Many assume that the hijab is merely an outfit. In fact, some believe it is just the headscarf donned by muslim women. However, this could not be further from the truth. Rather the headscarf is part and parcel of an entire system of living; Islam. When one chooses to follow Islam, they must do so without dividing it into pieces, rather it is one whole.
Hence when one chooses to “wear hijab” or to “dress islamically,” one must realise that it Is not merely a uniform, it must be paired with the correct Islamic conduct and behaviour to be complete, otherwise any random person could wear a headscarf.
Sadly, this fact is overlooked by many. Many muslim women wear Islamic garb yet behave in a manner unbefitting to the muslim identity. We need to reflect on our manners and behaviour, and consider whether the Prophet peace and blessings would have approved it; whether his wives would have behaved similarly, and most importantly whether Allah would be pleased with it.
some behaviours, though is a norm in many communities today, are foreign to Islam. They may seem like trivial matters, yet they hold great importance. The attitude and character of the muslim women speaks volumes about the condition of her heart.
Let us begin by analysing some characters that a muslim woman should possess,
- Hayaa, often translated as modesty or shyness: both translations are applicable to muslim women. A muslim woman is modest, she dresses in a manner to protect herself, and to prevent indecency. Similarly, she behaves in a like manner, removing herself from situations that could compromise her modesty. She is careful to lower her gaze, and to cover her body in the presence on non-mahrams. She ensures her clothes are not revealing, nor do they emphasize her figure. From her shyness, she does not freely mingle with men, nor hold frivolous or unnecessary conversations with the opposite gender. Neither does she display her charms or adornments.
‘Imran bin Husain (May Allah be pleased with them) reported, that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Shyness does not bring anything except good.” (Bukhari and Muslim) Hence, it is essential that the muslim woman equips herself with Hayaa, shyness, bashfulness and modesty, and learns it for herself.
- Self-respect: The Muslim woman should respect herself, that is, respect her body, and her intelligence. She should regard herself subservient to none but Allah. She should not abase herself by submitting to desires.
- Honour and dignity: the muslim woman should carry herself with a sense of pride (and I use the word ‘pride’ loosely here to refer to appreciation of the fact that she is muslim), she should be happy that Allah has chosen her to be a muslim. She should be proud that she is a free woman, liberated by Islam. She is not a lowly object, to be tossed around at the whims of others. Islam gave her rights.
- Lowering the Gaze: This rule is not just advocated for men, but also for women;
“And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision” (24:31)
Hence women should guard their gaze lest it falls on something inappropriate or leads to something inappropriate.
- Dressing Appropriately: She should follow the guidelines given in the Qur’an and sunnah, and adhere to proper hijab. She should not seek to beautify it nor reduce its coverage. We have mentioned the conditions of Hijab in a previous article entitled: The Conditions of Hijab
There are also some characters and behaviours that a muslim woman should avoid. They are as follows:
- Flirtatious behaviour: in speech, mannerisms and actions.
- Mixing with the opposite gender who are not mahrams, whether in public or within the home.
- Touching the opposite gender: whether it be a pat on the head or a shake of the hand, all forms are explicitly forbidden
“It was narrated that Ma’qil ibn Yassaar said: the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “For one of you to be stabbed in the head with an iron needle is better for him than that he should touch a woman who is not permissible for him.”
Narrated by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer, 486. Shaykh al-Albaani said in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 5045, that this hadeeth is saheeh.
- Softening her speech in the presence of men
“…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.” (33:32)
- Stamping her feet: and this includes the famous clip-clop of heels that turns all heads. As Allah has said,
“And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment.” (24:31)
- Being alone with a non-mahram
Ibn Umar narrated, “Behold! A man is not alone with a woman but the third of them is Ash-Shaitan.” (At-Tirmidhi, Sahih)
- Conversing with men unnecessarily
- Staring at the opposite gender
- Being negligent in her dress: such that her adornments are revealed, such as bracelets, earrings. Or her dress is too tight that it accentuates her figure when she moves. Or wearing-a camel-hump hijab style
- Walking with an enticing gait: such as swaying her hips etc…
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said, The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “There are two types of people who will be punished in Hell and whom I have not seen: men having whips like the tails of cows and they will be beating people with them, and, 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)
May Allah aid us to uphold good character in this time of widespread immorality. Ameen