In some Muslim countries, including mine, we force foreign women to wear hijab, and we say "it's the rule."

Now when a Muslim woman in a non Islamic country wants to wear hijab and the government forces them to remove their hijab as "it's the rule", we get offended that "this is a human right you should let us wear hijab." how do we explain this?

  • @ashes999 OK, I'll leave it to the moderators to decide about that. If they think it should be removed, then they can remove it. I won't be angry or anything. EDIT: And I should add that at least shia muslims as far as I know believe this should be forced on everyone in a Islamic country so maybe some shias can answer this.
    – user559
    Commented Sep 30, 2012 at 10:07
  • maybe you can update your question to ask if there are any rulings that demand, suggest, or allow a non-Muslim woman to be forced to wear hijab. That would be better IMO and more fitting.
    – ashes999
    Commented Sep 30, 2012 at 12:00

5 Answers 5


This is largely a longer response to Ahmadi's answer - I don't know that it addresses the question, although some on the context may be useful. As such, I've marked it wiki. However, if this is too far away from the question I do not object if it should be edited/deleted.

Actually, there are very few places in the west that are actively (legally) anti-hijab - France would be an example, IIRC. There are places, however, where the social zeitgest (not the law) is anti-hijab, for various reasons, including:

  • mixed opinions of those wearing it - every example found of a woman electing and supporting hijab can usually be countered by an example of a women forced by their local community to wear hijab, when they would rather not
  • for hijab that includes face-covering:
    • it acting as a barrier to communication: most face-to-face communication involves a lot of non-verbal cues, that can confuse things; additionally, speaking as someone with less-than-perfect hearing/processing, it makes things unnecessarily difficult (I'm not deaf or anything, but I find it a lot easier to process things when I can see the speaker's mouth)
    • this is a much lower concern, but there are also some security considerations (most shops won't allow a motor-cyclist into a shop without removing their helmet, for example); there have also been very isloated incidents of men avoiding the authorities by hiding under a burqa - it would be wrong to claim that is a large concern, though - a "red herring"

Perhaps a bigger concern in the west is the choice of the individual. It is not obvious that all those wearing hijab/burqa have themselves chosen to do so, and plenty of supporting data to suggest otherwise. I suspect people in the west would be much more accepting of hijab/burqa if it was abundantly clear that women in those communities were themselves free not to wear hijab/burqa if that is their choice.

A final concern is that it places an unusual slant on culpability, that suggests notions that are rejected in western law. For example, one of the purposes of hijab/burqa is (as I understand it) to avoid leading men to lust (with the awful crimes that periodically follow). The western view on this is that the woman is absolutely not at blame here, and that men must take control of themselves, and responsibility of their actions. By asking women to cover themselves, it a: places accountability unfairly on women, and b: suggests that men are not capable of controlling themselves.

But my main point is to observe the false premise in the question:

and the government forces them to remove their hijab

There are very few places where the government will do so, with the majority having laws and guidelines specifically to protect the right to observe hijab / burqa / etc.


There is a certain principle in Shia Islam saying:

الكفّار مكلّفون بالفروع كما انّهم مكلّفون بالأصول

This means that non-Muslims should obey the rules of practices of Islam and the pillars of Islam.

Based on this principle, they should respect Islamic societal rules, such as the ban of drinking wine (at least in public) and hijab.

About the protest of Shia Muslims about the ban of hijab in some western countries, please note there are differences. The rule of wearing hijab in an Islamic country is based on religion and is a value in Islamic culture; but in the West, the ban on hijab is not based on religion, it is not any value and it is unjust. The only reason for it is enmity with Islam, which is not fair and is in conflict with peace. In original Christianity, hijab is a value and portraits of Mariya a.s. show her with hijab. Muslims protest against the West because the West claims consideration of freedom for all humans, but when it comes to Muslims they are not free to wear hijab.


Online answering of Official website of Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi

  • 1
    There are very few places where people are not free to where the hijab (France may have some issues there, IIRC). It is wrong to suggest that the west doesn't allow this. I'll add an answer with more context. Commented Sep 30, 2012 at 14:50
  • This whole answer is based on the fallacy that "the ban on hijab is not based on any value". Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 12:31

Forcing non-Muslims to wear hijab We have an indisputable principle in Islam that every ruling is fixed for believers and Muslims, and others are obliged to it. If we go to their countries and they force us to wear hijab, they will not consider hijab obligatory, while we consider hijab obligatory

Ref: https://makarem.ir/main.aspx?reader=1&lid=0&mid=16139&catid=6508&pid=61853


Muslims and non-Muslims have different values. A non-Muslim may build his life on some values such as human rights, freedom, democracy, peace, etc. However, Islam teaches us to live in accordance with that we are mortal, we came here for a reason, we will be asked about each of our actions after death.

