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Assalamualaikum I bid to the honourable judges, accurate timekeeper, fellow
candidates and my respectable brothers and sisters.
Before I begin my speech, let us have a short quiz, shall we? What is the
similarity between durians, rambutans, sweets, chocolates, books and gifts? They
are all of different categories; some can be eaten, some cant. But, there is one thing
that they have in common. Delicious? Quite there but not exactly. Colourful? Emm,
yes but no. Sweet? I have never tasted books but I dont think so. You have to
remove the skin to eat the delicious fruits, unwrap the wrapper to chomp on
chocolates and pull out the ribbon to see the gifts. All of them have something to
cover them up before we could actually savour them. You wont eat an unwrap sweet
on the floor, would you? Hence, this will bring the topic for my speech today which is
hijab. A piece of cloth that becomes every Muslim womens best friend. An amazing
piece of cloth that becomes the talk of the world.
Some say that hijab prevents social development? Is that true? That is what I
want to talk about within this precious 8 minutes. I will state my stand and give
reasons to support it.
Brothers and sisters, esteemed audiences,
On top of all, I have to disagree with the statement. I do not think that hijab prevents
social development. First, let us look into the definition of social development.
According to the Advanced Learners Oxford Dictionary, social development refers to
the changes of a persons behaviour in a society. In laymans term, it means the way
people interact and talk with other people. And presumably, wearing a hijab can
hinder this development? I dont think so. How can an innocent piece of cloth be so
intimidating to prevent this development?
There are two verses in the Quran in which Allah SWT talks about the
issue of decency and hijab. First, is in surah an-Nur (the Light), in verse 30, Allah
commands both men and women to cast down their glances and guard their private
parts. This is known as the hijab of the eyes. After hijab of the eyes, came the order
describing the dress code for women in surah al-Ahzab, verse 59. Allah commands
the women to let down their jilbab.
In my humble opinion, first, we need to understand the function of hijabs and
why Muslim women are ordered to wear them. Most often, hijab is worn as a symbol
of modesty, privacy and morality. Modesty in the Quran concerns both mens and
womens gaze, garments and genitalia. So the function of wearing a hijab is basically
to protect oneself and to uphold morality. This is due to the fact that Islam has

strongly emphasized the concept of decency and modesty. However, I could not find
any proof that hijab prevents social development.
Does hijab prevent women from seeking culture and knowledge or competing in its
diverse fields?
Does hijab, for example, prevent women from expressing their views and ideas?
Does hijab intervene between woman and her right of possessing wealth?
Lets take a look at a situation outside our country. France, for example. The
government ban religious symbols to be worn or shown from entering classes and
university including hijabs. This is definitely a hindrance in a social development
because students are not allowed to enter schools. But, is hijab the real culprit? I
would think the hindrance is caused by the lack of tolerance of diversity in that
country, not the hijab itself. Some even claimed that wearing a hijab means
oppression and lack of freedom. What do they mean, in reality, by the "freedom" of
women? If what is meant is to be free to express one's views; give one's opinion; the
freedom of possession; the freedom of choosing a suitable husband; and the cultural
freedom and what relates to it; there is no obstacle in woman's hijab which stops her
from enjoying these freedoms.
Another point to mention is that the woman who observes the proper
Islamic hijab not only gains respect and dignity in the society and from her family, but
also she is pleasing Allah, the Most High, and gaining rewards from His for her
obedience to His religion. This is the highest achievement for her. All of this she
accomplishes, with little efforts, simply by the use of hijab.
In all honesty, I cannot comprehend how or why the hijab seems like such a
hindrance. Whether these hijab arguments stem from abhorrence, fear or
just narrow-mindedness. These liberals argue that the hijab curtails the rights of
women and threatens their freedom of choice. In my opinion, such arguments are
against the very definition of liberalism since they keep women from wearing what
they choose to wear. Islam is a complete religion and it gives equal rights to men and
women. It desires both, men and women to strive for excellence in personal,
academic, community and social development. And the hijab was never meant to
isolate women or keep them from achieving their goals. It is not meant to restrict

With that, thank you.