Most Muslims are familiar with the various reasons that Allaah has required women to wear Hijab: The Hijab reflects modesty, purity and respect; it lessens temptation so that more serious sins will be avoided; it protects women from the harm and molestation of evil men; a woman who wears hijab will be evaluated for her intelligence and skills rather than her appearance.
One important aspect that is often overlooked, however, is that the Hijab is a symbol of Muslim identity. A woman who covers her head is making a statement that she is a member of the Muslim community and that she follows a particular code of moral conduct.
Allaah says, "O Prophet, tell your wives and daughters and the believing women to draw their outer garments around them. That is more suitable that they will be known (as Muslims and chaste believing women) and not be abused." [Qur'an, 33:59]
- "Did you every wonder why Mary, the mother Jesus (peace be upon him) wore clothing very similar to that of Muslims?"
- "Why do Catholic nuns dress the way they do?"
- "Did you know that in the Canon laws of the Catholic church today there is a law that requires women to cover their heads in church?"
- "Have you read in I Corinthians (Bible, 11:3-10) the verses that Paul wrote,
'Every man who prays of prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. And evey woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head - it is just as though her head were shaved. If a woman doesn't cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or shaved off, she should cover her head."
- "Did you know that there are some Christian denominations, namely the Amish and the Mennonites, who still require women to wear the head covering?"
- "Were you aware that is was the custom of Jewish women to go out in public with a head covering and that some denominations still practice this today?"
These discussion points demonstrate the obvious fact that the head cover was not introduced by Islam, but rather that this requirement has been in place for thousands of years. This can also be a cogent segue to more crucial topics such as the fact that Moses, peace be upon him, Jesus, peace be upon him and Muhammad, sallAllaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, were all Prophets of the same God and that they each carried the same basic message. Islam corrected the errors that had been introduced into previous revelations by humans and completed the process that was planned by Allaah, the Almighty.
We should be proud to be Muslim. We should also be grateful for the gift that Allaah has given to each one of us: The perfect truth of Islam that is our key to paradise. All others are being deluded by Satan and following paths to destruction. With our gift comes the responsibility to share the truth with those who are less fortunate. We are all responsible to carry the light of Islam. The proper Hijab is an outward manifestation of this light that burns within, and it can be an effective tool for fulfillment of our obligation. We choose whether to develop this light into a bright, radiant star or let it be extinguished by foolish and selfish desires.
May Allaah guide each of us to the true path. Aameen.