Sunday, October 11, 2015


بسم الله و الحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله

Today, October 11th, there has started a misguided movement called “No Hijab Day.” I usually try to ignore things like this but this hashtag caught my eye and sometimes I just can't hold my tongue :)
Counteracting the “World Hijab Day,” which is aimed at increasing global awareness about hijab, has come the movement of “No Hijab Day.” No hijab day was created in order to stand in support with those who are forced to wear hijab. The idea behind this movement is that if hijab is “a choice” then women should prove this and take off their hijabs on October 11th. Yes hijab is a choice, but it is also commanded in Islam. It is possible to make a choice of your own freewill, while still be following an obligation, one does not negate the other. But what value would my choice hold, if it was subjected to the whims of society? When I make this choice for Allah, I don’t have to defend my decision or prove to anyone that I have freewill and that I chose to do this, my choice is to obey God, and I don’t have to validate this to society.
This movement claims to be a standing in solidarity with women forced to wear hijab against their will, but if your goal is to help oppressed  women, why does that have to come at the expense of belittling, humiliating, and attacking the many women who choose to wear hijab for Allah alone? There are many things wrong with the logic behind this movement, and it’s my opinion that those behind it don’t care about the oppression of women, but rather look for any excuse to attack the fundamentals of Islam.  In opposition to “No Hijab Day” I am going to explain some of the many misconceptions about hijab:

Hijab is not a form of oppression.  Hijab represnts many purposes:

1. Submitting yourself to the will of Allahسبحانه وتعالى  . In submitting ourselves to hijab, we practice obedience to our Creator, humility, we overcome vanity and lewdness and profanity in society. We overcome the need to conform to society's standards of beauty and realize that there is a more important standard to uphold: the Standard of Allah. In overcoming the obsessive desire to please everyone with how we look, or feel inadequate because of the many pressures modern society places on women, we are able to shift the focus of improving our appearance, and instead focus more on improving our characters, religion, and skills.  In fact, oppression is the very thing which Islam tries to fight against. Islam wishes to protect women and represent her as an individual of the society, not simply an object of beauty, not a commodity of amusement, entertainment, and subjugation. Through guarding her modesty women maintain their free will and individuality as well as showcase that they are undeniably an integral part which weaves and maintains the fabric of Islamic society.
It's not beauty that is the objective "Allah is beautiful and loves beauty." (Hadith Sahih Muslim) But this beauty is not a product to be consumed by society.

2.  Hijab unifies the Muslim Ummah, it is to distinguish the Muslim woman. Solidarity and unity is important in every society. During the time of the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم  this was a symbol of their difference, a symbol of standing up for what they believe in and maintaining their differences even amongst a society which was against them and hostile towards them.
بَدَأَ الإِسْلاَمُ غَرِيبًا وَسَيَعُودُ كَمَا بَدَأَ غَرِيبًا فَطُوبَى لِلْغُرَبَاءِ
Islam began as a something strange and it will return to being strange, so blessed are the strangers.”
3. Hijab is not only the responsibility of women, men have certain dress codes as well "hijab" and both men and women are commanded to lower their gaze, (ie. Not stare at each other)

Anyone who claims hijab is not necessary doesn't know the basic anatomy of the male brain. There are many differences in the anatomy of the woman’s brain and the man’s. When the visual processing component is activated in men it demands close to full cognitive capacity. In men, the dominant perceptual sense is vision, which is typically not the case with women. All of a woman's senses are, in some respects, more finely tuned and used in equal proportion compared to a man. Testosterone impairs the impulse control region of the male brain. There was an experiment in which the (male) test subjects watched 2 news reports, one in which the reporter was a woman, and one in which the reporter was a man, although they both reported the exact same thing. When the subjects were later asked questions about the report, they found that the men recalled 80% more of the report in which the news caster was a man, and couldn’t answer the questions after watching the female news reporter. Therefore, it is actually not possible for the man to not objectify a woman when she is not dressed modestly, it's not down to individual differences or societal differences … it's because of the anatomy of the male brain! This is not only my opinion or the opinion of Muslims, this is proven by science.

