Some of us cannot afford the hijab of today

Published: June 30, 2015

Abrar Shahin is a Muslim student of Palestinian descent who recently graduated from this school. PHOTO: TWITTER (@AbrarShahin)

There is a school named The Clifton High School which is not in Karachi but in New Jersey, USA, and Abrar Shahin is a Muslim student of Palestinian descent who recently graduated from this school. Sincere congratulations and best wishes in her subsequent career to the young lady who appears to possess a strong sense of identity since her photograph shows her wearing a hijab, and who is about to present us with what I hope, a healthy debate.

In the hormone-charged atmosphere of high schools, where girls dress quite revealingly, it takes conviction to cover your head with a scarf at all times. In her year book, Ms Shahin was seen wearing skinny jeans, ankle-high boots and a cropped white blazer in her yearbook photo, and if you look at her photograph, you will find that she is also meticulously made up with eyeliner, mascara, the works, the cosmetics, as a reporter for NorthJersey.com puts it perfectly,

“Capped with plum-toned lip stick.”

It is interesting but not unusual. My children also went to a high school in the US where there were other girls similarly dressed in tight jeans, fully made up, but also wearing a hijab. My own daughter, whose mother did not agree with hijabs, did not wear one, and her jeans and tops were relaxed and not as fitted. I cannot recall her ever wearing make up to high school.

So tell me, not because I wish to be judgmental, heaven forbid, but because being human I am tired of some people flaunting a halo in addition to a hijab and I need this outburst, what is the purpose of a hijab?

Is it not worn to prevent men paying attention to a woman’s charms?  And is that all there is to be modest about in a woman’s body, the hair on her head? Is there not, if one must be obsessed with the subject, the face, the figure, and a lot else that constitutes female charm? I knew someone, my father in fact, who never considered a woman beautiful unless her feet were clean and well kept. And someone else who felt that there was nothing more attractive than a woman who wore a light perfume and nothing more off putting than one who wore something strong ‘like Charlie’ is what he said to be exact.

I suppose from some quarters the response will be that this is why women should be (according to them) covered from head to toe – incarcerated.

I know a very nice lady. She is covered from head to toe in what she tells me are mostly French chiffons. That, in my book, encapsulates the matter quite neatly. There is nothing more elitist, nothing that contributes more to the ‘great divide’ than such ‘pardah’. Only the rich, the very rich can afford to be quite so ‘religious’ which should make us question if that, after all, is what was intended by the religious requirement of modesty, to question the definition of ‘pardah’.

The rest of us who have to earn a living, who have to live with the curse of power load-shedding and who cannot afford fabric that drapes and breathes as well as chiffon either die under such incarcerating conditions (Karachi heat wave) or live a bit less encumbered if modestly, and rely on our own lungs not the abaya to do the breathing.

As an aside, please allow me to tell you that the fully incarcerated lady cannot exercise in her driveway as she used to in her pre-incarcerated days because of the chowkidar (security guard), so she must now do so in a gym. Also that she carries a spare set of slippers in her car in case they visit a home where she must sit in the same room as the men. In that case she wears the stodgy pair; otherwise she wears the prettier ones.  It is mind-boggling, is it not, how much thought in addition to cash goes into incarceration?

I am struck by the sentiment and the utter dedication to the subject of sexuality. But think for a moment. The world has come to a stage now where people eat breakfast on the hoof. While I do not agree with this other extreme of lifestyle, it gives some idea of how busy a world it now is. How much there is to achieve, and how much one has to adapt to get out of this rut we have fallen into. Our country is perilously short of water, power, education, justice, funds, political stability, women and children’s rights, health facilities, nearly everything. And we are stuck, mired, up to our heads in abayas, hijabs, trailing dupattas (the mind boggles in what all these trail in) and nothing but.

I am a woman. I dress well, and modestly enough. My son would never, ever treat a woman with disrespect much less hoot and whistle at one. I think this is the real pardah. Sometimes the route to self-respect and dignity is via both sexes, with the aid of nothing more than a bit of decency and common sense. A shroud is not required.

