Q: What is hijab?
A: Rules regarding Muslim women's (and man's) attire are derived from the Quran, Islam's revealed text, and the traditions (hadith) of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). In the Quran, God states: Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty...And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and adornments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their viels over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers...(a list of exceptions) Chapter 24, verses 30-31
In one tradition, the Prophet Muhammad is quoted as saying: ...If the woman reaches the age of puberty, no part of her body should be seen but this --- and he pointed to his face and hands.
From these and other references, the vast majority of Muslim scholars and jurists, past and present, have determined the minimum requirements for hijab: 1) Clothing must cover the entire body, with the exception of the face and the hands. 2) The attire should not be form fitting, sheer or so eye-catching as to attract undue attention or reveal the shape of the body. 3) The clothing cannot be similar to male clothing or to the distinctive clo thing worn by people of other faiths. 4) Clothing must not suggest fame or status.
There are similar, yet less obvious requirements for a Muslim male's attire. He must always be covered from the navel to the knees. A Muslim man should similarily not wear tight, sheer, revealing, or eye-catching clothing. The prohibitions against wearing clothing of the opposite sex or distinctive clothing of other faiths is also the same. In addition, a Muslim man is prohibited from wearing silk clothing (except for medical reasons) or gold jewelry. A Muslim woman may wear silk or gold.
(References: The Muslim Woman s Dress, Dr. Jamal Badawi, Ta-Ha Publishers; Hijab in Islam, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, Al-Risala Books; The Islamic Ruling Regarding Women s Dress, Abu Bilal Mustafa Al-Kanadi, Abul-Qasim Publishing)
Q: But aren't there Muslim women who do not wear hijab?
A: Yes, some Muslim women choose not to wear hijab. Some may want to wear it but believe they cannot get a job wearing a head scarf. Others may not be aware of the requirement or are under the mistaken impression that wearing hijab is an indication of inferior status.
Q: Why is hijab becoming an issue for personnel managers and supervisors?
A: The Muslim community in American is growing rapidly. Growth factors include conversions to Islam, immigration from Muslim countries and typically high birth rates for Muslim families. As the community grows, more Musli m women will enter the work force. In many cases, these women wish both to work and to maintain their religious convictions. It should be possible to fulfill both goals.
Q: What issues do Muslim women face in the workplace?
A: Muslim women report that the issue of attire comes up most often in the initial interview for a job. Some interviewers will ask if the prospective employee plans to wear the scarf to work. Others may inappropriately in quire about religious practices or beliefs. Sometimes the prospective employee, feeling pressure to earn a living, will take off the scarf for the interview and then put it on when hired for the job.
Q: What can an employer reasonably require of a woman wearing hijab?
A: An employer can ask that an employees attire not pose a danger to that employee or to others. For example, a Muslim woman who wears her hijab so that loose ends are exposed should not be operating a drill press or simi lar machinery. That employee could be asked to arrange her hijab so that the loose ends are tucked in. An employer can ask that the hijab be neat and clean and in a color that does not clash with a company uniform.
From cair1@IX.NETCOM.COMSat Nov 11 16:15:47 1995
The following is a DRAFT Question and Answer (Q&A) to be sent to the media along with a news release detailing two cases of sisters being fired from their jobs because they would not take of their hijab. Please take a look at it and offer an comment, suggested changes, additions, etc.
Council on American-Islamic Relations