What is the Definition of Hijab?

What's the definition of hijab? What do we mean by hijab? Now, in the Arabic language, the word hijab means barrier. If there is a barrier between two things, we would say that there is a hijab between these two things. And Islamically, the definition of the hijab is that the hijab is a system comprised of a set of laws so that they are meant to establish modesty in the society. A system comprised of a set of laws meant to establish modesty in the society and to discipline the human beings with their desires.

And that Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, He created two genders, the males and the females, men and women. And Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, He placed desires within the human beings. And amongst the desires is the love and lust of each gender to the other. Men are attracted to woman, and woman are attracted to men. This is the work of Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala.

And this desire, this attraction that Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala placed between the two genders, is very strong, such that if it is not controlled, if it is not tamed, it will become very dangerous, it will go out of control. And thus Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, because of how powerful this desire is, Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, He created men and women, males and females in this world, and they are mixed together in the same world. Thus, in order to prevent human beings of abusing this desire and turning into wild animals and beasts chasing after their desire, Allah devised a concept and a system called hijab.

And this system is meant to what? This system is meant to limit these desires, to channel them through specific ways. Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, placed guidelines with this desire. There are guidelines, there are rules, there are limits, or else I will turn into an animal. And Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, placed a barrier between these two genders that this desire attraction is too strong, there must be a barrier. And this barrier is called the hijab.

So the rules of how males and females should conduct with each other and how they should direct their desires towards each other is called hijab. And hijab in Islam is divided into two parts. Hijab consists of two types. It's composed of two components.

The first hijab is the physical hijab, that is the veil, the headscarf, the Abaya that the woman wear. And then you have the symbolic hijab, or that is the social hijab, and that is the behaviors of each gender towards the other. How should each person behave in front of the other? The demeanor, the code of conduct of each in front of the other is called also the hijab. This is the second hijab. This is the social hijab. This is the symbolic hijab.

Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, in one verse, apparently He speaks about this. He says in the verse: "ya Bani Adam, qad anzalna alaykum libasan yuwaris awatikum wa rishan, wa libasu at-taqwaa" (7:26). Allah says that I have brought to you two types of clothes. The first is a physical type of clothes that we wear to protect our bodies, to guard our private parts, and to beautify us. This is the first one. This is the physical and then Allah says "wa libasu at-taqwaa" (7:26), and there's another clothes, there is another type of clothes that Allah calls it Taqwa, piety. So it is as if I have piety I have Akhlaq, I have clothed myself with this piety. So it's a type of clothes.

So Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala,  divides clothes into two parts: the physical and the social, the Akhalq. So He is telling us that hijab, in order for it to be effective, in any society and establish modesty, there has to be both, there has to be the physical hijab, the veil, and there has to be the Akhlaq. There has to be the modesty, and the Akhalq, and the manners, and the demeanors, and the conduct, and the behaviors of each towards one another.