Difficulties with Hijab in the West
Ustadah Raidah Shah Idil is asked if it is better not to observe hijab when living in the West due to possible harassment and conflict.
Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.
It has been increasingly bothering me that I do not wear a hijab. I think it is fair to assume that covering a woman’s adornments is for protecting herself and the honor of her husband – am I right in saying this?
Following that, given today’s world and especially living in a xenophobic generation where there is so much conflict, scrutiny and violence against women who wear hijab/niqab etc. Doesn’t it go completely against the idea of protection for a woman in the first place? For example at airports while passing through security, while walking around in a town where Muslim women wearing hijabs are stared at as opposed to being left alone.
I guess my question really is, is it not better for a woman to protect herself by not wearing a hijab and therefore protecting herself by not being scrutinized or stared at, than her wearing one blindly without thinking about its repercussions, especially and limited to the western world and not Middle Eastern countries, where I believe it is absolutely better for a woman to wear her hijab i.e. cover her adornments, than not.
I’ve tried so much to find the right answer regarding this topic and I really need someone to help me out. Since I believe in the hijab and women generally covering their adornments, however I also believe in being sensible and doing their best to be aware at all time and safeguard ones self and their family and avoid any kind of conflict, but I also believe in speaking the truth always and standing up for what is right, but I also want to avoid as much unnecessary conflict from people who simply will not understand and if anything, it is valuable time best spent doing something good in this world that will actually have good results.
Wa alaykum assaalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.
I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.
Difficulties Wearing Hijab
Dear sister, you raise many very good points about the real tribulation faced by many women who wear hijab. None of it is easy, nor is any of it lost on Allah.
Please know that despite these real hardships, hijab remains an obligation in today’s world.
We observe hijab because Allah commanded us to, just like He commanded us to pray, fast, perform Hajj if one is able to, and so on.
Please refer to this link: Is Hijab Obligatory?
Those whose souls the angels take while they had wronged themselves, the angels say (to them), “In what business were you (involved)?” They say, “We were oppressed in the earth.” They say, “Was not the earth of Allah wide enough for you to emigrate to it?” Those people are such that their refuge is Jahannam. It is an evil place to return.” [Qur’an, 4:97]
If you are living in a deeply Islamaphobic part of the world, and this is preventing you from wearing hijab – then please set the intention to move somewhere else. InshaAllah Allah will place barakah in your decision, because you have chosen to prioritize what pleases Him.
I realize, of course, than it is no easy matter to just pack up and leave one’s livelihood. The alternative would be for you to put your trust in Allah, wear hijab, and adjust to your new reality. No change is easy at first, but anything is possible through Allah.
I strongly suggest that you perform the Prayer of Need, and ask Allah to help you come to hijab. With great difficulty comes great reward, inshaAllah.
Conflict over Hijab
It is not your responsibility to explain or advocate for hijab. Keep it simple. Your responsibility is to wear it, while also upholding the inner aspect of hijab. Take each day as it comes, instead of catastrophising about the worst possible outcome. InshaAllah with dua and commitment, Allah will keep you safe.
Please see Can I Remove My Hijab for My Safety? and Am I a ‘Dayyuth’ If I Let My Wife Go out Without Hijab and How Do I Maintain Protective Jealousy (Ghayrah)?
Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.