Understanding Hijab

Posted: February 26, 2010 in My Articles

For some, the word hijab means an Islamic practice imposed on Muslim women and symbolizes a form of, or perhaps, an excuse to oppress women. For others, it is what differentiates between a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim woman, and what distinguishes between a “good” Muslim woman and a “bad” Muslim one. While the level of depth and genuineness of these perceptions of hijab may vary and may as well be questioned, other more important factors and concepts must be realized when attempting to understand hijab, especially for new Muslims or for those interested in knowing about hijab.  In this article, I will try to explain a few issues related to hijab.

Hijab in Muslim and Arab Societies

Many women in the Arab World and in Saudi Arabia wear hijab as a tradition, which they rebuff once they get the chance. It doesn’t represent anything to them except the domination of tribal and patriarch laws and norms. Those women have been brought up as sexual beings, whose mere existence means sin, shame, and an invitation to adultery or making love. At the same time, those male-dominated tribes or communities  allow men to commit adultery with prostitutes as long as nobody knows and as long as the prostitutes are not women from the tribe, i.e. as long as they are foreigners and are not expected to be children bearers. In such tribes, Islam is practiced only in mosques, but where women are concerned, traditions rule and prevail under the name of a superficial sort of Islam. Naturally, in such unjust societies women have no other choice but to accept and submit or to rebel against anything that forces them to cling to their Islamic and Arabian roots. Fused with traditions, the religion of the “ignorant” Muslim Sheikhs becomes the villain that is to be blamed for women’s repression, and once there is a beam of knowledge, revolution occurs and throws out all tribal customs along with Islam.

When women from such tribes become educated, they learn things upside down. They learn about the “superior” culture of the West and embrace its so-called freedom, for it is the only salvation they know. After being taught all their lives that Islam is praying, fasting, and wearing hijab only, the whole idea of Islam doesn’t seem to make sense for them. Some declare their radical views on Islam and Muslims and live as outcasts or as slaves to the glory of rebelling against any standard. Others preserve their newly obtained knowledge about the liberated cultures and start to live by double standards. In both ways, they are the result of their tribes’ intended poor teaching of Islam.

On the other hand, some Muslim women in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon wear hijab at their free will. Most of them are highly educated women, who understand the message hijab sends: don’t look at my body, look at my mind and look at me as a human being, not as a means for pleasure. I am equal to you, so treat me like you treat any fellow man. Those women understand that by wearing hijab they shift men’s focus from their bodies to their minds and personalities. They set limits and boundaries and give men a practical lesson on how to treat and respect women as partners in building the nation of Islam. Unfortunately, the Muslim women who comprehend this concept of hijab are very few.

Many other Muslim women who wear hijab do it as a way of showing that they are Muslims or as a way of imitating other women in their families. Such women get caught between what’s right and wrong, and they are very vulnerable and defenseless when hijab is attacked because they don’t fully understand why they are wearing hijab. For them, hijab is not a matter of conviction; it is a matter of belonging to the group, so even when they try to defend hijab, their arguments appear pointless and poor.

Hijab, Non-Muslims, and New Muslims

So far the issue seems the Muslim woman’s personal business, but it gets complicated when non-Muslims and new Muslims witness Muslim women renouncing hijab, see the various styles of hijab, and read about the conflict among Islamic scholars about hijab. In the midst of these diverse hijab issues and do’s and don’ts about hijab, new Muslims and truth seekers become puzzled. According to Sheikh Ali Al-Jiffri(born in 1971), a Yemeni notable Islamic scholar, the problem of hijab is that all people talk about it and discuss it. People who are not specialized in Islamic legislation and have superficial knowledge about hijab discuss the issue and pass their personal opinions and judgments and sometimes their “fatwa”  about hijab. Imagine me talking about a medical concept and trying to refute it, how would I sound? I will only ridicule myself  and insult the people who know better.”

