The Hijab is first and foremost a commandment from Allah swt as indicated in the Quran:
يٰۤـاَيُّهَا النَّبِىُّ قُلْ لِّاَزۡوَاجِكَ وَبَنٰتِكَ وَنِسَآءِ الۡمُؤۡمِنِيۡنَ يُدۡنِيۡنَ عَلَيۡهِنَّ مِنۡ جَلَابِيۡبِهِنَّ ؕ ذٰ لِكَ اَدۡنٰٓى اَنۡ يُّعۡرَفۡنَ فَلَا يُؤۡذَيۡنَ ؕ وَكَانَ اللّٰهُ غَفُوۡرًا رَّحِيۡمًا
O Prophet, enjoin your wives and your daughters and the believing women, to draw a part of their outer coverings around them. It is likelier that they will be recognised and not molested. Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.
Thus, wearing the hijab is an act of faith, obedience, and ultimately an act of love for the sake of Allah. Most people don’t realize that in Islam, the hijab spans far beyond outer appearances; it encompasses one’s noble speech, modesty, and dignified conduct.
These righteous manners are also required of men as Allah (swt) addresses Muslim males, instructing them to dress in loose and unrevealing clothing in order to maintain their modesty and dignity.
“Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: That is purer for them; and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do.”
Dignity and Self-Respect
The Hijab grants women dignity and self-respect for who they are as opposed to being judged by superficial standards, such as appearance. This grants women the power to shape their own dignity through more meaningful standards, such as righteousness, knowledge, and societal contribution, rather than allowing society to dictate their worth.
Islam teaches that a woman is to be respected according to her virtuous character and actions rather than by her looks or physical features. She does not have to use her body and charms to gain recognition or acceptance in society, as the Hijab directs self-worth away from appearance and onto qualities such as piety, virtue, modesty, and intellect – attributes that are more equally accessible to all.
Far from being oppressive, the Hijab is an act of liberation, purity, and most importantly, belief.