The Hijab is one of the elements of Islam that has gained much popularity in the Western world. A woman can observe Hijab in various ways; sometimes, a veil or niqab covers the face. While other times a simple scarf covering the hair and upper body will also suffice.
Wearing any head covering is the most visible symbol of Islam, but it is also the most misunderstood. The most common misconception is that it is a tool of Gender oppression. But is it a sign of women being slaves, or is it a sign of liberation? Read further to know the truth behind wearing the Hijab and its concepts.
What Is Hijab?
Islam strongly emphasizes the concepts of decency and modesty. This opinion is especially for women, including their interaction with the opposite sex. Allahu Akbar! What other way to show decency than having a modest appearance?
In one of the verses, Allah commands:
قُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ يَغُضُّوْا مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ وَ يَحْفَظُوْا فُرُوْجَهُمْ, ذَلِكَ أَزْكَى لَهُمْ
˹O Prophet!˺ Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and guard their chastity. That is purer for them. Indeed Allah is All-Aware of what they do [24:30]
The reason for narrating this verse is that Islam not only commands modesty for women. It is for Muslim men asking them to avoid looking at women lustfully and to glance downwards. You can also refer to it as ''Hijab of the eyes.''
The very next verse also commands the same for women. It signifies the importance of the Hijab in Islam. It asks Muslims to lower their gaze when seeing someone of the opposite gender. These verses help make Hijab an icon of spirituality and commitment to Islam.
Why Is Hijab Considered A Sign Of Oppression?
One of the most common misconceptions of the Hijab is that it is oppressing for women. It is also considered a symbol of misogyny in society. A similar perception is that these women also suffer oppression from their families. Wearing Hijab stops them from participating in economic discussions of the household.
In some countries, Hijab is an obligation rather than a choice. Some women claim that it stops them from expressing their individuality. Some even argue that it is because of Hijab that gender inequality is rising. These misconceptions are what plant the seeds of doubts in people's minds.
A woman giving up their Hijab in Iran was also met with significant attention from the Western world. The government detained and harassed women who chose not to observe Hijab. Hence, the concept of oppression and the Hijab come from these societal influences.
But the truth may be quite far from what society perceives about it!
Hijab Is The Symbol Of Expression And Empowerment
Many women in society observe the Hijab themselves without anyone's influence. These women consider Hijab not to be a sign of oppression but rather a sign of an empowered decision. For such women, Hijab helps to express their faith and values of Islam.
Even today, the internet has stories of women who willingly wear Hijab and how it positively affects their life. They claim that it helps increase their connection with Allah. Additionally, it allows them to practice Islam openly.
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّبِىُّ قُل لِّأَزْوَٰجِكَ وَبَنَاتِكَ وَنِسَآءِ ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِن جَلَـٰبِيبِهِنَّ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ أَدْنَىٰٓ أَن يُعْرَفْنَ فَلَا يُؤْذَيْنَ ۗ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ غَفُورًۭا رَّحِيمًۭا
O Prophet! Ask your wives, daughters, and believing women to draw cloaks over their bodies. In this way, they will more likely be recognized ˹as virtuous˺ and not be harassed. And Allah is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful. [33:59]
Wearing Hijab is always an independent and personal decision. It involves pleasing Allah with acts of worship. Unlike the concepts of the West, it is never forced upon anyone to wear a hijab. A verse of the Quran clearly outlines this "Let there be no compulsion in religion, for the truth stands out clearly from falsehood." [2:256]
The incorrect portrayal of the Hijab in the media has made many women reclaim this image. These movements emphasize that Hijab is always a personal choice. It emphasizes that it never limits their progress or the progress of any other female.
Certain norms in society merely exist to marginalize and objectify women. Hijab is a symbol of resilience and defiance against the norms. It helps to overlook the exterior looks and helps to focus on the beauty that lies within.
Many women feel they need to reveal themselves, Losing their modesty while gaining someone's attention. Some industries are built to make women look more beautiful. Hijab removes this concept of superficiality, and it helps validate her individuality instead.
How To Change The Concept From Oppression To Progression?
Awareness will play an essential role in dismantling the stereotype around Hijab. Promoting accurate information will help dissipate everyone has misconceptions about Hijab. It allows people to understand how it is a personal religious choice.
Promoting a respectful dialogue can also help shape people’s perspectives on Hijab. For this, leaders will have to listen to the opinions and experiences of others. It will help in creating an insight into the complexities of the topic. A healthy conversation will help to develop mutual respect among individuals.
Islam considers women empowerment and liberation just like all the other religions worldwide. It also considers and gives worth to modesty, manners, and character too. Hijab has many implications in the Western world.
A nun wearing a veil is on the highest level of spirituality, but a Muslim woman doing the same is a sign of oppression. The concept of oppression reflects the double standards portrayed by the media. When discussing Hijab, it is also essential to consider the diversity in the Muslim community.
Muslim women can come from different backgrounds and perspectives. Recognition of this diversity will help develop ethical concepts of the Hijab. It will also help to remove the stereotypes, giving room for a better understanding of the concept of the Hijab.
Any Muslim man or woman is not forced to follow the teachings of Islam. Therefore, a woman observing a hijab does so because of her will. Islam teaches moderation and balance. This balance can only be achieved if men and women work together to achieve a healthy environment.