Hijab is OUR choice!

I never understood the countries that require women to wear the hijab. Hijab, as the religion, is between yourself and God. It is a choice that can help you closer to the religion, but without the will to wear it, it’s worthless, it’s a piece of textile on your head and body. Forced or expected to wear hijab, those women often sport “hijab with bang” or other questionable hijab styles.. As wearing the hijab should be our choice, not wearing it should also be a choice.

This is an article about whether hijab should be a choice or mandatory in Kuwait;

It is not only the economic reforms promised during the electoral campaign or the alleged illegalities carried out in the construction of the fourth oil hub which are dividing the Parliament of Kuwait: it is also the issue whether the women Ministers are obliged or not to wear the traditional long dress with the veil in the Parliament hall.

The MPs of the Islamic block, which represent the majority in the National Assembly, want to force Nuraya Al Sabih, Education Minister, and Moudhi Al Homoud, House Minister, to wear the hijab, “in respect of the Islamic dictates”. Clarifying that the request “is not a matter of extremism”, MP Mohammad al Kandari insisted today from the pages of daily Kuwait Times that “according to Islam and according to Kuwait’s traditions, women must wear the hijab”.

The other section of the Parliament answered that “in a democracy such as Kuwait, the hijab cannot be imposed”. “It is a matter between women and God”, MP Saleh Al Mullah pointed out. The criticism of the Islamic majority targeted Minister Al-Sabieh since the first day when she entered the hall, wearing a two-piece suit and no veil, in April 2007. Read more on the decision here.

What do you think?

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16 thoughts on “Hijab is OUR choice!

  1. Aaminah says:

    Asalaamu alaikum.

    I think “force” is too strong a word in the situation and creates misunderstandings. Every society and country have their “rules” of minimum modesty. For Muslim-majority nations to have a rule that says their minimum is hijab is not wrong. And I don’t think it should be understood as “force” to say “no, in our country you don’t go around in skin tight clothing, skin revealing outfits, and with your head uncovered”.

    Force is situations like in Afghanistan where only one form of coverage was considered acceptable, and women were beaten and even killed for not maintaining it perfectly.

    Hijab is a choice. And we will be judged on our intentions for wearing it. But there is nothing wrong with our society setting a norm boundry and expecting a minimum coverage level. Where we can make it sound less threatening is to allow that there are multiple ways to interpret how that coverage is made and maintained.

  2. Candice says:

    I don’t think they should be forced to wear hijab. It should definitely be the woman’s choice. I do agree that a society has its own norms on modesty, but if being completely covered in loose clothing but having your head uncovered is considered immodest, there’s a problem, I believe. Society’s impressions aren’t something that can be changed in a day or two, but there’s a beginning to changing this idea, and it would be to at least allow the women to go out or go to work without hijab.

  3. Aaminah says:

    Candice, why is it a problem to ask women to cover their heads in Muslim majority nations? Covering of ALL but the face and hands is a mandate of Islam. Why should it be considered a big deal to expect it as a norm of modesty amongst Muslims? You imply that there is something odd about going out or going to work in hijab, and there is no reason that hijab should keep women from doing so. Perhaps I misunderstand, but it seems to me that you are saying there is something more progressive about women not wearing hijab, and that is simply not true. What are you basing your ideals of what society should be? Clearly not on Islam if you think that change requires women to be able to go out uncovered.

  4. Scarf Ace says:

    i also don’t like women having to be forced to do hijab. but i do understand it. i think those countries feel like they have to institute the religious requirements to prevent the boundaries from being taken too far like they are here in the states when u can see a 10 ft. sign of a women in only bra and panties while walking through the mall!! and even if those women wear “questionable” hijab style such as “hijab with bangs” i think that is better than walking around in a bathing suit like they do here in the U.S.A!

  5. Alix says:

    I am okay with bathing suit women (not my preference, don’t wanne be doing that with my body) but making any laws regarding hijab in society is contradictory to Islam. Hijab laws with be enforced by Allah S.W.T.. As we can see in Afghanistan and Iran (men make messes of such things). I certainly wouldn;t have converted to Islam if hijab had been forced on me (and I love my hijab, my abayas, and even my occasional niqab and birqa: D).

  6. INAL says:

    Maybe what we are suggesting or implying, is putting the wearing of hijab, choice, and Islamic edicts on the same wave length…I don’t think they are…

    Islamic Edicts takes away choice-covering everything from head to toe except hands and face; unless what is meant in those Islamic edits is that you can choose from loose clothes with a head-cover; abaya and head scarf; abaya with headscarf and niqab or burqa… but if by Islamic edict it means that you can only wear one thing- well then choice is moot.

    Also you would have to define choice- is it freely choosing what you believe is right; or is it choosing from what is available- all “with” or without compulsion (the former “with” nullifies choice).

    Modesty is the hardest thing to define- and Islamic modesty is based on Quranic injunctions; or perceived injunctions (based on culture, tradition and religion)- and depending, again, on interpretation. If it is non-Islamic modesty- again its wide open to interpretation.

    Compulsion, force, obliged, ruling still means in its literal sense- that you have to do it in the manner prescribed and choice (going back to its definition) is again moot.

    Is Hijab our choice? Well only if you live in countries where Islamic edict does not prevail…because if the first argument on Islamic edict is correct Allahu Allam, hijab/scarf is never taken out of the equation.

