Hijab FAQ

Earlier this year, one of our designers collaborated with Hayaa360 to make a hijab brochure for Hijab Day 2017. She wrote up the brochure and designed it and the Hayaa360 team proofread and distributed it at college campuses across the US.

The brochure is for download here: HijabDay_Brochure_v002

A big thanks to Hayaa360 for giving the opportunity. Check them out at their website, facebook, and twitter!

What is Hijab?

Hijab is a multi-faceted word that addresses many aspects of the philosophy of modesty in Islam.

Hijab is a term for:

  • A religious code governing one’s actions and behavior
  • A religious covering worn by Muslim women

In Islam, men and women are required to practice modesty. This practice is called hijab. In observing hijab, Muslim men and women are required to act and dress modestly around the opposite sex and to avoid physical contact. The cloth that Muslim women use to cover their hair is also known as hijab.

Why do Muslim women wear hijab?

Hijab, like prayer, is a required act in many religions including Islam. For Muslims, this hijab refers to both the garment and modesty. A Muslim woman who covers her hair is referred to as a muhajaba and more modernly as a ‘hijabi’.

Muslim women also have many personal reasons for wearing the hijab. Some examples:
They believe that wearing the hijab helps them focus on their spirituality and relationship with God similar to the yamuca of Jews or the veil worn by the Virgin Mary.
They wear hijab to convey godliness and the importance of God in their lives similar to Orthodox Christian Nuns
They wear hijab to minimize the effects of societal pressures often forced onto women.
They wear the hijab to divert people’s attention away from their physical qualities and towards their knowledge and character.

Are Muslim women forced to wear hijab by men?

In Islam, a person is considered a Muslim when they accept 1. There is only one God 2. Prophet Muhammad is His messenger 3. There is a Day of Judgement.

While there are practices that are required of Muslims, there is no compulsion in religion. In Islam, you are not forced to perform the required and recommended acts. A person should do these practices out of their own will because their love of God compels them to follow the guidelines.

Seeing this, Muslim men are NOT allowed to force Muslim women into wearing hijab. However, some Muslim men still do it. This is due to their own misogyny and NOT Islam. These men will have to answer for their actions. Wearing the hijab is a personal choice each Muslim woman decides on her own and should not be forced.

Why don’t ALL Muslim women wear hijab?

  • Muslim women who do not wear hijab do so as a personal choice. Some examples:
  • They feel unsafe and in danger wearing hijab because of prejudice from others.
  • They dress modestly but don’t feel spiritually ready to wear hijab now but might in the future.
  • They fear their livelihood might be jeopardized if they wear hijab.
  • They believe in a different interpretation of hijab requirements for Muslim women.

Why do some Muslim women’s hijab look so different from others?

Just like there are different styles of clothing, there are different ways to wear hijab.. The way a Muslim woman decides to wear hijab is personal and is informed by her style, culture, personality and relationship with God.

Do Muslim women wear hijab all the time?

No, Muslim women are only required to wear hijab in front of the opposite sex. They do NOT need to wear hijab in front of other women or young children. Additionally, they also do NOT need to wear hijab in front of their relatives:

  • Father/step-father/father-in-law
  • Brothers/half-brothers
  • Sons/step-sons
  • Grandfathers
  • Uncles/nephews
  • Husband

When Muslim women are at home or in private, they do not need to wear hijab (this also means they don’t wear hijab in the shower).

Then does that mean Muslim women wear hijab to keep men away?

No. Muslim women wear hijab primarily because of God and to strengthen their relationship with God. The reason they cover in front of men is to practice modesty.

Wearing hijab is not a deterrent for crimes against a woman’s body. Unfortunately, misogynistic and unhealthy men will still attempt crimes even if a woman is wearing hijab. To treat hijab as a deterrent for unruly men is wrong, as this idea suggests that the crime was committed because the woman did not practice hijab correctly. If a man has poor manners and morality, a piece of cloth won’t keep him from doing wrong. The purpose of Hijab is for creating a relationship with God.

Why don’t men wear hijab?
Men and women are required to observe hijab in the form of behavior and physical contact. Men do not need to wear the same physical hijab but they also have a form of hijab they must practice. Men are required to have beards and lower their gaze when talking to women. They are not allowed to talk inappropriately to women. They must respect women and not sexualize them.

Can Muslim women remove their hijab for safety issues?

Yes, a Muslim’s safety overrules all other Islamic decrees in life and death situations. If a Muslim woman is being attacked, has heat stroke, etc., her life is more important than wearing her hijab in that moment.

However, this doesn’t apply to optional situations. For example, if a Muslim woman wants to play a sport, she should wear a lightweight hijab to avoid overheating.

What should I do if I see a Muslim woman being attacked?

You should call 911 and assist her in safely getting away from the attacker, if you can. Check with her to see if she’s okay or in need of additional help. If you’re a man, avoid physical contact as much as possible and respect her personal space as you offer support.

Can I compliment Muslim women on their hijabs or does it go against their modesty?

Yes, you can compliment them. Most Muslim women appreciate receiving compliments on their hijab as it is a source of pride for them. If you’re a man, please do not offer compliments of a sexual nature.

Can I wear hijab if I’m not Muslim?

If you want to cover your hair for your own religious reasons or for other personal reasons, you totally can. However, it is considered disrespectful to make a mockery of this sacred practice and you shouldn’t call it hijab. Hijab specifically refers to Islamic modesty and is observed to enhance a Muslim woman’s relationship with God.

If you are visiting a masjid or Muslim country you may be asked to cover your hair and dress modestly out of respect.