The main problem is that most people look at hijab as a single practice; not as a part of many Islamic practices. One cannot understand hijab as a single order for women; it must be understood within the whole system of a Muslim’s life. Islam aims to create a balanced life for Muslims, and it aims at making marital life happier and more settled because when the Muslim family is happy, it can produce and take an active role in the society. When some Muslim societies don’t raise their girls properly and force them to wear hijab without explaining to them anything about their role in society and without emphasizing their humanity, Islam is not to be blamed; it is the people who divided Islam into sections and chose to follow the parts that they like or that suit their tribal traditions.

Shiekh Ali explains a very essential issue regarding hijab. He says that he respects and understands  the views that reject hijab, but he cannot change the Islamic religion to please them. More importantly, he sends a vital message to Muslims who defend hijab. Sheikh Ali emphasizes the difference between stating the “fatwa” of hijab and calling for Islam and trying to convince a new Muslim to wear hijab. According to Sheikh Ali, hijab is not the first thing I ask a new Muslim woman to do. I might ask her to dress up decently, but I don’t focus on that from the beginning. I focus on a new Muslim’s heart and relationship with Allah. I focus on love and faith. Hijab comes later on by default. Yet if a new Muslim woman asks me about hijab, I tell her the Islamic opinion clearly. We have to look at the cultural backgrounds that new Muslims come from. It is impossible to convince a Muslim-to-be or a new Muslim of hijab by saying: “You must wear hijab or you must cover from head to toe, or you will go to hell!” How can we ask for such a thing without planting the love of Allah and a thorough understanding of Islam in the hearts first?” Even the way we ask new Muslims to do something should be very gentle, tolerant, and understanding.

How can we explain hijab to a new Muslim? It is not enough at all to say that Muslim women must wear hijab to be good Muslims. Some scholars, unfortunately, make the situation even worse when they tell new Muslims that they cannot be Muslims unless they wear hijab. To begin with, hijab is very essential in a Muslim woman’s life, yet it is not as important as gaining knowledge about God and the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). If I want to talk to a new Muslim woman about Islam, I would explain to her first and foremost the meaning of Allah; the meaning of his sacred names and characteristics. A new Muslim should be taught the meaning of Quraan and should be taught about the Prophet’s life and his sacrifice for the good of our nation. The second step would be learning how to pray and fast and learning the wisdom behind prayer and fasting and the other pillars of Islam. Teaching the importance of hijab at this point is also important, but it should be taught as part of Islam; not as the sole manifestation of Islam.

A Lebanese News Presenter

The Levels of Hijab:

Sheikh Ali has a very interesting view on hijab, which I haven’t read or heard about from any other scholar. He says that hijab comes in levels. It is impossible to expect all Muslim women to wear hijab the same way. Hijab comes in different styles according to the culture, country, and time. It is a healthy thing to have different types of hijab as long as these types follow the general guideline of hijab. The different Islamic scholars’ views on hijab is a positive thing as it shows the flexibility of Islam and of hijab.  For instance, in a country that has half-naked women everywhere, it is illogical to ask Muslim women to cover their faces. Islam is meant for all times and all regions of the world. A Muslim woman must dress up decently in a way that does not contradict completely with the norms of the society she is living in.

Hijab has two basic levels:

  1. The obligation level:

    It is the regular hijab that all Muslim women must wear, which is covering the body except the face, hands , and feet (some scholars said to cover the feet as well)

  1. The perfection level:

It includes covering the face and the hands, which takes a high level of faith from the woman.

We also have to put into consideration that in so many cases, the woman should be able to decide for herself whether to cover her face or uncover it. If a woman is wearing make-up or if she feels that the men around are looking at her  in a demeaning or sexual way, her conscious must guide her immediately to take the decision of covering her face without anyone telling her to do so.  But again, this is a very high level of hijab.

Islam is a package; take it or leave it. When a woman becomes a Muslim, she must believe in the necessity of hijab even if she cannot wear it at first. Islam is all about ascending higher gradually. A true Muslim is always in a struggle to perfect him/herself . It is enough for a new Muslim to believe in hijab, and when she truly understands Allah and the prophet (peace be upon him), she will seek wearing hijab and she will develop this sense of modesty and chastity that she feels insulted if a man looks at her is a sexual way.

