Women In Islam

The Hijab and The Mus­lim Woman

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The Islam­ic revival sym­bol­ized by the cur­rent resur­gence of the hijab is often con­sid­ered as an attempt of Arab Mus­lims to restore their pride and iden­ti­ty which have been repeat­ed­ly under­mined by col­o­niza­tion and eco­nom­ic retar­da­tion. Man has always had a con­ser­v­a­tive ten­den­cy and reacts against which is new and unfa­mil­iar with­out real­iz­ing whether it is good or bad for him. Some peo­ple still think the Mus­lim women insist on wear­ing hijab which is the very sym­bol of the oppressed sit­u­a­tion because they are enslaved by the tra­di­tion and are not suf­fi­cient­ly aware of their lam­en­ta­ble sit­u­a­tion. If only”, they prob­a­bly think, the move­ment of the wom­en’s lib­er­a­tion and inde­pen­dence awakes those wom­en’s mind, they will take away the hijab.”

Such a naïve point of view is shared by the peo­ple who have lit­tle knowl­edge of Islam. They, who are so accus­tomed to the sec­u­lar­ism and reli­gious eclec­ti­cism, are sim­ply unable to under­stand that the teach­ing of Islam is uni­ver­sal and eter­nal. Any­way, there are more and more women, beyond the Arab nation­al­i­ty, all over the world embrac­ing Islam as the true reli­gion and cov­er­ing the hair. The hijab is sure­ly a strange object for non-Mus­lim peo­ple. For them, the hijab does not cov­er the wom­an’s hair but also hides some­thing to which they have no access, and that is the real rea­son as to why they feel uneasy. From the out­side, effec­tive­ly, they can nev­er see what is behind the hijab. Every Mus­lim devotes his or her life to God. It is a won­der as to why why peo­ple who say noth­ing about the veil” of the Catholic nuns crit­i­cize the veil of the mus­li­ma, con­sid­er­ing it a sym­bol of ter­ror­ism” or oppres­sion”.

Why hide the body in its nat­ur­al state?”, you may ask. But think it was con­sid­ered vul­gar fifty years ago in Japan to swim in a swim­ming suit.1 Now one would be able to see the Japan­ese swim in a biki­ni with­out shame. If you swim, how­ev­er, with a top­less, peo­ple would say you are shame­less, but go to a South France beach, where many women, young and old, take a sun-bath in a top­less. If you go to a cer­tain beach on the west coast in Amer­i­ca, the nud­ists take a sun-bath as naked as when they are born. On the oth­er side, at the medieval times, a knight trem­bled at a brief sight of a shoe of his ador­ing lady. It shows the def­i­n­i­tion of wom­en’s secret part” can be changed. How you can answer to a nud­ist if she asks you why you hide yours busts and hips although they are as nat­ur­al as your hands and face ? It is the same for the hijab of a mus­li­ma. We con­sid­er all our body except hands and face as pri­vate parts because Allah defined it like this. Its why we hide them from male strangers. If you keep some­thing secret, it increas­es in val­ue. Keep­ing a wom­an’s body secret increas­es its charm.

Even for the eye of the same sex, the nape of a sis­ter’s neck is sur­pris­ing­ly beau­ti­ful because it is nor­mal­ly cov­ered. If a man los­es the feel­ing of shame and starts to walk naked and excrete and make love” in the pres­ence of oth­er peo­ple, he would then become no dif­fer­ent than an ani­mal. The prob­lem of sex­u­al harass­ment which is dis­cussed very fre­quent­ly proves how men are weak to resist to this kind of attrac­tion. We could not expect pre­ven­tion of sex harass­ment only by appeal­ing men’s high moral­i­ty and self-con­trol. A short skirt might be inter­pret­ed by men to say : if you want me, you may take me”, a hijab means clear­ly, I am for­bid­den for you.”

The Mus­lim woman cov­ers her­self for her own dig­ni­ty. She refus­es to be pos­sessed by the eyes of a stranger and to be his object. She feels noth­ing but a sense of pity for the West­ern women who dis­play their pri­vate parts as sex­u­al objects for male strangers. If one observes the hijab from out­side, one will nev­er see what is hid­den in it. Observ­ing the hijab from the out­side and liv­ing it from inside are two com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent things. We see dif­fer­ent things.

This gap explains the chasm sep­a­rat­ing those from the under­stand­ing of Islam. From the out­side, Islam looks like a prison” with­out any lib­er­ty. But liv­ing inside of it, we feel at peace and expe­ri­ence free­dom and joy that we have nev­er known before. We choose Islam against the so-called free­dom and plea­sure. If it is true that Islam is a reli­gion that oppress­es the women, why are there so many young women in Europe, in Amer­i­ca, and in Japan who aban­don their lib­er­ty and inde­pen­dence to embrace Islam ? A per­son blind­ed because of his prej­u­dice may not see it, but a woman with the hijab is so bright­ly beau­ti­ful as an angel or a saint with self-con­fi­dence, calm­ness, and dig­ni­ty. Not a slight touch of shade nor any trace of oppres­sion is vis­i­ble on her face.

They are blind and can­not see” says the Qur’an2 about those who deny the sign of Allah(T), but by what else can we explain this gap on the under­stand­ing of Islam between us and those people ?Endmark

Cite Icon Cite This As : 
  1. Naka­ta Khaula, A Japan­ese Wom­an’s Expe­ri­ence of Hijab” in Radio Islam Inter­na­tion­al[]
  2. Qur’an, 2:18[]


  1. So why do mod­ern Mus­lim girls and women wear tight pants and tops ? Is that mod­esty ? Seems to me there is a lot of con­tra­dic­tion in the pur­pose of the hijab and the provoca­tive cloth­ing below the hijab.

  2. hel­lo,

    the so-called injunc­tion’ is of course the fuqa­ha’s con­struct of the texts. the same fuqa­ha who say that the non-free mus­lims girl’s hair is NOT sub­ject to being covered.

    the sup­port­ers of the hijab (sure­ly you would­n’t want women to wear it com­pul­so­ri­ly) are on to a los­er right from the start : the word hijab’ means a cur­tain.’ this is specif­i­cal­ly used for the wives of the prophet speak­ing etc behind it. it does­n’t mean head­cov­er. the word for head­cov­er is khi­mar’ that u use the word hijab’ to mean head­cov­er ought to send alarms ring­ing -, yes khi­mar some­thing which the men wore too. that the mus­lim women should cov­er using THEIR khi­mars — means that it was some­thing already in vogue ‑it’s not a new injunc­tion’. the point is being free from molesta­tion. that’s is the maqsid of the shar’. why not apply islam for today ?

  3. Every­one has a right to dress the way they want so if a Mus­lim woman wants to wear a hijab she should be able to

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