At the outset, let us understand what is covering within its sanctity and modernity. In legality, there are different meanings of word ‘cover’ under various situations and usage. Cover as a pretext means camouflage, subterfuge and mask. Cover as a protection means to safeguard and veneer. However, the word ‘cover’ in associated concept means covering one’s assets, and woman’s asset is her overall body. Therefore, it is significantly beyond reasonable doubt and conspicuous in its entirety to protect it.
In modernity, the meaning and concept changes and continues to do so to suit political, social and commercial interests. In Islamic concept, it is safeguarding the modesty of women and upholding her dignity. Analyzing women’s dress code from ancient times to present-day, one can notice the volatility in fabric and style. It is unequivocally established that women are exploited to serve the vested interests of societies. In the bargain, the dress style and type of fabrics are used to stimulate the lust and passion of men of any class.
In olden days, men and women wore the dress fully covering their bodies. However, with progress of time, human dwellings and their conduct are altered dramatically. They acquired knowledge and wisdom and continue to do so in every aspect to their lives. Their journey, during the respective period, was continuously being modified keeping pace with the commercial and social aspects of life. Thus, the mindset has also changed accordingly, and it became more pronounced in twentieth century. By the turn of beginning of twenty-first century, the dress code took a volatility of unpropitious dimensions. Women are wearing less and less clothes as compared to men making it more voluptuous to on-looker.
The dress style and fabric become a sign of fashion in a few privileged classes of people. Thereby, it leaves a lasting impact among common masses, who blindly imitate them. They do it to tide over their inferiority complex. This is the crucial point which makes all the difference between affluent and average people. The poor or middle class tries to follow the footsteps of rich endeavoring to keep pace with their lives’ style. In the bargain, they suffer objectification, sexual harassment, and relationship aggression.
An important aspect of Hijab is not restricted to covering of women’s head by scarf only. The use of cloth to cover head alone and revealing body’s contour are significantly short of Hijab’s definition. The wearing of loose garment is obligatory for covering the entire body. There may be quite a lot of objections, criticism and ridiculing of the women wearing Hijab by media and other organization. The following paragraph substantiates concept and meaning of Hijab within the context of modesty and dignity.
Professor of psychology of Nebraska university, Dr. Sarah Gravais’ research focuses on woman’s issues. Her research on women and men of modernity specifically outlines the areas of observation with respect to them. Her research unequivocally establishes the fact that people look at men as a whole entity, whereas, women are observed part by part. Examining the dress women wears surely becomes the point of attraction to their body’s revealing contour. Therefore, the lustful mind and mentality of men irrespective of any class will look at women with vicious intentions. The rich will become the victim of exploitation within their class of people in disguise. However, the poor or fewer privileged women are exploited by every class of people.
The Islamic ethics and laws specify the dress code and their conduct of men and women in a more matured and logical way:
(1) The Quran says, “Say to the believing women that: they should cast down their glances and guard their private parts” (by being chaste).
(2) It also emphasizes and specifies the dresses as well. It says, “and not displays their beauty except what is apparent, and they should place their khumur (a loose cloth) over their bosoms.”
Both these Quranic verses establish the importance of casting down gaze towards opposite sexes and wearing loose garment.
A healthy outlook, practical aspect and logical thinking will establish the importance of Hijab within the Islamic and modernity concept. What conspires and transpires in the commercial and business circle is totally opposed to women’s dignity and chastity. Women are exploited to an extent that it falls to level of being an insignificant entity. The women’s dignity and respect are camouflage unabated to fulfill the desires of men. Undoubtedly, Hijab prevents such immorality and protects women’s dignity.