The Hijab: A Choice or a Cage?


Guest writer Hafsa Chinoy shares with us a few words about how we should approach the topic of hijab.

“I was always told to do this or that, but I was never told why and ironically I never even asked.” This seems to be the major problem in our culturally dominated, Islamically deprived societies, where many a time we are victims of blind following without even asking ourselves, “Why am I doing what I’m doing?”

Coming to the topic of hijab, I’ve always wondered why some elders would tell us, “Cover your head” and then walk away, but wouldn’t stop for a minute to explain why we should cover our heads. I can’t blame them completely because I never asked them myself, but in any case, sometimes lessons must be learnt the hard way to be remembered for a lifetime.  Being a teenager myself, I’ve realized that the reason why the majority of teenagers get turned off is when people bombard them with rules and “don’t do’s” without substantiating those rules with logic and understanding. A beautiful saying of the Prophet (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) tells us,

“Facilitate things for people (concerning religious matters), and do not make it hard for them and give them good tidings and do not make them run away (from Islam).” [Saheeh al Bukhari]

SubhanAllah, the best of creation put it so simply and logically for us to follow and implement, yet we make it so hard upon others.

The next time you want to tell your friend about the hijab, tell her why we do it. Certainly it is a command from Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), but we all know that there is nothing in our religion that is purposeless. Every act, every command, every word has a benefit, so what is the benefit of the hijab? Well there are many to count, but one of the most essential characteristics that the hijab brings out in a girl is: Modesty. The hijab is a badge of sincere modesty which will only glow and shine when the person does it not to please her parents, or to have that ‘innocent girl’ image in society, but solely to please her Lord.

There are many girls who are forced into it, some who do it just as a fad, and others who do it with tight pants and half sleeve shirts on, all of whom are unfortunately missing out the best part of the hijab; that is, a Muslimah’s identity, her pride and her beauty. It is not just for covering your head with a scarf from the outside, and not knowing head or tail of why you’re doing it. Embracing the hijab means that you are modest from inside out, you have a sense of humility and grace when you talk, act, and dress both in public and in private; and most importantly when you intend on adopting the hijab, you must do it with the pure intention of seeking Allah’s happiness and reward.

1. The Hijaab does not cover up a girl’s weaknesses, but in fact displays her strength, commitment, and her confidence which is built out of love for Allah, and not the love for this world.

2. The Hijaab is a sign which tells a guy loud and clear: “I’m not on display, and I am not a toy which you can use and then throw away.”

3. The Hijaab is a shield which protects a girl’s morality and keeps her away from evil and lowly souls.

4. The Hijaab is not just a piece of cloth that covers a girl’s body, but it is an innate part of you and I, and all the hijaabis who feel a sense of tranquility when they put it on every day.

5. It is a gift of love from our Creator, a gift which holds a great reward, a gift which doesn’t define the size of our body, but reflects the magnitude of affection of our Lord.

6. It is a gift that actually serves its purpose of distinguishing a human being from an animal; it is the most valuable piece of cloth. Those who deny it, and display themselves to the world, are actually covering and restricting their hearts from enjoying the love of their Lord; that is being in a cage, and is not freedom at all…

On a personal note, I advise my friends who do the hijab and those who don’t: Do it only when it means something in your heart; the journey of hijab is different for each and every Muslim girl. Discover it and experience the beauty of it and keep in mind that if you do it out of Love for Allah, it will be the BEST CHOICE you have ever made.


Hafsa Chinoy is a student, of Indian origin, currently pursuing an Arabic diploma in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. She likes  to spend most her time writing or designing pictures for Da’wah purposes. Recently she has started a project in Riyadh for young Muslim girls called the Young Muslimah Project (