Head Covering or Hijab in Christianity…

Posted: May 8, 2008 in Christianity
Tags: , , , , ,

Introduction

A common misconception is that Muslim women are the only ones who cover their hair. It may be true that Islam is the only religion in which most women follow its directives to cover the hair, but it is not the only religion to have such directives.

It is particularly interesting to look at the case of Christianity, since Christianity is the predominant religion in the West, and it is Westerners, including observant Christians, who are often the first to criticize Islam because of the hijab (modest dress, including headcovering).

Is Covering the Hair a Religious Commandment for Christian Women?

There can be only one answer to this: yes, it is! Simply open the Bible to the First Epistle to the Corinthians, chapter 11. Read verses 3-10.

But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ and the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying with his head covered, disgraces his head. But every woman praying or prophesying with her head uncovered disgraces her head, for it is the same as if she were shaven. For if a woman is not covered, let her be shaven. But if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head. A man indeed ought not to cover his head, because he is the image and glory of God. But woman is the glory of man. For man was not created for woman, but woman for man. This is why the woman ought to have a sign of authority over her head, because of the angels.

The meaning of this passage is plain enough. We can make the following syllogisms:

Syllogism 1

Praying with an uncovered head is a disgrace

Having a shaved head is the same as praying with an uncovered head

Therefore, having a shaved head is a disgrace

Syllogism 2

If it is a disgrace for a woman to have a shaved head, she should cover her head

It is a disgrace for a woman to have a shaved head – see syllogism 1

Therefore, a woman should cover her head

In other words, the passage means what it says. Have you ever wondered why Catholic nuns dress like they”re wearing hijab (Muslim hijabi women, have you ever been mistaken for a nun? I have, more than once).

Have you ever wondered why Mary the mother of Jesus (peace be upon them both) is always depicted in Christian art with her hair covered? Did you know that until the 1960s, it was obligatory for Catholic women to cover their heads in church (then they “modernized” the service)?There are some interesting points that can be made about the Christian directive.

1) The explicit purpose of the Christian woman”s head covering, as stated by Paul, is that it is a sign of man”s authority over woman. The explicit purpose of Islamic hijab is modesty. Strange how so many Westerners think that the purpose of hijab is a symbol of male authority.

2) The Christian woman is to cover her head whenever she is praying, whether it be at the church service or just personal prayer at home. This may mean that if she is not praying at home, she is uncovered around male guests who are not related to her; or if she is praying at home, that she is covered around her own husband and family. If any more proof were needed than Paul”s own words that the Christian head covering is not about modesty, this must certainly be it!
This puts hijab (head covering) in a whole new perspective, doesn”t it! To my non-hijabi Muslim sister who feels that hijab is a sign of oppression for the Muslim female, please do read the above and then read the Quran. Believe me, if Allah SWT meant for hijab to be a sign of male authority, the Quran would be as unambiguous about it as Paul is in the Bible. Isn”t this difference the kind of thing that attracted you to Islam in the first place?

Do Any Christian Women Today Cover Their Heads?

It is true that most Christian women do not, and many don”t take other teachings of the Bible (against pre-marital sex, adultery, etc) literally either. However, there do seem to be a growing number of Christian women out there who are committed to following the Bible as it is written.

Christian Women wearing Head covering and practicing what it says in Bible:

Below are some of the Picture and comments of our Christian sister who practices according to bible teaching. I have manage to get the details from one of the website.

source is; tebyan

Comments
  1. cbrunette says:

    Many Christian women are rediscovering the practice of covering/modesty! This subject is what I primarily blog on.

    ~Anna

  2. Lucy Nom de Plume says:

    What an interesting article, thank you. I must admit I knew that the hijab was about modesty, but then I do know a lot of Muslims. If I didn’t know a lot of Muslims I might think differently.

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  5. Tebyan says:

    Thanks for putting our link as a source for your article. Unfoatunately the link doesn’t work can you please correct the link to the following address:
    http://www.tebyan.net/index.aspx?pid=65472

    or in you are interested in the whole lot of articles we have uploaded a special edition on head covering or hijab:

    http://www.tebyan.net/index.aspx?pid=69355

    Thanks alot

  6. Shanelle says:

    My name is Shanelle, a Baptist, and I have made the decision to start wearing hijab. I have started a Christians wearing/or want to wear Hijab grop in msn.com. However, this group is open to all Christians who want/are covering. Please email me at: smillen05@hotmail.com if you are interested in joing. This group is meant to support, provide head covering knowledge, and to share experiences with other head covering Christians. Praise God and God bless you all.

  7. webit says:

    what you are doing is really great, getting the women of today to the road of sprituality. but is the covering of the head onky in churches or only in the act of praying?

  8. Trai Paris says:

    Why I Wear This “Thing” on My Head

    People often ask me why I have this “thing” on my head. I have heard many questions and comments:
    Hey, look! It’s the cleaning lady.
    Nice doo-rag!
    What? Are you Muslim?
    Bad hair day?
    Mother Traci, I would like to make a confession…

    When I say, “It’s a religious thing” or “It’s a Christian thing,” then I get:
    Mennonite?
    Jehovah’s Witness?
    Catholic?
    Amish?
    Pentecostal?

    Sorry, it’s none of the above. I have heard some creative guesses, though. I am just a regular Christian. I don’t belong to any denomination. I don’t go to church. I just study my Bible and try to do what it says. I make tons of mistakes every day. I am no better than anyone else. I would even say I am worse than many people who are not Christians. I was born a sinner, and I’ll die a sinner. I struggle every day, just like everyone else does.

    So, why do I cover my head? In a nut shell, the answer is simply that the Bible says I should do it, so I do it. For those of you who would say that we are no longer bound by the laws in the Old Testament, it is not in the Old Testament; it is in the New Testament, and it’s not a law.

    I do not do it because I am afraid I might go to hell if I don’t. I cover my head because I believe that it pleases God. I think that most people would agree that it is good to do things that please our earthly fathers, so how much more so would it be to do something to please my heavenly father?

    Here are the verses in the Bible that talk about head covering:

    I Corinthians 11
    1Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. 2Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. 3But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. 4Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. 5But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
    6For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. 7For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. 8For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. 9Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. 10For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
    11Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. 12For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God. 13Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? 14Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? 15But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering. 16But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.
    So you might be wondering, if the Bible says that a woman should cover her head while praying, then why do I cover my head all of the time. The reason is because praying means talking to God, and some Christians talk to God quite often throughout the day, even if it is just to say, “Thank you for a beautiful day.” How inconvenient it would be to stop and cover my head every time I would like to say a few words to God. I could pray, and nobody next to me would even know it.

    The first time I ever became aware of this chapter in the Bible, and its contents, was in a church service at a Baptist church. As the preacher read this chapter, my mouth must have dropped open because I remember thinking to myself that the Bible is telling me to cover my head whenever I pray. Even after he finished reading the chapter, I was thinking about the fact that the Bible says that even nature itself tells us that women should wear a covering on their heads. But then I heard the Baptist-interpretation of this chapter. Our hair is our covering. What relief I felt. I was thankful that I wasn’t going to have to start wearing something on my head. That would not go over well in the military.

    Then, one day I was searching the internet for modest clothing, and I ran across several website which also sold head coverings of many varieties. I was trying to figure out why these people, who consider themselves Christians, believe that they should be covering their heads. They have the same Bible I do, so how could they get something different out of it than what I had been taught. If there is one thing my first pastor taught me, it was to not take his word for truth, verify it ourselves in our Bibles. Man can be wrong and men are never perfect. I decided to study the issue with an open mind, remembering that my pastor could be wrong.

    After much studying, off and on, for about 3 years, I am absolutely positive that a Christian woman should be covering her head when praying. Personally, I do it all day except for bedtime and morning (while in my home). Some even cover their heads in bed because sometimes we wake up and speak to God during the night or before getting out of bed in the morning.

    Now, allow me to explain to you what I have discovered in my studies. Hopefully it will save you from spending as much time researching the issue as I did because I am combining all of my findings into this one essay.

    Evidence for Women Covering the Head

    There are 7 reasons that I have found that prove a woman should be wearing physical covering over her hair. I will name those reasons and then I will explain each one. Here are the 7 reasons:

    1. History of women covering their hair
    2. Long hair covering versus short hair meaning uncovered
    3. The word “also”
    4. Glory needs to be covered & Because of the angels
    5. Modesty of your hair, for your husband only
    6. Submission to authority, still under authority while praying
    7. Greek words differ

    Now, let me say that any one of these reasons alone may not necessarily be enough to convince a woman that God would like for women to wear a cover over their hair, but when you look at all 7 reasons working together, they are very convincing.

