The hijab, first and foremost is an act of worship. It has been obligated in the Quran and sunnah clearly. There is the outer hijab, which most people think is the only aspect of hijab, and the inner hijab. The outer hijab is two parts, the khimaar (headscarf) and the jilbaab (outer garment). We are commanded by Allah to cover our hair, neck and bosoms with our khimaar and to wear an outer garment over our clothes when we go out or will be in an environment with non-mahrems.
“And let them draw their head coverings (khimar) over their neck and bosoms (chest).” Quran [24:31]
“O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw a part of their outer garments around them. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused.” Quran [33:59]
The inner hijab is the way in which we conduct ourselves when we are alone and in public. It is the way we speak, the way we act, the way in which we present ourselves in front of others and in front of Allah. It is the way we think.
It is having good manners, not speaking in a vulgar way or using foul language. It is the way in which we walk and talk especially in front of the opposite sex. We should not be purposely behaving in a way so that we attract the attention of the opposite sex. We should be confident but still modest in our day to day lives.
This doesn’t mean we cannot speak or go out of the home. We can and should be part of our community and be working in different sectors as females are needed in all types of jobs. We should be seeking knowledge and volunteering. But it is the way we conduct ourselves while doing these things that is important.
“And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent” Quran [24:31]
In the same ayah, Allah speaks about both the inner and out hijab. This shows us that both are equally important. That both are needed to fulfill the act of worship of hijab.
Now we know that this is a command from Allah and an act of worship. In the Quran the word khimaar (headscarf) is used however in today’s society the word hijab is used to mean headscarf. Yes we are using different words to mean the same thing but it does not however negate the fact that wearing a khimaar is an obligation.
The word hijab means barrier or partition and if you actually look at what the khimaar and jilbaab do, they create a physical barrier. By covering ourselves people can no longer judge us based on how we look they must look at who we are. Our manners and thinking also create a barrier. If we are not using foul or vulgar language them others are less likely to use it around us. If we are behaving in a certain way then others see this and behave in a similar manner.
With everything happening recently, all the attacks on Muslim women, this is the time for all Muslim women whether they wear a headscarf or not to stand together. By making claims that we should not be wearing it you are dividing the sisterhood not empowering it. It makes it harder for those who wear it, you are making them more of a target. Where is the solidarity in that?
It has long been established we should be covering our heads by many scholars and even by the prophet (saw) so are you now claiming that all these people are wrong? We cannot force someone to wear a scarf or a jilbaab but no-one should be trying to force us to take it off either. We do not wear it because we are a sexual distraction for men or because we are weak or because we are forced to by men. We wear it because by fulfilling this act of worship we will please our creator and get closer to Him.