Wearing the hijab: choice or duty

The Hijab has been part of Islamic practice for a long time and yet, the Qur’anic instruction of modesty has been fiercely debated in recent years.

Despite huge numbers of Muslim women sharing their experiences with the hijab publicly, either online or in public forums, many still believe that women do not have a choice in covering up and that this is indicative of the levels of choice and freedom they enjoy.

With some elements in the media portraying hijab as a tool for religious oppression of women, those who are choosing to wear it (or not) are fighting for their voices to be heard on the issue. We want to break the stereotype and destroy the taboo surrounding a woman’s right to wear the hijab.

Can you wear the Hijab and be a feminist?

Traditional portrayals of a woman wearing a hijab have always connected it to ideas of oppression and enforcement. Some mainstream feminist groups have used this to tell Muslim women that they need to be “saved” from their oppressors. While this has angered many Muslim women, it has in no way silenced them.

Hijabi feminists continue to make their voices heard through telling their story; they insist on their autonomy, on their refusal to be defined by their physical appearance and on their right to be judged on their intellect and abilities. This does defy the image of the hijab as a tool to fight female empowerment and proves that Muslim women, whether they wear the hijab or not believe in their prerogative.

Is wearing the Hijab your religious duty?

While Muslim women continue to be a topic of debate, they are consistently pushed to not speak out when they attempt to present their views on their own existence. Whether a woman chooses to wear a hijab or not it remains entirely her choice.

The idea of being forced by ‘authoritarian’ males to cover up has been refused by women time and again. These are the same women who are excelling in scientific innovation, political empowerment and business entrepreneurship.

Muslim women by nature cannot be pigeon-holed; their diverse backgrounds and cultures simply don’t allow it, and this is why they are a force to be reckoned with. They will refuse to be silenced and will continue to choose how they practice their religion and lead their lives.


At WARN, our mission is to fight radicalisation through education, empowerment and engagement. Women have the power to educate future generations, inspire change and protect vulnerable people against the evils of radicalisation.

Click here to join our movement today.