What about Muslim women who don’t Wear Hijab?

Shiekh Ali adds, “I am often asked about Muslim women who don’t wear hijab; what do I think of them?” That’s an issue that has many aspects. Some say that there are Muslim women who wear hijab but act in a bad way, i.e. they lie or don’t pray while other Muslim women who don’t wear hijab are honest and nice. I say it is very natural. Those women who misbehave have not worn hijab with a thorough understanding of Islam and of their mission in life. Probably some have worn it without having enough faith to practice the other Islamic teachings. They don’t realize that Islam is not a religion of looks only; it is a religion that caters for both. The other women, who are well-behaved but don’t wear hijab are not bad Muslims. It is a very harsh judgment to accuse them of being immoral or bad just because they don’t wear hijab. They are surly committing a sin, but it is not as big as adultery for instance. These women also understand hijab and Islam  in the wrong way. They feel that as long as they’re not committing the big sins, they are on the safe side. We want these women to make their pure inside come to the surface, so it reflects who they truly are and to become better Muslims. Again..it is always about ascending higher.”

When a Muslim woman wears hijab, she is sending men a very important message; I am not easy…respect me and look at me as a human being, not as a sex object…some people might argue that sexuality is part of a woman’s nature and by asking women to wear hijab, Islam denies women’s humanity and their sexual rights, but this is not true…it’s not a denial of women’s sex appeal; it’s putting the sexual appeal into its right context with the right man at the suitable time.

According to Sheikh Mohammad Al-Ghazali (1917-1996), an Egyptian notable Islamic scholar, Islam is not against women’s beauty. In fact, Islam admits the innate need of women to beautify themselves and to feel beautiful, and this does not contradict with hijab. A woman can be beautiful, neat, and elegant while wearing hijab as long as she abides by the Islamic rules when dealing with men. Moreover, Islam asks women to put all their “beautifying energy” to their husbands, so Islam is not actually preventing women from being beautiful; it is just guiding them to be beautiful where they really should be.

Unfortunately, women these days dress beautifully only when they are at the mall or at a wedding party, and that is what has created the imbalance in the relationships between men and women, says Sheikh Ali Al-Jiffri.

Hijab is not a sort of oppression; it is a part of a balanced life that Islam aims at developing in a Muslim’s life. Throughout history, Muslim  women who wore hijab used to be active and productive in their communities and it never hindered them from fulfilling their roles as wives, mothers, or working women. If there are many problems in the Islamic societies today, it is because many people use Islamic principals in the wrong way; to suit their interests and moods. Hijab is, unfortunately, used by both Muslims and non-Muslims as a tool to attack the “other” and the only victim of this extremist’s acts is the Muslim woman. Still many women in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, the UK, and the USA wear hijab at their free will. It is illogical to expect all people to understand hijab, but it is time that we all respect women who wear hijab. It is a struggle to wear hijab, I admit, but we, Muslims women, are doing it to please Allah and to be close to Him, so don’t make our lives harder by looking down at us.


Stay tuned for part II

Muslim women and the balance between beauty and hijab

Muslim Women and Sex

Understanding Hijab – Part II


  1. Ali says:

    Mash’Allah well put 🙂

  2. ADNISA says:

    Wow. You got several posts in a short time. Looks like your busy semester has been completed. Interesting analysis of the issue of hijab from different angles. Unfortunately, there are many hijabi girls in the west, who have boyfriends and have had physical relations with them, while they still pray, fast and continue to cover themselves.

    Ironic as it may seem, it is a common phenomenon which is magnified by the fact that the age of marriage of muslim woman is being delayed around the world due to education and other reasons. Lets hope your article contributes to some positive change.

