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The veil liberates women: Jahou Badjie on the importance of the hijab
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The veil liberates women: Jahou Badjie on the importance of the hijab

One of the most disturbing misconceptions is the negative portrayal of women in Islam – namely that Islam degrades, disrespects and oppresses women.

According to the teachings of Islam, the only thing that distinguishes people in the sight of God is their level of piety.


This verse proves that real honour and status is not attained because a person is rich or poor, black or white, male or female but attained through piety and devoutness. Therefore, it comes as no surprise to learn that for every male convert to Islam, four females convert. Some reasons for this overwhelming female conversion rate are due to the following rights enshrined in Islam:

  • Total control of their wealth
  • Choose their spouse
  • Keep their own surname when married
  • Own property, operate a business, study, and receive equal pay for equal work
  • Inherit property, and to have their marriage dissolved in the case of neglect or mistreatment
  • Participate in all forms of worship that men participate in

Islam guaranteed these rights, among many others, to women over 1400 years ago – rights that some women in the West are still lacking.

Hijab means we are “To Be Judged for Our Worth, Not Our Appearance.”

Women are no longer valued for something material, such as her good looks or the shape of her body. She compels others to judge her for her intelligence.

The Islamic tradition of hijab frees women from being perceived primarily as sexual objects. Women are taught from early childhood that their worth is proportional to their attractiveness; this can be seen through women’s magazines, fashion industry and make up. The hijab liberates a Muslim woman from this oppression. She needs not concern herself with her hair or makeup before she goes out.

It is simply a woman’s assertion that judgment of her physical person is to play no role whatsoever in social interaction. Demand self-respect from the public, as we do not allow ourselves to be judged based on our beauty (or the lack thereof).

Since a Muslim woman is invisible behind her veil, she can be appreciated only for her intellectual qualities. Thus the importance of her physical appearance becomes subordinate to her intelligence and personality. She compels others to judge her for kindness, honesty and personality. Therefore, people judge her for who she actually is.

With the hijab Muslim women can have the time to explore their mind instead of pondering on how they can please societal portrays. Not only Muslim women but all women should accept themselves for who they are and not try to be what society wants them to be.

In Islam the Muslim woman's true beauty is the beauty of her character. At a young age the thoughts and ideas instilled in a Muslim girl is accepting how she was created and being true to herself. So the mentality of the average Muslim girl is how can I achieve the highest level of faith or how can I please my Lord. Through this girls explore key aspects of Islam and build their intellect, knowing that they don’t have to please creation.

I truly built my confidence when I understood that you can never always please people and it isn’t worth changing yourself to please another person. I realized I wanted to be true to myself and not have to be somebody else. Because of this I acquired a thirst for knowledge, the very thought of expanding my mind excites me. Hijab is my right and in no way do I feel oppressed or limited in achieving what I want.


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