There is a common claim that wearing a hijab or sporting a long beard are components of protection from the unseen. I used to believe this as well, that is until I realised that the patients I have with some of the most serious issues are those who wear niqab or who have very long beards and tuck their trouser hems into their socks. That’s when I started to ponder upon this claim.
Where does it say that a piece of clothing is sufficient to protect from the creatures of the unseen? Obviously, this is just another Bid’ah from the pseudo-leaders of Ruqyah and their attempt to make everyone dress like them.
Let’s talk about Hijab as that’s a controversial issue for Muslims in the modern era. But when we talk about Hijab, we also have to talk about Ikhtilaf, because with all Islamic rulings, there are always differences in opinion.
It has been narrated on the authority of Abdullah who said:
On the day he returned from the Battle of Ahzab, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) made for us an announcement that nobody would say his Zuhr prayer but in the quarters of Banu Quraiza (Some) people, being afraid that the time for prayer would expire, said their prayers before reaching the street of Banu Quraiza. The others said: We will not say our prayer except where the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) has ordered us to say it even if the time expires. When he learned of the difference in the view of the two groups of the people, the Messenger of Allah (may peace be tipon him) did not blame anyone from the two groups.
[Muslim, Book 19, Hadith 4374]
I’m not here to debate the issue whether Hijab in the public life is obligatory for a Muslim woman or not, but I’m here to make you ponder upon the actual meaning of Ikhtilaf (difference of opinions) and how you actually apply this in real life without falling into the pits of hypocrisy.
The Islamic scholars will always differ. This is a well known permissible issue in Islam. However, with Ikhtilaf and the core tenets of Fiqh, when you accept an opinion of a scholar, then that opinion becomes the law of Allah for you, so it will be sinful for you to break that law. This is the case even if you are surrounded by people who follow a different opinion on the same issue. Generally, you can’t suddenly switch opinions based on your mood on that day.
Therefore, according to the rules of Fiqh, 2 people can adopt contradicting Islamic beliefs yet both will be gaining reward although both believe that if they practice the other opinion without switching adopted opinion, then they would be sinful. They must adopt the other opinion first and take that opinion as the Hukm of Allah and then don’t digress from it once adopted.
Let’s break this down with the example of Hijab, and then it will be clear to you why Hijab can’t protect you from the unseen.
Aliya adopts the opinion that Hijab is an obligation for her to wear. She doesn’t show her hair to any adult non-Mahram of the opposite gender. She’s intellectually convinced of the Islamic argument that claims that Hijab is obligatory for all Muslim women to wear in the public life. This means that if she goes out in public without her Hijab, in her opinion, it would be sinful for her to do such a thing.
Her friend, Sabrina, is intellectually convinced of the Islamic argument that claims that Hijab is not obligatory for all Muslim women to wear. This means that if she wears a Hijab in public, it is merely a fashion accessory and not related to her getting rewarded or punished.
Both women respect each other’s viewpoint. They both understand the existence of Ijtihad amongst scholars, and that although Scholars will try their upmost best to understand what the Hukm (law) of Allah may be in a particular issue, they remain humble and know that they could always be wrong as they are imperfect. As their scholars exemplify respect to differing opinions and remain humble, both women naturally follow the respect that their scholars show and respect each other in the differing opinions that they follow.
Both women believe they are following the Laws of God, and they are within their rights to do so, so how can there be any claim that declare one woman more religious than the other? That one is closer to God than the other? That one deserves more protection from God than the other?
The argument that claims the Hijab will protect a woman from the unseen forces comes from their understanding that if you disobey God, then God will punish you or at least, not protect you from bad things. Therefore in their opinion, in order for a woman to be protected from the unseen, she needs to wear the Hijab, the Jilbab and if her case is so bad, then even the Niqab.
The problem then rises, why is it that women who wear this full gear still get afflicted by the unseen? In fact, some cases are very extreme afflictions even though the clothing is worn.
As they have no answer, then they have to declare this women of low faith. Perhaps she’s not doing enough prayers. Perhaps there’s something she’s done previously that Allah’s punishing her for. Of course, when she’s done everything the Raqi asks her to do and her situations still has not improved, they say to her that this is just a test and that she has to struggle and her rewards will be in the hereafter.