    • مها نور إلهي says:

      The hijabi girls you are talking about exist even in Arab and Muslim countries. It is a matter of faith, I believe. The more faith one has, the more he/she can overcome certain weaknesses. May Allah guide us all to the right path.

      Thank you..

  3. I found this to be one of the best explanations about hijab that I have ever read. I liked the scholars that you cited and the perspectives they put hijab into. Your post has given me a lot of food for thought.
    Moving to KSA in my mid-50s and never having worn hijab before, it has been a very difficult thing for me to accept. My only reason for wearing it has been because of my husband’s insistence and not because it is my choice. When I am in a private setting with other women not wearing hijab yet he still insists that I keep it on, I feel resentment. He knows that I am not comfortable wearing it. It is still an ongoing issue for me after more than 2 years. His pat answer that it is the “law of the land” is just not enough for me, epsecially when I see other women out in public not wearing hijab.
    I plan on reading your post several more times so I can fully digest it and hopefully make better sense out of his feelings.
    Thank you for this post!

    • مها نور إلهي says:

      I am so happy that my article helped clarify the picture a bit for you, Susie!
      Hijab is not easy even for many Muslim women, but when you do it, put in mind you are doing it for Allah, not for your husband or anyone else. I am sorry to say that your husband’s explanation would never convince me as well 😉 ]

      By the way, there is a verse in Quraan that says that menopausal women can go out without hijab under the condition that they dress modestly. Maybe this is not your case, but it’s part of the hijab issue. However, I think you look younger than what you really are and you are beautiful, so i understand your husband’s reasons for asking you to wear hijab 🙂
      I think part II will clarify more things to you InshaAllah.


    • angel says:


      Its not your fault at all!!

      I would say its fault of your husband, who married you . He knows the rules of KSA and he never prepared you for that .

      He married some one who doesnt practice ISLAM lived with her for 30 years never asked her to wear hijab and brought her to pplace where its a must to cover onelsef must.

      IF suppose some one comes to America and asks women not to wear skits that reveal their thongs and tops that reveal their cleavage .HE will be knocked down and immediately will be said go back to place you came from..and you are sick and against freedom and our country’s rules.

      Similarly when you are in saudi respect rules of this country why on earth you want to roam naked in a country where every one dressed?

      I am sick of this foolish people who come to saudi inspite of knowing its rules and crying they dont like it here.

      when saudis don’t have a problem why on earth you have:|
      No one ever goes to america and says , why do you eat pork ?why do you guys drink? why do you guys have illegal sexual intercorse? these are things haram in saudi ..what will you say if some one comes there and says that?

      Ilts illogical why ? because its a democracy second its not illegal..
      when you can respect aemrican rules and its constitution why cant you respect saudi rules and its constitution ..

      People at the end tend to forget sauid is not just a country its a place mohammed the prophet of allah pbuh lived and practiced islam…i know you guys dont like islam you are free to because quraan says la ikrah fid deen…

      well ,am i rude ? But i cant belive people always are narrow minded and try to force their ideas Espcially the west who think they know more about life ..

      Well quraan says allah tala has said every thing to his prophet that is important and has completed the deen surah maidah verse 3 …after this aayh if people feel quraan is not complete and islam is not proper .have they done KUFR ?

      What is wrong with the people who want to have a life of west well USE the best of techonoligies Use the best of gadetes ISLAM never said NO …but why leave the ,morals and vales of the great people of islam for west ..did west succeed in some thing 9in which muslism have not…

      How many rapes per min in saudi and how many in US and UK..

      How many divorces in US and UK and how many in saudi?

