Hijab is NOT a compulsion of Islam

The Hijab Myth


I think that most of the Muslims and non Muslims think hijab is a religious obligation of Islam to Muslim women.

The Hijab is the most common Muslim veil used by Muslim women, however there are more types of veils as you can see in the image below:


We informally call to all the veils, except the Niqab and the Burqa, Hijab.

The Reasons

Islam says that both men and women should dress with modesty. These are words from God in the Holy Quran:

[24.30] قُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَغُضُّوا مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ وَيَحْفَظُوا فُرُوجَهُمْ ذَلِكَ أَزْكَى لَهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا يَصْنَعُونَ

[24.30] Say to the believing men 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.

[24.31] وَقُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَى جُيُوبِهِنَّ وَلا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَائِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَائِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي أَخَوَاتِهِنَّ أَوْ نِسَائِهِنَّ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُنَّ أَوِ التَّابِعِينَ غَيْرِ أُولِي الإرْبَةِ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ أَوِ الطِّفْلِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يَظْهَرُوا عَلَى عَوْرَاتِ النِّسَاءِ وَلا يَضْرِبْنَ بِأَرْجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعْلَمَ مَا يُخْفِينَ مِنْ زِينَتِهِنَّ وَتُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ

[24.31] And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; 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, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments…

As you see about clothing, Islam doesn’t really say how to dress. Only that you should guard your modesty, cover your breasts and yours sexual attributes.

So everyone specify that Muslims should not display between the belly until the knees (special if you’re a women) and your breasts.

Why cover the hair? Is it a sexual attribute? Since when you feel attracted by someone’s hair? If yes I recommend that you should go to the medic.

However the main Quranic argument is on the Surah Al Ahzaab:

[33.59] يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُلْ لأزْوَاجِكَ وَبَنَاتِكَ وَنِسَاءِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِنْ جَلابِيبِهِنَّ ذَلِكَ أَدْنَى أَنْ يُعْرَفْنَ فَلا يُؤْذَيْنَ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا

[33.59] O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

In order to understand this verse you need some background study.

The IRFI – Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc. has in it’s website this issue explained:

According to the Quran, the reason why Muslim women should wear an outer garment when going out of their homes is that they may be recognized as “Believing” women and differentiated from streetwalkers for whom sexual harassment is an occupational hazard. The purpose of this verse was not to confine women to their homes, but to make it safe for them to go about their daily business without attracting unsavory attention.”

“The Quran does not suggest that women should be veiled or they should be kept apart from the world of men. On the contrary, the Quran is insistent on the full participation of women in society and in the religious practices.

Morality of the self and cleanliness of conscience are far better than the morality of the purdah. No goodness can come from pretence. Imposing the veil on women is the ultimate proof that men suspect their mothers, daughters, wives and sisters of being potential traitors to them. How can Muslim men meet non-Muslim women who are not veiled and treat them respectfully, but not accord the same respectful treatment to Muslim women?

To wear the Hijaab is certainly NOT an Islamic obligatory on women. It is an innovation (Bid’ah) of men suffering from a piety complex who are so weak spiritually that they just cannot trust themselves!”

Older women as they are no longer a source of sexual attraction they don’t have to take specially attention to their cloth when outside. This is according to the Holy Quran:

[24.60] وَالْقَوَاعِدُ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ اللاتِي لا يَرْجُونَ نِكَاحًا فَلَيْسَ عَلَيْهِنَّ جُنَاحٌ أَنْ يَضَعْنَ ثِيَابَهُنَّ غَيْرَ مُتَبَرِّجَاتٍ بِزِينَةٍ وَأَنْ يَسْتَعْفِفْنَ خَيْرٌ لَهُنَّ وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

[24.06] Such elderly women as are past the prospect of marriage, – there is no blame on them if they lay aside their (outer) garments, provided they make not a wanton display of their beauty: but it is best for them to be modest: and Allah is One Who sees and knows all things.

IRFI: “It is part of the growing feeling on the part of Muslim men and women that they no longer wish to identify with the West, and that reaffirmation of their identity as Muslims requires the kind of visible sign that adoption of conservative clothing implies.

For these women the issue is not that they have to dress conservatively, but that they choose to.”

I would like to say that I personally like women who wear the Hijab but that doesn’t discourage me to tell Muslims sister that they only have to wear hijab if they want to.

Note that in some countries using the Hijab may draw more eye attention to you but it allow that other people including Muslims know that you are Muslim sister 😉

So remember: Hijab is not obligatory, MODEST dress is.

Orlando, 2008 Portugal

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.


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  1. Noreen’s avatar

    Thanks for clarification of this. Having read your article it now makes sense. Yes the quran says cover modestly not cover head in any way at all. The word head is not used. In fact I cone across a lot of girls wearing hijab but then dressing incorrectly according to Islam by wearing skinny jeans, tight tops and some you can see, what is the meaning of that. Thanks again it helps me better to relate this to my deen.


  2. Peace’s avatar

    Thank you Orlando, for making sense and bringing the message back to blind people of these days..as with everything, people distort and forget that not everything is black and white and doesnt apply to all in every land. If that was the case, we wouldnt have so many prophets in different lands, different times. Unfortunately these days people put Hadith on the same level as the Quran, which is truly sad. Thats just the same as taking the New Testament as the divine words and therefore blindly believing a prophet is God. No human is exempt from learning and people that think they were taught everything right need to travel lands and see what Allah created to understand the magnitude of His creations. May Allah bless you in your efforts!


  3. fatimah-zahra’s avatar

    hi, i’m a muslim girl from Nigeria, I attended a christain high school throughout my 6 years.. but I didn’t covert.. i’m trying to find myself again in islam and I just feel guilty when i see girls my age wearing hijab and i don’t because I was brought up in a family that hijab or scarf isn’t compulsory.. does this mean i’m a bad muslim :( :(


    1. Orlando’s avatar

      Nope, it means you are smart enough to question the use of a veil as religious obligation.


    2. Angel’s avatar

      No you are not, you are fine. Hijab is not what makes you a good person or a bad person. I don’t believe it is compulsory but even if you do believe in you should also believe that god judges you with who you are and not what you wear.


    3. TheGreatZambini’s avatar

      I really enjoyed this post. I`ve been wondering about the differences between the various types of scarves and their names, and this post had good pictures included for that purpose. Personally, I do think the scarf serves a side purpose, besides modesty, of proclaiming your religious beliefs. I`m curious here, though. What have I not been noticing that men do to show they are muslim to others with their clothes?


    4. Latifa frmmorroco’s avatar

      Hi every one am I think that hijab it’s not obligation to wear But I wear it cuz My mom and dad want me to wear it , and am fine with hijab :) Ramadan karim


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