Despite the above facts, it is up to each member of society to maintain their own modestly and dignity, and this responsibility is not solely placed on women to maintain but placed equally upon each individual.
"When Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم was travelling on the road with his cousin, Al-Fadl ibn Abbas, a woman stopped him to ask him a question. The woman was very beautiful, and Al-Fadl couldn’t help but stare at her." Seeing this, Prophet Muhammad reached out his hand and turned his cousin’s face away. (Bukhari Volume 8, Book 74, Number 247)
"Ibn 'Abbass said, 'A beautiful woman, from among the most beautiful of women, used to pray behind the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم Some of the people used to go to pray in the front row to ensure they would not be able to see her. Others would pray in the last row of the men, and they would look from underneath their armpits to see her."
Because of this act, in regard to her, Allah revealed: "Verily, We know the eager among you to be in the front and verily We know the eager to be behind." (15:24).
Abu Hurairah narrated that Allah’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم  said, “The best rows for men are the front ones, and the worst rows are the last ones. And the best rows for women are the last ones, and the worst are the front ones.”

From the above examples we can see that maintaining modesty and decency in a society is not a one sided job, and that women alone are not responsible. Was it placed on the women to be responsible for those staring at her? Each member is responsible for themselves to better the community.
When both genders of society follow the commandments of hijab, this helps us to have a more harmonious, chaste, and pure society as a whole, without fear of objectification, assault, infidelity (emotion or actual infidelity), corruption of marriages, it ensures that every person is responsible for their family and children. When we follow the commandments of hijab correctly, this ensures a society where both genders can interact with each other properly when needed, under the guidelines of respect, modesty, and morality.

In relation to the argument against hijab, many claim it is a form of misogyny, how can this be the case when all of these preventative measures are spread equally and given equal responsibility to both genders, giving women the ability to take their part as distinguished respected members of society. In the society where being ostentatious and shameless is the norm; modesty, humility, and chastity are apparently foreign rejected concepts.
The message of Islam came to a culture in which women had no rights, women were treated like second class citizens during that time and the birth of a daughter brought shame and unhappiness to a family, some of them even being buried alive. As the message of Islam was revealed we saw a complete reform in the rights of women in Arabia.
وَإِذَا بُشِّرَ أَحَدُهُمْ بِالأُنثَى ظَلَّ وَجْهُهُ مُسْوَدًّا وَهُوَ كَظِيمٌ
يَتَوَارَى مِنَ الْقَوْمِ مِن سُوءِ مَا بُشِّرَ بِهِ أَيُمْسِكُهُ عَلَى هُونٍ أَمْ يَدُسُّهُ فِي التُّرَابِ أَلاَ سَاء مَا يَحْكُمُونَ
“And when one of them is informed of [the birth of] a female, his face becomes dark, and he suppresses grief. He hides himself from the people because of the ill of which he has been informed. Should he keep it in humiliation or bury it in the ground?  Unquestionably, evil is what they decide.” [Quran 16:58-59]
Verses of the Quran demean and reject these Pre-Islamic customs and traditions, as well as encouraging in many ahadith the equal and fair treatment of women in society. 
A father who cares for his daughters (or brother who cares for his sisters) well is granted paradise-this is how important the treatment of women is in Islam. "Whoever takes care of two girls until they reach adulthood - he and I will come (together) on the Day of Resurrection - and he interlaced his fingers (meaning in Paradise)." (Reported by Sahih Muslim)

A husband is required to maintain, feed, and clothe his wife as he does himself, and educate his wife to the same degree that he is educated. From the hadith of the prophet
 عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَكْمَلُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِيمَانًا أَحْسَنُهُمْ خُلُقًا وَخِيَارُكُمْ خِيَارُكُمْ لِنِسَائِهِمْ خُلُقًا
The most complete of the believers in faith, is the one with the best character. And the best of you are those who are best to their women.”(At-Tirmidhi)
"The world is but a (quick passing) enjoyment; and the best enjoyment of the world is (to have) a pious wife." (Sahih Muslim)

