Someone Who Doesn’t Wear a Hijab Is Not Any Less a Muslim Than Someone Who Wears it

What makes a Muslim, a Muslim? Just being born into a Muslim family sure doesn’t make one a Muslim. So what is it?  Is it the five daily prayers? Is it the regular remembrance of God? Or is it the hijab for women? In my opinion, what makes a Muslim, a Muslim is his or her Iman. Iman or the faith in one God and His teachings is the foundation of Islam. It’s the faith in your Lord that differentiates you from the others. This is something that is intangible, something that can’t be seen and can only be felt in the heart. When you have Iman, the other things follow.

Hijab is usually described by a head scarf worn by women to guard their beauty. However, the proper meaning of hijab is not just the head scarf, but also loosely fitted attire which cloaks the shape of a woman’s body. For the women in Islam, it is advised that they wear a hijab. A significant amount of people consider the hijab as a reflection of submission towards God, which is very true. Nonetheless, someone who doesn’t wear a hijab is not any less a Muslim than someone who wears it. Something as trivial as the head scarf can’t determine the level of faith and belief towards God. Hijab doesn’t indicate if she is regular in her daily prayers or not.  Hijab doesn’t determine if she is kind to her fellow Muslims or not. But, maybe someone without a hijab has the Quran memorized and is living a more pious life than someone who is wearing a hijab. Maybe, someone without hijab has better manners than someone with it. Your relationship with God is something spiritual which can’t be seen from outside. Whether you wear a hijab or not, doesn’t determine the closeness to your Lord. Just because someone wears a hijab, they can’t say that someone who doesn’t has any less Iman than they do. They might be following God’s will in other ways that a hijabi isn’t. You can’t say or interpret what a person is thinking just by looking at his or her face. The same logic applies here. You can’t possibly know the intensity to which someone is devoted towards their God just by looking at their outlook or by what they wear and how they dress up.

I’ve heard stories from a fellow non-hijabi who went to pray at a mosque only to be questioned if she was actually a Muslim, that she sure didn’t look like one. What we don’t understand is that, if she didn’t have the spiritual connection with God, she wouldn’t have been present in the mosque for prayers in the first place. This surely represents her level of Iman.

Every Muslim is struggling in a way or the other. Someone who doesn’t wear a hijab is someone who’s struggling with it. She might have every intention of wearing a hijab and might have even tried wearing it multiple times, but she might have a medical condition where she gets heat stroke if she keeps her head covered. She might want to start hijab but can’t because of a hundred reasons we will never understand because we are not in her shoes. The bottom line is, where a hijab is a garment worn to show respect to the teachings of our Lord, not wearing it doesn’t make one any less of a Muslim than someone who wears it. The reason behind being, there are thousands of ways you can please your God, be it helping an animal or giving charity, be it praying regular prayers or just a simple thank you conveyed to your Creator  in the middle of the day. What actually matters is how you feel when He comes to your mind, how often you keep everything else on hold and let yourself feel the blessings of God all around you. You don’t need to be wearing a hijab to feel close to God, it’s what in the heart that matters.

In a nutshell, just wearing a hijab doesn’t determine how good a Muslim you are. Someone who doesn’t wear one might just well beat you to it. The judgment based on someone’s outlook has been going on for quite some time. It’s time we get rid of this prejudice and move on; learn to accept people for who they really are and not by how they look.

This article is written by Nafisa Nawar 

Written by Mvslim


In the mixed society we live today, we went looking for the ideal platform for Muslims. And of course, we didn’t find it. So we made one ourselves.

  • Naimah

    “For the women in Islam, it is advised that they wear a hijab.” I have a problem with that statement.

    Actually it’s a command. It’s not adviced. It’s a command from Allah just as prayer, fasting and zakah are commandments from Allah. A Muslim woman if she wants to truly fear Allah has to wear the hijab and she has no choice in the matter.

    Yes it’s true, everyone has their own struggles and challenges but please don’t try to make the hijab a “trivial” thing in Islam. It’s the identity of a Muslim woman. It’s the protection of a Muslim woman. It’s part of the ibaadah of Muslim women.

    Just to protect those who are not wearing hijab for whatever reason, it’s not right to belittle hijab. It’s an ayah from the verses of the Quran.

    • Hina

      I would rather love Allah than fear Him. So you wear the hijab out of fear and I won’t out of love. Let Allah be the judge of a persons iman and you take care of your own iman. The issue with the Muslims umrah isn’t the lack of Islam, it is the abdunce of judgemental preachers attempting to out-Muslim every other Muslim.

      • T Bennett

        Allah’s judgement is for Muslims to tell the ‘believing’ men and women to dress modestly and to lower their gazes. So it’s a two fold command. But only for those who are believers. If Muslim women start questioning who has the right to judge them, it’s just an indication that they are lacking in faith. Those who love and believe in Allah also fear his punishment.

        • Suhayl Buber

          To lower the gazes command is for both first for men and women and advise to believing women’s to cover their bosoms/ dress appropriately but doesn’t say cover their hair. Rest is all hair splitting. Allahu Alam but it’s a good tradition and good if we keep it…

          • T Bennett

            Uh, the ayat says to draw the veils over the bosoms. That’s a headscarf. Same type the Prophet’s wives also wore. So yeah, hair covering is mandatory for believing Muslim women. Being a Muslim means obedience to Allah’s commands. You know, a sign of faith? Of being a believer? If one assumes its an option, what e.g. will that set for future generations? It’s misleading.

          • John

            You’re stupid and close-minded. Congratulations.

          • T Bennett

            How’s explaining the hijab close minded?

          • John

            Well bud, you seem to think that only women who wear the hijab can be considered Muslim. What’re you gonna say next, that only middle easterners can be Muslim? That only Arabs can be Muslim? Last time I checked, Allah didn’t say that he along with some humans is going to judge who is and isn’t Muslim. No, last time I checked, only Allah is considered the All-Knowing. How about you stop being ~~close minded~~ and open up to the possibility that non-hijabis can be even better Muslims than Hijabis and vice versa. We’re all human here- were supposed to have flaws. No one expects perfection from any of us, not even Allah.

          • T Bennett

            //Well bud, you seem to think that only women who wear the hijab can be considered Muslim.//

            Unless you can show me where I said “you aren’t Muslim unless you wear hijab” I call strawman.

            //What’re you gonna say next, that only middle easterners can be Muslim? That only Arabs can be Muslim?//

            Is that in the Qur’an?

            //open up to the possibility that non-hijabis can be even better Muslims than Hijabis and vice versa. We’re all human here- were supposed to have flaws. No one expects perfection from any of us, not even Allah.//

            I never denied such a possibility. My only point is that I, as a Muslim, am obligated to remind other Muslims of their duties as Muslims. Whether it be to pray, fast or dress properly. If you have a problem with that reminder, you should re-examine your faith.

          • John

            Haha I was right: you’re stupid AND funny. You have no obligation nor right to tell others to re-examine their faith. I’m not going to continue to argue with you because your low intellectual level makes productive discussion nearly impossible, but I will pray for you that maybe one day you can learn some humility.

          • T Bennett

            //you’re stupid AND funny.//
            The feeling is mutual.
            //You have no obligation nor right to tell others to re-examine their faith.//
            Another strawman? I said Muslims are obligated to remind one another in matters of worship.

            I said if you have a problem with Muslims giving sincere advice, you should re-examine your faith.

            “And Remind for verily a reminder benefits the believer”(51:55)

            “Tell the believing men to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what they do.
            And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment..” (24:31-32).

            Do you have a problem with the above verses?

            //but I will pray for you that maybe one day you can learn some humility.//
            That’s my line.

          • John Smith

            You poor, poor human being.

        • Hello

          Please STOP this Judgement of others. Let ALLAH be the JUDGE and you do your best for only your own deeds. Don’t Judge others as your good deeds might be taken away from you

          • T Bennett

            This isn’t my judgement. This is Allah’s judgement. I’m simply passing on the advice, which Allah commands me to do. Whether you accept the message or not is your choice. Word of advice, don’t use phrases like ‘don’t judge me’ to ignore sincere advice.

      • Suhayl Buber

        You should cover yourself as I said in my above comment even if you’re not wearing the scarf.

    • Suhayl Buber

      Naima, you’ll have see it in reference to context. It was the time when the
      hypocrites and Jews were trying to target the prophet of Allah and we’re trying to tarnish his character. The hypocrites use to visit the mosque and as we all know the house of the Prophet of Allah was in the mosque. These hypocrites-people with some excuse use to go to the Prophets room. It was the time when these hypocrites and Jews use to hide look for the believing women when they use to go for the call of nature in the early hours of the morning and in the evening. One such women was raped in the early hours of the morning when actually she was going to the mosque before Fajr for Salah. Then Allah revealed a special commandment for the wives of prophet and were even told not to venture out. It was actually then this command for the wives of Prophet and advise for the believing women to cover their bosoms as in wearing appropriately. The word Hijab mentioned 7 times in Sura Taubah most scholars and Muslims interpret as to cover the hair. No! It’s not that hijab but to put curtains on the doors of the Hujurats of the Prophets. But, the Quran clearly tells to cover your bosoms appropriately and not the hair. Allahu Alam

    • John

      I didn’t realize you were a scholar.

