Why do Muslim women cover their heads and what are the conditions of the Hijab?
The answer to the question is very simple: Muslim women do Hijab (the act of covering their heads and bodies) because Allah told them to do it.
“O Prophet, tell your wives, your daughters and the women of the faithful that (when they go out) cover themselves with their blankets; this is more convenient, so that they can be distinguished from others and not be harassed… ”[Holy Quran 33:59]
Other secondary reasons include the requirement of modesty for men and women. Both will then be assessed for intelligence and skills rather than appearance and sexuality. An Iranian student is quoted as saying: “We want to prevent men from treating us as sexual objects, as they always have. We want them to ignore our appearance and pay attention to our personalities and our mind. We want them to take us seriously and treat us as equals and not just chase us for our bodies and physical appearance ”.
A Muslim woman covering her head is making a statement about her identity. Anyone who sees her will know that she is a Muslim and has a good moral character. Many Muslim women who cover themselves are full of dignity and self-esteem; They are pleased to be identified as a Muslim woman. As a chaste, modest and pure woman, she does not want her sexuality to enter into interactions with men to the slightest extent. A woman who covers herself hides her sexuality, but allows femininity to be brought out.
Islam does not have a fixed standard as to the style of clothing or type of clothing that Muslims wear, however, some requirements must be met.
1- The parts of the body that must be covered:
Islam has two sources of guidance and decisions: first, the Holy Quran, the revealed Word of God, and second, the Hadith (Sayings) or the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ who was chosen by God to be the model for humanity. The following is a saying of the Prophet ﷺ:
Ayesha reported that Asma, Abu Bakr’s daughter, came to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ while wearing thin clothes. He approached her and said: Oh, Asthma! When a girl reaches menstrual age, it is not appropriate that nothing remains exposed except this and that. He pointed to his face and hands. (Abu Dawood)
2- The clearance:
The clothing should be wide enough not to describe the woman’s body shape. A desirable way to hide your body shape is to wear a cloak over other clothes. However, if the clothing is loose enough, an outer garment (jackets, capes, etc.) is not necessary.
3- The thickness:
The clothing must be thick enough not to show the color of the skin it covers or the shape of the body. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ stated that in later generations of his ummah there would be women who would be dressed, but it would be as if they were naked and on top of their heads (the hair would look like) camel-humpbacks. Curse them because they are truly cursed. (Muslim)
4- A general dignified appearance:
Clothing should not attract men’s attention to women. It shouldn’t be bright and flashy for everyone to notice the dress and the woman.
5- Women should not dress to look like men:
Ibn Abbas narrated “The Prophet ﷺ cursed men who dress like women and women who dress like men”. (Bukhari)
6- Clothing should be modest:
Clothing should be modest, not overly sophisticated and also not overly tattered to gain admiration or sympathy.
Often overlooked is the fact that the modern, western dress is a new invention. Looking at women’s clothing as recently as seventy years ago, we see clothes similar to Hijab. These active and hardworking women in the West were not hindered by their clothes, which consisted of long full dresses and various types of headdresses. Muslim women who wear Hijab do not find it impractical or that it interferes with their activities on all levels and paths of life.
Hijab is not just a cover gown, but more importantly, it is the behavior, customs, speech and appearance in public. The dress is just one facet of the total being.
The basic requirements for the dress of Muslim women also apply to the dress of the Muslim man, with the difference mainly in degree. Modesty requires that the area between the navel and the knee be covered in front of everyone except the wife. Men’s clothing should not be like women’s dress, nor should it be tight or provocative. A Muslim must dress to show his identity as a Muslim. Men cannot wear gold or silk, however, both are permitted for women.
For both men and women, dress requirements should not be a constraint, but a way in which society will function in an appropriate and Islamic manner.