MARAWI CITY (PIA)--For Muslim women, the hijab serves as an identity that reflects their modesty and strong beliefs, or what is called the "Imaan."
A hijab, also known as a veil or headscarf, is a piece of clothing worn by Muslim women to cover everything from their heads to their feet. It also serves as protection for women from the male gaze, especially from unrelated men.
In many countries, Muslim women are being recognized for their unique attire, like wearing a black Abaya (loose-fitting full-length robe) and a loose hijab.
The primary intention of the hijab is to protect women from evil eyes. And referring to this, Allah says: "O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful." (Qur’an, Surah Al-Ahzab verse: 59).
All in all, the hijab is a religious obligation that a Muslim woman has to observe. It's clear from the Qur'an, Allah's words, and the sayings of the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him).
Every February 1, Hijab Day is celebrated in the Philippines, especially in the Bangsamoro region.
This year, hundreds of Bangsamoro women from BARMM ministries, agencies, offices, civil society organizations, and schools took part in Hijab Day at the Bangsamoro Government Center in Cotabato City. They wore their emerald green hijabs as a sign of modesty.
This year’s observance of World Hijab Day carries the theme "Progression, Not Oppression," and the hashtag #unapologeticalhijabi.
The Bangsamoro Women Commission (BWC) is in charge of the celebration in the area, which is to honor the millions of Muslim women who choose to wear hijab and live modestly on their own.
BWC Chairperson Bainon Karon said the Commission supports all Bangsamoro women. Further, she encouraged them to do their part to push back against discrimination and promote the empowerment of Muslim women in their communities.
"I would like to encourage all Bangsamoro women, not just in BARMM but throughout the country, to see yourselves as role models for properly wearing your modest dress and hijab, especially the women in BARMM who are leading the advocacy," said Karon.
Karon also emphasized that the Commission supported different national legislations regarding Hijab Day, such as the Senate Bill Numbers 805 and 1272 filed by Senators Robin Padilla and Jinggoy Estrada, and the House Bill Numbers 1363 and 3725—the acts declaring the first day of February of every year as National Hijab Day and promoting an understanding of the Muslim tradition of wearing a hijab.
Meanwhile, BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim said the modern world has now acknowledged that hijabis (women wearing hijabs) are considered "empowered women" who learn how to assert their rights while respecting the rights of others.
"Behind these symbolic clothes are stories of oppression, deprivation, and neglect that the world once turned a blind eye to. But in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, we see these clothes as a symbol of our mutual respect, creativity, hope, and values," Ebrahim stressed.
Some BARMM ministries, offices, and other Members of Parliament also donated head scarves to BWC, which will be distributed to the less fortunate women in the region. (BIO/PIA Lanao del Sur)