Humans can forget and slip easily. We can forget that we are living on earth which is created by Allah and that everything we eat, drink, benefit belongs to Allah. So, in order not to forget Allah, we pray at least five times in a day.

With five prayers in a day, we also practice our full lifespan, our birth and death. Fajr is like our birth from a dark place to this world. Dhuhr is like our youth... And Isha is like our death and being embedded under a dark and silent ground. It is like living each part of our lives remembering Allah.

We also gather together at a specific place on a specific time to practice our Hajj. It is like training for resurrection day. In a simple dress and inside a huge crowd with people from different nations far from wordly thoughts. We also learn and train with fasting and zakat that we aren't the actual owner of what we have.

For a careful Muslim, rain, storm, animals, trees also can remind Allah. Rain teaches mercy of Allah, storm teaches magnificence of Allah. However, beauty of women will instantly kill your contemplation. It is not necessary to lead men to lust. You will forget Allah and start being secular.

Thinking on this basis, hijab helps Muslims living as good servants of Allah. Muslims obey Allah, cover their bodies as Allah ordered them, and lower their gazes. However, a foreign woman without hijab can easily break the system. Muslim men will be distracted to look, Muslim women will be distracted show their own beauty. So, it is very natural for a Muslim country to force foreign women to wear hijab.

However, non-Muslim countries can allow wearing hijab because they claim freedom and human rights. Is Islam against freedom and human rights? Actually, the words are tricky. A Muslim man can't look at everything. A Muslim can't eat during fast and can't eat meat slaughtered without mentioning name of Allah. Then, it is important what is meant by freedom and human rights.

At this point, someone may ask that do Muslims always remember Allah? Is it only the women beauty that will hinder thinking about Allah? I can say no. We are covering rain, storm, animals, trees whatever may remind Allah. We put advertisement and entertainment tools everywhere inviting to the world. We are running from meeting to meeting. Coming home at night and watch TV. We love world, don't want to think about death and hardly find time for prayers. I want to mention a hadith here:

Thawban, radi Allahu anhu (may Allah be pleased with him), one of the companions of the Prophet (saws) and a freed slave, narrated a hadith (prophetic saying) of the beloved Prophet (saws). He related that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said, “The nations are about to call each other and set upon you, just as diners set upon food.”

It was asked, “Will it be because of our small number that day?”

The Prophet (saws) answered, “Rather, on that day you will be many, but you will be like foam, like the foam on the ocean. And Allah will remove the fear of you from the hearts of your enemies and will throw wahn (weakness) into your hearts.”

Someone then asked, “O Messenger of Allah! What is Wahn?”

He replied, “Love of the world and the hatred for death” (Abu Dawood 4297).

Muslims are glad to wear hijab in non-Muslim countries but those countries doesn't have to allow. You can't be sure what will happen tomorrow. Human rights doesn't always work.


I am a french and I want to make some clarifications about what is allowed and what is not, so I can answer the question.

First of all, as Marc Gravell said :

there are very few places in the west that are actively (legally) anti-hijab

Here you can see a map that shows the countries where there are specific rules.

hijab world map

But what are these specific rules? In most countries, the reason the burqua was banned was for security reasons. This is the case in France : after a terrorist attack from a man wearing a burqua, a new law has been introduced that forbid you to wear clothes that hides your face. This does not forbid you to wear a hijab since your face is visible.

Now there is another law in France that is controversial. You have to understand that France is very attached to the principle of laïcité, for historical and cultural reasons.

Laïcité is the absence of religious involvement in government affairs, especially the prohibition of religious influence in the determination of state policies.

This principle is particularly applied in schools. That is the reason why only discrete religious signs are allowed. This limitation is however only applied in schools, colleges and high schools.

This limitation might indeed be criticized because it breaks the declaration of human right since it is an infringement on individual right to religious expression. Maybe we could make it more flexible so that people can wear hijab. Just like I would not like being forced to wear hijab, I understand someone would dislike being forbidden to wear it.

However and to answer the question, it would be indeed hypocritical that the people who complain about it also support forcing other women to wear hijab. You cannot complain about your neighbor not perfectly following his own rules if you are doing the same as him, whatever your reasons are.

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