Posted by: yemenia68 | April 21, 2009

Why do women fear the “hijab”?

hijab

The other day at the clinic, a couple came in to see the doctor. As I was seeing them into one of the vacant rooms, the conversation started like this:

 
The wife: How are you Eman?
Me: I am great, how about yourself?
W:  Other than having to deal with him (husband), I am ok.
Me: I hope he is not giving you a hard time.
Husband: Don’t believe the drama queen, she adores me.
H: She is mad because we were discussing the “hijab”.
Me:  Interesting……….why would discussing the hijab upset you, wife (don’t wanna use names)
W: He has been on my case about wearing the hijab and I’m just not ready.
H: Please Eman, help me out here. You wear a hijab; tell her it’s not so bad.
Me: Sorry, this is something that concerns the both of you, leave me out of this.
W: I don’t mind Eman, do you think that he should force me to wear the hijab.
Me:  No, I don’t think he should force you to wear it if you are not 100% sure about it. Excuse me; I have some work to do (trying to find a way out of the situation)

 
This is not the first time this has happened; a lot of couples have discussed this same issue in my presence. I really feel uncomfortable the way the husbands put me in the discussion, it feels so awkward.
When I was back at my desk, I did the usual (process and analyze technique). I started wondering how people should deal with this issue. I know for a lot of people in the States and maybe even back home they might say that it is a woman’s choice. This is the part where I’m lost. I don’t know how and when this resolution was made. What I know is the hijab is to be worn by every Muslim woman, which is stated in the Quran. I’m pretty sure that every Muslim has read the Quran and knows very well that this is the truth.
For those of you, who want to argue about this issue, please come up with any proof from the Quran or Hadith that states otherwise.  Another thing I find inexcusable, is the way Muslim families are compliant to the freedoms that accompany life in a non-Islamic country; well actually it has become a norm in Islamic countries too. You do realize that in this country, freedom of religion is every citizen’s right? Why are we so ashamed of our religious ways? Why can’t we take pride in our religion and defend what our religion stands for? Do we feel that we have to sacrifice our religion to fit into this society? This is what I call a cowardly attempt to justify our actions, by misinterpreting the concept of religion.
If you are a true Muslim, and you actually care about your children’s well-being, teach them to respect their religion and be proud of everything that it represents. After all, that is how it starts, with the proper upbringing.
Trust me women, I’m really trying to help you here. If you are non-religious, and you choose not to wear hijab, than that is a whole different issue. I just feel uncomfortable with people who call themselves religious and try to defend their belief in “hijab is a choice theory.”
Even as I’m writing this post, I’m pretty sure that nobody will comment; this is an issue that is considered taboo.  Although, I do look forward to getting a comment from the “hijab is a choice” believers.

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Responses

  1. well i agree with u 100% 🙂 i liked this post!!

    • Thank you mayasi 🙂
      I was worried that a lot of women would get offended by this post. My intention is not to offend women who don’t wear hijab, I honestly think that it is for their own good. We are Muslims afterall, and we should abide by Islamic laws. God knows best, dont you think?

  2. Yea, some things can’t be explained bcoz they are God orders, can u believe that Hajj makes me always wonder about it?

    But i do not ask myself much about that:D
    it is just that Muslims are trying to came along with 1000 issues but it seems we are just miss leading our way

    the same old problem about trying to “Have It” all without any sacrifices i guess!!!

  3. 1st if she is religious then she knows that it’s Fard just like the prayers
    but even the prayer is her choice , she chooses to obey Allah and do what he said or chooses not to
    but as u said she’s religious , then there is no other choice

    but there are many people who don’t wear veil because they just want to feel free to do watever they want to do , not just to fit to the society
    as in Islamic countries you can find unveiled women

    other type of people who claims that the hejab is not fard and they argue about this with no prove

    i agree with you ,she should wear it when she become convinced. but she’s to know that she takes sins when men looks at her, and that’s her choice

    may Allah lead all Muslim women to the right path

    rbena yehdeny w yehdehom game3an
    amen

    salam alyki

  4. Ameen!!!

  5. I’m with you too 😀

    why any Muslim woman get offended by such a wonderful and useful post like this ???

    you say it clearly, read the Quran and you will find it all there.
    Thanks Eman 😀

  6. You are very welcome my dear whisper 🙂

  7. I personally would never get married to a woman unless she wore Hijab. This is my personal point of view, if a man marries a woman before when she was not wearing Hijab, then he by no means can persuade her to wear it afterward, cause he chose that at the beginning. Although my family aren’t so obsessed about the issue, but I don’t want to ever fall in such an argument and handle the feeling of guilt for choosing a woman not waring a Hijab in the first place.

