Home / Spiritual / Islam / Is the Veil an Islamic Requirement

Is the Veil an Islamic Requirement

The use of the veil has seen its share of controversies as Islam continues to spread across the world. Surprisingly, the question to ask is, is the veil an Islamic requirement? Historically speaking, the veil was not a requirement of the original Muslim people. The point of modest dress was to cover women and allow them to be heard as people and not seen as objects of the more base emotions.

The usage of the veil, the gloves, the complete covering of a woman causes one to question the need for such a robed public appearance. Is the veil truly a symbol of total liberation for the woman who wears it from the stares and unwanted advances of non Mahram (men who are not directly related, such as husband, brother, children) men?

My personal experience years ago in the use of hedjab, wearing modest dress including a headscarf allowed me to experience being an educated Muslim woman in America.

In all fairness, wearing hedjab for the most part was a very interesting experience. Wearing hedjab during the 1970s and 1980s during the days of the American Hostage situation and other events, of course brought attention to me. Most people were curious more than they were rude and obnoxious. Did I ever consider wearing the veil? No. I did not believe a veil was every necessary, and more of the result of a cultural adaptation than an Islamic requirement.

Most people learn Islam from cultural perspectives. An American woman, for example, who marries a devote Saudi man, will more than likely wear a veil because his cultural Islamic teachings and customs will put the same requirements and traditions upon his wife and family. He will require his wife to observe the veil when out because it is proper in his cultural religion.

The veil has been more of a hindrance when residing in the non-Islamic countries. Whereas I have seen women wearing modest dress and scarves in many places working across the United States, I have yet to see veiled women working. Perhaps they do wear this dress, but I would think that a veil would make trying to get a position as an engineer extremely challenging in a non-Muslim corporate world.

My talks with women who wore the various variations of hedjab from the radical Muslim woman who shaved her head to avoid using a scarf to the American women who wore full veils and dress were very interesting. To judge whether the veil makes a woman more of a Muslim than the next is not the point. The point is, that when this woman is in a non-Muslim society, while she may fight for the right to wear one, to not be surprised if she is not granted that right.

Every society has its own rules, laws and regulations and while Muslim women have made strides to have the right to wear the veil, can they not also understand the concern when getting legal documents why they must expose faces. While it is understandable a woman’s desire to wear the veil, perhaps common sense also has to be utilized. There may be a clause for freedom of religion and that a person should not be excluded from employment because of religion, would people feel safe and comfortable working with a woman in full hejab, never seeing her face and never knowing is she the woman who should be there or someone else. I would not wish to take away a woman’s choice to wear a veil, but if she is a non-Islamic society, she must also try to understand she will face the challenges to assert her right to wear one.