    History of women covering their hair

    Early Christian art shows women wearing headcoverings. Frescos, give the earliest pictorial evidence of the fact that Christian women of the first centuries did veil their heads. If you do a search for art work of early Christian women wearing head coverings, you will find a lot of images. It was much more common in the past than it is now.

    The early Christian women veiled their heads not only in church, but also anytime they were in public. Christian women continued to maintain this practice throughout all centuries, up to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Around the 1850s, many Christians in the United States and Western Europe began arguing that long hair constituted the only covering women needed. Others said that women only needed to wear a covering when in church. The middle class and wealthy women switched from veils and caps to ornate bonnets—if they wore a covering at all. Bonnets became more a matter of fashion than of modesty or obedience to 1 Corinthians 11.

    By the turn of the twentieth century, the ornate bonnets of the nineteenth century had given way to ladies’ hats. Until the mid-century, women in Europe and America typically wore a hat or scarf in public, but they were simply following tradition and fashion—without realizing that there was originally a spiritual reason behind the practice. Similarly, until about 1960, western women wore hats when in church. But the meaning behind the hat was lost.

    Today, Christian women in eastern churches still cover their heads in church. Some of them cover their heads all of the time. In the west, some Plymouth Brethren women still wear the prayer veil in church, as do many black women. But usually these sisters do not wear a head covering at other times.

    Generally speaking, in the west today, only the Mennonite, Amish, Brethren and Hutterite women still practice wearing a head covering at all times. However, in recent years, they have been joined by thousands of Christian women from house churches and other independent congregations who have re-discovered this New Testament practice.

    Tertullian is an early Christian author who lived from 160 to 220 AD. He wrote an essay entitled, “The Veiling of Virgins.” The scripture passage that Tertullian was discussing was 1 Cor. 11:1-16, which is quoted at the beginning of this essay I am writing. In his essay, the issue was not about what 1 Cor. 11 meant. The only issue was whether Paul’s words applied to all mature females, or whether it applied only to married women.

    In Ante-Nicene Fathers, you can find the following in Volume 4, page 37. He says, “For some, with their turbans and woollen bands, do not veil their heads but bind them up.” He is very critical of women who didn’t wear a full veil. Apparently, in many places which he visited, it was not particularly common for women to wear a head covering. Tertullian is arguing that the head covering should be a real veil, not just a symbolic thing, like a doily or headband.

    But ignoring his views for right now, notice what he says about what Christian women were doing. He says some of them put on turbans or bands so they were kind of binding their hair up. He says, “They were protected indeed in front; however they are bare where their head properly lies. Others are to a certain extent covered over the region of the brain with linen doilies of small dimensions which do not quite reach the ears. Let them know that the whole head constitutes the woman. Its limits and boundaries reach as far as the place where the robe begins. The region of the veil is coextensive with the space covered by the hair when unbound.”

    So the issue again was not whether or not to wear a head covering, but what kind of head covering she was wearing. He was saying that a veil should cover your whole head and go down to your shoulders to where your robe would begin. It should cover the length of your hair when it is unbound. Don’t take it that this implies that Paul commanded what Tertullian is arguing. But, it is interesting, whether you agree with his argument or not, that nobody was arguing that a woman’s hair was her covering when they were praying. This argument was never heard until the 1800s.

    Long hair covering versus short hair meaning uncovered

    This section is in reference to the following verses:

    I Cor. 11:15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.

    This is what I was taught regarding the reason why we women don’t have to wear a physical head covering. They say your “long” hair (or even just hair) is your covering. If this is the case, then the rest of the chapter should make sense when we substitute “long hair” for a covered head and “short hair” for an uncovered head. Here we go:

    4Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered long hair, dishonoureth his head. 5But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered short hair dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. 6For if the woman be not covered has short hair, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered have long hair. 7For a man indeed ought not to cover his head have long hair, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. 13Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered with short hair?
    Now, specifically, look at this one verse:

    6For if the woman be not covered has short hair, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered have long hair.

    Hmmmmm….shorn or shaven? What does this mean? Well, we all know what shaven means because most of us either shave, or know somebody who shaves on a regular basis. What about shorn? Literally, shorn means “cut off.” When sheep are shorn, their hair is cut off short. They are not shaven down to the skin, but the have short hair left after they are sheared.

