Islam-beliefs

Wisdom of Hijaab

Modern Youngsters

Whenever any young teen girl wishes to wear trendy clothes, their mom might say:

“Please don’t dress up like this.”

In this regard, the most common responses from our youngsters comes as:

  1. What is the problem dressing up like this?
  2. Have you seen her Mom? – at least I am not like her – the person exemplified, also points out to some other girl with more vulgar dress up – and this carries on…

Most of the parents of this age do not have any convincing answer for these questions. If the mom says “We don’t dress up like this” the girl will naturally respond or think to herself, “Have you ever checked yourself up in the mirror mom? Why are you comparing yourself with me?”

Our Mothers Used to be Beautiful

Actually, there was a time, when that same mom used to look beautiful. But there was no HD selfie camera at that age – so we don’t have any idea how beautiful and attractive our moms used to be. But, as years passed by, gradually their glamour faded away. May be they used to worry about it once and some of them might even have went to the dermatologists or tried out various anti aging cosmetics – but eventually they have accepted the truth – they are not going to look the way they used to be before.

The same thing will happen to us as well. But the only difference will be that our existing beauty is captured in high definition selfies. But there is another problem with this – we are leaving behind many clues of the way that we dress up now – which will be used by our future generations as an excuse to dress up in a more inappropriate way. They will simply say “mom you used to wear these at that old times, now the time has advanced and we need to keep up with the time” – thus the situation can get worse and out of control than that of now.

Evergreen Beauty and Ultra-Modern Society Issue

Don’t you think that, it is a blessing that our beauty gets decreased day by day reminding us about our shortage of time to live on this Earth. Sisters those who are worried about the weight they have gained over time – just think for a second, wouldn’t it be more difficult to hide your body shape, if it would be, like the way you used to be, when you were young.

In some cultures, the street boys pass comments or give killer-teasing looks to the girls wearing stylish clothes. Sisters of these regions get upset as they feel disgusting to cross in front of these uncivilized boys. These boys make them feel like a piece of meat walking in front of them. Believe it or not – this is also a blessing! You can only realize this, when you look at what is happening in other parts of the world – mostly in Western civilization. Sisters don’t have such kinds of complaints over there, but you will find the shortest possible skirts and most vulgar kind of clothing in public, which made its way to establish as the standard of the culture of those regions.

The Definition of Morality does not change with Time

We need to understand that, there is actually no modern age and old age for morality. Morality has the same standards since the ancient of times till this age, it doesn’t vary with generations. When a person reaches his/her old age and honestly ponders upon their moral mistakes (done at their young age), they feel guilty in the same way irrespective of the time and age that they are living on. Things that are morally wrong at old times are still morally wrong and will be morally wrong in the future times as well – this is the ultimate truth.

We think that the standards of morality are set by our culture – which is not actually true. Our Lord has already set out the best possible standards through the Quran and Hadiths. And we need to know them, to be able to answer our next generation. We should be able to convince them, why they should not blindly follow the standards set by the culture, rather submit to the laws set by our Maker – who loves us the most and wants to protect us from the physical, psychological and spiritual harm of immorality.

Our smartness is not actually defined by our indecency. Our Maker wants to raise our dignity and self esteem so that we are valued, based on our character and conduct – not by our level of indecency. Sometimes we lose our moral values within our own selves and our loved ones for the way we dress up, trying to catch up the cultural trends.

Literal Explanation from the Quran

We all need to know what Allah(swt) told us about this in the Quran and at least forward the message to our next generation and allow them to decide on their own.

The Ayats regarding the Hijab are:

Tell the believing men to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what they do.

And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed. {Surah An-Nur; Ayat 30-31}

O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful. {Surah Al-Ahzab; Ayat 59}

What is Hijab?

Hijab literally means to protect or cover from the opposite gender, which applies to both men and women. Many of us think that Hijab means the piece of cloth that is used to cover the head or face of women – this is not correct. 

Hijab is described in the Quran in two fold:

Firstly, it is elaborately described in Surah An-Nur. The very first Ayat regarding hijab indicates that hijab actually applies to the men first, even before the women.

Secondly, in Surah Al-Ahzab the rules concerning Jilbab are mentioned.

Hijab for Muslim Men:

Lower Your Gaze

In the first Ayat, Believing men are commanded to Lower Their Gaze. First, they should not look at non-maharam women, in order to prevent any possibility of lustful temptation, they are required to cast their glances downwards. This is known as the “hijab of the eyes”. However, if they accidentally sees such a woman, they must quickly lower their glances and should not look back again to that sister. Maharam means the person to whom marriage was never allowed (not in the past or the future).

Guard the Private Parts

In the same Ayat Muslim men are also commanded to Guard their Private Parts and to keep away from all kind of indecent activities.

Hijab for Muslim Women:

Lower Your Gaze and Guard the Private Parts

Then in the next Ayat, Allah(swt) commands the Prophet(pbuh) to address the Believing Women that, they should also Cast Down Their Glances, this is a similar command that is applicable to the men, as mentioned in the previous Ayat regarding “hijab of the eyes”. After this, they are also ordered to Guard their Private Parts. And finally, it is described how they should wear the Khumur in front of the non-maharams. Maharam means those whom marriage was never allowed (not in the past or the future).

