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Road to Hijab

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Road to Hijab
 
 
Al Jumuah Magazine
 

In order to even find the road to hijab, much less walkinng on it, one must first realize that the hijab of the Muslim woman is not Arabian, Pakistani, Black or White American, etc. It is the command of Allah (SWT), the conditions for which have been given in the Quran and Sunnah, in order to provide protection and safety for women. Here are a few aspects one needs to consider:

Intention

The first step on the road to hijab is the proper intention (Niyah). The wearing of the hijab is the compliance to the command of Allah (SWT), therefore it can be classified as an act of worship. As with all acts of worship, the fundamental underlying principle is intention. The hijab must be worn for no other reason except to comply with the order of Allah (SWT), solely for His (SWT) sake and seeking His (SWT) Pleasure. If it is not done with this sincere intention, then it becomes an act of either "Hypocrisy" or of "Ar-Riyaa (showing off)".

If a Muslim woman wears hijab because, for instance, of an overbearing husband or father, and in her heart she dislikes it, or feels that it is a form of injustice; then she may very well have taken an act deserving of reward into one that may not bring about any reward in the hereafter. If all that Allah (SWT) expected from our acts of worship were outward manifestations, then He (SWT) would have graciously accepted the Islam of the hypocrites during the time of the Prophet (SAW).

The same is true for the woman who wears hijab because it's what the women around her do. She covers from head to toe in black to impress the people with her piety. When she is abroad, where no one she knows will see her, save her Lord, she does not wear the proper hijab. She then falls under the threat of Allah's (SWT) punishment, as the Prophet (SAW) said,

"Whoever does a deed for the people, then Allah (SWT) will give him to the people."

Knowledge

The second step on the road to hijab, is knowledge. The great scholar of Hadith, 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 hijab, to ascertain sure knowlege, based on the Quran, Sunnah and the understanding of the first generations of Muslims (Salaf). Unfortunately in this day and age, there are no shortage of books written on the issue of hijab by both Muslims and non-Muslims alike that are full of misleading information. It therefore becomes incumbent on Muslim women to gain sure and correct knowledge on this topic, in order to be better able in ciphering through the misinformation that is so predominant on this issue, and getting to the truth. When hijab is observed with the proper intentions and based upon sound knowledge, it then becomes a firm conviction in the heart. Due to this conviction, it becomes less likely that the hijab will be abandoned; either based upon the weak arguments of would-be Muslim "scholars," or the everyday pressures of living in a "modern" society and its false call to women's liberation. For the true desire of these people is as Allah (SWT) says in the Quran,

"Verily ,those who like that (the crime of) illegal sexual intercourse should be propagated among those who believe, they will have a painful torment in this world and in the hereafter. And Allah knows and you know not." (An-Nur 24:19)

Love

The third step on the road to hijab is love. It is among the signs of true belief that all acts of worship are manifested from love of those actions. The love of the hijab 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 (RA) asked his wife, Fatimah (RA), "What is the thing most beloved to a believing woman?" Fatimah (RA) 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 women's liberation or the love of what has become prevalent in one's culture or homeland. In order for the love of the hijab to be returned to the hearts of Muslim women, we must remove from our hearts the disease that suggests that the hijab 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 hijab 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. It was narrated that the Prophet (SAW) said,

"The parable of a woman who moves with a slow sweeping motion, trailing her beautiful clothes, performing not for her husband, is like darkness on the Day of Judgement, she has no light." (Tirmithi)

Awrah

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, save the hands and face.

Aisha (RA) reported that once her sister, Asma (RA) visited her in finery while the Prophet (SAW) was at home.  He (SAW) turned away from her and said, "O Asma, when a woman reaches puberty it is not lawful for her to uncover any part of her body except this."  He (SAW) then pointed to his face and hand palm. (Abu Dawud)

The above narration is one of the most commonly cited as proof for leaving the face and hands uncovered.  The main consideration of this opinion must be what constitutes the face and the hands.  The above statement clearly illustrates that the hand is part of the body, which extends below the wrist bone.

The definition of what constitutes the face can be found in another tradition of the Prophet (SAW).

He (SAW) pointed from his forehead to his chin and from his cheek to the cheek. (Abu Dawud)

It may be of importance to note that ears must also be covered because they are not a part of the face, but are a part of the head as he (SAW), said,

"The two ears are a part of the head." (Tirmithi)

This opinion also does not allow for the uncovering of the neck and breast.  The khimar must cover the entire head, INCLUDING THE EARS, ALL OF THE HAIR, come down from the head to COVER THE NECK AND THE BOSOM.  This is clear in the statement of Allah (SWT),

"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 bossoms, etc.) and not to reveal their adornment ..." (An-Nur 24:31)

Also among the things that must be covered are the clothes that a woman wears IN HER HOME.  It is not sufficient for a Muslim woman to go out in PANTS or a SKIRT, a LONG SHIRT, or even a SHALWAR KAMEESE and a khimar, because many times the clothes that a woman wears in the house are themselves adornments.

As the above verse states, Allah (SWT) FORBIDS the believing women from displaying her adornments, except to those people whom are clearly named out in (the remaining part of) the verse (An Nur 24:31).  Allah (SWT) also commands His Prophet (SAW) to tell the women in the following verse,

"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.  And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (Al-Ahzab 33:59)

Even though the hijab is not merely a covering dress, equally as important ,it is behavior, manners, speech and appearance in public; there are certain standards of dress however, "Conditions of Hijab", that must be maintained.