Hijab: Muslim-American Perspectives

There have been a succession of recent posts in the blogosphere regarding removing the hijab. Jillian C. York has referred to them here in her article on Global Voices. As we believe that the hijab IS obligatory in Islam, as agreed on by the four major Islamic scholars – Hanbali, Shafi’i, Maliki and Hanafi. It is upsetting to hear about people taking off the hijab and sometimes for reasons that do not even make any logical sense. Reading those posts, we felt there needed to be clarification for ourselves and for others on what hijab and Islam means to us.

First of all, let’s clear up a few issues that were brought up in the posts:

1) Hijab is NOT a prerequisite of being a Muslim. It is possible for one to be a Muslim and not wear hijab. So, not wearing hijab does not make you a non-Muslim as long as you are not denying that it is required in Islam.

2) Hijab-wearers who think ya’ll are better then non-Hijab-wearers and vice versa. Please Stop. There are cases that a non-hijabi woman has higher Iman (faith) than a woman who does wear hijab. The opposite could also be true. Only God knows best what is in our hearts.

3) Being a perfect Muslim is in no way a prerequisite for wearing hijab. If a woman says  she is waiting to wear hijab until she “has higher iman” or “can represent hijab well,” her life might end before she feels ready.

{24} وَلا تَقُولَنَّ لِشَيْءٍ إِنِّي فَاعِلٌ ذَلِكَ غَدًا}}

{25} {{إِلاَّ أَن يَشَاء اللَّهُ وَاذْكُر رَّبَّكَ إِذَا نَسِيتَ وَقُلْ عَسَى أَن يَهْدِيَنِ رَبِّي لِأَقْرَبَ مِنْ هَذَا رَشَدًا

And never say of anything, “Indeed, I will do that tomorrow,” {24}

Except [when adding], “If Allah wills.” And remember your Lord when you forget [it] and say, “Perhaps my Lord will guide me to what is nearer than this to right conduct.” {25}

Surat Al-Kahf; Ayah 24-25

These verses perfectly express that unless Allah wills it, we might not live to see the daylight of tomorrow morning. One might say, I’ll wear hijab once I’m 30 or 40, but who is going to guarantee that you will live until that age?

4) SALAH (prayer) is second pillar of Islam after shahadah (declaration of faith). It is essential to establish our connection with Allah and to have a proper aqeeda (creed) along with the rest of the five pillars to set us on the right path inshaAllah (God willing). Also, it is important to remember that the verses about hijab was revealed after the ones about salah. We can see this as a clear message of the importance of prayer. There has been an instance when a Muslim convert told me she wanted to wear hijab a couple days after she converted. Although it’s great that she felt she was ready to start wearing hijab, sometimes one gets overzealous in the deen (religion) that they forget to prioritize, prioritize! So, dear sisters: Salah first!

5) Another issue brought up in the posts in a more indirect way was judging. As humans we are prone to judging people by their appearances, the way they talk etc. As Muslims, we are taught that we don’t have the authority to judge others as judgment is solely the right of Allah.

{{إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَن ضَلَّ عَن سَبِيلِهِ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ}}

{{Verily, your Lord knows better, who (among men) has gone astray from His Path, and He knows better those who are guided}}

Surat Al-Qalam; Ayah 7

So lay back, save yourself the trouble and leave the judging to the Almighty.

Islam was sent as a religion for the people of the world and to be practiced until the end of time. It is complete and has been set in stone. Islam is also choice, you may practice it or you may not. That is between you and Allah [SWT]. Hijab is the same, it has been obligated on all Muslim women but each Muslimah is responsible for her actions.

In his final sermon, the Prophet Muhammed [SAW] recited the final Ayah [verse] that was revealed from the Qur’an, which includes the following:

{ الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الإِسْلامَ دِينًا }

{This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion}

Surat Al-Maidah; Ayah 5

Islam is like a school: You are given the books and resources to excel in your studies and you are also made aware of the consequences of your actions. In the end it is your choice whether to abide by the rules, study and pass or go against the rules, fail and face the consequences of your actions.

As humans we are free to say whatever we like as God has given us a mouth to speak. However, it is necessary for all of us to keep in mind that we will be accountable for whatever we say on the Yawm il-Qiyama (The Day of Judgement) so we’d better make sure that what we say/do is correct.

Read More about how we (the bloggers) started wearing hijab:

Our upcoming posts will be about our stories on wearing hijab! Subscribe to the blog or follow us on twitter to receive an update on upcoming posts in this series (Behind the Veil: Muslim Women)


Far7 we aman/hob we salam

Amina and Jamila

One Response to “Hijab: Muslim-American Perspectives”
  1. Roedy Green says:

    The racist Conservative Party have enacted a regulation that Muslim women must disrobe for citizenship ceremonies. (They must remove the veil they consider necessary for public decency.) I suggest a modest proposal. If Muslims must disrobe, so should everyone else, including the judge. After all, Christians can hide firearms, bottles of acid and bombs under all that unnecessary clothing.

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