. HIJAB FOR WOMEN
Why does Islam degrade women by keeping them behind the veil?
The status of women in Islam is often the target of attacks in the secular media.
The ‘hijab’ or the Islamic dress is cited by many as an example of the
‘subjugation’ of women under Islamic law. Before we analyze the reasoning
behind the religiously mandated ‘hijab’, let us first study the status of women in
societies before the advent of Islam
1. In the past women were degraded and used as objects of lust
The following examples from history amply illustrate the fact that the status of
women in earlier civilizations was very low to the extent that they were denied
basic human dignity:
a. Babylonian Civilization:
The women were degraded and were denied all rights under the Babylonian
law. If a man murdered a woman, instead of him being punished, his wife
was put to death.
b. Greek Civilization:
Greek Civilization is considered the most glorious of all ancient civilizations.
Under this very ‘glorious’ system, women were deprived of all rights and
were looked down upon. In Greek mythology, an ‘imaginary woman’ called
‘Pandora’ is the root cause of misfortune of human beings. The Greeks
considered women to be subhuman and inferior to men. Though chastity of
women was precious, and women were held in high esteem, the Greeks
were later overwhelmed by ego and sexual perversions. Prostitution
became a regular practice amongst all classes of Greek society.
c. Roman Civilization:
When Roman Civilization was at the zenith of its ‘glory’, a man even had the
right to take the life of his wife. Prostitution and nudity were common
amongst the Romans.
d. Egyptian Civilization:
The Egyptian considered women evil and as a sign of a devil.
e. Pre-Islamic Arabia:
Before Islam spread in Arabia, the Arabs looked down upon women and
very often when a female child was born, she was buried alive.
2. Islam uplifted women and gave them equality and expects them
to maintain their status.
Islam uplifted the status of women and granted them their just rights 1400 years
ago. Islam expects women to maintain their status.
Hijab for men
People usually only discuss ‘hijab’ in the context of women. However, in the
Glorious Qur’an, Allah (swt) first mentions ‘hijab’ for men before ‘hijab’ for the
women. The Qur’an mentions in Surah Noor:
“Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard
their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: and Allah is
well acquainted with all that they do.”
The moment a man looks at a woman and if any brazen or unashamed thought
comes to his mind, he should lower his gaze.
Hijab for women.
The next verse of Surah Noor, says:
“ And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and
guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and
ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they
should draw veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty
except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their
3. Six criteria for Hijab.
According to Qur’an and Sunnah there are basically six criteria for observing
The first criterion is the extent of the body that should be covered. This is
different for men and women. The extent of covering obligatory on the male
is to cover the body at least from the navel to the knees. For women, the
extent of covering obligatory is to cover the complete body except the face
and the hands upto the wrist. If they wish to, they can cover even these
parts of the body. Some scholars of Islam insist that the face and the hands
are part of the obligatory extent of ‘hijab’.
All the remaining five criteria are the same for men and women.
2. The clothes worn should be loose and should not reveal the figure.
3. The clothes worn should not be transparent such that one can see through
4. The clothes worn should not be so glamorous as to attract the opposite sex.
5. The clothes worn should not resemble that of the opposite sex.
6. The clothes worn should not resemble that of the unbelievers i.e. they
should not wear clothes that are specifically identities or symbols of the
4. Hijab includes conduct and behaviour among other things
Complete ‘hijab’, besides the six criteria of clothing, also includes the moral
conduct, behaviour, attitude and intention of the individual. A person only
fulfilling the criteria of ‘hijab’ of the clothes is observing ‘hijab’ in a limited sense.
‘Hijab’ of the clothes should be accompanied by ‘hijab’ of the eyes, ‘hijab’ of the
heart, ‘hijab’ of thought and ‘hijab’ of intention. It also includes the way a person
walks, the way a person talks, the way he behaves, etc.
5. Hijab prevents molestation
The reason why Hijab is prescribed for women is mentioned in the Qur’an in the
following verses of Surah Al-Ahzab:
“O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women
that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when
abroad); that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such)
and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
The Qur’an says that Hijab has been prescribed for the women so that they are
recognized as modest women and this will also prevent them from being
6. Example of twin sisters
Suppose two sisters who are twins, and who are equally beautiful, walk down
the street. One of them is attired in the Islamic hijab i.e. the complete body is
covered, except for the face and the hands up to the wrists. The other sister is
wearing western clothes, a mini skirt or shorts. Just around the corner there is
a hooligan or ruffian who is waiting for a catch, to tease a girl. Whom will he
tease? The girl wearing the Islamic Hijab or the girl wearing the skirt or the mini?
Naturally he will tease the girl wearing the skirt or the mini. Such dresses are an
indirect invitation to the opposite sex for teasing and molestation. The Qur’an
rightly says that hijab prevents women from being molested.
7. Capital punishment for the rapists
Under the Islamic shariah, a man convicted of having raped a woman, is given
capital punishment. Many are astonished at this ‘harsh’ sentence. Some even
say that Islam is a ruthless, barbaric religion! I have asked a simple question to
hundreds of non-Muslim men. Suppose, God forbid, someone rapes your wife,
your mother or your sister. You are made the judge and the rapist is brought in
front of you. What punishment would you give him? All of them said they would
put him to death. Some went to the extent of saying they would torture him to
death. To them I ask, if someone rapes your wife or your mother you want to put
him to death. But if the same crime is committed on somebody else’s wife or
daughter you say capital punishment is barbaric. Why should there be double
8. Western society falsely claims to have uplifted women
Western talk of women’s liberalization is nothing but a disguised form of
exploitation of her body, degradation of her soul, and deprivation of her honour.
Western society claims to have ‘uplifted’ women. On the contrary it has actually
degraded them to the status of concubines, mistresses and society butterflies
who are mere tools in the hands of pleasure seekers and sex marketeers,
hidden behind the colourful screen of ‘art’ and ‘culture’.
9. USA has one of the highest rates of rape
United States of America is supposed to be one of the most advanced countries
of the world. It also has one of the highest rates of rape in any country in the
world. According to a FBI report, in the year 1990, every day on an average
1756 cases of rape were committed in U.S.A alone. Later another report said
that on an average everyday 1900 cases of rapes are committed in USA. The
year was not mentioned. May be it was 1992 or 1993. May be the Americans
got ‘bolder’ in the following years.
Consider a scenario where the Islamic hijab is followed in America. Whenever
a man looks at a woman and any brazen or unashamed thought comes to his
mind, he lowers his gaze. Every woman wears the Islamic hijab, that is the
complete body is covered except the face and the hands upto the wrist. After
this if any man commits rape he is given capital punishment. I ask you, in such
a scenario, will the rate of rape in America increase, will it remain the same, or
will it decrease?
10. Implementation of Islamic Shariah will reduce the rate of rapes
Naturally as soon as Islamic Shariah is implemented positive results will be
inevitable. If Islamic Shariah is implemented in any part of the world, whether it
is America or Europe, society will breathe easier. Hijab does not degrade a
woman but uplifts a woman and protects her modesty and chastity.