Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Are Muslim women obliged to wear a headscarf?

hijaab scarf headscarf

Are Muslim women obiged to wear a scarf? If it is then why so? And, if its about modesty then how come only a headscarf can declare a woman a modest person? A woman can be modest by wearing decent clothes and behaving in a decent banner. But, if a woman wants to dress the way she likes then why doesn't she have the free will. Or does she?

This question has always been stuck in my mind even though I'm a man and also a Muslim. I haven't received satisfied answers yet. I believe this a good place to receive interesting and logical answers.

I've been born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey. There I have witnessed the battle on headscarf. On one side there are Kemalists (Secularists or Followers of Kemal Atatürk) and on the other hand there are religious people (who are labeled as a threat to secularism in Turkey). I have always wondered that are these religious women wanting to wear headscarf because they believe it is their duty or because they are not allowed to wear them in public institutions or some private institutions? Mostly us humans tend to do something we are not allowed to do. For instance, if we are not allowed to drive a particular car, we will drive that very car. And, if we are not allowed to wear a particular shirt, we wear that shirt. This is how we humans are.

So, I thought that these women want to wear a headscarf because they are banned from wearing it in public and private institutions and not because they believe it is their religious duty. I mean look at Iran. In Iran there are Muslim women who are fighting for their right to not wear a headscarf. Is this because all women are forced to wear a headscarf? So, this kinda proves my point. Or maybe you people are better at judging these issues.

~Cenk Ozden

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3 Responses »

  1. Salamu'alaikum,

    Praises are for Allah Who Has Created us and commanded us to follow His Law which He sent through His Messenger Sallallahu 'alaihi Wasallam.

    Hijaab is veil, that covers the privet parts of a woman, and eliminated the chance of indecency.
    The Messenger of Allah Sallallahu 'Alaihi Wasallam has mentioned that the entire body of a Muslim woman is 'Awrah (her privet part) except for her face and her hands (which she can choose to cover). The women wear headscarf, in order to cover their hair, which is one of the major parts of the 'Awrah. The beauty of a woman is wnhanced by her hair. Covering the hair is a command from Allah, and thus, Muslim women follow, so that Allah is Pleased with them. They intend to follow the Messenger Sallallahu 'Alaihi wasallam, in order to Please Allah.

    Speaking about the secularists, they are hypocrites and cowards. They may be Muslims, but they do not follow Islam, and they have been led astray by the Shaitaan. They fear that if they become Religios, the World will label them as such. But they fail to relize that the future belongs to the Pious. When Isa bin Maryam Alaihis Salaam returns, he will abolish all these systems and insha Allah, the Deen of Allah will be 'TheLaw' all over the World. Even though there is a lot of falsehood in today's Christianity, look at the images of Jesus and Mary. Jesus has beard, still the people who claim to follow him shave and do not like the bearded people. Look at Mary's supposed image who sports a headscarf. She is one of the most modest women that ever lived. Then why do people stop us Muslims from being modest?

    All this is nothing but a tool of Shaitaan in putting the believers in distress.
    Can a woman choose not to wear a Hijaab or headscarf and wear other modest clothes?
    Hijaab is what covers the body and does not reveal it's shape. Any clothing that covers the entire body that constitutes the 'Awrah, and does not reveal the shape of the body, is allowed for the women to wear. There maybe exceptions based on other criteria, but this rule is general.

    Being a Muslim, you should not have such doubts. It is good that you asked and I hope you are now clear. We can in no way question the laws of Allah Subhaanah because they are the best possible laws for us. May Allah make us follow His laws, as they have to be followed.

    Muhammad Waseem

  2. Bismillahir rahmanir raheem.

    FIrst and foremost from your name Cenk Ozden you seem to be male well nonetheless adding to my brothers comment i would like to say that if there are TWO GIRLS WALKING ON THE STREET ONE IS WITH MODEST CLOTHES,HIJAB AND ANOTHER ONE IS WEARING A TIGHT SMALL SKIRT. AND THERE ARE COUPLE OF GUYS SITTING ON THE ROAD IN GENERAL. IF THE girls get teased whom they will tease?

    Do you think that the modest dress girl will be teased?!! For sure not.

    And face is the most attractive part in the body . still some scholars say that you can show your face .Well but subsiding that? what else do you want? you call dressing kinky, nearly nude is called being secularist?

    These people are trying to malign the MINDS OF THE YOUNG PEOPLE because they know that if the teachings are adulterated then the upbringing will be according to the teaching.