    Now, back in the times of Paul, they did not have electric shears that could cut that close to a sheep’s skin. They had to use scissors. They cut the sheep’s hair off like women get a hair cut. I believe that we can agree shorn means short hair.

    Regardless, if long hair really is the covering that Paul is talking about, why would he say (look at the verse again) if a woman has short hair, let her hair be cut off (shorn)? That makes no sense. Her hair would already be cut off. So, it can’t be that your long hair is your covering. If you disagree with this argument, consider it in light of the other six reasons in this essay.

    One more argument against a woman’s hair being her covering is that, in Verses 5 and 6, it says that if a woman prays or prophesies with her head uncovered, it is a shame.
    5But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. 6For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.
    This implies that a woman could possibly be covered only when she prays or prophesies, which also implies that when a woman is not praying or prophesying, she does not have to be covered. Otherwise, why would the Bible specifically mention praying and prophesying?

    How can a woman remove her hair, or have short hair, when she is not praying, but suddenly have hair (or long hair) when she is praying? If it means a cloth covering, then a cloth covering can be worn when praying and removed when not praying. On the other hand, a woman cannot put on her hair, or grow long hair, to pray and then remove it again or cut it off immediately after praying, and then have it again the next time she prays. A woman’s hair, or long hair, is most definitely not the covering being discussed in Verses 5 and 6.

    The word “also”

    Read Verse 6 again:

    6For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.

    Also means “in addition to.” What ever condition already exists, the second part can also exist at the same time. If you consider the covering to be long hair, then this verse would mean that if a woman has short hair, then in addition to having short hair, cut her hair off short. Short hair is a pre-existing condition which remains the same. This is not two conditions existing at the same time. How can a woman have short hair and cut her hair off short? The word “also” makes no sense in this situation. You are adding a hair cut to short hair.

    But, if we are talking about a cloth covering, it makes sense. If a woman does not have a cloth covering on her head, the go ahead and cut her hair off, also. Then she will have both conditions at the same time. There is no cloth covering over her long hair and so her hair is going to be cut off short. You are adding a hair cut to a head with no cloth covering on it, by cutting her hair off.

    Now, which interpretation makes more sense, adding a haircut to short hair, or adding a hair cut to a woman who refuses to wear a cloth covering?

    Glory needs to be covered & Because of the angels

    What is glory? According to dictionary.com, it is a source of admiration and magnificence. According to the KJV Bible Dictionary, glory is “exalted excellence and splendor.” Throughout the Bible, when angels conversed with mankind, man often suspected they were angels because of their countenance. The KJV Bible Dictionary defines countenance as an “air,” “look,” or “appearance.” Read this:

    Luke 2:9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

    Revelation 18:1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.

    Judges 6:22 And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O LORD God! for because I have seen an angel of the LORD face to face.

    Angels have a glory. And when an angel goes before the presence of God, he covers his glory. Read this:

    Isaiah Chapter 6

    1In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the LORD sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
    2Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.

    So, if angels cover their glory in the presence of God, wouldn’t you think that when we come before God, we should cover our glory? Well, a woman has 2 glories.

    1. The woman is the glory of the man. (I Cor. 11:7)
    2. But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her (I Cor. 11:15)

    Do you think a woman who is coming before God in prayer should be showing her glory? Even the angels cover themselves when they come in the presence of God. And we are lower than the angels. Read this:

    Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

    If Jesus was made a little lower than the angels, being in a fleshly body (yet perfect), then how can we not be lower than the angels? So would it be right for the angels to cover their glory before God, while we show our glory in the presence of God? I think not. Right now, we are lower than the angels.

    You might be wondering why it is okay for a man to pray uncovered. Shouldn’t he cover his glory? Read this:

    I Cor. 11: 7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.

    Aha!!! Man is the image and glory of God, which should not be covered. Woman is the glory of man, which should be covered. Now it makes sense, right?

    For years, I did not understand this verse:

    I Cor. 11:10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.

    Now this verse makes sense. How do you think the angels feel when they see a woman coming before the presence of God uncovered? Perhaps they feel that women are disrespecting God? But a woman who covers her head is showing respect to her position in the order of godly things. Also, it doesn’t specify good angels or bad angels, as we know there are fallen angels. I’ll leave that to your imagination and meditation. I don’t have all the answers. I can only guess.