      • Maman

        I didn’t realize you were wither

    • Hello

      We All know the commandments of Islam. We don’t need lecture from you. You need to check your own Iman and you are only answerable to what you do or don’t do in this world.
      Allah is the one who Judges NOT Humans 🙂

    • Ali

      Naimah, hijab is not mentioned in the Quran. It is NOT a commandment either. The fact that you somehow compare hijab to prayer and fasting shows your level of intellect.
      How exactly does “hijab” protect women when women in burkas and niqabs are routinely harassed in Muslim countries?

  • Suhayl Buber

    Who’s the lady in hijab on the article picture?

  • Djazlaan Omayr

    A very dangerous way of thinking.

    Not fulfilling the hijab is one of the two things. Either one is not aware of the importance of it, or one’s Taqwa (God consciousness) is not high enough. And how good of a Muslim you are (in the eyes of God) is directly related to one’s Taqwa. And this is a fact.

    “For the women in Islam, it is advised that they wear a hijab.” and “Something as trivial as a head scarf” strongly suggests you are not placing enough importance on fulfilling the hijab. It is NOT advised, it is commanded. It is NOT trivial, it is part of a Muslim’s identity. Everything that God commanded us to do is beneficial and important to do. And everything that He forbids is harmful and important to avoid. Be careful not to look down on Hijab or any of the Commands.

    Moving on, of course there is some truth in what is said. The situation plays a key role. For example, a lot less Taqwa would be needed for someone to wear a Hijab in a country where everyone wears it, as opposed to a country where, let’s say, it’s forbidden by the country’s law. So yes, it’s possible for hijab wearing people from the former country have less Taqwa than someone who actually really struggles to fulfill it in the latter country. Having said that, you should never feel like you’ve become a good enough Muslim when you’re not fulfilling the hijab because you are still directly disobeying a religious command.

    Ask yourself this: Are you making serious effort to wear proper hijab? If the answer is no, you should be afraid of heading down the wrong path.

    • John

      Seems to me someone’s already headed down the wrong path…instead of judging others, maybe you should do a better job of keeping your own Iman in check.

      • Maman

        Ok this whole don’t judge me culture is getting a little old and ridiculous. No one has time or cares about your personal level of iman. It’s getting dangerous brushing everything of as “don’t judge me” or “worry about your own iman.” The fact of the matter is hijab is a commandment and modesty is obligatory for men and women. Get over yourself and either admit you don’t wear hijab because your not there yet (and that’s ok) or you choose not to be religious enough to practice it (that’s ok too). But enough with this false equivalency crap. Everyone just wants participation points but the worlds doesn’t work like that.

        • MSD

          So did God tell Mammad to make humans wear modest clothes? So, what is the logic? The dude gives us a body and body parts like hair and then barks order at us to cover it up?
          How about not giving us hair or whatever we are supposed to be modest about?
          God must own a textile mill. I mean how many poor people during his time could drape themselves in fabric?

          No thank you god. If I am your child, like all children I am going to rebel against my parent. Thank you, very much.

          • flamin0802

            Maybe you should check your facts before you say nonsense. Islam teaches us constraint. Islam teaches us to be humble, modest, and pious in everything that we do-even our very thoughts. Bottom line: Muslims do the EXACT opposite of what non-muslims do. The very way walk, talk, use the bathroom, eat, handle bad situations, carry our selves and SO much MORE is different from a kafirs (non-believer). Non-muslims reveal themselves in the way they dress, talk, think and much more. Therefore, we are advised to carry ourselves in a manner which the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) carried himself. He was the very best of mankind. Muhammad told us to cover our bodies from evil eyes.
            — Prophet Muhammad NEVER “barked” at us to do anything. Prophet Muhammad is Allah’s final and last messenger. You should know the definition of a messenger, but let me inform you anyways. A messenger in Islam is someone who delivered the words of Allah to mankind to follow. He broke up his ruling sin stages gradually to give mankind time to adjust to them so that they may follow them.
            The Quran states:

            “Say to the believing men that they restrain their eyes and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Surely, Allah is well aware of what they do.” (24:31)
            “Say to the believing women that they restrain their looks and guard their private parts, and that they display not their beauty or their embellishment except that which is apparent thereof, and that they draw their head coverings over their bosoms…..” (24:32)

            A woman who is following the rules of hijab in her dress and actions is not likely to be treated in a disrespectful way by men. Thus hijab provides Muslim women with freedom from some of the problems that women in Western society are facing today. In Islam woman is not regarded as a “sex object,” nor is she exploited or harassed in this demeaning manner. As you are probably aware, various feminist movements are trying to deal with these issues today, sometimes with little success.
            Islam has reduced the importance of physical appearance as a mark of self-esteem. A Muslim woman is free to develop in herself other talents, and does not have to rely on her physical beauty to achieve what she wants.

