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Islamic Hijab vs Contemporary Hijab

Islam has given women’s affairs unmatched consideration to preserve their chastity, uphold their honour, and secure their position in social life. Islamic teachings command Muslim women to cover themselves with a hijab and warn them against displaying their beauty and adornments. Allah ﷻ addresses the believing women in the Qur’an, saying,

“O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves (part) of their outer garments (the jilbab, which is defined as a cloak covering the head and reaching to the ground, thereby covering the woman’s entire body). That is more suitable that they will be known (as chaste, believing women), and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.”

[Qur’an 33:59]

Conditions of the Hijab

  • It should cover the whole body (apart from what has been exempted).
  • It should not be an adornment in and of itself.
  • It must be thick; it must not be transparent or see-through.
  • It should be loose-fitting.
  • It must not be perfumed.
  • It should not resemble men’s form of dress.
  • It should not resemble the kuffar’s garments.
  • It must not be a garment of fame or vanity.

Adopting Modern Concepts of the Hijab

Upon examining the conditions of the hijab, we can clearly recognise that most of the hijab of young Muslim women these days do not adhere to these rules. Unfortunately, many women incorrectly believe that what they wear today qualifies as the obligatory hijab.

The hijab is not just the covering of the head, as most people wrongly assume. Some women cover their hair but wear skinny and see-through clothes that reveal their bodies and their shape. This form of dressing does not qualify as wearing the hijab. On the contrary, the hijab should cover the whole body, be thick (not transparent) and loose to achieve concealment. Transparent clothing makes women more tempting and appealing to the opposite gender. The Prophet ﷺ has warned against women who are dressed yet appear naked,

Two are the types of the denizens of Hell whom I did not see: …and the women who would be dressed but appear to be naked; who would be inclined (to evil) and make their husbands incline towards it…They will not enter Paradise, and they would not smell its odour, whereas its odour would be smelt from such and such distance.”

[Sahih Muslim 2128]

Modern boutiques are flooded with alternate forms of fashionable abayas, different shapes of head scarves that are attractive, and modernised jalabib―all under the guise of contemporary ‘Islamic’ hijab. Many Muslim women are rushing towards these trends, believing that as long as they wear a head covering or an abaya, beautifying themselves is allowed. However, they are neglecting the basic principles and essence of hijab, and basic Islamic manners.

The Qur’an warns believing women with the following words,

“…and do not display yourselves as [was] the display of the former times of ignorance…”

[Qur’an 33:33]

The Camel Hump Hijab

Nowadays, we often see young girls wearing camel hump hijabs. They wear their hair tied high up on top of their head, or they use accessories to create the camel hump look, and they consider it fashionable. This fashion resembles the humps of camels. The Prophet ﷺ said concerning this,

Two are the types of the denizens of Hell whom I did not see: …and the women…their heads would be like the humps of the bukht camel inclined to one side. They will not enter Paradise, and they would not smell its odour, whereas its odour would be smelt from such and such distance.”

[Sahih Muslim 2128]

Wearing Hijab and Make-up in Public

It is common to see women decorating themselves with make-up and perfuming themselves when they leave home, despite being in hijab.

There is nothing wrong with a woman using make-up and perfume to beautify herself for her husband, or in front of her mahrams; in fact, she is encouraged to do so for her husband. However, it is prohibited for a woman to wear perfume or make-up in front of a non-mahram.

Allah ﷻ has mentioned in the Qur’an that it is not permissible for women to display their adornments, except to those,

“And tell the believing women to reduce (some) of their vision, and guard their private parts, and not expose their adornment except that which (necessarily) appears thereof, and to wrap (a portion of) their headcovers over their chests, and not expose their adornment (i.e., beauty) except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women, that which their right hands possess (i.e., slaves), or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment…”

[Qur’an 24:31]

This is due to the fundamental rule that a woman should cover her entire body while she is in front of a non-mahram. How then can she also make herself look beautiful for them?

Wearing and Taking off Hijab as per Convenience

Quite a few Muslim women who are often seen practising hijab in their home country (especially in the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent) tend to neglect it when they travel to non-Islamic countries. There are also ladies who observe hijab regularly, but if a special occasion arises, they are seen abandoning it. They often do this, not realising the gravity of the obligation.

There is another trend in the subcontinent, where the woman stops wearing hijab after her marriage. This could be due to either the husband not being concerned about her hijab or the woman wanting to look modern. The girl’s parents, who were strict with hijab before marriage, do nothing to raise concern over this, because they believe that their daughter’s choice of hijab is, ultimately, the husband’s responsibility and choice.

Parents should educate their daughters on the importance of wearing hijab and instil in them a love for hijab for the sake of Allah ﷻ. Mothers should, likewise, set an example by practising hijab themselves, because the parents are responsible for raising their children and ensuring that they obey Allah ﷻ as much as possible. 

“O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones…”

[Qur’an 66:6]


The righteous obey the commands of Allah ﷻ and express their love for Islam through their actions. They hasten to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ. They do not pay attention to the misleading ways of the masses. Hence, we should comply with the regulations of hijab, keeping in mind the glad tidings promised by Allah ﷻ to women adhering to it.

Muslim women, and those who are in charge of them, should avoid fashion that goes against the obligations and modesty instilled in Islam. Muslims should be distinct from other communities, by adhering to the Shari’ah, so that the ummah regains its lost pride and honour.  

Written by:Fathima mubarak
Edited by: The Editorial Team
© The Islamic Reflections Blog


1 thought on “Islamic Hijab vs Contemporary Hijab

  1. Global Fashion Trend: Over the years, the abaya has gained recognition as a global fashion trend, transcending cultural boundaries. Designers around the world have incorporated abaya-inspired elements into their collections, contributing to its status as a fashion statement.

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