The topic of “dress code for women in the Qur’an” is very important as the scholars have turned this subject into a “big fuss”. People around the world have adopted a particular dress code for Muslim women “Hijab”. And forced the women to be confined to a particular state making her aloof from the world and made even simple tasks highly difficult for her to perform.
Allah, the Most Gracious, Most Merciful, informs us that He has made His religion very easy, practical and enjoyable for His true believers. Allah also tells us that those who reject Him are making life miserable for themselves.
- “The men are to support the women by what God has gifted them over one another and for what they spend of their money. The reformed women are devotees and protectors of privacy what God has protected. As for those women from whom you fear disloyalty, then you shall advise them, abandon them in the bedchamber, and separate from them; if they obey you, then do not seek a way over them; God is High, Great. (004:034)
- “Surely, the peacefully surrendering men, and the peacefully surrendering women, the acknowledging men, and the acknowledging women, the obedient men, and the obedient women, the truthful men, and the truthful women, the patient men, and the patient women, the humble men, and the humble women, the charitable men, and the charitable women, the fasting men, and the fasting women, the men who guard their private parts, and the women who similarly guard, and the men who commemorate God frequently, and the commemorating women; God has prepared for them a forgiveness and a great recompense. (033:035)
The Quran teaches us that “men and women are equal” and that individuals should not be judged according to gender, beauty, wealth, or privilege. The only thing that makes one person better than another is “their character”.
- And strive for Allah with the striving due to Him. He has chosen you and has not placed upon you in deen/judgement, any difficulty. (22:78)
Quran teaches us that men and women must dress up modestly but in addition, a woman is asked to wear “Jalbab”. When Allah clearly states that He has put no difficulty for us in the judgement then how can he put such a big burden on a woman by commanding her to veil herself from head to toe, in which situation all her sense organs would be covered and it would be very difficult for her to perform her duties. This is not possible. In conclusion, the veiling of women in some Islamic countries is tradition-based religious innovation to oppress women. It has nothing to do with Allah’s laws in the Quran.
It is important that we understand that wearing Jalbab is a command from Allah for the believing women. However, the decision of wearing what to wear as Jalbab is personal.
Allah did not use the word Hijab in reference to the dress code of women in Quran. Today we will discuss what Allah mentions about “Dress code of women” and “Hijab” in His Book, Al-Quran.
QURAN AS COMPLETE GUIDANCE
He reminds us in the Quran that He has placed no hardship on us in practicing our deen. And that His Book is the only fully detailed source of guidance; He calls His book, the Quran, as the BEST HADITH. (See 7:185, 31:6, 45:6, and 77:50).
“Allah has sent down the best hadith.” (39:23)
“We did not leave anything out of this book” (6:38)
“We have revealed to you this book to provide explanations for everything” (16:89)
“Shall I then seek a judge other than Allah when He has revealed to you this book fully detailed” (6:114)
AN ORDER FOR BELIEVING MEN AND WOMEN
“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and guard their private parts. This helps them grow in character. Surely, Allah is Aware of what they do.” (24:30)
“Tell the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their private parts.” (24:31)
- It is not only women who are commanded to be shameful but both the believing men and women are instructed to control their emotions and cover their shame.
- Covering your insight is more important which builds your character/enhance your personality as a righteous person and shows modesty in a person.
- Then in addition to controlling their emotions, women are further instructed to cover their bosoms with a “Khumar” (an additional covering/an outer garment) in order not to insight any wrong intensions of men towards them.
MODESTY IN CHARACTER
Islam has no fixed standard as to the style of dress or type of clothing that Muslims must wear. However, some requirements must be met.
- The first of these requirements is the parts of the body which must be covered.
- Another requirement is an over-all dignified appearance.
The clothing should not attract men’s attention to the woman, it should be modest. It is not merely a covering but more importantly, it is behaviour, manners, speech and appearance in public. Dress is only one facet of the total being. For both men and women, clothing requirements are not meant to be a restriction but rather a way in which society will function in a proper, Islamic manner.
