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Hijab: Fard (Obligation) or Fiction?

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I am in a dilemma and need you to help me put things into perspective. It’s the age-old question of whether hijab is fard (mandatory) or not! I have been wearing hijab for many years now. I always believed that the ayah (verse) in Surat An-Nissa (Qur’an 4) is a personal choice that women make and can be interpreted in several ways but I was always afraid of dying without wearing hijab. Basically an old Egyptian shaykh (scholar) scared the heck out of me in my younger days, saying that women will hang in hell fire from their hair, and that’s how I decided to wear hijab. We have raised 3 boys in the process, ages 23, 21 and 14.

Within the last couple of years, my husband started commenting on why I am wearing hijab, if it’s attracting more attention through racism, etc. Why not just put my hair up in a bun so I’m not lavishly displaying my hair and Allah wants to make things easy for us not hard—especially in the society that we live in. He’s trying to convince me that if it was clear-cut like prayers and fasting, God wouldn’t have left it up to our interpretation. Lately, he has been increasing this rhetoric.

I am struggling with this! But on the other hand, I’ve been doing it for so long. I know many ladies that have taken off their hijab and the majority have no regrets and are okay with their decision. So a part of me is okay with taking it off and another part is not! Please help!

Indeed this is an increasingly common question for an age-old practice.  When I saw this question from one of our dear readers, it hit home.  Born to Egyptian parents who immigrated to the United States over 40 years ago in the midst of the Islamic Re-Awakening in Egypt, I too grew up with the notion that hijab was something commendable, yet optional.

I was content with my views regarding hijab until I was 20 years old.  I often looked at Muslim women observing the headscarf with a bit of confusion and pity combined. “Why would someone go through so much trouble? Why are they making it difficult for themselves?”

My belief was challenged, however, when unsuspectingly a relative of mine began wearing the hijab and gave a presentation about it at our masjid’s youth group.  Ironically, the masjid we attended was one of the rare few which did not propagate hijab, and depending upon the leader asked, the idea of its optionality was reinforced. I was shocked when I heard the clear evidence from Qur’an and Sunnah that hijab is fard.

I give some personal background to this question only to help readers who are struggling with this practice to understand that I am sensitive to misconceptions and public pressures surrounding the hijab. In this article, I wish to present clear evidence regarding the commandment of the headscarf and to provide rebuttals for the very common arguments Muslims raise concerning its status.

Evidence

In the Qur’an, the direct commandment for post-pubescent women to cover their hair and neck is in Surat An-Noor, ayah 31 (Chapter of the Light, verse 31).

“And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their khumur over their juyub and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, […]” (Qur’an 24:31)

After reading this ayah, one may notice that there is no mention of hair per se.  This is where many of those who question the obligation of hijab, stop and say, “But where does the Qur’an say to cover the hair?” This is an example of how understanding a verse based on the English translation alone and without historical context results in confusion.  Let’s back up and understand this ayah, phrase by phrase.

The Believing Women

The very first directive from Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) in this ayah is aimed at Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (peace be upon him) to “tell the believing women” to lower their gaze, etc.  There are those who claim that the commandments in this verse apply only to the Prophet’s ﷺ wives or only at the time of the Prophet ﷺ.  Yet the address is for the “believing women”—an all-encompassing phrase.  Remember the ayah:

“And We have not sent you [O Muhammad] except as a mercy to the worlds,” (Qur’an 21:107).

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was sent as a mercy to all of humanity—not just to the people of Mecca and Medina.

Lowering One’s Gaze and Guarding One’s Private Parts

Note that the first injunction described here is for the believing women to “lower their gaze” which is to avoid looking at anything haram (unlawful). Secondly, they are commanded to “guard their private parts,” (which in the previous ayah, verse 30, Allah (swt) addresses the believing men and commands them first to do the exact same—who said protecting one’s body from haram is only for women?).

An important point to mention in this part of the ayah is the various English translations found to explain the phrase “yahfadthna furujahunna”. In Arabic, the literal meaning for this phrase is to guard their private parts. This is specific and strong language to forbid the believing women (and in verse 30, the believing men) from engaging in illegal intercourse. Interestingly enough, in Pickthall’s translation of the Holy Qur’an, “yahfadthna furujahunna” is translated as “to be modest” and in Yusuf Ali’s translation, we find “to guard their modesty.”

For years, I wondered why some Muslims have the notion that hijab is not fard, but that we are required, instead, to only “be modest.”  I believe I found the source in these English translations.   According to many ahadith (narrations of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ), we are required to be modest (which in Arabic, is “hayaa’”).  However, this verse, in particular, is not commanding the women to have “hayaa’” in the general sense.  Here they are commanded, specifically, to “guard their private parts.”

An explanation of how guarding one’s privates can be successfully accomplished begins with lowering the gaze and continues with the commandments outlined in the rest of the ayah as related to dress.

Women Are Not to Display Their Beauty

Next, the verse reads, “and not to display their beauty, except what ordinarily appears thereof.”  In Arabic, zeenatahunna refers to the women’s natural beauty or adornments (here, the scholars of Qur’an understood adornments to refer to the hidden places of the body where adornments are worn1 ) Therefore, the scholars of Qur’an agree by ijma’ (consensus) that “wa la yubdeena zeenatahunna” refers to covering everything, “illa ma dhahara minha”—except for what ordinarily must appear to carry out daily affairs in public, which is the face and the hands2 .  Interestingly enough, the scholarly debate has always been between whether the face and hands are to be shown, or if they too, should be covered3 .  Until very recent times, this commandment from Allah (swt) to cover the hair was never debated by the common Muslim.  And this certainly was never up for debate amongst the scholars throughout history.

Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi resonates with this very concept when he responds to the same question regarding the obligation of hijab in his book—Contemporary Fatwas4 . He states, “One of the great fitnas (trials) and intellectual conspiracies that has been introduced into the Muslim world is the alteration of matters of certainty to matters of doubt and debate.” He also states that all of the scholars throughout history from various groups such as the Sufis, the Dhahiris (the Literalists), the fuqahaa’ (jurists), and the scholars of hadith unanimously agree that it is fard for the believing woman to cover her hair.

Some discount the commandment of hijab altogether due to the weakness of a commonly cited hadith (narration) found in Sunan Abu Dawood where Aisha radi Allahu ‘anha (may Allah be pleased with her) relates that the Prophet ﷺ, who upon seeing Asma bint Abi Bakr wearing thin clothes said, “O Asma, when a women reaches the age of menstruation, nothing should appear from her except for this,” and the Prophet ﷺ pointed to his hands and face.  This reasoning is faulty because even if we were to entirely dismiss this hadith, the clarity of the various segments of the ayah are enough to prove the commandment of hijab by itself.  In addition, there are other authentic narrations from the Prophet ﷺ outlining how thick the woman’s outer garment should be, how loose, how long, etc. These descriptions of the woman’s dress, coupled with the injunction to cover the hair, and to not display their beauty, collectively emphasize the injunction to cover all but the face and hands.

Covering the Hair, Ears, Neck and Chest

The injunction for covering the hair is evidenced by “and to strike their khumur over their juyub.” In Arabic, the word khumur is the plural of khimar, which is a cloth that is draped over the top of the head and hangs downward.  This definition is unanimously agreed upon by all of the scholars5 . Juyub is the plural for jayb which is the opening in the front of the dress that allows the head to fit through.  The key is to note that the women at the time of jahiliya (pre-Islamic times) were already covering their hair, as was customary throughout history in various cultures6 and religions7 .  However, by letting the ends of their khimar hang down behind their back; their ears, neck, and chest were exposed89 .  This style can be seen in the image below10 .

Then came the commandment to take the khimar and “cover their juyub.” By doing so, the women would now be covering their previously exposed areas.

The photo above depicts again how the head cover was worn.  The next photo explains the action of “walyadribna” which literally means to strike, “bikhumurihinna” with their head covers, “ala juyubihinna” over the front openings in their garments.  Ar-Razi, explains that “walyadribna“—to strike—is used to emphasize the importance of covering this area11 .

Finally, the last photo reflects how the khimar (head covering) is used to cover the previously exposed ears, neck, and chest.

Summary of Verse 31

Let’s take a moment to reflect upon what the believing women are commanded to do:

  1. Lower their gaze
  2. Guard their private parts
  3. Not display their beauty and ornaments except what (ordinarily) appears thereof
  4. Take their khimar (head cover) and cover their chest (and other previously exposed areas)
  5. Not to display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers…etc.

It is very difficult to see how an ayah with so many specific, step-by-step commandments can be written off as someone’s “interpretation.”

Hijab, Khimar, Veil, Head Scarf…

Some say hijab is not fard based on the use of the word “hijab” itself.   Some argue that verses containing the word “hijab” in the Qur’an (which means to conceal, veil, screen, etc.) do not refer to covering the hair, so why do we use hijab to mean headscarf?  Let’s not get caught up in the semantics of the word hijab.  Suffice it to say that this word has become commonplace in the Muslim vocabulary to mean a head cover despite the fact that Allah (swt) uses the word khimar in the Qur’an. Yet the two terms are related in meaning. What matters is that we cover our hair, not the way in which we name the covering.

The Style of Qur’an

The Qur’anic style is not like our municipal codes of law that provide lists of rules and injunctions. Instead, the Holy Qur’an has a beautiful literary style in which Allah (swt) opens our hearts through stories, warnings, reflections, and direct commandments, all intertwined.

Imagine if instead of the ayah above regarding hijab, we were told to cover our hair, neck, shoulders, upper and lower arms, chest, abdomen and thighs, etc.?  How dry would that sound?  That is not the style of the Glorious Qur’an.

Take the obligation of prayer.  Can anyone deny the duty to pray Fajr, Dhuhr, Asr, Maghrib, and ‘Ishaa? The answer is no, yet nowhere in the Qur’an are these prayers listed together as part of the commandment to pray. Furthermore, a closer look will reveal that nowhere in the Qur’an are the number of raka’at (units) for each prayer described.  It is not necessary, since Allah (swt) sent His Messenger to teach us the specifics.

And although the issue of covering the woman’s hair has been submerged into a sea of heated debate, there is no hesitation to fully cover the hair and body for prayer. Again, the question is raised: where is this mentioned in the Qur’an? Why are we so resentful and phobic when we hear that women need to cover their beauty outside the home, yet we peacefully submit when it comes to matters of worship? Are we not trying to please the same Merciful Lord both in and outside of prayer?

Finally, some mistakenly look for exact words in the Qur’an to validate certain obligations such as hijab. “If there was an ayah in the Qur’an which read, ‘All women must cover their hair’,” I would have done so in a minute!” claim some who challenge the concept. Take a step back and remember that the command is to take the headscarf that covers the hair (khimar) and to modify how it was being worn. If there was a room full of women wearing head scarves, and you wanted them to cover their ears, neck and chest; how would you phrase the request? Would you ask them to put on a headscarf that they are already wearing, and then to cover the exposed areas or would you simply ask them to cover their exposed areas?

Conclusion

Referring back to our dear sister who submitted this question, the arguments you’ve heard to take off the hijab may seem convincing, however they are wholly unsound. To attract attention to yourself because you look different with the hijab is not the same as attracting sexual attention. And to refer to the verses and ahadith relating to hijab as interpretation is unfounded (there are many more ahadith not included in this article for the sake of brevity).  Finally, some use the ayah, “[…] Allah intends for you ease, and does not intend for you hardship […]” (2:185) to argue that hijab is not compulsory. If we had such license to rationalize away other injunctions when faced with any level of difficulty, what would happen to praying five times a day and to fasting?

While others around you were comfortable in taking off their hijab, I urge you not to do the same! From my experiences with sisters who have followed the same path, I have invariably seen unfortunate subsequent changes. Such changes include: tighter clothing, lower necklines, shorter hemlines, and more lavish hair-do’s, despite the intention not to. I know some sisters have had bad situations in which they were forcefully coerced into removing their hijab, may Allah make it easy for you. But for those sisters who contemplate this action by their own choice, I urge you and all of our readers to seek the pleasure of Allah and not the pleasure of His creation.


  1. Ruh Al Ma’ani by Shihaab Adeen Abi Athanaa’, vol. 18, pp. 309, 313 []
  2. Al Mufassal fi Ahkam Al Mar’a wa Bayt Al Muslim by Abd Al Kareem Zaydaan, vol. 3, pp. 317-320 []
  3. See Shuroot Al Hijab Al Islamiyya by Dr. Fouad Al Baraazi []
  4. Contemporary Fatwas by Sheik Yusuf Al Qaradawi, vol. 1, pp. 453-455 []
  5. Contemporary Fatwas by Sheik Yusuf Al Qaradawi, vol. 1, pp. 453-455 []
  6. See What People Wore When: A Complete Illustrated History of Costume, St. Martin’s Griffin, New York, 2008 []
  7. See www.Catholicplanet.com/veil/index.htm []
  8. Ruh Al Ma’ani by Shihaab Adeen Abi Athanaa’, vol. 18, pp. 309, 313 []
  9. See “The Bible on Women and Their Hair” http://www.therefiner’sfire.org/women’s_hair.htm []
  10. History of Costume, by Braun and Schneider []
  11. Al Mufassal fi Ahkam Al Mar’a wa Bayt Al Muslim by Abd Al Kareem Zaydaan, vol. 3, pp. 317-320 []

About the author

Lobna Mulla

Born to Egyptian parents, Lobna Youssef Mulla, along with her three siblings, was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley. She graduated from California State University, Northridge with a B.S. in Business Administration with a focus in Accounting. She was on the board of the Muslim Public Affairs Council for two years and worked for 10 years as an accountant before entering motherhood. In 2005, Lobna moved to Egypt with her husband, Shaykh Suhail Mulla, and her children for three years where she studied Arabic, Islamic Studies and Tajweed, before moving back to the States. Lobna has been working with the youth for the past 15 years in various capacities such as assisting with youth camps, leading halaqat, teaching tajweed classes, and leading a MAS Girl Scouts Troop. Currently, Lobna lives in Orange County with her husband and four children, where she is the Vice Chair for MAS Greater L.A.’s Tarbiya Department.

255 Comments

  • “Such changes include: tighter clothing, lower necklines, shorter hemlines, and more lavish hair-do’s”

    Nowadays I see quite a few women who wear a hijab and also have very tight clothing in the U.S.

    • I agree. Almost all my friends who wear hijab don’t care about the clothes they wear. And on top of that, they wear make up! The strange part is that they judge a sister who doesn’t wear a hijab although, is modest in her dressing with no use of makeup at all.

      • It doesn’t mean if a few aren’t doing appropriate things whilst wearing hijab then we shud all stop. Many dress very decently with hijab. i myself wear full covered but western clothes with a hijab. If its part of the religion then you shud try to follow it if you can. At least those few women who perhaps wear tight clothes they are proud to show they are muslim and have taken on this commitment.
        They may also think twice about any haram activity if wearing hijab. i never thought i would wear this and even had a bad opinion of those who did but today i am so happy to wear hijab and to be muslim.

    • That is correct, for in England, I have seen nearly 90% of sisters wear hijab in such a fashionable way that they attract more attention then the plain sister who does not wear hijab but is very simple in her clothing and wears no makeup. The hijab sisters wear very fancy head coverings that only cover the hair, full makeup and the shortest and tightest blouses and tightest jeans!!!
      May Allah give my sisters the knowledge to wear the hijab in the way that it is meant to be worn, Ameen.

    • Thank goodness that there’s somewhere we can only mention that fact! The other day I was talking to some folks about how we do wudhu with makeup, and I was told off and blamed for trying to shame women based on their choices. I was just talking about what we can observe in practice, I wasn’t ridiculing anyone and I certainly didn’t point fingers at anyone in specific. However, today we cannot talk about anything related to women because we will be blamed for taking away her full freedom and trying to control her. I never hear people blaming Islam for trying to control people’s time with fasting and prayer and hajj and so forth, but when it comes to certain taboo topics all of a sudden “control” is an issue – we cannot define what Islam’s rules are anymore.

      • I had exactly the same discussion with some sisters yesterday. Sadly I was called a “wahabi” and was talking drivel when I said that Hijab was about covering the whole body and that makeup blocks water from reaching the skin, therefore not allowing one to complete their wudu. Sadly these are agreed upon issues by the majority of scholars in the sunnah. Alhamdulillah, I guess if people do not wish to read, to learn, to listen and to gather sound scientific islamic evidences then that is on them. Allah knows how they manage to pray if they go about that with the same theological approach!

  • Salaam

    Beautiful advice.

    May we, men and women, strive to have true hayaa in all we do and all we show for the love of our Creator.

  • I am a young high school student who just recently began wearing the hijab much to the chagrin of my father who views the hijab as a mere ornament. JazakumAllahu Khairun for this wonderful piece; it gives me strength to continue wearing the hijab:)

    • I am proud of you Aisha, it’s not an easy thing to do on yur own, especially without the support of your father, but Allah will bless you even more for the difficulty you encounter my sister…

    • Oh Aisha! MashaAllah May Allah keep you strong. I’m 30 and know that you’ve inspired me to keep strong.
      Really hope that you haven’t been facing problems with hijab and family.

  • Masha’Allah, very beneficial explanation. I think this trend of Muslim women taking off the hijab in the US is ultimately a result of a lack of knowledge. I’m sure most of these women have good hearts and may have modest overall character, but without a solid foundation in basic aspects of Islam the pressure to conform to societal standards will naturally increase. Also, wearing hijab purely out of fear (and not balanced with the love of pleasing Allah) does not provide a solid foundation for taking on this challenge.

    May Allah give us the strength to uphold the dignified teachings of Islam in all aspects of our lives- ameen!

    • Salammu 3alkyum wa ramthAllah

      Your statement about not wearing the hijab because of the lack of knowledge about Islam and the Sunnah is very true.

      I am a sister wearing the hijab for such a long time since I was 9, and when I turn 21, I had this feeling why I am wearing the hijab, should I take it off?, just to let you know I lacked a lot of Knowledge on Islam. Didn’t know much, since I did live in the America’s. But once I increased my knowledge on Islam and the Sunnah, It was a true honour of wearing the Hijab. Every day is Jihad for me to, but its an honourable Jihad, because its for the sake of Allah(SWT).

      So for any sister out there. If you don’t know enough about Islam, go seek some knowledge about it. If you enough, re-gain your knowledge about Islam in other halal means, because people who seek knowledge about the beautiful religion Islam, those are the people who will be closer and closer to Allah(SWT), stated by the Prophet Muhammed(SAW).

      Also one more thing, if you still struggling, just make duaa, make duaa all the time, Allah(SWT) is always listening. It will be a true Jihad keeping your Hijab on, don’t let the whispers of the shaytan get to you, be a true believer in Islam, and all fight these whispers and be confident as a TRUE Muslim women, because at the end of the day you are fighting these whispers for the sake of Allah(swt), and this by itself is Jihad. Don’t let modern society get through your head, these people will never be there for you, only Allah(SWT) will be there for you always through happy times and bad times. Al-Hamduillah!

  • For all the ones, before thinking what people would think of them doing an act,just think what Allah will think.

    We are to obey Allah’s message the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) way. Then no matter wat ever happens,it is not on us,leave the matter on Allah.

    We have to do our homework and Inshallah Allah will grant us paradise. And this is what he needs basically,total submission.

  • I wonder why ayah 33:59 is not quoted more often..

    To me it seems to clearly state covering ones head, specifically. I often questioned this practice carried out by my mother and all my aunts but then one day alhamdulillah, i came across it, and i never had a doubt about hijab again.

    • Nowadays many women and men take issue with statements such as “. . . they will be known and not be abused”. The reason is because modern feminism tells us that asking women to be modest is victim-blaming. Islam always recognized, however, that men are responsible for lowering their gaze, respecting women’s space, behaving modestly, and so on no matter what. Additionally, it seems these people don’t recognize that women indeed do have some agency in what type of gazes they attract to themselves via their behavior and dress, just like men also have some agency in how other are attracted to them by how they behave and dress.

