To Link the Ordinance of Shari’a and Social Expediency

In verse number 255 of the Surah Al-Baqarah, it says “There is no compulsion in religion…”( لا اکراه فی الدین) a verse that has been used frequently these days by non-experts to reject the connection and relationship between hijab and chastity based on incorrect references to some teachings of religion. In this way, they want to introduce hijab as unnecessary in the eyes of Sharia. Common statements that claim that modesty can be learned without hijab and that hijab should not be imposed on people.


According to the Department of Information and Public Relations of the Research Institute for Islamic Culture and Thought, Hojjat-ul-Islam Mohammad Ali AsadiNasab, the head of the Qur’anic Research Department of the Institute of Hikmat and Religious Research, in an interview with Quds Online Said: Does this grand verse (1:255) mean we can do everything we want?


It Is not Compulsory to Accept Religion

Hojjat-ul-Islam AsadiNasb, referring to a part of Ayat-ul-Kursi, says: “لا اکراه فی الدین” advises Muslims not to force non-Muslims to accept Islam and emphasizes the freedom and free Choice of man in accepting religion. It means that there is no undesirable acceptance in Islam and one cannot force somebody else to accept it, because religion consists of faith in God, His Messenger, Revelation and Resurrection. Faith is a matter of the heart and the matter of the heart cannot be fulfilled by force.


He states: The truth of ” لا اکراه فی الدین” is the non-compulsory essence of religion and belief. Because religion is the faith and belief of the heart about the facts related to the origin and resurrection, which is the source and motivation for action, and the belief of the heart cannot be forcefully formed. No one can be forced to believe in monotheism, prophethood, or resurrection, to love God and God’s pious servants, and to hate Satan and God’s enemies. The heart is beyond human control. We cannot force somebody to believe or love. In addition, if the great God or his prophets do such a work with their existential authority, that would not be valuable. Faith would be valuable if a person acquires it by his own free will.


The head of the Qur’anic Research Department of the Institute of Hikmat and Religious Research then states: If I pray today and I do not pray tomorrow; if today I do the wrong acts that I like and tomorrow I avoid everything inappropriate; such a behavior does not mean acting on the basis of the verse ” لا اکراه فی الدین “. On the other hand, some kinds of sins are considered as social sins. There are sins about which Islam or the Islamic government issues certain orders and prohibitions to avoid social corruption and support the expediency of Muslims, therefore we must all obey them. For example, traffic rules are useful for all. It is not possible for a person not to accept the rules because of his personal desire and move on the street according to his own will.


Hijab, an individual matter or a social behavior?


Hojjat-ul-Islam AsadiNasab continues: Hijab is obligatory in two ways. One is from the religious aspect, and all Islamic scholars consider it obligatory and the other is from the aspect of the country’s law. Even if there was no reason from the religious point of view to make the government force women to wear hijab, we have no reason not to do so. Because Hijab and its jurisprudential rule is individual but has undeniable social effects. For this reason and due to the social damages caused by it, the government can oblige all members of the society to comply with the desired Sharia clothing as a secondary rule.


Then he points out to some people’ question about the reason of government’ obligation and explains: Some people say there is no authority for government to force people to wear hijab. Like the sin of backbiting that the government does not have any authority to punish anyone for that. In response, it should be said that not wearing a hijab is not the same as backbiting, because it is a social sin. When a sin has a social aspect, the government must remove the social bases of the sin and avoid abnormality from the Islamic society by establishing rules.


The head of the Qur’anic Research Department of the Institute of Hikmat and Religious Research recalls The Supreme Leader’s remarks in this context that “not wearing Hijab is a social sin and if it develops, people’s faith will be weakened.” If we consider hijab as an individual matter, then people can go to the public with every clothing that they want, then the society will become a corrupt society. So the government can Establish law for social sins, if it determines the expediency of the law for the society, and everyone must follow this law. The law that has been established to observe hijab and Islamic clothing, is enacted according to the religious and local values of the country and it is mandatory to follow it. Even if we accept that there is no reason to force hijab, also there is no reason not to force hijab. There is no reason to stop the government in establishing the law about hijab. If the government deems it appropriate, it can pass a law in this regard, as many laws that are passed in the parliament and are implemented. Islam has given authority to the Islamic government, and the Jurist and the Three Powers that operate under the supervision of the Supreme Leader announce the laws according to the benefit of society and everyone must follow them.


Hojjat-ul-Islam AsadiNasab emphasizes at the end that the verse “لا اکراه فی الدین” has two aspects: a fundamental aspect and a social aspect. Here some people’s opinion is superficial and simplistic and the matter is misunderstood. The verse states that faith is not forcefully created and is a matter of belief and the heart and in this way a person is free and have authority. The duty of religious government is to implement religious orders. Some rules of religion are personal such as praying, fasting, and some are related to society. Hijab is one of the social issues and it cannot be considered as an individual matter only. Therefore the religious government should intervene in such social affairs.