Praise be to Allah.
Hijab in Arabic means “barrier” or “screen” and thus it appears in various Quranic verses, referring to many things besides the woman’s head cover. For example:
Allah Almighty says in the Quran that He only talks to humans from behind a hijab. The Quran says what means:
(It is not given to any human being that Allah should speak to him unless [it be] by revelation, or from behind a veil) (Ash-Shura 42:51).
Islam expects women to maintain their status by following Allah’s rules designed for their advantage. Hijab is one such rule.
According to the Quran and Sunnah, there are basically six criteria for observing hijab:
1. It is obligatory for women, to cover the complete body except the face and the hands up to the wrist. If they wish to, they can cover even these parts of the body.
Some scholars insist that the face and the hands are part of the obligatory extent of hijab, especially if temptation (fitna) is feared in times and places where Islamic rules are not prevalent or if security is scarce.
All the remaining five criteria are the same for men and women:
2. The clothes should be loose and should not reveal the figure.
3. The clothes should not be transparent or see-through.
4. The clothes should not be so glamorous as to attract attention.
5. The clothes should not resemble those of the opposite sex.
6. The clothes should not resemble those of the unbelievers, that is, clothes that identify or are symbols of the unbelievers’ religions.
Complete hijab, besides the six criteria of clothing, also includes the moral conduct, behavior, attitude, and intention of the individual. A person only fulfilling the criteria of hijab of the clothes is observing hijab in a limited sense. Hijab of the clothes should be accompanied by hijab of the eyes, the heart, the thought, and the intention. It also includes the way a person walks, talks, and behaves. Therefore, the hypocritical use of hijab is not a good example of Muslim conduct.
Muslim women should be well aware of these facts. They should be aware that hijab protects them from evil glances and evil desires of those who are sick in the heart, as described in the Quran. Muslim women must adhere to Allah’s rules and not be persuaded or tempted by the media that opposes hijab or belittles its significance, as those who spread these ideas only desire evil for her. The Quran warns by saying what means:
(But the wish of those who follow their lusts is that you should deviate away [from the right path], -far, far away) (An-Nisaa’ 4:27).
And Allah Almighty knows best.