      Nonetheless, these people say that asking women to be modest in order that “they will be known and not be abused” is victim-blaming because women aren’t responsible for repelling abusers with their clothes. It’s wrong to ask women to try to prevent attention to themselves and the “coming on” of men by dressing conservatively.

      I don’t really understand how Muslims can simultaneously accept the feminist view and the Qur’anic view, but that’s the current trend anyhow.

      • I do agree with you. It really is with Allah swt whome he guides, till very recently i may have been classified amongst those feminists unfortunately.

  • Assalamu Alaykom Lobna,

    May Allah reward you with jannah for this article. The current debates among Muslims questioning that which has always been clear has been a worrying trend. May Allah bless you for the courage and sincerity to write in such a clear and straightforward, and yet kind and caring way. Beautiful advice, and very strengthening for all of us. mashallah.

    wassalaam

  • I think this article was well written. However, I urge everyone to watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAGUkJTi9oU. If it doesn’t open—search on youtube: ‘Critical Issues: The Headscarf?’ – Professor Tariq Ramadan

    I think it’s very important that we consider that wearing hijab and being modest is a PRESCRIPTION by Allah.

    Just as a physician prescribes medication to his patients. It is up to them to decide on their own based on their own research of reputable sources and knowledge of the side effects. Just as a medication can have side effects, so can the decision to wear hijab. For example: challenges in the workplace, less social interaction with non-muslims, discrimination from others, etc. But just as medication can have therapeutic benefits, so can hijab: becoming more in-tune with your faith, improved awareness of issues of the muslim woman, praying more often, acting in a respectful manner, and making daa’wa to others.

    HIJAB IS A PERSONAL DECISION FOR EACH WOMAN. With that being said, yes it is optional. Because each person has the option to decide whether or not to do something which is FARD. There is no doubt in Islamic History that hijab is FARD. One should make a personal decision to dress modestly or not just like we decide whether to pray, whether to fast, whether to avoid alcohol or not. FACE IT PEOPLE, this whole idea of making EVERYTHING MANDATORY OR YOU GO TO HELL does not encourage the masses to practice Islam out of true belief…but out of fear/shame only. We must be an open-minded ummah to those non-Hijabi Muslim women, such as converts, who perhaps are struggling with their decision, or maybe need more support or knowledge. This should be more emphasized within our communities. Where are the hijabi support groups? Where are the educated muslim women who can take the role of advisors in the mosques? Just as Prof. Ramadan mentioned, why is it mostly men taking this role in communities to make decisions about matters that concern muslim women?

    Take for example, Salah, also a prescription by Allah. Allahu a’laam (ALLAH knows best), of course, but one’s prayers may be more heavily weighted on the day of judgement than one’s dress. I understand that many things are interrelated…but if people emphasized the importance of prayer more than quarreling about hijab all the time…or simply judging a women’s entire belief in faith based ONLY on if she wears Hijab or not…it would benefit the muslim community a lot more. Just being a ‘good person’ and saying the shehada is not enough, of course we should always be striving to improve ourselves. Being muslim means you must play and dress the part. ACTIONS are more important than simply the way one dresses. But also dressing modestly can lead to good actions. Therefore, the two are interrelated. But where are the in-person discussions/lectures about the status of muslim women when it comes to issues other than hijab? This website is extremely valuable in that aspect, but in the offline–real world–we don’t get many of those discussions in our mosques.

    I pray that someday hijab will no longer be a symbol of oppression to the world, but a symbol of freedom to decide to be close to God and obey his word. Right now, even many Muslim women are foolishly associating it with oppression. But can you blame them? The atmosphere for women in our muslim communities is mostly stagnant. Improving the status of muslim women in the East, in turn improves their image in the West, and that leads to increased confidence for muslim woman in predominantly non-muslim countries. Where are the muslim women scholars? Where is the unity, we need to stop questioning whether this or that is FARD and move past those arguments…We need to figure out a way to help our sisters and brothers work towards completing those actions that please Allah. Instead of leaving them in the dark to struggle on their own. Again, very thankful for this website. Just hoping to see more real life action and discussion in our communities.

    J.A.K

    • Mashallah. Brilliant comment. Just brilliant.
      One of the best, if not the best, comments I’ve ever seen in any form of media. Your comment should itself be a main article and I can only wish the Suhaibwebb.com team would post it as a guest author opinion.

        • Masha’Allah! So well spoken. Jazakallahu Khaiyran, I’m so happy you spoke up.

          I particularly relate to these 2 statements of yours: “FACE IT PEOPLE, this whole idea of making EVERYTHING MANDATORY OR YOU GO TO HELL does not encourage the masses to practice Islam out of true belief…but out of fear/shame only. We must be an open-minded ummah to those non-Hijabi Muslim women, such as converts, who perhaps are struggling with their decision, or maybe need more support or knowledge.”

          As a convert, well meaning people who talk about the choice is between hijab or hellfire simply turn me off to the question altogether. Out of anger and frustration, rather than dealing with the question, these people make me want to shelve the debate in my head and save it for another day when I’m not fuming. I have had one person even compare a woman without hijab to a lollipop without a wrapper.. Sorry, but a woman is NOT a piece of candy without a mind, and hijab is a decision that comes after a period of inner jihad. Lollipops, on the other hand, do not have the luxury of making decisions.

    • Jazak Allahu Khair for your thoughtful comments. I completely agree with you regarding your thoughts on the importance of our inner characteristics vs. our outwardly appearance. Although there are many who have moved on beyond the question of whether or not hijab is fard, there are those still struggling with this basic piece of info due to the massive amount of stigma surrounding it. I felt compelled to write an article to help those wanting to know the truth.

      Rest assured that Muslim Women Scholars exist and are actively working towards the betterment of women and society as a whole. Support groups in the form of study circles,sisters’ groups, and open discussions in the masajid also exist. Many of the wonderful authors and guest authors from this website are actively involved in such efforts. May Allah spread these efforts all over the world and serve as sources of support and guidance for Muslims everywhere.

    • Your comment is wonderful, and I will do my part to increase these conversations in my community.

      I was liking the prescription analogy, but I am often given prescriptions that I don’t go pick up from the pharmacy and never take. There is no harm to me (as far as I know). There is harm (sin) to me in not taking a prescription from Allah subhana wa t’Ala, given that this prescription is a fard.

  • Assalamualaykum,

    Thank you for this great article. It is often the case that many muslims believe that wearing the hijab is compulsory, but rather than focusing on the quranic texts and prophetic traditions, we often resort to mere ‘customary-practice’ and ‘you’ll go to hell if you let your hair free’ arguments.

    Having said that, it is of utmost importance to educate the public on the fard of hijab with humility, respect and tenderness (in contrast to ‘HELL YOU!’) without compromising a little bit of the real reason behind hijab.

    thanks again.

  • Salaams,

    Do you think its possible that the verse was purposely very vague in order to allow people to admit doubt and alternate explanations instead of simply for aesthetic purposes? Surely the Quran is not frivolous and vain.

    Also the two main threads of arguments you pointed to are that there is ijma, and that the khimar itself was a dress that covered the head and bosom.

    Regarding ijma this isn’t itself an argument just that there is “consensus”. Nothing inherently says a human consensus (especially of particularly likeminded people) can not be mistaken – unfortunately recent years of Islamic thought has conspicuously stultified and that is a function of the conservatism and fear of any change among its leaders. This is not a criticism of their every decision but there is a problem regarding overwhelmingly conservative and quiescent thought that is real.

    Regading khimar, why would the Quran refer crucial and specific details to a garment which has not been worn in centuries and is entirely alien to most peoples and cultures? If this is the crucial detail, why effectively hide it from anyone without very specific knowledge about ancient Arabian culture (pre-Islamic even)?

    The Quran is for all time and places, given that it is a perfect document perhaps its inherent vagueneess on this subject is a reflection of the fact that multiple opinions are permitted especially in different times in place; after all the Quran very clearly instructs us to use our reason and about this it is not vague.

    • Interesting points.

      To me (not an Islamic scholar, so take it for what it’s worth), the plain meaning of the verse is to cover one’s bosom, not to adopt wearing a khimar or head covering. Reference to a certain piece of clothing, the khimar, does not necessarily mean that one must wear it for all times. Following the line of reasoning of this article, it seems that fashion would never change and that women should be relegated to wearing exactly what was worn 1400 years ago while men get to frolic around in T-shirts and jeans–an unsupportable double standard.

      • Assalamu Alaikum Ameena,

        A commandment is for all times, however styles may change. The prescription for the head covering is not specified in color, material or manner. The images were provided to assist in understanding the areas to be covered. On a side note, jeans (not the skinny ones) are a great invention :)

      • Exactly right! Dress fashions change over time and cultures and that is why the Quran says that what is normally left uncovered should be left uncovered. In the view of the late great Islamic scholar Mohammed Asad, the Quran requires that women should be dressed “decently.” He states “my interpolation of the word “decently” reflects the interpretation of the phrase ‘illa ma zahara minha’ by several of the earliest Islamic scholars, particularly by Al-Qiffal (quoted by Al Razi) as “that which a human being may openly show in accordance with prevailing custom (al-‘adah al-jarriyah).” We must remember that the rationality, the spirit and moderation of Islam was, to a great extent lost through the interpretations of some medieval scholars (11th an 12th century CE, who also injected the religion with misogyny, which is totally absent from the Quran and the very authentic hadith. The scholars of today, for want of any meaningful scholarship on Islamic issues for the last 1000 years, still accept the medeival scholars work as if it is from the Quran itself. Our basis for an understanding of Islam must, first and foremost, be the Quran and only then those sayings of the prophet that can be considered authentic and will be supplemental.

    • Salam brother-

      I’m sure Sh Suhaib or Sr Lobna are far more qualified to answer, but, from my understanding:

      The question of ijma’ or consensus refers to the consensus of major scholars, and gets its authority from the many extremely sound ahadith supporting the statement of the Prophet (peace and prayers on him) that “My umma will never agree on error.”

      It’s true that any individual might be wrong, and we don’t think that any person is infallible. That’s why consensus is such an important “check” against individual error.

      It’s the overwhelming majority of scholars across the entirety of Islamic history who state that hijab is fard – not only based on this verse, but also from sound reports of how did the wives of the Prophet dress (may Allah be pleased with them) and the female companions and early Muslims.

      Re: changing interpretations — There are indeed things that change and can be interpreted according to time/place/condition, but there are also fundamentals that don’t.

      Allah swt has told us what our private parts are that need to be covered — and these parts don’t change just because it’s the style in our town to skinny dip…

      As far as Allah mandating an “alien” garment:
      A khimar (headcovering) is not at all an unusual or foreign concept. Not only Arab but also Jewish and Christian women also wore it, both before that time and throughout the centuries all around the world, up to today.

      http://www.virginmarymtl.org/images/Virgin_Mary.jpg
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/13/jerusalem-exhibition-hasidic-jewish-culture

      The truly “alien garment” is our modern state of undress, unimaginable and unheard of in Judeo-Christian-Muslim society for thousands of years.

      As far as interpretation and flexibility: Allah swt doesn’t specify a particular type of garment per se.

      His “vagueness” allows us to dress according to our time and our means, SO LONG AS WE DO COVER what needs to be covered.

      The Qur’an IS for all time and place, and subhanallah it IS a perfect document…

    • While Ijma’ is capable of of being incorrect, this is considered extremely unlikely if the Ijma’ is of the Salaf and the Sahabah. This is especially so if the consensus contains no evidence to the contrary ie: the Prophet SAW never praised or made an action of approval or non-disapproval toward wearing less. What is most telling is that, despite some of the greatest minds of history existing within the historical context of revelation in the Salaf, and despite other scholars such as Al-Ghazali being 1,000 years closer to the context than us, we still insist on reinterpreting this today as if we somehow have a greater knowledge than they or any of the ‘Ulema of our time.

      Your statement about the khimar pointing to an “ancient” practice is one that abuses the Hadith and Sunnah and ignores their existence, as if Allah SWT had willed that the Qur’an alone be our guide. If this were the case, there are many things we should readily be able to ignore. Among key things not present in the Qur’an: the method of Salat, the full method of Wudu, the organizational structure around inheritance, the various humanitarian restrictions in Jihad, the clarification of the meaning of a number of unclear words such as Dharaba and the like, etc.

      We should be incredibly wary about clinging to the vagueness of verses for our refuge: to do so is one of the characteristics of the Hypocrites. When there is meant to be a variance of opinion in the revelation of our Lord, we do not find it in parsing the vagueness of the Qur’an, but rather in the intentional method of interpretation by our beloved Nabi. Anyhow, as much evidence has shown, these verses are only vague to those who have come to the Qur’an lacking the knowledge of the language used.

      I understand your concern, though. The hijab can seem controversial, especially in the modern era. This is the fault of the men of Islam, not the women. We have not treated our women as they deserve to be treated, and we have taken to tighter dress we should have shunned. When a clean-shaven, t-shirt wearing, tight-blue-jeaned Muslim man carts around his loose-fitting hijabi wife, the disbeliever gawks at his oppression, and the believer should feel sorry for his state. The true remaining communities of Islam, like the ones I had the pleasure to see in the mountains of Morocco, have men and women in such beautiful and modest attire that one would see them following the same dress code.

      • While its true that the Hadith and Sunnah can be sources of additional guidance you seriously err in putting them on par with the Quran or basing your opinions as though they are a second Quran unto themselves. While the Quran is indisputably the word of God and is thus perfect, the hadith themselves (in their recording, transmission and lack thereof) are human creations and are subject to scrutiny and reasoning as the Quran itself advises in all matters. People with shallow knowledge of Islam and Islamic history often forget the Hadith we have today are mainly a reflection of what was chosen by certain scholars to write down; and they themselves were recorded in many cases hundreds of years after the Prophet(saw)’s passing. They are not infallible or exempt from rational critique, they are human creations.

        Your comment about my supposed abuse of the Hadith and Sunnah is redundant, but I’d advise one to be careful with their words when implying someone who puts forth an alternate opinion is a Munafiq; this reflexively hostility to any new thought is a leading reason for the Islamic world’s general backwardness and stagnation today.

        Contrary to what you said I am not “clinging to vagueness as a refuge”, you can read my post again if you desire clarification. If you take the logical conclusion of your point that there is no vagueness or room for interpretation, it would have to be decreed that all women today must wear the khimar specifically and no other type of clothing would suffice – this is the literal meaning if there is no vagueness.

        It is important to not force our own interpretations upon women or to monopolize the process of Ijtihad to exclude other historically acceptable forms of Islamic inference towards scripture (analogy, allegory). You’re welcome to your own opinion but I’d advise you to consider the possibility that other opinions may also be valid and not outsource your agency to scholars whom (if you study their documented positions) were themselves not hostile to inference in jurisprudence.

        • I agree with your comments. The word Khimar is used as a base here to cover the head. Its about drawing thier viels over their bossoms as most of the translators translated. I dont know from where the writer of the article confirmed that most scholors agreed on the the translation with head covering. It does not include head at all, i have read the ayah again and again with several translations and The only person who translated it as a head covering was maulana tahir lul qadri? Its about covering of your chest or wearing clothes that does not make your breast prominent. Its as simple as that, why complicating it with flase translations.

        • This is quite a strange argument. We need to keep clear in our minds that what we are discussing are rules and injunctions of Allah – our God, our Creator. The opinion of the creation are not relevant.

          The primary issue is this: you have a preferred opinion and have formed your argument around that. There are two issues that are creating the vagueness you find yourself in — your failure to submit to the overwhelming body of evidence on this matter, and a fatal error in comprehending limits of applicability of analogy (qiyas).

          The companions of Rasoolullah (peace be upon him) have been meticulous about presereving the text and understanding of the hadith. There is tremendous methodological rigour in the process of collecting, verifying, and documenting the statements and practices of the Messenger of Allah (saw) used by the hadith scholars. This included the documentation supporting the credibility (sahih – rigorously verified, daif – weak, etc) that was accorded to any particular hadith – so it can be verified by other scholars. If you bother to check the text of the classical scholars on how they arrived at the conclusions we are talking about, you will find that all of the “concerns” and “vagueness” you allude to are addressed.

          Furthermore, the significant practices that were taught by the Messenger of Allah (saw) were firmly established in the Muslim state and society. These practices began in the lifetime of the Messenger (saw) and continued in the following generations. Among these practices was the wearing of the hijab and khimar by the Muslim ladies.

          And finally, analogy and allegory will come into play *only* if the text and meaning (in terms of its application) are not clear in regards to the issue under investigation. That is certainly not the case here. The text, its meaning, the practice based on the text are well-established. Ijtihad with the intent of re-opening this issue cannot be valid.

        • I urge you to learn about the sciences of hadith collection and isnad (verifying the chain of narration). I urge you to study the lives of classical scholars, the way they collected the hadiths and the minute details which they consider when accepting a hadith for collection. The different levels of strength in hadiths are clearly stated from sahih (rigorously verified) to the daef (weak) and it is clearly stated.

          Actually I need not go further as your real thoughts on Islam and hijab shine through your reply regarding the Islamic world being stagnant and backward (have you considered any of the history of colonialism, destruction of the Caliphate state, deception and replacement of honest ruler with despots who have clear ties and benefits with powers outside the muslim lands?). Please do not hide behind your eloquence and bring forward your “other accepted” forms of “ijtihad” for all to see and scrutinize”. Whilst you argue about what is implied, what is supposed and what is reflexive, this issue on hijab is quite clear. And it is the hadith and the actions of the Prophet peace be upon him and the early sincere muslims who practiced them and abided by them (otherwise they would be corrected by the Prophet peace be upon him) that give the clarity. But you refuse to accept this fact, and this has left you in vagueness. And what you pass on as rational is merely your own opinion of following whatever you wish to follow, which likely is a result of the ideology that you have been fed.

          If the “how” of the hijab has its influences from the Arab culture so be it, and I wear it proudly as a non Arab, for Allah swt chose to make the greatest man that ever lived to be an Arab, born amongst Arabs, and raised amongst them. It was Allah swt in His divine wisdom who chose the circumstance and chose what would be the medium of Islam and what would not (secularism, ‘freedom’, and feminism were certainly not). My sincere advice to you is to leave behind your own cultural biases when studying Islam and Allah’s injunctions.

          We use rationality and reason to reach our belief in Allah swt – which makes sense. But once you accept Allah swt has supreme right over us, that He is The Legislator, and the evidences are clear – we are in no position to keep using our rationale to argue and place precursors

        • I totally agreed with Maz. He said it all. Our muslim men and women should read his article with open mind.
          People in the muslim have been brain washed so much that we can not even ask question regarding some of the controversial issues.
          Quran is indisputably the word of God and is thus perfect, the hadith themselves (in their recording, transmission and lack thereof) are human creations and are subject to scrutiny and reasoning as the Quran itself advises in all matters. Jazak Allah

        • Anya i do not wear hejab and i am looking into it presently. As we can barely trust those in power to give us the truth without their own bias and self interests embossed in their answers. What Lobna is saying is that at the time of the prophet that women had a Khimar which they already wore for cultural and possibly weather reasons such as detering heat. But their Khimar was opened (cape like) the verse then askes believing women to close the cape over their bossom and hence you have a modest khimar. AKA Hejab.

    • Wa Alaikum Assalam Brother,

      I just saw a Catholic woman this past Sunday entering the church with a lace head covering. The thought that the khimar “has not been worn in centuries and is entirely alien to most peoples and cultures,” is quite mistaken. Please see the references cited at the end of the article to see current Christian debates over Biblical verses referring to covering women’s hair. I also urge you to review the books I cited showing the history of people’s dress from ancient to modern times. On the contrary, head coverings have been and continues to be part of world culture.

    • If the Sunnis and the Shia agree on something (and have agreed historically), you can bet that ijma right there is based on the original understanding.

      I agree that the larger emphasis of this verse is to cover the bosom, but if that were Allah SWT had intended to command, he could have commanded that women cover their bosom in a variety of ways, or even just said “Cover your juyub [bosoms] so that they are not displayed”.

      The fact that the command is so detailed about how to cover the bosom proves that covering of the head is required, but is lesser than covering the bosom.