      I am not a saudi but Hate when peopple are narrow minded and i am a muslim alhumdulillah

  4. islamicarticles says:

    Asalamu Alaikum, masha’Allah tabarakAllah! I’m very impressed at your comprehensive explanation of such a complex and controversial topic such as hijab. Compared to tawheed (worshiping Allah as One), hijab is a miniscule thing to explain to a non-Muslim AND new Muslim. That is why we should call to belief in the shahada first and when that is accomplished, the prayer is next in importance, followed by zakat…

    It is reported on the authority of Ibn `Abbas (ra) that Allah’s Messenger said when he sent Mu`aaz (ra) to Yemen: “You are going to a people who are from the People of the Book: So the first thing to which you call them should be the testimony that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah .” – And in another narration: “that they testify to the Oneness of Allah .” – “And if they obey you in that, then inform them that Allah has made compulsory upon them five prayers every day and night. And if they obey you in that, then inform them that Allah has made incumbent upon them a charity (Zakah) which is to be taken from the rich among them and given to their poor. And if they obey you in that then be careful not to take the best of their wealth (as Zakah), and be careful of the supplication of those who have suffered injustice, for there is no obstacle between it and Allah . (Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim)

    If hijab is going to be worn by a non-Muslim woman, I agree that she should not be compelled to do so but by gentle persuasion it can be suggested that she do so of her own volition out of RESPECT for the laws of a country. Then after asking her NICELY and she doesn’t wish to comply, leave her alone. If its forced upon her, she’ll either outright reject it or resent it as has happened to Susie.

    If a new Muslim woman is going to wear hijab, I believe she should do so first and foremost just to obtain the pleasure of Allah alone and not His creation. If she is not ready for it, it is between her and Allah. Some things come fast to some and to others slowly. The Qur’an wasn’t revealed overnight, it took 23 years for it to be completed. It took me 3 years to wear hijab after reverting to Islam.

    One more thing, I’ve noticed that some Muslims have knowledge but no understanding on how to put it into action and some have knowledge which they don’t know how to impart in a way that others will be perceptive to it.

    BarakAllahu feeki for taking the time to explain about hijab.

    Tara Umm Omar

    • مها نور إلهي says:

      hello Tara,
      so sorry for my late reply…have been extremely busy…
      I agree with you that non-Muslim women should not be forced to wear hijab or Abaya in Islamic countries as long as they are dressed up decently…

      Thank you so much for your rich comment and addition.

  5. coolred38 says:

    Interesting…but your rather one sided with this paper so far…just showing the opinions that claim hijab is a must in Islam doesnt allow for voices of dissent. I hope part two broadens the topic a bit more.

    • مها نور إلهي says:

      Dear Coolred38,
      Hijab is not a matter of opinion… probably the details of hijab have different opinions, but no Islamic scholar says that it is not an obligation for Muslim women.
      There are some Muslims who disagree to hijab; it’s true, but they are not scholars nor their opinion is of great weigh. Hijab is an order from Allah, and no sane Islamic scholar can deny this. When things come from Allah, it is not up to us to agree or disagree. We, Muslims, might not follow all of Allah’s teachings and orders, but we do believe in the fact that whatever comes from Allah is best for human beings. We are not talking here about a man or a law maker or a bunch of patriarchs trying to control our lives; we are talking about the creator. If somebody wants to defy God, that’s their business, but it is surly non-Islamic.
      By the way, the most famous Muslim woman against hijab is Dr. Nawal Al-Saadawi who is a well-educated and intellectual Egyptian woman. However, her views on hijab are not just against Allah and hijab; they are ridiculous and insane. A funny thing she always says is that hijab is a political movement enforced on Muslims by American authorities to make Muslims have more controversy … I don’t know why America is always involved in any Arab issue 🙂
      Anyway, you’ll like part II…I am sure. Thank you so much for taking the time and reading my long post. Always a pleasure to have different opinions.

      • coolred38 says:

        So anyone who disagrees with the “hijab is an obligation from God” is “insane”? All that hard work you put in your article and with one little word you totally blew it.

  6. Ali says:

    ^^^just because you disagree with it doesn’t make it one sided

    • coolred38 says:

      I didnt say I disagree…but thats beside the point..it is one sided as there are obviously Muslims that do NOT believe hijab is mandatory…whether or not you or she or any other Muslim chooses to ignore that fact.

  7. Chiara says:

    A very interesting and in depth post. I look forward to part 2.

