There is a growing Islamic movement today, in the Muslim Community; to revive the Muslims intellectually back to Islam as their source of guidance. This is marked by the number of sisters wearing the hijaab (veil). The hijaab has been the focus of western propaganda against Islam for centuries. It was labelled as “extremist”, “fundamentalist”, and “oppressive”. However this is not the case in reality today, the veil is not usually forced on the woman she chooses to wear it herself. What comes as a shock to the western media is that so many young women are turning to Islam despite such negativity surrounding the matter. It was shown that 2 out of 3 converts to Islam are young women aged between the ages 17-21. The figure is estimated at 20-30,000 over the last few years. The sad thing is that we find many women, Muslim by birth, claiming to believe in Islam, but making numerous excuses for not wearing the hijaab in fact some sisters go as far as forcefully stopping their own daughters from wearing the veil! Some “Muslim” women even deny that it is a religious duty!!
The excuses number many, some say it does not matter what is on the outside, it only matters what is in the heart. Some say it is not practical for various reasons (work, education, etc.). There are other Muslims who are so affected by the western media that they themselves do the job for them by calling it extreme etc. And say that Islam promotes being moderate, in the middle, therefore the veil not necessary as it seems too radical. Some Muslim women are just worried what people in general will say about them wearing the hijaab. We as Muslims are looking for an answer to this issue. As we are Muslim and we believe in Allah, we should refer to Allah (swt) and consider what really matters to Him alone. At the end of the day, if we all had good thoughts inside our hearts to please Allah, but never actually put what is in our hearts into action, we would be of no value. In Islam you can have goodness in your heart, but if you do not put it into action then it is worthless, as actions are part of Eemaan. Goodness is not enough, what may be good to one person may not be good to another, so goodness in the heart is not only the issue, but what defines good and bad, how we rule our lives is:
“Those who do not rule by what Allah has revealed, they are the wrong-doers.” (EMQ 5: 45)
We can see that Allah is the one who decides what is best for us, as he created us and the whole universe, he knows us more than anything else, so anything he prescribes for us should be taken without question, that is why He is the Lord and we are the servants. Even if it may seem ‘extreme’ to some people, you can call Allah’s law extreme as much as you like, but He is still your creator, who should be obeyed. We have not been created to ‘think’ this is good or that is ok. Allah (swt) has set everything out for us and has given us a framework, Islam, to define all those issues for us. ‘Extreme’ is a word which has no real meaning, as what may seem extreme to one society may not be extreme to another. Therefore we should not call what Allah has revealed extreme, as He wanted us Muslims to build a society where the laws of Islam are normal and without to think Allah is asking too much of us and to exhaust utmost effort to be obedient to Allah is ‘extreme’. What is meant by “do not be extremist in Islam” is do not go over the top in one thing in Islam e.g. if you are told to pray 5 times a day, you are not asked to pray all day and ignore all other duties in life, or you do not fast 48 hours continuously, only fast or pray the recommended and compulsory amounts. “Do not be extremist” did not mean judge according to a non-Islamic society that views Islamic rules as extreme, if this was the case then if praying was seen as extreme by the society in which we live, do you stop praying? So what is the prescribed amount for covering a woman in Islam? Is a veil really considered ‘extreme’ in Islam?
“O prophet, tell your wives and daughters and all other believing women that they should draw their veils close round them. That is proper, so that they may be recognised (as decent women) and not be molested.” (EMQ 33: 59)
It is narrated by ‘Aa-ishah (ra) that Asmaa; (daughter of Abu Bakr [ra]) came to see the prophet wearing a thin dress. The prophet (saw) turned away from her and said, “O Asmaa! When a woman reaches puberty she cannot reveal any part of her body except this and this (pointing to his hands and face).” [Narrated by Abou Daawood]
“Tell all the believing women to turn their eyes away from temptation and to preserve their chastity; to cover their adornments (except what is normally displayed: hands and face); to draw their veil over their bosoms and not to reveal their finery except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands fathers, their sisters sons, their women servants, and their slave-girls; male attendants lacking in natural vigour, and their children who have no carnal knowledge of women.” (EMQ 24: 31)
It is clear that the wearing of the veil is fard (a religious obligation and a must) and Muslims should not fear anyone when it comes to their duties, even if it means losing their job or friends. What kind of boss/friend do you have if they can not accept the right to practice your belief? Only Allah should be feared, not anyone else:
“O you who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared” (EMQ 3: 102)
“O you who believe! you obey those who disbelieve, they will cause you to turn back on your heals, so you shall turn about as losers.” (EMQ 3: 149)
“If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your tribes, the property you have acquired, the merchandise you fear may not be sold, and the homes you love, are dearer to you than Allah, His apostle and the struggle for His cause, then wait until Allah fulfils His decree. Allah does not guide the evil doers” (EMQ 9: 24)
The west always boasts about its ‘freedom’, and ‘equality’ but where does it go when it comes to Islam? Where does this ‘freedom’ go when a man and woman want to walk down the street topless; the man would be okay, but the woman arrested for indecent exposure (not that I am saying the woman has the right to go out topless!). Islam does not contradict itself, we know we are restricted by Islam but we know the rules come from our creator, not the limited mind of a man. If we look at anything in creation, we see that it always has something to protect it from harm or decay e.g. fruit skin, pearls, shells. Even human beings protect valuable things like diamond, away from the sight and touch of others. Is it not natural that the beauty of a woman should be protected from the gaze of foreign men? Consider the rape reported every 17 minuets in Britain. The plan of men in power is to exploit women’s beauty to sell their commercial products e.g., girl in Flake ad and super-models (on average 1/3rd under the recommended weight) are used to exploit women to help the fashion and beauty industry make money. Plastic surgery is the fastest growing branch of surgery in the world! The results are clear: Anorexia, Bulimia, suicide and constant worry about your figure etc. The veil protects women from this onslaught. If a doctor were to order a woman to cover herself from the sun she would do it, but why not when Allah gives the orders? Allah knows more about us than the doctor! If you are working for a particular company, which requires a certain dress, surely people would wear the dress for that job, why not when you are ordered by Allah?
“It may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you, and love a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows you know not” (EMQ 2: 216)
“It is not for true believers men or women to take a choice in their affairs, if Allah and His apostle decree otherwise.” (EMQ 33: 36)