How the ayah on hijab changed my perspective on being a woman.
By Shama F.
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
As a young, enthusiastic girl, exploring and researching things, I was enjoying my life. My parents were very wise and open-minded and they never imposed any undesirable restrictions.
They taught me more through their example rather than through admonitions or lectures. Our home was like a library. My father was a researcher and writer hence he was always surrounded with books. My mother too was fond of reading. This habit of reading was transferred to us too. My father used to hand over books to me to read.
One beautiful day, he gave me a copy of the Noble Qur’an with English Translation that was gifted to him during his visit to Saudi Arabia.
Before that we would read plain Qur’an with Arabic text or an Urdu translation. We read the translation but never pondered over it. When I got this copy of the Qur’an I felt excited as it was beautifully translated and had an amazing index of topics at the end. Inquisitive by nature, I started searching through the topics that I wished to know more about and started reading the meanings from the Quran.
One day I was reading Surah An Noor (Chapter 24, The Light), and when I reached Sign 31, I could not help but read it over and over again and it did not take long to reach the conclusion that covering up for women is no doubt a clear command of Allah!
Let us see the clear wordings of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) addressed directly to the believing women:
وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا ۖ وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَىٰ جُيُوبِهِنَّ ۖ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَائِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَائِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي أَخَوَاتِهِنَّ أَوْ نِسَائِهِنَّ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُنَّ أَوِ التَّابِعِينَ غَيْرِ أُولِي الْإِرْبَةِ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ أَوِ الطِّفْلِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يَظْهَرُوا عَلَىٰ عَوْرَاتِ النِّسَاءِ ۖ وَلَا يَضْرِبْنَ بِأَرْجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعْلَمَ مَا يُخْفِينَ مِن زِينَتِهِنَّ ۚ وَتُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ
And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed.
This Sign was so clear that it had a deep effect on my heart and immediately I decided to don the hijab.
I always studied in a co-ed environment and had both girls and boys as my class fellows and friends. Though I always maintained a safe distance from the male friends, I did not know much about the Islamic ruling regarding such friendships and acquaintances. I knew little about hijab or a dress code and never tried to find out about it either.
But later, during my post-graduation days, I met a girl who had lived in Kuwait since childhood. She used to wear a simple and graceful gown with a headscarf. She always impressed me with her decent way of dressing. I now knew who I needed to contact to get a gown stitched for me too! I went to a garment shop with my father and bought a dark green fabric for my gown. The scarves would be arranged by my friend. As soon as my gown was stitched I was excited but nervous to adopt this new lifestyle.
The next morning I was ready to go out wearing my new confidence and light. I was adjusting my headscarf as I had never worn it before. My father saw me and was very happy that his daughter was obeying the command of Allah by her own choice. He put his hand on my head and stroked with affection and hugged me.
That was the first time I stepped out of my house with the light from God and the confidence, grace, decency and modesty of a true Muslim woman.