By: Wajeeha Shah
This article is dedicated to all precious pearls, the Hijabis of the world.
Hijab is an Arabic word which means ‘Cover’. Hijab is the most common name but it has other names too, like Veil or Head Scarf. Hijab isn’t specifically worn by Muslims alone. The Christians and Jewish also wear Hijab in their style to show their modesty. However, in different cultures Hijab restrictions and styles vary like Hijab is compulsory in many Arab countries where as it isn’t compulsory in other Islamic countries.
There are several types of Hijab and their styles differ from culture to culture. Some of them are:
Shayla is the type of Hijab with a long rectangular shaped scarf wrapped round the head covering the head but often leaves the face and neck uncovered.
Khimar is a longer kind with a cape wrapped around the neck and it covers the head, neck and shoulders leaving the face uncovered.
Chador is a long cloak that covers a woman’s entire body. The chador drapes to the feet.
Niqab is a kind of Hijab that covers an entire face leaving just eyes uncovered.
Burqa covers the entire body, leaving small screen for the women to see from inside.
Why Women Wear Hijab?
There are many reasons for women to cover themselves. But we can divide them into three major categories:
- Command of God
- Religious Identity
- Cultural Identity
For the Command of God
Some women wear Hijab truly in the name of God’s command and conceal their beauty.
According to Quran:
“And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what must ordinarily appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, or their brothers’ sons or their sisters’ sons, or their women or the servants whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex, and that they should not strike their feet in ord1er to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O you Believers turn you all together towards Allah, that you may attain Bliss.” (Quran 24:31).
For Religious Identity
Some women wear Hijab in order to show their religious identity. In the recent years, many have come to accept that Muslims are extremists and they hold this Hijab against them as a form of oppression but in reality many have started observing Hijab to display that indeed Muslims are peace loving and display the Hijab as a sign of religious solidarity.
For Cultural Identity
Many countries in the Arab region display the Abaya or a Burqa as a cultural identity whilst in other nations the head scarf is mandatory or at least preferred. In many ways, a Hijab is a significant emblem when it comes to representing where you originate from.
Views on Hijab from Muslim Girls
Every woman has her own point of view regarding her Hijab. For this purpose, the writer took interviews from some of the Hijabis around her. The individual views were as follows:
“As a Hijabi, I always feel protected. Not just protected but it is a feeling of completeness. Whenever I do Hijab, I feel proud and satisfied. It doesn’t make me look odd in fact it enhances my beauty. I think I look more beautiful in Hijab.”
- Ghalia Fatima Qadri
“I feel secure in Hijab and its Sunnah also Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) asked his wives to wear Hijab.”
- Shumaila Naz
“Actually, I was inspired by a novel ‘Jannat kay Pattay’ after reading the novel I felt like I should wear Hijab. People often say it is my fashion desire but my God knows my everything. I feel very comfortable and proud in Hijab as I am born in a Muslim family and Hijab is my Identity.”
- Madiha Kiran
“Hijab makes me feel secure.”
- Sana Shamim
“Hijab is a symbol of confidence in me. Things are better for me after wearing Hijab. I really feel proud of myself.”
- Maham Siddiq
“My reason for wearing Hijab is very simple but most importantly, which is that I feel at ease in carrying myself with elegance, class and grace.”
- Mariam Hashmi
“Being Hijabi is one of the best things in my life because this is this only way through which I can communicate and face the world outside my premises (house). My Hijab has made me modest and confident enough to fight against the evil eyes of our society. Hijab is everything.”
- Saniya Zaidi
“I feel so comfortable and proud in Hijab. It is very easy to carry and protects you from many evil eyes. I feel uncomfortable without Hijab. I just love Hijab.”
- Laraib Abid
Source: Friends and Family of the Writer.
Non-Muslim Views on Hijab
“Ever since, I have been educating myself about Islam and realized I was as ignorant as the news media had programmed us to be when we saw Hijab wearing women and thought they were suppressed and submissive. We take their acts that appear to be submissive when in fact they are a peaceful people.”
- Sallie Jones (USA)
“I feel real freedom with the Hijab. I hope God guides me and allows me to wear it for the rest of my life.”
- Oriana (Venezuela)
‘I was born in a Muslim family but my family is modern and do not support Hijab personally. When I was in my university my classmates arranged a little religious class in which they told me about fundamentals of conduct in Islam Almighty’s Command for Women (Surah Noor). I was so confused. I felt like I am in two boats because now I know my ALLAH commanded me to hide my beauty but my family will not allow me to wear Hijab. Out of chaos, I started wearing Hijab in my university timing and in my van and on the stairs I put off my Hijab after sometimes I finally took a step and told my mom that I want to wear Hijab and I was so surprised to see her reaction she agreed with me instantly. But, I had a long way to go at first some of my friends and close family members discouraged me but I didn’t listen to them. During the days of my sister’s wedding everyone asked me whether I am wearing Hijab or not but I was firm that no matter what people think about me I will wear my Hijab and will show them how elegant a Hijab can be. This was my story, according to me Hijab is not a matter of judging someone and you cannot judge my personality by my Hijab. I am stylish, fashion savvy and yet I cover myself. I represent the Modern Pakistan with modesty and grace. For me, Hijab is my ‘Allah’s command, my identity & my faith too’.
Opinions and views belong to the writer,