Posts

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.

 

Question:

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.

 

Answer:

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?

Priorities

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.

Internal Shifts

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.


 

My Husband Won’t Let Me Wear the Hijab

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari

Question: My husband and I have been married for over 20 years and we have children together. I have truly begun practicing Islam only in the past 6 years. My husband also has started to practice in the last couple of years. I have wanted to start wearing hijab for the last few years, but he won’t agree. The last time we discussed this, he threatened to walk out of the marriage. My question is that I am not sure of what is my next step. He has made up his mind that this is not necessary. He does not stop me from any other thing, such as salah or fasting etc. I make dua to Allah swt everyday and seek His Help and forgiveness .

Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful

Dear Sister,

Assalamu alaikum,

Your husband cannot stop you from wearing hijab. Hijab, as attested by generations of ‘ulama, is a religious obligation and there is no obedience to the creation that entails disobedience to Allah.

My advice is to wear your hijab. Is your husband really willing to throw away 25 years of marriage because his wife seeks to cover her hair out of devotion to God? He should be proud of you.

Please encourage him to seek counseling on this matter.

May Allah Ta’ala facilitate ease,

Zaynab Ansari

Related Answers:

Wearing the Hija

Can Parents Force Their Daughter to Wear the Hijab?

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari

Question: Assalamu Alaikum,

My teenage cousin does not dress immodestly, but she fails to wear hijab. She is a lovely girl. Initially, her mother had diplomatically spoken to her about the importance of wearing hijab, but my cousin has still refused.

Now, her mother has told her non practicing oldest son, who my cousin fears, to tell her to wear hijab. The situation has escalated where he has been monitoring what she wears and will not allow her to leave the house without hijab in a very threatening manner. She cries and feels resentful and upset each time. I feel this is making her hate the hijab and religion, especially since it is coming from someone who is very far from practicing Islam. Is this permissible? Should they leave my cousin alone until she decides to wear the hijab on her own?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum,

Dear Sister,

Thank you for your question.

Hijab is not just an outer act of devotion, but a reflection of an inner conviction in God and His law. Modesty can’t be legislated, particularly in an atmosphere of double standards, harshness, and criticism. This is not how to endear anyone to Allah Ta’ala and His religion.

What I will say, however, is that parents can have expectations. Any reasonable young person should understand that as long as he or she eats their parents’ food, sleeps in their bed, and lives under their roof, they ought to be willing to live up to their part of the bargain, which is respect for rules.

Once your family member is out on her own, how she dresses is her business. However, as long as she lives in a Muslim household that places certain expectations on its members, she should be willing to meet those expectations, her personal feelings aside.

Finally, this situation serves to illustrate the importance of instilling modesty in girls from a young age. It’s very difficult to embrace hijab as a teen when opinions are forming, obstinacy sets in, and peer pressure is intense.

May Allah make things easy,

Zaynab Ansari

Related Answer:

How Can I Convince My Family Members to Wear the Hijab?

Is the Prayer Valid If a Woman Doesn’t Cover Outside of Prayer?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: If a woman doesn’t wear her hijab outside can her prayer be accepted in view of the hadith Allah does not accept the prayer of a woman who has reached puberty unless she wears a veil.

Answer: Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits.

The hadith you mention refers to the condition of the validity of the prayer itself being that a woman cover in the prayer. While the hijab is a religious obligation–as is proper covering for both men and women in Islam–the acceptability of one’s other spiritual works isn’t dependent on wearing hijab.

Rather, one should do what one can without hesitation; ask Allah for increase in guidance and good; and commit in life to strive to be pleasing to Allah, in actions and conduct–and to embrace the beautiful way of the Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him & his folk) in all aspects of one’s life.

And Allah alone gives success.

How Can I Convince My Family Members to Wear the Hijab?

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari

Question: As salaam alaikum, If one tells a lady to cover, i.e. mother, and she says no i dont think it is required or obligatory does the son get this share of punishment on himself in front of Allah because of his mother rebelling and also how should we convince our sisters and mothers to wear hijab?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful

Dear Brother,

Assalamu alaikum,

Thank you for your question.

It is not your responsibility to make your mother wear hijab. Every adult Muslim is personally responsible for carrying out the commands of Allah and no one else is blamed where they fall short.

Allah Most High says, “Whosoever goeth right, it is only for (the good of) his own soul that he goeth right, and whosoever erreth, erreth only to its hurt. No laden soul can bear another’s load. We never punish until We have sent a messenger.” (17:15)

Nonetheless, being of encouragement to your mother is important. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “The one who points to the good has the reward of the one acting upon it.” (Sahih Muslim)

So you should remind your mother, in a gentle way, of the religious necessity of wearing hijab and how it is a gift for the Muslim woman, but once you have spoken, you should leave it alone.

May Allah reward you,

Zaynab Ansari