    • i agree with your comment,how can we be a hundred percent sure what ancient and pre islamic woman wore??.we werent there to see and then translate the quran verses to reflect that.its like saying this was the style back then,so obviously its a command to alter that already existant style,duh!.but who has the authority to make that claim?.it just doesnt hold up.observing modesty and covering the cleavage,as well as leaving out waht is necessary for the woman to function.is simple easy and adaptable to all times and places.may Allah guide and protect us all.

  • great article! I do feel that semantics matter. We should stop using the word “hijab” (conceal, veil, screen, etc.) used specifically for the Prophet pbuh’s wifes. Khimar is more appropriate no? Or in West we could just use scarf or head-scarf.

  • Salaam,

    Thanks for shedding some light on the issue. However, one CRUCIAL aspect has been missed here. That is the FACT that wearing hijab is detrimental to people’s health. This is due to the fact that Vitamin D is needed by our bodies and this is usually absorbed by the skin. Vitamin D is needed by the body to absorb calcium and for other metabolic processes in the body. Lack of it can lead to osteomalacia, osteoporosis, some types of cancer and also mood changes and hair loss.

    I refuse to accept that Allah would ask his creation to do something detrimental to his or her health. That would be an ungodly request. There have been 100’s (maybe 1000’s) of audits and clinical studies across the world which have confirmed covering yourself up too much decreases vitamin D levels dangerously. I work in the pharmaceutical industry and have personally helped doctors perform audits in Asian areas.

    One of the audits done in Walsall, UK found at least 1in3 Asian women were at risk of osteoporosis due to lack of vitamin D, and an astounding 90% of hijabis had DANGEROUSLY low levels of vitamin D. Darker skinned people in general are more at risk as its harder for darker skinned people to convert sunlight to vitamin D. Covering up further exacerbates this almost 10x!

    Now, a common response is that women should sit by there windows for a few minutes to get the exposure they need. This is not enough! They need DIRECT sunlight. Windows filter UV rays.
    They could however just sit in the garden (if they have one), however this poses another critical question.

    Islam and the Quran have been sent for the whole mankind and for eternity. Therefore, if Allah was to ask women to adhere to wearing a headscarf, he would have stipulated in that above verse the importance of somehow getting sunlight. But this is NOT mentioned ANYWHERE!

    This is a serious health issue, and posting 2D fatwas like this is damaging Muslim women’s health across the world. Please look into the studies properly and THEN make these fatwas.

    Also, getting vitamin D from the diet is possible but VERY difficult… Not many foods contain it. Again, why has God not mentioned this in the verse?

    • How much of the vit D needed by the body is manufactured as a result of sunlight absorbed through the scalp (i.e. the skin under the hair on the head versus the rest of the body)? So, how does covering the head impede this process? Also, barring your spurious pharmaceutical industry findings (inspired by company interests in almost all cases) do large scale international statistics show that the countries with the highest rate and prevalence of Vit D deficiency are the ones where women wear hijab? If you don’t know then perhaps you need to review some statistics yourself – here is one place to start with (and there are plenty others) …. http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/mor_vit_d_def-mortality-vitamin-d-deficiency – By the way, undue exposure to the harmful rays of sun also has its downside (hint, hint skin cancers etc) but I am not going to use your line of reasoning – Numbers speak for themselves. Please take the time and trouble to investigate before you spread disinformation in haste.

      • The scalp itself doesn’t absorb as much light as the skin. I never claimed that. But the figures speak for themselves.
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/22415337/
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/11703889/?i=2&from=/22415337/related
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/22690323/?i=5&from=/22415337/related

        These are a few studies a quick search can find. A more thorough search on the Annals of Rheumatology, findings from British society of Rheumatolgy and European League Against Rheumatism back this up of you care to look into it.
        Also, speaking to GPs and rheumatologists in your own area will show the same thing.

        Also, I don’t recall saying anything about lack of Vitamin D causing direct mortality. I’m sorry of you misunderstood. I said caused osteomalacia, osteoporosis, some cancers, hair loss and mood changes. Osteoporosis later in life causes hip fractures. If you know much about mortality rates, you’d know that hip fractures one of the leading cause of death in the elderly. But you must know that seeing as you know so much about mortality rates?

        In a nutshell, hijabi women should be made aware of this, and take appropriate actions to counter it. Whether that be through supplementation, diet or lifestyle changes. Telling women they’re going to hell for damaging their bodies is not on.
        Brushing it under the carpet won’t help

      • Also, too much of anything is detrimental to a person. That includes the sun. In moderation, it won’t cause skin cancer. Being unsafe and sitting in the sun for too long will! 20-30 mins in direct sunlight at around zuhr time 3-4 times a week is sufficient. But if wearing a hijab was FARD, it would be stipulated in the Quran alongside the ‘command to wear a headscarf’

    • Salam –

      1) It’s modern life, not hijab, that is causing our Vit D deficiency. We live, work, travel, and even play indoors for the most part. Even kids are just glued to the TV and we to our laptops.

      2) Exposing face and hands to full sun for an hour a day provides sufficient exposure for vitamin D production, on average.

      3) Most fabrics allow sunlight to penetrate to different degrees. Just hold your sleeve up to the sun and take a look. A white T-shirt has an SPF equivalent to 7. Very minimal. How about a chiffon hijab?…. If you’re outside, you’re getting sun.

      4) Traditional Muslim life included outdoor space that was private or women-only (eg open courtyards where women could sunbathe in privacy). Modern Muslim life only needs the political will to accomplish this: women-only beaches, sports clubs, etc!

      5) Alhamdolillah, vitamin D is super easy to supplement, cheap, and well-absorbed.

      • Thanks for the polite and eloquent reply. I agree, it is very easy to get vitamin D from the sun. There needs to be more education for women who wear hijab on the importance of going outdoors and getting some sun. There should be a lot less of this ‘if you don’t wear a headscarf you go to hell attitude’. If as much effort was made on educating people on the dangers of lack of vit d than is made on telling people they’ll go to hell, a lot of people will lead more healthy lives.
        Hijab is a choice, not an obligation. If they choose to cover up they should be given ways to improve their intake of vit D.

    • Quran emphasize on reaearch for the benifit of hamanity and eveything that has been researched as a goodwill to human should be implimented. Its so sad that at all times every latest research has been marked as Haram without identifying its good. Camera, tv are the biggest example. The Quran is book for all times and whereever Quran remain silent is because in that area things can be used in the most effective manner keeping humanity benifits in mind. I am not talking about hijab as hijab might not come in way of vitamin d if properly implemented in Quranic way. And if science proof its not good for human Quran can’t go against it because its word of Allah.

    • Salaam
      You mention that you work in the pharmasutical industry as if this gives you some sort of undeniable credit.
      Pharmasutical companies have done much research just to prove what ever they want. So you prove people are low in vitamine d you get to sell more vitamine d etc.
      Yes, skin needs sun.
      But i put it to you that many asian women, and afircan women may be vitamine d deficient because for thousands of years their boddies have developed to cope with much more sun than we get in the west. So they probably still react as if their body will receive alot of sun when indeed it wont.
      How many of them feel alot better if they are able to travel back to a sunny climate and avoid the winter for example.
      Also many asian women for cultural or finantial reasons are vegan or vegetarian meaning they don’t eat eggs, chese fish or meat this also limits how much vitamine d they are able to have access too. Essentially humans need balance at all times. You can have your arguement, and on the same page have some one telling you how hijab will prevent skin cancer, heat rash, dust getting in to the eyes and causing blindness as happens in some deserts etc.

      • Yes I mention I work for the pharma industry because I was mentioning about helping doctors do audits for vitamin D. Not for the pharma company itself. I’m not saying it gives me undeniable credit, but it puts me in a place to help doctors do their job. That’s quite a presumptuous comment there. You’ve got quite a narrow minded view of the pharma industry. If (God willing it won’t happen to u) you end up ill and in hospital, where does the medicine come from to treat you? The medicine fairies?

        We’ve already clarified above about skin cancer, etc. it’s all about moderation. That can be said of anything. If you’ve got a headache, do you go and take a whole box of paracetamol? No! You take 1-2 otherwise that’s the last headache you’ll ever have. MODERATION AND BALANCE.

        I’ve clarified that ALL dark skinned women are more at risk of deficiency, but people who cover up too much are MORE at risk. Youre preaching to the choir. Please read comments properly before going into automatic defence mode.

      • PS haven’t met many Muslims who are vegan or vege. Could have an impact on vit d though, I agree. However 90% of our vit d comes from the sun…

    • I wear hijab and I have had a dangerously low level of Vitamin D. However, this had little to do with hijab and more to do with living in an apartment and working in an office. The only sun exposure I had was walking to and from my car.

      So even if I hadn’t worn hijab, my Vitamin D would have been low, it just wouldn’t have been critically low.

      Now that I’m married and have a private garden with a high wall, my Vitamin D levels are fine, alhamdulillah.

      So I agree, the problem isn’t with hijab so much as it is with living in the “modern” world, a place where wisdom of our ancestors has been complicated significantly. The hijab does complicate things but you can’t blame hijab.

      And, by the way, the hair does not absorb Vitamin D at all. In fact, it has been known for decades now that the sun actually damages the hair (it is dead, after all), and no one has been able to devise a real SPF product for hair other than clothing (unless something new has slipped in past my radar).

  • Salaam,

    Could the author please respond to the hadith quoted by the questioner regarding punishment for women who do not wear hijab? Is this valid?

    Secondly, is it still fardh for older women past the age of menstruation to wear hijab? I was under the impression that it is okay for them to remove it if they wish but better if they do not. Thus not making it an obligation. I am referring to the ayah in Quran 24:60 http://quran.com/24/60. So if the questioner is in fact past the age of menstruation (which may be true given that she has a 23 year old), is it not halal for her to remove her outer clothing if she wishes? May Allah forgive us all for that which we do not know.

    • wa alaikum us salaam,

      That command is for women who no longer desire marriage. The questioner appears to still be married, which means she is still obligated to wear hijab.

  • Assalamualaikum,

    JazakaAllah khayr for this article. Very well written and the evidence and explanations make it very clear that the hijab is obligatory and not optional.

    May Allah SWT help us to follow his deen in the best way possible, like our Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. Ameen.

  • While I am torn between thoughts of it being Fard and optional (I wear it and Insha’ALLAH I will continue to wear it correctly) I would say comparing its abandonment, among some Muslims, could result in further questioning of the obligation of prayer and fasting isn’t the same. It isn’t comparable. We all know the 5 pillars of Islam. Prayer and Fasting is two of them. Abandoning the pillars is abandoning faith. Hijab isn’t a pillar, it is Sunnah. Whether the debate on obligation or not.

    • It is comparable, because there is little specifics in the Qur’an about prayer and fasting, and the vast majority of what we know about it’s various steps and obligations comes from the sunnah.

  • This is the second article on the fard of hijab I’ve recieved from Suhaibwebb.com in the past few months. Why the preoccupation on dictating what women should be wearing? Where are the articles discussing men’s clothing? The fard of a hat or turban, perhaps?

    • I understand your frustration with the recent emphasis on women’s dress. I too feel frustrated, especially when shame, oppression, and ambiguity surrounds Allah swt commandments. Unfortunately, there is so much talk regarding this subject, not because of an obsession with the surpression of women, but instead due to the misguided attack on one of Allah’s -exalted is He- merciful prescription for the honor of women.

      • There is a dangerous dynamic that is placing women as soul bearers of fitna in the world this i believe is due to hadith and other extra religious text etc… Lets face it as Muslims we are not exempt from male dominant culture and this dangerous trend is really costing us our own demise. The fact that you state in your work that Allah swt ASKS men first the very same thing that he ask of women. We are equal in the eyes of God and that needs to be emphasised. Further more i want to add that men can be fitna for god knows how many times me and many sisters have lusted over a gorgeous man.

  • Salaam. Thank you for such coherent, concise information based on Qur’anic verses and factual arguments, ya ukhti. And I think most of us Muslims should together learn more on how to be modest, like lowering our gaze whenever we encounter non-Halal sights outside home. Because I think one of the root causes of zina is this, unwillingness to behave Islamic, act Islamic and read Islamic things. An advice for myself, too. :-)

  • Ok, so there’s ‘ijma that hijab is fard, and it’s been the ‘ijma for 1400 years.

    I think there is a more relevant question given the tensions one see’s in the Muslim world nowadays though:

    IS HIJAB TO BE ENFORCED?

    Yes…does a government, a group of gun totaing psychos, overzealous brothers and sisters…whomever…do they have the right to ENFORCE the hijab on a woman?

    Where is the Quranic ayah or hadith saying so. If not that, is there an ayah or hadith where it can be assumed because there is a hadd punishment perscribed? If not, then why this obsession amongst Muslims? MOST things in Islam are not enforced…so why is this one thing such a huge issue?

    Sorry, but I think it would be disingenuous to deny that the fact that this affects women and a lot of men desire that control over women’s decisions or are insecure about women plays a HUGE role in the absolute obsession over this issue as opposed to thousands of other things in Quran and hadith which do not have presecribed hadd punishments or governmental mandates…

    I think there is great wisdom in what the Quran says, but there is ALSO great wisdom in what the Quran DOESN’T SAY. If the Quran has left certain issues up to individual choice, we should leave well enough alone.

    There is a REASON the HADD are called the HADD…because they are the absolute LIMITS of what can be deemed acceptable and transgressing them cannot be allowed…but those things can be counted on the fingers of the hand. God has allowed us free will with most other things…

    We really need to get out of this harassment mindset people. We are losing Muslims day and night, including the younger generations because they are SICK of being harassed about this or that issue…that is a REALITY.

    Yeah, some people might be held to account because they are doing this or that wrong on yawm ul qiyyamah…but some of the overzealous brothers and sisters should realize that THEY might also have to answer for harassing and chasing a person out of IMAN over these issues. Doesn’t the Quran also say “make us not a trial for others”?

    It is great to be educated on and know the opinions on these issues..but frankly our community needs to learn a lot of humility and reacquaint ourselves with gentleness and the other great characteristics of our Messenger (s)…which we seem to always overlook, preferring to measure beard & pant lengths, discuss zabiha halaal or mandate the hijab…

    • Your points are valid regarding the enforcement of hijab. As with all other prescribed matters in Islam, it is up to the individual to carry out what Allah swt has commanded. May Allah swt grant all of us gentleness and good character…Ameen.

    • You make many excellent points!

      Yes most things in Islam are not enforced by the community. Unless you live in Saudi or Afghanistan with fanatics trying to tell people how to live their lives. But for the average Jo—or Yosef…we can pretty much decide on our own how to live our lives. Whether to pray, fast, etc.

      The two reasons many people are pushing to enforce that all muslim women wear hijab otherwise denounce their faith:
      1) control (we think if she dresses this way she will automatically be protected from harm or haram, also protecting the reputation of our family…community…etc)
      2) cultural (we want our women respectable, marriage type, no skin)

      We have seen that those who are forced to wear hijab when they are young, immature, or strongly opposed to it tend to rebel and get into trouble. Others grow-into their image as a hijabi by actually putting effort to be modest. But forcing something, instead of guiding one to the straight path…seems to be problematic. And by forcing, I mean putting a lot of social pressure…

      Frankly, most people practice based on what they hear growing up is halal and haram. I wish every Muslim would study their religion using reputable sources…or at least read the Quran from front to back slowly to analyze the verses and read the explanation or historical references at the bottom. Take notes, think about what is being said and how it applies to your life today. That way people can make informed decisions on how to practice their faith. Hearing that, this is right and this is wrong, goes in one ear and out the other. But reflecting on the words of Allah leaves one with a deep notion of how it applies to them and what they must do accordingly.

      Allah knows best.

      • What are parents supposed to do? I’d be really interested if Lobna or Sh. Suhaib Webb could write another article about this very topic.

        Why do we so badly hate to hear about the boundaries set by Islam regarding our dress and behavior? Is it because of our contemporary culture which takes offense to restrictions set on people based on gender, especially women? I know it is sadly very true that some families think that their sons and male relatives can do whatever they want but women must always be restricted (even from things which are technically perfectly fine). We see this with how some choose to raise their daughters extremely strictly while not even caring half as much about what their sons are doing. But have we ever stopped to think that one of the reasons we don’t talk about men’s dress as often is because most men automatically follow (and even exceed) the requirements of covering their awrah? How often do you see Muslim men in short shorts or with their navel showing? It happens sometimes, but it’s much more rare than the attempts to rationalize neglecting hijab. Hijab is understandably not an easy thing to uphold. We have weak self-esteem and many pressures from cultures and society to be and look a certain way, and we don’t like to be restricted, and we’re even afraid of prejudice. Sometimes life isn’t supposed to be easy.

        I never hear Muslims complaining that their parents forced them to pray, even though it’s more than likely that Muslim parents actually do instruct their children to pray. The Prophet said to start instructing kids at a certain age then enforce it with reprehension (even “punishment”) at a later age (I believe 10), just like how parents raise many other qualities within their kids by urging, encouraging, teaching, boundary setting, and the occasional grounding. Parenting requires a certain level of instructing, does it not? Similarly, God and His religion contain instructions for people to follow. We – human beings – are the children in the situation, God is above us. Why don’t we start complaining about being “forced” to go to jummah prayers and fast by our parents when we’re 10, 14, and 16? You know, kind of like how people complain about being taken to Church by force by their parents, only now it seems we may start to consider this an infringement of the person’s rights.

        If we’re so concerned about controlling behaviors, why don’t we all start an opposition to parents who teach and raise their kids to pray and fast? Isn’t this infringing on the rights of an individual who should him/herself have the sole discretion of deciding what he/she should or shouldn’t do in terms of faith? Actually, I even hear some atheists say that it’s an infringement of an individual’s rights to raise kids to believe in and practice any religion at all. They say raising children to believe in God is an evil act of control and infringement. So should we start to raise children completely blank of any religious instruction because of the fear of being controlling? Why do we think that pressuring people into waking up for fajr, doing the rakat of salah correctly, making wudhu, abstain from food and drink for up to 17 hours daily for 30 days in a row, etc. is all fine but pressuring them in terms of social behavior or dress is not? Aren’t they all faith-related pressures/teachings and aren’t they are, to a certain degree, imposed?

        Technically hijab becomes mandatory at puberty, but just a small and decreasing percentage of Muslims follow this anymore (let alone adults). So how are parents supposed to deal with this if everyone, Muslim and non-Muslim, is hurling the word “controlling” and “shaming” in their face? Of course, there are some who are so harsh and demeaning that they truly are a cause of repulsion when they teach Islamic principles. But it seems to me like we’re all just looking for the best excuse to justify our desire for the total freedom to be our own sole influence. God’s law and parents and scholars don’t really mean anything to us. I’m beginning to wonder what the role of parents and religion even is. Parenting and religion will soon become or already are the new guidance/career counselors whom we go to on the one or two occasions that we feel totally lost in order to get ideas about our future, then we mix and match and dump what we want, in the end pursuing what’s most convenient or most lucrative to us.

        There needs to be a balance struck somewhere. I think part of the requirement of a system like religion, which inherently has boundaries and obligations set, must also be that it’s taught and instructed without us always feeling entitled. Otherwise, even when the rules and reasoning are known, many, if not most, choose to rationalize their way out of it or ignore it. I’ve actually witnessed this spill over into the basic pillars – fasting and praying, for instance. I’ve literally seen people who consider themselves Muslims rationalize why it’s okay that they don’t pray and fast, and how it’s an intrusion of others’ rights to emphasize that Islam considers these to be mandatory rather than unimportant or occasional practices.

        So where do we draw the line and why? To what extent do parents have the right to teach their sons and daughters to follow Islam? To what extent do scholars have the right to speak about men and women’s obligations in Islam in front of audiences at mosque, on websites, in books, etc.? I really don’t know. All I know is it all makes no sense to me. Theory and practice in religion never seem to match in a logically consistent fashion. Ever.

      • Sister,

        What do you mean calling Muslims in Saudi Arabia & Afghanistan fanatics. Is the western world so enlightened beacause of rejecting the truth of Islam? You should know that islam is Deen wa Daula (roughly religion & state).