    Modesty of your hair, for your husband only

    This verse is quite interesting:

    Genesis 24: 64-66
    And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel. For she had said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us? And the servant had said, It is my master: therefore she took a vail, and covered herself. And the servant told Isaac all things that he had done.

    Rebekah covered herself with a vail when Isaac was walking up to meet her for the first time. Now if a woman’s hair is her glory, meaning it attracts attention to her, should it not be hidden from the roaming eyes of man? A woman’s long hair can be seductive, causing a brother to stumble, don’t you agree? Personally, I would consider it similar to wearing a low-cut blouse. A woman could have her hair uncovered at home with her husband because it is for him to enjoy, not other men. I believe it is an issue of modesty in addition to everything else.

    Submission to authority, still under authority while praying

    A woman’s head is the man. That means that the man is her authority and her leader. A man’s head is Jesus and Jesus’ head is God. So there is a type of “chain-of-command” going on here. Read this:

    3But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. (I Cor. 11)

    So, why is a woman allowed to go directly to God in prayer instead of going through the man? She is virtually bypassing her chain-of-command and going directly to the Lord. In the military, you’re taught not to bypass your chain-of-command. It makes the people who you skip feel disrespected and angry because you have not given them the opportunity to help you first. It makes the people who you skipped look bad to the senior chain-of-command because it would seem that the people who were skipped were either unwilling or unable to resolve your issues.

    But, when a woman covers her head in prayer, she is acknowledging that she is under the authority of man, while she is coming to God in prayer. In my opinion, it is as if she is saying, “I am coming to God in prayer, but I am still acknowledging submission to my husband’s/father’s authority,” therefore making it respectful to the man in authority over her. That’s why I Cor. 11 talks about dishonoring one’s head by being covered or uncovered. Read this:

    4Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.
    5But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head

    So when a woman prays without a head covering, she is dishonoring her husband. And when a man prays covered, he dishonors Jesus. Do you see the chain-of-command and submission to authority?

    Greek words differ

    Whenever there is a question regarding the meaning of certain words in our English Bibles, it can be helpful to look at the words used in the original language in which it was written, to help clarify issues for us.

    There are two different Greek words used in the original text; whereas, in the English translation, the word “covering” is interpreted for both of those two different Greek words. The Greek words are katakalupto and peribolaion. Katakalupto is a verb which means “to cover up” or “to be veiled.” It also means “to cover intensely.” Peribolaion is a noun which means “something thrown around.”

    Katakalupto is used in verses 5, 6 (twice), 7, and 13 while peribolaion is used only once in verse 15. Let’s look at the verses:

    Katakalupto – to be covered up, to be veiled, to cover intensely
    5But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. 6For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. 7For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. 13Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?
    Peribolaion – something thrown around
    15But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
    The Greek in verse 4, covered means “anything on his head”
    4Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.
    If the Lord had meant that a woman’s hair is the covering that He is referring to when He speaks about praying, then why didn’t He use the same Greek word that he used in Verse 15? Because Verse 15 is saying, look…even nature teaches you that a woman should have something extra on her head. It is simply an example of nature teaching us a practice that we should be physically and actively doing ourselves.

    Not a cultural thing, only for those days

    For those who would argue that covering a woman’s head was only a cultural thing for those times, think about this. The verses highlighted in red apply to all times throughout history and the ones in black are the ones that are in doubt:
    1Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. 2Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. 3But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. 4Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. 5But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
    6For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. 7For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. 8For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. 9Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. 10For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
    11Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. 12For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God. 13Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? 14Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? 15But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering. 16But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.
    If all of the above text in red applies to us today, then why wouldn’t the black text apply to us today if we read it in context?

    Now you know why I cover my head.

  9. Rachel says:

    It’s true that the minority of Christian women cover their heads, and I think that’s a very sad thing indeed, but there ARE Christian women and girls who wear the prayer covering.

    Many Christians go through life never coming across the verse directing women to cover their heads – it’s not often taught in many of the more ‘modern’ or ‘liberal’ churches, and unless you’re studying the Bible closely, most people would never come across it. Many of those who do try to disprove Paul’s very clear directive, which seems pretty pointless to me. Could he be any clearer on what we as Christian females are mant to do?

    It’s interesting to not that a) most or all of the Christian women who cover also wear long skirts and modest clothing, and also that b) it was only until recently that women did not wear something on their heads in Western society – this uncovering of the head seems to have come about around the time of women’s liberation, the wearing of pants, and the cutting off of the hair!

