Islam’s code of modesty extends to all aspects of one’s life, including attire. Hijab, the head-covering worn by Muslim women, is an outer manifestation of an inner commitment to worship God.
Many outside of Islam asks, “Why must you wear the Hijab? Why is it important?” The true answer lies in understanding the essence of one’s existence as explained in Islam.
Muslims believe that their true purpose in life is to worship God according to His instructions, as revealed in the holy book of Quran and through the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Worship in Islam is a holistic concept which encourages God-consciousness in every facet of daily life, from breathing the air, daily activities, charity and commitment to prayer and honest dealings in business. A unique word comes to mind – Modest. Likewise, Modest clothing is an integral aspect of worship in Islam as well.
In the Quran, God says, “And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms…” (24:31). When God revealed this verse, the female companions of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) promptly adopted these guidelines. In a similar spirit of obedience, Muslim women have maintained modest covering (hijab) ever since.
Hence, the primary motivation for wearing the hijab is to obey Allah (God in Arabic). It is important to understand the meaning and motivation of why your fellow neighbour dons the Hijab, and also respect their modest commitments to obey God as much as possible. As more people understand, more can internalise and draw parallels with the dress codes of other religions (during the older days) as well – Catholics, Judaism, Sikhs, Amish etc.
And hopefully, the world we live in will be a much better, peaceful place 🙂