The Concept and Art of Wearing Hijab
When sent and set to be the religion for humanity, Islam was most distinguished from other messages by all of the details that tackle not only religious matters; but also the deeper and precise details of man’s daily life. This is what makes Islam a way of living – a Lifestyle.
One of the aspects most emphasized by Islam is the concept of decency and modesty in the interaction between members of the opposite sex. To this point, dress code is spoken about within the teachings of Islam within the context of how the religion is presented by individuals. Two particular verses of the Qur’an come to mind in which the Almighty Allah talks about the issue of decency: decency of the eyes and the decency of dress code, known as hijab.
This article will focus on Hijab or dress code: The Order, The Concept, and The Modernized Version- Do’s and Don’ts. In the Qura’an, and after the mention of “decency of the eyes” comes the order describing the dress code for women in two verses. The first is in chapter 24 known as an-Nur (the Light), in verse 31, where Allah commands the Prophet Muhammad as follows:
وَ لاَ يُبْدِيْنَ زِيْنَتَهُنَّ إِلاَّ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَ لْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلىَ جُيُوْبِهِنَّ…
“…and not display their beauty except what is apparent, and they should place their khumur over their bosoms…”
There are two points to be extracted from this verse to start with: Khumur and Bosoms. Al-Munjid, which is the most popular dictionary in the Arab world, defines al-khimar as the singular of khumur and states that it is “something with which a woman conceals her head —ما تغطى به المرأة رأسها .” So the word khimar, by definition, means a piece of cloth that covers the head.
In addition, the meaning of the clause “placing the khumur over the bosoms,” is further explained by the commentators of the Qur’an when they narrate that the women of Medina in the pre-Islamic era used to put their khumur over the head with the two ends tucked behind and tied at the back of the neck, thus exposing their ears and neck. And by saying, “place the khumur over the bosoms,” Almighty Allah thus orders women to let the two ends of their headgear extend onto their bosoms to conceal their ears, the neck, and the upper part of the bosom.
The second verse continues in chapter 33 known as al-Ahzab, verse 59, as Allah gives the following command to Prophet Muhammad:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ, قُلْ لأَزْوَاجِكَ وَ بَنَاتِكَ وَ نِسآءِ الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ: يُدْنِيْنَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِنْ جَلاَبِيْبِهِنَّ…
“O Prophet! Say to your wives, your daughters, and the women of the believers that: they should let down upon themselves their jalabib.”
Here, Al-jlabib جَلاَبِيْبٌ is the plural of jilbab جِلْبَابٌ , which means a loose outer garment in any Arabic dictionary like Lisanu ’l-‘Arab, Majma‘u ’l-Bahrayn or al-Munjid. This means that the Islamic dress code for women does not only consist of a scarf that covers the head, the neck and the bosom; but also includes the overall dress that should be long and loose.
For this reason, wearing a combination of a tight, short sweater with tight-fitting leggings or jeans with a scarf over the head DOES NOT meet the requirements of the Hijab. With that said and explained in terms of putting hijab in its proper place of religious-related scales, the debate of Hijab styling or the Art of Wearing Hijab remains controversial.
The requirement of hijab is a Qur’anic command. The basic requirement is that a Muslim woman should cover her head and bosom with a khimar (a head covering), and her body with a jilbab (a loose over-garment). (al-islam.org)
When it comes to the style, colour, and material of the khimar and jilbab, each Muslim ethnic group can fulfill the Qur’anic-order relatively and according to their own cultural background, as Islam is indeed a world religion. It is never confined to one region, tribe or culture. Thus, one should be wise enough not to confuse hijab with a cultural tradition and should have no doubts that it is a religious requirement.
And here lies the vibrant aspect of the Islamic Law (shari‘a). As Hijab styles are categorised into many various looks starting with the Abaya of Arabia, the Chador of Persia, the Burqa in Afghanistan, the kerudung in Malaysia and Indonesia, and the casual mainstream clothes or day dresses worn with a bigger scarf over the head in Western culture (Canada/US/Europe), what matters most is that a Muslim woman meets the religious standards.
With this development of Hijab Styles becoming a fully independent department in the
world of fashion, and after crystallising the view to The Concept, aMuslima will be dedicating the month of February to providing you with insight into the three main styles of Islamic wear: Abayas, Casual/Mainstream clothing, and Formal wear in three sequenced articles complete with tips and prepared by the certified Lebanese designer/stylist Sarah Le Méknas based in KSA, Jeddah. The articles will be revealing tips, tricks, and do’s and do not’s when it comes to wearing hijab like an artist.
So, stay Tunned! …