The Meaning of Hijab

2 Nov

On a daily basis I often ponder the meaning of hijab, and what it means… If “you” were to ask the average Muslim, they would probably answer with the following answer: “Hijab is the Islamic dress for a woman consisting of a head covering, along with the body covered.”  However, the answer isn’t as simple as that… The hijab has a myriad of different meanings.

All to often, I hear debates on how hijab should be observed.  When conversing with some guys,  I have had discussions on the topic of hijab, they would bring up how they don’t get why women cover their heads, but show other bits of their bodies or wear fitted outfits.  One specific quote I remember, “I don’t get it when a girl walks in with short sleeves and a scarf… That’s messed up.” I often feel uptight when such comments are revealed.  The question that automatically comes to mind is, “you are so quick to pick up on other’s habits, and what about yourself?”  All to often we quickly judge others, while we are constantly suffering of our own short-comings.  Grace and modesty is not just a feminine duty, but a duty between both man and woman.

I myself am a constant work in progress.  God has created a universe within and beyond me; who am I to profess myself above all?  I have many friends who reveal more skin and hair, yet, a couple of friends that come to mind have yet to say anything negative about anyone that I know.  As a result,  I look at them and see a level of modesty that I don’t see in myself (and some other “hijabis”).

So, although the image of “hijab” or as stated in the Quran “khimar” is about physically being covered; the hijab holds a much deeper meaning.  Yes it is a cloak, but a clock that covers what? Well, I guess the answer to that depends on who you ask.  Like beauty, modesty is in the eye of the beholder.  Each person perceives “grace’s” style in a different manner.  However, I believe we can all agree that our faith teaches us to excercise grace and piety. Grace protects the heart from corruption.

Hijab in the Quran:

Modesty/ To be humble:

The Quran addresses many issues, but leaves much for interpretation.  The hijab is mentioned many times, but much is left for interpretation.   After reading “ayats’ (lines) from the Quran, one could conclude that the hijab aims to protect innocence & beauty,  restrict the tendencies of arrogance, “flashiness”, and excess high maintenance.  The goal is to achieve GRACE, aiming to protect the beauty within a person.

`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.’ (33:36).

“Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: And Allah is well acquainted with all that they do.” (24:30)

‘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 “bodies”.'(24:31).

‘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.’ (33:59).

The hijab represents Iman (faith):

Wearing the “hijab”, is like a badge, an identification, to let other’s know that “you” are a practicing Muslim… You are to be judged by your actions and your heart, not for the brand label or the color of your skin/hair.

I guess… In a nutshell, I’d hope that myself along with my peers, could exercise more grace and piety.  Before judging the way other’s wear their “hijab”, look into your own heart, and try to search for GRACE.

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3 Responses to “The Meaning of Hijab”

  1. sanaa November 16, 2010 at 8:58 pm #

    hijab doesn’t represent iman though. not sure where that idea came from but it is a dangerous one because then it would mean that someone who doesn’t wear hijab does not have iman. let’s not go down that road.

    • amnabuku2 November 16, 2010 at 10:25 pm #

      Salaam! Eid Mubarak, and thank you for the comment.

      If it was not clear, excuse the poor writing… But, I believe you misunderstood my point…

      The point I was trying to emphasize was that the term “hijab” has a different interpretation for everyone… But it narrows down to “grace and piety” in the heart… The style or how it appears differs per person and perspective. If we are trying to achieve hijab of the heart and habit(s), then how we interact with others (including with ourselves) speaks louder then how much we cover.

      In my opinion, grace and piety of the heart go hand in hand with Iman…

    • amnabuku2 November 16, 2010 at 10:36 pm #

      By the way, many things represent faith… and “hijab” or “modesty/piety” could be one of them… It’s all relative.

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