TO HIJAB OR NOT TO HIJAB…. OUR CHOICE…

Hijab refers to the act of covering up, and most commonly is associated with the headscarf worn by many Muslim woman. I personally began  wearing it at 11 it to feel spiritually closer to God and for modesty, and it’s personally what I feel most comfortable though it can also be worn for cultural purposes and just as a general reminder of the modest attitude you should conform to as required by religion and even as a means of escaping the masMuslim-woman-praying-REUTERS-640x480s media’s interpretation and judgement of how a woman should look. However, what saddens me is the fact that many woman across the world are practically forced/pressured to wear the hijab or some form of veil by law or perhaps the most subjugating of all – by their own families. In countries like Iran, since the revolution, hijab has been made compulsory and can therefore be seen as a symbol of oppression by the Western media, based on certain countries interpretations of what modesty is, despite countless Muslim countries having no laws enforcing a dress code for woman. Choosing to veil or not veil should always remain a choice and not a pressured fulfillment enforced by others. ‘There should be no compulsion in religion’, as stated by the Quraan – woman should be able to interpret for themselves what modesty means for themselves and their relationship with God with no interference. If God is the judge, then it shouldn’t be of anyone’s concern. What’s the point in forcing a garment upon someone when they don’t wear it with intention, but rather compulsion or the desire to please others?

Many countries or families pressure girls to adopt the veil in fear that they will be led astray or harassed by men, which in my opinion is ridiculous. A man should be held responsible for what he does to a woman, not the woman. Both veiled and non veiled woman have been harassed. The laws in some countries that you must wear a headscarf is not for me to judge, however it deeply affects certain woman, even already veiled woman! Personally, even though I already wear a hijab, I would still feel restricted in a sense leaving the house, especially due to the fact that there are often specialized police who observe woman’s dress and sanction them accordingly. When I leave the house, I don’t have to wear my hijab as tight as possible in order to conceal every strand in a bid to escape these sanctions, or obsessively check my neck is covered. Although I cover up, living in a free country like the UK, I can leave the house knowing I am wearing a headscarf because I want to, and if I didn’t want to, there would be no judgement by the people of a free country. The woman of countries where hijab is compulsory don’t have that comfort. I take advantage of being able to meet different people of different views and learning in a mixed and cosmopolitan background, with people just like me who wear a headscarf, and many who don’t Not everyone gets that comfort. Tolerance begins with acceptance of diversity.

The Quraan definitely places a huge emphasis on modesty for both men and woman, though interpretations on what modesty means is different for different woman. For some it’s a hijab, which many wear, for some it’s just modesty in dress and no hijab, which is also common, and for a minority it’s the veil. Wearing one doesn’t make you any better of a person than your not veiled Muslim counterparts, but likewise it doesn’t make you anymore oppressed or any less of a person. The point is that no woman should feel compelled to cover their hair or anything for this matter, but likewise no – one should feel as if they have to take it off. We should be allowed to express ourselves how we and develop our own relationship with God, however we may interpret that. It should be complete free will – that is true liberation. Although I wear a hijab, I have countless Muslim friends and some relatives who do not wear a hijab and their right should be respected just as mine. I would feel uncomfortable having to remove my headscarf unnecessarily and I can only imagine that’s how non veiled woman feel by sudden laws which take them out of their comfort zone. Personally I find the law of mandatory hijab in countries like Iran just as oppressive and extreme as countries like France’s hijab ban in public sectors and ban of the veil.

The hijab itself is not oppressive as it’s just a piece of material on a woman’s head, which can symbolize different things for different woman, however being made to wear or not wear one demonizes and mocks the reasons as to why free woman choose to wear one and re-enforces stereotypes that those who want to wear a hijab are somehow ‘oppressed’. Not all woman are used to wearing one, just like not all are used to taking one off. It should always be a choice; everyone should be free to cover or not cover.

The world should allow for veiled woman like me, and non veiled woman everywhere with any of us fearing discrimination. This world should be for all of us. Headscarf or not, we are the same underneath. It’s about what’s  in our head, not on it.