Rabia.Ahmed

Rabia Ahmed

The author is a freelance writer and translator.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Obaid Ullah

    All I see in this blog is ranting. Women now will make any excuse to shed off as many clothes as possible. That girl in question has won an award in a school voted by her fellow students. Why take the trouble to discuss as something of great importance?Recommend

  • saimah

    You are right.. But you can’t dictate religion to be modified. In Islam, the concept of pardah remains the same.Recommend

  • Fatima

    Madam, When Allah ordered women at the time of Prophet Muhammed (S.A.W) to make PARDAH, we should refer to the acts of Hazrat Aisha (R.A), Hazrat Fatima (R.A) and other Mothers of Muslim Umma. If Mothers of Muslims covered their faces and hair, we have to cover it, no matter how the world feels about it.Recommend

  • Imran

    The Arabs of today wear pretty much similar clothing as they used to wear since pre-Islamic periods. Women have undergone some changes in Prophet’s period, “”to look differently from Non-Muslim women”” as some Non-Muslim males tease women in the morning time when they used to go in the fields for toilet and make lame excuses that they can’t judge between their wives and other women. So, these versus are for such situations. We don’t need to apply these verses now as we feel very safe now and no need to look differently. At the second place Quran just says that we need to be modest (both men and women). It’s very simple understanding. We need to separate culture and Islam. Just adopt dressing according to your own cultural Norms.Recommend

  • Ajay Gupta

    Don’t be so sure about ur son. Sons rarely tell their moms or discuss with them about
    Hooting at women. & as for disrespecting Her, no doubt you will join in when it comes to harassing your daughter in law.Recommend

  • Bairooni Haath

    Women will be women whether you put them behind Purdah or lock them in Chardiwari. They always want to look pretty. I read Moroccon Muslim women wear lingerie under their burqas and Iranian women are big into facial plastic surgery as only their faces are visible in public.Recommend

  • Imran Ahmed

    Modesty is the issue here, some Muslims tend to ossify their attitudes in ritually following precedents, while paying scant regard to the spirit or intent of the precept.
    This habit of literal interpretation has after 1400 years perverted this religion’s intent of fostering communal harmony through compassionate justice and worship of One unifying God.
    Men and women should be decently attired and be free to choose or discard headgear. Recommend

  • hamza khan

    the covering of the face is not wajib or required except in one madhab. take from that what you may. however, the author seriously must be aware of the requirement to cover hair and dressing modestly. i am not sure of the requirement for the abaya either, and think modest dress is sufficient as long as the Quranic requirements are being followed.Recommend

  • Sid

    Its a congratulations to school, which does prove that racism is not prevalant in western countries as taught in Pakistan by it’s media. Will a Hindu girl ever win such a title in Pakistan ? Please show me a single Non Muslim celebrity in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Arsha

    Not covering your head or face is not equivalent to shedding clothes. And I have never understood why the fact that women also get attracted to and tempted by a man’s good looking face and body is never considered a reason for men to cover themselves? Infact there are numerous teenage boys who get sexually exploited even by other men but never a call for a burka or hijab for them?Recommend

  • Sid

    Women are women’s biggest enemy is proven by sentences of few in the response section. Wearing viel should be choice, not under compulsion or peer pressure just because Hazrat Aisha (R.A), Hazrat Fatima (R.A) and other Mothers of Muslim Umma were wearing it.
    In Arab world wearing veil was much before the Islam or even Christianity came into being. And it was for environmental reason to cover face and skin from dust and heat damages. Followers of Islam gave it a religious twist. And now women like few here in comment section have prejudices towards women wearing or not wearing veil. This is where human converts a liberal thinking of religion to more dogmatic and dangerously rigid thinking.
    May Allah save women from likes of these few.
    The girl was popular for her beauty and not her veil. Hence win the award. But somehow ET editors love to twist the fact to make it a “muslim” or “non muslim” discussion.
    Recommend

  • Iftikhar Ali

    Its not the hijab that made her beautiful rather she herself is gorgeous and beautiful, so what ever she wears she will look pretty. Recommend

  • Hammurabi

    How Hazrat Aisha led the war in purda in Ghazwa e Jamal?Recommend

  • MJ

    I see girls wearing skinny jeans and form fitting shirts with a hijab on top in the US all the time. What Islam wants us to do is dress modestly, not just hide female hair.Recommend

  • fze

    I totally agree with you Rabia. Hijab, now a days is accompanied by big head to make you presentable, complete with caked face, heavy mascara, black eyeliner, topped with red lipstick. Where is the modesty in this? Anyways with 50 degrees outside it is impossible to shroud yourself in abaya and hijab. I think nothing is wrong with our own shalwar kameez with georgette or lawn dupatta on the head. Have your own identity instead of being a copy cat of Arabs.Recommend

  • Ahmed

    @Author
    Actually both pardahs are required. The physical clothing one is as important as the one of character.Recommend

  • Dipak Mehta

    So don’t wear hijab. It looks ugly anyway.Recommend

  • Dipak Mehta

    Who care?Recommend

  • http://www.gsmnation.com Umair Ansari

    Confused WomenRecommend

  • Hammurabi

    Hazrat Aisha commanded armies.Communication with Army Personnel was effectively done.Recommend

