Do I Have to Wear Hijab to Be a Good Muslim?

15 September, 2016
Q Do I have to get veiled to be a good Muslim?

Answer

Assalamu Alaykum Dear Sister,

Thanks for this important question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

Let’s think about this together.  Imagine having an exam. In the exam, there is a required question that must be answered as per the teacher’s instructions.

You think of skipping this required question and you ask: do I have to answer this question to be a good student?

Well, the teacher put it there for a reason. He knows that there is benefit for you in answering it. He knows that this question measures something in particular about you as a student.

When you skip this question, you actually risk losing marks for missing a required question.

Also to the teacher, who is a better student: the one who decided to skip questions, or the ones who put effort to answer everything to the best of their ability out of respect to the teacher and respect to the exam and to show that they take this whole experience very seriously?

Imagine this is your Final Exam and your total grade and future is dependent on it. Would you take the risk of missing questions?

Now measure that on the hijab situation.

Allah told us that He created us to test us and test who are the best in conduct.

“[He] who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed – and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving” (Quran 67:2)

So we are being tested. We know that the veil is a required aspect in Islam. This is crystal clear in the Quran and in the hadith and it has been an agreed upon matter among the major scholars of the past and present.

See Quran 24: 31 for example:

“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 head-covers 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.” (Quran 24: 31)

Mind you, this verse comes in Suarh An-Nur (Chapter 24) and in the very first verse of this Chapter, Allah Almighty says:

“[This is] a surah which We have sent down and made [that within it] obligatory and revealed therein verses of clear evidence that you might remember.” (Quran 24: 1)

So it is blatantly clear that what’s within this Surah is obligatory and required; and the head covering and modesty mentioned in the Surah for both men and women are required.

(Please read more on the above point in our previous answer here)

Back to your question, the answer is: no one can really force you to do this act. Just like the teacher can’t force the students to answer all questions and just like students can’t force one another to answer exam questions.

But they should definitely encourage one another to perform in the best manner and overcome their fears, doubts, weaknesses or procrastination….etc.

As a woman, I found that wearing the veil brought immense spiritual benefit to my heart and my life that I cannot even put in few words here in this answer.

Mind you the veil was mentioned in a chapter called The Light, and Allah knows and Muslim women who wore the veil with love and sincerity know and testify to that this act brought an incomparable amount of light and peace and happiness and satisfaction into their hearts and lives. There is so much pride that come with it and so much honor and dignity and elevation.

When I put on my veil, I felt as though a much thicker veil was removed off my heart and that there was so much relief, happiness, openness and liberation that entered into my life and my entire being as a result. This is my absolute honest account and Allah Sees and Knows that this is the most sincere and truthful answer coming from the heart and mind.

One thing we can notice also is that people seek peace, happiness and liberation through different means, but this doesn’t usually work and they can’t find permanent or durable peace and happiness.

However, what you will notice and experience is that when we follow commands of Allah, our souls feel immense much peace simply because our souls have become in line and in harmony with the purpose of their creation, which is to worship and obey Allah; we’re not fighting against this purpose of creation which is something that does bring much unrest in the heart and mind.

Another observation is that the veil is mercy from The Creator to women, and a mercy from women to their society. Modesty and bashfulness are matters that bring so much goodness and purity wherever they are found.

So, this act is definitely encouraged for all the goodness that come with it for the woman’s heart and for the society at large.

No one can say that a non-hijabi is a bad person because she is not veiled.

Also, No one can say that a non-hijabi is a good person because she is not
veiled.

Only Allah sees the heart and He knows how He will judge the person according to both their hearts and their deeds.

What we know for a fact based on what Allah informed us in the Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet is that not doing this act is not commendable and it is not a good deed to leave a command of Allah. In its outward form, it is a rejection or a disobedience to a specific obligatory command. But the aftermath of this is something that only Allah knows.

We all count on the Mercy and Kindness of Allah at the end. But just because your mother is kind and merciful to you doesn’t mean you should feel comfortable disobeying or rejecting her commands— especially that what she asks for ultimately and essentially has benefit for YOU and she wants you to take advantage of that because it will help you grow on many levels.

And Allah knows best.

May Allah help and support you in fulfilling His commands beautifully and enable you to truly witness the beauty and purity and light and goodness that come with it here and in the Hereafter. Ameen.

I hope this helps answer your question.

Salam and please keep in touch.

About Dina Mohamed Basiony
Dina Mohamed Basiony is a writer based in Cairo, Egypt. She specializes in Islam and spirituality. Dina holds an MA and BA in Journalism and Mass Communication from the American University in Cairo.