Being a Muslim woman in the west is not easy. With the rise of modern feminism, there are a wide range of intellectual and social voices pressures to let go of deeply rooted Islamic practices. So, why do Muslim women wear the hijab?

Muslim women have adorned veils since the inception of Islam. Only recently have we begun to question the legal ruling surrounding the veil.

What is Hijab?

We usually refer to the muslim veil as “hijab” but the original arabic word actually refers to Let’s talk about “Hijab.” While we often use it to refer to the Muslim veil, the original Arabic word encompasses broader notions of ‘covering’ or ‘concealing.’ While the Quran mentions ‘hijab’ several times, it’s important to note that it doesn’t use this term in the verses addressing the dress code for Muslim women.

And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their chastity, and not to reveal their adornments except what normally appears. Let them draw their veils over their chests, and not reveal their ˹hidden˺ adornments…

Quran 24:31

Instead, the Quran uses “Himar,” which specifically means ‘headcover.’ These verses instruct believing women to draw their headcovers (Himar) over their chests. Dressing with Hijab is about modesty and following Sharia guidelines, with the veil being just one part of it.

To dress with Hijab is therefore about dressing modestly and in accordance with the guidelines of the Sharia. The veil being just one part of the Hijab. 

Scholastic Consensus (Ijma’)

There is scholarly consensus (ijma’) from the Mujtahid Imams and the great scholars of Islam that when they are amongst non-mahram men, it is obligatory for Muslim women to cover their hair and all the parts of their body except the face and the hands. 

The Prophet ﷺ said: “’Indeed Allah will not gather my Ummah ” – or he said: “[Muhammad’s]Ummah upon deviation, and Allah’s Hand is over the Jama’ah, and whoever deviates, he deviates to the Fire.”

al tirmidhi

The very act of reaching a scholastic consensus is therefore part of the methodology of the Shariah. As Muslims, we believe that Allah ﷻ  has preserved the scholars of our Ummah from unanimously agreeing upon something which is false. As Mulla Ali al-Qari writes: 

“The hadith indicates that if the Muslims unanimously agree on something, then it must be true, and what is meant is the unanimous agreement of the scholars. The consensus of the common folk does not carry any weight, because it is not based on knowledge.”

Mirqat al-Mafatih

Encourage with wisdom

Although the veil is an undeniable part of the women’s dress code in Islam – it can be a sensitive topic for many. 

In matters of religion, we should always encourage and support and should never be judgemental of others. 

“Invite all to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and kind advice, and only debate with them in the best manner. Surely your Lord alone knows best who has strayed from His Way and who is rightly guided.”

Quran 16:125