  • Hammurabi

    I 100% agree with you.Recommend

  • Hammurabi

    very debatable statement asfar as the idlamic history.However the moderators dont allow me to clarify wrong historical events.Recommend

  • red

    wow leave it to pakistani’s to find fault in everything.
    maybe once you stop complaining about everyone else you might actually start fixing your own problems.Recommend

  • AA

    “A shroud is not required,” very true, modesty lies in ones intentions not in presentation. Hijab can be more attractive to culturally welcome men. An abaya (the one I saw in the market place of Medina) can be more sexually alluring than a miniskirt.
    In Islam, the women are not supposed to be “incarcerated,” rather modesty is for both sexes. Men are supposed to be dressed modest too. The whole purpose is to keep the sexual tension out of interaction.
    As long as some women find it convenient to benefit by exploiting sexuality of weaker sex, they continue to capitalize on it. The intentions will remain to maximize personal benefits through revealing attractive parts of body or decorating them with attractive dresses, including Hijab.
    The point is would you choose a low neck or a beautiful Hijab? The difference is obvious, low neck is a way of arousing crude sexual desire while a Hijab would only foster admiration.Recommend

  • Syeda Ali

    When you belittle the subject by the end I wonder that of all the problems you’ve mentioned, why you chose to write on such an insignificant topic? As a matter of fact this is an important topic.

    Now coming to intentions, yes Pardah is for men as well as for women. Quran tells men to lower their gave before telling women to do so. It explicitly mentions Pardah for women so not only intentions but modesty in physical attire is important.
    As far as instances of such women are given where only headscarf or skin tight abaya etc are used, these women are at fault. Pardah in itself is a way to hide yourself or not attract people of opposite sect. They don’t understand this basic reason behind Hijab but that doesn’t mean HIjab in itself is impractical. If you would see neutrally you will find many women observing HIjab in a better way and are comfortable with it. If you think HIjab in hot weather is impractical for you then it should be the most practical thing in cold weather & areas of lower temperatures.Recommend

  • PakiGirl

    Deepak Perwani, Sunita MarshalRecommend

  • A Samad Nasyr
  • islooboy

    Peer pressure makes you do pretty weird stuff so dont put unrealistic expectations on your sonRecommend

  • islooboy

    Indian views not requiredRecommend

  • ZKhan

    What is the Relation between Hijab and Pakistan Internal Crises? Which the writer want to Point out..Recommend

  • islooboy

    Sunita is christianRecommend

  • Abdul Hayee

    We Muslims do care. You don’t have to, and we don’t even want you to care. Islamic teachings are above all the things for a Muslim.Recommend

  • Saadi

    Where does it say they covered their faces? Recommend

  • Zara

    According to the Quran, both things are equally important. The physical pardah as well as the modesty of character. Our religion is based on what Allah wants us to do and how He wants us to live our lives, not the opposite. We need to stop moulding and changing it according to what suits us or whats more comfortable for us or what ‘we’ believe or think is right. We have no right to say whats more important as we have the Quran to clarify it.Recommend

  • Zara

    Well said! (Y)Recommend

  • Maryam

    I agree with your view about how girs wearing makeup and tight clothes with a hijab defeats the purpose of it. But I do not think you should judge every hijabi just by a handful. It’s fine to have your own opinion about it, but I don’t think it’s right to undermine someone else’s beliefs by calling the covering which they wear for religious purposes a “shroud” It is both insulting and reflects that you judge only what you see. Have you ever worn a hijab yourself? I don’t think so. Do you even understand the real meaning and symbolism behind it? I highly doubt it, or else you would not speak about it in such a manner. If people want to wear hijab, let them. Why does it bother you? In all honestly, it’s none of your business. Generalising and saying that all hijabis have a fake halo round their head is not in good taste. Yes, a lot of people who appear religous on the outside are quite different from the inside and vice versa, but that does not mean ALL of them are. People have their own reasons for wearing it. If buying an extra piece of cloth to cover your head is too unaffordable for you, then please don’t. Nobody forced you to wear a hijab. It’s a personal matter. And I don’t see why you should question others’ personal matters and beliefs. Nobody is perfect, so maybe reflect upon yourself first before criticising others’ choices, practices and beliefs.Recommend

  • saleem

    this is an arab custom and dates much before islam came there ……..why us pakistanis should even consider it ……..Recommend

