Why do muslimahs wear hijab?
This is one question you can’t hear enough of, and it is almost always accompanied by others like ‘were you forced into it?’ ‘Are you being oppressed?’ ‘Aren’t you hot?’ ‘Are you cold?’ and the list go on and on, all of these of course are from non – muslims, there’s also the naïve muslimahs with questions like ‘is it necessary?’ or ‘do hijabis just wear it to look religious?’
All of these questions might seem germane, but they aren’t, at least not to me and this is because once one is able to understand that the hijab is in accordance with the commandment of Allah, then questions like ‘why muslimahs wear hijab’ or ‘is the hijab necessary’ becomes inconsequential (A muslimah is after all a person who obeys the commandments of Allah).
And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), … and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent (like both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer palms of hands or one eye or dress like veil, gloves, head cover, apron), and to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms) and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband’s fathers, or their sons, or their husband’s sons, or their brothers or their brother’s sons, or their sister’s sons, or their (Muslim) women (i.e. their sisters in Islam), or the (female) slaves whom their right hands possess, or old male servants who lack vigor, or small children who have no sense of feminine sex. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful (An Nur 24:31)
Why you shouldn’t wear the hijab
Every day, new muslimahs decide that it’s time to finally take the big step, to wear hijab (Alhamdulillah), it is indeed a huge step, a leap in faith and a very good thing but are you really sure that you want to wear hijab?
I know! I know!! I sound a little discouraging, but I’m not trying to discourage you, I am only bringing to your notice that there are a lot of reasons why people decide to use hijab so before you start let’s make certain that you’re not wearing hijab for the wrong reasons. These are some of the wrong reasons to wear hijab.
Meanwhile a lot of muslimahs find themselves in societies that don’t encourage the use of hijab, there are others who will find that they don’t fit in their society without hijab. This will include muslimahs who were brought up in Islamic areas, who constantly have to attend Islamic programs or who has joined Islamic societies (the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria for instance), you’ll often hear them say “everyone who goes there use hijab, so I have to use hijab” “I definitely can’t attend the programs without my hijab” yes! It is a good thing to use the hijab, but what happens when let’s say ‘you move to another area’ or ‘you stop attending certain programs’ or ‘you graduate from school’? Do you also stop using your hijab?
There are lots of parents out there who try to encourage their kids to use hijab (ma sha Allah), some even enforce it (a nice effort), and you hear kids from such parents saying “I can’t step out of the house without my hijab because my dad’s going to kill me’ (oh boy!). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say that it’s wrong for parents to encourage the use of hijab, or for children to obey their parents by using hijab, what I am saying is that if you use hijab out of fear of your parents, what happens when they can’t see you (in college for instance)?, or when you’re no longer afraid of them?
There’s always the friends factor, always something we feel the need to do because our friends are doing it, and if we are unable to do such things, we feel ‘not among’ (I couldn’t think of a better way to put it). Wearing hijab just happens to be one of those things (for someone with a lot of hijabi friends). Keeping good friends who remind you of Allah is encouraged in islam, but making them the reason for engaging in an acts of worship is a no! No!
There’s only one reason to wear hijab
Wearing hijab, just like all other forms of worship should be done, only and only for the sake of Allah. Whatever the reason we are wearig hijab is, if it’s not to attain the pleasure of Allah, it is wrong. We wear the hijab seeking our reward from Allah alone, and not for approval for our friends, or to fit in our societies because we are certain that He is sufficient for us.
What is worth doing at all, is worth doing well
Once you’ve decided to wear the hijab to please Allah and Allah alone then using it right (as prescribed by Allah and His messenger (pbuh)) should come easy. I pray that God makes it an easy endeavor for all muslimahs – old, new and intending hijabis alike. (Amin)