Do you like hijab? When I see a Muslim friend wearing hijab, I don’t see someone who is oppressed or misguided. I don’t see someone who has been stripped of free choice, and pressured to cover up against her free will. When I see someone wearing hijab, I see someone who dresses with modesty and who possesses a sense of honour---someone who loves her Creator and seeks to bring praise to Allah in her choice of modest clothing.
Coverings of Honour
It is natural to want to take good care of things we value. If we value our health, we cover our bodies with clothing suited to the weather. If we depend upon our cell phones or other electronic devices, we use protective cases for them. Similarly, Muslim sisters recognize that they are precious to Allah, and thus they seek to preserve their purity before Him with the humble head covering. Hijab is therefore special!
Coverings have always been important to Allah, and people who seek to honour Him pay attention to detail. Did you know that the Kaaba in Mecca also has a covering? Yes, the cloth that covers the Kaaba is 658 square meters of pure silk; it is delicately wrapped around the sacred Kaaba. This special covering weighs 670 kilograms and is beautifully embroidered with fifteen kilograms of gold thread.
Our first parents in Eden, the Garden of God, also were covered with a special covering. When they were formed by Allah, He graciously covered them with a raiment of innocence, which some believe was a most beautiful covering (raiment) of light. This lovely outer covering of innocence reflected their inner beauty, both of which they had from Allah.
Sadly, though, Eve listened to the serpent in the Garden, through whom Iblis was speaking. She was led to doubt the words of Allah, and soon she fell into Iblis’ web of lies. Shortly afterward, Adam joined her in sin. Their raiment of innocence disappeared---taken away by Allah.
The Qur’an describes what ensued as a result of Adam disobeying His sovereign Lord. Satan (Iblis) seduced them, “stripping them of their raiment” Sura 7.27 Al-Araf, and exposing them to shame and remorse. Their precious covering from Allah was gone, and only their guilt and shame could be seen.
Their nakedness must have terrified them. Not only were they naked, but their nakedness revealed their sinful guilt. Desperately they sought to cover themselves and their guilt with something. They fashioned together some leaves of the garden to cloak their bodies and their shame.
“So by deceit he [Satan] brought about their fall: when they tasted of the tree, their shame became manifest to them, and they began to sew together the leaves of the garden over their bodies…" Sura 7.22 Al-Araf
In like manner, many souls today adorn their bodies with beautiful clothing, but their inward beauty (righteousness) is missing! How matters have become confused! Certainly what is in the heart is more important than how the body is clothed! What about a righteous and pure character? Is that not important to Allah? Clothes and head coverings may be outward expressions of our devotion to the One True God---but what is even much more important is what is in our hearts?
We read in the Qur’an that “Allah only wishes to remove all abomination from you … and to make you pure and spotless.” Sura 33.33 Al-Ahzab. Do you long to be free from a lying tongue or immoral thoughts? Are you burdened with guilt because of your harsh words, or your gossiping, or your deeds which are shameful in the sight of Allah? Freedom from sin and its guilt may seem impossible to you, but remember, Allah is all-powerful. Allow Him to perform His cleansing upon you!
Coverings of Love
A loving mother who sees that her young daughter has fallen in muddy water will pick up the child and bring her into the home. Then she proceeds to clean her and clothe her again with clean raiment. This action from the mother gives comfort, reassurance and acceptance to the daughter from her mother’s heart of love. The mother’s tender attentions are a gracious gift to her child. The clean clothes which the child receives, she did not earn. They, too, are a gift, joyfully received by the child.
The ancient prophet Isaiah had long ago spoken these words about Allah: “For He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness.” Isaiah 61:10
This righteous covering is truly a gift of Allah. Because of our sins--our wrong actions and wrong thoughts--not one of us has any righteousness of his or her own. Nor is righteousness something that one can purchase or earn. That is because righteousness is not a tangible, physical thing. Righteousness is a condition of the heart (one’s mind), from which comes the right motives for all of our actions and words. Righteousness is right-doing; it comes from a pure heart---a heart cleansed of selfishness and evil-doing
Every one of us needs righteousness, if we would be “pure and spotless” before Allah in the Judgment, but the only way we can have righteousness is for us to be given it! Who alone has righteousness to give? Who alone desires to “remove all abomination from” us? Allah, the All-Merciful!
More Than That!
Not only that, but when Allah gives us that “raiment of righteousness,” He does even more for us. He changes us on the inside! The raiment of righteousness from Allah may be invisible to human eyes, but the results of receiving that raiment will be observable. When we are covered with that precious robe from heaven, our hearts (our lives, our thinking, our choices) will be changed, as well. Each one of us will become a “new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Injeel 2 Corinthians 5:17
Isa Given Power from Allah
The Lord Isa (Jesus) is the Prince of Purity. He has been chosen by Allah to bring a change into our lives. He is the one making us into “new creatures.” We are told in the Qur’an that Jesus (His peace be upon us) fashioned a bird from clay, and then said, “[I] breathe into it, and it becomes a living bird by Allah’s leave. And I heal those born blind, and the lepers, and I quicken the dead.” Sura 3.49 Aal-E-Imran
Isa (Jesus) was given power from Allah to breathe life into us, just as He can breathe life into a clay bird and it lives. Your life may be full of uncleanness and shame from past deeds and thoughts, but Jesus’ righteous breath will purify you and make you clean. He will speak to you as He did to the leper, “…Be thou clean…,” Injeel Matthew 8:3.
From Defilement to Purity
Tradition has it that the Aswad black stone that is situated in the Kaaba in Mecca was once as white as pure milk, but it became black through the sinfulness of mankind. The Lord Isa (Jesus) has been appointed by Allah to purify our hearts, changing them from the blackness of sin, to the milk-whiteness of righteous purity. By Allah’s design, the righteousness we receive is Isa’s righteousness. Isa’s robe of righteousness--His pure life and heart--replaces ours. In other words, Allah credits Isa’s sinless life to us, and we are given strength to begin to live as He lived---without sin. We are told that Jesus came “to redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:14.
Our desire to be free from guilt and sin is fulfilled in this gift of His righteousness. The black Aswad stone of our sinful hearts can be changed through the power of Allah. We need to give Isa our consent to perform His work of purification. We need to ask Him! Isa has assured us of His willingness to help us: “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” Injeel John 6:37
Praise be to God that you have chosen to wear hijab! It is physical evidence of your desire for purity. But we all seek the greater and more perfect covering of Allah’s righteous garment. We need His purity in our inner selves---in our hearts and minds.
May our lives be purified as we call out to Allah, asking Him to transform our hardened hearts of clay into righteous hearts that are dead to sin and alive to live new lives of righteousness (right-doing). We will be passionate for purity and desirous of obeying Him in all things.
May Allah cover you with His special raiment, “…The Raiment of Righteousness that is the best.” Sura 7.26 Al-Araf