  8. Ulysses:
    That is exactly why I told the wife in the post that she shouldn’t be forced to do it unless she is ready. If her husband married her knowing that she does not wear hijab, then he shouldn’t be complaining. I really beleive that if you do not wear hijab at an early age, it gets harder to be persuaded once you are older.
    What I don’t understand is, why Muslims no longer teach their daughters that hijab is an obligation.

  9. I stumbled upon your blog because I googled the phrase “creating my identity” and read one of your posts. I enjoy how you express your experience of forming an identity while straddling two vastly different cultures.

    I am an American male of European dissent, raised in the Christian faith, so for me to speak on women’s choice and the wearing of a hijab is about as useful as giving a lecture in astrophysics (I studied journalism).

    One of your passages inspired a few thoughts and feelings inside me: “What I know is the hijab is to be worn by every Muslim woman, which is stated in the Quran. I’m pretty sure that every Muslim has read the Quran and knows very well that this is the truth.”

    I wonder if “truth” is a relative idea, subjective like the rest of the infinite realities we separately experience.

    Looking beyond the debate of whether or not wearing a hijab should be a choice, why is the idea off wearing a hihab even in our conscience, or furthermore, a topic that stirs emotion inside of us?

    How much of what we think and believe is absolute and divine had we not been born into the body we have, in the place and time and culture that we have, to the parents and family and community we know, with the knowledge and understanding available to us?

    I have no more control over the body and culture in which I was born–that subsequently shaped how I see the world and formed as an individual–than anybody else, which is, none.

    I am hungry to see the world as others do, but I cannot fully comprehend without sacrificing my own identity. Participating in humanity both limits and permits how much we come to understand it.

    • Welcome to my blog human.

      I’m sure every human being has struggled at one point or another to figure out what the right path, religion, or choice is in regards to any or every aspect of their lives. Because of our different religious, cultural, and racial backgrounds, we make different choices based on the beliefs we grow up with. There will always be conflict in regards to religion, race, culture, and so on. The only way to coexist in peace is to respect one another regardless of our backgrounds.

      I’ve always had a passion for reading about different cultures and religions. Understanding the world around me helps me understand and respect other human beings.

  10. I’ve read the Quran and it is not at all clear to me that a Muslim woman should wear anything in her head. It IS very, very clear that she is not supposed to stand out or attract attention to herself which often is the case when she wears hijab outside of a Muslim country.

    I don’t think it is fair to say that the woman KNOWS that it is required yet chooses not to do it. There are millions of Muslim women that do not think that it is mandated and I know plenty others who just go along and say ‘yes, I know it is but I’m not ready’ or my husband doesn’t want me to or whatever other reason but I think that maybe they just say that to shut you up because they don’t want to get into it or they are not good at expressing themselves.

  11. Welcome back Lynn 🙂

    Ok, lets just say that the hijab is not required in the Islamic faith. How about you tell me why the majority of Muslim women wear the hijab? It wasn’t an Arab tradition or custom before Islam, so why are so many Muslim women wearing it?
    Trying looking that up and then come back to me, or maybe you dont even need to look it up since you have so much knowledge when it comes to Arabs and Islam.

  12. It’s pretty simple actually. And you are right. I don’t have to look it up. I am not accustomed to making statements where I would have to look up what I mean.

    The majority of the Muslim women in the world are illiterate and they learn the religion from the men who teach them their definition of hijab as a piece of cloth that covers your head. Hijab is something altogether different. Hijab is about modesty and modesty IS subjective and dependent on the culture that you live in.