In other words, when the Raqi dresses his patients according to his one-sided viewpoint in life yet he fails to help the women, he still manages to afflict the blame on her and tell her to just endure it. The question of his incompetence and lack of knowledge is never thrown into the equation.
So we now have a woman in depression with no help from the Raqis who is now obsessed with her clothing in order to try and prevent attacks from the unseen and thinks that she is not Islamic enough yet is not clear on how she should get closer to God.
Contrast this to a woman who doesn’t wear Hijab in public life because she adopts that opinion, but she believes in prayers so she prays to Allah, she works on purifying herself everyday and she doesn’t get the same affliction as the pro-Niqab women. In contrast, her life improves, yet she doesn’t wear the Hijab and/or the Niqab.
How is this possible? Because these are real life scenarios that I’m basing this article on. How is it possible that a non-Hijabi gets cured but a Niqaabi doesn’t?
This fact raises serious questions about the validity of using clothes for healing.
Firstly, the notion of a cloth being able to protect you from a creature from the unseen is obviously incorrect. The unseen creatures are from a different ‘fabric’ from different dimensions. To assume that cotton or polyester is something that they will have difficulty penetrating is nothing but an assumption with no factual backing.
Secondly, how about non-Muslims or atheists? I have done Ruqyah for non-Muslims in which they have benefited from the Ruqyah. So how can one claim that you must be a Muslim to be cured via Ruqyah?
Thirdly, what about non-Muslims who practice Ruqyah (or what they may term as ‘exorcism’ or healing) and don’t advocate a dress code that covers the hair? Some of them are very successful and in fact more successful in healing their patients compared to some Muslim Raqis.
Forthly, what gives someone the right to determine other Islamic opinions incorrect when the Prophet (SAW) approved of difference of opinions? Salt is rubbed into the wound as these people are too busy criticizing other opinions such that they still haven’t developed a solution to the problem. In the contemporary age, it is common to hear ‘scholars’ declare other ‘scholars’ from opposing opinions as deviant and out of Islam. To put frankly, this is the same arrogance that Iblees had when he was thrown out of heaven because his opinion was that Fire is greater than Clay.
Remember Allah says “And We send down of the Qur’an that which is healing and mercy for the believers, but it does not increase the wrongdoers except in loss” [Al-Isra: 82]
Here, Allah does not restrict the healing of the Quran to Muslims only, but rather makes it clear that it is for the believers. The “Mu’mineen”. So who are the believers?
Compare an illiterate nomad in the desert who believes there is a higher power above him that created this world and he looks to worship that creator and spends all his wealth and time to find that creator, yet he’s never come across the term “Allah” or “Islam”. Now compare him to a ‘born Muslim’ who memorises the Quran and prays 5 times daily yet it has no impact on his Qalb, life or actions. Which one believes more? Which one, when Ruqyah is read on them has a direct connection to the above quoted Ayat of the Qur’an?
Nevertheless, we digress.
The bottom line is how can one claim that clothing or beards is sufficient to protect from the unseen? The unseen don’t target the seen body, so they don’t care for the materials in the physical world. They target the unseen body, and when the unseen body is affected, then the physical body reacts. The physical body is nothing more than a vessel for the spiritual organs to sit in until death.
Hijab is important in the search for protection, but not a Hijab made of cloth, rather a spiritual Hijab made of a substance that is capable of preventing certain spiritual entities from attacking or entering the spiritual organs of the person. A spiritual Hijab is not achieved by wearing certain types of physical clothing, however it should still be noted that when the first phase of spiritual Hijab is achieved, then the evil that already has entered the spiritual body must still be eradicated. Once this has been achieved then the second phase of protection can begin, that’s the transformation that everyone looks for but few are dedicated to achieving.
The world of Ruqyah has been victimised of consumerism. That is to say, that in general people seek Ruqyah to treat their physical ailments i.e. they aim to treat the tip of the iceberg. They don’t seek Ruqyah once their physical ailments have gone away. They judge this by what they feel; obviously an incorrect way of self-analysis but nevertheless the practice that they use. It is because of this reason why the spiritual Hijab is seldom achieved, but rather long beards and certain items of clothing are in abundance.
Khaled Abou El Fadl elaborates from a classical scholar’s perspective the reasons why Hijab is not obligatory for Muslim women. You can hear/download “The Hijab lectures: The Issue and the Evidence” from his website.