Chinese university bans hijab for Muslims

World Bulletin / News Desk

A university in central China has sparked controversy after issuing a rare order banning female students from wearing headscarves on campus.

Shaanxi Normal University in Xian, a city with a large Islamic population, reportedly told nine female Muslims to remove their veils in April and then issued a notice banning Islamic headscarves earlier this month.

In a report for the English language Chinese based site Global Times, another male student also was accused of “illegal preaching” after he was caught reading the Qur’an in a cafeteria at the same university last month.


chinese hijab

“We accept their customs. But our bottom line is that we do not allow students to engage in religious activities,” Li Chenzi, a university official, wrote on the Chinese question-and-answer website yesterday after debate over the ban went viral.


4 replies

  1. Living in the west, the hijab has become a potent indicator of identity with many non-Muslims viewing it as a political statement. However, it is pertinent to note that the hijab is, first and foremost, an act of worship that women engage in, and an act undertaken to seek the pleasure of one’s Lord.

    The definition of a hijab is fiercely contested by many Muslims, and unfortunately most of those who engage in the topic are unaware that it is very much defined by Islamic law, the Sharia, and not cultural habits or one’s idea of what modesty is, or should be.

    In discussing the hijab, Islamic jurists have stipulated a number of conditions for it to be a hijab in the Islamic sense. In brief, these conditions are that one’s clothing must cover the entire body in a way that the shape of the body is not apparent and the material must not be so thin that one can see through it. Clothing should not resemble that which is specific to men nor the disbelievers. It should not be attractive to men, nor should women be perfumed in public. The main aim of hijab is to stop fitnah; females who are attractive by nature attract the gaze of males which then leads to other greater sins such as fornication and adultery. Allah commanded women neither to display their adornment nor to display any form of behaviour that might attract the attention of men.

    In fact, scholars from various schools of thought prohibit women from raising their voices in public, even if it be the utterance of the talbiyah during hajj or the adhan (call to prayer) between females. The Sharia also prohibits men to visit lonely women and to stay alone with them. It also prohibited men to look at women. One of the main problems is limiting the hijab as being a manifestation of female Muslim identity. When France banned the hijab they looked at it as a religious symbol unable to understand the meaning of ibaadah (worship). However, it is unfortunate to see many Muslims treating it as merely a form of identity, and once the symbolic representation has been accomplished the necessity to perform it in a way that meets its conditions laid down by Allah is overlooked. This is one of subtly reprehensible values that many western Muslims have unknowingly adopted. We have to understand that Islamic practices including observing the hijab are actions of ibaadah. They are meant to please Allah, avoid being disobedient, and earn hasanaat in order to attain a high rank in paradise.

    This is a major mistake that many Muslims fall into when undertaking many Islamic practices. Having the correct aim in wearing the hijab is the first and main step towards a solution for this problem. It should be noted that projecting concerns about this non-shar’ii form of hijab does not imply discouraging Muslim women from observing a limited form of hijab which they have chosen, but instead it serves to encourage Muslim women to progress to observe the correct method of hijab. The intention of this article is driven by the desire for improvement and progress and not to incite women to withdraw from the hijab completely.

    Some Muslims posit that we should not be strict in calling for the proper observance of many Islamic practices in the west, and as such, we should encourage Muslim women to do as much as they are, without criticism, even if some do not complete such observance. Undoubtedly we agree to encouraging Muslim women to do as much as they can, but correcting wrong or incomplete Islamic practices is an obligation upon those who know.

    It is indeed the case that many sisters are completely ignorant about the conditions of the legally valid hijab, and hence it is incumbent upon us to raise awareness of the legal conditions and features of a correct hijab. Knowledge is the cure for many of our mistakes. Advising sisters who undoubtedly wear the hijab out of good intentions as well as educating their parents is another way towards solving this issue. It might be a good idea to print and distribute some leaflets that describe the authentic hijab in a way that goes beyond merely a head covering.

  2. we should understand that religion is personal matter and authorities of the university should have not banned the hejab. One should not come in between an individual & God as God does not like. From the statement of Mr. Li Chenzi I understand that this act is a reaction against actions of some students. It is difficult to understand the logic behind the recitation of Holy Quran in the Cafeteria !

  3. There cannot be given any logical and plausible reason to put such restrictions, it will only escalate the already sensitive state of affairs. Chinese authorities should sensibly and wisely handle the situation using Muslims prominent elders

  4. Huzoor SAW was a prophet was ‘ sensitive state of affairs’ at the time of Hudbia treaty but Huzoor didnot insist on prophethood in that treaty . Secondly, there are always more than one aspect behind any action and Hudbia Treaty teaches that for solution one should see all aspects . No one shall appreciate banning of hejab . At the same time we should not provide opportunity to others to do wrong. Blamings to others only is not the wise decision what I understand .

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