Very often the issue of the hijab faces all types of scrutiny from the media, non-Muslims and Muslims alike. It is a complex issue and one that, despite the time and devotion extended to it, somehow seems to become more and more hated each and every single year especially here in the west where wide drawn criticism and bans are becoming a reality for the Muslims. As we have all witnessed, the cruel and hypocritical hand of the western leaders has become more firm with the Muslimeen and in recent times countries such as France and Belgium have implemented bans on not only the Niqaab, but the hijab all together in public places. This article is not about the crackdown on the hijab in the west, but rather a sincere Naseeha (advise) to all my sisters in the Deen in relation to the wearing and implementation of the hijab.
Recently the devastating murder of our dear sister Nahid Almanea (Rahimahullah) on the streets of Essex, in broad daylight, seemed to spark some concern among the Muslims in the UK. For what crime did this young woman come under attack? Stabbed cold heartedly 16 times without warning, simply because she was observing an obligatory act in our religion. Let’s take a moment to reflect on her sacrifice and honour her with that which she and any of our oppressed sisters around the world deserve.
My dear sisters in the west, take this sister as a shining example of what a Muslimah should stand for, ask yourself, in 40,50 or even 60 years’ time when you have passed, what legacy will you have left behind? How will the people remember you? Will you be among those whom the people feel secure from whether it be your tongue or your physical appearance, or will you be among those whom the Muslims and your local community will miss dearly and speak highly of, keeping you firmly in their du’aas in order to save you from the hellfire or raise your status in al-Jannah. Who are you on this earth to please? And ask yourself sincerely, is it to garner attention from every Umar, Zubayr and Hassan or is it to truly please Allah tabarakah wa ta’ala?
To distance myself from generalising, I want to make it abundantly clear, the hijab itself does not make you pious, and in fact many sisters who do not wear the hijab are actually more pious than some who do, they observe their Salawaat (prayer), detach themselves from fahsha (evils) and are fairly modest, but in order to make their eeman (faith) complete, the hijab is necessary. Among the scholars of Islam, it is unanimously agreed that the hijab is is fardh ul ayn (compulsory for all women), so there being some sisters out there who are mistakenly under the impression that the Hijaab is fardh ul kifayaah (compulsory for some) as it was an obligation only for the prophet’s (ﷺ) wives, you must realise that there is no way around this issue, it is obligatory for the mothers of the believers and also for YOU as they are your role models and you must live your life in accordance with theirs. The first daleel (evidence) for the compulsion of the hijab is from the Qur’an when Allah says:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُل لِّأَزْوَاجِكَ وَبَنَاتِكَ وَنِسَاءِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِن جَلَابِيبِهِنَّ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ أَدْنَىٰ أَن يُعْرَفْنَ فَلَا يُؤْذَيْنَ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا
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.
This beyond any doubt solidifies the obligation of the hijab upon women, and what a beautiful obligation! If sisters truly knew the benefits and ajr one obtains from wearing it they would flock to also dawn it. Sadly a new phenomenon has arisen from the west and that phenomenon is sinful Muslim sisters who, through illicit, unfounded and baseless evidences speak out against the hijab and aid the kafireen in implementing tougher stances regarding this key aspect of our religion. So what is the key component of the identity of a Muslimah? Without hesitation we will say the hijab.
There are numerous social, religious and personal benefits which come out of wearing the hijab, on top of the list is: you please your lord subhanahu wa ta’ala. If this isn’t reason enough to adopt it then you must really question your link with Allah, ask yourself why you don’t feel obliged to put Allah’s guidelines before your own desires. In the UK, Alhamdulillah we have the freedom of religious expression and although we can argue that as time passes we are becoming more marginalised we are in the end still allowed to practise our deen to our full capacity with a couple of exceptions. So what holds you back from fulfilling your obligation my dear sister? Is it not enough to know the greatest women to ever walk on the face of the earth observed the hijab? About which:
Rasoolullah salallaahu alayhi wa salaam drew four lines on the ground and said: “Do you know what this is?” We said, “Allaah and His Messenger know best.” The Messenger of Allaah salallaahu alaihi wa salam said: “The best of the women of Paradise are Khadeejah bint Khuwaylid, Faatimah bint Muhammad, Aasiyah bint Mazaahim the wife of Pharaoh, and Maryam bint ‘Imraan – Radhiyallaahu anhumaa ajma'een.