  • N

    Well in my opinion women who wear hijab and put on makeup look more attractive
    I don’t understand the concept of fashionable colorful hijabs with embroidery what’s the purpose to gain attention
    Best hijab is to dress modestly wear loose fitted clothes that doesn’t show body figure also don’t wear makeup stay simple and talk and walk in decent manner

    Recommend

  • AA

    Can you substantiate your claim. Also please describe traditions of which part of the Arabic speaking world you are referring to as “Arab culture.” Because to my knowledge, immediately before advent of Islam, Syria, Egypt and North Africa (Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco) was part of Byzantine Empire, Iraq was part of Sassanid Empire and none of those areas have any such tradition,

    It was the women of Medina in the pre-Islamic era who used to wrap a cloth over their head with the two ends tucked behind and tied at the back of
    the neck, used to be called “Khumur.” The purpose of this scarf was to hold hairs in place. You find similar traditions everywhere in the world. There is no connotation of modesty attached to it.
    Another tradition was to throw a loose sheet of cloth over head and shoulders used to be called “Jilbab.” The purpose of this tradition was not to hide anything but to display status of respect by free women distinctive from slave women who would bare their shoulders.

    Orders of Hijab came in the following two verses: Surah an-Nur 24:30 and Surah al-Ahzab 33:59.

    So blending of the two traditions into one, Muslim Hijab came into existence, that should cover head, neck and chest.Recommend

  • Munir

    Islam is a philosophy not dictation on clothes,Recommend

  • Zaidi

    JAMAL was not a “Ghazwa” first of all. Get your things straight.Recommend

  • Fatima Farooq

    I guess she thinks extra piece of cloth causes all load-shedding :PRecommend

  • Fatima Farooq

    it depends on no. of minorities you’ve. our society with 97% of Muslims is NOT MULTICULTURAL like U.SRecommend

  • ZaCh

    My son would never, ever treat a woman with disrespect much less hoot and whistle at one. I think this is the real pardah.

    plz get me any mom who would say that his son hoots and whistles at women.Recommend

  • ZaCh

    This should ve been the article rather than the one posted above. a very balanced approachRecommend

  • Tooba Tariq

    I started covering my head (not hijaab just dupatta)because my mother asked me too when I was in college. I didn’t like the concept of skinny jeans and dupatta on my head so after a while I stopped.I took my time,thought about it and now for the sake of my dupatta I gave my abandoned my western clothes and I am happy.
    My younger sister has no such plans and I don’t force her. This is a very personal decision. If you are willing to do what you want then you can achieve better and bigger things.Recommend

  • Anonymous

    completely agree with you…Recommend

  • Raj Iyer

    String bikini with a hijab. Next hot trend in Tolerance of Diversity.Recommend

  • Raj Iyer

    If there was an award for invalidating the hijab as a form of Purdah, this girl deserves it. Skinny jeans, cropped blazer, killer boots, and hijab. Oh my. What a way to establish her “Islamic Identity”!Recommend

  • abubakar

    Quran 33:59 states Hijab is compulsory for Muslim women. If you don’t like that change YOUR religion ,but stop trying to change THE religion.Recommend

  • fze

    then why are you here?Recommend

  • Aizah

    You should quote the exact verse rather than your interpretation of that verse.Recommend

  • http://selfeducator.blogspot.com Nazish

    She said non MuslimRecommend

  • Miyagi Jr.

    Just Google “Veil in different religions and cultures” And you will find out that its not cultural or Arab at all. its religious. please do some research before making clear statements.Recommend

  • Miyagi Jr.

    The verse 33:59 asks the Prophet to tell his wives, daughters and women of the believers, to draw close to them portions of their loose outer coverings, meaning cover their heads and body with some kind of loose garment. It doesn’t say from head to toe, . Its not ordering the believing women, neither forcing them to do so. The verse ends with the explanation of why it is necessary that they may thus be distinguished and not molested. For the men, they are asked to keep their eyes low while passing them.

    What is happening is that women are asking men to keep their eyes low when they are not in pardah, and men will not keep their eyes low and want their women to do pardah. both are not following the prescription, and arguing.Recommend

  • Hammurabi

    I do not know the arabic term for war .I used the term ghazwa.Thank u for your advice.I doubt the muslim women at that time covered their faces as they were practical ladies participating in wars, trade,cattle raising along with men.
    For all these activities the interactive
    discourse is essential and identification of person by face was
    also a must.Recommend

  • anon0912

    Actually if you didn’t try to sound so smart and actually used Google,you would see that this is a tradition from the time of Jews and Romans or maybe even before that.Religion to most people is like being blindfolded and and walking around stumbling into stuff.You see the covering of the head was always meant to be a symbol of modesty and not meant to be like modern day Iran.Btw your abaya comment is really messed up,just saying.Recommend

