For Muslim women, the hijab serves as an identity that reflects their modesty and strong beliefs or what is called the ‘Imaan’.
Hijab or a veil or headscarf is a piece of clothing worn by Muslim women to cover themselves from head to feet. It also serves as protection for women from the male gaze, especially from those unrelated men.
In many countries, Muslim women are being recognized for their unique attire like wearing a black Abaya (loose-fitting full-length robe) and a loose Hijab.
The primary intention of the Hijab is to protect women from evil eyes. And referring to this, Allah says: “O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.” (Qur’an, Surah Al-Ahzab verse: 59).
All in all, the Hijab is a religious obligation that a Muslim woman has to observe. It is understandable from the Qur’an, the words of Almighty Allah, and the Hadiths of Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him).
In the Philippines, particularly, in the Bangsamoro region, Hijab Day is commemorated every February 1.
On Wednesday, hundreds of Bangsamoro women from BARMM ministries, agencies, offices, civil society organizations (CSOs), and schools, wearing their emerald green hijab as an indication of modesty joined the said activity inside the Bangsamoro Government Center (BGC) in Cotabato City.
This year’s observance of World Hijab Day carries the theme “Progression, Not Oppression”, and with the hashtag #unapologeticalhijabi.
Led by the Bangsamoro Women Commission (BWC), the celebration in the region is in recognition of millions of Muslim women who freely choose to wear hijab and live a modest life.
BWC Chairperson Bainon Karon said that the Commission supports all Bangsamoro women. Further, she encouraged them to do their part to push back against discrimination and promote the empowerment of Muslim women in their communities.
“I would like to encourage all Bangsamoro women, not just in BARMM but throughout the country, to see yourselves as role models for properly wearing your modest dress and hijab, especially the women in BARMM who are leading the advocacy,” said Karon.
Also, Karon emphasized that the Commission supported different national legislations regarding Hijab Day, such as the Senate Bill Numbers 805 and 1272 filed by Senators Robin Padilla and Jinggoy Estrada, and the House Bill Numbers 1363 and 3725—the acts declaring the first day of February of every year as National Hijab Day and promoting an understanding of the Muslim tradition of wearing a Hijab.
Meanwhile, BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim said that the modern world has now acknowledged that Hijabis (women wearing hijabs) are considered “empowered women” who learn how to assert their rights while respecting the rights of others.
“Behind these symbolic clothes are stories of oppression, deprivation, and neglect that the world once turned a blind eye to. But in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, we see these clothes as a symbol of our mutual respect, creativity, hope, and values,” Ebrahim stressed.
Some BARMM ministries, offices, and other Members of Parliament also donated head scarves to BWC, which will be distributed to the less fortunate women in the region. (Myrna S. Tepadan/BIO)