Beauty, Virtue And Obligation Of Hijab
Our sisters in Islam are probably more enthusiastic in practicing and learning Islam than brothers. Women usually outnumber men in Islamic lectures and classes. They are active and may Allah reward them for their endurance. But sometimes they are not properly encouraged or guided when they begin to observe the Hijab. Perhaps she has reached the age of puberty and her Wali (guardian) has instructed her only without educating her about it. Perhaps she has recently reverted to Islam and her close sisters have told her of its obligation. A sister who does not truly know the excellence and virtue of Hijab will always remain envious of non-Muslim women. Why? Because they see them looking ‘beautiful’ for all to see. Hence, the Muslim woman then compares herself with them and feels ‘ashamed’ of her own Hijab.
This is, therefore, a reminder to our sisters about the superiority of Hijab. It is a reminder that Hijab will always reign supreme and that a true Muslim man will forever be dazzled by the beauty of the Muhijabah (woman who wears the Hijab).
1. Act of obedience
The Hijab is an act of obedience to Allah and to his Prophet (peace be upon him), Allah says in the Qur’an: “It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His messenger have decreed a matter that they should have an option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, has indeed strayed in a plain error.” (Qur’an, 33:36)
After commanding men to lower their gaze, Allah said: “And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things) and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc) and not to show off their adornment except what must (ordinarily) appear thereof, that they should draw their veils over their Juyubihinna.” (Qur’an, 24:31)
Juyubihinna: Scholars have differed whether the veil cover of the body must include the hands and face or not. While some say it’s obligatory to cover the face and hands, others say it is recommended to do so.
Allah made the adherence to the Hijab a manifestation for chastity and modesty. Allah says: “O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) over their bodies (when outdoors). That is most convenient that they should be known and not molested.” (Qur’an, 33:59). In this verse there is an evidence that public display of a woman’s beauty is harmful to her. When the cause of attraction ends, the restriction is removed. This is illustrated in the case of elderly women who may have lost every aspect of attraction. Allah made it permissible for them to lay aside their outer garments reminding, however, that is still better for them to keep their modesty.
3. Purity and honor
Allah revealed us the Hikma (wisdom) behind the legislation of the Hijab: “And when you ask them (the Prophet’s wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen, that is purer for your hearts and their hearts.” (Qur’an, 33:53)
The Hijab seeks greater purity for the hearts of believing men and women, because it screens the desires. Hijab blocks the sight, prevents Fitna and minimizes the chances of any ill thoughts and greed of sickened hearts.
“…Be not soft in speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease (of hypocrisy or evil desire for adultery, etc) should be moved with desire, but speak in an honorable manner.” (Qur’an, 33:32)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Allah, Most High, is Ha’yeii (Bashful), Sit’teer (Shielder). He loves Haya’ (Bashfulness) and Sitr (Shielding; Covering).” The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said: “Any woman who takes off her clothes in other than her husband’s house (to show off for unlawful purposes), has broken Allah’s shield upon her.”
Moreover, the Hijab fits the natural bashfulness as part of the nature of women.
Allah says in the Qur’an: “O children of Adam! We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover yourselves (screen your private parts, etc) and as an adornment. But the raiment of righteousness, that is better.” (Qur’an, 7:26) The widespread forms of dresses in the world today are hardly a cover and shield for the woman’s body. For Muslims dress is also an act of Taqwa (righteousness).
6. Gheerah (Sense of honor)Wome
Hijab also protects a man’s Gheerah. A normal man will not like others to gaze at his wife or daughter, because he is protective about them and has that feeling of protective jealousy. Gheerah is the emotion that drives a man to safeguard his womenfolk from strangers. A Muslim man has Gheerah for all Muslim women. But free intermingling of sexes and absence of Hijab destroys the Gheerah in men. Islam considers Gheerah an integral part of faith. The dignity of the wife or daughter or any other Muslim woman must be highly respected and defended.