And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and
to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw
their veils over their bosoms, and not to reveal their adornment
And turn unto God together, O believers, in order that ye may succeed. (Quran,
That will be better, so that (Muslim woman) may be recognized and not annoyed. God is ever Forgiving, Merciful. (Qur'an, Al-Ahzab-33: 59)
Misconceptions about Hijab (Scarf covering the head):
Generalizations about Islam and Muslims are replete in today's media. Veiled Muslim women are typically unfairly stigmatized. They are regarded on the one hand as suppressed and oppressed, and on the other, as fanatics and fundamentalists. Both depictions are grossly wrong and imprecise. Such portrayals not only misrepresent these women's strong feelings towards hijab, but also fail to acknowledge their courage and the resulting identity hijab lends to them. Amongst such misconceptions is also the belief that any Muslim woman who wears hijab is forced to do so. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Opinion Of Muslim Women:
°I believe hijab is pleasing to Allah, or I wouldn't wear it. I believe there is something deep down beautiful and dignified about it. It has brought some beautiful and joyous dimension to my life that always amaze me,”± said Mohja Kahf, assistant professor of English and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, in an internet posting.
°To me hijab is a gift from Allah. It gives me the opportunity to become closer to Allah. Also quite importantly, (it provides me) the chance to stand and be recognized as a Muslim Fariha Khan, 18, of Rockville, Maryland, said.
However, with this recognition comes tremendous responsibility as highly visible representatives of Islam and Muslims. Anywhere covered sisters go, Muslims and non-Muslims alike recognize them as followers of Islam. In a land where misinformation about Islam and Muslims abounds, Muslim sisters have the opportunity to portray Islam in its true light.
But the greatest responsibility related to hijab is the understanding that there is more to hijab than just the scarf; the internalized modesty really matters. This internal moral system gives meaning to the external scarf. This can be perceived from the overall demeanor of any Muslim woman ? how she acts, dresses, speaks, and so on. Only when the internalized modesty manifests itself through the external hijab can sisters represent Muslims according to the beautiful example set by the Prophet, upon whom be peace, and followed by his companions.
°Hijab by itself is just a piece of cloth, at some level. I do not think we should take (it) as an exclusive marker of a woman's moral worth or level of faith. It is the surrounding context ? the etiquette, the morals ? which make it anything Kahf said.
Saba M. Baig, 21, is a recent graduate of Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey. She was 17 when she seriously started wearing hijab, and feels she is still in the process of learning internal hijab. ”°My biggest realization was that hijab was not just about wearing a scarf on my head, but more of a (veil) on my heart said Baig. °Hijab is more than an external covering. That's the easy part of it all. It has a lot (more) to do with modesty and just the way you present yourself.
°In this life, I couldn't think of anything better than being a Muslim. Wearing hijab signifies it and reminds me of it. Hijab is important to me and it means everything to me when I wear it, Khan said.
°Unfortunately, it also has its down side: you get discriminated against, treated as though you are oppressed I wear it for (Allah), and because I want to.said Imaan, a convert to Islam, currently studying in Australia.
Design Lives for Men?
For many women hijab is a constant reminder that unlike other women they should not have to design their lives and bodies for men. °Before I started covering, I thought of myself based on what others thought of me. I see that too often in girls, their happiness depends on how others view them, especially men. Ever since, my opinion of myself has changed so much; I have gained (a lot of) self-respect. I have realized whether others may think of me as beautiful is not what matters. How beautiful I think of myself and knowing that Allah finds me beautiful makes me feel beautiful said Baig softly, her eyes glowing.
So, the next time you see a Muslim, stop and talk to him or her ? you'll feel, God-Willing, as if you're entering a different world, the world of Islam: full of humility, piety, and of course, modesty!
Khutba of Jumma in Seoul Central Masjid
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