  • Hammurabi

    What is the Arabic word for “war”? forget abt Ghazwa or Jang.How women were recognized in business,wars and cattle raising?By voice?Recommend

  • Rd px

    It doesn’tRecommend

  • Muhammad Hassaan

    *bows* well said.Recommend

  • AA

    ET has edited my comments don’t know why, I specifically quoted two Ayah to mention that Quran used the two traditions of Medina to illustrate the purpose of Hijab. It tells Muslim women to extend their Jilabib and Khumur over their chest.Recommend

  • AA

    Unfortunately people search Google as a source of authentic information it is not. Books goes through a meticulous process of editing and then are open for critique and reviews. The ones that are poorly written end up in recycle bins. Google does not have those constraints and even a critique or a review does not affect the false information in the first piece. In bible the covering of head mentioned as a symbol of modesty, true but your sweeping statement that, “covering of head was always meant to be a symbol of modesty,” is wrong. You will find head scarf used for many purposes, to cover hairs during processing of grapes for wine, during baking and cooking or simply in fashion to decorate and beautify.Recommend

  • AA

    I love your comment !!!!!Recommend

  • AA

    There are two Ayahs about Hijab in Qur’an non has mentioned hairs, both are referring the covering of bosoms and not showing the beauty that is not apparent. Do you have any Hadith or Ayah of Qur’an that refers specifically to cover hairs.Recommend

  • Vishnu Pundle

    donot publish such articles on net any way.Recommend

  • Phaite

    ask your son this question (if he is older than 13) “does he watch porn”? if he has guts to accept it ,in case he watches it, (which will only make him from among 95% of male porn-watching-population) then ask him why?Recommend

  • abubakar

    Just because some people don’t have courage to follow the real tenets of islam, just because people wanna appear ‘modernized and civilized,’ does not mean that quran does not tell women to cover upRecommend

  • Faisal

    Very well said Recommend

  • Sohail Rizwan

    Well said Maryam! I think she is trying to change the definition of Pardah and has her own philosophy about it…Recommend

  • AA

    Dear Imran, The Ayah you are reffering is from Surah al-Ahzab 33:59. However, the later Surah an-Nur 24:31 explains it more clearly and describe it more precisely what women should use as head scarf and why.Khumur was a headgear popular among women of Medina, it was a cloth over their head with the two ends tucked behind and tied at the back of the neck. So Quran asking Prophet (SAW) to tell them to expand it over their chest. To explain what is the purpose of it, preceding Ayahs explains it. There fore, it is not left on our imagination or judgement or cultural practice but adopted from specific tradition with modifications and set as Fard, since in the beginning of Surah it says, “Faradnaaha”. means these commandments are mandatory..Recommend

  • AA

    Liberal means free of prejudice from the Latin root Libra, means free. Liberalism thus connotes an attitude which is free of prejudice, and following of traditions which in fact opposite of conservatism which is strictly following traditions, whether cultural or religious. So the statement “liberal thinking of religion” is an oxymoron.

    Being a Muslim is a choice, but once that choice been made it requires to abide by rules strictly to maintain that association, not by pick and choose. There is no place for choice even in any human constitution, once an allegiance is proclaimed, a person required to abide by the laws based on it, refusing to do so brought punishments or impresonment. How can people then ask freedom of choice in the practice of religion? Either accept the commandments of God or simply disassociate from him. As Allah says to his prophet (SAW) in Surah al-Kahaf 18 Ahah 29, that the truth is sent by your Lord, now let them make their choice whether to accept it or reject.itRecommend

  • Saqib

    A typical liberal Pakistani women escaping the importance of Hijab…. and picking on irrelevant stuff to escape the wrong….. Sigh!Recommend

  • Saad A. Shah

    C’mon.. Don’t say this… A typical liberal will have a liberal take on anyone’s personal choice. Be it about its dressing, practices, and even sexuality. She might think herself a liberal but in reality she is not!Recommend

  • Saad A. Shah

    NAILED IT!!!