    There WERE arab women who wore veils to distinguish themselves as elite and seperate from the slave women who were not worthy of the fancy lace veils. These women who wore this ‘khimar’ on their heads not at all like you might see a hijab these days and their breasts were either bulging out of their fancy dressed or out completely and THAT is why they were told to take them off of their heads and to cover their breasts with them.

    You could find that information for yourself easily if you really want to.

  13. So what you’re saying is that for 1430 years Muslim women have been manipulated into wearing the hijab only to please their men.
    Don’t you think they would’ve figured it out by now, seriously though, 1430 years is a very long time.
    What you said makes Muslim women look very bad, you’re implying that throughout these centuries, not one Muslim woman was intelligent enought to realize that they have been manipulated into wearing the hijab.
    If you don’t mind me asking, are you a Muslim and/or Arab? Not that it matters………I just need to know from which viewpoint these implications are coming from.

  14. My viewpoint is coming from history and sociological and religious studies.

    I am not saying that Muslim women have been duped by men for 1430 years. I don’t believe that muslim women have been wearing it (especially not the way they are now) for 1430 years.

    There are millions of Muslim women that do not wear hijab so yes, there are plenty that are intelligent enough to have figured it out or have never been socialized to believe that it is a requirement. There are plenty others that wear it because they will be social outcasts if they don’t and there are plenty that wear it because they believe what they have been taught because they have never heard anything else.

  15. Lynn my dear, you are entitled to your opinions and beliefs, but what you are saying about the hijab is just not true.
    I wont deny that there are Muslim women who choose not to wear the hijab. Just like the Jewish and Catholic women before them stopped covering their hair, they did the same.
    I have friends from both of these faiths and they have told me that the head covering for women was once a requirement in both religions.
    Tell me something, your passion for condemning the hijab, where is it coming from?

  16. I just want to give a very simple example here

    When I decided to wear hejab , at my final studding year at the university ,I told my father -the MAN in my life – about my decision and he told me that he is sure that wearing hijab is some thing all Moslim women should do, but its my life and if I’m sure about it I should go forward in it

    I’m wearing hijab for nearly 1o years now,and swear to God I never regret this decision and it never been kept me away of doing or participating in any thing in my life

    I’m an Oracle programmer and now I’m the head of the programming and statistic department at my work 😀

  17. How do you figure I have a ‘passion for condemning the hijab’? I was just stating a fact which is, I have read the Quran and I do not see it so clearly that hijab is made mandatory and I am not alone in believing this. Either you want others’ opinions or you do not. You said that you did yet you seem to be attacking me for it.

    Are your Jewish and Catholic friends scholars in their religious history?

  18. Whisper:

    I totally agree with you.

    Lynn:

    I’m not attacking you, I just don’t see why you need to point out that hijab is not an Islamic obligation. Another thing, why did you avoid my question? I asked if you are Muslim and you never answered me. I would understand if you were a Muslim woman trying to justify your choice of not wearing a hijab.

  19. You asked me: ‘are you a Muslim and/or Arab? Not that it matters………I just need to know from which viewpoint these implications are coming from.’

    Do you not see that by asking me that question and then particularly by saying that you need to know which viewpoint these implications are coming from, that says that you are going to judge my opinion on something OTHER than the facts that I already told you. I have read the Quran, I have read hadiths, I have studied other religions and the history of religions including ancient Greek and Roman beliefs. I have studied Anthropolgy, Psychology and Sociology and I made my opinion based on all those things. Nothing else should really matter should it? How many women wear the hijab and will argue for it and they have never even read Quran or hadith or anything about any other cultures or their religious histories in order to be able to put things into their proper contexts?

    Oh and I asked you a question that you did not answer. That was

    I asked you a question that you didn’t answer: ‘Are your Jewish and Catholic friends scholars in their religious history?’

