Should Muslim women be required to wear the traditional hijab is a religious debate I was never aware existed, I just always believed it was mandatory to wear the veil and that was that. There are many that say the hijab is a symbol of their religion but they are being challenged by the view that it is a personal choice. The Islam religion has five fundamental requirements: Ramadan fasting, believing that the only God is Allah and that Prophet Mohammed is Allah's messenger, praying five times daily, giving to charity, and making a pilgrimage to Mecca if possible. Is the covering of a women's head a personal choice or mandatory? That is one of the most frequently asked questions concerning Muslim women.
I never found out the answer to that question while doing my research. There are so many different opinions when the issue of the hijab comes up. There are people who feel very strongly that a Muslim woman should cover her head in public, and there are many that disagree.
The word "hijab" comes from the Arabic word "hijaba". Hijaba means to hide from view or conceal. Even though the wearing of the hijab is not one of the five fundamental requirements for the Islamic religion, many Muslim women say they wear the hijab because Allah has told them to do so.
"O Prophet, tell your wives and daughters and the believing women to draw
their outer garments around them (when they go out or are among men). That
is better in order that they may be known (to be Muslims) and not be annoyed…"
Another reason for the hijab is the issue of modesty. The women want to be known for their skills and intelligence as opposed to being evaluated by their looks and sexuality. An Iranian schoolgirl once stated that, "We want to stop men from treating us like sex objects, as they always have done. We want them to ignore our appearance and to be attentive to our personalities and mind. We want them to take us seriously and treat us as equals and not just chase us around for our bodies and physical looks." Muslim women that choose to wear the hijab claim that when covered they are filled will self-esteem and dignity.
The Koran is very sacred to the Islamic religion. Those who say the hijab is required point it out in a passage from the book.
"Say to the believing man that they should lower their gaze and guard their
modesty; that will make for greater purity for them; and Allah is well acquainted
with all that they do. And say to the believing women that they should lower their
gaze and guard their modesty; and that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what must ordinarily appear thereof; that they should draw their
veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands…"
(Qur'an 24; 30-31)
These verses from the Koran contain to main ideas. First "a woman should not show her beauty except what appears by uncontrolled factors such as the wind blowing her clothes, and...