            —I also wear my hijab- I started recently. I have now realized the true impact of wearing a hijab. I feel like a different person. I feel pure. I feel modest. I am now very cautious of my actions. I’ve become more modest. Never did I ever think I’d feel this way. My Hijab has lifted me up spiritually. It is an amazing feeling knowing that you are covered and guarded from a man’s eyes.

            ALSO– IF she does not have money to buy a headscarf, THEN it is not obligatory upon her for she has no money and has done her best to find one.

            I hope this will make you rethink all of your atrocious insults of my religion-Islam.

            I know my path and my path is Jannah. Do you know yours?????

          • MSD

            Oh I see. So your answer to male’s sexual violence is to cover yourself up in the hope that their gaze doesn’t fall on you and you are spared from their violence. Of course men like you, after all you are following dress codes set by men to repress your sexuality.

            By covering you up, by claiming modesty ( a patriarchical word) protects you from MALE violence & “unbridled lust” as if that is men’s natural behavior ( which it isn’t) they are making YOU responsible for their conditioned behavior.

            And no as a brown South Asian of Muslim parents, and as a person who has lived in Jeddah &Abu Dabi because of my dad’s work, I can tell you sexual violence is rampant against Hijabis and pious, modest Muslim Arab, Persian South Asian & South East women.

            We know about sexual violence, the way women feel and think in the west because they have a voice. Not because they are not as modest and hence unworthy of male “respect”.

            You are an object. Your hijab objectifies you by reducing you into representing male defined modesty. The fact that you wear your hihab with pride and see how well men treat you makes you sound like a patheic appeaser. Most sexual predators are also pleased when tbeir victims comply to their rules and even reward them.

            And you need to stop virtue signalling and telling yourself lies about western women. Their lives is far, far from perfect but to claim yours is perfect due to your decision to conform to male defined standards and hence bask in receiving their adulation by appeasement is a life I would forfeit.

            There is no God. What type of a God sends three people to pontificate the same bloody message. He doesn’t cause he is non-existent.

            Mohammed ( the human not prophet)was ashamed of Arab paganism and as a successful trader thought of the rich Jews & Christians culture as superior and something to ve followed. Rich Jewish & Christian women were subjected to the tyranny of veil or habbit or what you now call hihab.

            Besides, if hijab is to make you sexually modest , since hair is considered to be a symbol of potent feminity (and hence only to be seen by husband) and you are decreed by your god to wear it, to be close to him what does it say about your god?
            He cannot control his urges?

            I feel sorry for you that you take a fantasy concocted first in the Old Testament, refined in the New Testament and then given a local flavour, spiced, spruced and updated in the Koran as reality.

            Besides, I would give this male god (daddy issues eh?)you feel so close to but then he seems to promise men all sorts of female virgins when they reach heaven. If he had promised an equal number of men for me, I would have gladly accepted.

            As someone one said, ” I am the master of my ship. I am the captain of my fate.” I don’t need religions steeped in patriarcgical violence to tell me how I should live.

        • Ali

          Maman, wow, is this how your parents raised you? Judging is haraam in Islam whether you like it or not. Hijab is not a commandment, I just posted a bunch of scholarly links to prove it.

    • Hello

      We All know the commandments of Islam. We don’t need lecture from you. You need to check your own Iman and you are only answerable to what you do or don’t do in this world.
      Let the people wear or not wear what they want. Allah is All Aware and Watching.
      Allah is the one who Judges NOT Humans 🙂

  • Siza Buang

    I agree with author that not all ladies that wear hijab is better muslims than the non hijabi. those who wear hijab not out of sincerity to abide Allah’s command are usually a part time hijabi. It means they do not hesitate to take off their hijab to suit their whim and fancy, and will not feel an inkling of guilt.

    On the other hand, if you have complete taqwa and iman to Allah, I will find it odd for you not to manifest your iman through your apparel as clearly being commanded in quran that ladies must wear hijab. Granted it is utmost difficult for any lady to wear hijab but a complete faith will ease the effort.

