To many women the hijab is merely a head cover; a piece of fabric draped over the head to show some modesty, or just because Islam says so. If this is what the hijab has been reduced to, then it is only an illusion of modesty, a façade of obedience to Allah. It has evolved into more of a fashion accessory, and less of a religious commitment.
The hijab that was observed by the great women of the past, the best of generations, was a full body covering, but was not restricted to it. The hijab back then included the behaviour and mannerisms of the person who wore such an attire.
Think of it like this: when a man dons a suit to work, his manners become more formal, he no longer is his carefree self, as he is aware that his attire represents a certain character. His language will not be obscene, because he signifies decorum.
Similarly, when one wears the hijab, there is a certain aura that must be upheld, for the hijab represents the muslim woman, who is chaste and obedient to her Lord. It symbolises that this woman is modest, god-fearing and has integrity. Hence there are certain unspoken rules that must be followed when donning the Islamic dress code:
- Covering properly: first things first, one who dons the hijab, jilbab or niqab should ensure she wears it correctly and as completely as possible. Mini-skirts, tight jeans and other revealing clothing defeat the purpose of the hijab, and are a big no-no.
Allah says, “And tell the believing women to …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…” (An-Nur 24:31)
And also, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “There are two types of people who will be punished in Hell and whom I have not seen…women who will be dressed but appear to be naked, inviting to evil; and they themselves will be inclined to it. Their heads will appear like the humps of the Bactrian camel inclined to one side. They will not enter Jannah and they will not smell its fragrance which is perceptible from such and such a distance.” (Muslim)
You can read more about the requirements of hijab here
- Hayaa: modesty in attitude, bashfulness in manner and shyness in everything are the primary characteristics to be found in a woman who wears hijab.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Haya does not bring anything except good.” (Bukhari)
And in another hadith, he said, “Haya’ is (a part) of Faith.” (Bukhari)
- Respectability: self-respect and respect for others. If you don’t respect yourself, how do you expect others to respect you?
- Cleanliness: the muslim woman is clean and dignified. She should not smell nor have bad odours. Of course, accidents do happen, but the muslim woman takes care of her appearance.
- How you carry yourself: the manner in which you walk and talk are all part of your hijab. So be weary of how you behave,
The Prophet said, “There are two types of the people of Hell that I have not seen yet: women who are clothed yet naked, walking with an enticing gait…They will never enter Paradise or even smell its fragrance, although its fragrance can be detected from such and such a distance.” (Ahmad and Muslim).
- Lowering the Gaze: a muslim woman restrains her gaze, and does not make unnecessary eye-contact with the opposite gender. She does not stare at men, nor does she wink.
“And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision…” (An-Nur 24:31)
- Representing Islam: the muslim woman who dons the Islamic attire should be aware that she is representing islam. Everything she does will be scrutinised. Her character therefore should be her da’wah.
Characters to Avoid:
- Loudness and Vulgarity: these characters should not be found in any muslim, let alone a muslim sister donned in hijab. It contradicts hayaa. It is not befitting for one who desires good character to be loud or vulgar in speech.
- Being flirty: a muslim woman is not flirtatious, nor are her manners inviting or open. She does not engage in frivolous talk with men, nor share unnecessary jokes with them. She is not flirtatious in speech,“If you fear Allah, then do not be soft in speech [to men], lest he in whose heart is disease should covet, but speak with appropriate speech.” (Al-Ahzab 33:32)And in body language or behaviour,
“And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment.” (An-Nur 24:31)
From a muslim woman’s mannerisms it should be known that she is good person. She should be conscious of how she behaves and carries herself. She is a representation of Islam, her hijab is a form of Da’wah.
May Allah make us of those who uphold the hijab and its principles in the correct manner with sincerity.