    Please, do not judge all Christians by those who do not adhere to the Bible. Such Christians are perhaps not true Christians! Most of the stricter, more traditional aspects of the Church do ask women to dress modestly and cover their head!

  10. Francis says:

    Thank you! I have covered for over twenty years and have a beautiful Pauline marriage. What blessings wait for us when we simply obey!

  11. alana says:

    i recently about 3 yrs ago started to cover my head while praying and prophesying wich it speacks of in scripture to do, so if your a woman of prayer, or you are speacking divine things more often then your head can be covered quite often,and when we cover our head we show,that mankind has no place in divine things his flesh so to speack since the man is the glory of god his head is to be uncovered woman is the glory of man so she covers her head, she is saying that GOD is over man, and man is saying by not covering his head the same thing,both are giving a privlaged testimony.. i gather with saints that hold this scripture up as many of the other bible teachings to be,practised as a command of the lord

  12. Carys says:

    If its okay I’d like to give some alternative thoughts on the interpretation of this passage to ask: ‘Are Christians required to wear hijab’?

    The key is the position of the law. ‘The law’, as a set of rules and regulations is God-given and revered in Christianity. It is the guidance God has given us to live good lives. The Ten Commandments given to the Prophet Moses by God are the underlying laws of life. And of course some of these are of particular important when considering the ‘hijab’ issue:

    – You shall have no other gods before me

    What are our other ‘God’s’? Maybe not visible idols in the modern West but an idol is anything we end up valuing above God, particularly the judgement of that thing above God’s. So included is: Love of money above God, Love of popularity above God, Love of sexual attention above God.

    – Honour your father and your mother

    In this context this means respecting our parents opinion of how we should dress and act (as long as it doesn’t command us to do something sinful, otherwise you would be breaking commandment1 in putting your parents opinion above God) e.g. Do they want me to wear hijab?

    – You shall not commit adultery

    Obvious! Just don’t even TRY!

    – You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife ……. or anything that belongs to your neighbour.”

    Jesus explains/extends this by saying (recorded Matthew5): “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

    So it is not Godly for us to even look at someone of the opposite sex (who is not our husband or wife) with lust, even if they are parading themselves in front of us to be looked at in such a way. It is our sin when we lust after someone else. It breaks the wonderful God-given sacrament of marriage that makes two people “one flesh”, exclusively for each other.

    What does this mean for hijab? I gave this quote from Jesus, not just to shows that ‘lusting’ (not just the act of adultary which come from lust) breaks God’s law BUT because it illustrates the Christian mindset I mentioned above. At the centre of the Christian way is the state of the HEART. It is when our HEART is sinful that we stop loving others (e.g tempting another man who is not your husband is not loving him!), and when our HEART is filled with faith which produces LOVE for God that we follow a way of LOVE for others because we understand that God LOVES US.

    Now this sounds a bit wishy-washy…but it is not really. To illustrate with Hijab. A woman can be wearing ‘Hijab’ (I dont just mean the headscarf, but the real meaning of the term: modest dress), and therefore have every appearance of a good woman but inside her heart lusts after other men and wants to attract them or ‘feel sexually attractive’. In this case, Christianity would teach that her ‘hijab’ is USELESS, because all it is a fake cover for the sin that is still continuing is her heart. Does this mean that it is sinful to wear hijab? Of course not but it is about recognising what is IMPORTANT: that faith changes not the outside of the appearence but the INSIDE of the person. That change can’t happen by human effort, because lets face it without God we are sinful creatures, but by the spirit of God changing hearts. It is faith that produces good works, not good works that produce faith.

    So a woman (and MANS) modesty must come from within, from a chaste heart, and faithful heart to current (or future) spouse out of love for God, love for them and love for others.

    Please read GALATIANS Chapters 2-5. Here Circumcision is discussed. It is a decree of the law for the Jews. An outward sign of faith. Does it matter???? In effect Paul says NO. That doesn’t mean DON’T be circumcised. It is not important whether you are or you’re not. Because circumcision doesn’t earn our salvation (ability to be with God), nor does it enable us to have better faith. It is a CHOICE. Don’t let it cloud what really matters.