  20. Lynn:
    Since you have read the Quran, you obviously know that the hijab is a requirement:
    “And say to the faithful women to lower their gazes, and to guard their private parts, and not to display their beauty except what is apparent of it, and to extend their headcoverings (khimars) to cover their bosoms (jaybs), and not to display their beauty 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 brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their womenfolk, or what their right hands rule (slaves), or the followers from the men who do not feel sexual desire, or the small children to whom the nakedness of women is not apparent, and not to strike their feet (on the ground) so as to make known what they hide of their adornments. And turn in repentance to Allah together, O you the faithful, in order that you are successful”
    You don’t need to be a scholar to know that head covering was a requirement in both the Jewish and Christian faiths. Look it up in the Bible and Torah/Tanakh. History confirms that in all three religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, women covered their heads. Once you can prove otherwise, maybe I’ll be convinced that hijab has no foundation.
    Regardless of what I believe about the hijab, I never judged women who choose not to wear it. I just believe that it is a religious obligation. I have the right to defend my beliefs. Modesty has always been preached in basically all religions, and hijab is a form of modesty, so it is only logic to wear hijab.
    I’m not here to judge anyone, if you choose not to wear hijab, than that is your personal choice. I sincerely believe that hijab is a religious obligation, if you choose to believe otherwise that is also your choice. This is a friendly debate, nothing more.

  21. No you see, I already said that I read it and did NOT find it a requirement.

    Modesty is not necessarily ‘hijab’ as you know it to be, which is a piece of cloth. You were TAUGHT to interpret that as you do. If you read other things so that you have the ability to put it in context then you will realise that it isn’t really saying quite what you think it is.

    I have looked it up in the Bible. I’ve already told you what I have done to study the issue. Where you will find in the Bible that tells the woman to cover her head was in a town where it was the culture (pre Christianity) that the women wore head coverings. The reason they(specific people, not Christians in general) were told in a letter from their religious leader (not God even) to cover their heads were because if they didn’t they were not following the customs of their society and I’m sure you understand that that can cause disruptions to a society. Have you ever read the Bible? Do you realize that it is more like Hadith (but with original written documents) than some dictation from God?

  22. Lynn:

    My dear, just because you have studied these religions, that doesn’t necessarily give you the authority to interpret them however you please.
    Like I said, I don’t understand why you are so threatened by the concept of the hijab.
    In this country, freedom of religion is one of the liberties that everyone can practice, so trust me when I say that the hijab is not going anywhere.
    Muslims are entitled to practice their religion as they please, nothing you say or do is going to change that.
    If you believe that the hijab is not a requirement than there is nothing I can do about that, you are entitled to your beliefs. There is no need for us to go around in circles, we clearly don’t agree on the issue. There are probably other things that we wont agree on as well, but that does not mean we cant discuss them, so whenever you feel the need to discuss another issue, feel free to do so.
    Like they say “lets agree to disagree” 🙂

  23. Why do you seem to want to start some kind of an argument with me? By continuing to say that I am ‘threatened by the concept of hijab’ or ‘nothing you say or do is going to change that’ you are implying that I have some kind of agenda to bring down the hijab or something. All that I have done is state my opinion based on my studies and then you come back acusing me of ‘attacking the hijab’ or ‘being threatened by the hijab’rather than try to help me have a different understanding. Do you understand how that can totally shut down a discussion?

    You might be interested in this
    http://clouddragon.wordpress.com/2009/02/05/women-dress-and-undress-and-religions/

  24. I’ve told you that we are both entitled to our personal beliefs. We apparently do not agree on this issue. I believe in hijab, you don’t.
    What is it that you want?

    I’ve proven to you that hijab/head covering was originated in Jewish and then Christian faiths. You deny that by refusing to admit that in both faiths, the head covering was practiced.

    I’ve told you that we will probably not agree on other issues, but I also am open to discussion. If you can’t respect the fact that I stand my ground, then there is no need to go on. So like I said, what exacly are you looking for?

  25. Btw Lynn,

    what was the point in adding that link? It does not make any difference at all.

  26. […] Why do women fear the “hijab”? April 2009 27 comments Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)#1 Page and Top 3 Posts In 2009RebootAdam’s Blog on Helath Care Issue […]

  27. Please visit my Islamic blog islamandmuslims.wordpress.com

    Comment and help me and give advice to make it better and to get more views.
    Inshallah you will be able to visit it.

    Jazallah khair

    • I will as soon as I can. Thanks for passing by.


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