Question: I am a 15 years old girl, who wears a ‘Chadar’ (head cover) to school, for which my friends ridicule me. I have asked my mother to permit me to not to wear it but she refuses to do so. What should I do?

Answer: My dear sister, the challenge you are facing is indeed a difficult one. But for your heart’s contentment, let me inform you that many young girls today, who adhere to the rules of Hijab, face similar difficulties. Before I suggest a solution, let’s first try to understand, why a Muslim woman should observe Hijab:

The word ‘Hijab’ comes from the Arabic root ‘Hajaba,’ which means to hide from view, conceals or covers. Hence, it is meant to cover something precious, which in this case is a woman’s charm. The Hijab is a test for a Muslim woman whether she will follow her own desires or submit to the will of her Creator. This injunction is clearly understood in the Quran and Hadeeth as one of the religious obligations. It was a norm in the previous nations as well, for example, the garb of Maryam (as), Prophet Isa’s (as) mother. Chaste Christian and Jewish women even today wear a traditional head covering. Therefore, when a woman opts for being Hijab-free, she is in a state of disobedience to her Lord, which is a major sin in Islam.

Moreover, when a woman carries herself in a garb, which pleases her Lord, she informs the world that she is more than her body. She has a mind and a soul, in which Iman (faith) is thriving.  Hijab is not meant to demote her position in the world. In fact it liberates her, makes her a respectable citizen and repels the evil that can mar her dignity and chastity.

Regarding Hijab, Allah states: “That is more suitable that they (Muslim women) will be known (for their integrity and sanctity) and not abused” (Surah Al-Ahzab 33 : 59).

Experience shows that when women are not Islamically covered, they contribute to their own chances of abuse. Practicing of Hijab, concealing of the face which is also considered essential  and lowering of gaze are tools to control Zina (sexual assault) on oneself.

You are going through a vulnerable time. It is understandable that you are hurt by ridicule from your peers. You must educate your friends about facts behind rulings of Hijab. Also, tell them it hurts you, when they laugh at you. If their behaviour persists, you may seriously want to ask yourself, if they are your true friends or not? Allah said: “The servants of All-Merciful are those, who walk on the earth in humbleness, and when the ignorant speak to them, (they) say: ‘Peace.'” (Al-Furqan 25:63)

Also, try to make new friends, who understand and respect the Islamic dress code. Peer support can always over-ride peer pressure. A teenage programme called ‘Towards the Light’ in Karachi (14 Khayaban-e-Seher Phase 6 DHA Karachi) can be a suitable place to find such like-minded individuals. You may replace your Chadar with any other head cover that is practical yet modest and does not give a shabby appearance. Lastly, pray sincerely to Allah to help you overcome this trial.

We need not to say much, whether to stop Hijab or continue with it. Allah is sufficient to guide us in all such situations. May Allah shower you with best of Sabar (patience) and blessings, and may you always emerge triumphant, when it comes to practicing your beliefs for the pleasure of your Lord. Ameen.