The commandments of hijãb are of great importance. Though it is true that they are in fact somewhat difficult to follow. But one thing is true beyond doubt, and that is whosoever succeeds in following these commandments will have less difficulty in obeying other commandments of Allah. This is the most bitter pill to swallow, in terms of obedience, but it is most beneficial in that it makes it quick and easy for a Muslim to be close to Allah.
Today, our standards of piety have become limited to reciting endless incantations and rosaries, praying extra Salãt, reciting the books of prayers, fasting when possible, giving alms and charity and obeying those commands which may be followed with ease. But we readily ignore and reject all those rules and prohibitions which interfere in any way with our lifestyle, nafs and desires. We profess deep love for Allah, but do not refrain from disobeying Him, even though it is obligatory on us to refrain from all that He has declared harãm. The foundation of piety is built on seeking Allah’s forgiveness for all our disobedience and rebelliousness against Him. Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wasallam has said, “Refrain from sinning and you will become the most pious of worshippers.”
The sin of refusing to observe hijãb is more severe than other sins, which is why it is critical to immediately desist from it and to sincerely resolve not to repeat it. The reasons for this are as follows:
1. It is a sin which is committed in the open for all to see. The one committing this sin, without saying a word, is openly declaring to everyone that she/he has no regard for Allah’s commands, and that she/he has revolted against Allah. Our Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam has said: “All of my ummah is worthy of forgiveness, except those who have openly sinned.”
This is true not only for religion, but even under the laws of any government of this world, those who openly betray their governments are not forgiven, and what is the punishment for betrayal, but death?
2. The sinful consequences of refusing to observe hijãb are not limited only to the one committing this sin; since it encourages and spreads lewd and shameful behaviour, it ultimately affects the entire society which thus gets caught in Allah’s punishment in this world and in the hereafter.
It is commonly observed that such a sin also paves the way for all kinds of other mischiefs, even murder.
Those women who do not observe purdah should ask themselves why are they doing so.
Is it the temporary pleasures and fulfilment of desires which is keeping them from it?
They should realise that life in this world is short while life in the hereafter is forever.
They should also realise that by not observing hijãb they are embittering their lives here as well as condemning themselves to the punishment of hell-fire in the hereafter.
We are not able to bear, even for a second, the heat of a burning coal placed on the palm of our hand. And yet we never think, how will we be able to bear the severe torment and fires of hell?
If we worry that our father or husband or other relatives will not approve and will be displeased with our following Allah’s commands, then we should also think whether this will be an acceptable excuse to present to Allah on the Day of Judgement. Will He forgive us if we say that we did not follow His orders because we feared displeasing our family and friends. Even though it is Allah’s absolute and unalterable law that ‘obeying anyone while disobeying Allah is forbidden’. That is, if someone asks us to disobey Allah, we are forbidden to obey him. We should simply cast this person aside. We should consider whether this person whom we are pleasing by disobeying Allah will be willing to receive and bear the punishment in our place on the Day of Judgement?
Allah clearly states in the noble Qur’ãn:
Then would those who are followed clear themselves of those who follow (them); they would see the penalty and all relations between them would be cut off. And those who followed would say: “If only we had one more chance we would clear ourselves of them as they have cleared themselves of us.” Thus will Allah show them (the fruits of) their deeds as (nothing but) regrets nor will there be a way for them out of the fire. (2:166-167)
Ponder on this verse, and it becomes clear that on the Day of Judgement, those people who disregarded the commands of Allah and disobeyed Him to follow and please others, will be enemies unto each other and all relations between them will be severed. On that day, the young will blame their elders for not letting them obey Allah and observe hijãb, while the elders will say that they had no control over them, they only asked them to disobey, but did not force them. Then, how frustrated and helpless will those feel who had disobeyed Allah to please others around them. How sorry and miserable will those feel when they realise that the people they had tried to please and on whose account they were to endure such grave punishment, were denying all responsibility for their wrong doing and were accusing them of being guilty instead. Let alone men, even Shaytãn, on the Day of Judgement, will say:
And Shaytãn will say when the matter is decided: It was Allah Who gave you a promise of truth: I too promised but I failed in my promise to you. I had no authority over you except to call you but you listened to me: then reproach me not, but reproach your own souls. I cannot listen to your cries nor can you listen to mine. I reject your former act in associating me with Allah. For wrongdoers there must be a Grievous Penalty. (14:22)
So, we know that on this day no one will come to anyone else’s aid, and every human being will be left alone to answer for his own deeds. Even the Shaytãn will say to those who followed him: “I had no real power over you, all I could do was to tempt and preach you; you chose to follow me and committed sins of your own free will. I am disgusted with you for associating me with Allah and obeying me in His stead. You were with me in life, and you will be with me now. We will go to hell and abide there together.”
For the sake of Allah, think! Is the goal in life to gain Allah’s Pleasure, or the pleasure of a few relatives? By Allah, those who sever their worldly relations in this life for the sake of Allah, will attain heaven right here on earth. He, who turned away from people and cut his relations with them solely to gain Allah’s Pleasure and to avoid punishment in his final and everlasting abode in the hereafter, has attained true success. He will be rewarded with such joy and pleasure that all the joys of this world will seem insignificant and worthless by comparison. As a poet has said:
You shouldn’t care if the entire world is unhappy with you; As long as your beloved is pleased with you; Keep this in mind as you decide;What should you do and what shouldn’t you do.
Let us pray to Allah to grant us great courage and fortitude, to bless us with complete Imãn, unwavering trust and belief in the noble Qur’ãn, and the ability to obey his commandments as they should be obeyed. May Allah shower salãt and salãm in great abundance, on our beloved Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam, the best of creation, and upon his family and his companions.
By Dr. Muhammed Ismail Memon Madani