There is a common claim that wearing a hijab or sporting a long beard are components of protection from the unseen. However, if this is absolutely true, then why is it that many patients with serious issues wear the hijab, niqab or who have very long beards?
The question arises. Where does it say that a piece of clothing is sufficient to protect from the creatures of the unseen?
Let’s talk about Hijab as that’s a controversial issue for Muslims in the modern era. However, 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 (SAW) 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 (SAW) 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 (SAW) did not blame anyone from the two groups.
[Muslim, Book 19, Hadith 4374]
This article’s focus is not to debate the issue whether Hijab in the public life is obligatory for a Muslim woman or not. Rather this article is to trigger the understanding of the actual meaning of Ikhtilaf (difference of opinions) and how this is applied in real life, from the perspective of Ruqyah healing.
The Islamic scholars will always differ. Difference of opinion (Ikhtilaf) 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, two different people can adopt contradicting Islamic beliefs yet both will be gaining reward although both believe that if they practice the other opinion without switching their personal adopted opinion, then they would be sinful.
Let’s break this down following the example of Hijab.
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 deduces the 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 adopted viewpoint. They both understand the existence of Ijtihad amongst scholars, and that although Scholars will try their utmost 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 declares 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 this 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.
Back to the question, why is it that women who wear this full gear still get afflicted by the unseen?
As the ‘pro-hijab’ advocates have no real answer, they are merely left with the option to declare the women of low faith. These women therefore become victims of unfair suspicion e.g. 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, she is commonly told 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 ‘pro-hijab’ Raqi orders his female patients to dress according to his views yet it fails to help her, he still manages to afflict the blame on her and tell her to just endure it. The question of the Raqi’s incompetence and lack of knowledge is never thrown into the equation.
So in this example, we now have a woman with a severe unseen affliction in depression who has no help from the Raqis as they assume that she is not Islamic enough hence the reason God is not helping her.
Contrast this to the example of 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 regularly, she works on purifying herself regularly, yet she doesn’t get the same affliction as the Hijabi or Niqabi women. In contrast, her life improves, although she doesn’t wear the Hijab or the Niqab.
How is this possible? These examples are based on real life scenarios. How is it possible that a non-Hijabi gets cured but a Niqaabi doesn’t?
This fact raises serious questions about the validity of claiming clothes can protect from the unseen.
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’ and have managed to cross 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? Ruqyah has been done on non-Muslims in which they have benefited. So how can one claim that you must be a ‘Islamic’ 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.
Fourthly, what gives someone the right to determine other Islamic opinions incorrect when the Prophet (SAW) approved of difference of opinions? 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 makes it clear that the Quran can be used for healing for those who believe i.e. 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 because he’s told he must just do it, hence 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?
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.
It should also 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 would like for but few are dedicated to achieving.
The world of Ruqyah has been victimised of consumerism. That is to say, that in general Ruqyah is sought to treat perceived physical ailments only i.e. just the tip of the iceberg. Ruqyah is seldom sought for once the perceived physical ailments have been dealt with. It is because of this reason of prioritising the physical aspects of life over the spiritual aspects of life that the spiritual Hijab is seldom achieved. 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.