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Hijab is not for only one gender

What, I feel, seems to be far less considered in the public discourse today is the male factor: How males should conduct themselves and the…

What, I feel, seems to be far less considered in the public discourse today is the male factor: How males should conduct themselves and the Shariah protocol relating to their dressing.
Hijab is a generic concept that should apply equally to males and females. True, the finer rulings regarding dressing of the genders may differ, but the objectives of Hijab in both instances are the same.
An apt demonstration for this parity is provided in the Qur’an wherein Allah SWT commands both men and women to lower the gazes in modesty (with men, in fact, being addressed prior to women):
“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts). That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All Aware of what they do.
And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts) and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent (like both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer palms of hands or one eye or dress like veil, gloves, headcover, apron), and to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms) and not to reveal their adornment… And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful” [al-Noor 24:30-31]
This dimension of Hijab has always been enshrined in the Shariah, but its highlighting has become more pertinent now in light of the explosion of homosexuality and increase in sexual objectification of men.
As a Wikipedia entry notes, women’s supposed sexual liberation in the West has led to a potential role reversal, whereby many women (and perhaps men too) view men as sex objects, in a manner similar to the ongoing (and much longer prevalent) portrayal of women. Research has suggested that the psychological effects of objectification on men are similar to those of women, leading to, amongst others, a negative body image among men.
“Today you have skinny jeans that is absolutely unacceptable – it is equivalent to the mini-skirt of a female. Today you have tight shirts with your buttons open and you want to expose, that is perhaps similar to something else illegal that females are wearing. These items of clothing drive away the Angels of Mercy and Protection Allah SWT has sent to accompany us”.
The power of clothing is one that should never be underestimated. Dressing appropriately or inappropriately is a major determinant in drawing one closer to the opposite gender, either legitimately or otherwise. Hence, Islam, as a comprehensive way of living, sets in place a framework of rules for both males and females that regulates this otherwise perceivedly mundane part of daily living.
For one, the fabric that makes up the clothing should be considered carefully. This should not be so thin so as to reveal what lies beneath what one is supposedly covering. Islam respects modifications in dress fabric based on the prevailing climate, but still, at no time may this overarching principle of not revealing be contravened.
Equally, the fit on garments should always be loose fitting and not be so tight or hugging so as to reveal the shape and curve of the body.
Then comes the issue of Awrah, or the parts of the body that should be strictly covered at all times. For males, the Shariah stipulates this bare minimum to be from the navel to knees. However, proper decorum entails that all other relevant parts of the male body be clothed as well, barring any legitimate circumstances for it to be otherwise.
The role of pride and boastfulness should also be considered as they constitute among the greatest sins in Islam, and attempting to impress others (both males and females) using our physique and attracting attention to ourselves in such a manner certainly falls into this category.
You cannot be dressed however correctly in terms of Islamic garb, but be foul in terms of your words or morality.
When we do this (adopt correct Hijab) for the sake of our Maker, we will find so much of social bliss, marital bliss, goodness within the home, and we will automatically become role models for our own children, even without uttering a single word.

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