Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Hijab by Sumayyah Joan

Originally published in Resalah, December 1999

It will be three years ago, this December 25th, that I stood before two Muslim sisters and declared openly my belief in Allah and His Messenger, Sallallahu-‘Alaihi Was-Sallam, and thus freeing and liberating myself from my former self-imposed bondage. Stepping out of the darkness of disbelief into the light of Islam, it’s funny that I found such freedom in the very thing that was keeping me from Islam in the first place; the hijab. Even though I get the wide gamut of strange stares, points, and comments, this covering makes me feel honored, safe, and cherished.

The word hijab comes from the Arabic word "hajaba" meaning to hide from view or to conceal their beauty in this society and do not give in to its oppressive system, are looked upon as invisible, without sexuality, and backward. Because I’m often mistaken for a nun, a terrorist, who may be hiding Allah knows what’s under all that stuff, or the poster-child for oppressed womanhood everywhere, I feel the reactions to the hijab for many women, is the truest test of being a Muslim. In instructing us to wear the hijab, Allah has given Muslim women what they can bear of injunctions and obligations. For Allah says,

"And we do not lay on any soul a burden except to the extent of it’s ability, and with Us is a Book which speaks the truth, and they shall not be dealt with unjustly." (23:62)

Unfortunately, Satan and his cohorts are calling the Muslim woman to enslave her to the creation, and to forget about her servitude to her Creator. Chastity, modesty, and piety are deceptively marked as shackles on personal freedom. Allah warns the believers that they should not let Satan deceive them, as he deceived their parents, Adam and Eve. Under the guises of fashion, culture, and modernism, however, Satan has succeeded and is succeeding to lead the Muslim woman into immodesty.

From the dawn of civilization, flowing dresses and headscarves has always been associated with "Godliness" or "God consciousness". Even the Christian pictorial representation of the earlier prophets and their womenfolk bear familiar likeness to the dress ordained for Muslim men and women. This tradition of modesty is reflected in the Qur’an, wherein Allah says,

"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" (7:26)

But since the heyday of feminist movement, there has been an increasing amount of scrutiny placed on the dress and status of Muslim women. According to these "liberated" women, the hijab not only covers the head, but also covers the mind, will, and intellect. They say that our dress code is outdated and oppressive, and it stops us from being productive human beings. They speak out of ignorance when they say that our hijab does not belong in these modern times, when due to the constant decrease in moral values in the world today, circumstances make the hijab even more necessary. More than ever before, sex crimes are rampant and "liberated women" in the larder society now face increasing higher chances of being raped or sexually harassed. The Federal Government conducted research in which they found that in America, a rape is committed every six minutes.

The women, who uncover their beauty and show off their bodies and made-up faces for all to enjoy, expose themselves to be harmed by wolves in human clothing. Allah enjoined hijab on the Muslim woman to protect her from harm. He knows his creation, and knows that when women make a dazzling display of themselves, with immodest clothes, perfumed bodies and made-up faces, it serves to increase the sexual deviance of the overall society. Many of those who are misguided would have us thing though that the hijab is a portable prison that restricts our minds, lives, and hearts. It is none of these things, and in order not to fall victim to their plots, we must begin to understand what the hijab truly is.