Origins of Hijab in Islam

Origins of Hijab in Islam

Hijab is an outward expression of inner faith in Islam. It’s an act of worship and obedience to God. The question that always pops is “why should women cover up?” And this would bring us to the origin of the reason behind everything we do in Islam. We do it out of faith, and we do it for ourselves. Because everything God asks us to do is for our own benefit. He SWT is not in need for our actions. 

Origins of Hijab in Islam

How did it all start then? When did Muslim women know that they should cover up?

All acts of worship in Islam were descended from God to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in Quran (Allah’s Holy Book). It’s the book each and every Muslim lives by, it’s our guidance to everything we should and should not do; Where God tells us how to treat one another, how to worship him, how to repent and seek forgiveness, he tells us stories about his Prophets and how they navigated through ease and hardship. To put it in very simple words, Quran is the catalog to this world, it’s the book we get back to seeking help, assurance and guidance. It’s a book that has answers to all questions, and the deeper and deeper you dig into it, the more you’ll find enlightenment. 

In Surah An-Nur in Quran, Allah descended this Ayah:

God SWT says:

“وليضربن بخمرهن علي جيوبهن”

“Let them draw their veils over their chests”

Meaning that women should draw their veil to cover their hair, bodies, necks and bosoms. And linguistically the word “khimar” means something that takes over your head, that is a very distinct word to use, Allah did not say “hijab” or any other synonym, because the Quran is always very direct and precise in word choice and language. Saying “khimar” encompasses all the parts women should be covering as mentioned in the Ayah.

Then God SWT says:

“الا ما ظهر منها”

“except what normally appears”

Meaning she should cover what God has told her to cover as mentioned earlier, except “that which normally appears”. What does that mean? Well, women’s beauty is classified into two categories; that which is related to her outer beauty like her hair, her body, etc.. and that which is related to her inner beauty like her character, her kindness, her smile, her tone of voice, etc.. and these things are as attractive as her looks, but she cannot do something about them, because she will not go around and become socially awkward or shut herself from the world to hide this kind of beauty. So, when God says “that which normally appears” he is referring to the inner and outer beauty that would normally appear from a woman, that she’s not supposed to cover, this -regarding outer beauty- means things like her hair and her hands, and -regarding inner beauty- means things like her character and kindness, etc.

Recommended: Our favorite books about hijab in Islam

So why do women in Islam wear hijab? They wear it for their own good, because God is all knowing of his creation and He knows what’s best for them and their souls. And He said that’s better for us. As He knows Women’s nature and how much they desire to look beautiful in every single way, as He said in this Ayah

Meaning “a creature who is brough up in adornments” because women love all kinds of adornments since childhood until adulthood, things like jewelry, feminine clothes, makeup and all kinds of beautifiers. And while these are healthy desires, if they get out of hand, they can hurt you, so God has put these guidelines to know when it’s permissible for us to do this and when it’s not. That’s the core reason. We do not wear it as a reaction to anything or anyone. Nor do we wear it as a protection from men, that’s not the argument, it’s not the core. We are the ones benefitting from wearing it, not anybody else. We do it for our hearts, we do it for our faith, we do it for our modesty.

A woman wearing hijab is a woman performing an act of worship every single day, feeling like a hero with that scarf dangling from her neck. May God lead us all to his right path. 

Check out our extensive hijab care guide to know how to keep your hijab in place and other essential tips.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *