Hijab

BEAUTIFICATION AND ADORNMENT

Author unknown

The Qur’an lays down the code of conduct for women in the following words:

And play your role by being in your houses and do not keep exhibiting your beauty and decorations like what used to happen in the Jahiliyyah period (before Islam). (33:33)

Abu Bakr al-Jassas says in explaining this verse, “This verse points out the fact that women are ordered to play their role in the house and are forbidden from loitering outside of their houses.”

It was revealed when the Muslim ummah was being formed in Madina as an example for the coming generations of Muslims. It sought to put an end to the Jahiliyyah practices of the pagan Arabs.

‘Umar radi Allahu anhu remarked: “By Allah, we did not give any position to women in the Jahiliyyah period until such time that Allah sent His command in respect of them and apportioned for them the role that was to be theirs.” (Muslim)

Under this apportionment women were given the role of making their own homes the centers of their attention rather than going about exhibiting their physical charms and worldly possessions. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said that the following type of women constitute one of the categories of the dwellers of Hell: “Those women who seem naked even when dressed and those who walk flirtingly and those who plait their heads like the humps of camels, thus inviting people’s attention, will not enter Paradise nor will they smell its fragrance even though its fragrance can be smelt from a very long distance.” (Muslim).

[If we look at this hadith closer- “who seem naked when dressed” and apply it to ourselves. Meaning, we must not wear clothing that show the shape of our bodies such as tight fitting skirts, pants, or jackets. what is the point of wearing hijab when a man can see the shape of our body?

The hadith also says “those who walk flirtingly”. This needs to be looked at even closer because the way we dress these days “walking flirtingly” may not be intended. The invention of high heels goes all the way back to the history of european fashion. High heels were originally developed for men, so that their gait would seem flirtatious. It then carried onto women, whose purpose was for the women to have a “flirtatious gait”, precisely HOW women DO walk on high heels. Sheikh Uthiemeen has ruled wearing of high heel shoes as undesirable for health reasons as well as its deceptive outcome of making the woman look taller than she really is.]

Islam, however, does not prohibit beautification (zinat) on the part of women as long as it is not done in a way that injuriously interferes with the limbs or the body OR is displayed outside the home.

In ancient times there were many kinds of defacement practiced on the bodies of men and animals, partly on account of superstition or pagan custom and partly on account of the craze for fashion and display. Examples of this were tattooing, sharpening or spacing the teeth, shaving or plucking the hair, wearing hair pieces, etc. Many of these practices still survive and are, in fact, getting more and more refined. Since all these practices change or seriously interfere with the natural creation of Allah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) cursed those who indulged in them for the purpose of mere beautification.

One report says, “The Messenger of Allah cursed women who tattooed, and those who got themselves tattooed, those who engaged in sharpening the teeth (as a mark of beauty) and those who had their teeth sharpened.” (Bukhari and Muslim) The Messenger of Allah cursed women who had spaces made between their teeth in order to increase their beauty, thus changing the creation of Allah.

A third report says, “The Messenger of Allah cursed the women who plucked hair and those who were employed to pluck the eyebrows.” (Abu Dawud)

This method of beautification would include the modern practice of shaving the eyebrows and then painting on new ones, or shaving certain hair and leaving the eyebrows to look like two inverted crescents. However, if a woman has some obtrusive hairs on her face which are a problem and embarrassment for her, she may remove them. When ‘A’ishah was approached by the young wife of Abu Is’haq who wished to remove her facial hairs in order to look beautiful for her husband, she advised her to do so. (Reported by atTabarani) Imam alNawawi opposes removing the hairs on a woman’s face because he considers the practice similar to plucking hair.

A fourth report says: ”A’ishah reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) cursed women who wore hair pieces and the women who aided in this practice.” (Bukhari) This method of beautification would include the modern practice of wearing wigs. It consists of using a plait of one woman’s hair or artificial hair and joining it to another woman’s hair with the object of making the woman’s hair appear very long and beautiful.

Mu’awiyah, while holding a plait of such hair in his hands during his address to the Muslims, castigated the ‘ulama: “Where are your learned men gone? (meaning why did they not stop women from using such hair) I heard the Messenger of Allah stop them from using this.” He also said, “Undoubtedly the Israelites destroyed themselves when their women adopted such things.” (Bukhari)

The Shari’ah also requires women to abstain from displaying their “decorations” except to a restricted circle of people. The Qur’an says: And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; and 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 save to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husbands’ fathers, or their sons, or their husbands’ sons, or their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical desire, or small children who have no sense of sex; and that they should not stamp their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O believers! Turn all together towards Allah, that you may attain bliss. (24:31)

Thus, the following people fall in the exceptional category to whom decorations can be displayed by a woman: Her husband. Her father, including maternal and paternal grandfathers. Her husband’s father. He is also like her own father. Her son, including grandsons from her son’s side or her daughter’s side. Her husband’s son by another woman, provided that he is staying with her, and she is looking after him as her son. Her brother, whether full, consanguine, or uterine (that is to say, real or step). Her brother’s son. Her sister’s son. Muslim women of good character. Her female slaves or servants. Children who have not yet developed sexual feelings. Her uncle, whether paternal or maternal.

It is noteworthy that the above verse of the Noble Qur’an does not mention uncle, but uncle is included in the exceptional category on the basis of a tradition of the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Prophet said, “The uncle (maternal or paternal) is of the same degree as one’s father.” (Muslim)

Let us here give a little more consideration to the women to whom another woman is permitted to display her finery. These are the women with whom she has blood or family relations. It should be borne in mind that the foregoing Qur’anic verse implies only women of good character. Other women who may not be well known to her or who are notorious for their evil ways or who may be of doubtful character are excluded from this permission, because contact with them might easily lead to disastrous results.

That is why the ‘Umar radi Allahu anhu wrote to Abu ‘Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah, the Governor of Syria, to prohibit the Muslim women from going to the baths with the women of the Ahl al-Kitab (the People of the Book). (At-Tabari, Ibn Jazir) According to Ibn ‘Abbas too: “…a Muslim woman is not allowed to display herself before the women of the unbelievers and non-Muslim poll-tax payers (Ahl al- Dhimmah) any more than she can display herself before other men.” (At-Tabari).

This distinction between women on grounds of character and religion is intended to safeguard Muslim women against the influence of women whose moral and cultural background is either not known or is objectionable from the Islamic point of view.

It is important to note that permission to display zinat does not include permission to display those parts of the body which fall within the female satr. Thus zinat covers decorations, ornaments, clothing, hair-dos, etc. that women are by nature fond of showing in their houses.

The Shari’ah further requires a woman not to stamp on the ground while walking, lest her hidden decorations should be revealed by their jingle, and thus attract the attention of passers-by.

“O you who believe! Do not enter the Prophet’s house until leave is given 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 seeking familiar talk. Such (behaviour) annoys the Prophet. He is ashamed to dismiss you, but Allah is not ashamed (to tell you) the truth. And when you ask his womenfolk for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen; that makes for greater purity for your hearts and for theirs. Nor is it right for you that you should annoy Allah’s Apostle, or that you should marry his widows after him at any time. Truly such a thing is an enormity in Allah’s sight. (33:53)

This view seems to get support from a tradition of the Prophet in which he said: “…a woman who freely mixes with other people and shows off her decorations is without light and virtue ” (At-Tirmidhi)

Hence we may conclude that no Muslim woman should display her zinat (decoration) before others intentionally, but she is not held responsible for something which cannot be helped e.g. her stature, physical build, gait. etc. nor for uncovering her hand or face when there is a genuine need to do so and without any intention of attracting men. In such cases it is the responsibility of Muslim men not to cast evil glances at women with the intention of drawing pleasure from them. The Qur’an ordains: Say to believing men to lower their eyes. (24:30)

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MODESTY

Author unknown

Modesty is a virtue which Islam demands of Muslim men and women. The most powerful verses commanding the believers to be modest occur in Surah al-Nur and begin with the words: Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that will make for greater purity for them: and Allah is well aware of what they do. (24:31)

The rule of modesty is equally applicable to men and women. A brazen stare by a man at a woman or another man is a breach of correct behaviour. The rule is meant not only to guard women, but is also meant to guard the spiritual good of men. Looking at the sexual anarchy that prevails in many parts of the world, and which Islam came to check, the need for modesty both in men and women is abundantly clear. However it is on account of the difference between men and women in nature, temperament, and social life, that a greater amount of veiling is required for women than for men, especially in the matter of dress. A complete code of modesty is laid down in the Qur’an as follows: And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; and 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 save to their husbands, or their fathers or their husbands’ fathers, or their sons or their husbands’ sons, or their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical desire, or small children who have no sense of sex; and that they should not stamp their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O believers! Turn all together towards Allah, that you may attain bliss. (24:31)

A key term in the above verse is zinat. It means both natural beauty and artificial ornaments. The word as used in the above verse seems to include both meanings. Women are asked not to make a display of their figures, not to wear tight clothing that reveals their shapeliness, nor to appear in such dress except to: their husbands, their relatives living in the same house with whom a certain amount of informality is permissible, their women, that is, in the strict sense, their maid-servants who are constantly in attendance on them, but in a more liberal sense, all believing women, and infants or small children who have not yet got a sense of sex

Hafsah, daughter of ‘Abdur-Rahman, once came before ‘A’isha wearing a thin shawl over her head and shoulders. ‘A’isha tore it up and put a thick shawl over her. The Messenger of Allah also said, “Allah has cursed those women who wear clothes yet still remain naked.” The khalif, ‘Umar, once said, “Do not clothe your women in clothes that are tight-fitting and reveal the shapeliness of the body.”

The above-mentioned traditions make it explicitly clear that the dress of Muslim women must cover the whole body, whether in the house or outside, even with her nearest relatives. She must not expose her body to anybody except her husband, and must not wear a dress that shows the curves of her body. Sheikh Muhammad Nasiruddin al-Albani, are of the opinion that, because modern times are particularly full of fitnah (mischief), women should go as far as to cover their faces because even the face may attract sexual glances from men. Shaikh al-Albani says, “We admit that the face is not one of the parts of the body to be covered, but it is not permissible for us to hold to this taking into consideration the corruption of the modern age and the need to stop the means for further corruption.”

It is respectfully submitted, however, that in the light of the Prophetic traditions it suffices to cover the body, leaving out the face and hands up to the wrist joints, since this is the specified Islamic covering and it may sometimes be essential for a woman to go about her lawful engagements with her face uncovered. However if a woman prefers to put on the veil (burqah), she should not be discouraged as this may be a sign of piety and God-consciousness (taqwah). The rules on dress are slightly relaxed when a woman reaches old age and her sexual attractions have faded. Such elderly women as are past the prospect of marriage, there is no blame on them if they lay aside their (outer) garments, provided they make not a wanton display of their beauty; but it is best for them to be modest and Allah is the One who sees and knows all things. (24:60)

However, if a woman is old but still has sexual desires, it is not lawful for her to take off her over- garments. Women at whom people are not possibly going to cast sexual glances but rather look at with respect and veneration are entitled to make use of the relaxation and go about in their houses without wearing an over-garment.

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DEAREST SISTER: WHY NOT COVER YOUR MODESTY?

By Abdul Hameed Al-Balali

Fifth Dubiosity: Impeding Marriage

Another group of our young sisters pertain their non-commitment to hide their modesty to the fear of not getting married.

In many cases this dubiosity is shared by our sisters and their parents. It stems from the fear that young men will not ask for the hand of a girl for marriage unless they see her hair, her beauty, and the shape of her body.=20 Therefore if the young woman was covered, then no one will approach her for. In fact Satan uses this fear to stir this dubiosity in their heart.

There are two points that repudiate to this dubiosity: The first point: The ideological and theoretical aspect.

Even though beauty is a major reason for marrying a woman, yet it is not the only reason. The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him), indicated the different reasons which make men marry. He said: A woman is married for four reasons; her wealth, her family, her beauty, and her piety; do your=20 best to win the pious one, may your hand be soiled with dirt. (The last phrase is used as a form of affection). (Sahih Al-Bukhari) The above hadith clearly indicates that people do not seek beauty only. Rather there are reasons and conditions that may be less, more, or as important as beauty. Consequently, assuming (as some of our sisters and their parents do) that beauty is the one and only thing that people are looking for, while searching for a wife is not true. It indicates ignorance of the nature of man.

The second point: The practical aspect.

Many of the young men in our society, insist on marrying a woman committed to covering up her modesty and of good reputation, even though the suitor himself might not be committed. Consequently, displaying the young woman’s beauty and make up, may be the reason why young men would not approach a prospective wife. The young men’s logic is that if this woman has carelessly ignored a divine order, (which is to cover up her modesty), then it is also likely that she may disregard other divine orders. For the ways of Satan are gradual.

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THE HIJAB IS BEAUTIFUL

BY Abu Abdullah Fattaah Salaah ibn Bearnard Brooks

Indeed, all praises are due to Allah, we praise Him, seek His Aid and beg for His Forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil in our souls and from the bad consequences of our deeds. Whomever Allah guides, no one can lead that person astray and whomever Allah leads astray no one can guide that person. I bear witness that there is nothing worthy of worship except Allah Who is alone and without any partners and I bear witness that Muhammad (SAW) is His slave and final Prophet and Messenger sent to mankind.

Certainly the most perfect speech is the Speech of Allah and the finest guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (SAW). The worst of affairs are those that are innovated into this religion as every innovation is misguidance and every misguidance is astray and every going astray leads to the Hell Fire.

It often occurs to me that many of my sisters in Islam are not properly encouraged once they begin to observe the requirements of Hijab. It may be that a sister has been obliged to wear the Hijab without truly pondering over its superiority. Perhaps she has reached the age of puberty and her Wali (guardian) has instructed her to wear it. Perhaps she has recently re-verted to Islam and her close sisters have told her of its obligation. Or, perhaps her husband has commanded her to wear Hijab. A sister who does not truly know the superiority of Hijab will always remain envious of the women of the Kufar. Why? Because they see these misguided women looking beautiful for all to see. Hence, the Muslim woman then compares herself to that woman which causes her to feel ashamed of her own Hijab.

Therefore, what follows is a reminder for my sisters in Islam. It is a reminder of the true status of these so-called beautiful women. It is a reminder that Hijab will always reign supreme and that the true man (i. e. the Muslim man), will forever be dazzled by the beauty of the Muhijabah (woman who wears the Hijab).

Some Excellent Qualities of Those Who Wear Hijab

Al-Hamdulilah, it is well known that the Muslim woman is a creature of Hayaa (modesty). Allah (SWT) loves for our Muslim women to be shielded by their Hijab. It is their outer protection from the decadence of this life. Allah’s Messenger (SAW) has said: “Verily! Allah is Hayaa (modest, bashful) & Sitteer (i.e. the One Who Shields – from disobedient acts). He loves Hayaa (i.e. He loves for one to practice modesty and bashfulness) and Siter (shielding; covering).” [Collected by Abu Dawud; An-Nissa’ee; Al-Baihaqee; Ahmad; & in Saheeh An-Nissa’ee]

Thus, as possessing Hayaa is a quality that is beloved by Allah (SWT) our sisters must feel comfort in knowing that they have this Hayaa and not the women who show themselves to the world; hence, such women will not be shielded from Allah’s (SWT) Wrath. Allah’s Messenger (SAWS) said: “Any woman who takes off her clothes in other than her husband’s home (to show off for unlawful purposes), has broken Allah’s shield upon her.” [Collected by Abu Dawud & At-Tirmidhi]

Therefore, we see that the Hijab of the Muslim woman has a quality that comprises Hayaa (modesty). Hayaa is what proceeds from Iman (belief). That is why when Allah (SWT) commands the women to observe Hijab, Allah (SWT) says: “And tell the believing women…” [Surah An-Nur 24:31]

Allah (SWT) also says: “…And the women of the believers…” [Surah Al-Ahzab 33:59]

Furthermore, Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said: “Al-Hayaa (modesty & bashfulness) is from Iman (belief) and Iman is in Al-Jannah (the Paradise).” [At-Tirmidhi – Saheeh]

He (SAW) also said: “Hayaa (modesty and bashfulness) and Iman (belief) are fully associated together, if one is lifted the other follows suit.” [Narrated by ‘Abd Allah bin ‘Umar; related by Al-Haakim in his “Mustadrak”]

My dear sisters in Islam, know that these women who beautify themselves for the world to see possess no Hayaa; thus, they are void of any Iman.

Instead of looking to the latest fashion models for guidance, you, my dear sisters, must look to the wives of the Prophet (SAW). Look at the extreme amount of Hayaa that ‘Aisha bint Abu Bakr (RA) possessed even in the presence of the deceased: ‘Aisha (RA) said: “I used to enter the room where the Messenger of Allah (SAW) and my father (Abu Bakr) were later buried in without having my garment on me, saying it is only my husband and my father. But when ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab (RA) was later buried in (the same place), I did not enter the room except that I had my garment on being shy from ‘Umar.” [As-Simt Ath ‘ameen Fee Maniqib Ummahat Ul-Mu’mineen by Ibn As-Sakir. Al-Haakim brings a similar narration which he says is “good according the conditions of Imaam Bukhari and Imaam Muslim”]

My dear sister in Islam, I know that it is quite difficult for you to go out wearing Hijab in a society that mocks and torments you. I know that you, indeed, feel strange and out of place. However, if you knew the status of those who are mocked by the Kufar as well as the status of the strangers, you will continue to wear your Hijab (i.e. to cover your entire body with a Khimar as commanded (24:31), as well as with a Jilbab (33:59), with the exception of the hands and face; however, knowing the recommendation to cover those parts (as well) with dignity. Allah (SWT) says in His Book: “Verily! (During the worldly life) those who committed crimes used to laugh at those who believed. And whenever they passed by them, used to wink one to another (in mockery); And when they returned to their own people, they would return jesting; and when they saw them, they said: ‘Verily! These have indeed gone astray!’ But they (disbelievers, sinners) had not been sent as watchers over them (the believers). But on this Day (the Day of Resurrection) those who believe will laugh at the disbelievers. On (high) thrones, looking (at all things). Are not the disbelievers paid (fully) for what they used to do?” [Surah Al-Mutafifin 83:29-36]

Allah’s (SWT) words should serve as a support for you my dear sisters. Also, take comfort in being a stranger among these lewd and sinful women Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said: “Islam began as something strange, and it would revert to its (old position) of being strange, so good tidings for the strangers.” [Narrated by Abu Huraira and Reported Sahih Muslim]

As-Sufoor and It’s Characteristics

As-Sufoor means to expose or to un-cover. Therefore, instead of practicing the Hijab (covering), the women of the Kufar practice As-Sufoor. As-Sufoor is sinful as it leads to At-Tabarooj (i.e. to make a dazzling display of oneself). Displaying oneself is a attribute of one who is Jaheel (ignorant). Allah (SWT) says: “And stay in your houses and do not display yourselves (At- Tabarooj) like that of the times of ignorance…” [Surah Al-Ahzab 33:33]

Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said: “The best of your women is the affectionate, the fertile (in productivity), the propitious (favorable), the consultative if they fear Allah. The most evil of your women are the Mutabar’rijat (those who do At-Tabarooj), the Mutakhayelat (who strut/swagger), and they are the hypocrites. Those who enter Al-Jannah (the Paradise) are like the Cough Crow.” [Al-Baihaqi in his “As-Sunan”]

My dear sisters in Islam, we see from the above Ayah and Hadith that displaying oneself is indeed Haram. Further, it is a quality of the most evil of women! Therefore, do not be envious of the women of the Kufar. They only have this life to enjoy while the believing women will have Al-Jannah. There is nothing in your Hijab whatsoever to be ashamed of as it is the garment of the righteous and pious female slaves of Allah (SWT). In order to truly show you how evil those women who make As- Sufoor and At-Tabarooj are, let us ponder over the following statement of Allah’s Messenger (SAW): “Of the people of Hell there are two types whom I have never seen, the one possessing whips like the tail of an Ox and they flog people with them. The second one, women who would be naked in spite of their being dressed, who are seduced (to wrong paths) and seduce others. Their hair is high like the humps (of camels). These women would not get into Al-Jannah (the Paradise) and they would not perceive its odor, although its fragrance can be perceived from such and such a distance.” [Sahih Muslim]

Sisters in Islam, these women who practice At-Tabarooj are common among us today. These are women that even the Prophet (SAWS) did not see! Look around you and you will see those women who are clothed but naked! Look at the hair styles of the women who practice At-Tabarooj – are they not high like the camel’s hump? My dear sister, perhaps we are the first generation since the time of the Prophet Adam (AS) to witness such women. If one ponders over photos taken thirty to forty years ago, one will see that the women of the Kufar did not make At-Tabarooj as their offspring do today. These are women who will be in the Hell Fire, save Allah (SWT) has mercy upon them by guiding them to Islam! Thus, how can you envy them? My brothers, how can you desire them over your creature of Hayaa? These filthy women will not even smell the fragrance of Paradise. This Hadith also shows us that what the Prophet (SAW) came with (i.e. the Qur’an and the Sunnah) is the Haqq (truth)! This is a prophecy that has come to pass in front of our very eyes. Hence, will we continue to envy these evil women or be grateful to our Lord for your Hijab which brings Hayaa?

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THE HIJAB AS DAWAH

By Dr. Aisha Hamdan, AlJumuah Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 5, Jumaada-A- Ulaa, 1419h

Most Muslims are familiar with the various reasons that Allah has required women to wear hijab: The hijab reflects modesty, purity and respect; it lessens temptation so that more serious sins will be avoided; it protects women from the harm and molestation of evil men; a woman who wears hijab will be evaluated for her intelligence and skills rather than her appearance.

One important aspect that is often overlooked, however, is that the hijab is a symbol of Muslim identity. A woman who covers her head is making a statement that she is a member of the Muslim community and that she follows a particular code of moral conduct.

Allah says: “O Prophet, tell your wives and daughters and the believing women to draw their outer garments around them. That is more suitable that they will be known (as Muslims and chaste believing women) and not be abused.” [Qur’an, 33:59] “…that they will be known…” In America, where Islam is the fastest growing religion (alhumdullilah), many people are coming to know what this head covering really signifies and to understand the religion that mandates it. The hijab, in effect, is an amazingly powerful tool for dawah; one that Muslims themselves are probably not even aware of. As with any tool, the key for effectiveness is appropriate and knowledgeable use.

The most obvious first step would be for Muslim women to actually wear the hijab. It is a tragic and upsetting phenomenon to see so many Muslims dressing in the manner of the disbelievers (blue jeans, T-shirts, short skirts, even shorts). The Prophet, sallalahu allahe wa salam, said; “Whoever resembles a people is one of them.” (Abu Dawood). This is not only happening in America and other Western countries as people attempt to assimilate and adopt the practices of the prevailing culture, but it is also occurring in Muslim countries at an alarming rate.

A woman who refuses to wear the hijab is disobeying Allah and committing a serious sin, putting worldly pleasures above spiritual attainment, and neglecting her duty to the religion of Islam. Many scholars agree that the only reason a Muslim may live in a non-Muslim country is to conduct dawah and bring people to the true religion. How can a woman perform dawah for Islam when she is not even practicing it herself? To do this would be a form of hypocrisy and it will not be successful.

Once a woman begins to wear hijab she completes a large portion of her responsibility for dawah with very little effort. Each time that she goes to the grocery store, the library, to work, to school, or to any other public place, she is spreading the magnificent message of Islam. This is not only because of the outer hijab that she wears, but more importantly, the modesty of her behavior that accompanies it. When a woman refrains from flirting with men, limits physical contact, and is reserved and respectful, people may become curious and want to learn more about this intriguing faith. It may just sow the seeds of something wonderful.

At the University where I teach (which happens to be a private, Catholic school), women are often interested in my manner of dress and demeanor. Each semester I have at least one student who requests my involvement in a project for another class, usually comparative religions. They are surprised when they learn the rationale for this injunction and the fact that it was part of their religious heritage as well. If I chose not to wear hijab, I would miss these wonderful opportunities to share the beauty, peace and universality of my faith.

When there is the possibility for further discussion with those who are interested, knowledge and understanding of the topic are imperative. A very effective technique is to relate the concept to something that is familiar to the other person. Some examples of questions that could be posed include:

  1. “Did you every wonder why Mary, the mother Jesus (alayhes salam) wore clothing very similar to that of Muslims?”
  2. “Why do Catholic nuns dress the way they do?”
  3. “Did you know that in the Canon laws of the Catholic church today there is a law that requires women to cover their heads in church?”
  4. “Have you read in I Corinthians (Bible, 11:3-10) the verses that Paul wrote: ‘Every man who prays of prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. And evey woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head – it is just as though her head were shaved. If a woman doesn’t cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or shaved off, she should cover her head.”
  5. “Did you know that there are some Christian denominations, namely the Amish and the Mennonites, who still require women to wear the head covering?”
  6. “Were you aware that is was the custom of Jewish women to go out in public with a head covering and that some denominations still practice this today?”

These discussion points demonstrate the obvious fact that the head cover was not introduced by Islam, but rather that this requirement has been in place for thousands of years. This can also be a cogent segue to more crucial topics such as the fact that Moses, alayhes salam, Jesus, alayhes salam and Muhammad, sallalahu allahe wa salam, were all prophets of the same God and that they each carried the same basic message. Islam corrected the errors that had been introduced into previous revelations by humans and completed the process that was planned by Allah.

We should be proud to be Muslim. We should also be grateful for the gift that Allah has given to each one of us: The perfect truth of Islam that is our key to paradise. All others are being deluded by Satan and following paths to destruction. With our gift comes the responsibility to share the truth with those who are less fortunate. We are all responsible to carry the light of Islam. The hijab is an outward manifestation of this light that burns within, and it can be an effective tool for fulfillment of our obligation. We choose whether to develop this light into a bright, radiant star or let it be extinguished by foolish and selfish desires. May Allah guide each of us to the true path.

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THE MUSLIM WOMAN’S DRESS

Compiled by Shaykh Mahmud Murad

From the works of Shaykh Nassir-uddeen al-Albani

Below, is an abridgement of the book “Muslim Women’s Dress” by our Shaykh Nassiruddeen al-Albani complied by Shaykh Mahmud Murad. Although the following provides the fiqh details of the dress of a muslimah, the word “hijaab” itself needs to be understood. In Islaam, a woman is commanded to cover her body and not show herself to strange men. Thus Hijab when applied to a Muslimah not only includes the physical dress, but also the manner of living in society (for example, staying at home, praying at home, not coming out of the house unless due to necessity etc..). So when we read these articles, it is to be kept in mind that the correct understanding of hijaab includes vieling of women by means of clothing as well as correct behaviour in society.

1. The outer garment worn in public must cover all of the body except the face and hands.

Surat an-Noor, ayah 31 (quoted above) contains clear command that a woman’s natural beauty and her adornment are to be concealed from strangers, except that which might show unintentionally (ie. parts of the dress or ornaments) or which show as a matter of course because it is not prohibited that they be shown (ie. the face the hands).

Abu Dawood authentically narrated that ‘Aaishah said: “Asmaa came to see the Messenger of Allah. She was wearing a thin dress; the Prophet turned away from her and said to her: “O Asmaa! once a woman reaches the age of puberty no part of her body should be uncovered except her face and hands.”

It should be noted that the Arabic word khumur (plural of khimaar) which has been translated above in the ayah from Surat an-Noor as veils, means head covers, nor face veils as may mistakenly be supposed. It refers to a cloth which covers all of the hair. Furthermore, the word juyoob (plural of jaib), also found in the ayah of Surat an-Noor, refers not only to the bosom, as is commonly thought, but also to the neck.

Al-Qurtubi, an eminent mufassir (Qur’anic commentator) stated: “Women in those days used to cover their heads with the khimaar, throwing its ends on their backs. This left the neck and the upper part of the chest bare, along with the ears, in the manner of the Christians. Then Allah commanded them to cover those parts with the khimaar.”

“And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment.”

Women at the time of the Prophet used to wear anklets, which they could employ to attract attention by stamping their feet, making the anklets tinkle together. This practice was now forbidden, but even more important for us, these words make it absolutely clear that the legs and ankles are to be covered.

Abdullah Ibn Umar narrated: “The Prophet said: “On the Day of Judgement, Allah will not look upon one who trails his garment along out of pride.” Umm Salamah then asked: “What should women do with their garments?” The Prophet said: “They may lower them a hand span.” She said: “Their feet would still be uncovered.” The Prophet said: “Then a forearm’s length, but no more.” (Tirmidhee)

The ayah from Surat an-Noor quoted above gives us specific and detailed information about what a Muslim woman should be sure to cover when she is in the company of strangers, and it gives a detailed list of those with whom she is permitted to be less inhibited. The ayah quoted from Surat al-Ahzab further directs Muslim women to put some outer garment over their clothes, and to draw it close around them.

Abu Dawood related that when this ayah was revealed, the women of the Ansaar appeared like crows (because of the black cloaks which they wore).

Some outer garment, whether a cloak or a coat, must be worn by a Muslim woman when she is in public, and even when she is in her own house or that of a close relative, if she is in the presence of strangers.

It was mentioned above that the face need not be covered. If, however, the woman is wearing make-up, she should cover her face, since the make-up is adornment beyond what is permitted. Similarly, she should cover her hands if she is wearing nail polish or some other decoration or ornament. Furthermore, although it is permissible to leave the face uncovered in the presence of strangers, it is praiseworthy to cover it, as that was the practice of the wives of the Prophet according to authentic ahaadeeth.

2. The outer garment must not be decorative itself or a means of beautification.

When Allaah commands women not to reveal their beauty, He means both the natural beauty, with which He has endowed them, and all means which they might employ to enhance that beauty. Clearly, the garment which is used to screen the woman’s beauty and her adornment from public view should not itself be a thing of beauty.

Fudaalah ibn ‘Ubaid reported that the Prophet said: “There are three people that you should not concern yourself about: a man who parted from the Jamaa’ah and disobeyed his Imaam and died in that state; a slave who ran away from his master and died without returning; a woman whose husband departed from her after providing for her worldly needs and who then beautified (tabarrajat) herself in his absence. Do not worry about any of them.” (Ahmad)

The word tabarraja means not only to beautify oneself, or to make oneself pretty, but also to display oneself, to play up to one’s charms for the purpose of exciting desire. Imaam ad-Dhahabi said in his book Kitaab al-Kabaa’ir (The Book of Great Sins): “Of the deeds woman is cursed for are displaying the ornaments which she is wearing, wearing perfume when going out, and wearing colourful clothes and silky short cloak.” The verb `tabarrraja’ includes all of these actions. `Tabarruj’ is so abhorrent that it is associated with shirk, fornication, stealing and other (major) sins.

Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar said: “A woman came to the Messenger of Allaah to give her pledge for Islaam. He said: “I accept your pledge that you will not associate partners with Allaah, nor steal, nor fornicate, nor kill your child, nor commit a sin between your arms and legs, nor wail over the dead, nor beautify and display yourself (tatabarraji) after the fashion of the pre-Islaamic days.” (Ahmad)

3. The outer garment must be thick and opaque so as to conceal the clothes worn.

Proper covering cannot be achieved by wearing tight or transparent apparel.

The Prophet said: “There will be in the last days of my ummah (nation), women who are dressed and undressed. Curse them: they are accursed.” (At-Tabarani)

Abu Hurairah related that the Prophet referred to: “… women who are naked even though they are wearing clothes, go astray and make others go astray, and they will not enter paradise nor smell its fragrance, although it can be smelt from afar.” (at-Tabarani)

The dressed and undressed women are those who wear transparent or very tight clothes, or clothes which are cut in such a way that they expose the body. Such clothes reveal more than they conceal. The Prophet said: “Belief and the sense of shame are tied together; if one is lost, the other is lost.” (Al-Hakim)

It should be noted that a woman should wear a loose over-garment for offering prayer. It should cover her whole body (as far as going out) and should be such that it conceals the shape of her arms and legs, as well as that of the rest of her body. 4. Muslim women are not to wear perfume in public.

Abu Musa narrated that the Prophet said: “Any woman who wears perfume and passes by some people who smell her perfume is like one who commits fornication.”

Abu Hurairah said that: “A woman passed by him smelling strongly of scent. He called to her, “O slave of the powerful. Are you going to the mosque?” She said that she was. He said: “Go back and wash it (the perfume) off. I heard the Messenger of Allaah say: “Any woman who goes to the mosque wearing perfume will not have her prayer accepted by Allaah; first she should go back home and have a bath (to wash the perfume off).””

It is inappropriate for a woman to wear perfume in the mosque, where people are attending to the worship of Allaah; how much more inappropriate is it that she should wear scent elsewhere, where people are more liable to distraction? Scent attracts attention to woman and may thereby stimulate sexual desires; this is improper in the marketplace and mosque.

5. The clothes of Muslim women should not resemble men’s clothes.

Abu Hurairah said that: “The Messenger of Allaah cursed the man who wears women’s clothes and the woman who wears men’s clothes.”

Ibn ‘Umar said that he heard the Messenger of Allaah say: “He is not of us who imitates women nor is he of us who imitates men.” (al-Hakim)

Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar reported that the Prophet said: “Three people will not enter paradise, and Allaah will not look to them on the Day of Judgement: the one who is disobedient to his parents, the woman who imitates men and the ad-Dayooth.” (Ahmad)

Ad-Dayooth[1] is the man who permits women for whom he is responsible (eg: mother, wife, sister etc.) to engage in illicit sexual relations, or to display their beauty to strange men, thereby stimulating their sexual desires.

FOOTNOTES:

1. {According to the Scholars of Hadeeth, there are various levels of Dayooth according to how negligent or careless he is with displaying the women under his care. For example, some do not care if strange men look at his wife, others don’t care even if strange men touch his wife, or kiss his wife, or ultimately sleep with his wife. Punishment is met out to such a person accordingly. Ed. Salaf-us-Salih Webpages} 6. The clothes of Muslims women should not resemble those of the disbelievers. In Surat al-Hadeed, ayah 16, we are told: “Has not the time come or those who believe to submit their hearts to Allaah’s reminder and to that which has been revealed of the truth, and not become as those who received the Scriptures before and for whom the term was prolonged so their hearts grew hard? And many of them are rebellious transgressors.”

Those who refuse to submit to Allaah’s commands are rebels against Him, and they are permitted to continue in their rebellion until their hearts become hard. The ayah and Hadeeth quoted above serve as a double warning to us: we must take care to heed Allaah’s commands, revealed to us through the Qur’aan and Sunnah of His Messenger , lest we suffer the fate of the recipients of previous revelations: we should also shun the way of life of any dis-believing people. If we adopt what is theirs, we partake also of the quality of their hearts. We pray to Allaah to safeguard us from that, lest we become like them.

Give the condition of the disbelievers’ hearts, it is not surprising to find that much of their clothing, particularly that of women, is unsuitable for Muslims. It is designed to be attractive in itself and to enhance and attract attention to women’s natural beauty.

6. The clothes of Muslims women should not be Ostentatious.

Ibn Umar reported that the Messenger of Allaah said: “He who dresses for ostentation By following the seven principles above, Insha-allaah, a woman will satisfy all the necessary requirements for proper Islaamic dress. it should be noted that some of these principles also apply to men’s dress, and clearly some would apply not only to what a woman wears in public, but also to what she wears in the privacy of her own home or in the homes of her relatives or her Muslim sisters.

There are however, some additional prohibitions regarding personal appearance of which our Muslim sisters should be aware. These prohibitions have to do with changes made to the appearance which are regarded as unacceptable alterations to Allaah’s creation, namely wearing wigs, plucking facial hair, filing teeth and getting tattoos.

Asmaa related that: “A woman asked the Prophet : “Messenger of Allaah, my daughter had smallpox, and as a result her hair fall out. She has recently been married. Can I get her a wig?” He answered: “Allaah has cursed the maker and the wearer of a wig.”

Abdullah ibn Masood : said that Allaah has cursed tattooers and those who are tattooed, and those women who have their teeth filed for beauty and those who have their hair plucked and thus alter Allaah’s creation. A woman asked him: “What is all this?” He replied: “Should I not curse the one whom Allaah’s Messenger has cursed? And it is in the Book of Allaah.” She said: “I read the Qur’aan from cover to cover but did not find that in it (ie. prohibition of tattooing, filling the teeth and plucking facial hair).” He said: “If you had read it thoroughly, you would have found it.” Allaah says: “Whatever Allaah’s Messenger : gives you, take it, and whatever he has forbidden, refrain from it.” (Muslim)

This Hadeeth is particularly significant for us, because it not only informs us of something which the Prophet found hateful, it also makes it perfectly clear that, in matters of religion, the commands of the Prophet are as binding on us as the commands of Allaah.

In obeying Allaah and His Messenger , we can hope to be of those who are successful, tasting of the fruits of paradise. If however, we should disobey Allaah and do things prohibited by him (and we seek refuge with Him from that), then we will taste His wrath: In the case of a woman who does something forbidden by Allaah or His Messenger , she and her husband or guardian who permitted her to do the forbidden thing are cursed by Allaah. We are advised in the Qur’aan to: “… ward off from yourselves and your families a fire whereof the fuel is men and stones…” (Lxvi:6)

The Prophet also said: “All of you are guardians. The man is a guardian of and is responsible for his womenfolk on the Day of Judgement.”

May Allaah open our hearts to the guidance, strengthen us that we may be obedient to Him and His Messenger and save us from the punishment of Hell fire.

Allaah is most Knowledgeable. And all praise belongs to Allaah, the Lord of the Worlds.

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AL-KHIMAR & AL-JILBAB

Author Unknown

Many people confuse between three issues regarding the Muslim woman’s dress. These three different issues are:

1- Concealing the parts of the body that the Islamic Law has determined i.e. “Al Awrah.”

2- What to wear in public.

3- The dazzling display i.e. “Al Tabarruj”.

The Judgement of “Al Awrah”

The Awrah that the Divine Law of Islam has clearly determined for the woman consists of the whole body except for her face and her hands. The neck is Awrah, the arms are Awrah and so are the legs, as well as the hair, even one single hair, ears and the profile are considered to be Awrah as well. Therefore, the Muslim woman should cover all her body except for her face and hands from strange men Muslims or not, for Allah (SWT) says: “They should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof.” [Al-Nur-31]

What must ordinarly appear is the face and the hands for this used to be the case with Muslim women whether during prayer or Hajj or in front of the Messenger of Allah (SAW) who kept silent about this matter which proves that he did not object. Another evidence comes from the Messenger of Allah (SAW) saying to Asma’a “O Asma’a, when a woman reaches puberty, no part of her body should be revealed except for this and this.” (pointing to the face and hands).

The Judgement on the Awrah necessitates that the colour of the skin should be totally concealed, be it black or white or red or brown. If the clothing is transparent and it shows the colour of the skin, it cannot be valid as a cover for the Awrah, and the Awrah is considered, therefore, to be revealed and not covered, for the Sharia’a has commanded the concealing of the skin by concealing its colour. And the evidence on this issue is derived from what Aysha (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated: Asma’a daughter of Abu Bakr entered the house of the Messenger of Allah (SAW) to visit her sister Aysha and she was wearing a transparent garment so the Prophet (SAW) turned his head and said :”O Asma’a! If a woman reaches puberty it is not right for her to reveal any part of her body except this and this. (pointing to the hands and face).”

So the transparence of the clothes was considered by the Prophet (SAW) to be revealing and invalid as cover for the Awrah. Another evidence comes from what Usama-Ibnu-Zaid narrated when the Prophet (SAW) asked him about what he did with the Kobtya (a thin dress), Usama said that he gave it to his wife to wear. Upon this the Prophet (SAW) said: tell her to wear some lining underneath the Kobtya, for I fear that her curves may otherwise still be seen.” This saying clearly demonstrates the Prophet’s concern about thin clothes which do not properly cover the woman’s curves.

The Judgement of What the Woman Should Wear

Islam has commanded the Muslim woman to dress as follows when outside her house:

1- Al-Khimar, (the veil or the head cover), this is what the scholars call the upper garment.

2- The Jilbab, (the wide dress), and this is what the scholars call the lower garment.

As far as the upper garment is concerned, Islam has commanded the Muslim woman to wear a “Khimar” (a veil or a head cover) if she is to go out. The Khimar should cover the whole head and the whole neck and the collar bone, and it should be suitable for going out shopping or likewise. The Muslim woman should also observe other recommendations and interdictions before stepping out, like asking the husband or parent for permission, not imitating in her dress men or unbelievers, not to apply make up before other than immediate family (Mahram), not to display her beauty before strangers, to cover the Awrah, and not to put on perfume outdoors. If the woman does not abide by these rules, she will be considered sinful for violating the Sharia’a.

As for the Jilbab or the lower garment, Islam has commanded the Muslim woman to wear over her dress a Jilbab or a cape or something similar that would cover the whole of her body down to the ankles. If she has not got a Jilbab, she can always borrow it from a neighbour or relative, otherwise it would not be right for her to go out without such a dress that covers her body and is suitable for outdoors. The Jilbab should not be transparent nor decorated nor dazzling nor perfumed nor similar to a man’s or unbeliever’s dress. If she does not stick to these rules she will be considered sinful for not abiding by the Sharia’a.

If the Muslim woman when she goes out, does not wear these two garments and does not take into consideration all the other rules like asking permission from the husband or a parent, not imitating men or unbelievers in her dress, not applying make-up around other than immediate family (Mahram), not to display her beauty, to always cover the Awrah and not to put on perfume outdoors, it would not be right for her to go out under any circumstances, for the obligation of wearing these two items should be observed outside at all times unless the woman is under duress and her life is in danger, or if she is obliged to preserve her life, for example if her house is on fire or if she is attacked by a man she can flee outside even half naked to preserve her honour. Preserving life or honour is compulsory in Sharia’a. In any other situation, the Muslim woman has no valid excuse but to abide by what the Sharia’a has prescribed. Evidence on this issue comes from the Holy Qur’an; Allah (SWT) says: “That they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear therof; they should draw their veil over their bosoms.” [Al-Nur – 31]

Allah (SWT) said on the lower garment: “O Prophet! Tell your wives and daughters and the believing women that they should cast their outer garments over their persons.”

It has been narrated on the authority of Umm Atiya that she said: The Messenger of Allah ordered us all women whether single or menstruating or housewives, to go out in the days of Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha, the menstruating women should not perform prayer but can join in the festivities. I said: O Messenger of Allah! What if one of us does not have a Jilbab? He said: She can borrow a Jilbab from her sister.

These events are clear evidence about what the Muslim woman should wear in public. Allah (SWT) has described in the two verses the dress that He commanded the Muslim woman to wear in public. The description of the dress is detailed, very clear and comprehensive. On the upper garment, He (SWT) says: “That they should draw their veils over their bosoms”. It means they are to draw the Khimar around the neck and bosom to hide any part that may appear from around the bosom, collar bone or neck.

As for the lower garment, Allah (SWT) says: That they should cast their outer garments over their persons. This means the women should draw a Jilbab or a cape or something similar, which would cover the whole body right down to the ankles. About the general state of the Jilbab, Allah (SWT) says: “That they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof.”

This means the Muslim women should not reveal any part of the body where beauty could be displayed like the ears and the arms and legs etc., except for what must ordinarily appear in public like the face and the hands. This was the case when these two verses descended i.e. during the life of the Prophet (SAW).

Supported by this detailed and clear evidence the dress a Muslim woman should wear in public should be easy to determine and define. What Umm Atiya narrated confirms and clarifies the obligation of wearing the Jilbab over the normal dress for any woman wanting to go out. When she asked the Messenger of Allah what to do in case a woman did not have a Jilbab and he replied that she should borrow one from her sister, this means she is not permitted to go out without it. The Jilbab should be wide and long, covering the whole body right down to the ankles.

It has been narrated on the authority of Ibni-Omar that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: He who trailed his garment out of pride, Allah would not look toward him on the Day of Reckoning. Upon this Umm Salma said: What should the women do with their dresses then? He said: They should lower about the length of a span (from the ankle). She said: In this case their legs will be revealed ! So he (SAW) said: They should lower an arm’s length and no more.

This evidently demonstrates that the Jilbab that a Muslim woman should wear over her dress while outdoors should be lowered all the way down until it covers the legs. This means that it is important to lower the Jilbab until the legs are covered in a way that would clearly show that it is a dress designed for outdoors.

The Judgement of Tabarruj (the dazzling display)

The issue of Tabarruj is separate from that of covering the Awrah and also separate from that of the dress that a women should wear in public. Tabarruj occurs when a women performs a dazzling display of her beauty and reveals it to strangers. Tabarruj is forbidden by a clear-cut evidence from the texts of Sharia’a. Allah (SWT) says: “Such elderly women as are past the prospect of marriage – there is no blame on them if they lay aside their outer garments, provided they make not a wanton display of their beauty.” [Al Nur 60]

We understand from the verse that Tabarruj is in any case completely forbidden. Allah (SWT) permitted such women to lay aside their outer garments, on the condition that they should not make a dazzling display of their beauty. If the elderly women are forbidden from Tabarruj, this means that other women are forbidden as well.

Allah (SWT) says: “And that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments.”

He (SAW) in this verse forbids one form of Tabbaruj in which women strike their feet in a way in which the ankle chain releases a sound which reveals their beauty. In the early days of Islam, women used to wear ankle chains and strike their feet to display their beauty and draw men’s attention. So the verse descended to put a stop to such dazzling display of beauty and to such kind of Tabarruj.

It has been narrated on the authority of Abu-Musa Al-Ash’ari that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Any woman who puts on perfume and walks past a group of people and they scent it, she is considered to be an adulterer”. It means like an adulterer in terms of sin. It has also been narrated on the authority of Abu-Hurayra that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: There are two types of people of Hell whom I have not yet seen. The first are people that have whips like the tail of oxen, with which they beat people. And the second are women who are naked inspite of being dressed, they will be led astray and will lead others astray and their heads will look like the humps of camels. These women will not enter the paradise, they will not even experience the faintest scent of it, even though the fragrance of the Paradise can be perceived from a great distance.”

These text bear clear evidence about the interdiction of Tabarruj. We ought to also to differenciate between Tabarruj and make up. Tabarruj is forbidden in Islam. However, applying make-up has not been forbidden by the Divine Law of Islam (Sharia’a) except in times of mourning over the loss of a husband, as it has been narrated on the authority of Umm Atyia who said that the Messenger of Allah said: The woman should not mourn any dead person more than three days, except for the husband whom she should mourn his death for four months and ten days, during which period she is not to wear colourful clothes except if the colours are not bright; she is not to put on Kohl, nor perfume, nor to cut or trim anything except the excessive curls and the long nails.”

And on the authority of Abi-Dawood the same Hadith includes the phrase “nor should she dye her hair”, and in the Nissa’i version “she should not comb her hair”.

This saying (Hadith) is an interdiction of applying make up when in mourning, and this means that make up is allowed otherwise.

To apply Kohl or Henna, or to wear earrings, chains or bracelets etc., is allowed. The Sharia’a has however forbidden some types of make up or beauty accessories like tattoos or adding artificial hair; for on the authority of Ibni-Omar, the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said:

“Allah curses the woman who adds artificial hair to her own and the one who adds it for her, and the tattooed woman and the tattoer woman.”

Although the Sharia’a allows the woman to apply make up and display her beauty to her Mahrams like her brother, father, husband and others, she is still forbidden from applying make-up outdoors except for the type of make up which is in any way allowed in Muslim society. Therefore, if a woman is about to go out, she should remember that she is not going out to display her beauty or to attract men’s attention but to attend to life’s necessities like shopping etc.

These are the Judgements of Awrah, and of the woman’s garments (Khimar and Jilbab), and also that of Tabarruj (dazzling display). If there were a dress which covers the woman’s Awrah, it does not mean that it is automatically allowed for her to wear it outdoors, because the Sharia’a has determined the type of garment that the woman is allowed to wear outdoors. Trousers for instance are not suitable for a woman to wear in public despite the fact that they perfectly cover the Awrah. If a woman goes out wearing trousers, then according to the texts of Sharia’a she is sinful, simply because she ignored one of her duties. That is why we are strongly advised not to confuse the issue of what the women should wear in public with that of covering the Awrah or with that of Tabarruj.

Trousers, even if they are not transparent, a woman should not wear them before strange men, Muslims or not, for when she wears them she is in fact displaying her beauty and this is Tabarruj, and Tabarruj is forbidden (haram).

So all items of wear like trousers and wigs and hats which the Sharia’a has not determined and deemed as fit to be worn in public are forbidden even if such items do cover the woman’s Awrah. This means that the Muslim woman should not wear items of clothing which would cover her Awrah but leaves her displaying her beauty or looking like men or looking like unbelievers.

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A NORTH AMERICAN HIJAB EXPERIENCE: “MY BODY IS MY OWN BUSINESS

Ms.Naheed Mustafa

MULTICULTURAL VOICES

A Canadian-born Muslim woman has taken to wearing the traditional hijab scarf. It tends to make people see her as either a terrorist or a symbol of oppressed womanhood, but she finds the experience liberating.

I often wonder whether people see me as a radical, fundamentalist Muslim terrorist packing an AK-47 assault rifle inside my jean jacket. Or may be they see me as the poster girl for oppressed womanhood everywhere. I’m not sure which it is.

I get the whole gamut of strange looks, stares, and covert glances. You see, I wear the hijab, a scarf that covers my head, neck, and throat. I do this because I am a Muslim woman who believes her body is her own private concern.

Young Muslim women are reclaiming the hijab, reinterpreting it in light of its original purpose — to give back to women ultimate control of their own bodies.

The Qur’an teaches us that men and women are equal, that individuals should not be judged according to gender, beauty, wealth, or privilege. The only thing that makes one person better than another is her or his character.

Nonetheless, people have a difficult time relating to me. After all, I’m young, Canadian born and raised, university-educated — why would I do this to myself, they ask.

Strangers speak to me in loud, slow English and often appear to be playing charades. They politely inquire how I like living in Canada and whether or not the cold bothers me. If I’m in the right mood, it can be very amusing.

But, why would I, a woman with all the advantages of a North American upbringing, suddenly, at 21, want to cover myself so that with the hijab and the other clothes I choose to wear, only my face and hands show?

Because it gives me freedom.

WOMEN are taught from early childhood that their worth is proportional to their attractiveness. We feel compelled to pursue abstract notions of beauty, half realizing that such a pursuit is futile.

When women reject this form of oppression, they face ridicule and contempt. Whether it’s women who refuse to wear makeup or to shave their legs, or to expose their bodies, society, both men and women, have trouble dealing with them.

In the Western world, the hijab has come to symbolize either forced silence or radical, unconscionable militancy. Actually, it’s neither. It is simply a woman’s assertion that judgment of her physical person is to play no role whatsoever in social interaction.

Wearing the hijab has given me freedom from constant attention to my physical self. Because my appearance is not subjected to public scrutiny, my beauty, or perhaps lack of it, has been removed from the realm of what can legitimately be discussed.

No one knows whether my hair looks as if I just stepped out of a salon, whether or not I can pinch an inch, or even if I have unsightly stretch marks. And because no one knows, no one cares.

Feeling that one has to meet the impossible male standards of beauty is tiring and often humiliating. I should know, I spent my entire teen-age years trying to do it. It was a borderline bulimic and spent a lot of money I didn’t have on potions and lotions in hopes of becoming the next Cindy Crawford.

The definition of beauty is ever-changing; waifish is good, waifish is bad, athletic is good — sorry, athletic is bad. Narrow hips? Great. Narrow hips? Too bad.

Women are not going to achieve equality with the right to bear their breasts in public, as some people would like to have you believe. That would only make us party to our own objectification. True equality will be had only when women don’t need to display themselves to get attention and won’t need to defend their decision to keep their bodies to themselves.

Naheed Mustafa graduated from the University of Toronto in 1992 with an honours degree in political and history. She is currently studying journalism at Ryerson Polytechnic University .

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YOU DON’T HAVE TO WEAR THAT IN CANADA: THE HIJAB EXPERIENCE OF CANADIAN MUSLIM WOMEN

By Katherine Bullock, a revert to Islam since 1994, was a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto when this article was published.

Source: The March/April 1998 issue of Islamic Horizons magazine

The furor over the expulsion in 1995 of Quebec high school students who refused to remove their head scarves, with some people declaring the hijab might not be considered proper “Canadian” dress, demonstrates that the West has not yet transcended the negative stereotype of the oppressed, veiled Muslim woman which has generated during the period of Western colonization of the Middle East.

Indeed Muslim women in the West are still discriminated against based upon these myths. The aim of this paper is to bring the perspective of some Muslim women who cover willingly into the debate over hijab.

THEY SAY, ‘YOU DON’T HAVE TO WEAR THAT IN CANADA’

Muslim women in Hijab are regularly told by Canadians “This is Canada. You’re free here. You don’t have to wear that thing on you head.”

Nur, a university student, discovered one day that this view of Hijab can lead people to be quite hostile. At university one day, a woman angrily approached her, asking why Nur was dressed like that, bringing herself so much attention, and bringing “backwardness” to Canada, when feminists had worked so hard for the cause of women for the last twenty years.

THE HIJAB IS A COMMANDMENT FROM ALLAH

When asked to explain why they covered, the women I interviewed said they believed that in the Quran Allah commanded women to cover their hair, and that Prophetic statements backed that up. For them, Hijab symbolizes, not oppression or terrorism, as it does in mainstream Western discourse, but “purity,” “modesty,” a “woman’s Islamic identity,” and “obedience, or submission to God and a testament that you’re Muslim.” Halima, a convert to Islam, adds that Hijab symbolizes “the woman’s power to take back her own dignity and her own sexuality.”

HIJAB: NOT THE RESULT OF AN ‘ANTI-WOMAN’ INTERPRETATION

The women I interviewed are aware of feminist arguments that they are being duped by an anti-woman interpretation of the Quran. However, they reject this suggestion, and in so doing demonstrate they do not follow Quranic verses blindly.

They have considered various interpretations of the Quran, and chosen that which made most sense to them. They are not, as conventional wisdom in the West suggests, duped women following the dictates of men.

They all believed that the Quranic verse asking women to cover their hair is straightforward. Nadia captures the women’s position well: “I have to say that when I read the Ayah (verse) that says take your headdress and put it over your bosom (Quran 4:30-31), it’s pretty clear to me that there is an assumption that you’re wearing a head dress, and that’s part of the Islamic dress.

I mean why didn’t He [Allah] just say ‘wear a high neck collar?’ {laughs} You know, if it was your bosom that was the important thing then why wasn’t there more stress on, um, you know put a button in the top of your shirt, or something, I dunno. Or make sure your bosom is covered, or um, that kind of thing.”

Raneem, a convert to Islam, added even if Hijab was just a cultural thing, “it’s a good thing to do.”

WHY DO MUSLIM WOMEN WEAR HIJAB AND NOT THE MEN?

Westerners are often puzzled to see Muslim women covering their bodies more than Muslim men do, and see that as a proof of the woman’s inferior status. Islam lays out a dress code for both male and female believers, but the requirements for covering are different: a man is to cover from navel to knee, and wear opaque, loose clothing (tight jeans are out of the question); women cover more, everything but face and hands.

All of the women I interviewed believe that these differences are due to inherent differences between men and women. They say that men are more easily turned on sexually than are women. The point to covering is not that sexual attraction is bad, only that it should be expressed between a husband and wife inside the privacy of the home. A public space free of sexual tensions is seen as a more harmonious and peaceful place for human beings, men and women, to interact, do business, and build a healthy civilization.

EVEN MANY NON-MUSLIM MEN SEEM TO RESPECT HIJAB

These women see Hijab as a benefit to society, as a protection for women, and as a source of inner peace. Several women, especially converts who started covering in their twenties, felt men, even non-Muslim men, approached them more respectfully, did not try to flirt with them or make “leering” comments, and treated them as ‘persons’ not ‘sex-objects.’ Halima also pointed out that male-female interactions were based on more than just the clothes: Hijab is a mode of decorous behavior as well, “when you’re covered, you’re not going to be a flirtatious person.”

WOMEN SHOULD CARE HOW THEIR DRESS AFFECTS MEN

My interviewees reject the feminist argument that women should not care how their dress affects men. They reply that Muslim women and men are brothers and sisters in faith, and find nothing wrong in helping men practice their faith better. As Zainab, a convert to Islam, said: “women have been exploited so much, and men make such silly fools of themselves over women, that I really think it’s a good thing for the men, that women wear Hijab. Why encourage jealousy or envy or anything like that? Why encourage the negative emotions?”

MALE-FEMALE DIFFERENCES NOT A SIGN OF INEQUALITY

Many feminists argue that to believe in male-female differences is to accede to women’s oppression, because it is these differences which have been used to stop women from realizing their potentials. The Muslim women in the survey do not agree that believing in male-female differences is to believe women and men are unequal. They all believed that men and women are different, and that women and men are equal in Islam. For these women, the principal definition of equality is how human beings are in relation to Allah. The Quran unequivocally states that men and women are equal in the eyes of Allah. Men and women were created from a single soul, and are both the trustees of Allah on earth (Quran 2:30), individually responsible and accountable for their actions. However, these women do not believe that male-female differences include traditional western notions of men being more rational or intelligent than women. In addition, the women were not of the opinion that a woman’s childbearing nature meant she could not be in the work force, and nor did they believe that a man’s duty to support his family financially meant that he should not do household chores. The women referred back to the Sunnah of the Prophet (saws), who used to mend his clothes, sweep his house, and perform other chores.

The view that men and women have inherent differences is a source of the conflicting understanding of women’s position in Islam between the West and my interviewees.

EQUALITY BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN IS NOT SAMENESS

They argue that equality does not have to mean sameness, and criticize western presumptions that if men and women are not doing something in an identical manner they must be unequal. Nor do the women believe that Hijab hinders their freedom, rather Hijab is seen as a device to facilitate Muslim women’s movements outside the home.

Nadia expresses the sentiment well: “I kinda see [Hijab] the opposite way [from being a sign of constraint]. I kinda think that if you’ve covered yourself Islamically, then there wouldn’t be a reason for you to stay home, I mean that was the whole point, that you’ve removed the attention to yourself, so now you’re out there to do your business, based on who you are, I mean what you have to say and what you’re going to contribute and not what you look like, and that kind of thing.”

The women argue that the idea that Hijab means women should not go outside is contradicted by the Sunnah of the Prophet: during his lifetime women were very actively involved in the community, in business, in fighting wars, in scholarship and so on.

HIJAB GIVES WOMEN SELF-ESTEEM

An aspect of Hijab that came through strongly in the interviews was how wearing Hijab gives these women sources of inner strength and a high level of confidence and self-esteem. For example, men and women learn from an early age that women (all of them) are beautiful, and this is the reason they cover. That message is good for women’s self-esteem, as well as for the way men think about women. The message compares favorable to that of the West where we see anorexia and bulimia on the increase as young women attempt to reach an unattainable ideal of female beauty.

HIJAB GIVES WOMEN INNER PEACE

Many women stressed how comfortable they felt wearing Hijab, how it made them feel good about themselves, and brought them a feeling of inner “peace.”

Ellen, a convert to Islam, stresses that in Hijab she feels “like I am doing something to please Allah, you know….it makes you feel good about yourself. You feel different in a good way, because you’re not exposing yourself and you know, you’re not exposed to many things like you would be if you’re not covering.”

DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN WHO WEAR HIJAB

Muslim women in the West who cover suffer daily indignities from the people around them because of the way they dress. The Western image that they are oppressed, or represent a terrorist religion makes it difficult for them to be accepted easily by the Canadian community. Because Islam is not well understood in the West, some converts also have problems with their families, friends and colleagues about becoming Muslim and about wearing Hijab. Other women face opposition from their own (Muslim) families as well, in their decision to cover. This is because in many Muslim countries, the West has been seen as the model to imitate in order to ‘progress,’ and they tried to shed Islam and all that was associated with it.

Hijab is associated with something ‘backward,’ ‘low-class’ people do, or as something only old women do. Many see Hijab as ugly and as reducing the chances for a young woman to get married. Muslims who grow up in Canada often object to Hijab, taking on the Western perception of the meaning of Hijab. Several of the women (born Muslim) in this study had battled families in order to cover.

SOME POSITIVE REACTIONS TO HIJAB

And yet, many of the women I interviewed stressed that overall they do not get too many hostile reactions and some of them also experience positive reactions from non-Muslims. They think that Toronto (Canada) is so multicultural that people are used to seeing all different kinds of dress.

BRINGING UP THE HIJAB QUESTION WHEN IT’S NOT RELEVANT

Sometimes Muslim women have problems with people in situations where their identity is really irrelevant to the situation at hand. Zainab has been a patient in a hospital and had her doctor tell her she should not have embraced Islam because she became a “second class citizen.” He asked her “don’t you know how badly the women are treated in Islam?”

Rania, who is a doctor, finds sometimes patients will interrupt their visit to her to ask her “Where is she from?” Or why is she “dressed like that?” Rania said that she finds that “there’s the time to explain and then there’s the time to just give a brief answer and go on to other things…I mean you may look like a Muslim, but you have a job to do, and let’s talk about why you’re here, and I’m the doctor and you’re the patient okay?”

