Many people allege that women in Islam are degraded because they wear Hijab. They say that it’s a form of oppression for women and that Islam does not give women her rights even to wear whatever they want; they have to abide by what’s prescribed by Islam.
In order to introduce whether this is the reality or it’s just a myth, let us have a look first on whether Islam is the “First” or the “only” religion that calls for Hijab and covering women’s body or that it is found in both Judaism and Christianity.
According to the Rabbi Dr. Menachem M. Prayer, professor of biblical literature at Yeshiva University, in his book, the Jewish Woman in Rabbinic Literature, it was the custom of Jewish women to go out in public with a head covering which, sometimes, even covered the whole face leaving one eye free.
He quotes some famous ancient Rabbis saying: “Cursed be the man who lets the hair of his wife be seen…a woman who exposes her hair for self-adornment brings poverty”
Rabbinic Law forbids the recitation of blessings or prayers in the presence of a bareheaded married woman since uncovering the woman’s hair is considered ‘nudity’.
He also mentions that” During the Tannic period, the Jewish women’s failure to cover her hair was considered an affront to her modesty.”
Dr. Prayer also explains that the veil of the Jewish woman was a sign of modesty, it symbolized a state of distinction and luxury, and it was a sign of possession of her husband.
The fact that the veil was a sign of nobility was the reason why prostitutes were not permitted to cover their hair in the Old Jewish society. However, prostitutes often wore a special head scarf in order to look more respectful.
Jewish women in Europe continued to wear veils until the 19th century when they become more intermingled with the surrounding secular culture.
“And every woman who prays or prophases with her head uncovered dishonors her head- it is just as though her head were shaved. If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off or shaved of, she should cover her head.” (Bible 1 Corinthians 11:5-6).
Among the Cannon Laws of the Catholic Church today, there is a law that requires a woman to cover their heads in the church.
Some Christian denominations, such as the Amish and the Mennonites, keep their women veiled to the present day.
According to the first Epistle of Paul, the Apostle to the Corinthians, chapter 2, Christian nuns wear clothes that cover their cloths that cover their body, leaving only their faces and hands uncovered, and the Gospel commands women to cover their hair when praying. He alo says: “The head covering is a symbol of women’s subjugation to the man and to God.”
From the above evidence, it’s quite clear that Islam did not invent the head cover, however, Islam DOES ENDORES it.
People usually discuss Hijab in the context of women only, however, in the Glorious Qur’an God, the Exalted, first mentions Hijab for men before Hijab for women. He, the Almighty, says (what means):
Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty… And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what ordinarily appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms… (Qur’an 24:30-31)
This means that the Hijab is a sign of showing obedience to God’s commandments.
Also, it’s a protection for women against harassment, this is clear in this Qur’anic verse:
O, Prophet, tell your wives and daughters and the believing women that they should cast their outer garments over their bodies (when abroad) so that they should be known and not molested. (Qur’an 33:59)
This is the whole point; modesty is prescribed to protect women from molestation. In addition, woman in Islam is a dear gem that’s very expensive and valuable that’s why she should be covered.
In contrary to Islam, western society degraded women to the status of concubines, mistress and society butterflies who are mere tools in the hands of pleasure seekers and sex marketeers, hidden behind the colorful screen of ‘art’ and ‘culture’.
In societies which pretend calling for women’s rights, women are used in advertisements which is nothing but a dehumanization for them.
We, Muslims, believe that whenever God, the All-knowing, commands us to do anything, there MUST be a great wisdom behind this commandment. This wisdom is clear in two aspects:
Hijab increases solidarity and love between the one family i.e husband- wife relationship. When women cover their body and head, men lower their gaze when dealing with or meeting them; something that makes man more loyal to his wife for he sees none but her. And this, in turn, increases love, loyalty and respect between them, and at the same time prevents men from falling into illicit relationships and women too.
Hijab protects the skin from several diseases, such as cancer, malaria and several ulcers. And it has been proven lately that “skin cancer rate’ in Arab countries is lower than that of non-Arab countries.
We, the Muslim women, wear Hijab because we are certain that it’s for our own good. And, that it’s a commandment from God, the Exalted, something that you have failed to do and you just blame us for doing so: fulfilling God’s commandments.
All Praise is due to God who honours us by this bounty.