(Reported in the Musnad of Imaam Ahmad 2663 with a Saheeh (authentic) isnaad )
The Islamic hijab however, is not the hijab which misguided sisters on YouTube and fashion blogs promote which encourages a severe beautification of the hijab and wallahi many times, this makes sisters look more attractive than without the hijab. Those sisters are deluding themselves by establishing false beliefs of permissibility but who can blame them when the majority of the time their husbands find it perfectly ok and often encourage their wives to beautify themselves publically. Unfortunately we even have brothers who discourage their wives from covering up and these brothers are facilitating the destruction of our communities as we all know the woman is the centre and the crucial mechanism of any Islamic society, and if the sisters are far from Islam, it is a very strong indication that so is the community at large for the most part. To these brothers I ask, where is your ghirah (protective jealousy) ya ikhwaan?? Do you not care about the stares you are exposing your wives to? The great temptations you are imposing on other brothers who may not be married? Fear Allah, fear Allah in a way He ought to be feared and do not allow your wives to be eye candy for every Tom, Dick and Harry out there. For this specific case Allah had mentioned in the Quran:
وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا ۖ وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَىٰ جُيُوبِهِنَّ ۖ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَائِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَائِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي أَخَوَاتِهِنَّ أَوْ نِسَائِهِنَّ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُنَّ أَوِ التَّابِعِينَ غَيْرِ أُولِي الْإِرْبَةِ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ أَوِ الطِّفْلِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يَظْهَرُوا عَلَىٰ عَوْرَاتِ النِّسَاءِ ۖ وَلَا يَضْرِبْنَ بِأَرْجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعْلَمَ مَا يُخْفِينَ مِن زِينَتِهِنَّ ۚ وَتُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ
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.) and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband's fathers, their sons, their husband's sons, 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 vigour, or small children who have no sense of the shame of 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.
(Soorah An-Noor (24):31)
There are those sisters who due to working in a specific industry, feel that dawning the hijab would severely hamper their work conditions or may even risk them losing their jobs. Although this issue may seem complex at first glance it is really straight forward, If wearing the hijab in that workplace alters the perception of your colleagues or you bosses in the workplace, then know that that occupation probably isn’t right for you, you need to come to realisation that what Allah wants for you should supersede any worldly aspirations you may have or any ambitions which stem from your whims and desires. If your job requires for you to sacrifice wearing the hijab then know that no good can come from this job, your income cannot possibly be considered halaal if you are committing a great evil in order to attain it and ultimately you have only succeeded in oppressing yourselves but if you open your heart and with patience and hope you will find Allah ta’ala will make things easy for you as Allah mentioned in the Quran:
قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ
Say, "O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah . Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful."
(Soorah Az-Zumar (39):53)
My dear sisters, nobody has the right to force you to do anything and not every speech you read or hear will miraculously inspire you to adopt the hijab, but the reality is you were chosen to be a part of the greatest Ummah (nation) for a reason, whether you realise your potential for good is in your hands but do not let the days fade like a mirage in the desert sitting idle whilst indulging in over thinking. Your family, your wealth, your career and any other beloved thing to you in this dunya will surely perish one day and you will be all alone in the vast plains during Yawm ul Qiyyamah (Day of Judgement) desperately seeking guidance and a second chance for redemption but you will surely find no such thing on that day, rather you will be absolutely helpless and the only one who can help you, you chose to turn away from and disobey so ultimately you let your paradise slip through your fingers by committing self-oppression, so take this final note to heart as our habeeb Al Mustafa Amin Sallallahu alayhi wa salaam mentions in Al-Bukhari:
There are four women in Paradise and they are: a chaste and an obedient one to Allah and her husband, patient, content, coy, and reproductive who guards her husband's property and herself in his absence and holds her tongue in his presence. A widow who devotes her life for her children and does not marry lest they fail. As for the four women of Hell –fire. The woman who has a shrewd tongue and is vulgar towards her husband, who does not guard herself in his absence and injures him with her tongue in his presence.The one who charges her husband burdens greater than he can bear. The one who shows herself to men and goes outdoors displaying her beauty. The one who does not concern herself except with food, drink and sleep. Further she is not eager to pray or to obey Allah and her husband, such a woman who in addition to that, leaves her husband's home without his permission is accursed by the people of fire until she repents to Allah.
Wasalaamu Alaikum WaRahmatullahi WaBarakatuh