THE PRESSURE TO ‘LOOK CANADIAN’

Given these kinds of negative reactions to Hijab, it is not surprising that many Muslims try to hide their Islamic identity. The pressure for Muslims to assimilate to the ways of the West is great. Safiyah is under such pressure from her husband to “look Canadian”. He did not seem to mind that she wore Hijab in Algeria, but in their first six months in Canada, so many people stared at them, that he felt uncomfortable with her in Hijab. Although the staring didn’t bother Safiyah, her husband has successfully pressured her to stop covering. The women I interviewed referred to Canada as a multicultural and multi faith society in a positive way, and appreciate the liberty and protection Canadian law gave them to practice their religion as any other group can. They thought as does Halima: “if Canada boasts you can practice your religious freedom of thought and beliefs, if a woman believes she should wear her Hijab why shouldn’t she? She’s not hurting anybody, I mean if people can go down Yonge street [a popular Toronto haunt] almost naked, why should her putting a scarf on her head bother people, even for that matter wearing a veil on face, why should that upset somebody?”

HIJAB IS A RESPECTABLE THING

Muslim women want non-Muslims to think that Hijab is a respectable thing, not degrading or “oppressive.” They like to be seen just as an ordinary person who deserves to be respected. Raneem said, “Just take me as I am you know, like they should accept me for who I am, not for the way I look and that goes for everybody.” Halima was clear in her views. She said, “I would like them to respect our choice and not exclude women who wear Hijab from certain things [like] in Quebec […] I mean this is truly oppression, they say the woman is oppressed because she’s wearing the Hijab, but the true oppression is preventing somebody from going to school because they have a scarf on their head, the larger issue is we’d like everybody to know about Islam so more people would accept it.”

Sadia said her Hijab should tell others, “That I’m a Muslim, so I want them to know that, I’m doing this because I’m obeying Allah, and it’s a free country and I can do what I want. And that I don’t’ care if I’m accepted by them or not, I’m going to do it anyway.”

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DONNING THE HIJAB: HOW NOT TO BE A SEX OBJECT

By Samuel Cole

Sometime in 1987, my sister, an ardent feminist with a degree in civil engineering, converted to Islam. She now lives in Lahore, Pakistan where she is a full-time Muslim wife and mother of five-soon to be six. As is required by her adopted Qur’an, she stops all activities to pray five times each day; and when she goes out in public she covers herself from head to toe in the hijab.

The term “hijab” comes from the Arabic word “hijaba,” which means to hide from view. It is the long dress and veil worn by many Muslim women with the function of distinguishing them from non-Muslims, reminding them of their Islamic faith, and concealing them from the public view of males. In many of the more traditional Muslim societies women tend to remain outside the public sphere of men, devoting themselves to child rearing and taking care of the home. In part because of this apparent restriction from the public realm, many Americans see the Muslim hijab as a symbol of female oppression.

Despite this perception, Islam is growing rapidly in America-and female converts outnumber males four to one. Indeed, according to my sister, the hijab is not a symbol of oppression, but is instead a symbol of liberation. Naheed Mustafe, a Canadian woman who converted to Islam, writes that “young Muslim women are reclaiming the hijab…to give back to women the ultimate control over their bodies.” Yet to most Americans this is a strange assertion. How can a law that restricts a woman’s dress be liberating?

To Muslims the answer is easy. The Islamic tradition of hijab frees women from being perceived primarily as sexual objects. “[Non-Muslim] women are taught from early childhood that their worth is proportional to their attractiveness,” writes Mustafe. It’s not hard to understand this: leafing through the ads of any woman’s magazine, even a male reader can sense the incredible pressure on women to conform to some ever-changing and abstract image of female beauty. Is it any wonder that American women spend billions of dollars on hair and beauty products; or that they subject themselves to plastic surgery, drugs, and diets; or that in despair they fall into neurotic cycles of anorexia and bulimia? It is the pursuit of a mirage-one that degrades and sickens the pursuers.

The hijab liberates a Muslim woman from this insidious oppression. She need not concern herself with her hair or makeup before she goes out. Underneath her hijab she can remain if she so wishes, simply herself: unshaved, unpainted, unplucked, or even a little overweight. All this without having to worry about what others think of her. The tradition of hijab, writes Mustafe, is “simply a woman’s assertion that judgment of her physical person is to play no role whatsoever in social interaction.”

Since a Muslim woman is invisible behind her veil, she can be appreciated only for her intellectual qualities. Thus the importance of her physical appearance becomes subordinate to her intelligence and personality. But the sacrifice of health (and self esteem) in a futile pursuit of physical attractiveness is not the worst effect of sexual objectification. Societies that view women as sexual objects have a horrendous rate of violence toward women. In the United States, one out of every four women will be sexually assaulted at some time in her life. And even in relatively non-violent Canada, one woman is assaulted every six minutes. Women in our society live with the awareness that they must always be cautious of dark alleys and fearful of strangers. This is true oppression, type that stems directly from the perception of women as sexual objects.

In the few societies that closely adhere to the Qur’an-and many repressive Islamic regimes do not-this sort of violence toward women is quite low. In 1990 the number of reported rapes in Egypt, a relatively westernized Islamic society with a secular government, was only 17 (Israel reported 369 rapes that same year). And my sister has told me that as a Muslim woman, she feels a respect and security on the streets of Pakistan that she had never felt in 30 years of living in America. It does seem hard to ignore the fact that many Islamic women enjoy a level of protection and respect that is unheard of in the West. In some countries this is no doubt in part the result of Islamic law that imposes draconian punishment on offenders. But extreme enforcement of religious law is not practiced in moderate Islamic countries such as Egypt or Pakistan; and there it seems Muslim tradition alone protects the dignity of women.

Nevertheless, Islam and its tradition of hijab can seem an extreme solution to the sexual objectification of women. Can’t society simply be changed through more education? Or perhaps through encouraging men to practice some self-restraint? In fact this has been a goal of the women’s movement for years. But although there has been some success at increasing career and educational opportunities for women, the oppression of women continues unabated. One only needs to peruse the horror section of the local video store to see that the most common victims of violence portrayed in popular films are women. And not surprisingly statistics in the United States point to more violence directed at women, not less.

The problem in western society, as some Muslim writers see it, is that predominately Judeo-Christian cultures have no convention of equality between men and women. Instead, these traditions hold Eve to be ultimately responsible for original sin and the downfall of man. The story in Genesis is a cornerstone in the foundation of our culture. As such, it has institutionalized an essentially inferior status for women. This is not so in the tradition of Islam: Eve is not blamed for tempting Adam. Together they sinned, together they are guilty, and together they both begged for (and received) forgiveness from God. It is true that Islam holds women and men to be different in the most integral qualities. But unlike Judeo-Christian doctrine, the Qu’ran puts women and men on equal footing before God and thus as equally, and innately, valuable to society.

Unfortunately, many of us see Islam as a religion of suicidal bombers or of bearded zealots intent on returning us all to a cultural stone-age. But this image is perhaps unfair. All religions have their own fair proportion of crazies. Islam, however, is the largest and fastest growing of the world’s monotheistic religions, and has (quite properly) more than most.

Still, the Muslims have something to offer for women. Pierre Craibites (an American judge) writes: “Muhammad, 1300 years ago, assured to the mothers, wives and daughters of Islam a rank and dignity [still] not generally assured to women by the laws of the West.”

The conversion of my sister to Islam was a shock, and then a mystery, to me for many years. It did not seem possible for an intelligent feminist woman to, without coercion, suddenly chuck her ideals and embrace the religion of the misogynist Ayatollahs. Within my family the subject is beyond the bounds of rational discussion, and it is only from my sister’s very recent letters that I may have finally acquired an understanding of her unique brand of feminism: You see, in adopting Islam she has rejected a culture that assigns value to a person based on a masculine ideal of success. In exchange she has adopted a culture where she is valued as an equal…for no other reason than that she is a woman.

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HIJAAB-THE UNVEILED MYSTERY

By Saulat Pervez

And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms, and not to reveal their adornment. And turn unto God together, O believers, in order that ye may succeed. (Qur’an, An-Nur 24:31)

That will be better, so that (Muslim woman) may be recognized and not annoyed. God is ever Forgiving, Merciful. (Qur’an, Al-Ahzab-33: 59)

American Muslim women today are rediscovering the pristine Islam as revealed by Allah, God, to the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, more than 1,400 years ago but without any of the contradictions of ancestral culture. Consequently they are essentially engaging in a life-long exercise of rediscovering their own selves – what it means to be a human, a Muslim, and more so, a Muslim woman. Wearing the Divinely Mandated hijab, the veil or head covering, as a part of their everyday dresses is among the first steps toward this rediscovery. In a society which shamelessly publicly exposes a woman’s body and intimate requirements where nudity somehow symbolizes the expression of a woman’s freedom and where the most lustful desires of men are fulfilled unchecked – it is little wonder such an introspection leads many Muslim women to the decision to wear hijab.

However, generalizations about Islam and Muslims are replete in today’s media and, by extension, in the minds of many Americans who shape their image of the world through the media. Veiled Muslim women are typically unfairly stigmatized. They are regarded on the one hand as suppressed and oppressed, and on the other, as fanatics and fundamentalists. Both depictions are grossly wrong and imprecise. Such portrayals not only misrepresent these women’s strong feelings towards hijab, but also fail to acknowledge their courage and the resulting identity hijab lends to them. Amongst such misconceptions is also the belief that any Muslim woman who wears hijab is forced to do so. Nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, the final determination to wear hijab is often not easily reached. Days of meditation, an inevitable fear of consequences and reactions, and ultimately, plenty of courage weigh heavily in reaching the decision. Wearing hijab is a very personal and independent decision, coming from appreciating the wisdom underlying Allah’s command and a sincere wish to please Him.

“I believe hijab is pleasing to Allah, or I wouldn’t wear it. I believe there is something deep down beautiful and dignified about it. It has brought some beautiful and joyous dimension to my life that always amaze me,” said Mohja Kahf, assistant professor of English and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, in an internet posting.

“To me hijab is a gift from Allah. It gives me the opportunity to become closer to Allah. Also quite importantly, (it provides me) the chance to stand and be recognized as a Muslim,” Fariha Khan, 18, of Rockville, Maryland, said. However, with this recognition comes tremendous responsibility as highly visible representatives of Islam and Muslims. Anywhere covered sisters go, Muslims and non-Muslims alike recognize them as followers of Islam. In a land where misinformation about Islam and Muslims abounds, Muslim sisters have the opportunity to portray Islam in its true light. But the greatest responsibility related to hijab is the understanding that there is more to hijab than just the scarf; the internalized modesty really matters. This internal moral system gives meaning to the external scarf. This can be perceived from the overall demeanor of any Muslim woman – how she acts, dresses, speaks, and so on. Only when the internalized modesty manifests itself through the external hijab can sisters represent Muslims according to the beautiful example set by the Prophet, saws, and followed by his companions.

“Hijab by itself is just a piece of cloth, at some level. I do not think we should take (it) as an exclusive marker of a woman’s moral worth or level of faith. It is the surrounding context – the etiquette, the morals – which make it anything” Kahf said.

Saba M. Baig, 21, is a recent graduate of Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey. She was 17 when she seriously started wearing hijab, and feels she is still in the process of learning internal hijab. “My biggest realization was that hijab was not just about wearing a scarf on my head, but more of a (veil) on my heart,” said Baig. “Hijab is more than an external covering. That’s the easy part of it all. It has a lot (more) to do with modesty and just the way you present yourself.”

“In this life, I couldn’t think of anything better than being a Muslim. Wearing hijab signifies it and reminds me of it. Hijab is important to me and it means everything to me when I wear it,” Khan said.

“Unfortunately, it also has its down side: you get discriminated against, treated as though you are oppressed. I wear it for (Allah), and because I want to. Period,” said Imaan, a convert to Islam, currently studying in Australia.

Yet, the general society, to some extent defines the image of hijab. “The surrounding context can make it oppressive,” explained Kahf. “For example, in social contexts where observing hijab includes (the practice) of separating women from the resources of society including education, mosques, sources of religious and spiritual guidance, economic livelihood, etc., (hijab) develops oppressive qualities. Or when hijab is literally imposed through punitive sanctions rather than encouraged benignly, this distorts the underlying beauty of hijab and turns it into something ugly. “I believe hijab is pleasing to Allah, or I wouldn’t wear it. I believe there is something deep down beautiful and dignified about it. It has brought some beautiful and joyous dimension to my life that always amazes me.”

“(At the same time,) the surrounding context can make it liberating, as we in the United States often experience. For many of us, in a society which imposes degrees of sexualized nakedness on women, wearing hijab has been a liberating experience. To us hijab has meant non-conformism to unjust systems of thought. We have experienced social sanctions for wearing it, and these experiences are seared in our memories, rather than experiences of being forced to wear it,” Kahf concluded.

For many women hijab is a constant reminder that unlike other women they should not have to design their lives and bodies for men. “Before I started covering, I thought of myself based on what others thought of me. I see that too often in girls, their happiness depends on how others view them, especially men. Ever since, my opinion of myself has changed so much; I have gained (a lot of) self-respect. I have realized whether others may think of me as beautiful is not what matters. How beautiful I think of myself and knowing that Allah finds me beautiful makes me feel beautiful,” said Baig softly, her eyes glowing.

Furthermore, modest clothing and hijab are precautions to avoid any social violations. Contrary to popular belief, this is not limited to women only. Preceding the verse in the Quran about women lowering their gaze comes the following verse, “Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and be modest. That is purer for them. Lo! Allah is Aware of what they do.” (24:30). In addition, on the authority of Sahl ibn Sa’d, may Allah be pleased with him, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “Whoever can guarantee (the chastity of) what is between his two jaw-bones (the tongue) and what is between his two legs (the private parts), I guarantee Paradise for him.” (Bukhari).

Hijab is not worn for men, to keep their illicit desires in check. Rather, Muslim women wear it for God and their own selves. Islam is a religion of moderation, of balance between extremes. Therefore, it does not expect women alone to uphold the society’s morality and uprightness. Rather, Islam asks men and women to mutually strive to create a healthy social environment where children may grow with positive, beautiful, constructive and practical values and concepts. Men are equally required to be modest and to conduct themselves responsibly in every sphere of their lives. In fact, in this society, enough emphasis cannot be placed on the necessity for men to keep their gaze lowered, as a concerned brother put it. “Think about it — what has the potential to cause more damage a sister otherwise modestly dressed but no scarf, or a brother who goes about gawking in the streets, (or) on campus? I cannot exactly quantify it, but guess the latter,” he said.

Islam asks men and women to mutually strive to create a healthy social environment where children may grow with positive, beautiful, constructive, and practical values and concepts. According to Jabir ibn Abdullah, when he asked the Prophet, peace be upon him, about a man’s gaze falling inadvertently on a strange woman, the Prophet replied, “Turn your eyes away.” (Muslim) In another tradition, the Prophet, on whom be peace, chided Ali for looking again at a woman – he said, the second glance is from Shaitan. The concept of modesty and hijab in Islam is holistic, and encompasses both men and women. The ultimate goal is to maintain societal stability and to please God. Since Muslim women are more conspicuous because of their appearance, it is easier for people to associate them with the warped images they see in the print and broadcast media. Hence, stereotypes are perpetuated and often sisters seem “mysterious” to those not acquainted with Muslim women who dress according to Divine instructions. This aura of “mystery” cannot be removed until their lifestyles, beliefs and thought-systems are genuinely explored. And, frankly, this cannot be achieved until one is not afraid to respectfully approach Muslim women – or any Muslim for that matter. So, the next time you see a Muslim, stop and talk to him or her – you’ll feel, God-Willing, as if you’re entering a different world, the world of Islam: full of humility, piety, and of course, modesty!

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AHADITH ON HIJAB

BUKHARI

Volume 1, Book 10, Number 552 Narrated ‘Aisha: The believing women covered with their veiling sheets used to attend the Fajr prayer with Allah’s Apostle, and after finishing the prayer they would return to their home and nobody could recognize them because of darkness.

Volume 1, Book 6, Number 321 Narrated Aiyub: Hafsa said, ‘We used to forbid our young women to go out for the two ‘Id prayers. A woman came and stayed at the palace of Bani Khalaf and she narrated about her sister whose husband took part in twelve holy battles along with the Prophet and her sister was with her husband in six (out of these twelve). She (the woman’s sister) said, “We used to treat the wounded, look after the patients and once I asked the Prophet, ‘Is there any harm for any of us to stay at home if she doesn’t have a veil?’ He said, ‘She should cover herself with the veil of her companion and should participate in the good deeds and in the religious gathering of the Muslims.’ When Um ‘Atiya came I asked her whether she had heard it from the Prophet. She replied, “Yes. May my father be sacrificed for him (the Prophet)! (Whenever she mentioned the Prophet she used to say, ‘May my father be sacrificed for him) I have heard the Prophet saying, ‘The unmarried young virgins and the mature girl who stay often screened or the young unmarried virgins who often stay screened and the menstruating women should come out and participate in the good deeds as well as the religious gathering of the faithful believers but the menstruating women should keep away from the Musalla (praying place).’ ” Hafsa asked Um ‘Atiya surprisingly, “Do you say the menstruating women?” She replied, “Doesn’t a menstruating woman attend ‘Arafat (Hajj) and such and such (other deeds)?”

Volume 1, Book 8, Number 347 Narrated Um ‘Atiya: We were ordered to bring out our menstruating women and veiled women in the religious gatherings and invocation of Muslims on the two ‘Id festivals. These menstruating women were to keep away from their Musalla. A woman asked, “O Allah’s Apostle ‘ What about one who does not have a veil?” He said, “Let her share the veil of her companion.”

Volume 2, Book 15, Number 96 Narrated Aiyub: Hafsa bint Sirin said, “On Id we used to forbid our girls to go out for ‘Id prayer. A lady came and stayed at the palace of Bani Khalaf and I went to her. She said, ‘The husband of my sister took part in twelve holy battles along with the Prophet and my sister was with her husband in six of them. My sister said that they used to nurse the sick and treat the wounded. Once she asked, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! If a woman has no veil, is there any harm if she does not come out (on ‘Id day)?’ The Prophet said, ‘Her companion should let her share her veil with her, and the women should participate in the good deeds and in the religious gatherings of the believers.’ ” Hafsa added, “When Um-‘Atiya came, I went to her and asked her, ‘Did you hear anything about so-and-so?’ Um-‘Atlya said, ‘Yes, let my father be sacrificed for the Prophet (p.b.u.h). (And whenever she mentioned the name of the Prophet she always used to say, ‘Let my father be’ sacrificed for him). He said, ‘Virgin mature girls staying often screened (or said, ‘Mature girls and virgins staying often screened–Aiyub is not sure as which was right) and menstruating women should come out (on the ‘Id day). But the menstruating women should keep away from the Musalla. And all the women should participate in the good deeds and in the religious gatherings of the believers’.” Hafsa said, “On that I said to Um-‘Atiya, ‘Also those who are menstruating?’ ” Um-‘Atiya replied, “Yes. Do they not present themselves at ‘Arafat and elsewhere?”.

Volume 2, Book 26, Number 714 Narrated Hafsa: (On ‘Id) We used to forbid our virgins to go out (for ‘Id prayer). A lady came and stayed at the Palace of Bani Khalaf. She mentioned that her sister was married to one of the companions of Allah’s Apostle who participated in twelve Ghazawats along with Allah’s Apostle and her sister was with him in six of them. She said, “We used to dress the wounded and look after the patients.” She (her sister) asked Allah’s Apostle , “Is there any harm for a woman to stay at home if she doesn’t have a veil?” He said, “She should cover herself with the veil of her companion and she should take part in the good deeds and in the religious gatherings of the believers.” When Um ‘Atiyya came, I asked her. “Did you hear anything about that?” Um ‘Atiyya said, “Bi Abi” and she never mentioned the name of Allah’s Apostle without saying “Bi Abi” (i.e. ‘Let my father be sacrificed for you’). We asked her, “Have you heard Allah’s Apostle saying so and so (about women)?” She replied in the affirmative and said, “Let my father be sacrificed for him. He told us that unmarried mature virgins who stay often screened or unmarried young virgins and mature girls who stay often screened should come out and take part in the good deeds and in the religious gatherings of the believers. But the menstruating women should keep away from the Musalla (praying place).” I asked her, “The menstruating women?” She replied, “Don’t they present themselves at ‘Arafat and at such and such places?”

Volume 3, Book 46, Number 710 Narrated ‘Aisha: Utba bin Abi Waqqas authorized his brother Sad bin Abi Waqqas to take the son of the slave-girl of Zam’a into his custody, telling him that the boy was his own (illegal) son. When Allah’s Apostle went (to Mecca) at the time of the Conquest, Sad took the son of the slavegirl of Zam’a to Allah’s Apostle and also brought ‘Abu bin Zam’a with him and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! This is the son of my brother ‘Utba who authorized me to take him into my custody.” ‘Abu bin Zam’a said, “O Allah’s Apostle! He is my brother, the son of Zam’a’ slave-girl and he was born on his bed.” Allah’s Apostle looked at the son of the slave-girl of Zam’a and noticed much resemblance (to ‘Utba). Allah’s Apostle said, “It is for you, O ‘Abu bin Zam’a as he was born on the bed of your father.” Allah’s Apostle then told Sauda bint Zam’a to observe veil in the presence of the boy as he noticed the boy’s resemblance to ‘Utba and Sauda was the wife of the Prophet .

Volume 3, Book 48, Number 812 Narrated Aisha: Aflah asked the permission to visit me but I did not allow him. He said, “Do you veil yourself before me although I am your uncle?” ‘Aisha said, “How is that?” Aflah replied, “You were suckled by my brother’s wife with my brother’s milk.” I asked Allah’s Apostle about it, and he said, “Allah is right, so permit him to visit you.”

Volume 3, Book 48, Number 829 Narrated Aisha: (the wife of the Prophet) “Whenever Allah’s Apostle intended to go on a journey, he would draw lots amongst his wives and would take with him the one upon whom the lot fell. During a Ghazwa of his, he drew lots amongst us and the lot fell upon me, and I proceeded with him after Allah had decreed the use of the veil by women. I was carried in a Howdah (on the camel) and dismounted while still in it. When Allah’s Apostle was through with his Ghazwa and returned home, and we approached the city of Medina, Allah’s Apostle ordered us to proceed at night. When the order of setting off was given, I walked till I was past the army to answer the call of nature. After finishing I returned (to the camp) to depart (with the others) and suddenly realized that my necklace over my chest was missing. So, I returned to look for it and was delayed because of that. The people who used to carry me on the camel, came to my Howdah and put it on the back of the camel, thinking that I was in it, as, at that time, women were light in weight, and thin and lean, and did not use to eat much. So, those people did not feel the difference in the heaviness of the Howdah while lifting it, and they put it over the camel. At that time I was a young lady. They set the camel moving and proceeded on. I found my necklace after the army had gone, and came to their camp to find nobody. So, I went to the place where I used to stay, thinking that they would discover my absence and come back in my search. While in that state, I felt sleepy and slept. Safwan bin Mu’attal As-Sulami Adh-Dhakwani was behind the army and reached my abode in the morning. When he saw a sleeping person, he came to me, and he used to see me before veiling. So, I got up when I heard him saying, “Inna lil-lah-wa inn a ilaihi rajiun (We are for Allah, and we will return to Him).” He made his camel knell down.

Volume 5, Book 59, Number 523 Narrated Anas bin Malik: The Prophet stayed with Safiya bint Huyai for three days on the way of Khaibar where he consummated his marriage with her. Safiya was amongst those who were ordered to use a veil.

Volume 5, Book 59, Number 524 Narrated Anas: The Prophet stayed for three rights between Khaibar and Medina and was married to Safiya. I invited the Muslim to h s marriage banquet and there wa neither meat nor bread in that banquet but the Prophet ordered Bilal to spread the leather mats on which dates, dried yogurt and butter were put. The Muslims said amongst themselves, “Will she (i.e. Safiya) be one of the mothers of the believers, (i.e. one of the wives of the Prophet ) or just (a lady captive) of what his right-hand possesses” Some of them said, “If the Prophet makes her observe the veil, then she will be one of the mothers of the believers (i.e. one of the Prophet’s wives), and if he does not make her observe the veil, then she will be his lady slave.” So when he departed, he made a place for her behind him (on his and made her observe the veil.

Volume 6, Book 60, Number 318 Narrated Aisha: Sauda (the wife of the Prophet) went out to answer the call of nature after it was made obligatory (for all the Muslims ladies) to observe the veil. She was a fat huge lady, and everybody who knew her before could recognize her. So ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab saw her and said, “O Sauda! By Allah, you cannot hide yourself from us, so think of a way by which you should not be recognized on going out. Sauda returned while Allah’s Apostle was in my house taking his supper and a bone covered with meat was in his hand. She entered and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! I went out to answer the call of nature and ‘Umar said to me so-and-so.” Then Allah inspired him (the Prophet) and when the state of inspiration was over and the bone was still in his hand as he had not put in down, he said (to Sauda), “You (women) have been allowed to go out for your needs.”

Volume 6, Book 60, Number 319 Narrated ‘Aisha: Aflah, the brother of Abi Al-Quais, asked permission to visit me after the order of Al-Hijab was revealed. I said, “I will not permit him unless I take permission of the Prophet about him for it was not the brother of Abi Al-Qu’ais but the wife of Abi Al-Qu’ais that nursed me.” The Prophet entered upon me, and I said to him, “O Allah’s Apostle! Allah, the brother of Abi Al-Qu’ais asked permission to visit me but I refused to permit him unless I took your permission.” The Prophet said, “What stopped you from permitting him? He is your uncle.” I said, “O Allah’s Apostle! The man was not the person who had nursed me, but the woman, the wife of Abi Al-Qu’ais had nursed me.” He said, “Admit him, for he is your uncle. Taribat Yaminuki (may your right hand be saved)” ‘Urwa, the sub-narrator added: For that ‘Aisha used to say, “Consider those things which are illegal because of blood relations as illegal because of the corresponding foster relations.”

Volume 7, Book 62, Number 22 Narrated Anas: The Prophet stayed for three days between Khaibar and Medina, and there he consummated his marriage to Safiyya bint Huyai. I invited the Muslims to the wedding banquet in which neither meat nor bread was offered. He ordered for leather dining-sheets to be spread, and dates, dried yoghurt and butter were laid on it, and that was the Prophet’s wedding banquet. The Muslims wondered, “Is she (Saffiyya) considered as his wife or his slave girl?” Then they said, “If he orders her to veil herself, she will be one of the mothers of the Believers; but if he does not order her to veil herself, she will be a slave girl. So when the Prophet proceeded from there, he spared her a space behind him (on his she-camel) and put a screening veil between her and the people.

Volume 8, Book 73, Number 98 Narrated ‘Aisha: (the wife of the Prophet) that she was told that ‘Abdullah bin Az-Zubair (on hearing that she was selling or giving something as a gift) said, “By Allah, if ‘Aisha does not give up this, I will declare her incompetent to dispose of her wealth.” I said, “Did he (‘Abdullah bin Az-Zubair) say so?” They (people) said, “Yes.” ‘Aisha said, “I vow to Allah that I will never speak to Ibn Az-Zubair.” When this desertion lasted long, ‘Abdullah bin Az-Zubair sought intercession with her, but she said, “By Allah, I will not accept the intercession of anyone for him, and will not commit a sin by breaking my vow.” When this state of affairs was prolonged on Ibn Az-Zubair (he felt it hard on him), he said to Al-Miswar bin Makhrama and ‘Abdur-Rahman bin Al-Aswad bin ‘Abu Yaghuth, who were from the tribe of Bani Zahra, “I beseech you, by Allah, to let me enter upon ‘Aisha, for it is unlawful for her to vow to cut the relation with me.” So Al-Miswar and ‘Abdur-Rahman, wrapping their sheets around themselves, asked ‘Aisha’s permission saying, “Peace and Allah’s Mercy and Blessings be upon you! Shall we come in?” ‘Aisha said, “Come in.” They said, “All of us?” She said, “Yes, come in all of you,” not knowing that Ibn Az-Zubair was also with them. So when they entered, Ibn Az-Zubair entered the screened place and got hold of ‘Aisha and started requesting her to excuse him, and wept. Al-Miswar and ‘Abdur Rahman also started requesting her to speak to him and to accept his repentance. They said (to her), “The Prophet forbade what you know of deserting (not speaking to your Muslim Brethren), for it is unlawful for any Muslim not to talk to his brother for more than three nights (days).” So when they increased their reminding her (of the superiority of having good relation with Kith and kin, and of excusing others’ sins), and brought her down to a critical situation, she started reminding them, and wept, saying, “I have made a vow, and (the question of) vow is a difficult one.” They (Al-Miswar and ‘Abdur-Rahman) persisted in their appeal till she spoke with ‘Abdullah bin Az-Zubair and she manumitted forty slaves as an expiation for her vow. Later on, whenever she remembered her vow, she used to weep so much that her veil used to become wet with her tears.

Volume 8, Book 74, Number 257 Narrated ‘Aisha: (the wife of the Prophet) ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab used to say to Allah’s Apostle “Let your wives be veiled” But he did not do so. The wives of the Prophet used to go out to answer the call of nature at night only at Al-Manasi.’ Once Sauda, the daughter of Zam’a went out and she was a tall woman. ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab saw her while he was in a gathering, and said, “I have recognized you, O Sauda!” He (‘Umar) said so as he was anxious for some Divine orders regarding the veil (the veiling of women.) So Allah revealed the Verse of veiling. (Al-Hijab; a complete body cover excluding the eyes). (See Hadith No. 148, Vol. 1)

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 130 Narrated ‘Aisha: Whenever the Prophet intended to proceed on a journey, he used to draw lots amongst his wives and would take the one upon whom the lot fell. Once, before setting out for Jihad, he drew lots amongst us and the lot came to me; so I went with the Prophet; and that happened after the revelation of the Verse Hijab (i.e. veiling).

Volume 7, Book 65, Number 375 Narrated Anas: I know (about) the Hijab (the order of veiling of women) more than anybody else. Ubai bin Ka’b used to ask me about it. Allah’s Apostle became the bridegroom of Zainab bint Jahsh whom he married at Medina. After the sun had risen high in the sky, the Prophet invited the people to a meal. Allah’s Apostle remained sitting and some people remained sitting with him after the other guests had left. Then Allah’s Apostle got up and went away, and I too, followed him till he reached the door of ‘Aisha’s room. Then he thought that the people must have left the place by then, so he returned and I also returned with him. Behold, the people were still sitting at their places. So he went back again for the second time, and I went along with him too. When we reached the door of ‘Aisha’s room, he returned and I also returned with him to see that the people had left. Thereupon the Prophet hung a curtain between me and him and the Verse regarding the order for (veiling of women) Hijab was revealed.

MUSLIM

Book 004, Number 2127: Muhammad b. Qais said (to the people): Should I not narrate to you (a hadith of the Holy Prophet) on my authority and on the authority of my mother? We thought that he meant the mother who had given him birth. He (Muhammad b. Qais) then reported that it was ‘A’isha who had narrated this: Should I not narrate to you about myself and about the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him)? We said: Yes. She said: When it was my turn for Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) to spend the night with me, he turned his side, put on his mantle and took off his shoes and placed them near his feet, and spread the corner of his shawl on his bed and then lay down till he thought that I had gone to sleep. He took hold of his mantle slowly and put on the shoes slowly, and opened the door and went out and then closed it lightly. I covered my head, put on my veil and tightened my waist wrapper, and then went out following his steps till he reached Baqi’. He stood there and he stood for a long time. He then lifted his hands three times, and then returned and I also returned. He hastened his steps and I also hastened my steps. He ran and I too ran. He came (to the house) and I also came (to the house). I, however, preceded him and I entered (the house), and as I lay down in the bed, he (the Holy Prophet) entered the (house), and said: Why is it, O ‘A’isha, that you are out of breath? I said: There is nothing. He said: Tell me or the Subtle and the Aware would inform me. I said: Messenger of Allah, may my father and mother be ransom for you, and then I told him (the whole story). He said: Was it the darkness (of your shadow) that I saw in front of me? I said: Yes. He struck me on the chest which caused me pain, and then said: Did you think that Allah and His Apostle would deal unjustly with you? She said: Whatsoever the people conceal, Allah will know it. He said: Gabriel came to me when you saw me. He called me and he concealed it from you. I responded to his call, but I too concealed it from you (for he did not come to you), as you were not fully dressed. I thought that you had gone to sleep, and I did not like to awaken you, fearing that you may be frightened. He (Gabriel) said: Your Lord has commanded you to go to the inhabitants of Baqi’ (to those lying in the graves) and beg pardon for them. I said: Messenger of Allah, how should I pray for them (How should I beg forgiveness for them)? He said: Say, Peace be upon the inhabitants of this city (graveyard) from among the Believers and the Muslims, and may Allah have mercy on those who have gone ahead of us, and those who come later on, and we shall, God willing, join you.

Book 008, Number 3328: Anas (Allah be pleased with him) reported: I was sitting behind Abu Talha on the Day of Khaibar and my feet touched the foot of Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him), and we came (to the people of Khaibar) when the sun had risen and they had driven out their cattle, and had themselves come out with their axes, large baskets and hatchets, and they said: (Here come) Muhammad and the army. Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Khaibar is ruined. Verily when we get down in the valley of a people, evil is the morning of the warned ones (al-Qur’an, xxxvii. 177). Allah, the Majestic and the Glorious, defeated them (the inhabitants of Khaibar), and there fell to the lot of Dihya a beautiful girl, and Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) got her in exchange of seven heads, and then entrusted her to Umm Sulaim so that she might embellish her and prepare her (for marriage) with him. He (the narrator) said: He had been under the impression that he had said that so that she might spend her period of ‘Iddah in her (Umm Sulaim’s) house. (The woman) was Safiyya daughter of Huyayy. Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) arranged the wedding feast consisting of dates, cheese, and refined butter, and pits were dug and tiers were set in them dining cloths, and there was brought cheese and refined butter, and these were placed there. And the people ate to their fill, and they said: We do not know whether he (the Holy Prophet) had married her (as a free woman), or as a slave woman. They said: If he (the Holy Prophet) would make her wear the veil, then she would be a (free married) woman, and if he would not make her wear the veil, then she should be a slave woman. When he intended to ride, he made her wear the veil and she sat on the hind part of the camel; so they came to know that he had married her. As they approached Medina, Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) drove (his ride) quickly and so we did. ‘Adba’ (the name of Allah’s Apostle’s camel) stumbled and Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) fell down and she (Radrat Safiyya: also fell down. He (the Holy Prophet) stood up and covered her. woman looked towards her and said: May Allah keep away the Jewess! He (the narrator) said: I said: Aba Hamza, did Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) really fall down? He said: Yes, by Allah, he in fact fell down. Anas said: I also saw the wedding feast of Zainab, and he (the Holy Prophet) served bread and meat to the people, and made them eat to their heart’s content, and he (the Holy Prophet) sent me to call people, and as he was free (from the ceremony) he stood up and I followed him. Two persons were left and they were busy in talking and did not get out (of the apartment). He (the Holy Prophet) then proceeded towards (the apartments of) his wives. He greeted with as-Salamu ‘alaikum to every one of them and said: Members of the household, how are you? They said: Messenger of Allah, we are in good state ‘How do you find your family? He would say: In good state. When he was free from (this work of exchanging greetings) he came back, and I also came back along with him. And as he reached the door, (he found) that the two men were still busy in talking. And when they saw him having returned, they stood up and went out; and by Allah! I do not know whether I had informed him, or there was a revelation to him (to the affect) that they had gone. He (the Holy Prophet) then came back and I also returned along with him, and as he put his step on the threshold of his door he hung a curtain between me and him, and (it was on this occasion) that Allah revealed this verse: (” O you who believe), do not enter the houses of the Prophet unless permission is given to ‘you” (xxxiii. 53).

Book 008, Number 3334: Anas b. Malik (Allah be pleased with him) reported: I was the best informed among the people pertaining to Hijab (veil and seclusion). Ubayy b. Ka’b used to ask me about it. Anas (Allah be pleased with him) thus narrated: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) got up in the morning as a bridegroom of Zainab bint jahsh (Allah be pleased witt her) as he had married her at Medina. He invited people to the wedding feast after the day had well risen. There sat Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) and there kept sitting along with him some persons after the people had stood up (for departure) ; then Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) stood up and walked on and I also walked along with him until he reached the door of the apartment of ‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with her). He then thought that they (those who had been sitting there after meal) had gone away. So he returned and I also returned with him, but they were still sitting at their places. So he returned for the second time and I also returned until he reached the apartment of ‘A’isha. He again returned and I also returned and they had (by that time) stood up, and he hung a curtain between me and him (at the door of the apartment of Hadrat Zainab, where he had to stay), and Allah revealed the verse pertaining to veil.

Book 008, Number 3405: ‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that her foster-uncle whose name was Aflah sought permission from her (to enter the house) but she observed seclusion from him, and informed Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) who said to her: Don’t observe veil from him for he is Mahram (one with whom marriage cannot be contracted) on account of fosterage as one is Mahram on account of consanguinity.

Book 008, Number 3406: ‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported: Aflah b. Qu’ais sought permission from me (to enter the house), but I refused to grant him the permission, and he sent me (the message saying): I am your uncle (in the sense) that the wife of my brother has suckled you, (but still) I refused to grant him permission. There came the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) and I made a mention of it to him, and he said: He can enter (your house), for he is your uncle.

Book 026, Number 5395: A’isha reported that Sauda (Allah he pleated with her) went out (in the fields) in order to answer the call of nature even after the time when veil had been prescribed for women. She had been a bulky lady, significant in height amongst the women, and she could not conceal herself from him who had known her. ‘Umar b. Khattab saw her and said: Sauda, by Allah, you cannot conceal from us. Therefore, be careful when you go out. She (‘A’isha) said: She turned back. Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) was at that time in my house having his evening meal and there was a bone in his hand. She (Sauda) cline and said: Allah’s Messenger. I went out and ‘Umar said to me so and so. She (‘A’isha) reported: There came the revelation to him and then it was over; the bone was then in his hand and he had not thrown it and he said:” Permission has been granted to you that you may go out for your needs.”

Book 026, Number 5397: ‘A’isha reported that the wives of Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) used to go out in the cover of night when they went to open fields (in the outskirts of Medina) for easing themselves. ‘Umar b Khattab used to say: Allah’s Messenger, ask your ladies to observe veil, but Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) did not do that. So there went out Sauda, daughter of Zarn’a, the wife of Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him), during one of the nights when it was dark. She was a tall statured lady. ‘Umar called her saying: Sauda, we recognise you. (He did this with the hope that the verses pertaining to veil would be revealed.) ‘A’isha said: Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, then revealed the verses pertaining to veil.

Book 026, Number 5416: ‘A’isha reported that a eunuch used to come to the wives of Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) and they did not And anything objectionable in his visit considering him to be a male without any sexual desire. Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) one day came as he was sitting with some of his wives and he was busy in describing the bodily characteristics of a lady and saying: As the comes in front tour folds appear on her front side and as she turns her back eight folds appear on the back side. Thereupon Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) said: I me that he knows these things; do not, therefore. allow him to cater. She (” A’isha) said: Then they began to observe veil from him.

Book 031, Number 5903: Ibn Umar reported Umar as saying: My lord concorded with (my judgments) on three occasions. In case of the Station of Ibrahim, in case of the observance of veil and in case of the prisoners of Badr.

Book 031, Number 6091: Abu Musa reported: I was in the company of Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) as he had been sitting in Ji’rana (a place) between Mecca and Medina and Bilal was also there, that there came to Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) a desert Arab, and he said: Muhammad, fulfill your promise that you made with me. Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said to him: Accept glad tidings. Thereupon the desert Arab said: You shower glad tidings upon me very much; then Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) turned towards Abu Musa and Bilal seemingly in a state of annoyance and said: Verily he has rejected glad tidings but you two should accept them. We said: Allah’s Messenger, we have readily accepted them. Then Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) called for a cup of water and washed his hands in that and face too and put the saliva in it and then said: Drink out of it and pour it over your faces and over your chest and gladden yourselves. They took hold of the cup and did as Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) had commanded them to do. Thereupon Umm Salama called from behind the veil: Spare some water in your vessel for your mother also, and they also gave some water which had been spared for her.

SUNAN ABU DAWUD

Book 32, Number 4092 Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu’minin: Asma, daughter of AbuBakr, entered upon the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) wearing thin clothes. The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) turned his attention from her. He said: O Asma’, when a woman reaches the age of menstruation, it does not suit her that she displays her parts of body except this and this, and he pointed to her face and hands.

Book 32, Number 4091 Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu’minin: May Allah have mercy on the early immigrant women. When the verse “That they should draw their veils over their bosoms” was revealed, they tore their thick outer garments and made veils from them.

Book 2, Number 0641 Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu’minin: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: Allah does not accept the prayer of a woman who has reached puberty unless she wears a veil.