And when you abide in your homes, (in your Deen) do so in quiet dignity, and do not make a dazzling display like that of the former Times of Ignorance. Help establish the connection and Justification (the Just Economic Order), and obey Allah and His messenger. For, Allah wishes to keep away vice from you, O Members of the Household! And to purify you to utmost purity(of character). (33:33)
COVERING AND MORAL CHARACTER
And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their private parts and they should not show off their zeenathinna/their beauty beyond what may be apparent by itself. And they should put their khumurehinna/their coverings over their juyubehinna/bosoms and should not show off/make obvious their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ children, their sisters’ children, their womenfolk, or their dependents or such male attendants as are beyond all sexual desires, or children who are not yet aware of the private (aspects) of women. And they must not strike their feet so as to draw attention to what they have hide from their beauty. And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers! So that you may succeed. (24:31)
- Suppress your emotions.
- Guard their private parts
Other than suppressing the emotions and guarding the private parts, there are 3 additional tasks to be performed by a woman which completes the cycle.
- Zeenatehinna/their beauty
- Khumarehinna/their coverings
- Juyyubehinna/their bosoms
The word “zeenat” means “Beauty”
In the above verse we are told:
“They should not show off/make obvious their Zeenatehinna”
- The most obvious hidden beauty is “bosoms”.
“And they shall not strike with their feet as to draw attention to their hidden beauty”
- To walk in an enticing way
The root word “Jaib” forms words as Juyyub, which means breast/bosom. Hence in the above verse Allah is asking us:
Jiim-Ya-Ba: to cut out a collar of a shirt, opening at the neck and bosom of a shirt, an opening in a shirt (e.g. where the head goes through or the sleeve).
- To cover our bosoms/breasts /necklines.
The Arabic word ‘Khamar’ does not simply imply a head-covering for women as commonly understood in its modern day usage. It is formed from the root word ‘Kha-Mim-Ra’ which primarily means to ‘conceal or to cover’. Thus it is a covering that “covers anything”.
The word “Khamar” is used in Quran 7 times and everywhere it indicates “to cover”.
As in 2:219, Allah asks us to avoid “Khamar”. He used the word, “Khamar” for “intoxicants”, as they cover your intellect and make you lose your ability to think correctly.
Similarly in the verse 24:31, Allah is asking the women to use their ‘Khimar’ to “cover their bosom/necklines. We are asked to cover our bosoms or the region below the neckline and not our hair. Those who cover their hair and not their bosoms, thinking that only “head cover” is prescribed by Allah, is a wrong concept. Allah does not want believing women to keep their head or hair covered as a sign of modesty. From verse 24:31 it is clear that Allah commands covering the chest, and not the head. Therefore if the head or hair is kept uncovered then it is not sinful.
OUTER GARMENT/JALABIB —WOMEN’S OBLIGATION
O prophet! Tell your wives, your daughters, and women of the believers that they should draw near upon them their outer garments. This is so that they may be recognized (as decent women) and not be harmed or teased. And Allah is The Forgiving and The Merciful. (33:59)
- Women are asked to cover themselves with a “Jalbab”, which is an outer garment that covers the clothes beneath. This is to make the woman recognizable as a Muslim woman.
- Wearing what as outer garment is individual choice.
- This is a command of Allah and not a culturally variable tradition. Hence it is obligatory.
- Only a submitter will wear an outer garment.
EXCEPT WHAT IS APPARENT
Now back to 24:31, when Allah says “Except what maybe apparent” means:
- After wearing descent clothing and your “outer garment” what is apparent, is allowed to be shown.
RELAXATION OF THE JALABIB
There is no blame on women (to relax their dress code) around their fathers, their sons, their brothers, sons of their brothers, sons of their sisters, their women, or their dependents. But, O Women! Take guard for Allah. Allah is Witness to everything. (33:55)
- According to 24:31 and 33:55, a woman is allowed to take off her jalabib/outer garment in front of the mentioned categories:
1. Her Husband
2. Her Father
3. Her Husband’s Father
4. Her sons
5. Her Husband’s sons
6. Her Brothers
7. Her Brother’s Sons
8. Her Sisters
9. Her Sister’s Sons
10. Her Women
11. Those whom their Right Hand Possess/ Dependents other than family members.
12. Male attendants having no sexual desire
13. Children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women.
RELAXATION IN A PARTICULAR SITUATION
And those who have remained behind from the women, those who have no hope of marriage, so there is no blame on them even if they lay aside their coverings/outer garments without displaying their beauty. But if they refrain (from this concession, it would be) better for them. And Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower. (24:60)
- The Ayat is self-explanatory. Allah is allowing the women to take off their “OUTER GARMENT” or “COVERING” in a particular condition (when they are in a stage when they have no hope of getting married) as long as her remaining clothes do not show off or make a display of her physical beauty.
WHAT IS HIJAB?
The Quran does not make use of the word ‘Hijaab’ to address the covering of the head or hair. In brief, hijab is a “traditional dress” and has nothing to do with Islam or religion. In certain areas of the world, men are the ones who wear the hijab while in others the women do.
Mixing religion with tradition is a form of idol-worship, because not knowing (or not trying to find out) what Allah asked you to do in His book, the Quran, is a sign of disregarding Allah and his message. When tradition supersedes Allah’s commandment, the true religion takes a second place. Allah has to be always the FIRST and to HIM there is no second.
The Arabic word “hijab” in the following verses of the Quran refers to something other than the dress code for women:
- And between those two groups there will be a barrier-screen and on Al-A’raf will be men: they recognize all by their marks. And they called out to the companions of Paradise thus: “Salamun Alaikum (Peace and tranquility be over you).” They (who are greeted thus) have not (yet) entered this (Paradise) but they desire (it on the basis of the Faith and deeds).(7:46)
- And as you recited Al-Quran, We placed between you and those who do not beleive in the Hereafter, an invisible barrier-screen.(17:45)
- She placed a barrier-screen (to screen herself) from them; then We sent to her Our Rooh and he appeared before her in the form of a man in all respects.(19:17)
- Indeed, I gave preference to the love of good (things) over the remembrance of my Nourisher/Sustainer until the sun disappeared into the curtain (of darkness).” (38:32)
- And it is not (possible) for a human-being that Allah may talk to him except through Revelation, or from behind an (invisible) barrier-screen, or He sends a Messenger, then he delivers inspiration under His permission whatever He thinks proper. Indeed He is Most High, Most Wise.(42:51)
- And when you ask [his wives] for something, ask them from behind an (invisible) barrier-screen. That is purer for your hearts and their hearts.(33:53)
While many Muslims call “Hijab”, an Islamic dress code, they completely ignore the fact that “Hijab as a dress code” has nothing to do with Islam and nothing to do with QURAN. Hijab is psychological barrier.
CONCLUSION – DRESS CODE OF WOMEN IN ISLAM:
- The best garment is that of nice, modest conduct (7:26)
- Cover your bosoms, neckline in the presence of strangers.(24:31)
- Wear an outer garment when outdoors in public. (33:59)
While these three basic rules are not enough for those who do not trust Allah, the true believers know that Allah is ENOUGH.
“O children of Adam! Certainly, We have provided you dress, to cover your shame and as an adornment. And the best dress is the “dress of piety”, which is superior to all other dresses. That is from the Ayats of Allah so that they may be reminded”. (7:26)
- Lastly, Allah is saying that the best dress is “The dress of Taqwa”. It is clear from the above verse that the best dress for both, Muslim men and women according to the Quran is righteousness and modesty. This covers your all adornments (make up, jewelry etc.) as your character decorates you inside out.
- Women who act righteously will have no problem making the right decision in revealing only that “which is necessary” according to the social environments.
By A. Waseem