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What is the main reason Islam advocates Hijab?

Is it to reduce sexual assaults?

If that is the case, there are numerous Westernized countries which have low sex-related crime/harassment/assault rates. On the other hand, in most Islamic countries this problem is pretty much dangerous.

Is it to keep modesty?

What is the purpose of modesty if this scheme doesn't cover sexual assaults/harassment?

P.S.

Kindly, keep the body of the answer concise. If you add any reference, adding a hyperlink would be enough. Don't copy-paste Quranic verses.

  • My hunch is it's to take away her natural beauties so neither she nor the men would focus on her physical beauties and instead focus on her very character. – Honey May 29 '17 at 14:45
  • <comments deleted> Comments are intended for constructive criticism and seeking clarification, not for argument and debate. – goldPseudo May 31 '17 at 9:39
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I'm not sure "enforce" is the right word here.

Some places enforce it: Saudi Arabia, Iran (although what's enforced would hardly be considered proper hijab), Aceh in Indoensia, and perhaps other places I'm unaware of (maybe parts of Malaysia). But this is not an Islam-wide enforcement. This is politics rather than Islam, although Muslims are required to obey the law.

It's also possible it's requested by a woman's husband or father, and a woman might do this out of respect or obedience.

Ordinarily, we wear hijab to demonstrate devotion to God.

The purpose of hijab is explained in Qur'an 33:59:

... That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. ...

So this gives two reasons:

  1. To be recognized as a free, Muslim woman. See Is being recognized as Muslim one of the reasons for hijab?.

  2. And to not be harmed/abused/molested/insulted (and various other translations).

Beyond this, it gets blurry, and many women express different benefits/drawbacks from covering.

  • "This is politics rather than Islam" strikes me as an obfuscatory remark; that policy clearly has the purpose of increasing adherence to Islamic doctrine, wouldn't be enacted without that, and is acceptable from a sharia point of view - while politics that go against Islamic doctrine are kufr, see 5:44. What is true as far as I can tell is that there is no requirement in fiqh to legally punish women for not observing hijab. – G. Bach May 29 '17 at 8:21
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Main purpose of hijab is that women hairs are covered properly so that any non-mahram cannot see her hairs. as covering of hair is mentioned in hadees for women. hijab is one of the identity of the muslim women.

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I concur with Ms. Stones that 'enforce' is not needed. Every recommendation in the Quran and by the example of our prophet Muhammed (pbuh) is a mercy for all of mankind. In a majority muslim population, the women voluntarily wear hijab as part of their faith.

To better understand the hijab recommendation, we need to consider taqwa and taming (terbiye) of the nefs. An explanation of the nefs and its role is beyond the scope of this answer space, but briefly:

Nefs directly translated means breath but it generally symbolizes all biological needs and desires of the person. Without our nefs we could not survive. Without hunger and thirst we would not strive to make a living to put food and drink on the table Without the desire to have sex with the opposite gender, reproduction would not happen and none of us would exist.

For this, Allah maintains a very powerful and potentially explosive attraction between these opposites. Just like gasoline and oxygen can either cause a destructive explosion or a very useful controlled slow burn to power our vehicles; likewise an unregulated interaction between the genders can lead to explosion (adultery, prostitution, fatherless children, immorality, promiscuity, family corruption, etc) while the regulated and harnessed 'controlled slow burn' will yield the blessed results of peaceful and happy marriage structure and children.

Such volatile mixtures are difficult to control if uncovered. If we think of men as oxygen and women as gasoline, leaving the latter uncovered can lead to explosion; Allah Muhafaza. For this reason, Allah commanded women to cover themselves in public and in front of non-mehram men (Quran 24:31). And men (and women) are commanded to 'lower their gaze'(Quran 24:30).

This 'lower your gaze' applies for today also for media and Internet. It is hard to control yourself when the display of forbidden fruit is just clicks away.

It's when you let your nefs take over your heart and let love of the ephemoral dunya take preference over the love of Allah that may result in sinful action and spiritual corruption.

The nefs has to be kept restrained on a leash of self restraint through faith and taqwa (Quran 91:7-10). This concept of taqwa and self-restraint is alien to the west where it is encouraged to follow your lusts and desires, instant gratification, and let your nefs run wild.

So how do we tame our nefs and keep it on a leash when our senses are bombarded by inappropriate and un-Islamic promiscuity?

Fasting as one technique.

How do you know when a woman in public is muslim? How do you know when you are in a muslim land or neighborhood? You can think of the hijab as the flag or standard of Islam. The standard that the muslims struggle for against the moral relativism of the decadent west, to preserve the honor of our mothers, wives, and daughters, and to prevent the next generations from being offspring of morally compromised mothers.

  • <comments deleted> Comments are intended for constructive criticism and seeking clarification, not for argument and debate. – goldPseudo May 31 '17 at 9:41

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