Here is another viewpoint on the hijab that I think not only is expressed well by its author, Sara Padidar , but is also shared by many other women and men, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. The following is taken from an online discussion group with Ms. Padidar's reply following the discussion question:
QUESTION: I thought this would be a good discussion to start because once again I see to many pics [on facebook.com] that people think are hijabi pics but do not qualify. What I thought is the whole body with the exception of the face and the palms. So the neck needs to be covered right?
Here is Sara's reply after others responded to the original question with opinions that stated only the face & palms were allowed to be seen, no make-up allowed, and no jewelry permitted as part of "hijab" :
Ok at the risk of causing a furor I am going to ask anyway (plus this is a discussion board):
I'm a little confused - surely the very quote that is on the front page of this group says exactly what needs to be covered -
"...And say to the believing women that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts and do not display their ornaments except what appears thereof, and let them wear their head-coverings over their bosoms, and not display their ornaments..."
Surah Noor, verses 30-31
In short it has always utterly baffled me why people cover their head when the Prophet asked women to cover the ornaments of their bodies and to wear their head coverings over their bosoms - He did not say cover your head; but stated to wear the head covering instead of over the head wear it over the bosom.
When the Prophet was on this earth, He came to a people who did not wear clothes (esp women), women were traded (naked) and worth less than animals, women were a commodity and a possession. The Prophet was the FIRST Teacher from God to raise the status of women equal to men, and emancipate them. He was the FIRST Teacher from God to limit the number of wives a man could have. From my understanding of the Qu'ran, He did not ask they to be covered in such a manner to only show their faces and palms or any other ultra conservative interpretation that is now commonly subscribed to.
'except what appears thereof' means hair, face, neck, arms, legs, hands, feet. If is perfectly possible to dress conservatively whilst displaying all of the above.
'guard their private parts and do not display their ornaments' means just that your sexual organs including the breasts. Some may argue the midriff - and I would be inclined to agree, the navel of a woman is superbly sexual.
I dare say no one will agree with my comments by virtue of the name of this group [Hijab is for facebook too!]- but it would be nice if someone could logically explain to me why a conservative hijab is what is dictated in the Qu'ran.
I admire Sara's risk taking on a discussion board that obviously exists to discredit the term "hijab" by pointing out all the so-called flaws and mistakes Muslim women have in their dress. And I admire the way she asks the question and makes her point without intending to cause offense, but sincerely wanting an answer to a reasonable question.
I responded to her question, and we had a complex exchange of opinions, but here is my reply to her initial question:
...to answer ur question quickly, other than cultural custom, i think many hijabi women wear it because they follow the teachings of a scholar who is there to interpret the Quran in a way that the common person can not...so they wish to follow islam as accurately as possible, and often a scholar is better at making interpretations of certain verses in the Quran.