Why is hijaab so important when it is not one of the pillars of Islam?
Praise be to Allaah.
This is a mistake, because hijaab is obligatory for women. Allaah is the One Who has commanded women to cover their adornments, including the face, bosom and all their adornments. This has been enjoined upon women as a protection against abuse and temptation. That is because women are the focus of desire, and the focus of what those who are tempted look at. So if a woman uncovers her beauty she will provoke desire, and people will become attracted to her and will follow her. This is the cause of many immoral actions such as adultery and the things that lead to it. So hijaab is obligatory for women and was enjoined upon them in the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):
“…and to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms)…”
The veil (khimaar) is that which comes down from the head and covers the face, and the jilbaab is an outer garment with which a woman covers herself, leaving no part of her body showing.
And Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“…And when you ask (his [the Prophet’s] wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen…”
So it is a protection for women so that there will be no room for people to treat them as playthings.