Imagine you and a friend sitting on the couch watching TV. All of the sudden, your friend remembers that she needs to pray. She jumps off the couch, makes wudu, and comes back into the room. You, having already prayed, are sitting on the couch continuing to watch TV. Your friend stands up, faces the qiblah, puts her hands to her ears, and says the takbir.
What do you do? Turn the TV off? Or leave it on? Isn’t having the television on during salaah distracting for your friend? And wouldn’t it be a courtesy to her to turn it off? Or do you think that she should just have enough khushoo‘ to concentrate over the TV and that her imaan is strong enough to focus on her prayer. You, after all, were sitting there first, and were enjoying whatever show was on. And concentrating on her salaah is her duty, not yours. You already fulfilled your obligation of praying, so now she must deal with the consequences of waiting, and having to pray in a loud environment.
You’re nicer than that, aren’t you? And wouldn’t you agree that it’s easier for you to turn off the TV than it is for your friend to concentrate in her prayer? We all know how hard it is to concentrate even when the room is quiet.
Now apply this story to the concept of hijab. I’ve often heard girls complain that they have to wear hijab “because boys can’t control themselves.” First of all, that’s not correct. Muslim women wear hijab because Allah subhanu wa ta’ala commanded us to do so. But, maybe as a secondary reason, we wear hijab to protect ourselves AND help our Muslim brothers to protect themselves from sideways glances.
It is a fact that it is easier for a woman to cover herself than it is for a man to lower his gaze. Ask any man, and he’ll tell you this is true. Lowering their gaze is difficult for them to handle, and Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala knows this, that’s why there is so much emphasis placed on it in the first place. Secondly, I think that Muslim women know it isn’t that hard on us to cover ourselves better, ask any woman who has tried and they will tell you it isn’t that big of an accommodation to make.
Muslim men are our BROTHERS in Islam, it isn’t so much to ask that we look out for their best interest, and sacrifice a little to help them do a better job at lowering their gaze. Let’s just face the facts, women are stronger than men in this regard, so it’s our job, Muslim women, to pick up the slack for our brothers.