Hijab has been very contended, and has become one of the most debated issues in the west and the rest of the world. This has been for a number of reasons such as hijabs being a symbol of repression in Muslim societies which tend to be very patriarchal, preventing women from having any role in society and being used as a political symbol. These are just a few amongst many reasons which have gained the hijab a very negative view in the media. As a repercussion wearing hijabs has been banned in some countries such as Turkey, France and Tunisia.
Despite the negative perception and stereotype surrounding the hijab in the west and other parts of the world there has been a massive surge in Muslim women wearing hijabs. There has been a considerable rise in non-Muslim women converting to Islam and wearing hijabs who have studied Islam with objectivity despite the negative hype surrounding the hijab. Many Muslim women and converts to Islam have come to love hijabs and feel very proud to adhere to the concept of hijab. The women were questioned about the attitude that men had towards them after they started wearing hijabs and the response was that it had a positive impact and men treated them more with respect and dignity.
What is hijab? To attempt to answer this question I will keep it very brief and be as concise as possible. Hijab as a piece of cloth is derived from the Arabic word for “cover/conceal”. The common use of hijab is for “head cover” which conceals all but the face of the woman according the verses of the holy Qur’an 24:31. Rather than being the symbol of oppression it liberates the women from the sexual objectification to the status of respect and honour in society. In the advent of Islam women were instructed to observe hijab but yet granted rights to ownership, entrepreneurship and allowed to take up positions in political institutions.
The condition that stipulated with the hijab is that it should be worn in modest colors that are not considered as tabarruj i.e. dazzle and display of beauty. This can differ from place to place, region to region and culture to culture for example in Saudi Arabia bright colored hijabs are considered display of beauty but in some countries in Africa and parts of Asia such hijabs are considered part of cultural norm to wear bright colors. This has opened up avenues for Muslim women to experiment with hijabs in different colors and designs within this rules and regulation set forth by Islam.
This has led to creative styles being designed by specialist hijab designers which are not just looking at plain bright colour hijabs but introducing various hijab designs for different occasions with casual, smart and special wear. Some outlets have introduced its own seasonal hijab range for spring, summer and winter collection to co-ordinate the right styles, colours and designs to suit the mood.
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The hijab has shown to be more than just a dull and repressive piece of cloth hindering women from taking part in society.
In fact, hijabs liberate women from sexual exploitation to self respect and dignified position. With that, maintain its form according the set rules of Islam as well as able to adapt itself gently to the suitable norms of different regions.