    So the same principle when applied to Hijab, just as a headscarf, will produce the same result: It is a choice. It doesn’t matter. Wear it if you want to – great! But not wearing is doesn’t mean you are blocking the GRACE of God. Don’t be so arrogant! A piece of cloth is only a piece of cloth. Don’t let it distract you from having a Godly HEART.

    So what about those Bible that refer to ‘HEADSCARF’ the verses from Corinthians mentioned above:

    It’s strong stuff. And Paul, the writer, is known for communicating like this. He was taking the message of the one God seen in Jesus Christ to the Non-Jewish people, so he spends a lot of time talking about CULTURAL issues and asking: is this LAW, FAITH or CULTURE??? The separation of faith and culture is never as simple as we might think. So what are the principles from this practice?:

    – Yes , it is not alien to Christian practice for a woman to cover head. If any Christian tries to claim this they have temporary amnesia or something………… So don’t let any Christian get moany about you wearing Hijab!

    – The headcovering in this context has more to do with spiritual symbolism than the importance of modesty. I think this is an important point. It is not prudent to compare these verses directly to Mohammad asking women to ‘cover themselves’. Since the verses are preceded by telling men to ‘avert their eyes’ they are obviously directly concerning practical steps of modesty.

    BUT, The symbolism of the headscarf here in the importance of women and man’s interconnectedness. That woman was created as a ‘helper’ for man (See Genesis 2) and that man has responsibility for this gift given to him by God. In Corinthian culture a woman’s hair was a symbol of her femininity. A ‘natural covering’ of beauty and therefore it was a symbol of her place in a Godly society, one where the interdependence of man and women as separate creations is honoured. The way men and women marked themselves as different was in the length of their hair.

    To understand more of this context. Corinthian society was a place where sexual relations between men and women had been messed up. The sanctity of marriage was continually disobeyed not just by men (which unfortunately is more common) but by women, who were wilful in pursuing sexual gain outside marriage, even women with women and men with men. Paul is saying STOP THIS: We are created to have one man and one woman together. So men should be men, and women should be women. And he illustrates this by showing the order of family under God. God created man, from man he created woman (which is not a symbol of women’s subjection but show that man and woman are part of each other), and humanity is continued in man being born of woman. If a woman shaving her head is a symbol of her REJECTION of her place in the world as a woman, then she should COVER IT, because that rejection is not something of God. As a public Christian she is therefore representing a false value.

    So is it shameful for a woman to have a bare head? It is really CULTURALLY DEPENDENT. To tell you more about me I am a practicing Christian brought up in UK but I spend a lot of time in central Africa and I’m engaged to a Syrian man. When in Congo I wear a headscarf (African style e.g. around head but not neck), plus a long dress to the floor, because that is respectful dress for a woman there. And I’m not so arrogant to think I know better than them! Among Syrians I wear ‘hijab-style’ scarf because among them that is respectful, and a symbol of a woman’s modesty – a feminine value. Here in the UK I dress modestly (cover shape of legs, waist, shoulders and chest) and tie my hair back in public.
    I believe in all of these situations I am not dressing in a sexually provocative way. I do not aim to sexually attract, out of love for fellow men. Doesn’t mean I think I’m especially ‘hot stuff’ but I am a woman and have ‘assets’ that can make men imagine having sex with a woman who is not their wife. Why would I want to encourage them to think that. So hair in UK is not an inherently sexual thing. But it can be when girls wear it huge and down their bosom to draw attention to it of course. So I can judge, or my fiancé inform, whether one style or another makes me look sexually attractive.
    The headscarf can and cannot be worn by women here to look feminine so does it matter??? If a Christian sister asked me this I would say: First pray about it!!!! If you are in culture where a headscarf is a symbol of feminine modesty – wear it! If you are in a culture where hair will be a sexually attractive distraction (like in India ankles are particularly sexual) – wear it! If you are wearing it for fun/ non-sex-orientated fashion – wear it! It doesn’t defy God. But don’t judge a sister’s faith from UK by the fact that she covers her head or not. Is she accepting her role a modest woman, helper of man, preserver of healthy relationships? Is she refusing to dress provocatively??? Then “woman ought to have authority over her own head” physically and symbolically, because her faith is her responsibility.

  13. C & R says:

    I am a Roman Catholic who chooses to cover via the Hijab. I do so not because St. Paul or the Bible tells me to – those reasons are not good enough for me. I do so because Jesus asked me to do it for HIM.

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