If you have come across a Muslim Woman wearing a headscarf (hijab) and you have wondered why she wears it, here is the answer.

If you are a Muslim Woman and want to know the benefits of wearing the headscarf, here is the answer.

If you are a Muslim Woman who wears the hijab and you want to be reminded of why you are wearing it, here is your reminder.

The Muslim Woman wearing a hijab (headscarf or veil) has become a global phenomenon and there has been a great rise in recent times of Women in Hijab participating in western society or appearing in the media. It is important to understand the reasons behind wearing the hijab so that misconceptions can be clarified and Muslim Women can be made to feel comfortable and welcome in their hijabs. Muslim Women in hijab deserve to be understood, respected and honoured for their courage in making the choice to follow a dress code that is considered uncommon and unacceptable by social standards.

What is a Hijab?

The hijab, or headscarf, is a piece of clothing Muslim women wear to cover themselves when they are outside or in the presence of males who are not part of their immediate family.

The word Hijab (Arabic حجاب‎) is mentioned in the Quran. In classical Arabic, the word Hijab is used to refer to a barrier or a curtain. However, in modern times it is usually used to refer to the headscarf Muslim women wear as part of the Islamic dress code.

Why do Muslims wear a Hijab (headscarf)?

The hijab is worn by Muslim women as an act of obedience to God’s command in the Quran, where Allah (God) says:

وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا ۖ وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَىٰ جُيُوبِهِنَّ ۖ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ

“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….”

(Quran 24:31)

This Quranic verse is one of many proofs for why Muslim women wear a headscarf.

In this verse, Allah tells the believing women to wear their headcovers over their chests. The word Khimar (Arabic: خمار‎) is mentioned, which is known in classical Arabic as a piece of clothing that covers the head and part of the body.

Before the revelation of this verse, Muslim women at the time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would wear their khimars and throw it behind their backs, which left part of their bodies exposed. The Quranic verse informed the believing Muslim women to take their Khimars (head covers) and throw it over their chests instead to cover the full body.

When Muslims obey God’s commands, they are rewarded and earn His eternal pleasure. Hence, Muslim women wear the headscarf as an act of love and obedience towards their Creator.

Why do Muslims wear a Niqab (face veil)?

Some Muslim women wear a face veil, also known as a Niqab. The Niqab covers a woman’s entire face, excluding her eyes. Wearing a veil over the face is recognised by Muslim scholars as a highly recommended act of worship, whereas other Muslim scholars recognise the Niqab as an obligatory act of worship, just like wearing the Hijab.

Are Muslim women forced to wear the Hijab?

Muslim women should not be forced to wear the hijab. Rather, one should understand the importance of obeying Allah. When a Muslim woman wears the hijab with the intention of pleasing Allah, she is rewarded for her sacrifice and obedience to her Lord.

As an addition to the above, here are SIX reasons to help you understand why Muslim Women wear the hijab:

  1. As a protective shield

All women were created beautiful and Islam encourages women to conceal their beauty and protect themselves from being sexualised, or objectified and misrepresented. The hijab protects the woman from being judged by the way she looks and allows her to be respected and honoured for who she is. It allows the woman to shine through with her wonderful character, personality, intellect and skill set, irrespective of what she looks like or how good her body appears.

  1. As a mark of obedience to God.

Muslim Women wear the hijab because they believe that God has instructed them in the Quran to wear it once puberty has been reached. So it is simply a means of fulfilling one of God’s commandments according to the Islamic faith. The hijab is a mark of a woman’s Islamic faith, much like a flag or a banner.

  1. As an act of Modesty

Wearing the hijab is a way in which a woman can be grown in her faith as she embarks on her spiritual journey to gain closeness to God. Muslim women wear the hijab in the advice of The Prophet Muhammad SAW: ‘Modesty is a branch of faith’. Modesty can be expressed in many different ways and the hijab is one of them. It is purer for the heart to wear Hijab as Allah SWT mentions in the Quran. On the advice of God, it is believed that wearing hijab allows a woman a means to gain purity of heart.

  1. It is a means of attaining spiritual piety

Allah ﷻ states in the Holy Quran:

˹O Prophet!˺ Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and guard their chastity. That is purer for them. Surely Allah is All-Aware of what they do.

Quran (24:30)

  1. It is an act of great virtue and righteousness.

Wearing hijab may mean following in the footsteps of pious predecessors such as the wives of Prophet Muhammad SAW who were prescribed by God to cover themselves with their garments and conceal their beauty such that it would protect them from harm.

  1. For the reward of paradise.

In the Quran, God has promised the believing women paradise. Muslim Women may choose to express their faith through hijab and that is the path that they seek for the reward of paradise.

May God grant humanity understanding and tolerance of each other’s faith and choices.

May God bless and protect Women who choose to wear hijab and allow other women to follow in their footsteps.