Children and Hijab: A complex matter

The hijab/head veil/khimar is a garment that is worn to cover a woman’s head, with some primary and secondary religious texts suggesting its compulsion. This can derive from the Hadith, the Torah or the Old Testament with regards to Judeo-Christian text, however in today’s world Muslim communities have presented continual and consistent adherence to the veiling of women’s hair. According to multiple scholars, they deem this compulsory for women who have reached adulthood or puberty. What does this imply? It implies that even from the most conservative opinions, children do not need to wear the hijab.

Well I could stop writing there, however the veiling of children does occur, insinuating possible blurred lines between children and adults. St Stephen’s Primary school in Newham (London), recently banned children under 8 from wearing the hijab, is this a step in the right direction or a ploy to target Muslims?

The veiling of women according to scripture and scholarly opinions is to mask a grown woman’s sexual appeal and beauty therefore, safeguarding her from pre-/extra-marital sexual interactions. Also, allowing her mind to be her source of identity opposed to her physical appearance. These are just common opinions, various explanations include obedience to God, a general sense of modesty as an act of divinity opposed to sociological reasoning, or a method of displaying religious identity. The moment children acquire the veil, the more blurred the lines are between adulthood and childhood. Children are innocent creatures that do not have the understanding or knowledge of adult matters such as sexual attraction hence I vehemently oppose the idea of them being exposed to the complicated world of adulthood. You can disagree with this and claim you’re attempting to instil inside them Islamic values, however isn’t teaching the fundamental principles of Islam and morals sufficient? Isn’t teaching a child how to pray or read the Qur’an sufficient? What surprises me is when I enquire mothers who support veiling young children, the answers I receive is ‘I tell her to wear it so it becomes a habit’, ‘so she can get used to the hijab in adulthood’, ‘so she won’t question it later’. My to answer is, why resort to indoctrinating strategies to fulfil your selfish aims? If you truly believe in the importance of the head veil, explaining its importance to a young adult serves a fairer strategy as they have the adult ability of intellectual reasoning, therefore it will be purely their decision to retain the tradition of hijab or not. By ‘habitually’ placing a cloth on a child’s head will not provide them understanding of the concept of adult-female modesty as they simply do not possess the same ability of logical decision making. I have observed many women choosing to adorn the hijab in adulthood and many to uphold the values of modesty without the head veil, based on their sole decision and reasoning. This is their absolute right. You can place a hijab on a child throughout their childhood, bear in mind one day there will be a possibility of removing it permanently.

I am not stating this is the common practice of Muslims, however a small cross-section of the community continue this notion of veiling children. Many grown adult women struggle with the head veil, with many claiming it is not a religious requirement ..This issue is a complex one even for grown women, why burden children with a notion that is not important for them yet.

However, despite my personal position regarding this matter, I sincerely acknowledge the right to freedom of expression. I do believe St Stephen’s school trampled on the foundation principles of liberty and tolerance to religious diversity. For an example, many young boys adorn skull caps in the Jewish and Muslim communities and face no opposition from the wider society, therefore this action seems to target young girls on their religion and their gender. Imposing a clothing-orientated ban shows hypocrisy and discrimination towards the Muslim community, opposed to other religious communities, as in there is no school ban directed towards Sikh children or Jewish children in the UK. Furthermore, where does society draw its lines on children clothing? Many female children’s clothes may imitate the fashion of adults, one may suggest that this is a violation towards the realm of childhood alongside the adornment of religious garments. Additionally, some may deem the current children clothing options inappropriate and sexualised.

As you can see this notion of banning the hijab from children is a complex discussion, possibly opening a can of worms for Western society by highlighting its discriminatory preferences towards some religious communities opposed to others. Again, my personal opinion is against the veiling of children due to multiple issues that may arise, however I support the right for parents to make this decision with care as that is their liberty and freedom.

Thanks for reading,

Homeyrah 🙂

About the post

Critical Thinking, Islam, Uncategorized

11 Comments

Add yours →

  1. In your blog Children and Hijab you only define hijab but forget to define child. Who is a child according to Islam? Up to what age a child is a child? Islam does not discourage child marriage. So if a girl as small as 7-year-old can be married to an adult then she must start wearing hijab from childhood. Secondly, Good practice must be started early so that they become your habits when you grow up. So, I don’t find any reason for your not accepting it.
    If you are against “indoctrinating strategies” (so do I) why then anyone indoctrinate any religious values before a person reached age of critical thinking??

