This has irked me for a long time.
I’m sure you have seen the anecdotes floating around online. It usually goes something like this:
A man goes to a sheik and asks why muslim women have to be covered up. The wise sheik smiles. He reaches for two pieces of candy, unwraps one, and throws both on his dusty floor. He then asks the man which one he’d like.
That’s the bulk of the premise. It has variations, some of which I find not quite so bothersome (women as buried jewels, pearls, etc) as the candy version, but I’m sure you get the idea.
Or do you?
Because to me this says something along the lines of: women are commodities. A woman with hijab is the rough equivalent of a zero mileage car or a gucci bag with the tags still on. A woman without hijab is dirty, impure, used.
To be completely clear: I leave no wiggle room in my views on hijab. It is ABSOLUTELY Fard for every muslim woman between the ages of becoming baligh and reaching extreme old age to cover. There is not disagreement among the scholars on this. It is a clear and concise ruling.
That disclaimer aside, I am APPALLED at the thinking around this idea.
I don’t wear my hijab for you. I don’t wear it for my husband. When I was single I didn’t wear it to keep up my market value or some such nonsense.
I wear hijab because Allah has COMMANDED that I do. And, here’s the kicker: He didn’t mention anything about me being a dirty piece of candy no man would want without it.
There are a few places hijab or the concept of covering and dressing modestly are covered in the Quran. Some of the reasons mentioned are to guard our modesty(24:31), avoid harassment(33:59), bettering ourselves(24:31), etc. The one that sticks out in my mind has always been ‘so they will be known (as believing women)'(33:59).
The plain and simple truth is: Islam and its obligations must be UNDERSTOOD to be properly practiced. Intention is ESSENTIAL in this faith. Are you teaching your daughter to cover her awra for her Master and Sustainer? Or for some backwards idea of family honor/culture/marriageability/whatever? Think about it. If a muslim woman is forced into hijab for reasons other than Allah, several things can happen, A) she can be committing Shirk, which is NOT something you want to be the source of B) she will do it only outwardly, and will discard it at the earliest opportunity C) she wont ever do it properly, and will always be bending the rules, looking for little ways to do exactly what hijab shouldn’t do: attract male attention D) She will buy the western concept of it being an oppression because, guess what? IT IS. Forcing someone to submit to YOUR command with no understanding of it is not Islam.
In short: My hijab isn’t about you. It’s not about saving myself for a man. My hijab is my sheild, my nametag, the outward/physical manifestation of my Willing submission to God.