  8. مها نور إلهي says:

    Dear Chiara,
    Thank you for your comment and sorry for the late reply.
    Part II will be posted soon.

  9. Chiara says:

    Maha–I am looking forward to Part II.

    I just did a post on forms of discrimination that you and your readers might be interested in. I am hoping others including Saudis based in Saudi and abroad will contribute their comments, thoughts, and experiences about both children and adults.

    School Yards–Plus ça change…: Forms of Discrimination

  10. مها نور إلهي says:

    coolred 🙂
    I think you have a habit of quoting me out of context 🙂
    I didn’t say that a person who is agianst hijab is insane and I would never say that. On the contrary, I acknowledged Dr. Nawal Al-Saadawi as an intellectual woman. What i described as insane is her view that says that hijab is an American policy. deos any American here agree that hijab is enforced on women by Americans?

  11. coolred38 says:

    “When a Muslim woman wears hijab, she is sending men a very important message; I am not easy…respect me and look at me as a human being, not as a sex object…”

    Funny enough, most women think that exact same thing..even without hijab. Go figure. We are ALL human beings with or without our heads covered. If Muslim MEN cant figure that out then they need a lot more training then Muslim women on what Islam requires.

    • مها نور إلهي says:

      ok..as you wish dear .Go ahead….wear a thong and think the same way…I am not sure you will get the respect that you want, though 🙂
      Believe me..it goes also for men..when a man shows parts of his body more than the acceptable, he sends wrong messages… I just feel disgusted when i see a man opening his shirt and showing his chest and 8-pack abs! He is surly not asking for an intellectual conversation 🙂

  12. coolred38 says:

    Ive never worn a thong in my life and pretty sure Ive never worn ANYTHING that in anyway indicates Im just waiting for a man to cross the line and harrass me…I EVEN WORE THE HIJAB AND ABAYA IN BAHRAIN and got molested more than anywhere on the planet so lets get something straight ok…what women wear or dont wear does NOTHING to protect her against the sexual harrassment of men if that is what the man has in mind anyhow. When children and old women and disabled women and everything in between gets raped by men then you can bet your damn hijab that its not cause they were dressed immodest.

    Soon as Muslims realize that fact…maybe you can move forward and take a look at whats REALLY important in life

  13. مها نور إلهي says:

    who told you that I am not looking at other important things in life? I’ve been away from my blog because I am a very busy working woman…a woman with lots of achievements and my hijab didn’t prevent me to be a lecturer, an editor, a translator, a drama club advisor, and a co-ordinator…
    If you haven’t ever worn a thong, this doesn’t mean that all American or European women haven’t…actually the thong is a Western invention:)

    If you are not convinced of hijab, don’t dignify it with a discussion…save your energy for other issues that will help your country and culture be better… I wrote this article to explain things to susie…if you are not for explanations and if you are convinced with what you are, you shouldn’t have read me from the first place..but i know i am irresistable…see am joking…i wear hijab..you don’t wear it …no hard feelings…you are not convinced by hijab..I am not convinced that being without hijab is good for me…I am not imposing my ideas on anyone…
    If you had bad experiences in Bahrian, I am so sorry for you..I had very bad experiences in the States with American men… I wasn’t wearing hijab then,, and they didn’t think i was Saudi..they thought i was Spanish…
    Bad experiences with men happen everywhere to everybody…so cool down…nothing personal here…
    Muslim women have always worn hijab and they were the leading culture when most of their women wore hijab and when most of their men were given human rights …

  14. coolred38 says:

    Im not upset with your premise that you believe hijab is mandatory and a requirement from God..if you believe so more power to you…but I do take exception to your belief (and a gread deal many other Muslims and non on the planet) that a woman who chooses not to dress by your standards of modesty is immodest, deserving of what she gets etc…that is VERY personal to me since you are speaking of me, my daughters, my mother, my sister and anyone else that doesnt wear hijab.

    “Muslim women have always worn hijab and they were the leading culture when most of their women wore hijab and when most of their men were given human rights …

    How many wear it because its expected of them and to not do so would cause shame or even endanger them? How many wear it because in order to marry “well” they must present themselves in a certain way? How many of them wear it because to do otherwise would paint them immoral and immodest? How many of them think of God at all when donning that piece of cloth everytime they leave the house?

    Im sure some do…maybe even a great many…but how do YOU know or anyone else why Muslim woman wear it and what the percentages of that do it for culture or do it for God?

    • مها نور إلهي says:

      I don’t judge any Muslim or non Muslim woman for not wearing hijab….but you are talking about decency here, so can you define it please? From all your comments, I see that you are in favor of decency, but who put these standards of decency in your culture? What makes it ok for a European woman to go topless while it is unacceptable in the American society? If you don’t have a solid basis to refer to, then there is not limit for the definition … you might define decency as wearing a shirt and a pair of pants, but for a European woman, you might appear as a prude…
      What I am trying to say here is that when we set the standards, we lose the standards ..and others might loosen the standards, yet worse…others might raise the standards to a level that might not suit us…Hijab is not man’s doing…

      Im sure some do…maybe even a great many…but how do YOU know or anyone else why Muslim woman wear it and what the percentages of that do it for culture or do it for God?

      Do YOU know? Do you know how many Muslim women CHOOSE to wear hijab willingly? the truth is neither of us knows..that’s why neither of us has the right to judge women who wear it…this is Allah’s job, not ours.
      What do you or I care if a woman wears hijab by force? If she’s in denial of her oppression, let her live in her happiness..the world will still go on..she is not harming anyone…isn’t this the logic of the West?
      We can’t change people unless THEY want to change…even Allah says this in Quraan..He says Allah will not change people unless they change themselves…

  15. coolred38 says:

    btw… while all your accomplishments are laudable and worthy of merit…what would happen if you didnt wear your hijab for a day there…then would all your accomplishments and hard work as a woman mean anything to the many who would harrass you, destroy your reputation and I would venture to guess the only thing that would keep you busy would be defending yourself against the haya and potential lashes. Nice.

    • مها نور إلهي says:

      My dear..I work in a multicultural environment with women from all over the world…plus I don’t wear hijab at work…I dress up as any elegant stylish business woman because I work in a girls’ college…My colleagues are from different nationalities ….some of them wear hijab..others don’t wear hijab…we meet with men sometimes…yet I’ve never heard that a co-worker of mine has been harassed because she doesn’t wear hijab… I also never heard that anyone of them was mistreated or misjudged because she doesn’t wear hijab.

      You just have to know something about me coolred…I chose to wear hijab against my family’s will…then because of the pressure i let go of my hijab and let go of the whole idea…after a while, an American non Muslim convinced me to wear hijab!
      He said I would have respected you more if you followed your religion better! He said, a decent woman is always preferred rather than a one who exposes her body…he said nothing more, but my world has changed since then….and no…he wasn’t Protestant nor was from Utah 🙂
      I’ve lived as a non hijabi for a while in Saudi Arabia and in the States and London and now I wear hijab..I know BOTH worlds…and boy the difference is huge…the way men used to look at me weather here or in the States is completely different.
      By the way, I had an argument with one of the Hayaa men a few years ago…He ordered me to cover my face, so I started reciting to him some Hadiths and all the sayings of different notable Muslims scholars about covering the face…he ran away and told his friends ..leave her alone..she knows a lot! 🙂

  16. Irene says:

    Just arrived to your blog and liked it. Although I don’t share your opinions I find your articles very interesting and they have broadened my mind. It is always difficult to find opinions from the other side and I was willing to hear a Saudi woman voice since a lot it’s said about you but little can be proved to be true.

