was posted by
Waheed Miah on Wednesday, November 15. 2006 at 04:17. and is filed under
A common misconception is that Muslim women are the only ones who cover their
hair. It may be true that Islam is the only religion in which most women follow
its directives to cover the hair, but it is not the only religion to have such
It is particularly interesting to look at the case of Christianity, since
Christianity is the predominant religion in the West, and it is Westerners,
including observant Christians, who are often the first to criticize Islam
because of the hijab (modest dress, including headcovering).
Is Covering the Hair a Religious Commandment for Christian Women?
There can be only one answer to this: yes, it is! Simply open the Bible to the
First Epistle to the Corinthians, chapter 11. Read verses 3-10.
But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ and the head of
the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or
prophesying with his head covered, disgraces his head. But every woman praying
or prophesying with her head uncovered disgraces her head, for it is the same as
if she were shaven. For if a woman is not covered, let her be shaven. But if it
is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her
cover her head. A man indeed ought not to cover his head, because he is the
image and glory of God. But woman is the glory of man. For man was not created
for woman, but woman for man. This is why the woman ought to have a sign of
authority over her head, because of the angels.
The meaning of this passage is plain enough. We can make the following
- Praying with
an uncovered head is a disgrace
- Having a
shaved head is the same as praying with an uncovered head
having a shaved head is a disgrace
- If it is a
disgrace for a woman to have a shaved head, she should cover her head
- It is a
disgrace for a woman to have a shaved head - see syllogism 1
- Therefore, a
woman should cover her head
other words, the passage means what it says. Have you ever wondered why Catholic
nuns dress like they're wearing hijab (Muslim hijabi women, have you ever been
mistaken for a nun? I have, more than once). Have you ever wondered why Mary the
mother of Jesus (peace be upon them both) is always depicted in Christian art
with her hair covered? Did you know that until the 1960s, it was obligatory for
Catholic women to cover their heads in church (then they "modernized" the
There are some interesting points that can be made about the Christian
1) The explicit purpose of the Christian woman's headcovering, as stated
by Paul, is that it is a sign of man's authority over woman. The explicit
purpose of Islamic hijab is modesty. Strange how so many Westerners think that
the purpose of hijab is a symbol of male authority. Maybe they know that that's
what it is in their own religion (Christianity) so they assume that Islam must
be the same...!
2) The Christian woman is to cover her head whenever she is praying,
whether it be at the church service or just personal prayer at home. This may
mean that if she is not praying at home, she is uncovered around male guests who
are not related to her; or if she is praying at home, that she is covered around
her own husband and family. If any more proof were needed than Paul's own words
that the Christian headcovering is not about modesty, this must certainly be it!
This puts hijab in a whole new perspective, doesn't it! To my non-hijabi Muslim
sister who feels that hijab is a sign of oppression for the Muslim female,
please do read the above and then read the Quran. Believe me, if Allah SWT meant
for hijab to be a sign of male authority, the Quran would be as unambiguous
about it as Paul is in the Bible. Isn't this difference the kind of thing that
attracted you to Islam in the first place?
Do Any Christian Women Today Cover Their Heads?
It is true that most Christian women do not, and many don't take other teachings
of the Bible (against pre-marital sex, adultery, etc) literally either. However,
there do seem to be a growing number of Christian women out there who are
committed to following the Bible as it is written. Below are some WebPages that
I found that call for Christian women to cover their heads in accordance with
the commandment of the Bible.