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Praying and Fasting Enough... No Need For Hijab?!

Question and answer details
Sara
2013/02/14
As-Salaamu `alaykum, I am a Muslim girl al-hamdu li-Allah. Currently I live in an Arab country, and I really need your help in this. I started to cover two years back because I wanted to get closer to Allah and He could help me in my life. However, my mother told me not to cover because where I come from, no one covers, so why should I? And she says that if I want to get close to Allah, I can pray and fast, and the rest will be fine. Please tell me if this is right. At the same time, I think I am meant to cover because I had dreams that were like a sign telling me I should cover, but I don’t know how to convince her that this is the right thing for me and I want to do it. Please guide me to the right decision because it is very important to me. Thank you.
Ælfwine Mischler
Answer

Salam Dear Sara,

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

If I understand your question correctly, you are now living in an Arab country and have been wearing hijab for two years. Your mother is pressuring you not to wear hijab, even where you are now. And, of course, she doesn’t want you to wear hijab when you return to your country because “no one” wears it there.

Your desire to feel closer to Allah is commendable and you should do everything you can to develop that relationship. Obeying His orders is one of the steps that must be taken to be closer to Him.

I think you know that Allah has told us in the Quran to wear hijab. This is clear in Surah 24, verse 31, which says the meaning of:

{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 and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband's fathers, their sons, their 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 servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye believers! turn ye all together towards Allah, that ye may attain bliss.}

Also Surah 33, verse 59 says what means:

{O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons [when abroad]: that is most convenient, that they should be known [as such] and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.}

Think of a mother who has two children, one of whom frequently disobeys her and the other of whom obeys her promptly. The mother will love both children, of course, but she will feel happier with and closer to the obedient child. And the obedient child will likewise feel closer to the mother than the other child. I hesitate to dwell too much on this comparison of human emotions to Allah, because He is so much Higher than us, but I think you can better understand from this that obedience to Him is a necessary part of drawing nearer to Him.

Furthermore, I would ask you to think on the words of the Shahada, the Testimony of Faith that we repeat in every prayer: “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah; I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger.” The words are not just “there is no god…” but “I bear witness that there is no god…” You bear witness to that belief by everything you say and do: how you dress, how you walk, how you talk, how you eat, what you eat, how you deal with others, et cetera.

From what you have told me, I think that you started to wear hijab for the right reasons, and not just to fit in to the society you are now living in. That is important, because it will make it easier for you to continue to wear hijab when you return to Azerbaijan.

And if you return to your country and “no one” else is wearing hijab, what then? Why not be the first to do so? Why not serve as a role model for sisters? But be prepared to face a lot of questions and problems, including perhaps discrimination in the workplace.

This, of course, will mean that you must be very firm in your own faith, so now is the time to strengthen it while you are surrounded by sisters who wear hijab. Read as much as you can, study Quran, attend lectures if you can, perform extra prayers.

Also, when you return to your country, you might modify the style of hijab you wear. For example, if you are now tending to wear dark colors, you could wear colored or even print dresses - but not too bright - with light head coverings. Or a long-sleeved, loose-fitting Pakistani-style tunic with loose trousers and head covering might fit better with the styles that are worn in your country.

As for your mother’s statement that you can be closer to Allah by praying and fasting, this, as I said, is only partly true. Obeying Allah is an important ingredient of our relationship with Him. None of us should be complacent about our obedience and worship and say that such and such is “enough”.

Yes, everyone who is Muslim and prays will eventually reach Paradise insha’Allah, but we should not think of our being Muslim as a “ticket” to Paradise, for most of us might spend some time in Hell to pay for our sins that we did not repent of in this life. Many small sins do add up. And a woman who does not wear hijab is sinning every minute of every hour that she is in mixed company. Who of us can say how that will weigh in the balance on Judgment Day?

Islam is not something to be confined to fasting and praying. It must color everything we do. So I urge you, Sara, to continue wearing hijab and to become a beacon for others to lead them to the straight path. May Allah guide you and strengthen you!

Thank you again for your question and please keep in touch.

Salam.

Useful Links:

Is Hijab a Quranic Commandment?

Talking to My Mother About Hijab

Hijab: Is It All About Appearance?

Hijab, Recommended or Mandatory?

What Is the True Meaning of Hijab?

The Importance of Hijab

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