    Like

  2. Hi peace&humanity, our western countries can not agree on the age of adulthood (some saying 16,18 or 21) or even within the different states of the U.S let alone define them. Islam makes it clear that a girl becomes an adult when she reaches adolescents, that could be different for every individual. Secondly, nowhere in islam does it say A girl who has not reached sufficient intelligence and physical development can marry. On the contrary, it stresses to get a person married (only) when they are ready (this means physically, mentally and biologocally). If you have a twisted mind to believe a girl who has not reached this level of adulthood should engage in sexual or martial activities then that is your shortcomings and a significant insult to my religion. Finally the answer to your final question has been answers by the post if you bother to engage and read objectively into it. Peace and love. ❤

    Like

  3. //our western countries can not agree on the age of adulthood// I don’t care about YOUR western countries. Islam is one and the same for whole world. Don’t you believe in Sahee Hadees of IMAM BUKHARI? Hz. Aisha was 9 when Prophet consummate marriage with her. Don’t you know that?
    //nowhere in islam does it say A girl who has not reached sufficient intelligence and physical development can marry. // If it is not mentioned it does not mean it is prohibit right? Who is perfect man to follow in Islam? Is it not sufficient for you that he has done it ?
    //my religion// you don’t follow your religion. you follow your own interpretation. You are a confuse western born in east. Either believe it as it is or just leave it. There is no middle path in Islam.

    Like

    • Your research of the hadith seems very limited, you do understand there are hadith stating Aisha was 16 and some reports state she was 19. If you listen to Hamza Yusuf’s point of view, you may open your mind abit and be less supportive of marrying kids at 7. Thank God to legislation that allows children to be children and have a childhood. Moreover, a 12 year of the 1400s is a complete different 12 year old to now. Bear in mind sexual development occurs at varying ages..therefore there is no black and white answer. Furthermore please don’t speak to fellow bloggers in a condescending manner, who are you to tell people to leave Islam just because they have a different opinion about child marriage to you? The exact reason I made this blog was to express issues regarding box minded vultures that claim the religion to themselves whilst degrading the image of Islam. It is God’s religon, ekhtelaf exists in the interpretation and that’s just reality.

      Like

      • can you use one ID to answer Question? Anyhow, I didn’t said explicitly to leave Islam. What I said is about following Islam as it is not as you wish. Yes my research of hadees is very limited to sahi hadees. Because if we can not agree on it then we can not agree on any other hadees either. Whole concept of Sahee goes out of the window. we will start cherry picking what ever looks good to us.

        Like

      • Sorry what’s a ID? if you’re referring to the age of adulthood then there is no one answer, the Ijm’a of Scholars is the age of puberty which is ATLEAST 12. The hadith has its own special methodology for attaining accurate reasoning, simply just stating a Hadith with no further consideration of other hadiths and Ijtihad can be VERY dangerous.

        Like

      • Thanks for your answer. Appreciated.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Salam brother, Firstly The famous classical historian of Islam, Ibn Jarir Tabari, wrote in his ‘History’:

        “In the time before Islam, Abu Bakr married two women. The first was Fatila daughter of Abdul Uzza, from whom Abdullah and Asma were born. Then he married Umm Ruman, from whom Abdur Rahman and Aisha were born. These four were born before Islam.” 

        Being born before Islam means being born before the Call.

        So if Muhammad married her when he was 53, she would be *ATLEAST* 13-14.

        Secondly, Imam Wali-ud-Din Muhammad ibn Abdullah Al-Khatib, who died 700 years ago, compiler of the famous Hadith collection Mishkat al-Masabih writes under Asma,  the older daughter of Abu Bakr:

        “She was the sister of Aisha Siddiqa,wife of the Holy Prophet, and was ten years older than her. … In 73 A.H. … Asma died at the age of one hundred years.” 

