How should we respond to those who say that hijab is unnecessary, citing women in Africa as an example?

The Details of the Question

- Showing the primitive tribes in Africa and the nudity of the women there as an example, they say though the women in Africa do not wear clothes, men do not commit harassment, rape, etc. If hijab protects women, why do African women do not arouse lust despite they are almost naked?
- How should we respond to those who say that the hijab depends on the society and that the hijab is unnecessary?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

First of all, we should know that Islamic rules are carried out because they are the command of Allah, not according to the customs of this or that region.

The cause of a decree is one thing and its wisdom is another.

The main basis of the decrees of Islam is illah/cause. The basis of this true cause is Allah’s orders and prohibitions. A famous example: Four rak’ahs of fards are performed as two rak’ahs on a journey. This permission / decree has both a cause and wisdom. The cause / real reason is to be on a journey; the wisdom is hardship. However, for the implementation of this decree, the real cause, not the wisdom, is necessary.

Accordingly, if a person is more comfortable than at home in the place where he stays on a journey, he can still apply the decree related to travelling. On the other hand, he cannot apply this decree when he does not travel and stays at home, even if he suffers more than when he travels because the real cause, which is the basis of the decree, has an unchanging and fixed position.

That is, the cause of shortening the prayer is travelling, not hardship or trouble. The constant of the expedition is the command of Allah. However, the things called wisdom are variable and may differ according to time and place.

As it can be understood from these explanations, the real reason for the HIJAB (TASATTUR) rule is the certain parts of men and women being covered. It is Allah’s command. Issues such as harassment are instances of wisdom for it.

Accordingly, even if immodesty/nudity does not provoke lustful feelings and does not cause harassment in a region, the decree of hijab is fard, wajib and necessary there too. The incidents of lust and harassment, which are instances of wisdom, may differ from person to person and from region to region. Therefore, it cannot be a basis for the decree. The real cause is covering of the body. It happened by the command of Allah.

In order to understand it better, we think it will be appropriate to give an example from a traffic rule. What is essential in traffic is to stop at the red light. It is the rule, and law. Its wisdom, benefit and use are the prevention of accidents. When the red light is on, would it be appropriate to pass if there were no vehicles coming from other roads and there were no passengers passing by, thinking that there would be no accident? No. The one who passes will pay a fine.

It means that it is necessary to act according to the rules and laws, not according to wisdom and benefits, and it is necessary to stop at the red light even if there are no vehicles or pedestrians.

So, men and women must obey hijab / being covered, which is Allah’s command, no matter where they are in the world. Allah, the owner of the universe and everything in it, has ordered it as a law and rule, and everyone must obey it. Whoever abides by this rule will be rewarded, and whoever does not abide by this rule will be punished.

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