    Great discussion the one between coolred38 and you. I must say here in Europe we do not go naked in the streets, though it is true topless women can be found at the beaches 🙂

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    Best Regards from Indonesia

  18. passing thru says:

    don’t get what the fuss is all about….Hijab or not, as long as the freedom to wear whatever you want is protected by law, everyone will be happy…we can philosophise it and rant about it as much as we want, as long as we don’t FORCE it, than its ok…as long as there is not preaching of security or disturbing the peace like “ppl wearing masks or women all covered in black or nudes”, then all is fair game.

    on a side note, Hijab’s real fucntion historically was to distiguish free women from salved women, since there are no slaves anymore, one might argue that Hijab has exhausted its function , anyhow this is an argument to happen withing Islam. Moreover, nobody really knows what real historical hijab looked like, thus the confusion between scholars.

    back to the main point, make it simple, as long as u have the right to choose, and i mean it literally, then its all fair game…
    peace out

  19. Bianca says:

    Saheeh Muslim # 2128 (5633). The wording is:

    “There are two types of people from the people of the hell-fire whom I’ve never seen before. A people who had whips like the tails of cows beating the people with them. Women who are dressed but naked. Those who sway and cause others to sway, whose heads are like the humps of camels. They will not enter into paradise nor smell its fragrance, although its fragrance can be smelled from the distance of such such.”

  20. januaristi says:

    Subhanallah…this article is great. I never knew that hijab offers more equality where the society often put women as a mere pleasure…

  21. Molly B. Carpenter says:

    I don’t really understand all this and this is my first time reading anything at all about hijab, but my concern would be that women would be made to feel that they are a “bad” person if they decide NOT to wear the hijab and also really concerned about a woman going thru Menopause as the HOT flashes are horrible and anything covering the head would make it 100 times more miserable!
    What happens then?

  22. ENazir says:

    MaShAllah.. A very descriptive and mellow guidance on the hijab.. I have come across loads of literature by scholars who express veil/hijab in a very strict manner, this can be very daunting for a new Muslim sister as the hijab is an important element in one’s life.

    I am currently doing some research on the hijab for my university dissertation, its basically about young Muslim women and modesty/hijab. If you know of any literature that will help me with this, i would truly appreciate it..

    Jazak Allah

    • Maha Noor Elahi says:

      Thank you for your comment. I am afraid I don’t have references on hijab in English …
      The references that I have come across are either too extreme or poorly written.
      But I will do my best to help.

      Thanks once again 🙂

  23. Moniba says:

    Reblogged this on Ordinary girl's peculiar blog and commented:
    Very well expressed opinions… Appropriate for the readers of the time.

  24. Jess says:

    Reblogged this on My Beaten Track and commented:
    Right now, Australia is exploding with ideas about Islam, and what the Hijab in particular means. I would find it odd, but almost everyone starts on the outside and looks in when it comes to people, and this is something that is still considered unusual in Australia. In this time, I found this article, and I love it. It answers all things that people have more or less been voicing, and with wisdom and skill. Part 2 is also definitely worth a read. Enjoy!

  25. […] File Name : Understanding hijab | a saudi woman's voice Source : saudirevelations.wordpress.com Download : Understanding hijab | a saudi woman's voice […]

  26. […] File Name : Understanding hijab | a saudi woman's voice Source : saudirevelations.wordpress.com Download : Understanding hijab | a saudi woman's voice […]

  27. Muslimah says:

    I love this article so much ! I appreciate the fact that you understand Muslim women that hold resentment towards the lack of choice they may have had in the matter of wearing the hijab and the fact that you know that understanding the religion itself is more important than other important,yet superficial parts of Islam. Thank you so much I’m sixteen and have worn the hijab since it was 3 and sometimes feel asthough it is a chore for me since the only reason my parents ever give for me wearing it is that it’s fardh even though I know that they could’ve waited till I hit puberty and given me the option. It’s sad that they didn’t really focus on making me love it this would’ve prevented me from feeling restricted wearing it. I say this yet in my heart I know that I would never truly feel comfortable taking it of completely for good. I’m on a journey to truly understand my religion for myself and not through the things my parents tell me without justification. May Allah rewards you! Jazaakallah 💖

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