Ghausia Shaukat says Muslim women who wear hijab are flag bearers of our perfect faith. They hear the command of their Lord and obey.
Recently the media has been awash with anti-hijab images. Or rather the visible part of hijab, the headscarf. This once universal symbol of faith, of chastity and modesty is today being identified with oppressive regimes that go against its very purpose, which is to protect and bring honour to the women who wear it.
Attacking the hijab has become a tool for those who wish to oppress and control others under the guise of “liberation.” When a woman wears hijab her faith becomes visible and it is this visibility that society refuses to accept, despite the conviction of the woman wearing it.
Many believe the problem lies only with governments or men policing what women should wear, but that reality is only scratching the surface. The real war here is not with the headscarf in its physical form but rather with what it symbolises – a woman who has the strength to cover herself in submission to her Lord alone.
So this is an attempt to remove the honour of a woman who refuses to bow to man’s law and instead submits to the will of her Creator. Because the believing woman who submits to the will of her Lord will never submit to anyone else.
Islam provides the framework which men, women and society must adhere to in order to live in harmony. And part of this framework is for women to adopt hijab when in public or in the presence of unrelated males, specifically men they would be able to marry.
[Surah An-Nur verse 31]
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 head covers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers that you might succeed.
This provides women safety from being objectified and sends a clear message that she is a believing woman who puts her Lord before anything and anyone else.
But what Islam doesn’t allow is for regimes to govern according to the whimsical conventions of clerics in place of the Quran and prophetic way of life (Sunnah). This is what leads to oppression and deprivation of people’s rights.
It is understandable then that people are angry at the oppressive actions of the Iranian government, but this does not warrant an attack on something that is in fact mandated in Islam.
So it is perplexing to me that some Muslim women choose to redirect their anger and outrage to a symbol of the very faith they claim to be a part of. This act of defiance against the Islamic obligation of hijab partly shifts accountability from the perpetrators to anyone who upholds the commandments of Islam all over the world.
Believing women do not burn hijabs; by doing this they burn the bridges that will lead them to the submission of desires in place of their Lord.
Ironically the act of burning hijabs in defiance of a law that polices how women dress, has instead propelled the very same policing for women who wish to wear hijab, with the Islamophobic state of France as a forerunner.
The so-called solidarity of French women cutting their hair strands only shines a light on their hypocrisy and selective outrage. The hypocrisy of calling for women’s rights to remove the headscarf but not the right to wear it. The selective outrage at the Iranian government policing how women dress all the while ignoring their own government doing the same to those who wish to cover.
As imperfect as we are, those of us who wear our hijabs whilst facing scrutiny and judgement almost everywhere we go, do so as flagbearers of our perfect faith. We wear our hijab with honour, out of obedience and love for our Lord. We hear the command of our Lord and we obey. There is no other path we would choose, there is no other way we would live.