    I wear hijab because I choose to wear it- its not negotiable in my case- not opinion- because I can’t and won’t speak for others. If I had grown up in a Muslim country my opinion on hijab might be different or exactly the same as it is now. If my family or husband had insisted I wear hijab other than from my own convictions- then there would be no choice and it would fall under compulsion, forced, obliged category.

    The women in Kuwait may not really have a choice- but they are trying; or not- to exercise what they consider their right- whether such a right really in fact exists for them…

    I once saw in Madrid a huge billboard poster of a purely naked woman facing to a side that was advertising body lotion- It would put a Victoria Secret ad to shame- was I flabbergasted?? yes!!!- but none in Madrid seemed to notice anything wrong with it at the time- they walked right by it without tripping over their feet…

    If walking about in a bathing suit were as popular in the USA- then our choices in what we wear would be as stringent as in some Islamic traditional countries-we would have no other choice but to remain uncovered- but the majority chooses not to….

  7. […] you see, I get paid to do my job; the hijab was never a concession -I have it on and its not negotiable. The unspoken etiquette of the business world is handshaking as a business greeting -again not […]

  8. INAL says:

    And by uncovered- but the majority chooses not too… I mean we choose not to walk around in our underwear…

  9. basbousa says:

    Frankly speaking, I would probably not wear hijab by now if I had been living in a country where hijab and religion was forced on me (or if my family had constantly bugged me about it). I am an individual, and I would never bow for people telling me what to do or not to do in my personal life.. In October 2006 I wasn’t ready for hijab. By December 2006, I started to wear it. This would never ever happen if I wasn’t ready and made the choice myself.

    People (including some Muslim men and women) see the hijab as opressive. This mainly comes from the human rules about wearing it. Like in Iran. I can not point out one Persian I know here in Norway that wears the hijab (maybe 2 or 3 older women, but they wear it convertable style)… This is not because Persians are worse than any other sisters, this is because in Iran, you don’t chose how religious you want to be when you step out of your livingroom, you are forced to be religious!

    I have a Iranian friend, whose mom quizzes me more than any other non muslims I ever met about why I am a muslim, and why I wear hijab. You know why? They lived in Iran and was forced to pretend this and that, and the sad result is that the mother is the only one in this family left with a little fragile faith.

    Independend people do not accept to be pushed into being somebody they are not…

  10. basbousa says:

    By the way, I love my religion, I love my hijab. I made choices myself, and for that I can defend my religion when somebody attacks it. But what I cannot defend is people telling me how I should dress or how I should believe. They might advice, I have no problem with that. But the choice is for me to make!

  11. Candice says:

    Aaminah, you are reading way too much into my post. You feel I’m implying that there’s something odd about women going out or going to work without hijab and that I feel that women are more progressive if they don’t wear hijab and I really don’t see what you see, even upon re-reading my post.

    What I think is that they should have the choice to wear or not to wear it, even in countries with a Muslim majority. I think that a person, Muslim or non-Muslim, should have the freedom to interpret their religion the way they want to. So if a woman doesn’t believe hijab is mandatory, then she should be able to express that. I’ll add that I know there are gray areas here where a woman might not think about it in a religious matter and therefore want to not wear it because of numerous other reasons than not believing that it’s mandatory. But she should have the choice to not wear it too.
    I don’t think it should be offensive to anyone if a woman walks around without her head covered, even in a Muslim majority. If it is, then I think that it’s something that should be changed in that society and that’s all I meant in the post.

  12. Lovereaction says:

    It is so sad that the muslim world is still discussing this and do not leave the choice for the women themself.

  13. Spring says:

    Hi. I’m not Muslim, so of course my opinion will be an outside view, but as an advocate for religion and for religious freedom, I very much support people in wearing religious clothing. It takes integrity to stand up for what you believe in such a real and visible way. It really means something about a person’s commitment.

    I love your blog because of your wholehearted support for people who choose hijab.

    I have to agree that without the freedom to make a choice, what does the choice really mean?

    I hope I do not offend. Thank you for sharing your blog with the world.

  14. maryam says:

    assalamu allaikum wa ramatullah wa barakatuh…how are you sisters!hijabs are totally and absolutely cool…its not only make us cover our hair for modestys sake but we are also treated with respect.
    i feel much comforatble wearing hijab…i feel clean in the sight of allah and i feel that if he sees us wearing it hell definitely be proud of us!and of course hijabs are a good protection to the extereme heat of the sun!
    imagine that?allah protects and loves us so much!
    i love simple styles…thats all jazakalahukhaira!!!

  15. Alaha says:

    I think it should be a choice, there is no complusion in islam, and whether they make the right or the wrong choice religiously, they will be held accountable for it in the end, obviously what the government is doing, i.e. forcing them to wear the hijab, is in their best interest long term wise, and if u think of the hereafter, however the people should be educated and be informed and be able to make their own choice, since they themselves will be held accountable for their actions. The government need to encourage, and educate (islamicly speaking) instead of ‘force’.

  16. Aisha says:

    The hijab Is a required garment of the muslim woman. On the issue of the hijab there is no debate whether it Is the choice of a Muslim woman ti where it . It is not mandatory because a womans hijab is in her heart meaning intension but Allah (s w a) also said in surat alahzab verse 59 ” o prophet tell your wives and daugthers and the wives of the believers to wear Their cloak(veil) all over their bodies” so if she is a wise woman n heeds wat her Lord tells she ll wear d hijab n won’t even dear think its her “choice” to do so . the hijab is part of the Islamic culture its part of Their Iman. women should not negate it because of th hypocritical theory of “choice”

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