Gousia Binti Gulam
Dear Muslim sisters, this piece intends not to present the history behind the Hijab or importance of the veil in other religions apart from Islam; rather it is meant for inspiring you to be proud of Hijab and show abhorrence towards what the prevalent culture advances.
To start with a story here, back in 1950’s , a Syrian mother along with her three daughters booked their first flight from Syria to New York City , in order to meet her husband, who had come before few weeks to get settled in California ( as refugees ). As soon as they landed at the airport, they were asked to put off their Hijabs, for the green card photo. The mother, trembling with nervousness, a stranger and not knowing English, removed her Hijab immediately for the photo and put it on once again. Subsequently, the other two daughters did the same. Then came the turn of the third daughter, Halaa Atiq , who was thirteen years old. As the officials asked her to remove the Hijab, she refused by saying, “Hijab is a part of my faith and I don’t want take it off for this photo”. The security persons, in utter surprise told her that if she would not, she would be sent back to Syria to which she replied, “I’d rather go back to Syria than stay here, if you take my religious rights away”. The security and the management tried hard to convince her, took her to the back room, however, Halaa remained firm.
After two and a half hours, finally the authorities decided to take her photo in Hijab however they missed their flight. Aftermath, the mother being a stranger taunted her for her stubborn nature and continuously censured her for being the reason of the worried state, they were in post missing the flight. After negotiating with the authorities, they agreed to put them in the next flight. When they reached California finally via next flight, the father was crying his eyes out. ‘Are you alive’! Are you alive!, he continuously uttered. The family surprised asked why they shouldn’t be alive.
The story goes like this: The flight, they were supposed to go on, which they missed was American Airlines number 191 that crashed with 295 passengers (the biggest crash in the American Airlines history in 1955).Had they not missed the flight, they wouldn’t have been perhaps alive. The young thirteen year old Halaa Atiq looked at her whole family and said, “The Hijab saved our lives”!
Dear Muslim sister: the Hijab is more than a piece of cloth; it in real senses is an apotheosis of a woman’s dignity. Right from the existence of humans, the woman has been sent on this earth as a ‘dignified, modest and respected figure’. For a Muslim woman, Hijab is her pride, dignity, and be it any language; mere utterance of the word woman gives you the feeling of something like a veiled pearl.
Not to beat about the bush, isn’t it enough for us to take the Hijab as strength because of the fact that it is a direct revelation from the exalted Lord. As believers, we ought not to even bat an eyelid before Allah’s commandments. To make it more simple, it‘s imperative to mention that Hijab doesn‘t mean covering your head or body only; rather it‘s guarding your chastity andmodesty. Be it a Niqab , Burqa or a Jilbaab or anything that veils you in a better way, a Muslim sister must understand the fact that her ‘Hijab’ isn’t only fulfilled by wearing veil. For her, Hijab is a complete way of life. To put it into simple words, Allah has explained Hijab for a woman as follows:-“And tell the believing women that they must lower their gazes and guard their private parts, and must not expose their adornment, except that which appears thereof, and must extend their Head coverings to cover their chests .”
The pitiable and deplorable state of the affairs about the abhorrence towards Hijab, among Muslim dynasties, not to talk about the Islamophobia ideologues, some liberals, feminists, and so on puts us in a quagmire as what prompts them to behave in such a way. The Anti Islamists have left no stone unturned to spawn the shadows of doubt in everyone’s mind by analogizing Hijab as a “tool of suppression” and a “weapon to coerce obedience to men”.
A false impression has been created that veil is a major obstruction to women empowerment – for them it thwarts ways for women to prosper in leaps and bounds. That it is a sign of inequality is what they promulgate, everywhere in every possible way. The truth is that deep down; they also know that they don’t have any logical argument to put forth their hatred towards the Hijab. Among such myriad number of examples, one example is of an Italian minister, few years back, who refused to sign the Hijab ban by saying, ‘How can you ask me to approve the veil ban, when all the photos of virgin Mary are in the veil’ ?
On the contrary, what a Muslim woman needs to understand is that Hijab is not a barrier to her freedom. You’ve been created as a special creature; you’re not supposed to be the cheap toy, who exhibits her beauty in front of any Tom, Dick and Harry. You’re not meant for exhibition show. Your modesty is paramount and comes before all your achievements and endeavors. Hijab doesn’t lower the rank of a Muslim woman; it rather exalts her character and adds value to her beauty.
One female model turned devoted Muslim, on being asked about the hijab gagged the mouth of the interviewer by saying that, she’s now free in veil, as earlier everyone would stare at her but now only those, whom she wants, can see her. She exclaimed, isn’t it freedom that she is free from exhibiting her body to anyone. In the beginning of this piece, sharing the inspiring story of a young girl was meant to emphasize on how a Muslim woman is supposed to be. It shows her resilience and steadfastness. A Muslim woman, by no means, should consider her Hijab as a formality or an unwanted burden; rather it’s her honor and shield.
For all those, who castigate Hijab, we’ve one argument which nullifies all their bogus logics against it, that “If wearing veil means going back to the ancient times, then wearing a Bikini or promoting nudity means going back to the stone age. Decency, civilized nature and modernism lies in wearing clothes not in removing them.
To conclude, it’s enough for a believer to act on what has been enjoined by Allah and His Messenger (PBUH) and Hijab is one of the commandments. Let’s pray to the exalted lord for providing us the deep understanding of Islam and keep us steadfast in faith!
The author is doing her BA from GDC DH Pora, Kulgam. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org