing the HIJAAB 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) all over their bodies (i.e.screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed...” (Qur’aan 33:59)
This is evidence that exposure of a woman’s beauty, 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. Allaah made it permissible for them to lay aside their outer garments, and reminding them however, that is still better for them to keep their modesty.
THE HIJAAB IS PURITY
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 (peace be upon him) has informed us in a hadeeth, “That there is no disease or sickness except that Allaah 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 Allaah Almighty tells His Prophet (peace be upon him) to address the believers: “O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e.screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed...” (Qur’aan 33:59)
The cure is The HIJAAB: the inner and outer covering of the women in society. The HIJAAB is one of the Commands of Allaah and it makes for greater purity for the hearts of believing men and women because it screens against desires of the heart. As Allaah tells us in the Qur’an: “...And when you ask (his wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen, that is purer for your hearts and for their hearts ... ” (Qur’aan 33:53)
When the HIJAAB 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 Islam in respect to the affairs of Muslim women. These considerations and laws have been primarily laid down to protect her chastity, her honor, 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.
THE HIJAAB IS RIGHTEOUSNESS
Allaah Almighty says: “O Children of Adam! We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover yourselves (screen your private parts, etc.) and as an adornment, and the raiment of righteousness, that is better...” (Qur’aan 7:26) Today, the common ways of dressing are mostly for displaying the female beauty or showing of 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 Allaah. To them, it is an assertion of faith and a way of attaining righteousness.
THE HIJAAB IS A 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 Allaah 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.
For many women who enter Islam and even those who are raised in nonreligious Muslim Households, the road to observing the proper HIJAAB can be a very difficult one.
THE ROAD TO HIJAAB
In order to even find the road to HIJAAB, much less walking on it, one must first realize that the HIJAAB of the Muslim woman is not Arabian, Pakistani, Black or White American, etc. It is the command of Allaah, the conditions for which have been given in the Qur’an and Sunnah; in order to provide protection and safety for women. Here are a few aspects one needs to consider:
The first step on the road to HIJAAB is the proper intention. The wearing of the HIJAAB is the compliance to the command of Allaah; therefore it can be classified as an act of worship. As with all acts of worship, the fundamental underlying principle is intention. The HIJAAB must be worn for no other reason except to comply with the order of Allaah, solely for His sake and seeking His Pleasure. If it is not done with this sincere intention, then it becomes an act of either hypocrisy or showing off (riyaa)
The second step on the road to HIJAAB, is knowledge, the great scholar of hadeeth; Imam Bukhari said: “Knowledge must precede both statement and action”. It is of the utmost importance for a woman who is seeking to observe the proper HIJAAB, to ascertain sure knowledge, based on the Qur’an, Sunnah and the understanding of the first generation of Muslims scholars.
The third step on the road to HIJAAB is love. It is among the signs of the true belief that all acts of worship are manifested from love of those actions. The love of the HIJAAB and the haya (inhibition or bashfulness) of the first generation of Muslim women has slowly been worn away from the hearts of modern-day Muslim women. Once Ali ibn abi Talib asked his wife Fatimah: “What is the thing most beloved to a believing woman?” Fatimah replied: “Not to see or be seen by strange men.”
What happened to this love of modesty? Unfortunately for many Muslim women, this love has been replaced with the love of “so called” women’s liberation or the love of what has become prevalent in one’s culture or homeland. In order for the love of the HIJAAB to be returned to the hearts of Muslim women, we must remove from our hearts the disease suggesting that the HIJAAB makes us inferior to men and restricts our womanhood. These are whisperings of the Satan calling Muslim women to abandon their honor and their status as the best women of creation. The HIJAAB of the Muslim woman is her right and her honor ordained by the Lord of the Worlds. It is her light that separates her from the darkness of the disbelieving women.
The awrah of a woman is the areas of her body, which must be covered. The respected scholars from past and present have differed in whether the veil should cover the hands and face or whether it is sufficient to cover everything, except the hands and face.
The definition of what constitutes the face can be found in the tradition of the Prophet (peace be upon him). He pointed from his forehead to his chin and from his cheek to the cheek. (Abu Dawood). It may be of importance to note that ears must also be covered because they are not a part of the face but a part of the head as he said: “The two ears are a part of the head.”(Tirmidhi)
This opinion also does not allow for the uncovering of the neck and chest. The khimar (scarf) must cover the entire head, including the ears, all of the hair, come down from the head to cover the neck and all the chest. This is clear in the statement of Allaah: “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 only that which is apparent (like palms of hands or one eye or both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer dress like veil, gloves, head-cover, apron, etc.), and to draw their veils all over Juyubihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms, etc.) ...” (Qur’aan 24:31)
CONDITIONS OF THE HIJAAB THAT MUST BE MAINTAINED:
1. A wide enough dress that does not outline any part of the body.2. The clothing must be thick enough so as not to show the color of the skin it covers or the shape of the body. 3. The clothing should not attract men’s attention to the woman. It should not be flashy or shiny so that everyone notices the dress and the woman. 4. A dress that does not look similar to men’s wear, for Muslim women are prohibited from looking like men.5. A dress that does not in any way resemble the dress of the disbelievers.6. The clothing should be modest, not excessively fancy and also not excessively ragged to gain admiration or sympathy.7. The clothing should be free from any perfume or fragrance.
THE VIRTUES OF HIJAAB:
Among the virtues of observing the proper HIJAAB for Muslim women, the first and foremost is an act of obedience to Allaah Almighty and His Messenger (peace be upon him).The modest appearance of the Muslim woman, dressed in correct HIJAAB, is a sign of purity and dignity. It tells the world that she is a chaste woman, and sets her apart from the immoral behavior associated with women who go out in clothing that leave nothing to the imagination. As a chaste and modest woman, the HIJAAB shows that she does not want her sexuality to enter into her interactions with men even in the smallest degree.
The HIJAAB also serves as a screen between the Muslim woman and the evil that exists in the society around her. When a woman wears the HIJAAB she is less likely to be sexually harassed by men with sinful motives. She is also less likely to be exploited for her beauty and femininity.
Another virtue of the HIJAAB is that it prevents unnecessary rivalry and competition between women. Due to this sense of competition, the “liberated” woman wastes her wealth and sacrifices her health and well-being, through plastic surgery, in a desperate attempt to keep up with society’s fleeting and ever-changing image of beauty. In Islam, through the HIJAAB, women learn to appreciate each other based on knowledge, piety, and societal contributions. The HIJAAB gives women the right to reclaim their own bodies as private property and not something for all to speculate about and to scrutinize.
Finally we ask Allaah to protect Muslim Women from all types of harm; to forgive their sins and enter them in Heaven, amin.
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