Hijab is not something we wear as a fashion statement, it is not merely a piece of clothing. Hijab is part of the Islamic way of life, hijab is an attitude, a way of thinking and behaving.
There is such a saying as a woman being clothed, yet naked. This means that she is wearing clothing, but it is so tight and transparent, that it could hardly be called clothing. Even if the clothing is long, if it is tight and figure-hugging, so that it reveals a woman’s shape, it is not hijab.
Hijab is not only wearing a scarf on your head, it also means to cover your awra.
A woman’s awra is her full body. She must cover her hair, torso, arms, legs and feet. The best way of covering everything is to wear a jilbaab/abaya and a scarf on the head. They must be baggy enough so as not to show the shape. They also must not be transparent. Some women choose to also wear niqaab which covers the face; gloves are often worn with it to cover the hands.
“And Say to the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts) and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent (like both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer palms of hands or one eye or dress like veil, gloves, head cover, apron), and to draw their veils all over (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms).” Surah an-Nur 30-31.
Women shouldn’t beautify themselves when they go out, such as wear make-up, perfume. Wearing make-up and perfume should be reserved only for her husband to see, not any strange man outside! Many Western women beautify themselves for men, going out caked in make-up, in a cloud of perfume and non-covering clothes so that they draw attention to themselves from the opposite sex.
Going back to what I mentioned above about the hijab being an attitude and a way of thinking, it means that when Muslim women go out, they must act like proper Muslim women. No flirting, talking to men casually, talking too loudly (the voice is also an awra! A man could find a woman’s voice attractive.) etc. We should conduct ourselves with dignity at all times; after all, whenever we go out in the world, we are representing Islam.
There will always be people out there who don’t understand the hijab and direct negative comments and stares towards us. But eventually, you won’t notice those people staring. You will be comfortable in your hijab, you will be strong. It should get to the point where you would feel naked without your covering over your clothes!
But hijab is not only for women, it is for men too. Men have an awra, from their navel to their knee (that is the absolute minimum; it is recommended that men should dress fully and modestly as well). They should also lower their gazes. Although in most Muslim countries, men do not usually walk around without a t-shirt on.
This means that men should not wear tight clothing, or revealing clothing. So, all those young men who insist on wearing their tight jeans so low that everybody can see their underwear should think again!
So, why do we wear hijab? For our husbands? To impress people at the mosque? No. We wear hijab to please Allah and no-one else