Author: Umm Mariyam
The Arabic term “Hijab” means "cover" (noun) and is based on the root word that means "to veil, to cover (verb), to screen, to shelter, and to hide from view."
For both male and female, God has made their physical features extremely attractive to each other for the purpose of procreation through physical union. For humans, the consequences of exposing physical features can be very serious, far reaching, and can be a source of great evil in the society. A look at the society in the western world today reveals some of these evil consequences such as rampant adultery, uncountable rapes, millions of illegitimate pregnancies, millions of abortions, and millions of illegitimate children without responsible fathers to care for them.
God has made women more beautiful than men and has blessed her with more physical adornments. Almost every part of the female body is attractive to a male. Keeping this in mind, Muslim women prefer the preventive measure of covering her body as suggested by her religion. It’s a very personal and independent decision coming from the appreciation of the wisdom underlying God's command.
Unfortunately, the society today somehow symbolizes exposing women's bodies shamelessly and nudity as the expression of a woman's freedom where the most lustful desires of men are fulfilled unchecked.
Many westerners see the Muslim Hijab as a symbol of female oppression. However, according to those women who embraced Islam, the Hijab is, instead, a symbol of liberation. The Islamic tradition of Hijab frees women from being perceived primarily as sexual objects. Many western women are brought up from early childhood with the idea that their worth is proportional to their attractiveness. Societies that view women as sexual objects have a horrendous rate of violence toward women. Figures suggest that in the United States, one out of every four women will be sexually assaulted at some time in her life. This is a true oppression, a type that stems directly from the perception of women as sexual objects. Islam and its tradition of Hijab can be seen like an extreme solution to the sexual objectification of women.
Women from other religions and Muslims as well cover themselves out of this same modesty and obedience to God, which Islam promotes. Not only is the similarity very striking, but it is surprising that the same dress was worn by Mary (mother of Jesus, peace be upon him). In fact, the values have actually never changed.