    but please care for Ehtaram e Ramadan!Recommend

  • Anonymous

    Well guys please go and read the quranic definition of hijab and purdah! Allah did not specify muslim women to cover the head!!
    He specifically mentions that women should put “khimar” over their chests. No where in Quran does it mention that women are obligated to cover their hair. In fact Allah says, the best garment for Adam is that of “modesty”. So the author’s views are exactly according to the “true” Islam. Hijab is an innovation of historians and culture, not islamic. A muslim woman can dress modestly without a hijab, and she can dress very immodestly with a hijab(as usually seen nowadays). Only those people would understand the author’s excellent and deep sense of logic who have studies the quranic with extreme deliberation. Most muslims are reading the Quran by the eyes of Mullahs and arab culture. No one tries to read the Quran as a divine book irrespective and unaltered by cultural influences. A Chinese muslim women is not obligated to wear a hijab. She can dress in her cultural traditional dress as long it is “modest” and as long as it covers her sexual appeal (chest specifically mentioned by Allah swt).Recommend

  • Anonymous

    So true. You seem to be the one who understands the purpose of the dress code authorized by Allah in Quran. Interestingly, the word hijab is no where used in the quran to refer to a woman’s piece of clothing but to refer to entirely different meaning. The dress, whether jeans, shalwar kameez, or a kimono or a sari whatever it be, should not be revealing or sexually exciting, As Allah says, “the best garment for children of Adam is the garment of Modesty”. Note here Allah uses the word Adam( refers to both men and women). The dress code is for both men and women.Recommend

  • anonymous

    Sadly, 33:59 is the most widely misinterpreted verse of the Holy Quran. Allah hasnt even used the word hijab here! Please do your research. Allah uses the word Khimar, used to refer to any clothing or covering. And Allah does not mention the head or the hair specifically! It’s an innovation and accusation of muslims in regards to Allah. Allah hasn’t obligated muslim women to cover their heads here, but their chests. So dont associate with Allah that which you dont understand. First learn arabic then comment what Allah has commanded. Stop blind following of traditional commentaries of holy versus by intellectually low mullahs.Recommend

  • Anonymous

    Abubakr….Its not about appearing modernized and not having the courage to do it….As u can see women are courageous enough to wear the so called islamic hijab and abandon the dupatta on their chests for tight jeans and thigh high boots….It is a blasphemy to associate with Allah false things. The point is, Allah has not mentioned the word head or the hair in 33:59. And rememer that Allah does not fall short of words, neither does He forget. Then why did He deliberately leave out the words head and the hair from 33:59, instead He specifies the Chest as mandatory to be covered! Modern hijab is totally un islamic and it should not be advertised as an islamic piece of clothong. Islaam only authorizes “modesty”. A woman who does not cover her head but dresses simply would not sexually attract a man. You can testify to this fact.Recommend

  • AMuslimGirl

    Khimar word is used to refer to anything that covers anything, such as a table cloth. Not specifically forr head covering. So please try to learn arabic if u really want to understand the Quran. Its not about winning an argument here. The fact is, Allah does not specify the covering of the head or the hair. A woman or a man has to dress “modestly”, cover her “chest” most importantly, and hide her bodily attractiveness “zeenatuhunnah”…..Hijab today is totally cultural, unrequired and most importantly, an accusation on Allah and Islam. Allah does not specify a dress but a dress code!Recommend

  • Amuslimgirl

    Your own statement defies your point. As you are saying a head cover is not a symbol of modesty. Then my brother, it is not required at all by ALLAH who has made modesty a compulsory trait in dressing of both man and a woman. As the article describes that woman with so called hijab dressed and dolled up is extremely unislamic. Most importantly, it is being made to look islamic and being made to fit the Islamic definition of pardah. In the ayat for purdah, Allah also commands women not to move in a way that makes their body parts move or become prominent. However, the modern hijab has no limitation which Allah specifies. It just “covers” a woman, be it tight fitting clothes, or loose fit clothes without dupatta and high heels exactly fitting the description of Allah has forbidden. Modesty can be achived without following a certain dress. A woman can look modest even in jeans if its not too tight etc. Modesty is the best garment. Our flaw is that we try to interpret Quran according to what happened 1400 years ago in Prophet’s home. We should realize that Quran is a timeless book, fully applicable at all times! All quranic ayah are equally applicable to the present and past.Recommend

  • Anonymous

    So true and thoughtful! And this is what Allah actually requires from a muslim woman….modesty. “Modesty is the best garment”(Quran).Recommend

  • Amuslimgirl

    Extremely true. Couldn’t agree more!Recommend

  • Amuslimgirl

    All commandments in Quran are mandatory. After all it is a book of commandments. Secondly, I would like if you try to research more on the word “Khumur”. From the arabic dictionary, it is any cloth or a veil used to cover anything, for example a table cloth. The point is, God would not want any quran reader to look into the culture present at the time of revelation of quran, since quran is meant to be applicable to all times equally irrespective of cultural differences. Also “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link”. If you are viewing the absolute quran from the eyes of “history” and “culture”, then most definitely your undertanding of the quran would be flawed. Quranic interpretation should be liberated from cultural influence, rather it should be interpreted according to its own pure light. This idea of quran being superior to arab culture and a self standing book of knowledge and commandments should be applied on the interpretation of all ayah of quran. Quran is a standalone literature and is no way linked to any culture. it is a divine religion after all. All you need to understand its “true” meaning without cultural influences is an arabic dictionary and good knowledge of arabic language.Recommend