    If wearing hijab is just a mere advice or trivial, then why the ladies, I am assuming the author as well wear hijab when you perform solat.

  • andrea

    To the author of this piece; Did you gain permission from the ladies in the picture to use them in your article? Seeing as one of them is my very dear friend, I would like comfirmation from you that she gave you permission and am alerting her now in case she is unaware of your usage of her image.

    • andrea

      I have checked and you do not have her permission to use her image. Ot would be both wise and respectful to remove it

      • FU

        what you gonna do Andrea… hahahaha LOL
        You look like crazy shittttttttttttttttttttt

        • andrea

          And yet the image has been removed because it had been unlawfully used….feel free to submit your own photos of your friends to be shared/used/mislead people…but hey, make sure you dont ask their permission mmkay? Also, delightful language, I’m sure your Mother must be proud 🙂

  • Eliza Buzoianu

    If you believe in the Oneness of God (Tawheed) , you show this by following his commands, which say that a woman should preserve her modesty, not beauty, sorry. Simple as that

    • Kevin

      This is also one of the more stupid comments I have come across in life. Simple as that.

      • Eliza Buzoianu

        If you have Allah’s words in your heart, hijab comes naturally . It s useless to hide behind words…at this point, Iman is in the heart…so , whoever believes in Allah, follows HIS comandments.
        Those who don’t observe hijab fear Dunya more than The Creator , but that is between them and Allah, not for us to judge.

  • John Smith

    Anyone here who has the audacity to interpret Allah’s word for others should keep his or her ideas to himself/herself because last time I checked, Allah created all of you as fallible creatures. It is absolutely ridiculous that we as an ummah judge others choices. Iman is in the heart. Faith is in the heart. We all have our own battles to fight, so go fight your own and don’t judge others. Shame on you if you have the arrogance to say that God “commands” and does not “advise” or anything else along those lines. No one is attacking women who wear hijab, so please stop attacking those who do not. Seems to me that your faith is the one that needs to be checked if you’re so insecure about the hijab that it scares you when a woman who doesn’t wear one can have more iman than you. Smh.

  • Madiha

    Yup i agree hijab does not tell ur level of emaan ,your closeness to Allah,,,
    But one who accepts islam,submits his will to Allah,
    then he has to obey what Allah has said,,,he has to do what islam says,,he has to stay away from all that which islam says to avoid ,,,and to do hijab is one of command of Allah
    ,,you and me dont have to decide who has more emaan,,Allah knows best,,, but being a muslim to obey commands of Allah is our ist duty
    and to have hijab is one of those commands
    and one who is doing hijab with this intention,( following Allah’s commsnd)
    she is fullfilling command of Allah sub hano tawla,,,,inshahallah Allah will give her ajar for this…

  • Shazia


    • Shazia

      This is one of the best articles I have seen on this subject. It’s about time and a needed discussion for Muslim women . It’s a personal choice and no one has the right to tell any woman Muslim or otherwise how to dress.

      Personally, I find the aggressive comments made to Muslim woman by other Muslims disturbing . No one has the right to judge others on their religion and spirituality .

  • Erica Ross

    I am a new Muslim, and I do not wear a head covering. The reason is simple for me, most people do not respect my religious choice. I don’t want to walk around having to explain and defend myself all the time. I live in a western nation, I am surrounded by Christianity, and I am surrounded by people who do not understand the religion of Islam and only believe the thing they hear on the news. For me it is a matter of discrimination, not modesty, there are women in veils that still show their beauty. I am not at that place yet. I do hope that I will be strong enough one day to wear the veil, Insha Allah.

    • Aisah Moncatar Antopina

      Please don’t hesitate to learn more Islam,if you have more knowledge about your religion Islam…I believe that Allah s.w.a. guide’s you in what you want to know,Inshaallah.

    • flamin0802

      Insha Allah (if God wills) I have always been a muslim, but only at 16 yrs of age Ive began to wear my hijab. My dad was the one that made me wear my hijab, but I soon learned to love it. I was always afraid of people judging me. I was always afraid that something bad might happen to me, but then I realized…we’re here for one purpose- to WORSHIP Allah alone. HE is the only one who will judge us. HE is the only one that we have to fear in order to reach what mankind yearns for- paradise. If you want to be guided, Allah will guide you. Insha Allah. Stay Strong and remember- you’re not alone.

  • Jane Lam

    Religion is always a buffet, never prix fixe.