        Zai,

        Yes indeed. the hudood are countable(6 to be precise). But there is something in sharia called ta’azir; whereous the muslim state can implement that which is of benefit to the community. That & ALLAH knows best.

  • I must say, on the issue of vit D, I find there are deeper cultural issues that need to be addressed here. Here in the West, there is nothing to stop women from going out when the sun is out but the love of ‘lighter’ or ‘fairer’ complexions amongst many Muslim communities shows a culture that is adverse to sun exposure. This is reflected in the availability of 100s of creams for lightening one’s skin in Asian, Middle Eastern, and African countries that have large Muslim populations. Furthermore, vit D deficiency is not something that is exclusive to women who cover, rather it is prominent in fair skinned people who have been bombarded with messages about the risk of skin cancer, also black people in the West, and office workers and the elderly who spend most of their time indoors may also suffer from vit D deficiency. You also forget that lifestyle has changed over the last century, more people are doing office based jobs, environments have become more urban and often socialising takes place indoors. Many of us go to work in the dark in the winter months and return home in the dark. Similarly, in places like the UK where it is cloudy for most of the year and summers are unreliable, over half of the population are believed to be vit D deficient (who most certainly are not all Muslim women). Thus simply relying on sun for vit D is not an option.

    I think public health campaigns encouraging and informing people about the necessity of sun exposure sun would be more beneficial rather than blaming those of faith alone. The UK is beginning to catch up with this with the Chief Medicial Officer writing to all health professionals earlier this year, identifying groups at risk (women who cover, the elderly,black women, pregnant women etc.) so that health professionals are aware and trained in responding to this.

    Also, taking vit D supplements and having practical lifestyle changes, such as being out of the house when it’s sunny, even during winter, finding a quiet spot in the park to expose arms and legs for half an hour in summer months, even the face and hands can be enough if you intentionally go out to sunbathe. The amount of sun exposure also depends on your skin type. Going on holidays where you have access to a private villa rather than a hotel…I appreciate not everyone can afford this, can help. The bottom line is if individuals prioritize their health they will most likely find solutions that work for them.

    So as someone with a public health background, who is a Muslim woman who covers and who has been vit D deficient, I strongly believe through supplements, life style changes, if you can afford it holidaying in the winter months, low vit D can be addressed. Vit D is not a life threatening disease when it can be fixed by simple lifestyle, diet and vit D supplements but lack of knowledge, lack of adherence to medical advice, and lack of diet and lifestyle changes can most definitely make women who cover ill, like everyone else.

  • how did the prophet’s wives dress? did they wear hijab? of course. they covered their heads and bodies with abayas. so even if the quran had nothing on hijab, why wouldn’t you follow the prophet’s wives? if the prophet looked at you without hijab, would you be ashamed? if you’re praying namaz in front of god with hijab, why don’t you do every part of your life that way?

    • The prophet’s wives were not like other women and this is clearly stated in the Quran. After all the prophet’s wives were prohibited from remarrying and this certainly does not apply to Muslim women. So I do not think that Muslim women need to or should follow the example of the prophet’s wives. The Quran is clear enough of what Muslim men and women should or should not do!

      • Ahmed, in that case, it will be impossible for muslims to follow the Prophet (peace be upon him) as he is like nobody else in rank and greatness. The wives of the prophet (peace be upon him) were elevated in rank & were specifically forbidden to re-marry after his death. But concerning the dress code, all muslim women have been addressed in the Qur’an. So we should differentiate between specifics & generalities (muqayyad & mutlaq)

        • Lutfi,

          We should differentiate between the important and the unimportant. Allah has given us a mind and an ability to think. There are many ways that we can emulate the character of the prophet as he was the best amongst all humans. But to emulate him in whether he had a beard and if so of what length it was is bordering on the ridiculous, but this is where some muslims seem to attach the greatest importance. Let us emulate him in his honesty, his courtesy, his kindness and generosity, in his sense of justice and fairness, in his concern for the poor, his opposition against oppression and injustice, his sense of mercy and magnanimity. Let us not be focused on whether women should cover their head or not, whether only one eye should be visible or that hands and face should be covered (even in hot countries at the height of summer). What is important is that both men and women should behave and dress modestly and with humility. The great Islamic scholar Mohammed Asad understood that what Quran requires is that women should be dressed decently. He states “My interpretation of the word “decently” reflects the interpretation of the phrase ‘illa ma zahar minha’ by several of the earliest Islamic scholars, and particularly by Al Qiffal as “that which a human being may openly show in accordance with prevailing custom.”” Prevailing custom means customs prevailing in that society at that time where the person lives. A standard of clothing considered modest in Saudi Arabia may not be considered modest in India or what is considered modest in the 18th century may not be considered modest in the 21st century.

  • the ayeah does not say wrap their khomir over their juyub,
    it says hit their khumur over their juyub which means to cover the face also.
    all four mathahbs agreed that the women must cover her face if it cause a (fettnah) in the society. right now we see some sister( may allah guides all) ware tied cloth and colorful dresses that make them notable, allah’s religion is not pick and choose, it is our way of life and we Moslems must pure from all these misunderstood or doubts.

    • No, all four madhabs do not say that.

      In fact, the Grand Mufti of Egypt (a Shafi’i jurist) recently posted a fatwa that says niqab is permissible and even desirable until it becomes something that fractures the Muslim community or until it becomes a standard for something that doesn’t exist.

      Furthermore, there are significant number of fatawa from the Shafi’i madhhab that removes their traditional position of niqab as fard on women living on traveling in the West.

      In addition, Shaykh al Albanee even stated niqab is not fard, so there are minority positions even in the Salafee manhaj that it is not fard.

      Stop oversimplifying our deen.

  • SubhnaAllah, I am reading through some of the posts, and it’s always the same issue, people trying to form an argument based on a preference they already have, overlooking the commandment of Allah SWT.

    Brothers and sisters, the hijab is fardh, and there is overwhelming evidences for this. So please don’t try and twist the rulings to fit your ideas and beliefs. Just accept it, that is what Islam is about, accepting and submitting to Allah’s commandments.

    Yes, in some countries, women are forced to wear the hijab against their will, yes we do tend to focus too much on women’s dress code rather than the men’s…etc, etc. But all these issues are besides the point. I admit, some of these things are wrong, and it is not Islamic.

    First we need to focus on our relationship with Allah SWT, and then try and tackle and discuss all the world problems. If all the Muslims in the world were able to practice the deen, like our Prophet, peace be upon him, then these problems wouldn’t exist in the first place.

    It is what it is, hijab is fardh, if you find it hard to accept or understand this or any other rulings in Islam, then pray to Allah SWT, that Allah SWT makes it easier for you to understand and accept it and to submit to His will. Don’t bend the rules, and bring up other comments in relation to the topic or rule at hand.

    O ye who believe! Enter into Islam whole-heartedly; and follow not the footsteps of the evil one; for he is to you an avowed enemy. Quran 2: 208

    • Sister,

      May Allah brighten your face.You ahve hit the nail on the head. Indeed, I often wonder why this issue (the dress code)was never so contetious in the past. Why has it appeared so strongly and vigorously in contemporary times. I dont know; does it have to do with the dominant non-islamic culture (western, to be precise), which has wrecked havoc to our ways of life. If it just to fit in & not stick out of the crowd? Why do non-muslims never try to fit in and conform to our ways when coming to our countries?

      When the Prophet (peace be upon Him)said that the best generations ever are the three generations/centuries after him, he knew that they will never question Allah laws.

      Therefore, my advice is for us all to strive towards ALLAH
      Azza wa Jalla & not be intimidated by loneliness/strangeness (ghurba)which honest muslims are destined to face in this times of fitna.

    • Sister Farzana, Firstly, whether the hijab is fardh or not is a debatable matter. There is no unanimity on this. Secondly, Islam is not a religion that requires taqlid, in fact it requires the muslim to use the mind that Allah has given to her/him and use that to draw conclusions on duties and responsibilities on the basis of the Quran and the authentic hadith (all hadith in Bukhari are not necessarily authentic). It is clear that Islam liberated women and gave them rights, but what is not commonly realized is that in the 11th and 12th century CE (300-400 hijri) there was a push back by misogynistic Islamic scholars to put women in their “place” (that is take away the rights given by Islam). It was during this time that forged anti -women hadiths made their appearance in total contradiction to the Quran. Unfortunately, some of these have been accepted by Imam Bukhari in his collection of authentic hadiths. The science of hadith verification is not as scientific as people have been led to believe. The Quran says in 9:31 “rabbis and monks determined what was lawful and what was not instead of Allah. ” In Islam there are no Rabbis and monks but Islamic scholars have given themselves the authority to act in such a manner. Let us keep in mind that the ultimate and completely truthful authority on Allah’s commands is the Quran and only the Quran. The hadiths that are in keeping with what is in the Quran and that show the prophet’s character as of the highest standard are the only ones that I would consider as authentic.

  • Assalamu Alaikum,

    Sister Lobna, you gave clear explanations and support from the quran about hijab. we can call it khimar, hijab, or headscarf, as the ayats revealed, we are instructed to cover ourselves. Thanks sister for the explanations!

    My story with the hijab is this one. I did not wear it but I knew I should. Then I started wearing it for almost one year. Then I had my husband who said I should just be like everyone. Well, I also lectured myself that it is okay to remove it because I did not like the stares from my coworkers and other people. Deep inside when I took it off, I knew it was wrong but I did it. I was just rationalizing my action!I was weak. I thought about the stares and forgot about Allah’s command. That was bad.

    This past ramadhan, I started wearing hijab again. This time, I do not care about the stares and I am very open to why I wear hijab. Whoever asks me, I say I am a muslim and it’s Allah’s command for me as a muslim woman to wear it. My attitude changed, now I do not see hijab as a burden, I wear it with pride. I am a muslim and I have nothing to hide.

    As someone said, when you take medicine even if it has benefits you can get side effects. Same thing with hijab. In my job, besides the curiosity about why I observed hijab, I do not think people treat me any different than before. I am still getting some stares from my neighbors, but they will get over it. My hijab, I love it and I am proud to wear it and be noticed as a muslim in the US.

    Finally, we do not need to have a hijab police. If a woman wants to wear it may Allah reward her for doing it. If a woman chooses to not wear it, it is her choice, and may Allah help her see the truth. Allah is the Only judge and may He guide everyone of us to obey Him.

    I pray to Allah to keep me in the right path wa salam,

    Reader

  • As salami Alaikum.I had some misconception about hijab n now clear for ur post.thank u n may ALLAH(SWT) reward u.many ppl say applying makeup is haram except infront of husband.I know we shouldn’t put e cessively that grabs attention.but we can hide some flaws via makeup n some say make up totally I infra t of non mahram is haram by referring that is translated in Englishof Quran in surah Nur- and do not show ur adornment except ur husband,father,…
    Adornment meaning in English dictionary is decorating with colours.but zeenatahunna is the word that has been translated which means beautiful body parts.my question us is makeup zeenatahunna?is a beautiful body part?how come it’s haram?plz justify.I’m here to kno plz correct me sister if I’m wrong

    • I am not an Islamic scholar so I advise you to seek advice from someone who has more information for you. But I do know that eyeliner (kohl) was encouraged by the prophet. In my opinion, you must look at your intentions before asking yourself these two questions:

      Will you be putting on excessive makeup to attract attention by men? Or will the makeup be just a normal part of your daily routine? With anything, one must analyze their (neeyaah)– intention…and you will feel if it’s the right or wrong thing to do. Also it is good to consider your husband’s wishes out of respect.

  • Assalamualaikum wbt.
    thank you very much for this post. i have never doubted that it was mandatory for women to cover their hair, Alhamdulillah, Allah SWT has made my heart firm on the subject. sadly, i am very confused weather if my feet is part of my aurah.. i am well aware that 3 out of 4 imams states that women’s feet is part of her aurah, where as imam hanafi states that it isn’t. how is this possible? if i were to live before the times of the imams, according to the Quran and hadith, are my feet part of my aurah? please help me. I find it really hard to cover my feet at all times in front of non-mahrams, but if it really is mandatory for me to do so, i would really make a bigger effort to do so. i have been lost and confused on the matter for so long.. thank you..

  • Assalamu Alaikum. I am always surprised by all of the comments about hijab, woman covering their awra, etc. it is Fard, no doubt about it. And, yes one could argue that it is a personal choice. But, why would someone make a personal choice to disobey Allah SWT each and every day? To me it seems like an issue of Eeman.

  • Assalamu Alaikum

    May Allah safeguard everyone here and increase us in sincerity and Iman. In regards to why this issue is important I have a few comments. There is an attack on Islam and the culture of Islam and this is leading to liberalism in regards to matters in which it has no room. Also it is important to focus on that which Allah has made an obligation upon. So just like we discuss the Salah, and the Saum we must discuss things such as the Hijab because it IS an obligation ( there is no room here for any other interpretation or position because it is vague and has no basis in Usool ul Fiqh) and after establishing that it is obligatory then it becomes a position of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil. Also, when we understand the punishment for leaving an obligation we must consider as well that it is a point of loving for our fellow muslim what we love for our self when we talk about these issues such as Hijab. May Allah strengthen the sisters and the brothers who follow the obligations decreed upon them in regards to their appearance.
    Now in regards to those who say “It is not right to enforce upon women to dress this way even though Allah has not prescribed punishment” etc….(Meanwhile back biting our brothers and sisters who enforce the Law of Allah across diff parts of the world). Your wrong in your accusation based on a few different principles.
    1) The ruler of the muslim country is responsible for those who are under his rule and will answer to Allah for the way he ruled over those who were under his care. It is narrated by Ibn Umar in Bukhari and Muslim that The Prophet S.A.W sayd “Everyone of you is a protector and guardian. A Ruler is also a steward, a man is a steward in respect of his family members of his house, a woman is a steward in respect of her husband’s house and his children. In short everyone of you is a steward and is accountable for those who are placed under his care.” Based on this principle we see that the ruler has an OBLIGATION to take care of those under his charge and due his utmost to encourage and uphold that which Allah has made an obligation upon the Muslims.
    2) He has the absolute right to impose laws upon those living under his rule in order to protect the muslims from SIN and IMMORALITY (Just like here in America we may not walk around naked because we will be fined, and we cant run red lights or stop signs and so forth because we may harm others) In a country where Allahs laws are enforced the men and women must be protected from Haram, indecency, immorality and so forth because we put as much emphasis on that as we do upon physical harm. We see here based upon these principles that the Ruler has the right to impose upon the Muslims even though they may not like it as long as he of course stays within the confines of that which Allah has ordained and does not commit dhulm because he will answer for this in the next life.
    I encourage our muslim brothers and sisters who grew up here in this country to keep from imposing American values on Islam, we are not American muslims rather we are Muslim Americans and there is a huge difference between the two.
    May Allah safeguard and protect the people in this country and grant them the greatest of blessings. May Allah bring us all closer to truth. May Allah keep us from poverty and enrich us. May blessings and salutations be upon our beloved Prophet Mohammed and his companions and all those who follow them in righteousness.

    Abu Zejd

    • Your kind of thinking has brought the Islamic world to the crisis it faces today. You are concerned about the dress of the Muslim women but are you concerned about the injustices, the honor killings, the subjugation and exploitation of Muslim women? You may think that your understanding of Islam is correct but many others would disagree. Ultimately, neither you nor I are the judge of who practices Islam correctly, only Allah will judge us. So show some humility and let us agree that only Allah knows who is in the right and who is in the wrong. Be compassionate and remember that ultimately we alone are responsible for our actions before Allah.

      • Nowhere in the Qur’an did Allah command injustice. So any injustice or oppression committed by muslims then the sinis on them.

        Secondly,the predicaments we are in know is not associated with Abu Zedj; rather, it is the secularists and the so-called muslim liberals who have eroded the islamic values.

        Lastly, Allah is the final judge. That does not mean we dont have a right to enjoin what is good & what is evil. This mandate has clearly been bestowed on us Allah.

        • Lutfi, The Quran is very clear on injustice and oppression and anyone who has read the Quran can see that clearly. My point is that the problem is with the religious scholars, who, instead of standing up for the Quranic values, are more concerned with playing power politics. In the Islamic world I hardly ever see these so called scholars speaking out against the grave injustices that occur in muslim lands. In their understanding the root of all problems seems to be that Muslim women are not covering their heads! Presumably only if the women would stay in their houses and not venture out then all the problems will be solved! Let us as muslims stand up against poverty, injustice, oppression, killing of innocents, tyranny and authoritarianism. Let us also remember that in the Islamic world we seem to have forgotten the concepts of humanity and mercy, very prominently in evidence in the Quran. Human rights is not a western concept, it is originally an Islamic concept now accepted by the world. Allah is the final judge and you have no right to tell me that my understanding of Islam is wrong because how can you know that only your understanding of Islam is correct. Every muslim will answer to Allah and he/she will be responsible for their actions. So let us focus on our deeds and try to act in the best way possible as muslims according to our understandings and not call any muslim whose views are different as kafir. Incidentally, it is not the “liberal” muslims who have eroded islamic values , rather it is the conservatives who have divided the muslim ummah creating fitna.

  • Assalamu alaikum sisters and brothers. I have a question. All these issues people are worried about with regards to hijab seems to blind a person towards the actual sunnah of our beloved Nabi SAW and his wives as well as his companions wives.. What did they do? Did they argue about Vitamin D deficiencies? Did they have intelectual battles about the semantics used in the quraan? Or did they willingly, completely, unfalteringly abide to the instructions of Nabi SAW (and by direct association Allah Himself) whether it made sense to them or not? There are so many authentic narrations about ladies covering up,about what the sahabi RA women did when the verses of hijab were revealed etc. Are we at all interested in the lives of these queens of jannah or are we so hell bent on rationalising every aspect of the deen that we miss the boat to piety. One thing the sahabi women never had to tell each other was “if you don’t wear the hijab you will go to hell” because Allah blessed them with such love and obedience to Him that someone Not wearing the hijab was a foreign concept. How far the ummah has drifted from those days of obedience. Our love for our Creator should spur us onto searching for reliable, authentic knowledge from scholars who are well versed in the sciences of hadeeth and quraan and follow that. “hold onto the rope of Allah” Find your love for Him and you”l see how easy it is to follow His way. Really there is no benefit in giving our own opinions if we do not have that deep knowledge of quraan and hadeeth. There are two types of people…the learned, who in all right have to do the instructing, and the “mainstream ummah” who follow the advise of the learned who I remind you do not advise out of their own pockets..but out of quraan and hadeeth. Please lets find our love of Allah through His obedience, make use of the scholars that Allah has blessed us with and unite in the obedience of Allah. For if we all do the right thing, and live according to sunnah, who can even find room for difference of opinion and way, since we’l all be the same- doing the same thing and living life as Allah willed us to, by following the perfect example He gave us. I hope all us,including me, use our noodles in the right way, and not as a waste by arguing things that are set and settled a long time ago. Wear the hijab ladies…and do it for the love of Allah cos thats what He wants and at the end of it that’s what a muslim is “submitting to the will of Allah!”

    • Walaykum salaam. Thanks for your view.
      My point was that Allah would not ask us to do something if it were bad for us… Hence the face veil would definitely not have been encouraged by God, and to an extent, He would not ask us to cover up excessively. Lack of vitamin D causes many problems with a persons health. So it can’t be a command from Allah. It must be a misinterpretation. Blindly following things which man has interpreted will lead us to be the same as the ahle-jahiliya. We need to open our minds and use the brains The Almighty has given us.

    • Also, the reason women wore a headscarf was purely cultural at the time. Women would use the headscarf to protect themselves from excessive sun. The same way Arab men cover their heads nowadays. The ayah in the Quran referring to covering the junoobiya came about because women started to wear the scarf like a bandana and leave their breast area exposed. The ayah says to use the scarf (which they already culturally wore) to cover their chest area. So it’s more to do with covering the chest area than the actual hair itself. It’s common sense really.

      • Why this emphasis on the khimar as being cultural prior to Islam?

        You cannot separate culture and Islam. Islam is not a culture and it will not replace culture. Islam is meant to balance out culture and rid societies of negative cultural practices, such as burying infant girls alive.