  • Amuslimgirl

    Also if you deem arab culture as an authority on muslim world, then you should read the quan which states that arabs are the most transgressing nation in the world, oriented towards transgressing beyond the law of Allah. Is it not transgression beyond the law to add incarnation and unrequired abayas and jilbabs and hijab as a religious duty on women?Recommend

  • Miyagi Jr.

    Do I know you??

    I don’t think so, so you better keep your judgments about others to yourself.
    There are other verses in the Quran too. e.g 24:32, translate it yourself Professor. And the word is “Khumur”, not “Khimar” in Quran, and is always translated with “a veil worn by a women to cover her head”

    I don’t talk to arrogant people, have a nice day.

    Peace.Recommend

  • abeer

    Thumbs up! And to the writer! I think you think a lot about hijab that’s why you say that we are busy in pardah rather tgan focussing on other important things!! Don’t think about it much rather take it as water is important for life..try itRecommend

  • ارشد حسین

    is it necessary to wear any? You have nothing to do any with islam.Recommend

  • ارشد حسین

    There is no answer for people like you who cannot find Pardah in Qur’an.Recommend

  • ارشد حسین

    Sadly you are worst Alim, Recommend

  • AA

    How about “Jilabib.” Understanding Arabic alone can not explain the meanings of Ayaat, since Qumran uses metaphors, similes and idioms. When it refers something that is in practice, it is not referring the dictionary meaning of word but the cultural uses of that word. Khummur, at the time was used for a loose sheet of cloth used by free women to cover their shoulders to signify status, however, Jilbab was a head scarf..

    I am not trying to win the argument either, but we should not take meanings of the Ahat by pure diction. Allah had no shortage of words but he uses only those which were understandable by the people through their cultural references. Qur’an makes it clear (that it is a guide for people who seek for guidance ( not a book of linguistics,) Therefore it can not be understood with mere knowledge of Arabic language, it requires understanding of culture in Mecca and Medina at that time. Allah referred Jilbab in Surah an-Nur 24:31.Recommend

  • AA

    You misread my statement, I said it was not used as symbol of modesty prior to Islam. The two traditions which Qur’an is referring and instructing to modify are symbols of decor and status.
    Your arguments are valid about interpreting meanings of Ayat in the contemporary context . But I will definitely question the understanding of Qur’an on the basis of literal meanings of its Ayahs. Allah has used metaphors, similes and idioms extensively in Qur’an, which were rooted in the culture and practice of the people among whom it was revealed at that specific time. In fact the latest scrutiny of many well known translations based on literal meanings turned some grave errors. If we ignore the culture and practices of people among whom the Qur’an was first revealed, we loose the meanings of its Ayahs in translation.The extremist interpretations of Islam in my opinion is a result of exactly the same error which we will be making if we try to interpret Qur’an disregarding the practice of it guided by Rasul Allah (SAW) himself in his life. The first book of Islamic Jurisprudence Moatta Imam Malik made this point in its preface that interpretations in that book are based on the observations of Muslim in Medina with justification that these are the people whose adults were taught by Prophet (SAW) himself. Now of course it can be argued that some of the practices were primitive so they could not be replicated as is, but should they not be used as reference to understand actual meanings of Ayahs of Qur’an. For modesty, in Surah an-Nur Quran is making a detailed argument in the preceding Ayahs before instructing to expand the Jilabibs to cover chest. This expanded version of Jilbab is purely Islamic not Arabic culture. To conclude I would say many Islamic traditions and teachings were modified from existing practices of Mecca and Medina at the time, Hajj had been performed for centuries. Allah was known prior to Prophet (SAW), as the grand father of Prphet (SAW) was Abd-Allah, (slave of Allah), fasting was being practiced, drawing from arguments being presented here would come the next question, are these Arabian cultures and we should perform them as we wish or we need to accept them as they were practiced by Nabi and his companions ?Recommend

  • Sohail Rizwan

    – I think you should better to read the explanation of Hijab verse in Chapter no 33 verse # 59 and Chapter 24 verse # 31.

    – According to Hadith # 4092 of Abu Dawood one (women) must not display her body parts except Face (not hairs) and Hands up to wrists (not arms).