Book 14, Number 2674 Narrated Sawdah daughter of Zam’ah: Yahya ibn Abdullah said: When the captives (of the battle of Badr) were brought, Sawdah daughter of Zam’ah was present with the children of Afra’ at the halting place of their camels, that is, Awf and Mu’awwidh sons of Afra’. This happened before the prescription of veil for them. Sawdah said: I swear by Allah, I was with them when I came (from there to the people) and I was told: These are captives recently brought (here). I returned to my house, and the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) was there, and AbuZayd Suhayl ibn Amr was in the corner of the apartment and his hands were tied up on his neck with a rope. He then narrated the rest of the tradition.

Book 29, Number 3917 Narrated Umm Salamah, Ummul Mu’minin: The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) said to us: If one of you has a slave, and he enters into an agreement to purchase his freedom, and can pay the full price, she must veil herself from him.

Book 32, Number 4095 Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu’minin: A mukhannath (eunuch) used to enter upon the wives of Prophet (peace_be_upon_him). They (the people) counted him among those who were free of physical needs. One day the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) entered upon us when he was with one of his wives, and was describing the qualities of a woman, saying: When she comes forward, she comes forward with four (folds in her stomach), and when she goes backward, she goes backward with eight (folds in her stomach). The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: Do I not see that this (man) knows what here lies. Then they (the wives) observed veil from him.

Book 32, Number 4100 Narrated Umm Salamah, Ummul Mu’minin: I was with the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) while Maymunah was with him. Then Ibn Umm Maktum came. This happened when we were ordered to observe veil (purdah). The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: Observe veil from him. We asked: Apostle of Allah! is he not blind? He can neither see us nor recognise us. The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: Are both of you blind? Do you not see him? AbuDawud said: This was peculiar to the wives of the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him). Do you not see that Fatimah daughter of Qays passed her waiting period with Ibn Umm Maktum. The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said to Fatimah daughter of Qays: Pass your waiting period with Ibn Umm Maktum, for he is a blind man. You can put off your clothes with him.

Book 32, Number 4103 Narrated Umm Salamah, Ummul Mu’minin: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) came to visit her when she was veiled, and said: use one fold and not two.

Book 32, Number 4104 Narrated Dihyah ibn Khalifah al-Kalbi: The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) was brought some pieces of fine Egyptian linen and he gave me one and said: Divide it into two; cut one of the pieces into a shirt and give the other to your wife for veil. Then when he turned away, he said: And order your wife to wear a garment below it and not show her figure.

Book 32, Number 4105 Narrated Umm Salamah, Ummul Mu’minin: Safiyyah, daughter of AbuUbayd, said: When the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) mentioned lower garment, Umm Salamah, wife of the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him), asked him: And a woman, Apostle of Allah? He replied: She may hang down a span. Umm Salamah said: Still it (foot) will be uncovered. He said: Then a forearm’s length, nor exceeding it.

Book 32, Number 4107 Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar: The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) gave licence to others of the believers (i.e. the wives of the Prophet) to hang down their lower garment a span. Then they asked him to increase it, and he increased one span for them. They would send (the garment) to us and we would measure it one forearm’s length for them.

Book 14, Number 2482: Narrated Thabit ibn Qays: A woman called Umm Khallad came to the Prophet (saws) while she was veiled. She was searching for her son who had been killed (in the battle) Some of the Companions of the Prophet (saws) said to her: You have come here asking for your son while veiling your face? She said: If I am afflicted with the loss of my son, I shall not suffer the loss of my modesty. The Apostle of Allah (saws) said: You will get the reward of two martyrs for your son. She asked: Why is that so, Apostle of Allah? He replied: Because the people of the Book have killed him.

Book 32, Number 4094 Narrated Anas ibn Malik: The Prophet (saws) brought Fatimah a slave which he donated to her. Fatimah wore a garment which, when she covered her head, did not reach her feet, and when she covered her feet by it, that garment did not reach her head. When the Prophet (saws) saw her struggle, he said: There is no harm to you: Here is only your father and slave.

Book 32, Number 4090 Narrated Umm Salamah, Ummul Mu’minin: When the verse “That they should cast their outer garments over their persons” was revealed, the women of Ansar came out as if they had crows over their heads.

Book 32, Number 4089 Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu’minin: Safiyyah, daughter of Shaybah, said that Aisha mentioned the women of Ansar, praised them and said good words about them. She then said: When Surat an-Nur came down, they took the curtains, tore them and made head covers (veils) of them.

MALIK MUWATTA

Book 2, Number 0641: Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu’minin: The Prophet (saws) said: Allah does not accept the prayer of a woman who has reached puberty unless she wears a veil.

Book 20, Number 20.5.15: Yahya related to me from Malik from Nafi that Abdullah ibn Umar used to say that a woman in ihram should wear neither a veil nor gloves.

Book 20, Number 20.5.16: Yahya related to me from Malik from Hisham ibn Urwa that Fatima bint al-Mundhir said, “We used to veil our faces when we were in ihram in the company of Asma bint Abi Bakr as-Siddiq.”

Book 30, Number 30.1.2: Yahya related to me from Malik from Hisham ibn Urwa from his father that A’isha, umm al-muminin said, “My paternal uncle by suckling came to me and I refused to give him permission to enter until I had asked the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, about it. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came and I asked him about it. He said, ‘He is your paternal uncle, so give him permission.’ So I said, ‘Messenger of Allah! The woman nursed me not the man.’ He said, ‘He is your paternal uncle, so let him enter.’ ” A’isha said, “That was after the veil had been imposed on us.” A’isha added, “What is haram by birth is made haram by suckling.”

Book 30, Number 30.1.3: Yahya related to me from Malik from Ibn Shihab from Urwa ibn az-Zubayr that A’isha umm al-muminin told him that Aflah, the brother of Abu’l-Quays came and asked permission to visit her after the veil had been lowered, and he was her paternal uncle by suckling. She said, “I refusedto give him permission to enter. When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came, I told him about what I had done, and he ordered me to give him permission to enter.”

Book 36, Number 36.21.20: Yahya said from Malik from Ibn Shihab from Urwa ibn az-Zubayr that A’isha, the wife of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ”Utba ibn Abi Waqqas disclosed to his brother, Sad ibn Abi Waqqas, that he was the father of the son of the slave-girl of Zama, and made him promise to look after him (after his death). In the year of the conquest, Sad took him and said, ‘He is the son of my brother. He covenanted with me about him.’ Abd ibn Zama stood up and said, ‘He is my brother and the son of my father’s slave-girl. He was born on his bed.’ They went to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Sad said, ‘Messenger of Allah! He is the son of my brother, he made a covenant with me about him.’ Abd ibn Zama said, ‘He is my brother and the son of my father’s slave-girl and was born on my father’s bed.’ The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘He is yours, Abd ibn Zama.’ Then the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘A child belongs to the household (where he was born) and the adulterer is stoned.’ Then he told Sawda bint Zama, ‘Veil yourself from him,’ since he saw in him a resemblance to Utba ibn Abi Waqqas.” A’isha added, “He did not see her until he met Allah, the Mighty, the Majestic!”

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WOMAN AND THE DISPLAY OF BODY

By Mohammed Kamil Abdel Samad

Source: Scientific Miracles in Islam & Sunna Nabaweya

Describing women who are morally decayed. The prophet Mohammed (PBUH) said that they are “women dressed but naked, corrupt and corrupters, their hairs are like the inclined hump of female camel, they do not enter the Heaven nor smell its fragrance” [Refer to Abu Daud]

The prophet also said “the prayer of a mistreating woman is not acceptable until she purifies her self” [Refer to Imam Ahmed, Abu Daud & Ibn Maja].

The modern scientific researches confirmed that the nakedness of women, their body displaying & their moving in an obscene shape id a disaster on them. The current statistics showed that there is a clear spread of the malignant cancer which affects the naked and displayed part of the women bodies particularly those women who dress short clothes.

It was published in the British Medical Magazine that “the melanoma malignant cancer which was one of the most rare cancers is now spreading among women. The cases of this type of cancer is increasing among young women. It affects their legs. The medical publication went on saying that the main cause behind the spread of short dress & fashions which expose the body of women to the rays & light of the sun. Moreover, the transparent dress and legs gloves do not help in avoiding this type of cancer.

The Medical Magazine appealed to the environment doctors to participate in collecting information about this type of cancer, because it is becoming an epidemic phenomenon. This reminds us with the Quranic sign which says in the tongue of the obstinate unbeliever

“O God, if this is indeed The Truth from Thee, Rain down on us a shower of stones from the sky, or send us a grievous penalty” [8:32]

Now to torture has come down in the form of a malignant cancer. It is caused by the exposition of women’s body to the sunrays and ultraviolet rays for a long time it affects the whole body but with different proportion. Initially, it appears as a dark; small spot on either the foot or the leg, and some times in the eye. Then it spreads all over the body. It attacks the lymph knots at the upper part of the thigh. It also attacks blood and invades the liver & destroys it. It may settle in all the organs of the body such as bones, the belly & perhaps the kidneys. If it attacks the kidneys then the patient will experience black urine as a result of inner destruction of the kidneys. It may get transferred to the child in the womb of his mother.

However, this disease does not allows its patient to survive for a long time & it does not respond to surgical treatment like other types of cancers nor it responds to treatment by rays sessions like some other types of cancers.

Therefore have we realized the wisdom behind Islamic legislation which aimed to protect women not only from passers by but also from a skin disease called cancer. The subject Islamic legislation called upon women to corner their bodies properly & with loose and not narrow and not transparent clothes.

Therefore, Islamic uniform for women protect them from physical diseases, from teasing in the streets & from the torture of life on the judgement day.

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IN PRAISE OF THE VEIL

By Barbara Brotman, Tribune staff reporter

December 19, 2001

It is a lightning rod for both devotion and hostility. Banned in government offices in secular Turkey, mandated in its most severe form by the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Muslim head covering for women has been used as a weapon in battles for and against modernity.

The head scarf is part of observing hijab, the Muslim practice of modesty. The word comes from the Arabic for hiding or concealing, and, for women, also encompasses covering the body completely with loose clothing. The head covering itself usually drapes around the neck and covers the bosom too.

Hijab is also a state of mind, its practitioners say, a public modesty that requires both men and women to lower their gaze if confronted by an inappropriate sight.

Women who wear the head scarf say the Koran requires it whenever they are in public or around men who are not in their family. But there are Muslim women who believe the Koran does not require it and do not wear it, including Queen Rania of Jordan. There are Muslim women who find the covering deeply upsetting.

“We have an almost physical aversion to the hijab,” says an Arab feminist in the Canadian documentary “Under One Sky: Arab Women in North America Talk About the Hijab,” shown recently at the University of Chicago Oriental Institute Museum. Other women in the film defended the head scarf as a religious requirement, an statement of cultural identity, or a symbol of defiance of Western imperialism.

These Chicago-area women choose to wear the head scarf, and here explain why.

Toni Khatib

Khatib, 38, of the western suburbs, designed and maintains the Web site for the Islamic Foundation of Villa Park. Khatib, who is of mixed African-American and white parentage, was raised Muslim on the South Side, attending a mosque where she sat behind Muhammad Ali’s family. A former information technology network manager, she is now at home; she and her husband, born in Syria, have three children.

“I’ve been wearing the hijab three years now. For me, it’s been very liberating. To tell you the truth, it allows you to be a person, and not just a woman/thing to be looked at. People listen to you. I used to be very heavy. … When I lost the weight again, I noticed those looks and things, where … someone is talking to you, but they’re looking at your chest. With the hijab, I notice it’s gone away.

“My son was born premature in 1992, at one pound three ounces, after I had three miscarriages.. I was told he wouldn’t live, and if he did, there was a 95 percent chance of cerebral palsy or being deaf, dumb and blind.

“One night I called [the hospital]. They said, `Oh, my goodness, both his lungs have collapsed.’ He was 2 or 3 months old. I ran and took a shower and prayed. Don’t think I’m crazy, but I got the warmest feeling of peace, as if God hugged me. . . . I have constantly been very spiritual because of that.

“He is healthy [now]; he has no problems. . . . I just really got closer to God.”

Salma Vhora

Vhora, 21, moved to the U.S. from her native India six years ago. Now a U.S. citizen, she is a fourth-year student at the University of Illinois at Chicago majoring in math education, and lives with her family in Park Ridge.

“I wear niqaab. This is a cover or veil with a hole in it for the eyes. . .. . Covering your hair is an obligation, but covering your face is optional; it’s an individual choice. . . . We have to wear a scarf properly in order to wear niqaab. If you wear it too tight, it’s hard for you to breathe.

“I prefer to do niqaab in front of strange men to avoid any mischief, when there is fear of temptation. I think it’s obligatory to cover all of a woman’s beauty and adornment and not to display any part of that before strangers except for what appears unintentionally, in which case there will be no sin on them if they hasten to cover it up.

“It’s so common-sense for me. If a stranger comes to me, he would have to look at my face first, then make a decision whether I am ugly, pretty or whether he is interested in me, by judging my face, how I look. I think that’s not right. Outer beauty is not as important as your good deeds and your actions.

“I covered my hair when I was 15, when I came from India. But I started wearing niqaab last year. I had been approached by so many men, strange men. I see more men than women in my math classes. They would always come up to me, try to give me high-fives, try to give me a hug. They acted like I should be in that group, doing what the guy should be doing. I didn’t feel comfortable doing that.

“When I started doing the niqaab, I announced in every single class, `This is the reason I am doing this.’ They were very, very understanding, very supportive, very proud of me.”

Uzma Hussain

Hussain, 20, lives in Darien, where she grew up with her parents, who were born in India. She is a student at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“It’s sort of a personal thing. You don’t tell anyone you’re going to do it; you just feel it. I started in my freshman year of high school, when I was 14. I didn’t tell anyone I was going to do it; I just did it one day.

“I brought the hijab with me every day for a week. It was, like, every day, `I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it.’ Then on Friday, I did it. I put it on during school. I just stood by my locker. We had gone to get our lunches. Everyone was gone. And I just did it.

“And then I went to lunch. And people–I don’t know, they were confused. They didn’t really know what to say. My sister was completely shocked. And my mom was really shocked, too. She was a little concerned that I started too early, but it’s not her choice; it’s not anyone’s choice. It’s something you have to do.

“I can be who I am, and not worry about being judged. It’s sort of like protection. And it’s a lot of responsibility. When you go out in public, people will recognize, `This is a Muslim.’ Everything you do will be noticed.

“I don’t sit in a corner and be, `Oh, I cover my hair, I can’t participate.’ I was captain of the varsity badminton team in high school; we won the state championship. And I covered my hair. That, to me, is really cool.

“Sometimes you feel like you missed out on [dressing up] a little bit. My mom sometimes says she wants her daughters to dress up and whatnot. But I’m happier that I’m covered now. . . . I’ve had good experiences.”

Nada Rifai

Rifai, 24, of the North Side, was born in Syria and lived there with her family until a year ago. She began covering her head when she was 20. She works as an office clerk at the Institute of Islamic Information and Education, a North Side organization that disseminates information about Islam throughout North America.

“I don’t come from a really religious family. Even my mother doesn’t cover.

“But the more I grew up, I thought of it more and more. The more you know you have this contact with God, the more you get emotional with God, you want to do something for God. I had this vision that I, 100 percent, want to do it. I was the first to do it. Two years later, my sister did.

“It was a little bit hard; it changed some things in my lifestyle. We’re an open family. We go to clubs, we have dinners where you dance, we go to swimming pools. I don’t go anymore to clubs. I don’t swim anymore. But it didn’t change my relationships with people around me.

“My father was so happy. But my mother–it’s not her way or lifestyle. She wanted me to take it off, especially in summer. Every weekend or every three or four days, we would go somewhere to eat and have parties. Even our wedding parties were mixed; we never had the wedding party where the men are one place and the women another. She wanted me to have all these things.

“But when you think of it deeply and truly, you think that your life would be with your God more than your life on earth.”

Dina Ramadan

Ramadan, 26, of Oak Park, grew up in Florida. Her parents are Egyptian; her mother designs women’s dressy clothing, American style, and until recently owned a tony dress shop in Florida. Ramadan is married and has two children, 19 months and 2 months.

“When I was growing up, I was not really the best Muslim; I was a little bit more involved with my friends and going out. But when I got to college, I started to read more in the Koran, and started to learn more about my religion and why it was a privilege to be a Muslim.

“I went to an Islamic convention in Atlanta. I was sitting in a seminar, and what one of the scholars said hit me: `We’re not going to live forever.’ On the car ride home I announced to my family that I was going to wear the hijab.

“It was a little scary. Everyone [at Jacksonville University] knew me; it was a very small campus. A lot of my friends had no idea what it meant. I got asked whether I was in a cult. … One of my professors asked me if I was ill.

“I used to work at the mall, at a clothing store. I had a wardrobe full of Ann Taylor. I still wear nice clothes under loose outer clothes, the gilbab [a loose full-length coat]. But I don’t really miss it. In fact, every time I put [the hijab] on, I’m in a way aware of what a great blessing it is to wear it. You just feel liberated. You feel like, `Why didn’t I do this a long time ago? Why did I spend all those hours in front of a mirror when it’s really not important?’

“It is a physical reminder to myself that what you do is for the sake of God and Islam. It reminds you to pray on time; it reminds you to be kind to everybody.

“It does get to be hot in the heat of summer. But as a Muslim, you know that everything you do for the sake of Allah, you get rewards for it. The more good you do in your life, the more chance you’ll have of being in heaven.

“I don’t need men to tell me I’m pretty; I don’t need that validation. I want to look nice for my husband, and that, for me, is more important than a million people telling me I’m beautiful.”

Mary Ali

Ali, 62, is secretary and board member of the Institute of Islamic Information and Education; her husband is the institute’s managing director. She grew up Protestant in Iowa, met her husband in graduate school and converted to Islam in her early 30s.

“I’ve been wearing it [the head scarf] for 30 years. I’ve grown so accustomed to wearing it; when I don’t wear it and I go outside, I feel naked.

“I came into it very gradually. After I went to Islam, I didn’t change the kind of clothing I was wearing at all. Then gradually, the dresses were longer-sleeved; the neckline went up; I put pants on under skirts. After a time, I started putting a scarf on. I think for an individual, it takes some acceptance of yourself, and courage to put it on and walk outside.

“It felt strange in the beginning. It still feels hot. … I forced myself to get used to it. For a while, everyone would ask me, `Why are you wearing that on your head?’ Then I discovered it gave me an opportunity to talk about Islam.

“Wearing it makes me feel like when people look at me, they’re looking at me not for what my body looks like, but more for what I do and what I contribute.”

Dalia Hassaballa

Hassaballa, 20, of Villa Park, the daughter of Egyptian parents, is in her last year studying elementary education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She was married in June.

“I grew up in Schaumburg. When I was 11, I went and lived overseas in Korea; my dad had business over there. So I started to put the hijab on when I was 11, because I knew I was starting a new life over there. For a lot of girls, it’s very difficult. They put it on in the middle of the school year. All of a sudden, you’ll lose friends, and you’ll gain some friends.

“It was a given. … Once you get your period, you have to decide when to put your scarf on.

“I do it because that’s what God has ordained. . . . I also wear it as a form of modesty. … And it protects us from sexual harassment. I saw a woman wearing a short skirt, and I saw these men just looking at her, talking and smiling, and I’m like, `They don’t even respect women.’ I’m thankful that in my religion, women are respected.

“It really isn’t uncomfortable [to wear the head scarf]. In olden times, people used to have umbrellas in the sun. I kind of look at it like that.”

Saba Ahmed

Ahmed, 25, of Villa Park, was born in India. She has been in this country two years, and is a market research analyst.

“According to Islam, a woman is a very precious gem. If you consider a diamond or a very precious gem, you wouldn’t just keep it outside to be touched and seen by anybody and everybody. It is a very precious thing.

“A husband, when he comes home, when he finds a thing that is hidden from society, he finds it is more attractive. A husband sees his wife and says, `Oh, God has given this beautiful person to me.’ He finds satisfaction. And if there is satisfaction with the husband, the family is secure. And once the family is secure, the society is secure; and once the society is secure, the whole nation is secure.

“Men are also not supposed to reveal themselves in public. They are supposed to lower their gaze if they see something they are not supposed to see.

“There are girls who think, `Oh, we won’t be so comfortable [wearing the hijab] because we are working with non-Muslims.’ They don’t tie it around their heads; they don’t really bring it in front of their bosoms.