Wear Khimar

Right after this the Ayat also mentions Muslim women are told to wear Khimar. Khimar is a singular form of Khumur(plural). The word khimar, by definition, means a piece of cloth that covers the head. Allah(swt) simply commanded to place a part of that Khimar over their bosoms or chest. According to the commentators of the Qur’an, the women of Medina in the pre-Islamic era, used to put their head-covering and leave it behind. With this Ayat, Almighty Allah simply ordered the women to place their headgear in the front and above their bosoms.

In addition to this, Muslim women are told Not to Stamp Their Feet or act similarly to gain attention. In the time of ancient Arabia, the women used to wear anklets so that their stamping would make a ringing sound which gained attention of the opposite gender – this was prohibited by this Ayat. However, nowadays it is not wrong to mention that the sound of the pencil heels or hard heels of the women, walking down the street or even inside the buildings, can attract the opposite gender easily.

The outer covering or Jalabib is mentioned in another part of the Quran in Surah Al-Ahzab.

Wear Jilbab

Jilbab is a singular form of Jalabib(plural). The word Jilbab means a long loose outer garment. Some scholars extend this to cover their face as well but the most common opinion is that this is just any form of full length loose cloak, coat/overcoat or similar kind of clothing that can hide the shape of the body.

Summary of the Islamic Dress Code for the Women

So, it is really simple to summarize the rules of clothing related to the Hijab for women:

  • Get a scarf that is long enough to extend and cover the chest; and
  • In addition to that, put on any form of long loose outer-garments that can hide the shape of the body.

So, if someone is wearing a scarf on the head over a tight jeans and short T-shirts, then even though the above conditions can never be fulfilled with this kind of dress code but she should never be looked down, because she is much better than many others – and will further develop herself over time Insha-Allah. She should rather be respected for the reason that, she feels proud to be a Muslim which is apparent from some of her dress code.

One interesting point

Interestingly, from the 2 completely separate Surahs (Surah An-Nur & Al-Ahzab) – the Ayats that are dealing with the same subject matter Hijab, end with some words of repentance indicating that, the door of Allah’s mercy is always available for us (in this regard) if we have crossed our limits knowingly or unwillingly.

To Whom Hijab actually applies?

Another important point to note is that the above Ayats actually call out to inform the Mu’min regarding the ruling of Hijab – so it is applicable for the Mu’min. Therefore, we need to understand the difference between a Muslim and a Mu’min. A Muslim is a person who submits and surrenders to the will of God – he or she may be a Muslim by birth. But, a Mu’min is a person who has Imaan in his/her Heart – so they have a higher level of faith.

Conclusion

Please note that, both of the above mentioned ayats are Madani, so they were imposed upon the people in a stage, where they were already convinced of the truth of Islam thus they became believers and also submitted themselves as Muslims – completely to the will of their God, without any further argument.

So we should understand that, we should not try imposing these stuffs upon someone, who is not yet ready to follow the entire way of his/her life as prescribed by our Maker.

These people should be presented with the knowledge of this religion with proper wisdom at the first instance. When their Imaan will start increasing – Hijab will automatically make its way to them – because Hijab should not be considered as an imposition of cultural or moral ruling on someone, rather it is actually a symptom of the Imaan that is present in the Heart. 

The whole thing can be summarized as:

  1. First, consider yourself as Muslim(submitter to the will of Allah), then consider yourself as a Mu’min(having strong faith over the religion), then focus over the Hijab, because the commands are subjected to Mu’min Men and Women. So if we wish our son/daughter or any other person to follow these rulings of Hijaab, we should allow them some time to become Mu’min first by helping them to grow their Imaan.
  2. Hijab means to protect or cover from the opposite gender and this applies to the men first (before women).
  3. Muslim men should lower their gaze before the opposite gender (except maharams) this is known as the hijab of the eyes.
  4. If they accidentally sees a non-maharam woman they must immediately lower their glances and not to look back again to the girl/woman.
  5. They must keep away from any kind of indecent activities and guard their private parts.
  6. After this, the Muslim women are also commanded similarly to cast down their glances and guard their private parts.
  7. They should wear a Khimar(headcovering) and place it over their chest or bosom.
  8. They are also ordered, not stamp their feet in a way that might gain attraction of the opposite gender towards them.
  9. They are commanded to wear Jilbab – which is a long loose outer-garment – these are any form of full-length outer-garment like a cloak, overcoat, burqa etc., that is loose enough to hide the shape of their bodies.
  10. Even though the Ayats illustrating Hijab belong from separate places of the Quran but they end with few words of repentance, indicating that the door of Allah’s mercy is always available for us – if we have crossed our limits knowingly or unwillingly.

All of these rules are there not to:

  • Degrade or oppress women;
  • Make them outdated; or
  • Take away their freedom.

But rather they actually:

  • Make the sisters recognizable as a Muslim woman;
  • Protect them from being annoyed, harassed or otherwise abused;
  • Uphold their Dignity & Self-Esteem; and
  • Evaluate them by means of their actual character and conduct and not by the means of their looks or vulgarity.

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