        If wearing the khimar were negative, Allah would have banned that as well. But it wasn’t seen as negative. Rather, they just needed a slight change as to how to wear the khimar properly, so that it wasn’t creating too much focus on the breasts. (Which is juyoob, junoob means crazy. But perhaps covering crazy people has some merit. Allahu alem.)

        In short, and I say this again, if Allah had intended to only command women to cover their breasts then the command would not have spoken about the khimar. The Arabs were simple people and they would have accepted a simple command. They didn’t need elaborate instructions except when it was necessary.

        I do agree with you that the way the ayah is worded it is obvious there is a larger emphasis on covering the breasts than the hair, but they are both part of the same command and cannot be separated from one another.

        • LOL The arabs were simple people and would have accepted a simple command? Shows how much you know. Disregarding the fact that you are insulting the prophet (SAW’s) followers by calling them unintelligent, what about the staunch resistance given by the Quraish until the very end? I daresay a simple command wasn’t enough

        • I am refering to this comment from WK:

          Also, the reason women wore a headscarf was purely cultural at the time. Women would use the headscarf to protect themselves from excessive sun. The same way Arab men cover their heads nowadays. The ayah in the Quran referring to covering the junoobiya came about because women started to wear the scarf like a bandana and leave their breast area exposed. The ayah says to use the scarf (which they already culturally wore) to cover their chest area. So it’s more to do with covering the chest area than the actual hair itself. It’s common sense really.

    • Sister do not be so keen to follow the example of the Islamic scholars as the following verse from the Quran warns. “Rabbis and monks determined what was lawful and what was not instead of God (9:31).” Our rabbis and monks are our Islamic scholars who keep to themselves the right to tell Muslims what Allah had made lawful. In Islam there is no concept of a religious hierarchy to tell us how religion is to be practiced. Allah has given us the Quran and as He says should Muslims “then seek a judge other than Allah? When it is He who has fully revealed the book to you fully detailed? (6:114).” The Quran is there for all of us to read and understand. The Quran is a complete book as Allah says.

  • May Allah protect us from ahlul Hawa……its very sad to see people who simply cannot cope with hardship for the sake of Allah. So far to the extent that they will look for loopholes and change rulings which have been applied from Mecca to Andalus and never changed until they reached the land of the free………May Allah safeguard and protect us.

    Abu Zejd

    • as salaam alaikum Abu Zejd,

      Your comment isn’t fair at all. The Orientalists’ war against hijab began actually in Egypt and other North African states, and expanded from there.

      You will find many Muslims living in America who are originally from Egypt, Tunisia, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, etc., who all argue that hijab is not fard because that is what their Western-backed regimes taught them. This is also common with Pakistanis and Indians for the same reason.

      Part of the way the British generated support for their Imperalistic actions was to argue that women were being mistreated. Whether it was the fact that Hindoo women were under-dressed by exposing their abdomen, or Mahomedan women were over-dressed by covering their hair and faces, the fact remains that their battle-cry to take over countries was one of “protecting brown women from brown men”. And they did this while denying basic human rights to their own women!

      So no, it is rather ignorant to blame this on the US and the Muslims living there. The problem is actually much deeper than that.

  • Dear Sister Lobna,

    Assalaamu’alaykum. Firstly, thank you so much for trying to clear up this matter, which has come more and more to the fore of the international community.
    I would like to make one thing clear before I ask my question (more for the sake of others who may read this than yourself, you seem very humble masha Allah). I like wearing the khimar. I was very blessed in that no-one ever tried to make me feel bad for wearing it England, and it’s even easier now I’m in the Gulf. Furthermore, I found once I started that (as well as helping others not see me as an object) it served as a constant reminder not to see MYSELF as an object, and as such I have been wearing this cloth on my head joyfully for almost 10 years, and God willing I plan to continue doing so.
    Having made this clear, I do want to say that I am not, nor have I ever been, convinced that the hair, ears, and possibly even neck covering are fard. I understand that all reputable scholars (a reputable scholar being defined by more than their position on the Khimar!) say that it is, which is why I started wearing it in the very beginning. I figured it was better to be safe then sorry. But I felt (and still feel) that when talking to people and more importantly when I imagine talking to my daughter later on, I won’t be able to give a clear, confident answer on this increasingly divisive issue. I won’t be able to say “yes, it is definitely necessary” or “no, I and many others have found it helpful, but it’s definitely a choice.” If such ambiguity is acceptable then that’s all well and good and I can deal with the issue as such. But it appears not to be the case to most people, and I know I’m not competent to make the final decision. The most convincing worldly reason I’ve ever found for wearing the khimar came from reading an extensive and somewhat lingering description of hair as a secondary sexual characteristic I came across in an otherwise unrelated (non-Islamic) text, but just because I think its a good idea is no excuse for me to enforce it as an absolute truth when I have never seen (or at least, understood) any convincing, non-circumstantial evidence.
    So, if you are still with me, I hope you’ll answer my plea and let me get down to the nitty-gritty. Your point about it being necessary to cover the chest I certainly take from the context you’ve given and like many others have known it for quite some time. The doubtful issue appears to me to come from, as you said, “the women at the time of jahiliya (pre-Islamic times) were already covering their hair, as was customary throughout history in various cultures and religions.” What is there to suggest that the cultural norm of covering the hair referenced in the ayah was then transmuted into a religious obligation? Even the sahih ahadith on the matter fail to be really convincing on this matter, in translation at least. Is it simply a matter of further implications than those discussed being clear in the original Arabic? Is there any really convincing, black and white evidence on this matter? or do we simply have to resign ourselves that this issue will continue to divide Muslims along the lines of “You’ll do anything to weasel out of an obligation to God!” and “You can’t get your head out of the single-digit centuries!”
    Thank you for your time.

    Mai

  • I think, the best thing, I can summon from this post and subsequent comments is that hijab is a way of life and not just a garment. Wearing tight clothes with Hijab simply killd the purpose. Ladies need to be careful.

  • ASA Sr. Lobna. I miss our conversations about this topic. One thing I would like to also add to your discussion about the hijab is that like all things in Islam, when we practice it with good intentions, it actually beautifies us more. I put on the hijab not so much because people kept telling me it was fard, but because of the noor I saw emanating from the sisters who did wear the hijab. They were literally glowing and I wanted to be like that. While some ignorant people may mock the hijab, I experienced that regular non-Muslims actually find it intriguing and are more respectful of it, especially men of all people! One of my friends became Muslim just because she saw some sisters in Hijab waiting for the bus and felt they had knowledge of something that she also wanted to know about. I think she also saw the noor around those women. If non-Muslim women understood the power and secret of the Hijab as a way to attract men’s respect rather than their desire, perhaps it would be the latest fashion trend around the world.

    Secondly if we look at our practicing brothers, they are covered from head to toe, even their face is covered with their beards and their short hair is covered with a Kufi. We rarely see our brothers walking around with tank tops and short shorts. Men really have no desire to walk around naked, hence Allah didn’t need to remind them to cover up. But many women for some reason think freezing in a skimpy dress makes them more attractive and valuable. Hence Allah reminds women not to fall for that trap and cover up so that we are “known” for respecting ourselves and will not accept being used and abused by those men who have a “diseased” heart.

    The Hijab/ Khimar is thus a mercy and protection from our Creator most High, who is Wise and all-knowing.

  • This is by far the most compelling arguement for hejab i must say. Very well written and full bodied with historical accuracy. But this article also shows that their is no prescription for nikab and that this practice is truely alien. Even with the hadith that nikab advocators bring its always a reason for the covering of the face and has nothing to do with what Allah swt prescribe or the prophet. If our prophet prescribed it it would be all over the hadith you would think. Another thing is also shows that Allah swt book is sufficient alone to answer crucial questions.

    • Wearing of the Khimar on the head is more cultural than Islamic. The verse quote above clearly tells the women to take their khimar and cover their bosom. The Asbab Nuzul of the above verse is not address the issue of wearing the khimar on the head because it was a custom already that arabs cover the heads. Both arab men and women. The issue was for women to cover their breast. Because their breast were being exposed. If you study the context of the verse you realize that cover the head is not what this verse is addressing because the arab women already covered their heads. Hijab is not Fard! We have to be careful call things Fard. It might be recommended! The cover of the head was not establish by the Qur’an and not by the hadith. Because the hadith that relate the issue of cover the head are all Ahad. And you knew about ahad hadiths. Cover the head became a Fard, by the vehicle of Ijma. Not by the Qur’an or Hadith.

      • There is no command to wear the Jilbab nor is there a command to cover the hair. The commands were lower your gaze, protect your private parts, cover your bosoms. What if someone had no hair or their hair was blantantly unattractive would this be valid reason to uncover the hair.

  • I am completely in agreement with Salah here…. I do not beleive it is obligatiory here….in your photos demonstrating the hijab you have done what is asked on picture 1 and 2. However it was your choice to go from 2 – 3 i.e cover other previously exposed areas. The only mention was to cover the breasts. Remember the Quran is for all ages and all times…so I think if Allah made it obligation for us to cover our hair her would have said…put on your headscarves and cover your breasts…..not take your existing clothing and cover your breasts…this surely would have fit in with the verse style. Cover your ornaments is open to interpretation…..but cover your breasts is clear. I think as long as we are modest that is the main thing……….. Yes I do wear hijab….but as a muslim identity not because I beleive it is obligatiory. Allah knows best.

    • How can you dispute in this way sister? If we are to use this logic then we can change everything about islam and say where does Allah say dont do this? Why should we pray if we are out shopping, Allah only says we should leave our jobs to pray but not our shopping….. silly example but this is how this type of reasoning is.

  • I agree with Amira above, the verse would not apply to women who did not already wear a khimar.

    I also have to ask, if it is fardh why did Umar Ibn Al-Khattabb prevent slaves who were Muslim from wearing hijab.

    If it were obligatory on all women would it not also be obligatory on the slaves who converted?

  • This is a very weak explanation and gives out nothing except some forced arguments of covering the hair.

    This has not convinced me.

    • I agree, the point that everyone was already covering their hair so there was not need to specifically say this is very presumptuous. The Quran was sent to all of humanity and I am sure that there are many parts of the world at the time where women didn’t cover their hair.

  • Could you please explain why slave women were prevented by Umar AlKhattab from covering their head.

    • This is the first time i hear this. Where does it say he forbade slave women from covering their hair? What is the source of this claim?

  • So question arises:
    If someone orders you to tuck your shirt into your pants, is the command here to wear a shirt or tucking it into the pants?

    And Prophet Muhammad’s mission was only to relay the message, to warn and give glad tidings ( as part of his divine mission) and NOT to give specifics of prayers etc. Since Allah calls Quran a Complete and Fully detailed book.
    PEACE

  • Firstly i want to say that its very easy to understand why many scholars come to the common consensus that hijab is fard most if not all scholars are males. Although it is true this verse paints the picture of women wearing a julbab(head covering) but up til now there is absolutely no scholar, or person that has been able to prove that the head covering is in fact mandated and fard obligation on all women. It is even difficult to find any ahadith that can support this view.

  • According to the Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World, modesty in the Qur’an concerns both men’s and women’s gaze, gait, garments, and genitalia.”[6] Although the Qur’an stresses modesty, it does not specifically require women to keep their heads or faces covered. In fact, the Qur’an never explicitly uses the term hijab in reference to body veiling in any context, instead utilizing the words khimār (خمار) and jilbāb (جلباب), not hijab. Hijab or Hejab refers to The Rules of covering up. It never references the specific item or items of clothing used to cover up. a woman must cover her bosom which means being modest only, remember in the old days everyone covered their head even men!

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  • You’d think if a god wrote a book it would have done so clearly so people do not have to have arguments about it’s meaning.

    I mean deosn’t the fact that it takes so much effort to decipher a something so unbelievably simple give anyone pause that perhaps the creator of the universe did not write this book?

    • The vagueness of the verses proves precisely that the Quran is Divine. It covers all points of view, cultures and ideology. The verses do emphasize modesty and covering the body over the hair. Yet, the hair is included for those sisters who truly are ready to express their love for their Creator and show the world that they are conscious of their own behavior and actions according to His will similar to Mary, mother of Jesus (peace be upon him). While those who wear the hijab earn the full rewards from their Creator, the sisters who cannot make that commitment are not shunned. They are also rewarded for every effort they make towards modesty, which includes wearing lose fitting clothes, hiding the body parts and acting in a modest fashion. Our Creator knows about each of our struggles and the place we are in our faith and never shuts the door. The more our faith increases, the more beautiful the hijab becomes and the answer becomes more apparent about the benefits of hijab. Thus the vagueness pushes a woman to investigate more, read more, learn more about her religion and make that choice for herself without any coercion.

  • […] Put yourself in the “non hijabi” girls shoes. Someone comes up to you and asks you to try on a headscarf and share your thought about how you feel about “hijab” and what you think about Islam. In that moment do you think you can grasp the fact that “hijab: is not just an article of clothing but is also a spiritual practice that serves as a guide and reminder to one’s faith? Will you be able to understand the daily struggles and strength it takes to wear hijab? Will you reflect on your relationship with God? Yes you will be able to see that the headscarf can be a beautiful fashion accessory, but will probably not grasp or come to a reasonable understanding of why it is obligatory for Muslim women to wear hijab. And yes I believe it is obligatory.  […]

  • What about men who consider women without hijab to be of loose character and openly stare at them? And women who feel that they should wear hijab to avoid these issues?

    Of course, we must follow the directives of Allah regardless of what the social environment is like. But I find it worrisome that there is no criticism of the behavior of men and it is always women who have to protect themselves. In some societies and communities, it is getting to a point where a woman will be blamed for being harassed because she was not covering her head. This is very scary.

    I am not sure but I think Allah might require women to cover so that they are not harassed. But doesn’t this make women who are not covered targets? Moreover, there are non-Muslims living in Muslim majority countries who do not cover. Should they be targets for lustful Muslim men?

    A minister in Turkey said a few years ago that a woman without hijab is like a house without curtains. She is either for rent or for sale. Isn’t it sad that men use Allah’s decree to label and torment women?

  • I am a Muslim woman who DON’T believe in Hijab, even after reading this article. The Quran is enough to confirm that hijab isn’t required so stop going here and there to make sense. Don’t tell me Allah didn’t make it clear to cover the head because women already wore it before Islam ummm again Islam was made to last forever and I’m sure Allah SWT knows the people don’t stay the same and traditions often change. To all the Muslim women who think what I’m saying is taboo and that I’m going to hell well think again. I am a proud Muslim woman, you have no right to point fingers at me, you are not a better/more Muslima than me nor am I a better/more Muslima than you.

    • It is not a matter if we dont believe in hijab or not. It wasn’t & never will be a matter of opinion. One of the most dangerous thing a Muslim can do is to speak about Islam or Qur’an without knowledge. Please read the following translated verse: {And pursue not that of which thou hast no knowledge; for every act of hearing, or of seeing or of (feeling in) the heart will be enquired into (on the Day of Reckoning)}al-Isra` 17:36. We should all strive to seek knowledge without bias with the soul intention of pleasing ALLAH Subhana Wa Taala. I do agree with your last sentence though, as it is in line with the Qur’an: {Therefore justify not yourselves: He knows best who it is that guards against evil}an-Najm 53:32.

      • How did you assume that I’m speaking without knowledge? Allah told us to follow the Quran and not those crazy people who consider themselves “knowledgable” on tv whom ignore everything thats going on in the world and only emphasize on Hijab, something that they have created. Allah didn’t say one have to get a degree from Al azhar to know right from wrong. There are many Muslim scholars nowadays that often differ with their fatwa “opinion” so which one are we suppose to listen to?

        Shall I seek other than Allah for judge, when He it is Who hath revealed unto you (this) Scripture, fully explained? Those unto whom We gave the Scripture (aforetime) know that it is revealed from thy Lord in truth. So be not thou (O Muhammad) of the waverers. S. 6:114

        • I dont know where Azhar comes in. Neither do i know who those presumebly”crazy” people on TV.My assumptions comes from your statements which you stated. This matter has been discussed in-depth by the great scholars of Islam of the past to this day. I know the word ”scholars”carries a baggage of cynicism knowadays but as the Prophet told us, they are the heirs of the Prophets.

          Finally, knowledge is religion; see from who you acquire it.

  • Im the summary of verse, the 5th point u mentioned is
    Not to display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers…etc.
    I think the most beautiful part from which a man can get attracted is the face, and this verse tells that a women should cover her face also. Not only head and the othe parrs only.

    • In short, you are left to choose what you think is modest enough according to the Quaran’s teachings. To cover yourself completely will help lessen your beauty, I suppose, but to cover the face as well? To be blunt, I find it odd that a woman must go through all this trouble of covering herself just because of the disrespectful behaviour of other men. It is the man that is at fault, not the woman (in general). Mutual respect and modesty between the two genders is what’s needed, not a simple veil, hijab or burka.

      • (I’ll have to correct myself: in that particular situation, it is the man at fault, not the woman.)

        In short, I believe the Quran wishes for women and men to be modest and respectful towards each other, and that the hijab is a personal choice.

        • Trust me sister, you would not be giving that excuse on the day of judgment for not covering yourself up or question Allah’s decision to order women to cover themselves up. We are helpless and we are all ashamed of ourselves when we stand in the day of judgment so it is best to trust what the Quran says and just cover up, its a little sacrifice to please Allah. In addition, Allah says: “Whoever is guided is only guided for [the benefit of] his soul. And whoever errs only errs against it. And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. And never would We punish until We sent a messenger.” (sura al-Isra 17:15) so don’t go on misleading others. Ma’asalam.

        • Dear sister (A Woman),

          You’ve raised some very logical points which I’d like to try and answer.

          The Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallim said that for the believers this life is like a prison and that it’s like paradise for the non-beleivers. This life is a test for the Hereafter and it isn’t meant to be easy. So yes, men and women who worship Allah truly go through a lot in this world, and it’s avoiding hell-fire and earning Paradise that makes it all that worhtwhile.

          You yourself admit that a woman who covers her beauty lessens it in doing so and you are right. But I’d like to point out something when you ask ‘why go to all this trouble just cos of the disrespectful behaviour of some men’. Do you know what Allah says about veiling the body? See this verse chapter 33 “O you who believe! Enter not the Prophet’s houses, unless permission is given to you for a meal, (and then) not (so early as) to wait for its preparation. But when you are invited, enter, and when you have taken your meal, disperse, without sitting for a talk. Verily, such (behaviour) annoys the Prophet, and he is shy of (asking) you (to go), but Allâh is not shy of (telling you) the truth. And when you ask (his wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen, that is purer for your hearts and for their hearts. And it is not (right) for you that you should annoy Allâh’s Messenger, nor that you should ever marry his wives after him (his death). Verily! With Allâh that shall be an enormity (53)”
          See how Allah tells us that by veiling you first are protecting your own heart or self , not just of men. Not all men are bad, most men could control themselves but some may not, in fact Allah even uses a term for such men who could be moved by a woman’s soft tintillating voice – those in whose hearts are a disease. Allah knows us better than we do ourselves as we are ultimately HIS creation! Mutual respect and modesty may work for you, me and some men, but would it work for all? Our creator knows us and therefore commands us to cover up, for HE knows it is best for us!

          So sis, if you veil for Allah’s sake, always bear in mind that not only are you contributing to the modesty of men it’s making you a more modest person too :)

          Covering the face is recommended not mandatory as per the majority opinion, I too agree with it. Yes, it is difficult and that’s why it is even more rewarding, but ultimately that is your choice.

    • true said the most attractive part of the body is the face from which one gets attracted. Displaying of beauty to husbands, fathers etc. in the verse denotes only the face.
      Hadith – Bukhari 6:282:’Aisha used to say: “When (the Verse): ‘They should draw their veils over their necks and bosoms,’ was revealed, (the ladies) cut their waist sheets at the edges and covered their faces with the cut pieces.”

      • The verse doesn’t mention “women necks” at all, only bossoms. You shouldn’t alter Allah’s words just to prove a point.

