Is wearing a hijab actually a ‘must’?

hiˈjäb/: a head covering worn in public by some Muslim women.

We derive our ‘must dos’ in Islam by what Allah commanded in the Quran or what the Prophet (PBUH) told us to do via Allah’s commands. In Surah Nur of the Quran, Allah talks about modesty, the primary reason for hijab, by first telling men to lower their gaze when in front of women. This shows that modesty first starts with our eyes and the type of look we give the other gender should be clean of lust. Then He commands women to do the same. After that Allah tells women to take their ‘khumur’ and cover their chest with it. Khumur (plural: Khimar) was a scarf that all women at the time of the Prophet, even those that were not Muslim, covered their head with, exposing their ears and necks by tying it behind their necks. Muslim women were told by Allah to take this same head covering and bring it to the front so their bosoms were covered as well. Allah then goes on to tell the believing women to not beautify themselves with extra ornaments and things that enhance their beauty, keeping themselves in their natural form (in front of men that are their non-mehrams or those they can legally marry). Derived from the above description, most scholars agree that not only is covering your hair mandatory, but the concept of modesty, defined by how you conduct yourself in manner and appearance, is also very important, often overlooked when just focusing on the head covering only.