HIJAB: SKIMPY OR LENGTHY?
Sanni K. Yusuf
I once smilingly challenged a lady why she wasn’t in hijab to top up her all-covering gown. She told me that she was okay with the headwear on her. Shockingly, she confidently claimed that putting on a headscarf to cover the hair was Allah’s utmost requirement of any muslim lady or woman. Hmm! What a conclusion! Apparently, this is the state of mind of a lot of muslim women today. It is no hyperbole that some of them will even observe solaah in that state. Ask them why? They may tell you the chief imam’s wife or the missioner’s daughter equally dresses and prays as such. Therefore, they have a hujjah (a proof) for their action.
A lot of muslim women dress as they wish, not as Allah has legislated. The holy Qur’an is simplistically clear about the way a muslimah should attire herself, including the use of hijab. There is nowhere in the holy Scriptures – the Qur’an or the Hadeeth, where hijab is limited to the headgear – mere tying a piece of cloth round the head to cover the hair. Exposing the neck renders the headwear invalid. Suratun-Nuur – Q24 V31 caps it all, thus:
“And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guide their modesty; that they should not display their beauty except what (ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their cover (khimaar, hijaab) over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, husbands’ sons, their brothers, or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male attendants free of sexual desires, or small children who have no carnal knowledge of women…”
The verse referenced here is a pointer to the fact that the least length of a muslimah’s hijab is that which draws from the head down to the bosom – the chest or breast area. If a headscarf is used, it therefore, must be accompanied by another garment placed on it down to the bosom, at least. Do you now see that your imam’s wife or whosoever is no proof for you to flout Allah’s injunction. Headwear without hijab can only be worn where there are no strangers or outsiders except the aforementioned persons. In fact, if you so wish, your head may not even be covered. You are at liberty to be free with them.
Is wearing hijab up to the bosom enough for a muslimah? Allah clarifies this in another verse of the holy Book thus:
“O Prophet! Tell your wives and daughters, and the believing women that they should cast their outer garments over their persons. That is most convenient. That they should be known and not molested. And Allah is oft-forgiving, most Merciful.” Suuratul Ahzaab – Q33 V59.
According to scholars in the exegesis or analysis of the verse, believing women as indicated above refers to muslim ladies in general. Ordering the Prophet to tell his own queens and daughters without leaving other women unmentioned to cast their outer garments (hijab) over their persons is a crystal clear indication that wearing the hijab up to the bosom isn’t the Islamic dress standard, but the least, perhaps to start with. A muslimah is therefore, expected to grow and increase in faith both inwardly and outwardly. Limiting yourself to the small hijab is like limiting yourself to the kindergarten class. You will not want to do that, you know. You will want to get to the university, obtain a masters degree after the first degree. You will even want to be addressed as a professor after a successful completion of your doctorate. Why then do you want to remain static and stationary regarding a spiritual matter that will earn you eternal life? You have been on that skimpy hijab for quite an age. You are not worried that you are not improving. My sister, you need some reminiscence to know that if there is anything you should improve on, it is your spiritual mode of dressing.
Some women adhere to longness, wideness of hijab though, but their ornaments are usually transparent. This, undoubtedly, is no adherence at all. Earrings, hairstyle, necklace, brassieres, pant’s shapes etc. must be jealously and meticulously covered. That is why it is good to ensure that at least, one’s hijab draws down beyond the buttocks. This will protect the exposition of the shape of the pant. Appearing in transparent wears is like putting on nothing. It defeats the lofty essence of covering the body. It is like not wearing anything at all. You don’t have to do it the way you see people do it. Do it as sacredly required by your Lord.
Some ladies want to wear the real hijab, but the phobia of being deprived of a lucrative job is keeping them aloof. Their parents fuel the fear by ringing it repeatedly – “Don’t wear a big hijab in order to get a good job,” so they scare and corrupt their children. They have forgotten that whether long or short, hijab is a threat to an average enemy of Islam. They have forgotten that it is only Allah that provides jobs. Today, there are numberless medical doctors in long, wide hijabs. If you doubt this, kindly pay a five-minute visit to any nearby general hospital in Lagos, for instance. You will endlessly unveil your mouth in surprise of the reality your eyes will expose you to.
That someone used to be a wearer of a long hijab isn’t a reason to jettison its use by you. That she became a wearer of a small one isn’t a factor to behold. It is simply symptomatic of weakness of faith. The truth is that she allowed herself to be ‘shaytanically’ defeated. She is gradually oozing out of the can. She needs your counsel, not emulation. She requires your prayers, not replication. Her condition is indeed a perturbing one. Pity her. Sympathise with her. Talk to her to come back to life. If not, she will put off the hijab anytime soon.
The use of hijab isn’t for fashion. It is a serious spiritual business.