        • I agree the point the ayath is talking about is cover your bosom. Now with the cloth worn over the head (kimar) which according to the meaning is customary for the region ( desert sandy) at that time . Because kimar is used women understood giving them easy way to cover the bosom. As per my understanding cover your bosom with cloth is the point. Or else God would have explicitly said cover your ears if he wanted to.

        • Some translators have used the word bosoms, some necks and bosoms and some others left it as juyubihinna and then bracketed all that they believed was juyub. Anyway since the verse discusses a khimar to cover their juyub, a khimar is a head-covering which when pulled down over the bosoms would naturally also conceal the necks and shoulders in the process all the to below the chest. This is just one verse in Chapter 24.

          There’s the body veiling verse in chapter 33 that was revealed after this verse revealed to all female believers commanding woman to wear jalabeeb (plural of jilbaab – a long loose garment) over their bodies when stepping out.

          There are some other verses about dressing and manner of speech etc and some specifically for the prophet’s wives. In addition to all these, there are saheeh narrations of the Prophet sallallahu which shows us how the women in the prophet’s household and wives and daughters of the Sahabah used to dress and conduct themselves and they are whom we should follow as examples.

    • if that were true, then we shouldn’t see women performing the hajj with their face covered…

  • Oh Allah, I can’t believe this! Its not about what you think, the Quran isn’t based on your thoughts of what beauty is, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Didn’t the prophet say the face was okay to show including the hands? Pardon me, I forgot its all about what you think. Why would Allah tell men to lower their gaze if women are suppose to be covered from head to toe? A woman covered from head to toe doesn’t attract attention and doesn’t freak anyone out, you’re right (in your imaginary world). This is why people should follow the holy Quran because everyone have their own opinion. Again, Allah SWT made it clear to us and didn’t mention hair or covering it in the holy Quran, let alone face covering none sense and that’s a fact!

    • oh sister, you are confused in your own reasoning to question that hijab is an obligation. Allah clearly states in sura Al-ahzab chapter 33 verse 59: “O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.(sūrat al-aḥzāb 33:59)
      What more do you need? cover your hair and wear loose cloth.

      • I will say this over and over the verse doesn’t state anything about covering the hair and its clear, there’s no doubt about it. In your other comment you told me to trust you, why would I trust a stranger, I’m not suppose trust you over God’s word. How could you demand that I wear hijab and loose cloths. I don’t wear hijab, but I dress modernly and that’s only because its written in the Quran, not because I trust you. Would you be offended if I tell you take off your Hijab because God didn’t mention it in the Quran?

        • But it is in Ibn Abbas’s commentary. He was the first to comment on the Quran, and he was a sahaba. In the verses regarding women’s clothing, he said it refers to everything except the hands and face. Ibn Abbas cannot be wrong.

        • My goodness, why all this anger and harshness in your words? How can you emphatically claim that the word hair ins’t mentioned in the Qur’an and hence infer that a Muslim women doesn’t need to cover herself? Are you denying the importance of the Propeht’s saheeh narrations and Sunnah? If you are then, how do you know when and how many rak’ah to pray? If you do offer the five daily prayers do you cover your body and hair? If you do cover, why do you do so?
          Why did Allah say over and over in the Quran, Oh those who believe in me obey the Prophet? Obey what? what did Allah mean by that?
          When Muslims are doing good for other Muslims and spreading Allah’s word and the prophet’s work in this age of misguidance and fitnah, have the courtesy to appreciate their work and be good in your speech and conduct.

    • Finally, someone speaking some sense! The burkah especially is dangerous… Dangerous for security and also dangerous for women’s health if not worn responsibly (lack of sunlight to the skin causes severe vitamin D deficiency. Why would God ask a human being to do something which is bad for them?

      • I agree with you WK, why would Allah stop them from enjoying life, from seeing the sunlight, and from living a natural life. All because of men sake? It doesn’t make sense. Allah told men to lower their gaze for a reason. He didn’t say if you see a woman that’s not covered , you’re allowed to look at her because you can’t control yourself.

        • Exactly, it’s a two-way deal. Modesty is dependant on where you live and what the norm is where one is. Men need to make more of an effort too.

      • How is it dangerous for security WK could you offer some more insight maybe with some data? I’m sure your local judicial body would help with the numbers. Do you know that most of those who live in the Middle-east in the scorching heat are Vt D deficient, where by the way the local Muslim population is a minority? My orthopedic doctor from India who himself confessed to be dangerously deficient of Vt D? Did I mention he was a man and not a Muslim?

        • Actually, Vit D deficiency is common amongst women throughout the world and even more so Asian and Middle Eastern women. Furthermore, doctors claim the face and hands receiving sunlight is enough to receive vitamin D. Also, too much exposure to sunlight can lead to skin cancer due to the sun’s harsh rays. Make sure science works in your favor before using scientific proof.

          Oh, and modesty and lowering of the gaze is MANDATORY for both males and females.

    • I live in a large metropolitan area with a significant international population. From time to time I go to a shopping mall for coffee and to walk around. Sometimes I will pass a young, presumably Muslim, woman with a hijab, tasteful in appearance, and loose fitting but otherwise stylish clothes. I notice her, appreciate, and walk on. Within a few steps I have nearly forgotten her and go on about my business, because her attire, while modest, does not stand out and does not attract attention.

      Then I pass a woman draped from the crown of her head to the soles of her feet (hem dragging on the ground) in stark black with a face covering just barely showing her eyes. (An attire that might literally be against the law here forbidding concealing the face in public.) She is so out of the ordinary in a western country, it is almost as if she is screaming, “Look at me! Look at me! See how different I am! See what I look like!” She attracts attention in a way that the other does not.

      Is wearing an attire that is so out of the ordinary that it attracts stares and attention really modest? As I mentioned, the first young woman I forget about in a few steps. The second almost shrieks for attention. Who is more modest?

      • I agree Paul. It defeats the purpose of detracting attention when an attire is completely out of the ordinary. In a country where wearing such things is the norm, maybe it would be inconspicuous. As a Muslim myself, I think wearing a burqah is neither purposeful or useful. Especially in the west. Modesty is subjective, and not as black and white as some people make it.

      • Paul Bartlett the attraction which u took is not the one Quran implies.. the attraction here means sexual, lustful and desired attraction.. u are mixing Attraction and attention.. the covered woman which u tried ur best to see her face clearly shows hat attraction means!!!

        • Salaam. I am sorry, but I do not entirely understand the point you are trying to make here. As I wrote, the one young woman in hijab and modest but otherwise fully tasteful attire I forget about in a few steps, because she does not attract attention. The other woman (especially if she is with her presumed husband, himself in common western attire) almost shrieks for attention. It is not merely a matter of wondering “what is under that tent?” but of attracting attention. Is it truly modest to be so out of the ordinary in a society that a woman literally attracts attention to herself by the way she dresses when other women, while still modest, do not do so?

      • walaikum salam.. what is attracting attention!!! these are two separate words and have separate meanings. I am not arguing that other women who don’t dress like these are immodest perhaps may be more modest but the issue here is about Quranic injunctions and we should follow them without the reason that such and such is attracting and such and such is modest or not..

      • Dear Mr Bartlett

        If the blessed virgin mother of Jesus, Mary (peace be upon her) who is always covered from head to toe in every and any picture you might have seen of her, yes not in black, yet covered completely in an unflattering way nonetheless were to pass by you, would you make the same judgement you made above about pious Muslim women covering themselves for the sake of God?

        What about the nuns in your country, do they dress in modest yet fashionable attire or do they wear plain, dull-colored thick long-flowing garb and does that irritate you too simply because they are different? Do they seem to you to be shrieking for attention?

        More importantly, have these nuns or Muslim women in body cloaks whether black, blue or white ever directly offended you in any way?

        • Mas,
          Nuns are members of a religious order. Traditionally, habits (the dresses nuns wear and the clothes worn by priests and monks) were a sign of uniformity and poverty. The reasoning was that they had chosen to only live for God, giving up their families and the possibility of having children. If every Christian woman did the same, there wouldn’t be any Christians left, because they never would have had any children!

          Also, there is a strong movement for nuns to no longer wear habits. There was a time when nuns only worked as nurses and teachers. Today, nurses serve in positions of leadership within society: they run hospitals, some are even surgeons. For those of us who live in western countries, I bet you’ve seen a nun and didn’t even realize it because she wasn’t wearing a habit.
          The point is, things change with time.

      • One more query for you, forgive me.

        You feel that dressing in a way that is out of the ordinary is actually not very modest because it makes people look and attracts attention and so wrong? On that same note, if the norm in a society is skimpy clothing (think underwear) or nudity (some societies are actually getting there) it would be immodest to go dressed in jeans and T-shirt cos it actually only helps ‘attract attention’ and so the wise thing to do would just be to blend in and follow their dress sense so that you’re just another face that will be forgotten.

        So who gets to decide what’s normal and what isn’t? I’m not trying to offend you brother, just using your same logic :)

        • There is a middle ground, everywhere. For public health and sanitary reasons, I have yet to hear of societies moving towards an acceptance of public nudity.
          There is beauty and potential for lust in both the female and male forms. Some Lebanese men, for example, have beautiful long hair, which could lead a woman to think impure thoughts. My thinking is that men and women should have the same clothing rights and obligations.

  • O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.(sūrat l-aḥzāb 33:59)

    • Muna, this verse is debatable. Arabian women were already wearing loose a covering over their heads culturally before Islam. Just as some Arabian men do. This is to cover them from the suns heat. Women of that time started using their head scarves in such a way as to expose their necks and cleavage (as I’ve seen some Muslim women do nowadays too!). This verse was basically to say “cover up your cleavage with the scarves you wear on your heads”. Not “cover your heads”. It’s asking women to cover their cleavage that’s all!

      • Hmmm. So what is a khimar then MK? Why does Allah say bring down your khimars over your juyoob? So are Muslim womens’ daily prayers accepted if their heads are uncovered as long as their cleavages aren’t showing? Why do all major religions including Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism call for covering the heads?

  • The prophet(s.a.w.) said “The halal is clear and the haram is clear. Between the two there are doubtful matters concerning which people do not know whether they are halal or haram. One who avoids them in order to safeguard his religion and his honor is safe, while if someone engages in a part of them he may be doing something haram..”

    Allah has explicitly mentioned for the women to cover themselves with hijab and to wear loose closing so that they do not their shape. So there is no negotiation about ‘oh men should do this because this is their problem…’ Everyone should focus on what is expected of them and how can they do it best, because in the day of judgment you will be asked about your obedience not others. Ma’asalam

    • Why are you saying tight and revealing clothing is the only alternate to burka (which is NOT necessary at all in islam)?

      • Ali, you simply cannot say ‘which is not necesary at all in Islam’ and not back-up what you’re stating. If you want to be taken seriously, please explain why the burqa (if by that you mean body-cloak similar to the abaya or purdah or chador and the like)according to YOU is not necessary in Islam.
        You might also want to explain the verse Allah revealed in Chapter 33 instructing all women to cover themselves with ‘jalaabeebs’ when stepping out, yeah what’s that all about?

        I would also really appreciate it if you could inform us how the prophet’s wives and the women of the Sahabah dressed following the holy revelations on clothing. Thanks in advance.

  • Muna, are you a scholar?

    Because your responses are very inappropriate. Everyone should disregard your statement, and listen to Sh. Webb’s research, and advice.

    Salaams to everyone elese

    • How is her response inapropriate?
      And didn’t Sheikh Webb just say above that hijab is mandatory?

  • If the verses from the Qur’an are debatable, then what about the hadith of the Prophet where he tells a young girl that only her face and hands should be seen?

    Doesn’t this clarify what is meant in the Qur’an?

    I hope Allah will show all of us what is correct and help us to live, speak and think in a way that will please Him.

    • I think the Hadith you’re referring to is the one where the Prophet (saw) pointed to the face and hands to say they can be visible. He didn’t verbalise it. If it was so important to cover the hair, it would have been explicitly said. The pointing to around the face area could be interpreted to mean either the face or the whole head. I think the most important thing is to dress modestly. As is pretty apparent, modesty is subjective to where and when you live. Sometimes excessively covering up attracts more attention, which defeats the purpose. It’s purely about using common sense. Allah has separated us from other creation by giving us intelligence. We don’t need to be scholars to use our brains.

      • Thank you for your response.

        I don’t think that how Allah would like us to dress is subjective on where we live, but I agree that modesty in behavior and dress are key.

        Unfortunately, head covering has taken on many different meanings in today’s age. I think this issue was less complex during the time of the Prophet. In some countries, head covering has even been politicized and has become a political symbol or a political identity. Can you believe it?

        Some people where I live (I live in a Muslim country) cover their heads for various different reasons– some out of pressure, some because they want to fit in, some to avoid being harassed by men, some because they want to show the world which political leader they support and some to please God. But it should only be done to please God in my opinion.

        Unfortunately, these additional social meanings of covering one’s head confuses people and misguides them. So this is the time when we need to go back to the Qur’an and rediscover what Allah expects of us. Because our faith and the right way is becoming muddy in more ways than one. Head covering is only one such issue. People use religion to achieve different goals, I meet many people who pray five times a day but are total hypocrites who do not follow the teachings of Allah in most aspects of their lives.

        So there is no harm in these discussions, there can only be benefit. We Muslims need to find the right way and remove all these taints and confusions from our faith.

        • We muslims rely completely on the Quran and the prophets teachings and the lives of the prophet. If you think for a moment that you can fool anyone by creating comments that have no base, then don’t waste your time. Allah said: “It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly strayed into clear error.” (Surat Al-Ahzab 33:36)
          For the person that said ‘a women who is wearing burka is attracts more attention’ my answer is you are laughable, ofcourse something you haven’t seen before will attract your attention but attracting wasn’t said in that sense, if you compare a women who is showing most of her chest and the rest of her body with a tight cloth, then you know who will arouse you than the women who is completely covered.

  • The Quran is a complete book easy to read and without flaw if the hijan was mandatory Allah would have told woman to hide their privates and cover their head but since hi jab is mentioned 7 times in the Quran and none pertaining to headscarf then who are we to argue that? The hair is not awrah and perhaps the last thing a man is attracted to. Today woman wear hijab with skin tight jeans and tight tops why insult Islam in that way? Why brand yourself as a Muslim by wearing the help hijab and being like the kuffar? There’s no such thing as a modern hijab…girls love to later and style their hijab and add jewels this draws even more attention is that allowed? The hijab has become a joke and defeats the purpose of modesty. If one argues this fact then your arguing the Qur’an and the word of Allah. The Qur’an is complete and is not a puzzle where you interpret meanings its clear and consise please don’t imitate the Jews and Christians as they wear scarfs. If you choose to for modesty then go ahead but don’t force others to you have no power over Allah’s commands…

    • Shazeen if face hair is not necessary and non attractive the why poets praise eyes, eye brows, hair and lips in their poetries.. Quran teachings are meant to be general not individual.. and as far as imitating is concerned then having two witness for marriage is also Jewish tradition then what does it imply!! just by saying that others wear such and such attractive veils doesn’t make it a choice for us that as others are mocking veil so we have a choice .. simply follow the best and teach others.. Quran never said pray five times a day the can u say I will pray two times or one time as its not mentioned clearly.. do u think that Muhammad P.B.U.H came just to read Quran verses and that’s all. It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah said: The riders used to pass by us when we were with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in ihraam. When they came near us we would lower our jilbaabs from our heads over our faces, and when they had passed by we would uncover our faces. Narrated by Abu Dawood, 1562

      • Poets also find Abaya’s attractive. Women also find men eyes, lips, etc… attractive. Therefore, both men and women are asked to dress modernly and both were asked to lower their gaze. Please don’t compare prayer (one of the 5 pillars) to hijab, your statement is invalid. We are suppose to blend in with the community we live in and not scare them away by imitating death angels. The other day I was out with my 4 year old niece when she suddenly panicked and wouldn’t let go of me as she was terrified of a woman who was wearing Niqab. And one time, me and my sister were at the food court where we spotted a woman wearing a colorful hijab that she also made into a veil by covering her mouth and nose with it. We were curious of how she’ll be eating her food, to our surprise she just took it off and started eating. I’m sure we weren’t the only curious ones that day.

        • A Muslim Woman therefore Quran also says to lower your gaze for both men and women apart from being dressed up so that evil looks lustful looks are dealt in the initial stage.. u are making arguments that one did this other did that , one ate after removing veil other freaked out my child..i am not comparing prayer with veil I am giving example that nowhere in Quran u find to pray 5 times a day so where we learnt from that 5 times a day we have to pray..so that’s the point that Quranic injunctions were taught by the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, if we argue that my child freaked out and one female ate in such a way doesn’t make an excuse that we don’t be dressed like that.. the thing which we are forgetting is that the purpose of veil.. suppose hen a five times praying person does sins , drinks alcohol, gambles and heats does that mean that he should stop praying!!!!!what u mean by ” We are suppose to blend in with the community we live in and not scare them away by imitating death angels” do u think we can eat pork when the community does so, we can drink alcohol when the community does, we can do same sex marriage if the whole community does. Islam has never come to be driven what the people desire and think what’s right and what’s easy for them.. Islam has come to mold the society into noble, model, peaceful and prosperous society.. and it can be done if we abide by all the principles, rulings and commands of the Creator of the whole Universe Allah Who knows what’s best for the human beings as He knows our nature above all. and if we follow our own desires, likes dislikes and social norms and customs which keep on changing then we will de deviating from Quran and Sunna

      • For some reason, I’m not able to reply to your last comment so I’ll reply here.
        Its sad how you describe women who don’t wear hijab as ‘evil’, something you find evil is totally normal to most people. However, non-normal people with sexual mindset have a different view. Whats the purpose of veil? Other than Vitamin D deficiency, scaring people away, getting away with crimes and attracting attention? We’re arguing about hijab here, not veil. Veil & hijab don’t exist in Islam (especially veil) , but people like yourself insist and forge Allah (SWT) word and make it a fard and unfortunately they are successful at brain washing most people to think that way. I had a feeling a person will twist my words about the statement I made (blending in with community). Not eating pork isn’t noticeable. You don’t have to eat pork to fit in! Not all westerns are gay, the majority are straight. I never said we need to do these things in order to fit in because you don’t need to do them to fit in. Those examples are pointless and don’t make any sense, how is that even comparable to what I said.

    • If you think hair is the last thing that attracts attention, you are sadly mistaken.
      Nobody can advocate tight clothing.
      Even other religious & non-religious people around the world wore coverings as required till the middle of last century; I don’t understand what has gone wrong with the world now? just because of media onslaught.

  • Hello to be honest rather than arguing and fighting over how to wear the hijab and how to dress modestly(not saying ypu are) I think everyone should read the Quran and interpret it themselves becuase we are individuals and we will by ourselves on judgement day what will we say to Allah if we didn’t follow his command? We should all follow our idea of modesty and halal rather than everyone elses and we should all accept everyones idea of modesty if its niqab or just dress modest but also if someone isn’t covering up it doesn’t have to be an excuse for not controlling yourself. Eg a women not coverimg up is not the reason for her rape. We should bring peace and be nice as muslims not mean

  • There is a great difference between someone who argues Hijab is not mandatory and someone who doesn’t want to wear hijab for whatever reason. For those who are making excuses not to wear it even to the point of arguing that it is not mentioned in the Quran (May Allah protect us) are not going to wear it even if its made clear to them that it is mandatory. Even for somethings that are not so clear the prophet (s.a.w) said “The halal is clear and the haram is clear, and between them are matters unclear that are unknown to most people. Whoever is wary of these unclear matters has absolved his religion and honor. And whoever indulges in them has indulged in the haram.” So if Allah opens you eyes to at least help you see that this is debatable, then it is better to be on the clear.

    • Also, it’s haraam to make something haraam which is actually halal, and vice versa. If you choose to wear hijab, that’s up to you. But you can’t denounce others for not wearing it, just because you’re of the opinion that it’s obligatory. Each to their own. Head scarves are a beautiful concept, but it’s not something which has been specifically ordered. Hijab has, but what constitutes hijab is debatable. Hijab is NOT the word for head scarf. It obviously just means covering.