    May Allah guide us always to the right path and protect from the vice of humans and whatever exist in this world ameee

    Jazakumullahu khairan

  3. Salaams,

    Free will doesn't negate something being obligatory. The compulsion upon women to observe hijab is well documented by reliable scholars. Whether or not women are supposed to cover according to Islam really isn't the issue. By the way, observing hijab is more than wearing a scarf on the head. It's about wearing modest and loose clothing from head to toe, as well as conducting oneself in a humble and respectful way that doesn't draw un-needed attention to oneself.

    Women have been commanded to observe hijab, but they are always free to disobey. As with any act of disobedience, there are consequences that can follow in this life and/or the next. Some women choose to forgo hijab knowing the risk they take, and some do so ignorantly. Allah knows best the heart and intention behind each choice. Likewise, of those who do observe hijab, some do it strictly out of fear of punishment or guilt, and some do it because they really feel it represents who they are in their fitra and anything less would be fakery.

    You are right that throwing on a scarf doesn't lead to "instant modesty". Modesty starts in the heart, and sincere modesty there affects one's actions and choice in presentation. There are several women who have scarves on their head, and may even dress in loose clothing, but everything else about their lifestyle and daily choices are screams for nafsani attention. And yes, there are women who are meek in spirit and plain to the eye, and may even come and go among others with little notice, but that doesn't negate Allah's command upon them to complete the modesty that is already mostly there by dressing as He outlined.

    If you want to know why a woman covers if she does, or why she doesn't if she doesn't, you have to ask her. You will get a variety of answers: some will say they don't cover because they truly don't believe they have to, they don't believe what they are doing is haraam. Some will say they feel ugly wearing the scarf and don't have enough self-esteem to wear it in spite of that. Some women who cover will say they do it because they don't want to be ogled or treated as a piece of meat. Some will say they do it because their family will punish them if they don't. Some women will tell you they wear it because it makes them feel beautiful and dignified and like a complete person. Some will even tell you they cover because it keeps others from seeing their gray roots and they don't have to fuss with their hair as much.

    I'm not saying all these reasons are the right ones or even the worst ones. I'm just saying, in response to your question, that there's no bottom-line answer why so many women make the choices they do, because it's based on every lady's individual journey. If it helps, I can tell you why I DO wear hijab.

    I have been Muslim for almost 9 years, a convert. When I first converted my husband wanted me to start covering fully, and I did. At the time I had no "Islamic" clothing to speak of, so I ended up wearing sweaters and winter hats and other hot garments, because it was all I had. However, it was summertime and our home had no A/C, so this was tremendously hard for me.

    I tried to stick it out, but honestly sometimes the heat was just too much for me and I just wasn't used to the new dress code. Sometimes I did try to cover, and sometimes I did not. I probably did that for the first year being Muslim. Going into my second year, I tried to be more dedicated about it, but it still felt foreign and unnatural to me. Needless to say there were a lot of other things going on in my personal understanding and faith that were feeding into that aspect as well. To make a long story short, I stopped covering completely when my husband lost his job after I showed up in full hijab to tell him something very important. I just didn't have the faith to keep doing something that seemed to have more negative impacts on my life than it did positive.

    So, for most of my years being Muslim, I didn't dress any differently than any other American girl. In fact, I fit in so well that most people were surprised when I told them I was in fact Muslim. I guess this kind of got to me a little, because I wanted to be known for what I really was, for what was really in my heart.

    A little over five years ago I got a job that seemed pretty flexible and accepting. I saw some other ladies there who wore headwraps (not sure if it was because they were Muslim or if it was just fashion) and after a couple years being there I realized that I was probably in a safe and stable place to start covering again if I wanted to. People got to know me and about my faith, so it didn't seem like they would take it badly if I did start to come in with my scarf on. But I wasn't quite ready to take that plunge just yet.

    About a year and a half ago, I had some intense spiritual dreams that I eventually came to understand in a very meaningful way. In a nutshell, I took them to mean that I was underestimating the connection I really had with Allah, and the realization was humbling. At that point, everything that was holding me back changed and I really wanted to be the woman Allah meant for me to be in the fullest of ways, and I started back wearing hijab. I haven't lost my job or had anything bad happen, and as a matter of fact I get complimented quite a bit for my "courage" to be myself in a professional environment. I feel like I am being "me" more than I ever have in my life when I cover.

    I am not sure that I provided the answers you were looking for, but at least it's one perspective to weigh against others. Insha'Allah what I've shared will broaden the issue beyond it being a simple "have to do" or "don't want to do" experience.

    -Amy Editor

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