Hijab refers to both the head covering and modest Muslim styles of dressing in general.
It is obligatory just like Swalat and Zakaat but becomes compulsory when a girl has reached puberty as Allah says in the Holy Quran:
“…and say to the believing women that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts and do not display their ornaments except what appears thereof and let them wear their head coverings over their bosoms…O believers so that you may be successful.Q24:31.
Imam Jafar Sadiq also confirms this, saying:
“Modesty is the symbol of faith and whosoever has no modesty (hijab) has no religion.”
Hijab is obligatory to the Muslim sisters because it is an act of obedience to Allah (SWT) and his prophet Muhammad (SAW) as well and Allah Almighty himself warns us in the following verse:
“It is not for a believing man or woman when Allah and his messenger have decided a matter that they should (thereafter) have any choice about their affair and whoever disobeys Allah and his messenger has certainly strayed into clear error.” Q 33:36.
Since there is no specific attire for Hijab, people observe it in different dresses and styles, that is to say, it could be modest forms of western clothing (long skirts and blouses) or robes depending on the society they are living but the most important thing is to modestly and appropriately cover all parts of the body except face and forearms, without revealing the shape of the body.
Responses to hijab vary widely in various works of life in our society such as in school, work places and the community at large as others think that Muslim women do not go with fashion and at the same time they are out privileged.
They also claim that Hijab subordinates women but in fact the society which promotes nakedness takes people to nearly the culture of animals.
Wearing Hijab on the contrary liberates women from the trap of western fashion and maladies. It gives them greater rather than less freedom and mobility.
It has also attracted a lot of attention from our human rights activists who claim that Muslim women are victims of human rights violations because they feel like covering ones body is a form of imprisonment.
It has also been said that beauty is meant to be appreciated-this is true but only by the husband hence women who love their husbands would never wish to be seen in public without hijab. In some extent one can be punished by the law courts simply because of putting on hijab as is the case in France.
Despite all the talks about hijab , the fact is that it draws one near to Allah and increase your faith because you know that you are wearing it just to please Allah, and it also gives one her identity as a Muslim in the society.
In the modern society of today, a woman has always been looked upon as a sexual object for men. Why should one expose ones beauty for unwanted eyes to feast upon? The hijab protects a woman’s honour and does not arouse unwanted passion from the opposite sex.
I personally feel that if world wide women were to adopt the Islamic code of dressing for women, the rate of incidences for rape, molestation, despising and teasing women would be negligible.
And as a Muslim, to the experience I have gone through since I started wearing hijab, things have changed amazingly. I can feel the extra respect coming my way. My friends at school say that I look smart and neat hence, wearing Hijab gives me more confidence as a woman.