Thanks for reading, don’t forget to follow!

Bushra 😀 xx

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3 thoughts on “TO HIJAB OR NOT TO HIJAB…. OUR CHOICE…

  1. I want to point out few flaws in your argument.

    You said that,” Choosing to veil or not veil should always remain a choice and not a pressured fulfillment enforced by others. ‘There should be no compulsion in religion’, as stated by the Quraan – woman should be able to interpret for themselves what modesty means for themselves and their relationship with God with no interference.”

    BUt Bushra, have you pondered upon the ayat of Surah Baqarah which says la iqraha fid deen?? This Ayat is about those who are not Muslim: Muslims are not allowed to force those who are not Muslim –to begin with- to embrace Islam.What does this have to do at all with the wearing Hijab? These are two completely different topics.If I follow your line of reasoning, Should we also abandon other parts of the Islam where the offense does not really harm others, such as abandoning Prayer, drinking alcohol,promiscuity,stealing,adultery, zina,cursing the Prophet salla-llahu `alaihi wa-sallam or others, etc., since ‘there is no compulsion in religion’? Shouldn’t the parent stop their child from committing all this and warn them to stay away from all these evils? Of course they should.

    We read in Qur’an that, ” O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones, over which are [appointed] angels, harsh and severe; they do not disobey Allah in what He commands them but do what they are commanded.” [Qur’an 66:6]

    This is the reason why some Muslim parents interfere in their children’s and family matter. Because Muslims do not believe in a individualistic pattern of living. Believers are nothing but brothers.We help each other.

    • I agree with your first point, perhaps that quote wasn’t the best to use. But my argument has nothing to do with things like prayer, alcohol etc as this is a commandment for everybody. This is a response to countries like Iran who have legislation which demands a headscarf for all woman. For a start that puts people off wearing one in the first place and the woman have no choice but to wear a hijab with clothes that look odd with it and only makes people rebel from it and then people wonder why some ‘abuse the hijab’. If countries allowed their citizens to find their own connection with God and religion then there would be less bloodshed and hatred in our world and more genuine spirituality. And this is where the quote “there is no compulsion in religion” comes to play. There are groups like ISIL who even have a compulsory niqab law in their controlled areas even enforced on religious minorities. I love the hijab and what it represents but I can’t stand back and watch it be used as a means of control by some. The true meaning must be bought back.

      • I am not expert on Islamic Law,so I can’t give my opinion that whether State has right to force women to wear Hijab and Burqa. But I think they should be advised,encouraged and consel in tender age.

        BUt Bushra do you know that Hijab is also a commandment 🙂 Men and women were both asked to observe their respective Hijab. Men are told to ‘Lower their gaze and guard their private parts.’ (Qur’an 24:30) whereas women are also told to: to lower their gaze and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment (Qur’an 24:31) and also ‘to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments'[Qur’an 33:59]. Islam does not simply enjoin one part of society, whether a sex such as the male or the female or an individual, to do its utmost to refrain from harming others, but Islam also ordain that the individual does their utmost to protect themselves and protect others. That is why Men were ordered in Qur’an first to lower their gaze and guard their private parts(Qur’an 24:30) and then Women were ordered to lower their gaze,guard their private parts ,not to expose their adornments and beauty to other Men except their Husbands , and to wear Hijab (Qur’an 24:31 & 33:59). Islam teaches that a woman should share her external beauty only with her husband and not with every man on the street.Muslims have not only an individual responsibility, which is to refrain from harming others, but also a responsibility to others which is to prevent others from falling into sin.So both Muslim women and Men should help each other.

        ” Every faith has an innate character.The character of Islam is modesty.”[ Al Muwatta, Vol 47, Hadees 9]

        Finally Modesty shouldn’t be subjective. Because then there will be probl;em. Coz people will come up with their own theory of modesty and all will be quite confusing.So I think it should be based on Qur’an and Hadees.And the examples of Sahaba and Sahabiyat.

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