We often hear the argument that Muslim women are not given freedom by their religion. We’ve heard opinion after opinion about how hijab tends to hold back women,how it restrains thor freedom and what not. But hold on? Did we ask Muslim women if they feel oppressed or did we just make those assumptions based on nothing? Because if you ask Muslim women, the concept of Hijab in the Quran is not just beautiful, it is empowering too.
Women and the society
The Quran came at a time when atrocities on women were at their peak. Female infanticide, wife beating and abuse were so common in the Arab society that they were considered normal. Then came the word of Allah and abolished these gruesome behaviors. It gave women their financial independence, property rights,the right to choose their life partner, the right to seek divorce from an abusive spouse, the right to education and what not.
It also liberated women from being objectified for their bodies, an objectification that is prevalent in the world even today. Think about all the capitalist beauty brands. They tell you that you are not beautiful if you are not fair, that if the shape of your eyebrows is not at a certain angle, you need to go into hiding and that if your figure does not match a model’s, you are doomed. You see, society values women based on her body. If her body is a certain way, she’s all good and perfect. If it isn’t (which mostly is the case), you need a certain “product”. Come to think of it, the advertisements and commercials which follow us everywhere we go are full of content which makes us unhappy with ourselves, particularly women.
Hijab in the Quran
Through the Quran, Allah has freed the Muslim woman from the shackles of this objectification. Allah tells the Muslim woman that she is not defined by a certain figure, a certain arc of the eyebrow or a complexion. Her beauty lies in the sincerity of her intentions, her character and individuality. When she observes Hijab, she doesn’t just put on a headscarf, she embraces her Lord’s will.
Adding to that, Hijab isn’t just for the woman. It was first revealed for men. They were asked to lower their gaze and guard their modesty. They were asked to cover themselves from the navel to the knee. So hijab, as a concept, wasn’t only for women. It is for men as well.
Hijab in the Quran and Hadith
Here are some verses in the Quran which substantiate the concept of Hijab:
- “And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts) and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent. Tell them to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband’s fathers, or their sons, or their husband’s sons, or their brothers or their brother’s sons, or their sister’s sons, or their (Muslim) women (i.e. their sisters in Islam), or the (female) slaves whom their right hands possess, or old male servants who lack vigour, or small children who have no sense of feminine sex. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful”
- “O you who believe! Enter not the Prophet’s houses, unless permission is given to you for a meal, (and then) not (so early as) to wait for its preparation. But when you are invited, enter, and when you have taken your meal, disperse without sitting for a talk. Verily, such (behaviour) annoys the Prophet, and he is shy of (asking) you (to go); but Allaah is not shy of (telling you) the truth. And when you ask (his wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen, that is purer for your hearts and for their hearts. And it is not (right) for you that you should annoy Allaah’s Messenger, nor that you should ever marry his wives after him (his death). Verily, with Allaah that shall be an enormity”
Also Read: What Islam says about pride?