There are many hadith that emphasize and encourage the best treatment to ones mother
عَنْ مُعَاوِيَةَ بْنِ جَاهِمَةَ السَّلَمِيِّ أَنَّ جَاهِمَةَ جَاءَ إِلَى النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَرَدْتُ أَنْ أَغْزُوَ وَقَدْ جِئْتُ أَسْتَشِيرُكَ فَقَالَهَلْ لَكَ مِنْ أُمٍّ قَالَ نَعَمْ قَالَ فَالْزَمْهَا فَإِنَّ الْجَنَّةَ تَحْتَ رِجْلَيْهَا
 The Prophet said, “Do you have a mother?” He said yes. The Prophet said, “Stay with her, for Paradise is beneath her feet.

عَنْ عَائِشَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهَا قَالَتْ قُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَيُّ النَّاسِ أَعْظَمُ حَقًّا عَلَى الْمَرْأَةِ قَالَ زَوْجُهَا قُلْتُ فَأَيُّ النَّاسِ أَعْظَمُ حَقًّا عَلَى الرَّجُلِ قَالَأُمُّهُ
Aisha reported: I said, “O Messenger of Allah, which of the people has the greatest right over a woman?” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Her husband.” I said, “Which of the people has the greatest right over a man?” The Prophet said, “His mother.”
Women played a huge role in aiding the rise of Islam, spreading the message of Islam, and had prominent roles of religious scholarship.  
Islam granted women:
  • Freedom of education
  • The right to choose who they marry
  • The ability to inherit and own property
  • The exclusive right to handle her own finances and wealth
  • The right to divorce if absolutely necessary
  • To not be outcasts from society after divorce (and it was very rare in all parts of the world for divorced or widowed women to remarry, until the age of Islam)
All of these things were granted to Muslim women long before they were present in Western society, so if you want to talk about oppression, maybe do some history research first.

It's not the hijab which is oppressive towards women it is unjust and corrupt government systems, uneducated minds, women not given the opportunity to even learn about their religion in order to make a decision for themselves rather to be forced into it, and unfair and biased representation in the media. I wonder why every picture of a niqabi or hijab woman is portraying her as miserable? This doesn't portray reality this is just media twisting representation to suit their needs.
Anything can be used as a tool of oppression, but that doesn't mean that is it's purpose.
Hijab, niqab can be used as a tool of oppression when they are used to control or force a woman to do something, but when they are used by freewill as a symbol of religious devotion they cease to be tools of oppression: they are now tools of freewill and liberation: representing what you believe in and standing up for your rights are always liberating. High heels, makeup, and tight-fitting clothing can be tools of oppression. Beauty can be a tool of oppression, when every week there is a new product or treatment to make women look younger, prettier, more fashionable and more accepted by society. Grotesque plastic surgeries to meet today's beauty standards have increased 25% since the 1990's, 90% of cosmetic procedure are, predictably for women. Anyone who doesn't conform to these ideals is an outcast. The thought of not fitting into these standards ensues low self-confidence, anxiety, and shame for the woman. Every flaw is dissected and criticized, turning women into approval-seeking robots, only concerned with praise and acceptance by others, consumers for life to help fund the women-shaming industry (other wise known as the beauty and fashion industry), so that they can continue to release products to fix every newly-invented flaw.

So to conclude this I'm guessing it's obvious that I won't be participating in No Hijab Day nor will any other sisters who really understand and respect the meaning of hijab. I hope that in the future we can live in a community that can achieve credible ways to relieve the oppression of women, and realize that this oppression does not have it's roots in Islam. 

Read more about hijab here: 
Don't Believe in Hijab?
Hijab: Going beyond the basics

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