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“Generalizations about Islam and Muslims are
                                                                                                                      In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
replete in today’s media. Muslim women in headscarves
        are frequently unfairly stigmatized.They
  are regarded on the one hand as oppressed, and on                                         Hijab is not merely a covering dress, but more importantly, it is behavior, manners,
    the other, as fanatics and fundamentalists. Both                                          speech and appearance in public. The headscarf is an outer manifestation of an
      depictions are grossly wrong and imprecise.”
                                                                                             inner commitment to worshipping Allah - it symbolizes a commitment to piety.

                                                                                            American Muslim women today are redis-                    through the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed
                                                                                            covering the pristine Islam as revealed by                (pbuh). As such, wearing the hijab is an act of
                                                                                            Allah, (God), to the Prophet Muhammad                     obedience to God and, hence, forms the primary
                                                                                            (pbuh1), more than 1,400 years ago, but                   basis for wearing it.
                                                                                            without any of the contradictions of ances-
                                                                                            tral culture. Consequently they are essentially           Generalizations about Islam and Muslims are


                                                             Unveiling
                                                                                            engaging in a life-long exercise of rediscovering         replete in today’s media. Muslim women in head-
                                                                                            their own selves – what it means to be a human, a         scarves are frequently unfairly stigmatized. They
                                                                                            Muslim, and more so, a Muslim woman. Wearing              are regarded on the one hand as oppressed, and on

                                                            the Mystery                     a head-covering (hijab) is an important part of
                                                                                            their spiritual journey.
                                                                                                                                                      the other, as fanatics and fundamentalists. Both
                                                                                                                                                      depictions are grossly wrong and imprecise. Such
                                                                                                                                                      portrayals not only misrepresent these women’s
   Questions about Islam?                                                                   One of the most common questions today, asked             strong feelings towards hijab, but also fail to
          or would you like to:                                                             by Muslims and non-Muslims alike, is: “Why do             acknowledge their courage and the resulting iden-
                                                                                            Muslim women cover their heads?” The answer is            tity hijab gives them. There are even bans on wear-
               Visit a Mosque?                                                              very simple - Muslim women observe hijab                  ing the hijab in some countries.When asked about
        Subscribe to our mailing list?                                                      because Allah has told them to do so:                     this, Aminah Assilmi, a Christian convert to Islam,
       Correspond with our email team?                                                                                                                said: “To ask me to go out without my hijab would be
   Speak with others on our Message Board?
                                                                                            “O Prophet, tell your wives and daughters and the         like asking a nun to go topless. It amazes me, and I
               Embrace Islam?
                                                                                            believing women to draw their outer garments around       cannot help but wonder, if they would have ordered
    Call toll free 1.877.WHY.ISLAM                                                          them (when they go out or are among men).That is          Mary, the mother of Jesus (pbuh) to uncover her hair.”
    or visit our website at www.whyislam.org                                                better in order that they may be known (to be
                                                        1 . 8 7 7 . W H Y. I S L A M        Muslims) and not annoyed...” (Qur'an 33:59).              Another misconception is the belief that Muslim
 P.O. Box 1054, Piscataway NJ 08855-1054                   w w w. w h y i s l a m . o r g                                                             women are forced to wear hijab. For the vast
                  LOCAL CONTACT:                                                            Muslims believe that their sole purpose in life is        majority of Muslim women, nothing could be
                                                                                            the worship of God alone, according to His                farther from the truth. Indeed, deciding finally to
                                                              AN ICNA PROJECT               instructions, as revealed in the Holy Qur’an, and         wear hijab is often difficult.
Hijab: a form of an internal moral system                                                                lower their gaze and guard their modesty; and that they
                                                                                                                            should not display their beauty and ornaments except
                                                                                                                                                                                        myself based on what others thought of me. I see that too
                                                                                                                                                                                        often in girls, their happiness depends on how others
                                                                                                                            what must ordinarily appear thereof; that they should       view them, especially men. Ever since, my opinion of
Days of meditation, fear of negative consequences             a land where misinformation about Islam and Muslims           draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their    myself has changed so much;I have gained (a lot of) self-
and reactions from family and/or the wider                    abounds, Muslim sisters have the opportunity to               beauty except to their husbands...” (Qur'an 24:30-31)       respect. I have realized whether others may think of me
American society, and ultimately, the need for plenty         portray Islam in its true light                                                                                           as beautiful is not what matters. How beautiful I think
of courage weigh heavily in reaching the decision.                                                                          According to Jabir ibn Abdullah, when he asked the          of myself and knowing that Allah finds me beautiful
Wearing hijab is a very personal and independent              Saba M. Baig, a graduate of Rutgers University, NJ,           Prophet (pbuh), about a man’s gaze falling inadver-         makes me feel beautiful,” Baig recounts.
decision, coming from appreciating the wisdom                 was 17 when she seriously started wearing hijab. She          tently on a strange woman, the Prophet replied,
underlying Allah’s command and a sincere wish to              feels that she is still in the process of learning internal   “Turn your eyes away” (Muslim). In another tradi-           The concept of modesty and hijab in Islam is holistic,
please Him.                                                   hijab. “My biggest realization was that hijab was not         tion, the Prophet (pbuh) chided for looking again at a      and encompasses both men and women.The ultimate
                                                              just about wearing a scarf on my head, but more of a          woman – he said, the second glance is from Satan.           goal is to maintain societal stability and to please God.
“For me,the lead up to the decision to wear hijab was more    (veil) on my heart,” said Baig. “Hijab is more than an
difficult than actually wearing it. I found that, al          external covering.That’s the easy part of it all. It has a    So, contrary to popular belief, Muslim and non-             Since Muslim women are more conspicuous because
hamdulillah (praise be to God), although I did receive        lot (more) to do with modesty and just the way you            Muslim, hijab is not worn for men; to keep their illicit    of their appearance, it is easier for people to associate
negative comments from people, I appreciated the feeling      present yourself.”                                            desires in check – that is their own responsibility, as     them with the warped images they see in the print
of modesty wearing the hijab gave me, and ironically, the
negative attention made me feel more proud to be identified   Imaan, a convert to Islam, adds, “Unfortunately, it also
as a Muslim,” remarked Katherine Bullock, a Canadian          has its down side:you get discriminated against,treated as                Wearing hijab is a very personal and independentdecision, coming from appreciating
convert to Islam.                                             though you are oppressed… I wear it for (Allah), and
                                                              because I want to. Period.”                                                   the wisdom underlying Allah’s command and a sincere wish to please Him.
“To me hijab is a gift from Allah. It gives me the oppor-
tunity to become closer to Allah. Also quite importantly,     Katherine Bullock observed that “after I started
(it provides me) the chance to stand and be recognized as     wearing hijab, I noticed that people would often behave       the above verse and Prophetic sayings show. Rather,         and broadcast media. Hence, stereotypes are perpet-
a Muslim,” Fariha Khan of Rockville, Maryland, said.          more circumspectly with me, like apologizing if they          Muslim women wear it for God and their own selves.          uated and Muslim women often seem “mysterious” to
                                                              swore. I appreciated that. I feel that wearing hijab has      Islam is a religion of moderation and of balance            those not acquainted with the religious meanings of
While the hijab identifies women as followers of              given me an insight into a decent and upright lifestyle.”     between extremes. Therefore, it does not expect             hijab. This aura of “mystery” cannot be removed until
Islam, with it comes tremendous responsibility. Hijab                                                                       women alone to uphold society’s morality and                their lifestyles, beliefs and thought-systems are gen-
is not merely a covering dress, but more importantly,         Hijab is an Act of Modesty. Modest clothing and               uprightness. Rather, Islam asks men and women               uinely explored. And, this cannot be achieved until
it is behavior, manners, speech and appearance in public.     hijab are precautions to avoid social violations. The         mutually to strive to create a healthy social environment   one is not afraid respectfully to approach Muslim
The headscarf is an outer manifestation of an inner           following verses of the Qur’an highlight that this is         where children may grow with positive, beautiful,           women – or men for that matter. So, the next time
commitment to worshipping Allah – it symbolizes a             not limited to women only.                                    constructive and practical values and concepts.             you see a Muslim, stop and talk to them – you’ll feel,
commitment to piety. Self or inner morality is what           “Say to the believing men that they should lower their                                                                    God-Willing, as if you’re entering a different world,
gives meaning to the external scarf. This can be              gaze and guard their modesty; that will make for greater      In fact, for many women hijab is a constant reminder        the world of Islam: full of humility, piety, and of
perceived from the overall demeanor of any Muslim             purity for them;and Allah is well acquainted with all that    that they should not have to design their lives and         course, modesty!
woman – how she acts, dresses, speaks, and so on. In          they do.And say to the believing women that they should       bodies for men. “Before I started covering, I thought of                                  1. (p) here stands for “peace be upon him”

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Hijab - Unveiling the Mystery

  • 1. “Generalizations about Islam and Muslims are In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful replete in today’s media. Muslim women in headscarves are frequently unfairly stigmatized.They are regarded on the one hand as oppressed, and on Hijab is not merely a covering dress, but more importantly, it is behavior, manners, the other, as fanatics and fundamentalists. Both speech and appearance in public. The headscarf is an outer manifestation of an depictions are grossly wrong and imprecise.” inner commitment to worshipping Allah - it symbolizes a commitment to piety. American Muslim women today are redis- through the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed covering the pristine Islam as revealed by (pbuh). As such, wearing the hijab is an act of Allah, (God), to the Prophet Muhammad obedience to God and, hence, forms the primary (pbuh1), more than 1,400 years ago, but basis for wearing it. without any of the contradictions of ances- tral culture. Consequently they are essentially Generalizations about Islam and Muslims are Unveiling engaging in a life-long exercise of rediscovering replete in today’s media. Muslim women in head- their own selves – what it means to be a human, a scarves are frequently unfairly stigmatized. They Muslim, and more so, a Muslim woman. Wearing are regarded on the one hand as oppressed, and on the Mystery a head-covering (hijab) is an important part of their spiritual journey. the other, as fanatics and fundamentalists. Both depictions are grossly wrong and imprecise. Such portrayals not only misrepresent these women’s Questions about Islam? One of the most common questions today, asked strong feelings towards hijab, but also fail to or would you like to: by Muslims and non-Muslims alike, is: “Why do acknowledge their courage and the resulting iden- Muslim women cover their heads?” The answer is tity hijab gives them. There are even bans on wear- Visit a Mosque? very simple - Muslim women observe hijab ing the hijab in some countries.When asked about Subscribe to our mailing list? because Allah has told them to do so: this, Aminah Assilmi, a Christian convert to Islam, Correspond with our email team? said: “To ask me to go out without my hijab would be Speak with others on our Message Board? “O Prophet, tell your wives and daughters and the like asking a nun to go topless. It amazes me, and I Embrace Islam? believing women to draw their outer garments around cannot help but wonder, if they would have ordered Call toll free 1.877.WHY.ISLAM them (when they go out or are among men).That is Mary, the mother of Jesus (pbuh) to uncover her hair.” or visit our website at www.whyislam.org better in order that they may be known (to be 1 . 8 7 7 . W H Y. I S L A M Muslims) and not annoyed...” (Qur'an 33:59). Another misconception is the belief that Muslim P.O. Box 1054, Piscataway NJ 08855-1054 w w w. w h y i s l a m . o r g women are forced to wear hijab. For the vast LOCAL CONTACT: Muslims believe that their sole purpose in life is majority of Muslim women, nothing could be the worship of God alone, according to His farther from the truth. Indeed, deciding finally to AN ICNA PROJECT instructions, as revealed in the Holy Qur’an, and wear hijab is often difficult.
  • 2. Hijab: a form of an internal moral system lower their gaze and guard their modesty; and that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except myself based on what others thought of me. I see that too often in girls, their happiness depends on how others what must ordinarily appear thereof; that they should view them, especially men. Ever since, my opinion of Days of meditation, fear of negative consequences a land where misinformation about Islam and Muslims draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their myself has changed so much;I have gained (a lot of) self- and reactions from family and/or the wider abounds, Muslim sisters have the opportunity to beauty except to their husbands...” (Qur'an 24:30-31) respect. I have realized whether others may think of me American society, and ultimately, the need for plenty portray Islam in its true light as beautiful is not what matters. How beautiful I think of courage weigh heavily in reaching the decision. According to Jabir ibn Abdullah, when he asked the of myself and knowing that Allah finds me beautiful Wearing hijab is a very personal and independent Saba M. Baig, a graduate of Rutgers University, NJ, Prophet (pbuh), about a man’s gaze falling inadver- makes me feel beautiful,” Baig recounts. decision, coming from appreciating the wisdom was 17 when she seriously started wearing hijab. She tently on a strange woman, the Prophet replied, underlying Allah’s command and a sincere wish to feels that she is still in the process of learning internal “Turn your eyes away” (Muslim). In another tradi- The concept of modesty and hijab in Islam is holistic, please Him. hijab. “My biggest realization was that hijab was not tion, the Prophet (pbuh) chided for looking again at a and encompasses both men and women.The ultimate just about wearing a scarf on my head, but more of a woman – he said, the second glance is from Satan. goal is to maintain societal stability and to please God. “For me,the lead up to the decision to wear hijab was more (veil) on my heart,” said Baig. “Hijab is more than an difficult than actually wearing it. I found that, al external covering.That’s the easy part of it all. It has a So, contrary to popular belief, Muslim and non- Since Muslim women are more conspicuous because hamdulillah (praise be to God), although I did receive lot (more) to do with modesty and just the way you Muslim, hijab is not worn for men; to keep their illicit of their appearance, it is easier for people to associate negative comments from people, I appreciated the feeling present yourself.” desires in check – that is their own responsibility, as them with the warped images they see in the print of modesty wearing the hijab gave me, and ironically, the negative attention made me feel more proud to be identified Imaan, a convert to Islam, adds, “Unfortunately, it also as a Muslim,” remarked Katherine Bullock, a Canadian has its down side:you get discriminated against,treated as Wearing hijab is a very personal and independentdecision, coming from appreciating convert to Islam. though you are oppressed… I wear it for (Allah), and because I want to. Period.” the wisdom underlying Allah’s command and a sincere wish to please Him. “To me hijab is a gift from Allah. It gives me the oppor- tunity to become closer to Allah. Also quite importantly, Katherine Bullock observed that “after I started (it provides me) the chance to stand and be recognized as wearing hijab, I noticed that people would often behave the above verse and Prophetic sayings show. Rather, and broadcast media. Hence, stereotypes are perpet- a Muslim,” Fariha Khan of Rockville, Maryland, said. more circumspectly with me, like apologizing if they Muslim women wear it for God and their own selves. uated and Muslim women often seem “mysterious” to swore. I appreciated that. I feel that wearing hijab has Islam is a religion of moderation and of balance those not acquainted with the religious meanings of While the hijab identifies women as followers of given me an insight into a decent and upright lifestyle.” between extremes. Therefore, it does not expect hijab. This aura of “mystery” cannot be removed until Islam, with it comes tremendous responsibility. Hijab women alone to uphold society’s morality and their lifestyles, beliefs and thought-systems are gen- is not merely a covering dress, but more importantly, Hijab is an Act of Modesty. Modest clothing and uprightness. Rather, Islam asks men and women uinely explored. And, this cannot be achieved until it is behavior, manners, speech and appearance in public. hijab are precautions to avoid social violations. The mutually to strive to create a healthy social environment one is not afraid respectfully to approach Muslim The headscarf is an outer manifestation of an inner following verses of the Qur’an highlight that this is where children may grow with positive, beautiful, women – or men for that matter. So, the next time commitment to worshipping Allah – it symbolizes a not limited to women only. constructive and practical values and concepts. you see a Muslim, stop and talk to them – you’ll feel, commitment to piety. Self or inner morality is what “Say to the believing men that they should lower their God-Willing, as if you’re entering a different world, gives meaning to the external scarf. This can be gaze and guard their modesty; that will make for greater In fact, for many women hijab is a constant reminder the world of Islam: full of humility, piety, and of perceived from the overall demeanor of any Muslim purity for them;and Allah is well acquainted with all that that they should not have to design their lives and course, modesty! woman – how she acts, dresses, speaks, and so on. In they do.And say to the believing women that they should bodies for men. “Before I started covering, I thought of 1. (p) here stands for “peace be upon him”