I don’t write about hijab very often. Look, I don’t even have a hijab category. But 2 posts recently in the blogosphere have gotten me thinking. The first is by Organica, On Taking off the Hijab, and the second is a post on a private blog where a sister has taken off her hijab after a divorce.
First and foremost, I believe hijab is fard. It’s required. Wearing it is submission to Allah (swt).
But I also think that it’s overemphasized. When newbies convert, it’s often the first thing people tell them to do, even before offering to teach them how to pray. A person’s piety is tied into how they dress, even if it isn’t a good indicator of their inner state with Allah (swt). I also think we talk about hijab too much, which is why I don’t post much on the subject aside from fluff.
So what can you say to someone who takes off their scarf? Nothing? Offer your support unconditionally? Offer your support, but with reservation? Tell them that they’re wrong, but in a nice way? Condemn them?
Now switch taking off hijab with something else that’s fard. Salat. Fasting. Abstaining from pork or alcohol. Not backbiting.
I doubt we’d offer positive support to someone who announces they’re not going to pray anymore. Or who decides that they’re going to have ham sandwiches for lunch. So why should one offer complete unconditional support without telling that person that taking the hijab off is wrong? Sure, they know it’s wrong, but are we doing right by not saying anything?
The Qur’an tells us over and over again to enjoin what is right. If we see a wrong and we say nothing, are we acting according to the will of Allah (swt)?
They believe in God and the Last Day, and enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid the doing of what is wrong, and vie with one another in doing good works: and these are among the righteous (3:114)
…And that there might grow out of you a community who invite unto all that is good, and enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid the doing of what is wrong: and it is they, they who shall attain to a happy state (3:104)
Now see, here’s why I don’t write on hijab often. I have nothing profound to say, no great insights to offer, no conclusions reached. This is just something that has been playing in the back of my head, and I felt I needed to write something to get it out. I haven’t commented on the sister’s blog, because I don’t comment often, and I’m loathe to seem like one of those people for whom hijab is the be all and end all of islam.