“That is not enough. Hijab means from head to toe you are covered, but your face, hands and feet could be open. And … it should be loose; the shape of your body should not be revealed. That is the true veil. And if you have all the women covering their bosoms, then women won’t run in the race of going for those silicone implants.”

Manal el-Hrisse

El-Hrisse, 21, of Cicero, is general secretary of the Islamic Association for Palestine, in Palos Hills. A graduate of Dominican University who majored in political science and criminology, she lives in Cicero. She was born in the United Arab Emirates.

“We’re saying, `Take us for who we are, as people, as humans.’ One day, I’m going to grow older; my skin is going to be all wrinkly; I’m not going to be as attractive as someone in her 20s. Does that mean people should start treating me differently? That I’m not worth anything?

“Funny, I never see anybody who is half-naked and say, `Oh, she’s oppressed.’ But I think she is oppressed. There is so much pressure on women to look good. We should have a contest and see how many women are willing to go out without makeup. And look at all these teenage girls in school saying, `Oh, my gosh, I have a pimple.’

“I rebel against that. I say, `I’m going to be whoever I’m going to be. God made me this way. If you like it, you like it. Otherwise, too bad.’ That’s the freedom for me; it’s freedom to choose. I don’t want my society to pressure me.

“People think the scarf is the image of oppression. But it’s an image of liberation.”

The U.S. government appears to be investigating the relationship of the IAP, where El-Hrisse has worked for two months, with Islamic terrorist groups. The IAP, which promotes the Palestinian cause in Israel, denies any such links.

A glossary of garments

Hijab: From the Arab word meaning “to hide or conceal,” hijab is the practice of women covering their heads, and often their bodies with loose clothing, when out in public. Hijab also commonly refers to the head scarf itself.

Niqaab: A face veil that leaves only the eyes visible.

Gilbab: An ankle-length coat worn in public, covering any style of clothing beneath it, worn in Jordan, Lebanon and by Palestinians.

Abaya: A full-length black silk dress worn in Saudi Arabia, often with a matching head scarf.

Chador: A head-to-toe cloak, which exposes the face, worn in Iran.

Burqa: The head-to-toe covering with a mesh opening for the eyes that was mandated by the Taliban, and is worn by some in the Persian Gulf and by Bedouin women in Egypt.

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THINKING ABOUT HIJAB? STEPS TO CONSIDER

By a Small Town American Sister

Many well-meaning brothers and sisters enthusiastically point out ayat from the Qur’an and Ahadith that reveal the Islamic injunction to cover our bodies so that the maximum that may be seen are our hands and face, expecting us to just as enthusiastically accept and begin obeying this injunction. Perhaps we are convinced of the moral, social and many other benefits of hijab, and maybe even begin to desire to cover ourselves, but it is almost never that easy. There can be many consequences that come out of Islamic covering that, although they should in most cases not be used as excuses not to cover, must be considered frankly and seriously before beginning to wear hijab full-time.

1. Yourself

Whether you are a convert to Islam or were born into a Muslim family but have never covered, you must prepare yourself mentally for the way your life will change. This involves being thoroughly convinced that covering is a command from Allah, as well as knowing in your heart and being capable of explaining to others all of the benefits and logical reasons for wearing hijab. Without this inner committment, the outer appearance is meaningless. You must also be prepared to accept the added responsibility of being a visible representative of Islam, and therefore be on your best behavior, being kind, fair, polite and following all of Allah’s injunctions. You can no longer mix with non-Muslim friends in Islamically disliked situations; no more riding the fence. If you want to be a Muslima but remain inconspicuous among the kuffar (unbelievers), then you are not ready to cover.

2. Family

American families will probably have more difficulty accepting your covering than Muslim ones, but that does not mean you will not face opposition in either. Both types of families can be ignorant of the fact that covering is considered a command, not a cultural choice. Try, very slowly, to explain the benefits of hijab, the drawbacks of not covering, and why you personally have a burning desire to do so (yes, it should be burning, or you’re not ready). I must emphasize that this is a slow process, which should be coupled with discussions of other aspects of Islam and your good example. Help them to see the whole picture and the benefits Islam has brought you. If you are too afraid of their reaction (as I was), write them a letter. This way you can express all of your points without being interrupted and flustered. But be careful to be loving and respectful, not pushy or threatening. You must also be prepared yourself to endure and remain strong in your faith, no matter what their reaction is. Prepare for the worst. Don’t cover until you can accept whatever happens.

3. Employer

This can be a delicate area, since we have seen that many sisters have unfortunately lost employment for following Allah’s command to cover. In this case, also, be prepared for the worst, but stay positive. Write a very professional letter, avoiding too much religious discussion, and emphasizing that your appearance will remain professional and will not affect your job performance. Refer to your “right” to practice your religion freely, and that covering is a religious requirement that you have recently reached the level of faith to be able to fulfill. Be polite (don’t threaten them!) and emphasize that it is just a small piece of cloth, not to be blown out of proportion. If you are unable to reach an agreement with your employer, contact CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) at http://www.cair-net.org or a similar organization to advocate on your behalf.

4. The Public

This concern varies from state to state, city to city, but you must be emotionally prepared to be stared at, perhaps even yelled at, and remain firm in your convictions. This does not mean you won’t be startled or shaken, but such incidences should not be able to scare you into taking off your scarf. You must also be able to explain, quickly and well, why you are covering because you will be asked! These are wonderful opportunities for da’wah if they are used well.

5. Clothing

By this point, you can see that there are many important aspects of wearing hijab that go far beyond the clothes themselves, but they are, of course, a factor. Depending upon your previous wardrobe, it may take quite some time and money to make it more Islamic. My advice (and the way I did it) is, as soon as you begin to consider covering, even though getting the other aspects in place is far off, start slowly adapting your wardrobe, and your style of dress. I began by not wearing shorts outside the house, then no short- sleeves, then wearing untucked long shirts with pants, and eventually adding the scarf and more modest clothing, after I had worked through all the previously mentioned factors. For me, this was an 8 month period, but it can take more or less time. You will know when you are ready because you won’t be able to stand going out uncovered anymore and doing what you know is right is more important than what anyone else thinks. Changing your wardrobe in this manner is easier on your pocketbook, as well as for your and your family to get used to. Once everone is used to seeing you in longsleeves in 100 degree heat, a little scarf won’t seem like that big a deal.

I have tried to break down into the major components what preparing to wear hijab should entail. I certainly do not want to scare you out of covering or imply that is is acceptable to wait for long periods of time waiting for the perfect situation in which to cover. On the contrary, you will be held accountable to Allah for any command of His that you do not obey when you are thoroughly convinced to do so. However, He is also the Compassionate, the Merciful, and He realizes all that is entailed in taking this step. Ask continually for His help in making you strong in your faith and convictions, and learn as much as you can about the reasons for a benefits of hijab, as well as about Islam in general to keep your faith pusing you forward in your efforts to obey Allah. Whatever situation you are in, never think you can’t do it. If one of the above mentioned steps is a stumbling block, work on it, don’t use it as an excuse.

When I began covering, I was a 21-year-old senior in college, working part- time in a nursing home and about to begin student-teaching in a public high school, living with my Christian parents when commuting to a small Catholic college in an area that has more cows than Muslims. My only Muslim supports were my husband and my American convert friend who was not covering. The nearest mosque was a two hour drive away, and I had only seen three other covering Muslimas here in my lifetime, and they were all visiting from out of town. And yet, by August of 1994, I couldn’t stand it anymore, sent letters to my employer, my professors, my parents and grandparents, and started covering. My family and I have had a few good cries, and I have had some funny comments by the elderly at work, but all in all, everyone has gotten used to me and within two to three months all the crises were over and life is back to normal…except that I no longer worry about being flirted with, I feel respected and respectful, and am very proud to have the priviledge of being a positive example of Islam to a community that has very little experience with Islam or Muslims, and explaining it to many who know nothing about it.

Hijab opens so many more doors than it closes, spiritually and socially. It is unfortunate that there are so many obstacles to our finding this joy and fulfillment, but our best course of actions is to be aware of them, deal with them, and continue this form of jihad (struggle) in the way of Allah. Insha’Allah we will all receive great blessings and heightened spiritual benefits from our efforts to obey His wise commands, and never forget, no matter how difficult it is, that Allah never puts burdens on us that we cannot bear, and the more we persevere, the more blessings we receive, insha’Allah. Whatever point you are at in your spiritual growth, remember that Allah knows what is in your heart and will not expect more of you than you are ready for. So keep preparing yourself, so that when your time comes, you will be a strong, glowing vision of a person thoroughly committed to submitting herself to Allah, and proud of it!

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THE TOP 10 EXCUSES OF MUSLIM WOMEN WHO DON’T WEAR HIJAB AND THEIR OBVIOUS WEAKNESS

By Dr. Huwayda Ismaeel

Taken from al-Bayaan Magazine

Get on the train of repentance my sister, before it passes by your station. Deeply consider my sister, what is happening today before tomorrow comes. Think, my sister – starting now. All praise is due to Allah ta’aala as is deserved by His Majesty and Great Power. I send prayers and ask for blessings upon His Noble Messenger who drew the path for us to the pleasure of Allah and His Jannah. This path is a straight one that is surrounded by virtue from all sides and attends to the best moral characteristics which are increased by the clothing of purity, concealment, and chastity. It is the path trod by the two halves of human society, namely the man and the woman, toward harmonious contentment and happiness in this life and the Hereafter.

This is precisely why the Protector, the blessed and above all imperfection, has made wearing hijaab (see this month’s As-Sunnah Article) an obligation upon the woman as a safeguard of her chastity and protection of her honor and sign of her faith (Eemaan). It is on account of this that societies (both Muslim and non-Muslim) that have distanced themselves from the way of Allah and deviated from His straight path, are ill societies in need of treatment that will lead them to recovery and happiness.

Among the pictures that point to the distance of society from that path and that make clear the level of its deviation and separation from it is the open spread of women not just uncovering their faces but enhancing and making a display of their beauty. We find that this is manifested regretfully, in Islamic (Muslim) society despite that Islamic clothing is also widespread. So then, what are the reasons that have led to this digression?

We put this question to a varied group of women from whom we derived ten major excuses and upon examination and scrutiny, the frailty of the excuses became evident to us.

Stay with us dear Muslim sister in these few lines so that we can know through them the reasons for turning away from the hijaab and then discuss each.

Excuse One: I’m not yet convinced (of the necessity) of hijaab. We then ask this sister two questions. One: Is she truly convinced of the correctness of the religion of Islam? The natural answer is: Yes she is convinced for she responds “Laa ilaaha illallah!” (There is no god but Allah), meaning she is convinced of the aqeedah, and then she says: “Muhammadun rasoolullah!” (Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah), meaning by that that she is convinced of its legislation or law (sharee’ah). Therefore, she is convinced of Islam as a belief system and a law by which one governs and rules their life.

Two: Is the hijaab then a part of Islamic Law (sharee’ah) and an obligation? If this sister is honest and sincere in her intention and has looked into the issue as one who truly wants to know the truth her answer could only be: Yes. For Allah ta’aala, Whose deity (Uloohiyyah) she believes in has commanded wearing hijaab in His Book (Al-Qur’aan) and the noble Prophet (‘alaihi salaat wa salaam) whose message she believes in has commanded wearing the hijaab in his sunnah.

What do we call a person who says they believe in and are content with the correctness of Islam but who nonetheless does not do what Allah or His Messenger have ordered? Certainly they can in no way be described as those whom Allah speaks of in this aayah:

The only saying of the faithful believers when they are called to Allah and His Messenger to judge between them is that they say ‘we hear and obey’ and such are the successful. [Soorah An-Noor 24:51]

In summary: If this sister is convinced of Islam, how then can she not be convinced of its orders?

Excuse Two: I am convinced of Islamic dress but my mother prevents me from wearing it and if I disobey her I will go to the Fire. The one who has answered this excuse is the most noble of Allah’s creation, the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) in concise and comprehensive words of wisdom: There is no obedience to the created in the disobedience of Allah. [Ahmed]

The status of parents in Islam, especially the mother, is a high and elevated one. Indeed Allah ta’aala has combined it with the greatest of matters, worshipping Him and His tawheed, in many aayaat. He stated: Worship Allah and join none with Him and do good to parents. [Soorah An-Nisaa 4:36] Obedience to parents is not limited except in one aspect, and that is if they order to disobedience of Allah. Allah said: But if they strive with you to make you join in worship with Me others that of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not. [Soorah Luqmaan 31:15] The lack of obedience to them in sinfulness does not prevent being good to them and kind treatment of them. Allah said afterward in the same aayah: But behave with them in the world kindly.

In summary: How can you obey your mother and disobey Allah, Who created you and your mother?

Excuse Three: My position does not allow me to substitute my dress for Islamic dress. This sister is either one or the other of two types: She is sincere and honest, or she is a slippery liar who desires to make a showy display of her “hijaab” clamoring with colors to be “in line with the times” and expensive. We will begin with an answer to the honest and sincere sister. Are you unaware my dear sister, that it is not permissible for the Muslim woman to leave her home in any instance unless her clothing meets the conditions of Islamic hijaab (Hijaab shar’ee) and it is a duty of every Muslim woman to know what they are? If you have taken the time and effort to learn so many matters of this world how then can you be neglectful of learning those matters which will save you from the punishment of Allah and His anger after death!!? Does Allah not say:

Ask the people of remembrance (i.e. knowledgeable scholars) if you do not know. [Soorah An-Nahl 16:43].

Learn therefore, the requirements of proper hijaab.

If you must go out, then do not do so without the correct hijaab, seeking the pleasure of Allah and the degradation of Shaitaan. That is because the corruption brought about by your going out adorned and “beautified” is far greater than the matter which you deem necessary to go out for.

My dear sister if you are really truthful in your intention and correctly determined you will find a thousands hands of good assisting you and Allah will make the matter easy for you! Is He not the One Who says: And whoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty) and He will provide him from sources he never could imagine [Soorah At-Talaaq 65:2-3]?

With regards to the ‘slippery’ one we say: Honor and position is something determined by Allah ta’aala and it is not due to embellishment of clothing and show of colors and keeping up with the trendsetters. It is rather due to obedience to Allah and His Messenger (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and holding to the pure law of Allah and correct Islamic hijaab. Listen to the words of Allah: Indeed, the most honorable amongst you are those who are the most pious. [Soorah Al-Hujuraat 49:35]

In summary: Do things in the way of seeking Allah’s pleasure and entering His Jannah and give less value to the high priced and costly objects and wealth of this world.

Excuse Four: It is so very hot in my country and I can’t stand it. How could I take it if I wore the hijaab? Allah gives an example by saying: Say: The Fire of Hell is more intense in heat if they only understand. [Soorah At-Taubah 9:81]

How can you compare the heat of your land to the heat of the Hellfire?

Know, my sister, that Shaitaan has trapped you in one of his feeble ropes to drag you from the heat of this world to the heat of the Hellfire. Free yourself from his net and view the heat of the sun as a favor and not an affliction especially in that it reminds you of the intensity of the punishment of Allah which is many times greater than the heat you now feel. Return to the order of Allah and sacrifice this worldly comfort in the way of following the path of salvation from the Hellfire about which Allah says: They will neither feel coolness nor have any drink except that of boiling water and the discharge of dirty wounds. [Soorah An-Naba’ 78:24-25]

In summary: The Jannah is surrounded by hardships and toil, while Hellfire is surrounded by temptations, lusts and desires.

Excuse Five: I’m afraid that if I wear the hijaab I will put it off at another time because I have seen so many others do so!! To her I say: If everyone was to apply your logic then they would have left the Deen in its entirety! They would have left off salaat because some would be afraid of leaving it later. They would have left fasting in Ramadhan because so many are afraid of not doing it later, etc. Haven’t you seen how Shaitaan has trapped you in his snare again and blocked you from guidance? Allah ta’aala loves continuous obedience even if it be small or recommended. How about something that is an absolute obligation like wearing hijaab?! The prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: The most beloved deed with Allah is the consistent one though it be little.Why haven’t you sought out the causes leading those people to leave off the hijaab so that you can avoid them and work to keep away from them? Why haven’t you sought out reasons and causes to affirm truth and guidance until you can hold firm to them?

Among these causes is much supplication to Allah (du’aa) to make the heart firm upon the Deen as did the prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam). Also is making salaat and having mindfulness of it as Allah stated: And seek help in patience and the prayer and truly it is extremely heavy except for the true believers in Allah who obey Allah with full submission and believe in His promise of Jannah and in His warnings (Al-Khaashi’oon). [Soorah Al-Baqarah 2:45]

Other causes to put one upon guidance and truth is adherence to the laws of Islam and one of them is indeed wearing the hijaab. Allah said: If they had done what they were told, it would have been better for them and would have strengthened their faith. [Soorah Al-Baqarah 2:66]

In summary: If you hold tight to the causes of guidance and taste the sweetness of faith you will not neglect the orders of Allah after having held to them.

Excuse Six: If I wear the hijaab then nobody will marry me, so I’m going to leave it off until then. Any husband who desires that you be uncovered and adorned in public in defiance of and in disobedience to Allah, is not a worthy husband in the first place. He is a husband who has no feeling to protect what Allah has made inviolable, most notably yourself, and he will not help you in any way to enter Al-Jannah or escape from the Hellfire. A home which is founded upon disobedience to Allah and provocation of His anger is fitting that He decree misery and hardship for it in this life and in the Hereafter. As Allah stated: But whosoever turns away from My reminder (i.e. neither believes in the Qur’aan nor acts upon its teachings) verily for him is a life of hardship and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Resurrection. [Soorah Ta Ha 20:124]

Marriage is a favor and blessing from Allah to whom He give whom He wills. How many women who wear hijaab (mutahajibah) are in fact married while many who don’t aren’t? If you were to say that ‘..my being made-up and uncovered is a means to reach a pure end, namely marriage’, a pure goal or end is not attained through impure and corrupt means in Islam. If the goal is honorable then it must necessarily be achieved by pure and clean method. We say the rule in Islam is: The means are according to the rules of the intended goals.

In summary: There is no blessing in a marriage established upon sinfulness and corruption.

Excuse Seven: I don’t wear hijaab based on what Allah says: And proclaim the grace of your Rabb [Soorah Ad-Dhuhaa 93:11] How can I cover what Allah has blessed me with of silky soft hair and captivating beauty? So this sister of ours adheres to the Book of Allah and its commands as long as they coincide with her personal desires and understanding! She leaves behind those matters when they don’t please her. If this was not the case, then why doesn’t she follow the aayah: And do not show off their adornment except only that which is apparent [Soorah An-Noor 24:31] and the statement of Allah subhaanah: Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks all over their bodies [Soorah Al-Ahzaab 33:59]?

With this statement my sister you have now made a shari’ah (law) for yourself of what Allah ta’aala has strictly forbidden, namely beautification (at-tabarruj) and uncovering (as-sufoor), and the reason: Your lack of wanting to adhere to the order. The greatest blessing or favor that Allah has bestowed upon us is that of Eemaan (faith) and hidaayah (guidance) and among them is the Islamic hijaab. Why then do you not manifest and talk about this greatest of blessings given to you?

In summary:Is there a greater blessing and favor upon the woman than guidance and hijaab?

Excuse Eight: I know that hijaab is obligatory (waajib), but I will wear it when Allah guides me to do so. We ask this sister on what plans or steps she will undertake until she accepts this divine guidance? We know that Allah has in His wisdom made a cause or means for everything. That is why the sick take medicine to regain health, and the traveler rides a vehicle or an animal to reach his destination, and other limitless examples. Has this sister of ours seriously endeavored to seek true guidance and exerted the proper means to get it such as: Supplicating Allah sincerely as He stated: Guide us to the Straight Path. [Soorah Al- Faatihah 1:6]; Keeping company with the righteous good sisters- for they are among the best to assist her to guidance and to continue to point her to it until Allah guides her and increases her guidance and inspires her to further guidance and taqwaa. She would then adhere to the orders of Allah and wear the hijaab that the believing women are commanded to wear. I

n summary: If this sister was really serious about seeking guidance she would have exerted herself by the proper means to get it.

Excuse Nine: It’s not time for that yet. I’m still too young for wearing hijaab. I’ll do it when I get older and after I make Hajj! The Angel of Death my sister, is visiting and waiting at your door for the order of Allah ta’aala to open it on you at any moment in your life. Allah said: When their term comes, neither can they delay it nor can they advance it and hour (or a moment). [Soorah Al-An’aam 7:34].

