Hijab is a duty Allah, the Almighty prescribed for the Muslim woman, and she has to comply with that order and show her sincere faith in Allah, for He says: “And it does not become a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided an affair (for them), that they should (after that) claim any say in their affair.” (Al-Ahzab: 36)
The effect of forcing your wife or child to do or not do something is negative and unhealthy. Thus, husbands should be patient enough to teach and try to appeal to her emotions. Rationality is not always enough to change one’s mind. First of all, try to win your wife’s affection.
When a Muslim neglects to dress according to the Islamic code it is usually because of lack of knowledge and weakness of Iman. Negative influences from her environment can further dissuade her from obeying Allah, the Almighty. Things like media, literature, friends and socialization.
If you want to change someone’s life, you should start with the afore mentioned influences. Usually, when you see any weakness or neglect in a person’s readiness to obey Allah, you should know that there is some bacteria or virus that requires remedial work.
In Islam, teaching and discipline are the first steps in guiding someone. The last steps are laws and the power to enforce the laws of Islam.
Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states: “Both husband or wife in Islam, must cooperate in exhorting each other to truth and patience. This is their mutual obligation; the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), told us that Allah blesses the spouses as one of them wakes up at night and then wakes up his/her spouse and thus they pray together.
Having said this, we must also point out that we must be gentle with each another while reminding each other of their obligations. Remember when Allah sent Musa to preach to Pharoah. He ordered him to be gentle in preaching!”
Moreover, it should be noted that if a woman is new to Islam or a nominal Muslimah and he married her while he himself was still a nominal Muslim, and then suddenly after marriage he became a conscious and practicing Muslim, he is not supposed to use harshness to enforce the strict laws of hijab on her. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) directed us saying, “make it easy and don’t make it hard on people; give good news and don’t turn people away.” He should, therefore, allow her time to study and make up her own mind.
If, however, both of them were fully conscious Muslims observing all the rules including those of hijab prior to marriage, then he has every right to insist that his wife continues to observe the rules of hijab.