What is Islamic Hijab??

A mere piece of clothing has been creating turmoil all around the world. I cant help but wonder, what threat does this simple way of dress pose to those who oppose it...and what does hijab mean to women?
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What is Islamic Hijab??

Postby Tanveer » 10 Apr 2007, 18:32

(Dr. Mustafa Mawjee – 26th September, 2005)
Part of the Article he wrote for Hujjat Newsletter (Stanmore Magazine).

Is it only a head covering called scarf or is it a total veil covering from head to toe? Is it only for women? Why are people so much avers to the concept of Hijab? What has Al-Qur’an to say about it? Let us briefly look into the Concept of Hijab and some of its implications.

Hijab is an Arabic word, which technically means ‘covering’. In its simplest and restricted term, it is the covering of a woman’s body with the exception of the hands (palms & fingers) and face. However, in its broadest sense, it is an aspect of human value, prescribed by Allah SWT, for both man and woman and refers to that barrier which keeps evil from good and helps to build a morally ethical society.

In Islam, as taught and explained to us by Ma’sumeen (A.S.), Hijab is that barrier which protects one from Namahram by means of Modesty in Dress, Outlook and Character. Our Ulema and Scholars unanimously agree on 10 to 12 points, which, in combination form what we know as ‘Islamic Hijab’. Summary of these 12 points:

1. Hair should be appropriately covered.
2. Front part/Chest should be appropriately covered.
3. Outer garment should be loose so as to hide the shape of the body and should not be transparent.

1. Makeup
2. Perfume
3. Ornaments
4. Any other outward attractions
All the above should be avoided in public, especially in front of Namahram, as they act as part of ‘attraction’ rather than ‘barrier’.

1. Unnecessary conversation with Namahram
2. Unnecessary physical contact with Namahram
3. Unnecessary eye contact (lowering the gaze) with Namahram
4. Talking, walking or behaviour other than normal, in the prevailing circumstances, in the presence of Namahram
5. Inviting smile towards Namahram
The above 5 items are at the core of Islamic Modesty in Behaviour and so should be avoided at all cost.

Of course most of the above items relate to women because Allah SWT, in His eternal wisdom, has endowed them with exceptional beauty, grace, humility, kindness and above all modesty. It is in their laps that the lives of Prophets, Imams, Ulemas and world leaders have blossomed and it is they whose outlook and behaviour that has given a specific pattern to the society. However, on the question of Hijab, Islam has equal viewpoint both for men and women. Al-Qur’an is very specific on all the above issues. There are many verses in Qur’an pertaining to Hijab, e.g.

In Verse 30 from Sura-e-Noor – Chapter 24 – Allah SWT says:
“Say to the believing men that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts; that is purer for them; ….”

In Verse 31 from Sura-e-Noor – Chapter 24 – Allah SWT says:
“And say to the believing women that they cast down their looks and guard their modesty (private parts) and do not display their beauty and ornaments except what appear thereof, and let them wear their head-coverings over their bosoms and not display their ornaments except to their husbands,……(Mahrams). …..and let them not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments……..”

In Verse 19 of Sura-e-Lukman – Chapter 31 – Allah SWT mentions:
“Be modest in your walk and lower your voice;…………………………..”

So Hijab has been ordained both for men and women and is one of the commandments of Allah SWT. Our Prophet (saww) has said very clearly that “those who do not observe proper Hijab, are blatantly defying the commandment of Allah SWT”.

There is a misconception about Hijab that because Allah SWT does not trust the womenfolk, He has commanded them to be in Hijab. Actually it is not so. It seems it is men whose Niyyat seems to be doubtful and so Allah SWT has ordered women to be on guard and to protect themselves, thereby creating a morally ethical society.

So unnecessary mixing between Mahram and Namahram, without any specific need or reason, has been totally prohibited in Islam. The simple ruling of the Shari a’ is – if you can’t maintain the requirements of Islamic Hijab, then the next best thing is segregation or separation between Mahram and Namahram.

So Hijab is not a peace of scarf on the head, but it is the total modest outlook in both dress and character, that is what Islamic Hijab is. This protects the society from corruption and gives respect and freedom to the women of the society, where they are judged by the quality of their character and taqwa and not by their looks or worldly appearance. May Allah swt give us tawfiq to adhere to one of His most important commandments, Amen.
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Postby abuali » 10 Apr 2007, 23:56

Excellent article
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Re: What is Islamic Hijab??

Postby nelson » 30 Sep 2013, 10:04

I am not sure but have some knowledge about it. If I am not wrong I think A Hijab is a word that indicated the following conditions:
1. Clothing must cover the entire body, only the hands and face may remain visible (According to some Fiqh Schools).
2. The material must not be so thin that one can see through it.
3. The clothing must hang loose so that the shape / form of the body are not apparent.
4. The female clothing must not resemble the man's clothing.
5. The design of the clothing must not resemble the clothing of the non believing women.
6. The design must not consist of bold designs which attract attention.
7. Clothing should not be worn for the sole purpose of gaining reputation or increasing one's status in society.

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