    • Signs of the end times bro. They might “reinterpret” islam one day to mean that Thowheed refers to shirk and vice versa. can you believe this trend of “reinterpreting” ?? even when the ijma has been reached? even when the companions themselves who were taught by the prophet give their opinion people want to put their 2 cents worth into the religion. Even when there was no difference of opinion in certain issues for over 1400 years…its a trend bro, its like, “i dont like this rule in islam, what should i do? i know, i will ‘reinterpret’ it” they reinterpreted hijab to mean modesty (which is subjective it seems, so tomorrow if showing your Thighs is modesty there will be a group to argue even that is halal), the hur to mean white grapes, and the prohibition of homosexuality into prohibition of rape only so even that became halal. Only allah can protect us.. we must be careful and advise them and also warn against them.

      • I like your enthusiasm Zaki, it’s good to see. However, as Muslims it’s important to differentiate between culture and religion. The word ‘Hijab’ literally means ‘covering’. Not head scarf. It’s people today that have misinterpreted it to mean head scarf. As has already been said, a head covering was already a part of culture at that time to protect people from the suns heat. Not just by women, but also men.
        If it was as important as people are saying nowadays, it would have been stipulated. The whole concept is based on modesty. There’s no argument that alcohol is haraam etc is haraam, as it’s been completely forbidden.

        • The hijab for men and women is not cultural, it is a religious obligation. Hijab does not mean headscarf,it is so much more than that, but khimar, means head cover. the word khimar is used in the quran and scholars and companions of the prophet alaihis salam said it means so and women cannot expose anything but their face and their hands.(some scholars said to cover even this, but that is the only disagreement.) this was said by people, who were taught personally by the prophet alaihis salam. Hence no one, not one person in the world can come and “reinterpret” these things. This is a major innovation. Akhi we are men, we would like nothing more than to be immodest with women and see them without the hijab, this is part of man’s evil nature, but the fact that we are calling against it says that we are afraid of allah azza wajal and we only want to follow him. We have many many rules specific to men also, but none of us denies these. I advise you as a brother in deen to abandon the ignorant people and their ilm ul kalam, theological rhetoric and approach the quran and sunnah and strictly abide by it.

        • allah mentioned the word “head cover” crystal clear in the quran and asked to lower the head cover. Even this is not enough for you? why? even the quran is not enough for you to accept to cover your head when allah is asking you to lower your head cover over your chests? i dont understand. muslims immediately accept anything if it is in the quran. what happened that the ummah came to such a sad state? one side is worshiping graves, another side is worshiping fulan,another side is beating itself during festivals, another side is saying the religion of allah approved of homosexuality, yah allah, we ask you to preserve ahlus sunnah from such deviance of not following your words when it is revealed to them and to protect them from being attracted to the ways of the kuffar so that they dont feel they must abandon their religion and try and change it to fit desires. we ask you in this ramadhan to make us of those who do not just pay lip service to your religion, but follow its every command and be among the strangers.

      • Zaki, You claim that the word ‘khimar” is in the Quran, why didn’t you provide us with a verse? You are saying that no one can reinterpret God’s word, but you’re doing the exact opposite. Don’t you think Allah would’ve made it clear to us and said ‘cover your hair’ but fortunately the word hair nor head covering was mentioned in the Quran. Simply its just hijab, no one said or will ever say showing your thighs is acceptable in Islam, its obviously clear that its not MODEST to do such thing. Did you know before the 60s women did not wear hijab and suddenly The Muslim Brotherhood made a fatwa stating that its an “obligation” to cover the hair and thats when the brain washing started in the Arab world. A lot of Al Azhar scholars tried to stop this from happening like shiekh Mustafa Mohamad Rashed and other scholars, but it was too late. The Muslim Brotherhood kept raising the bar, rape & ignorance increased and they turned what was once considered one of the greatest countries to the Egypt that we now know. Just search Politics Behind the Hijab.

        • This is very funny. i am reinterpreting the quran? so ibn abbas did not say this? nor ibn kathir? im the one who came up with this opinion in islam the first time in 1400 years of this ummah? You are excused sister, you will be guided if you read surat an nur, verse number 31 that is quran 24:31. the words “bi khumurihinna” are present. The khimar, is a veil that people wear on their heads.

        • I think the verse he’s referring to is the one that says “…and not display their beauty except what is apparent, and they should place their khumur over their bosoms…” (Ch 24 V 30 onwards). However, I agree, the verse is more to do with women covering their bosoms more than their heads. Their heads were already covered, and the women of the time started tying their khimars in such a way that they exposed their bosoms. The word is mentioned but in a different context. Hope that helps.

  • I wonder why people were asked to cover up in the first place. Were they all running around with nothing on, uncovered? And who is to say that was wrong? I wouldn’t wander around undressed. Not in this day and age. It would look rediculous to people and make me feel uncomfortable. But, apparantly, we all used to. If you believe the history books. We were not born with clothes on, y’know. I’m not even sure what wearing clothes does for us, other than stop the sun burning. Now, do the people who say we should all cover up think that westerners all go around rudely gawping at each other because we aren’t covered from head to foot? That’s nonsense. We wear what we like because we have freed ourselves from rediculous attempts at control and subjugation by clerics.

  • Jazakumullah Ajmaeen to all the Muslim brothers and sisters who contributed their beautiful insights to affirm that Hijab is an obligation for women to wear. Now there is no question that Allah has ordered women to cover their heads in the Quran.(For some commenters here, The question deviated to the reasoning of putting the head cover on, but the original question was did Allah ordered it or not for whatever reason.) Now that it is clear, the question comes down to do you obey Allah or not. That obviously will be a personal decision. Good luck to everyone and may Allah make it easy for all Muslim sisters to put their hijab on solely for the pleasure of Allah, Amin! May Allah let us reach the blessed month of Ramadan, Amin! wa asalamualykum w.w.

    • Really, Allah ordered women to cover their hair? Hmmmm still looking to see where it says that. So because few commenters states its clear, the decision is now made up and we’re not even allowed to ask questions, does anyone else find this comment amusing? Some people are only good with giving demands even if its proven that Allah didn’t mention such things, perhaps they don’t want their illusions destroyed.

    • I would also like to thank my Muslim brothers and sisters who contributed their insight to confirm that hijab is NOT an obligation for women to wear, wether their comments got deleted or not. Now that its clear that Allah didn’t mention covering the hair in the Quran, its up to you wether you want to wear it or not. Just know that its not mandatory and you will not go to hellfire for not wearing it despite what you were told.

      • Sister, Allah azza wa jal clearly told you “bi khumurihinnah” in the quran. What does khimar mean? it means a headcover. All scholars, even the women with who were there at the time of the prophet and the companions of the prophet said it means to cover the head. Who are we to now “reinterpret” this while the people who sat and learnt when the prophet was alive, ibn abbas for example, said that it is obligatory to cover this way? How can we decide from our own desires to reinterpret quran to suit our own desires? you and i must not do this, but follow quran and sunnah properly. Any other reinterpretation is a deliberate attempt to follow desires and a rejection of the quran’s command. Dont be the cause of misguidance sister. You have zero evidence that its not obligatory, while we have the statements of ibn abbas, the prophets relative, ibn kathir a great mufasir, safiya bint shaiba and many many more. The only difference of opinion is whether the face is to be covered as an obligation. The rest of it is not a debate and anyone who interprets this way is either erring due to lack of knowledge, or innovating, dont follow such people sister, unless it is an honest mistake on their part and they would correct themselves if evidence is presented.

        • Can anyone give me Quran reference about not to cover face?
          or Quran is silent on covering of face?

  • Has anyone come across this page: http://www.quran-islam.org/articles/women_dress_code_(P1150).html

    It claims to be a reading of the scriptures without any influence from culture or tradition. It aligns with what WA was saying about how the key point seems to be to cover the bosom. If women in pre-Islamic times were already wearing Khimar for practical reasons, it makes sense that Allah would instruct them to use this garment to cover their bosoms.

    Interestingly, Khimar does not necessarily refer to head-covering, as this explanation suggests: http://quransmessage.com/articles/a%20deeper%20look%20at%20the%20word%20khimar%20FM3.htm

    So it could be that Allah was in fact referring to any outer/covering garment, like a shawl or cloak or coat…but the point was to make sure they covered the bosom. Because that is an area of a woman’s body commonly considered to be sexualised.

    • By the way the first link, if you click the hyperlink, will just take you to the homepage of that site, but if you copy and paste it into web-browser (including the html bit that didn’t get included in the hyperlink for some reason!) then it takes you to the exact page. The second link works fine by clicking it…

  • Amazing how ppl want to actually debate back and forth on the issue of hijab khimar, smh sad. reinterpretation is all they know how to do to conform to society and conceptualize what is wrong and right. KHIMAR is head covering. Please go read over the verse again sheesh. No one is forcing anyone to cover their heads. ALLAH SWT will def be the judge alone.

  • For a woman to cover her hair and neck infront of non-mahrams is certainly fard as based upon Quran and Prophetic Hadith.

    “And tell the believing women to lower their gaze, and protect their private parts and not to show off their adornment except that which is apparent, and to draw their veils all over their Juyub (bosoms) ……..” [Quran 24:31]

    Hadith 1:

    It was narrated that Umm Salamah said: When the words ‘draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies’ were revealed, the women of the Ansaar went out as if there were crows on their heads because of the way they covered themselves.

    (Narrated by Abu Dawood)

    Hadith 2:

    It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah said: The riders used to pass by us when we were with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in ihraam. When they came near us we would lower our jilbaabs from our heads over our faces, and when they had passed by we would uncover our faces. (Narrated by Abu Dawood)

    Hadith 3:

    When Allaah revealed the words (interpretation of the meaning) –
    “…and to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms)…” [al-Noor24:31] – they tore the edges of their aprons and covered their heads with them.’ [narrated by abu dawud)

    After prophet Muhammad (SAW) issued the command (Qur’an 24:31) for women to cover themselves, the women responded by covering their hair and bosoms. [bukhari]

  • Qur’an Sura 24:30 “Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and be modest. That is purer for them. Lo! Allah is Aware of what they do.” Qur’an 24:31 “Tell the believing women to lower their gazes and be modest, to display of their adornments only that which is apparent and to draw their veils over their BOSOMS. I add the emphasis, because the verse then goes on to say that the adornments “that are NOT apparent” should not be displayed save to husbands, fathers and other MALE family members that the Books of the Jews forbid.. BUT I believe that 24:30 requires men to wear a hijab or burka as much as a woman. For while men may behave as they desire, the price for sin in the eyes of Allah can be very costly.

    But what does this reader understand?

  • 1) What is the spiritual ‘feeling’ that a female has when being covered verse when she is not covered. (does she feel protected, modest, or has she lost her since of shame, feel pride in her shape or hair-style… 2) What is the spiritual ‘feeling’ that a natural man has when seeing a woman or interacting with a female that is covered vs a women who is not covered? (how did Allah make men to ‘feel’?) (and what if no man was attracted to women? we’d have a big problem) I also think of what is the purpose of why Allah would want us covered (body and hair). What would be the effect on society? What does covering produce in society? Also, what is the universal outcome, if we cover or if we choice not to cover? Meaning what if every women in the world submitted a was covered verse if every women in the world was uncovered? Also, when Muslim women are not covered, we look like every other woman, and we subject ourselves to be treated as such. Hopefully, not by Muslim men, but by non-Muslim men? But, the fact that Islamic societies we have the women covered, this said to me that even Muslim men need our/women’s help to control their ‘feelings’. It is not about our individual ideals, it’s more about what Allah wants, to create in His people. To create the Kingdom of Allah on earth. The Holy Quran is a book of guidance for us to help us get closer to Allah and be more like Him. So, when He gives us instructions, we should strive our best to follow them first, then, ask for more guidance for the ‘why’ after we have followed the guidance. And not ‘ask why’ first and don’t follow His guidance until we understand. Remember, a Nation/world can rise no higher than it’s woman.’

    • To Sis. Angela:

      The feeling a woman gets is her’s to decide. I have asked for a citation form the Qur’an to prove that a woman MUST wear a hajib and was referred to Sura 24:31. Yet I have to read the whole Sura to reach 24:31 and find 24:30. Reading this verse, I would expect a man has to wear a hajib and full body and facial cover as well as a woman does.

      If men cannot control themselves, they have been taught poorly. Even in the decadent West, there is no public fondling or fornication. And the women do not cover themselves from head to toe. I fear that the men cannot trust their women. Otherwise there should be no requirement (citation please) as to why a woman must be chaperoned everywhere she goes.

      • Exactly. I even believe there are more sex crimes commited in predominantly Muslim cultures. In the decandent West men and women can get their sexual relief freely, safely, without guilt or fear of punishment, so the need to abuse and rape is lower. And even when that happens, and it happens, the victim is seen as a victim not as a criminal.

        • Nope. Statistics prove that Western and other nations have higher crime rates against women than Islamic countries such as those in the MiddleEast. Women in these countries aren’t objectified as they are in the West, they have rights and privileges and are honored. But then again no country follows the Islamic Shariah 100%. If men take away their rights or abuse them don’t blame God, blame the sinners!

  • Assalaam o alaikum!! Brothers n sisters alhamdulillah i already wear a jilbab and cover my head most of the time even at home around my kids n husband.now i want to know whether it is mandatory to cover the face at all times? Like even uf im in the car with my husband ?? Or can i just cover it if i go to the mall to avoid fitnah? Also what is the ruling for showing the face to devars jaiths and nandois? (Husbands married brothers, husbands brother in laws, and even my own brother inlaws? Can i just dress modestly with a good head scarf n no makeup??? Plz reply with proof from hadith.

    • Mashallah, its good that you are seeking knowledge sister, may Allah help you find the right answers. I’m not a scholar but I can share what little wisdom I’ve gained over the subject and from my own life.

      I agree with the majority opinion that veiling (covering the face) is mustahabb (recommended) and not fard (mandatory). So I veil, alhamdulillah. When men aren’t around I lift my veil ofcourse, like when in car with my husband or in rest-rooms or any place I know where aren’t men around.

      According to ruling on showing your face to non-mehrem men, if you practise veiling then it applies to all non-mehrem men. Refer Quran and tafseer and saheeh ahadeeth on verse 24:30. It’s clear that your bro-in-laws and husband’s bro-in-laws are non-mehrem for you, so doesn’t make sense showing face to some men and not to others. I use a custom small face veil for when I’m home and have my bro-in-laws over, I behave with them like I would to any other non-Mehrem men.

      keep searching for more knowledge, dont stop! All the best:) may ALLAH guide us both and all others struggling in His path and make it easy for us..

  • Assalaam,

    the argumentation of our brother sounds convincing, beside one small flaw:
    it is based on the assumption that the hair in contrast to the face is already part if the “sexual stimulating” features of women. Now he is a man and might know better then me, but in my opinion the hair is part of the “by itself beautiful features” of women. Covering it might look convincing to Middle Eastern people but I still believe it is the women choice.
    Modesty in thought, behavior and every aspect in life is important, overstepping the subject here somewhat: I would wish all sisters and brothers would rather think about what can be done to transform our societies to be successful (see Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, …..) then getting lost in academic debates about something which will not secure the future of our faith, children and our way of life.

    Aisha

    • If men were to take the same care in bodily cleanliness as a woman, he could also consider his hair as point of vanity and then it MUST be covered. What I pointed out, is that the verse used to require women to wear a hijab starts the exact same way as the prior verse that refers to men, that they must narrow their vision.

      If as the prophet said that if it is not in the Qur’an it is idolatry to observe it, how is the use of electricity and the car or airplane justified? Soaps? To advance a religion is a nob;e quest, but when religion is drawn to maintain the certain outmoded practices and the clergy refuse to modernize, what can the people do? If there is but one understanding of the way, then all must abide. If there are varying expressions of the way, then something needs to be canted.

      If seekers come to find out about the religion, why are their girlfriends murdered to force them to convert? Tis makes more enemies than it creates. It creates the seeds of apostasy even if the person were to convert.

      Practices must change. Certainly not basic change that updates what others see as outmoded.

    • “what can be done to transform our societies to be successful (see Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, …..)”

      It’s not a coincidence that the the most politically and economically stable and rich societies are the ones with the highest level of:
      1.gender equality
      2.personal freedom
      3.separation of church and state

      Just saying.

  • If the Quran is for all peoples and all times the verse about taking a head over not all peoples wear and SPECIFICALLY being told to cover your chest would make sense to every culture. If you don’t already have a scarf as many cultures don’t then the obvious command is cover your chest. “That which is normally apparent” is not universal. The Quran is supposed to be, since Allah knows we are different he knows well that these words mean differently culture to culture. I’m not Arab, I have no khimar. I will cover my chest as I have been specifically commanded though.

  • “Imagine if instead of the ayah above regarding hijab, we were told to cover our hair, neck, shoulders, upper and lower arms, chest, abdomen and thighs, etc.? How dry would that sound? That is not the style of the Glorious Qur’an. ”

    I disagree because the Qur’an does list things- it lists all the people to give charity to, they list Prophets, they list all the details of Hajj, and more. The Quran has details where it wants to have details. If it leaves out details, then we can say that is intentional. Does Allah not say the Qur’an is “fully detailed”?

    • Mmm..,where does the Qur’an say it is fully detailed? Could you give me the verse please? I don’t think it lists all the details of Hajj and Umrah.

      Qur’an doesn’t and cannot have all the details as 6000plus verses aren’t enough to cover all the aspects of life, which is why Allah selects Propehts and Messengers to show and lead by example, which explains the importance of saheeh Sunnah (authentic narrations) of prophet Mohammed sallallahu alaihi wa sallam which all Muslims are to follow in their lives.

      • [Quran 6:38] We did not leave anything out of this book.

        [Quran 7:52] We have given them a scripture that is fully detailed, with knowledge, guidance, and mercy for the people who believe.

        [Quran 10:37] This Quran could not possibly be authored by other than God. It confirms all previous messages, and provides a fully detailed scripture. It is infallible, for it comes from the Lord of the universe.

        [Quran 12:111] In their history, there is a lesson for those who possess intelligence. This is not fabricated Hadith; this (Quran) confirms all previous scriptures, provides the details of everything, and is a beacon and mercy for those who believe.

        The Qur’an cannot cover all aspects of life, that is why it tells us to use our reason, our fitra’s Al-Hekmah, which lets us know the difference between right and wrong. The Prophet’s Sunnah is beautiful as “His character was the Qur’an.” We all need to live up his character of compassion and justice, cleanliness and wisdom. However he is no longer alive (except in our hearts) and we cannot obey him any more since we cannot walk up to him and ask him to check to see if his hadiths are authentic.

        Some so-called sahih hadiths baffle me. For instance:
        Muslim, Book 4, Number 1515:

        “Ibn ‘Abbas reported: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) observed the noon and afternoon prayers together, and the sunset and Isha’ prayers together without being in a state of fear or in a state of journey.”

        Muslim, Book 4, Number 1516:

        “Ibn ‘Abbas reported: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) observed the noon and afternoon prayers together in Medina without being in a state of fear or in a state of journey. (Abu Zubair said: I asked Sa’id [one of the narrators] why he did that. He said: I asked Ibn ‘Abbas as you have asked me, and he replied that he [the Holy Prophet] wanted that no one among his Ummah should be put to [unnecessary] hardship.)”

        this seems to contradict:
        Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 10, Number 571:
        “Narrated Anas: The Prophet said, “If anyone forgets a prayer he should pray that prayer when he remembers it. There is no expiation except to pray the same.” Then he recited: “Establish prayer for My (i.e. Allah’s) remembrance.” (20.14).

        also there is a bunch of “sahih” hadiths about the prophet stoning people for adultery and fornication, but in each one the punishment is different in how it is enacted on the man and woman.

        There is one hadith(sahih) where Aisha says the Qur’an talks about a rule for suckling babies. That is nowhere to be found in the Qur’an.

        So sahih hadiths contradict each other and the Qur’an. We need to use our wisdom to discern which to follow, and how to live our lives, as long as the Qur’an and the principles of the Prophet’s life- love and justice – are not contradicted, I believe.