        This would make Asma 28 years of age in 1 A.H., the year of the Hijra, thus making Aisha 18 years old in 1 A.H. So Aisha would be 19 years old at the time of the consummation of her marriage, and 14 or 15 years old at the time of her nikah. It would place her year of birth at four or five years before the Call.

        The same statement is made by the famous classical commentator of the Holy Quran, Ibn Kathir, in his book Al-bidayya wal-nihaya:

        “Asma died in 73 A.H. at the age of one hundred years. She was ten years older than her sister Aisha.”

        A health which appears in Sahih al bukhari 4 times is consistent with this timeline as our beloved Aisha states:

        “Ever since I can remember (or understand things) my parents were following the religion of Islam.”

        Think about it brother, would it really make sense for her to say this if she was born after the call of Islam??
        Through this she was 3-4 at the time of the call, unsurprisingly this is when children begin to remember things.

        Finally I also wanted to negate your twisted notion that prophet married Aisha because she was a young girl. I find this highly offensive! The reasons he married Aisha are many but some include the fact that she had:

        ● An excellent, precise memory to retain a vast amount of detail accurately,

        ● The understanding to grasp the significance and the principles of the teachings,

        ● Powers of reasoning, criticism and deduction to resolve problems on the basis of those teachings,

        ● The skills to convey knowledge to a wide range of audience,

        ● Finally, have the prospect of living for a considerable period of time after the death of the Holy Prophet in order to spread his message to distant generations.

        There’s many other reasons that follow this notion of her age which I could set out to you as homework in your own time e.g The tasks she carried out in Uhud (one year after their marriage) which a “10” year old would never be able to acconplish. (Sahih Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Jihad wal-Siyar, Chapter: ‘Women in war and their fighting alongside men’)

        Allah knows best.

        May allah guide us all and open our minds to the truth.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You Quoted below Sahih Bukhari Hadis and ask me to think about it.

        //“Ever since I can remember (or understand things) my parents were following the religion of Islam.” //

        Let me think about it. Ok. I finished thinking and here is what I understand. By no why this statement can be used to proof that HZ. Aisha was born before call of Islam. Indeed, on contrary it can be used to prove that she was born after call of Islam and hence never saw her parents involved in anything else than Islam. If she would have born before islam she might have said that when I was a child my parents were non-Muslim. Or I born in a non-Muslim family. The best one can say from this statement is that she might born maximum 2 to 3 year before Islam so has no memory of non-Islamic era when she grew up. So, when she was 3-4-year-old she remembers her parents follow Islam. But even if she was born 5 year or 10 years after Islam she can make this statement. And yet it makes perfect sense. For Example: I was born 1400 years (approx..) after the call of Islam. Ever since I can remember my parents were following the religion of Islam. How you can conclude my age from this statement. It only shows I was born after Islam or maximum one or two year before Islam. But there is no limit about how many years after Islam. May be 3 years and may be 1400 year in my case.

        //(Sahih Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Jihad wal-Siyar, Chapter: ‘Women in war and their fighting alongside men’)// Not found. Please give exact no. of hadis or a link.

        // Finally I also wanted to negate your twisted notion that prophet married Aisha because she was a young girl. I find this highly offensive!// Where did I said that??? You are making false allegation on me. Don’t do it again if you want healthy discussion.

        // So Aisha would be 19 years old at the time of the consummation of her marriage, and 14 or 15 years old at the time of her nikah. It would place her year of birth at four or five years before the Call.///
        If you place her year of birth at four or five years before the Call, you will negate the Hadis you Quoted from Sahi hadis as I already explained. One more Question arises here. If she was 14 or 15 year old at the time of Nikah, why Prophet wait for 3 more year for consummation of marriage ???
        Back than 12 year was considered age of marriage. It was normal practice. No where Prophet gave any ruling against it. So, there is no point in believing that Hz. Aisha was 15 year old at the time of her Nikah. There must be some reason for waiting of 3 years! Do you have any reason for that?

        Like

      • Firstly if you can not recall when you were born I doubt that you would know when Aisha Ra was born.
        Anyhow, please read the reasons I provided for why the prophet married Aisha. If you read it a sufficient amount of times it may enter your head.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: