Hijab is indeed a huge responsibility, and it is the honor and respect that God has given to women to be the flag-bearers of Islam. There can a debate until the end of time of how it is not “fair” that men do not hold such a responsibility, but we are not the ones who created man, so those who want to argue the justice in it can take it up with Allah.
A recent story came out on “Muslim-American” women and their freedom. Unfortunately, there was a lot of stress on how the freedom for these women came through “lifting” or “unveiling” their Hijabs. One sister in the story was quoted to have said, “When you put the scarf on, you have to understand that you are representing a community…and that is huge. That’s a huge responsibility. And I don’t know if it’s for everyone.”
There is a lot of truth in that. Wearing Hijab is indeed a huge responsibility, and it is the honor and respect that God has given to women to be the flag-bearers of Islam. There can a debate until the end of time of how it is not “fair” that men do not hold such a responsibility, but we are not the ones who created man, so those who want to argue the justice in it can take it up with Allah.
Another part of the interview shares how one of the women, after researching, believes that the foundation of Hijab is not found in Islam, but in Arab culture. It is unfortunate to see that people’s personal opinions of a religion are publicized so greatly, yet the opinions of the experts of the religion are things that nobody wants to publicize.
Unfortunately when a national news network is airing a one-sided story like this, many people will not understand the other side of the discussion – the side that shows how Hijab gives freedom to women. Although it lightly touches on how some women enjoy wearing Hijab, the main focus of the story comes off as sending the message that Hijab is a burden put on Muslim women which sends them on an emotional rollercoaster because they feel obligated when they are not.
With Islam already being looked down upon, this, I believe, just adds to it. Whether that was the intention of the story or not, it is sad to see that Muslim women are speaking about how much of a burden Hijab was on them. Everything our religion stands for, in terms of modesty, is being put down and the concept of Hijab is once again misunderstood as some sort of oppressive tool of Islam to make women feel inferior.
In this day and age when many non-Muslims do not understand Hijab, it is sad to see that it may be due to the fact that Muslims themselves do not understand true Hijab and the freedom it brings through liberating women from the pressures of society, and especially from standards of appearance.
In cases like these, we should all make efforts to portray the true message of Islam and Hijab, with the help of Allah and the efforts of the granddaughter of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny), Lady Zainab (peace be upon her), true Hijab will be seen as the solution for society’s problems and as a symbol of freedom.