    – “No where in Quran does it mention that women are obligated to cover their hair.” <– Is there any mentioning in Quran about covering of hair when offering prayer, "NO" but it's described in Hadith, similarly explanation of Hijab is found in Hadith.

    – "Only those people would understand the author's excellent and deep sense of logic who have studies the quranic with extreme deliberation." <– "Dr. Zakir Naik" has far more sense of logic and deep understanding about Quran than "Author" and so-called "Only those people", so would you listen to his lecture and writings about Hijab and come to agree ?

    – "Most muslims are reading the Quran by the eyes of Mullahs and arab culture" <– "Agreed"

    – "She can dress very immodestly with a Hijab (as usually seen nowadays)." <– "Yes, you're right, Hijab should fulfil its purpose"

    – "A shroud is not required," then why the Nuns wear this shroud and everyone respect them, please don't misguide the true Muslim women who do Hijab.

    FYI:
    In Saudia Arabia, there is a strict Pardha which is mandatory and it's the country with Lowest Rape Crime in the World. USA, the most developed country has the Highest Rape Crime, then why shroud is not required…?Recommend

  • AA

    I definitely need to do more research but you need to do the same. Qur’an defines itself as a book of clear statements to the people, a book of guidance and admonitions.

    Qur’an is not an standalone literature. As Allah said in Qur’an itself, if he wanted he could have sent it as a compiled book, but he sent it Ayah by Ayah slowly so the Prophet could explain it to the people. Qur’an uses metaphors, similes and idioms extensively. They are deeply rooted in culture and practices known to people of Mecca and Medina at the time of Prophet (SAW). It can not be understood by mere “good” knowledge of Arabic language. Muslim scholars for centuries have devised many methods and requisites of interpretation of Qur’an. It is called “Usul ut Tafseer” and “fiqh” Islam is unique among religions, that its interpretation had started immediately after the Prophet (SAW) passed away. The first complete and concise book of Islamic Jurisprudence was written in 164 AH. Later more work build upon that and today we have very scientific methods agreed upon by scholars of many disciplines to interpret Qur’an. Please read some of those books before trying to reinvent the wheel. To interpret Qur’an understanding of Arabic language is one but not the only qualification. It is completely wrong that anyone with a good Arabic dictionary can interpret Qur’an.Recommend

  • Sohail Rizwan

    “A shroud is not required” not true at all, Hijab in broader sense doesn’t simply mean to cover yourself or something else, but it includes the covering of your body parts like face, arms etc as well as to fulfill the modesty by wearing the decent dress and also to avoid such manners which reflects charm and attraction. If “shroud is not required” then why so Nuns wear this shroud? In Pakistan more than 60% women do hijab (strict to moderate), in Saudia Arabia almost every woman do strict Hijab, and mostly Muslim women all over the world do Hijab according to their culture, so you mean it’s useless and not required and refer to this as Shroud.

    @Author
    This article has taken a very specific example and tried to generalized it for every Hijabi women.Recommend

  • Sohail Rizwan

    Well said to Anonymous, he/she is quoting the One Verse everywhere for own purpose.Recommend

  • Sohail Rizwan

    Why do you only see Hijabi women with skinny/tight dress, jeans etc (yes, it’s not a valid Hijab).
    But there are dozens examples of Hijab with modest and decent dressing.

    *Please also consider some good examples not just the bad ones…Recommend

  • Adeela Furqan

    Very well said..Recommend

  • xIN3N

    Very impressive and sensible approach that not every hijabi should judge by a handful.
    She picked out just one inferior example and tried to make it as a whole. It’s very disparaging to refer to Hijab or Pardah as a “shroud”. I think she cannot (or possibly doesn’t want to) see Muslim women who observe Hijab with modesty along with virtue. I wish she could have also seen some good examples rather than just a bad ones.

    If someone could take some corrupt Muslims as an example and try to generalize it as every Muslim is bad and wrong then what would you say ?Recommend

  • AA

    Majority practice does not signify legitimacy, which is the basic premise of Islam itself. Qur’an refute existing beliefs of the people of Mecca and brought a radical change to Majority beliefs. So if 60% women in a Muslim country following local cultural traditions to envelope themselves in a canopy hiding them from head to toe, they can not become Islam unless there is a clear Ayah or Hadith from Prophet (SAW) instructing to do so, to which there is none. What you see in practice is rooted in culture not Islam.Recommend

  • http://mystarsgallery.blogspot.com Saqib NAqvi Bokhari

    Are you muslim nazish??Recommend