Today, I picked a topic that commonly prevails in a Muslim society, in short – a Muslim woman’s life. Yes, the hijab talk. So what exactly is a hijab?
A cloth used by a female to cover her hair and chest. Whenever I hear this word, my mind instantly draws me to a covered woman in a long, loose garment. The Quran clearly specifies it in Surah An-Noor, Ayah 31:
وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنٰتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصٰرِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوْجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِيْنَ زِيْنَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَاۖ وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَىٰ جُيُوْبِهِنَّۖ وَلَا يُبْدِيْنَ زِيْنَتَهُنَّ
“And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment.”
When a girl hits puberty, she is introduced to a restriction list. Her wardrobe is replaced with long, flowing clothes, she is advised to maintain distance from the opposite sex and to focus on what the Quran inferred her to be. She is asked to adapt the hijab.
But does hijab only confine to a woman? Is it compulsory only for a female to habituate hijab and live by it all her life?
Yes; when you look at our society, you will see obligations imposed only on a woman. A man is independent of these factors but Has Allah only asked the woman to conceal her modesty and protect her chastity? No.
Before Allah ordered a woman to cover herself, He, The Almighty, commanded a man to lower his gaze and guard his modesty.
Surah An-Noor, Ayah 30 says:
قُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَغُضُّوا۟ مِنْ أَبْصَٰرِهِمْ وَيَحْفَظُوا۟ فُرُوجَهُمْۚ ذَٰلِكَ أَزْكَىٰ لَهُمْۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ خَبِيرٌۢ بِمَا يَصْنَعُونَ
“Tell the believing men to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Indeed, Allah is acquainted with what they do.”
We often confuse hijab as a women’s wear. A hijab is not just a piece of clothing used to cover a person’s body. Hijab does not simply mean hiding your hair from the opposite sex, hijab means a lot more than it.
Hijab is a way of life. It is a responsibility on a Muslim to live according to the Quran. When you accept hijab, you are accepting an ayah of the Quran. If you bring that ayah into life, you have to live by it.
Sadly, we have forgotten the sunnah.
Abdullah ibn Abbas (RA) narrated: “Al-Fadl bin Abbas rode behind Allah’s Messenger (saws) as his companion rider on the back portion of his she-camel on the day of Nahr (slaughtering of sacrifice, 10th Dhul-Hijja) and Al-Fadl was a handsome man. The Prophet (saws) stopped to give the people verdicts (regarding their matters). In the meantime, a beautiful woman from the tribe of Khatham came, asking the verdict of Allah’s Messenger. Al-Fadl started looking at her as her beauty attracted him. The Prophet (saws) looked behind while Al-Fadl was looking at her; so the Prophet (saws) held out his hand backward and caught the chin of Al-Fadl and turned his face (to the other side) in order that he should not gaze at her. [Sahih Bukhari]
Here, the Prophet (saws) did not ask the woman to cover her face but he (saws) turned his cousin’s face from the woman. Thus, hijab applies to both men and women equally.
Let’s look at the commandments of Allah for His believing servants on account of Hijab:
Lowering our gaze:
We all have to accept that the most difficult task for us in today’s world is to lower our gaze. No matter how much we try and avoid looking at our favorite celebrity crush, we still end up having just one glance and bam! Shaitaan does the rest of his job. He knows how to slip us off and indulge us in sin. He’s a trained master and we all fall into his trap.
My mother always says, “Fitnah starts with the eyes, protect them the most.” How I wish I could master this art and save myself from all the innumerable sin I indulge on a daily basis.
Let’s deal with it today, let’s make a pure intention in our hearts to lower our gaze. I know it won’t be easy to not look at fitnah when the world we live in, displays just that. But trust me, making dua and asking help from Allah makes it a lot easier, for Allah says in Surah Al-Ankaboot, Ayah 69:
وَالَّذِيْنَ جٰهَدُوْا فِيْنَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَاۚ وَإِنَّ اللّٰهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِيْنَ
“As for those who strive hard in Us (Our Cause), We will surely guide them to Our paths.”
So make a promise to Allah, a promise to follow this sunnah. Allah helps us when we ask Him sincerely.
Allah is watching us:
The simplest thing in our life is to commit a sin. Hands down, we all are aware of it. Even if we know it is wrong, we still do it because subconsciously we forget for those few seconds that Allah is watching us. I know we all have been hearing this like since our childhood, “Be careful, Allah is watching you,” and we all know it, right?
But just think it this way, Allah, the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth, is watching us. He, The Most High is watching us. He, who has everything in His control is watching us. He, who has the power to turn my world upside down is watching us. He, The Most Forgiving is watching us.
Allah says in Surah Ghafir, Ayah 19:
يَعْلَمُ خَآئِنَةَ الْأَعْيُنِ وَمَا تُخْفِى الصُّدُوْرُ
“He knows that which deceives the eyes and what the breasts conceal.”
Doesn’t it induce goosebumps? So, next time when we need to lose out ourselves on a sin, think about this. I’m sure we can defeat the evil traits of shaytan a little bit at least?
Practise the dress code Allah loves to see you in. This reminder is primarily for me before anyone else. Admit it or not but we all fantasize over the clothes which we are not supposed to wear. At least, I do. It’s okay to have desires, Allah doesn’t forbid us from having a liking towards something. Wear anything in your home, in front of people who you are allowed to but not in front of non-mehrams. We do not know what the other person is looking at. And here, I’m not just hinting to a woman to cover herself, men are equally advised about their clothing.
The Prophet (saws) said: “Whoever seeks to be chaste, Allaah will make him chaste, and whoever seeks to be independent of means, Allaah will make him independent of means, and whoever strives to be patient, Allaah will make him patient.”
(Narrated by al-Bukhari, 1400)
Curbing our temptations:
Undoubtedly, the most common thing after our puberty is the occurrence of haram temptations. We all have gone through it or are still struggling with it. Be it a desire for intoxication, sexual temptation, lust, greed or anything that you can relate. Remember your Lord sees it all. We think it’s just a one-time stand whereas we forget that one time leads to multiple other times. I know it’s not easy to kill away these thoughts since it’s the most obvious thing happening almost elsewhere but seek out to your Lord. We fail to imagine the reward waiting for us in the Hereafter if we avoid falling into the devil’s trap.
Allah says in Surah An-Nazi’at Ayah 40 and 41:
وَأَمَّا مَنْ خَافَ مَقَامَ رَبِّهٖ وَنَهَى النَّفْسَ عَنِ الْهَوَىٰ
“But as for he who feared the position of his Lord and prevented the soul from [unlawful] inclination.”
فَإِنَّ الْجَنَّةَ هِىَ الْمَأْوَىٰ
“Then indeed, Paradise will be [his] refuge.”
Remember, shaitan wants our company in Hellfire, it’s on us whether to accompany him or make our final abode in Jannah forever. I will be writing a separate blog on this topic soon, In sha Allah.
These are few of the points which helped me and I intend these will help others too. I hope you find this post beneficial and with Allah’s help, we all can accomplish ourselves to be a better Muslim.
One more thing I would like to acknowledge is that I’m not perfect nor did I master myself in any of the above-mentioned points. I am still a struggling Muslimah seeking out to Allah to make me a better person that pleases Him and Him alone. Pray for me and all of us around the world.
Lastly, I would like to end this post with something I feel is so relevant to mention:
وَمَا كَانَ رَبُّكَ نَسِيًّا
“And your Lord never forgets.”
(Surah Maryam, Ayah 64)