Letting Go of the Hijab Issue

It is common to come across articles, blogs or discussions about how hijab (a head covering worn by Muslims) are a sign of oppression and inferiority of females. You might have also heard the other side about how they are a sign of modesty and morality and respect for women. Whatever side you may stand on, I am just going to refrain from discussing the pros and cons of hijab here.

My issue here is that we have made a Muslim woman’s life revolve all around hijab, when there’s just so much more to it! Any time you hear the word Islam and women, the never-ending feministic discussions start. Don’t get me wrong- I am all for feminism and women having equal rights as men, but I have gotten sick of hearing about hijab every time women in Islam are mentioned.

Here’s a news flash: Muslim women are like regular women! They do everything- they achieve high in academics, have a high-profile career, play sports, fall in love, go shopping with friends, get involved with community work, join the army, join politics, be the prime minister of a country..everything! And another newsflash: just like women all across the world, Muslim women have issues too, and hijab is not the main one. They worry about their children, their family, their insecurities, and their weight. They go through sickness, divorce and single-parenthood. But when you look at the mainstream media and the discussions on the current issues on women in Muslim society, hijab is the main topic. Why limit it all to the hijab-world?

I remember reading an interview from Hilary Clinton where the interviewer asked her which designer clothes she wears. She replied asking if she would have been asked that question if she was a male. (Do not quote me on this interview, I read it second-hand in some article). Regardless of the authenticity of this interview, what’s being said here is that there’s more to women than the clothes they wear. Why make clothes such an issue?
From an Islamic point of view, women have an integral role in society. They have rights, duties, and obligations just like men. They are to strive for Allah’s pleasure, perform good deeds and refrain from evil. Indeed hijab is included in the desire dress code, but there is more to women’s duties than adorning the hijab. As a side note- just because a woman wears a hijab does not by default classify her as a good Muslim, and likewise, just because a woman does not wear one does not by default classify her as a bad Muslim either. I am not implying that the opposite is necessarily true, but we should remember that a woman’s actions and intentions are between her and Allah, and should not be judged this way by others in society.

It is time to let go of the hijab issue. There is much more to Muslim women than merely how they cover.

Posted on: Thursday, September 27th 2012 12:05:pm