      • I respectfully point out that you missed my point. In Surah 2 on the Hajj, Allah goes into great detail, listing what to do if you are sick or poor, it sounds like a policy manual, or “dry” as you put it. Indeed, if someone who never read the full Qur’an just saw that part, they would think Islam is a list of do’s and don’ts.

        [33.59] O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

        In order to understand this verse you need some background study.

        The IRFI – Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc.:

        “According to the Quran, the reason why Muslim women should wear an outer garment when going out of their homes is that they may be recognized as “Believing” women and differentiated from streetwalkers for whom sexual harassment is an occupational hazard. The purpose of this verse was not to confine women to their homes, but to make it safe for them to go about their daily business without attracting unsavory attention.”

        “The Quran does not suggest that women should be veiled or they should be kept apart from the world of men. On the contrary, the Quran is insistent on the full participation of women in society and in the religious practices.

        Morality of the self and cleanliness of conscience are far better than the morality of the purdah. No goodness can come from pretense.”

        Indeed, if you look at the context of that ayat, you see that this was a time in Medina when Muhammad’s (S) home/mosque was constantly bombarded with visitors asking to see him and ask him and his wives for things. In the busy streets around his house, his wives were harassed sexually, under the pretense that they were confused with slaves and prostitutes. The outer garments of 33:59 were the conservative clothings of its day and time.

        [24.31] And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty

        “As you see about clothing, Islam doesn’t really say how to dress. Only that you should guard your modesty, cover your breasts and yours sexual attributes.

        So everyone specify that Muslims should not display between the belly until the knees (special if you’re a women) and your breasts.

        Why cover the hair? Is it a sexual attribute? Since when you feel attracted by someone’s hair? If yes I recommend that you should go to the medic.”

        Women wore khimar at the time. The injunction is not to wear a khimar, but to use their khimmer because it was handy. If the Qur’an were to applied to modern culture, it would be to button your top buttons! and don’t buy shirts that expose your cleavage, or use a summer scarf to cover it up. Notice how the Qur’an says to use what you already have, it does not say “Wear a khimar to drape over your hair,” it says “Use your khimar to drape over your bosom.”

        ^ everything I said above is not just coming from me. Why do you think the Prophet’s great-granddaughter Lady Sakeynah refused to wear the veil? She knew these things to be true.

        Arguing that other religions had women who covered their hair is arguing from the culture and tradition of the peoples who had the religion, not from Allah. If Allah ordered it, through a prophet, produce your witnesses, your evidence.

        Respectfully, why do you argue that the Qur’an says what it does not say? Hair is not in there.

  • After all is said and done, and I have been following the conversations closely, I believe that the hijab as currently used is a Fard. Many ancient cultures have had the custom of women covering their heads. But so did the men. The verses for men and women start the same, but whereas men USED to cover their heads and even faces when not at home has fallen by the wayside. Something I am not sure is supported by the text or the tradition. Even Ayatollah Khomeini covered his face when on long trips and misused the texts to obtain conditions counter to what is allowed by the texts. Until a more broad based council of elders, NOT scholars study and critique this habit through time from about 4000 years ago to present, i do not believe WE will come to a true understanding of the problem or the solution. I believe these two citations are over-looked in the argument.

    Qur’an Sura 24:30 “Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and be modest.
    Qur’an Sura 24:31 “Tell the believing women to lower their gazes and be modest,

    WHY are the MEN mentioned first? Probably because they have a weaker moral fiber than women. A man has only one gaze that of lust for a woman. A woman has many gazes. She has the welfare of her children to be wary for. The faithfulness of her husband, two wives per more is not important. Each watches that while he is with her he is faithful to her. The running of the house. Ibrahim and Ishmael were able to run the house in emergencies, but counted on Sara and Hagar to do so on a daily basis. A women watches and keeps other women in the house in their place, watches to keep peace in the family and with guests. Only when a woman is done with all her gazes can the men relax to discuss sheep and camel prices, oil futures and other business that they are involved in. Applying 24:30 as strictly as 24:31, Men should only be allowed to uncover their eyes and raise their gaze at home where their women can keep a sharp eye out for upcoming trouble and problems with the guests.

  • Put simply there are so many posts on here because according to the values of secularism, i.e. freedom, the woman must undress for the general public in order to get valued by society as a free woman.
    muslims must reject it because it’s source is not Qur’an or Sunnah. Rather Islam gave the woman much more honour and dignity than freedom ever did or could, and by ordering her to cover, was increasing her honour and dignity, not reducing it !
    Finally, aside from the clear evidences, there are no reports of women at the time of RasoolAllah (saw) who did not wear the proper prescribed dress code, so is our interpretations of Qur’an or Sunnah to be rivalled against their understanding?

    • “the woman must undress” Nobody here arguing against the hijab is telling anyone what to do, we are just saying it should be optional, so please get that straight. Nobody except the uluma that is telling anyone what to do, they are saying a woman must cover herself in order to get valued by the ummah as a real Muslim. That is the big lie we are against. Without any reference to Western secular culture, I will show you a logical argument against fard hijab based on jurisprudence:

      Does this quote sound secular to you? “to such an extent that we should look at the verses of the Quran which are based on the culture of the Arabs, and if it’s clear that those verses are not universal in their orders and prohibitions, but that those verses are based on urf (customs and traditions) we have the ability to reinterpret them according to the urf we live in and the culture we live in”. This was the saying of Abu Yusuf, the great scholar.

      Abu Yusuf, the great student of Abu Hanifa who later became a chief judge, is asking us to look at the asbab al-nuzul. Al-Shatibi asks us to look at the higher objectives of the law (maqasid al-shari’ah). Put these two jurists’ ideas together and you get:

      asbab al-nuzul: Notice how the Qur’an says to use what you already have, it does not say “Wear a khimar to drape over your hair,” it says “Use your khimar to drape over your bosom.” The circumstances of revelation (asbab al-nuzul) say that it was already part of Arab culture to wear khimar and the Qur’an asked women to use what was already there to cover the bosom. Abu Yusuf would say do not tell women to wear the khimar if it is not part of the culture.

      maqasid al-shari’ah: Women must be modest. Perhaps they have a scarf around their neck or a button-down shirt and they can cover it with their scarf or their top buttons. In any case, to be a Muslim who follows the Shari’ah, they must cover their bosoms.

  • I think perhaps we should stop and appreciate Allah’s stupendous use of language. Allahu Akbar! The Quran is for all time & all cultures. The women during the time of the Rasool(sal) had to answer the call of nature outside the house and since there were no shrubs in the desert – it was usually a hole in the ground or maybe just the ground itself. Urine was collected in a bowl in the house with no doors. (There are hadith which describe how they collect the blood from menses – in a bowl!). Now place that same woman in all the paraphernalia that constitutes our current day hijabs and niqabs & socks & gloves etc etc and see how she would have handled it.
    Zeenathuthuhunna means adornment – either what one is endowed with by Allah’s Grace or what one adds on to adorn oneself. Adornment is fundamentally that which attracts and even a head cover can attract another person because it emphasizes the face. I know women who look better with a head cover than without.Even a woman’s speech – not just the tone but the quality can attract. So Allah in His wisdom have left it open-ended for each one of us to decide what we need to do to NOT ATTRACT unwarranted attention and therefore it really comes down to intention as with all things measured by Allah.
    Another point to note is that most probably women did not use bras during the time of the Rasool(sal) and the home-spun fabric they used in all probability outlined not just the shape of their breasts but did not provide adequate support. Hence the specific mention of chest/bosom.
    And even in today’s cultures – it is indeed the woman’s breast that command a lot of attention.
    Different cultures value different aspects of a woman – for example some cultures like their women fat and girls are force-fed during their growing years to reach target weights. No hijab or burka will ever cover that adequately. Some cultures value fair skin – hence the proliferation of whitening creams. So it is a personal choice as we will be judged individually by Allah on the state of our hearts.
    Hence the beautiful use of language – the justification for the use of Arabic for the text of the Quran – each word speaks volumes. May Allah guide us in realizing His words and using our intellect as commanded by Him.

    • This is beautiful. Not only are you following asbab al-nuzul, “circumstances of revelation,” you are also using your reason. I have always considered how some women’s hijabs are beautifully ornamented with color arrangements that attract, and thus draw attention to the face, where a beautiful face often is. But you went a step further, many steps further actually. I hope you realize that such logic will get you copied and pasted by me for future debates! lol if you don’t mind :)

      • You are quite welcome. I hope it inspires others to not be afraid to open one’s mind and use the intellect as Allah exhorts so many times in the Quran. We take the easy way out and follow others.
        We need to understand the fundamentals first – we get so bogged down by perceived rituals that we don’t stop to think.
        Another example – since we are talking of modesty & dress. I find so many Muslim women not just adopting the abaya etc but adopting black as their preferred color. Now if one sees what Allah says about black clothes in the Quran:

        14:48 [His promise will be fulfilled] on the Day when the earth shall be changed into another earth, as shall be the heavens and when [all men] shall appear before God, the One who holds absolute sway over all that exists. –
        14:49 For on that Day thou wilt see all who were lost in sin linked together in fetters, –
        14:50 clothed in garments of black pitch, with fire veiling their faces.

        Would you want to wear a black abaya?

    • Peace, I agree that we need to appreciate Allah’s choice of words and formulations, and the wisdom that he teaches us thereby. Very well written, praise be to Allah. May Allah guide us

  • You are quite welcome. I hope it inspires others to not be afraid to open one’s mind and use the intellect as Allah exhorts so many times in the Quran. We take the easy way out and follow others.
    We need to understand the fundamentals first – we get so bogged down by perceived rituals that we don’t stop to think.

  • I’ve been entirely hooked on this page as I stumbled across it today,I find it insightful yet frightening, I’m a 14 year old typical Muslim girl who’s grown up wearing the hijab for as long as I can remember and reading this makes me think of how hijab is so strongly debated, Is it that what I’ve been wearing All my life is now supposedly disputed?

  • Muhammad (PBUH) said to Asma (RA) by word and gesture, that she is only allowed to show her face and hands.
    As for the how and why, there are numerous posts quoting the detailed Islamic evidences.
    As for the rational ‘use your mind’ arguments, Muslims are not allowed to use our minds to decide what to do in this issue, only to implement the rules.
    Actually it is this mentality of ‘hear and obey the creator’ which protects society from downward slopes.
    This necessitates the Islamic society to exist, in the thoughts and agreements of what is good and bad, and the system to protect those thoughts.
    When Islam is implemented as a complete system, as it was by Muhammad (saw), then over time we see the benefits of peace, tranquility and happiness, which is what we saw the golden ages of the Khilafah, when for example the elite europeans used to send their children to seats of learning in the Khilafah, it is also documented how when a senior Islamic official came to France, how the French laid down all the crosses from their buildings in honour of the visit.
    Compare that event to today, where in the absence of the Khilafah, we have the French and others able to ban the hijab and play havoc with the islamic values by nurturing a strategy of accuse and integrate with the muslim communities everywhere.
    So we must remember our history, work to establish the rightly guided khalifah (not isis by the way, that is a small militia group only), and remember what Allah the most High said that the non-muslims will never be happy with you until you leave your deen.
    Finally, the islamic values are far more supreme than the non-islamic values when implemented in society as a whole and it is this discussion that will bring the non-muslims to appreciate islam rather than the ‘I’m free and i’m not a fundamentalist, or extermist, or any other label that non-muslims put on us.
    To give realities then, prostitution, adultery, pornography, peodophiles, incest and all manner of sexual perversions are a feature of Western societies, and then people complain about family breakups, no security for women or for children, and all sorts of related problems such as rape, kidnapping, sexual abuse, child pornography, human trafficking, etc.
    Seriously, what do Muslims want from values such as freedom (and its various names and features) that leads to this kind of society?
    Rather Islam has much more to offer the West, today and tomorrow.

  • Mr Abdullah
    there are no statistic evaluations in muslim countries,and by the way things like pronography, kidnappings and rapes are more common in the East, may it be pakistan, India, and the like

  • The Muslim world is in complete disarray and in spite of that, the Islamic values are in tact. There has been some influence of Western culture in the Muslim world and it is sad to see, but the effects are restricted to certain areas only. Certainly the expansion of industries such as Fashion and film, led by cultural liberalism imported from the West, will keep that culture entrenched as governments realise the economic benefits of those industries. However this is only because the governments in the Muslim world have adopted Capitalist/secular values and see those values as the path to revival, however they have failed to notice that the muslim populations have held on to the Islamic belief and Islamic values so revival is impossible on contradictory values. For example how many parents in the Muslim world would accept for their daughter to marry a non Muslim man? Or to live with a man outside of marriage? Or to allow their children access to pornography?

    • I don’t know what Islamic values do you consider to be intact in the Islamic world. For me there is no justice, there is no accountability of the ruler by the ruled, no sense of humanity, no human rights, no consideration of the rights of others, no equitable sharing of wealth with the less fortunate, no respect for the environment, no equitable treatment of women, but there certainly is killing of the innocents in the name of Islam, divisiveness, hatred, bigotry, prejudice and intolerance. I presume you consider Islamic values to be covering women up fully, men growing beards and spending all their time in senseless religious discussions, waging war against each other and imposing their own view of Islam on others by force. No thank you that is not my Islam.

  • Since there was a quote about Asma bint Abu Bakr, I thought I would share a Hadith about her. This Hadith is touted by Ullemas (male of course) to highlight how obedient, hard-working and considerate a muslimah should be to her husband. Personally though the nuances that I found interesting were:- 1) she was obviously ‘uncovered’ enough to be recognized by the Rasool(sal) & to carry the date stones & do all that physical labour, 2) she was alone and 3)she was offered a ride on the same camel as the Rasool(sal) – rather like a woman riding pillion on a motorbike with her b-i-l!
    When I asked an Ullema about these issues – I was told that a)the Rasool(sal) was above other men so different principles applied to him (but obviously Asma didn’t think so – hence she thought her husband would be jealous) & b) that bodies do not touch when two people ride on the same camel. I leave it for you to figure it out…. Here’s the Hadith:
    “(41) Narrated asma’ bint Abu Bakr: When Az-Zubair married me, he had no real property or any slave or anything else except a camel which drew water from the well, and his horse. I used to feed his horse with fodder and drew water and sew the bucket for drawing it, and prepare the dough, but I did not know how to bake bread. So our Ansari neighbors used to bake bread for me, and they were honorable ladies. I used to carry the date stones on my head from Zubair’s land given to him by Allah’s Apostle and this land was two third Farsakh (about two miles) from my house. One day, while I was coming with the date stones on my head, I met Allah’s Apostle along with some Ansari people. He called me and then, (directing his camel to kneel down) said, “Ikh! Ikh!” so as to make me ride behind him (on his camel). I felt shy to travel with the men and remembered Az-Zubair and his sense of Ghira, as he was one of those people who had the greatest sense of Ghira. Allah’s Apostle noticed that I felt shy, so he proceeded. I came to Az-Zubair and said, “I met Allah’s Apostle while I was carrying a load of date stones on my head, and he had some companions with him. He made his camel kneel down so that I might ride, but I felt shy in his presence and remembered your sense of Ghira (See the glossary). On that Az-Zubair said, “By Allah, your carrying the date stones (and you being seen by the Prophet in such a state) is more shameful to me than your riding with him.” (I continued serving in this way) till Abu Bakr sent me a servant to look after the horse, whereupon I felt as if he had set me free. (Book #62, Hadith #151)

  • The reason why RasoolAllah ( saw ) said to Asma ( RA ) to dress properly was because she was not dressed properly.
    Also, while it is true that men may have a certain view of hadith it is equally true that women will have a view of how men should behave. So the women and men complement each other in giving each other advice, and that is properly done in the institution of marriage.
    So the women will remind the men that in Islam the men are obliged to provide and that whatever women gain in wealth is not for the man to share in.
    And that men must lower their gaze in the presence of other women. And that men must not attend places of ill repute such as for example a library which maybe known to be a place where boy friends and girl friends meet each other, which Islam forbids due to the rule of bringing doubt upon your character.
    And it is only natural that both men and women will seek equality in Allah’s eyes and the sahabah and their wives had similar discussion.
    This does not mean at all that male ulema are biased towards men. Or that female ulema would be biased towards women. Rather the bias must be always to be closer to the truth which Allah intended by His order in the quran or through the sunnah.

    • Certainly Allah swt knows best, but I myself would not call a library, at least a public library, a “place of ill repute.” I live in a large county with a large public library system. Am I supposed to not go there even if I want to check out a book by an Islamic scholar — and that library has some — just because there may be some woman in hijab there, elsewhere in the building, attending to her own business? I would say that not every public place is unsuitable.

    • If some muslims consider libraries to be “places of ill repute” then it is no wonder that the Islamic world is going through the second jahiliyah!

  • Ok
    the library is an example only, which I took from my younger days.
    As for the muslim world you wouldn’t hate it if you lived in it, rather you would be desperate to reform it completely.
    As for the islamic values, they are present and in tact, but when you put the muslim populations in a pot and turn on the gas then you will see many events that contradict Islam. The evidence for my view is that Omar bin al Khattab revoked the punishment for stealing while Medina was suffering from a famine.this means that the behaviour of the people is largely dependant on the environmental conditions the economy, the government etc. And considering the colonialism that followed the breakup of the khilafah in 1924, and the continued control over the resources via the governments placed over us, all the conditions have been punitive.
    But the Islam nature of the people is the same like it was with the people of Medina when there was a famine.
    The answer is to reestablish the Islamic Khilafah, not to blame the muslim populations or to blame “men”. The problems in the Muslim world went beyond gender a long time ago, pouting gender as a problem is simply a diversion from the real issue and a diversion from the real enemy that is consuming our resources while we suffer. And actually there is a very appropriate hadith explaining this reality, how the Colonialists are eating from the Muslims….

    • Peace be with you (salaam alaikum), Brother Abdullah. You write (quoting briefly), “[T]his means that the behaviour of the people is largely dependant on the environmental conditions the economy, the government etc.” Yes, I agree with you. Sometimes conditions may vary, and the fact is that there are very, very many Muslims today who do NOT live in any, even nominally, predominantly Muslim societies. Allah swt has allowed them to migrate or, in many cases especially, my personal concern, guided them to Islam when they were not before Muslims.

      Nevertheless, they simply do not live under a khilafah, however much many Muslims may long for it, and these Muslims have to do as best they can in a non-Muslim environment. It is totally unrealistic to suppose that they might move to an even nominally Muslim country. (And let us be honest and admit that many so-called nominally majority Muslim countries may have serious issues.) This is the reality of the situation of ever so many convert Muslims. Preaching “khilafah” is, to be blunt, irrelevant to them in their day to day lives in the here and now.

      Allah swt alone knows whether we will ever, this side of the Hour, have a true Islamic khilafah again. Still, we, especially western convert Muslims, have to struggle along as best we can, and many traditional Muslims will just have to recognize that we live in conditions that the Sahaba (may Allah be please with them) might not even been able to imagine in their dreams. This is the reality of our lives.

  • Wa’alaikumassalaamwarahmatullah
    I pray that Allah subhaanahu Taa ala keeps us all on the guidance inshaAllah. I would like to say that any discussion these days cannot live in isolation from society and hijab is one of those discussions, taking France and Turkey as examples where it has been banned in certain places by legislation. So it is crucial to understand this societal dynamic, how it came to be, and since it contradicts Islam and the history of Islam then what does Islam say about it.i have provided a solution I hope the audience will give some serious consideration since it was the solution for over 1300 years and over most of the known world and in fact the spread of Islam through the khilafah was how it reached most of us. There is no khilafah today to emigrate to but we do know that RasoolAllah ( saw ) worked hard, can endured many hardships in the work to establish the first house of Islam from which it spread very quickly, that was the state of Medina. He is our example and I believe that if we follow his example in the societal and political aspects then we can’t go wrong, success is inevitable since the success comes from Allah and He ordered us to follow his messenger.
    I pray you are in good health and I look to your kind reply inshaAllah. Your brother Abdullah

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