Death my sister doesn’t discriminate between the young or the old and it may come while you are in this state of great sinfulness disobedience, fighting against the Lord of Honor with your uncovering and shameless adornment. My sister, you should race to obedience along with those others who race to answer the call of Allah tabaaraka wa ta’aala: Race with one another in hastening towards forgiveness from your Lord and Paradise the width whereof is as the width of the heavens and the earth. [Soorah Al-Hadeed 57:21]

Sister, don’t forget Allah or He will forget you by turning His mercy away from you in this life and the next. You are forgetting your own soul by not fulfilling the right of your soul to obey Allah and proper worship of Him. Allah stated about the hypocrites (Al- Munaafiqoon): And be not like those who forgot Allah and He caused them to forget their own selves. [Soorah Al-Hashr 59:19]

My sister wear the hijaab in your young age in opposition to the sinful deed because Allah is intense in punishment and will ask you on the Day of Resurrection about your youth and every moment of your life.

In summary: Stop presuming some future expectation in your life will indeed occur!! How can you guarantee your own life until tomorrow?

Excuse Ten: I’m afraid that if I wear Islamic clothing that I’ll be labeled as belonging to some group or another and I hate partisanship. My sister in Islam, there are only two parties in Islam, and they are both mentioned by Allah Almighty in His Noble Book. The first party is the party of Allah (hizbullah) that He gives victory to because of their obedience to His commands and staying away from what He has forbidden. The second party is the party of the accursed Shaitaan (hizbush-Shaitaan) which disobeys the Most Merciful and increase corruption in the earth. When you hold tight to and adhere to the commands of Allah, and among them is wearing the hijaab – you then become a part of the successful party of Allah. When you beautify and display your charms you are riding in the boat of Shaitaan and his friends and partners from among the hypocrites and the disbelievers and none worse could there be as friends. Don’t you see how you are running from Allah and to the Shaitaan, trading filth for good? Run instead my sister to Allah and follow His way: So flee to Allah (from His Torment to His mercy). Verily I (Muhammad) am a plain warner to you from Him. [Soorah Adh-Dhaariyaat 51:50]

The hijaab is a high form of worship that is not subject to the opinions of people and their orientations and choices because the one who legislated it is the Most Wise Creator.

In summary: In the way of seeking the pleasure of Allah and in hope of His Mercy and success in His Jannah and throw the statements of the devils among people and jinn against the wall! Hold tight to the legislation of Allah by your molars and follow the example of the striving and knowledgeable Mothers of the Believers and the female companions (radiallahu ‘anhum ajma’een)

In Conclusion: Your body is on display in the market of Shaitaan seducing the hearts of men. The hairstyles, the tight clothing showing every detail of your figure, the short dresses showing off your legs and feet, the showy, decorative and fragrant clothing all angers the Merciful and pleases the Shaitaan. Every day that passes while you are in this condition, distances you further from Allah and brings you closer to Shaitaan. Each day curses and anger are directed toward you from the heavens until you repent. Every day brings you closer to the grave and the Angel of Death is ready to capture your soul. Everyone shall taste death. And only on the Day of Resurrection shall you be paid your wages in full. And whoever is removed away from the Hellfire and admitted to Al-Jannah, is indeed successful. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception (a deceiving thing). [Soorah Aale ‘Imraan 3:185]

Get on the train of repentance my sister, before it passes by your station. Deeply consider my sister, what is happening today before tomorrow comes. Think about it, my sister – Now, before it is too late!

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THE VIRTUES OF HIJAB: TABAROOJ

By Dr. Salih as-Salih (understand-islam.net).

The second part of a lecture in which Shaykh Salih speaks in great detail about tabarooj which is an act of showing off by beautifying oneself in front of strangers in an improper place and manner.

In the name of Allah the most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. I testify that there is none worthy to be worshiped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah’s true slave and messenger.

The second part of the book of Hijab is related to Tabarooj.

1. First of all tabarooj is a disobedience to Allah and His Messenger, salla allahu alayhe wasalaam.

The one who disobeys Allah and His messenger can only harm himself and cannot in any way harm Allah.

The Messenger, salla allahu alayhe wasalaam said: “All of my followers will enter Al-Jannah (Paradise) except for those who refuse.” They said, “Oh Messenger, who will refuse?” He said, “Whoever obeys me will enter Paradise and whoever disobeys me is the one who refuses to enter it.” Sahih Al Bukhari.

Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported that the Prophet salla allahu alayhe wasalaam used to dislike ten kinds of behavior and he (Abdullah) mentions among them tabarooj by means of displaying beautification in an improper place (showing off to strangers, and is not so if the beautification is done for the husband).

2. Tabarooj is a grave, destructive sin.

Umaymah, the daughter of Ruqaiyyah, came to the Messenger of Allah salla allahu alayhe wasalaam to acknowledge the message of Islam and that he salla allahu alayhe wasalaam is the Messenger of Allah. The Prophet salla allahu alayhe wasalaam told her: “I give my acknowledgment that you must not set partners to worship besides Allah and that you don’t steal or commit fornication and adultery, that you don’t kill your child, that you don’t commit any falsehood before your hands and between your legs, that you don’t wail, and that you don’t make tabarooj like that of jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic era).” Related by Imaam Ahmed in his Musnad and al-Alama scholar Ahmed Shakir, may Allah’s mercy be upon him, said it’s chain of narration is good. He also said that ibn Katheer (yarhamok Allah) in his tafseer mentions this hadith saying that it’s chain of narration is good.

It is clear that the Prophet salla allahu alayhe wasalaam associated tabarooj with grave, destructive sin.

3. Tabarooj brings the curse and expulsion from the mercy of Allah.

The Messenger salla allahu alayhe wasalaam said: “There shall be in the latter part of my nation women who are dressed but in fact naked. On their heads are like that of (camel). Curse them for they are surely cursed.” Reported by At-Tabaraani and Shayhk Albaani yarhamok Allah said it is saheeh (authentic)

4. Tabarooj is an attribute of the people of Hell.

The Prophet salla allahu alayhe wasalaam said: “Of the people of Hell there are of two types of whom I have never seen, the one possessing whips like the tail of an ox and they flog people with them. The second one women who are naked despite being dressed who are seduced to wrong path and seduce others with their head like humps. These women will not get into Paradise or perceive it’s odor although it’s fragrance can be perceived in such and such distance.” Sahih Muslim

5. Tabarooj is darkness on the Day of Resurrection.

It is related that the Prophet salla allahu alayhe wasalaam said: “The parable of the woman who moves slow sweeping motion, trailing her beautified clothes, performing not for her husband is like darkness on the Day of Judgement. She has or comes with no light.” This hadith is related by Imaam at-Tirmidhi in his Sunnan and Shaykh Al-Baani yarhamok Allah said it is a weak hadith.

Abu Bakr ibn Arabi, may Allah’s mercy be upon him, said: “At-Tirmidhi related this hadith and said it is weak but its meaning is correct because the enjoyment in disobedience is in fact torture and suffering. The meaning indicates that this type of woman will come on the Day of Resurrection blacked in darkeness as if she physically originated in darkness. In contrast what happens to be difficult and painful in performance of obedient acts is enjoyment because of the reward awaiting those who obey Allah and His Messenger. Example: The odor of the mouth of a fasting Muslim may not be pleasant in this world, to Allah however it is better than the odor of musk because the Muslim has obeyed Allah and performed what is due upon Him from fasting. Similarly the woman wearing the hijab may be looked upon as reactional, old fashioned, a walking tent, etc. She is the winner on the Day of Resurrection and those who mock her put themselves on a dangerous road. They may be subjected to the wrath of Allah subhana wa ta’ala.”

6. The Prophet salla allahu alayhe wasalaam also described tabarooj as hypocrsy.

The Prophet salla allahu alayhe wasalaam said: “The best of your women is the affectionate, the fertile in productivity, the propetuous (favorable), the consultative, if they fear Allah. The most evil of your women are the Mutabarijaat (those who do tabarooj – display their beauty in the improper place), the Mutahayiilaat who strut and swagger and they are the hypocrites when those who enter paradise are like the kauf(sp?) crow (and this crow has red beak and red legs – this is an ____expression that indicates that few women enter Paradise because this kind of a crow is rare).” Reported by Al-Bayhaqi in his Sunnan and also reported by Abu Nu’eem with a reference to Abdullah ibn Mas’ud as the narrator.

7. Tabarooj is disgraceful.

The Prophet salla allahu alayhe wasalaam said: “Any woman who takes off her clothes in other than her husbands home (meaning to show off for an unlawful purpose) has broken the shield between her and Allah” Related by Imaam Ahmed and Al-Haqim said it is Saheeh according to the conditions of Imaam Muslim and Imaam Al-Bukhari.

In the Noble Qur’an, Allah azza wa jall says: “Oh Children of Adam! We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover yourselves (screen your private parts) and as an adornment; but the raiment of righteousness, that is better. Such are among the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of Allah, that they may remember (i.e. leave falsehood and follow truth)” 7:26

(V.7:26) It is said that the pagan Arabs in the Pre-Islamic Period of Ignorance used to do Tawaf (going round) of the Ka’bah in a naked state. So when Islam became victorious and Makkah was conquered, the pagans and the polytheists were forbidden to enter Makkah, and none was allowed to do Tawaf of the Ka’bah in a naked state.

If a woman does not fear Allah and uncovers her private parts then she is breaking the shield between her and Allah, the Most High and because she uncovered and dishonored herself and committed a treason with her husband, Allah will uncover her shield. She will be in a scandal.

8. Tabarooj is an unchaste and disgraceful sin.

The woman is awrah – source of attraction.

Her body is not be shown. To wear clothes that show off her body is disgraceful.

Allah the Most High, orders His slaves to stay away from disgraceful sins.

Allah azza wa jall says: “And when they commit a Fahishah (evil deed, going around the Ka’bah in naked state, and every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse), they say: “We found our fathers doing it, and Allah has commanded it on us.” Say: “Nay, Allah never commands Fahishah. Do you say of Allah what you know not?” 7:28

“Shaitan (Satan) threatens you with poverty and orders you to commit Fahsha (evild deeds, illegal sexual intercourse, sins); whereas Allah promises you Forgiveness from Himself and Bounty, and Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower.” 2:268

The Mutabarijaa (the one displaying her beauty in the improper place) is a sinful virus that spread disgraceful sins amongst the Muslim society.

Allah azza wa jall says: “Verily, those who like that (the crime of) illegal sexual intercourse should be propagated among those who believe, they will have a painful torment in this world and in the Hereafter. And Allah knows and you know not.” 24:19

Tabarooj is the leading cause of the spread of zina.

9. Tabarooj is a satanic way.

The story of Adam and his wife demonstrates how the enemy of Allah is so covetous to incite them to show their private parts in order to spread evil and disgraceful sins. It also shows that tabarooj of women is the primary goal of the shaytaan to achieve.

“Oh Children of Adam! We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover yourselves (screen your private parts) and as an adornment; but the raiment of righteousness, that is better. Such are among the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of Allah, that they may remember (i.e. leave falsehood and follow truth” 7:26

It is very clear that the shaytaan is the one who establish the call for tabarooj. He is the leader of those leaders who call for the liberation of women. Shaytaan is the imaam of everyone who follows him in disobedience to Allah the Most Merciful. Especially those Mustabarijaat who harm Muslims and deceive their youth.

The Prophet salla allahu alayhe wasalaam said: “I have not left after me any chance of turmoil more harmful to men then the harm done to men because of woman” Sahih Muslim.

Adam forgot, made a mistake, repented and repented to Allah and Allah accepted his repentance. The struggle between the children of Adam and the shaytaan continues. The devil still whispers to drive men and women to commit sin and there is no safeguard except to return to Allah in good faith and repentance and remembering Allah and asking for His help to overcome lust and desires.

10. Tabarooj is the way of the Jews.

Jews have an important role in the destruction of nations through fitna, through seduction and temptation of women.

The spread of tabarooj is an effective weapon of their widespread establishment. Who runs Hollywood and famous houses of fashions and magazines as well as advertisement?

The Prophet salla allahu alayhe wasalaam said: “Watch out for this worldy life (meaning safeguard yourselves from it’s temptations). Avoid the allurement of women. Verily the first trial of the people of Israel as caused by women.” Sahih Muslim

Their books testify to this fact. (*note from myself, Dr Salih as-Salih took from the American Bible. I did not have an American Bible so I took from the New American Standard Bible*)

In the third chapter of Isaiah 3: 16-23 16 “Moreover the Lord said, “Because the daughters of Zion are proud And walk with heads held high and seductive eyes, And go along with mincing steps And tinkle the bangles on their feet, 17 Therefore the Lord will afflict the scalp of the daughters of Zion with scabs, And the Lord will make their foreheads bare.” 18 In that day the Lord will take away the beauty of their anklets, headbands, crescent ornaments, 19 Dangling earrings, bracelets, veils, 20 headdresses, ankle chains, sashes, perfume, boxes, amulets, 21 finger rings, nose rings, 22 festal robes, outer tunics, cloaks, money purses 23 hand mirrors, undergarments, turbans, and veils.” New American Standard Bible

The Prophet salla allahu alayhe wasalaam warned against the mimicking of the Kufaar women.

He salla allahu alayhe wasalaam said: “You would tread the same path as was trodden as those before you. Inch by inch and step by step so that if they had entered the hole of a desert lizard, you would follow them in this also.” We said, “Allah’s Messenger, do you mean the Jews and the Christians by these words?”. He salla allahu alayhe wasalaam said, “Who else than those two groups?.”

The similarity of those women who disobey Allah and His Messenger to the Jews is very evident because their response to the command of Allah was similar to that of the Jews who said in Qur’an 2:93 “We have heard and disobeyed.” This is unlike the response of the believing woman. The believing woman’s response as in Qur’an 2:85 “We hear and we obey.”

They remember the saying of Allah: “And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger (Muhammad salla Allahu alayhe wasalaam) after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers’ way, We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell — what an evil destination!” 4:115

11. Tabarooj is a filthy jahiliyyah (filthy ignorace)

Allah subhana wa ta’ala says in “And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance.” 33:33

The Prophet Muhammad salla allahu alayhe wasalaam described the times of ignorance as filthy and wicked and ordered us to reject it.

Allah subhana wa ta ala described the Prophet Muhammad salla allahu alayhe wasalaam as: “.. he allows them as lawful At-Tayyibat (i.e. all good and lawful as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons, foods), and prohibits them as unlawful Al-Khaba’ith (all evil and unlawful as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons, and foods.” 7:157

The call to bring about jahiliyyah is similar to the call to bring about tabarooj. Both of which are wicked ways that the Prophet salla allahu alayhe wasalaam made unlawful.

He salla allahu alayhe wasalaam said: “Verily every matter of jahiliyyah is under my feet.” Abu Dawood, at-Tirmidhi, Imaam Ahmed.

Tabarooj and all forms of jahiliyyah such as false pride, haughtiness, ill thoughts about Allah, call for falsehood, setting up rivals with Allah, ruling by other than laws of Allah, etc are all included.

12. Tabarooj is an animal act, retardation, decadence, and decline.

To reveal and expose are natural behaviors of animals. Whenever man inclines towards such behaviors he starts his decline to levels lower than the level of manhood which Allah bestowed upon him.

Allah bestowed a natural inclination (fitrah) upon him towards covering, preservation, and safeguarding modesty.

To consider the acts of display, exposition, as an act of beauty reflects a corruption to the fitrah and a degeneration to taste and sign of decadence and decline.

The progress of man’s civility is linked to his or her covering of the body.

The hijab cover is fitting to the instinct of ghiyrrah which gathers its strength from the soul. The so-called liberation from the chains of covering is an instinct that draws its straight from lust which incite tabarooj and mixing of the sexes.

The one who is satisfied with this latter instinct must sacrifice the first one in order to silence the voice of the innate ghiyrrah in his heart in return for the so-called enjoyment of tabarooj and mixing.

From this we gather that tabarooj is a sign of corruption of fitrah, lack of bashfulness, ghiyrrah, and insensitivity.

13. Tabarooj is the door to widespread evil.

Anyone who carefully studies the Islamic text from the Qur’an and the authentic Sunnah and examines the lessons history becomes convinced of the evil of tabarooj and it’s harm both on religious and worldy manners especially when it is associated with the mixing of the sexes. Some of it’s underlying consequences are:

1. The competition among the displaying women in showing off their beauty. This is seduction and leads to the spoiling of morality. It leaves the woman as merchandise articles, exhibited for anyone to look at.

2. The corruption of the morality of men especially the youth and adolescents. It pushes them to commit various kinds of sins. Many try to hide from facts. The drive for drugs and materialistic life became the objective of the new generation.

3. The destruction of family ties and causing a lack of trust between family members and the spread of divorce.

4. The commercial abuse of women in the world advertisement, entertainment and other areas as well.

5. Doing harm to women by declaring their ill intentions and evil conscience thus rendering her vulnerable to harm by the wicked.

6. The spread of diseases.

The Prophet salla allahu alayhe wasalaam said: “Sins did not spread in any particular nation until they openly conducted and as a result plague and other illnesses that were not present among their predecessors became widespread amongst them.”

7. Facilitates the sin of zina (fornication by the eye).

The Prophet salla allahu alayhe wasalaam said: “The adultery of the eyes is the lustful look.” Sahih Muslim.

8. Tabarooj makes it difficult to lower the gaze.

9. Tabarooj testifiably brings down the punishment of Allah. Allah is more severe than earthquakes.

Allah azza wa jall says: “And when We decide to destroy a town (population), We (first) send a definite order (to obey Allah and be righteous) to those among them [or We (first) increase in number those of its population] who lead a life of luxury. Then, they transgress therein, and thus the word (of torment) is justified against it (them). Then We destroy it with complete destruction.” 17:16

The Prophet salla allahu alayhe wasalaam said: “When people see wrong or evil and they don’t change it then it is imminent that the punishment of Allah will fall upon them” Reported by Abu Dawood and some others.

And Allah knows best.

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HIJAB: THE VIEW FROM INSIDE

By Khaula Nakata (Yamaguchi City, Japan)

Courtesy of Hamdard Islamicus Vol. XXIII. No. 2 and Daily News, April 12th, 1999

A person blinded by prejudice may not see it, but a woman in hijab is as brightly beautiful as an angel, full of self-confidence, serenity and dignity. No signs of oppression scar her face. When I returned to Islam, the religion of our inborn nature, a fierce debate raged about girls observing hijab at schools in France. It still does. The majority, it seemed, thought that wearing the headscarf was contrary to the principle that public – that is state-funded – schools should be neutral with regards to religion. Even as a non-Muslim, I could not understand why there was such a fuss over such a small thing as a scarf on a Muslim student’s head. Muslims contributed a proportionate amount of tax to the state funds. In my opinion, schools could respect religious beliefs and practices of students as long as they did not disrupt the school routine, nor pose a threat to discipline. However, the French faced, apparently, increasing unemployment and they felt insecure about the immigration of Arab workers and the sight of hijab in their towns and schools aggravated their sense of insecurity. More and more young people in Arab countries were (and are) wearing hijab, despite the expectations of many Arabs as well as non-Arabs that it would disappear as Western secularism took root in Arab societies. Such a revival of Islamic practices is often regarded as an attempt by Muslims to restore their pride and identity, both undermined by colonialism. In Japan, it may be seen and understood as conservative traditionalism, or a result of anti-Western feelings, something which the Japanese themselves experienced following the first contact with Western culture during the Meiji era: they too reacted against a non-traditional lifestyle and Western dress. There is a tendency in people to be conservative in their ways and to react against anything new and unfamiliar without taking the time to see if it is good or bad.

Western Feelings

The feeling still persists amongst non-Muslims that Muslim women wear hijab because they are slaves to tradition, so much so that it is seen as a symbol of oppression. Women’s liberation and independence is, so they believe, impossible unless they first remove the hijab. Such a naivete is shared by “Muslims” with little or no knowledge of Islam. Being so used to secularism and religious eclecticism, pick and mix, they are unable to comprehend that Islam is universal and eternal. This apart, women all over the world, non-Arabs, are embracing Islam and wearing hijab as a religious requirement, not out of a misdirected sense of “tradition”. I am but one example of such women. My hijab is not a part of my racial or traditional identity, it has no social or political significance, it is purely and simply, my religious identity. For non-Muslims, hijab not only covers a woman’s hair, but also hides something, leaving them no access. They are being excluded from something which they have taken for granted in secular society. I have been wearing hijab since I embraced Islam in Paris. “The exact form of hijab varies according to the country one is in, or the degree of the individual’s religious awareness. In France I wore a simple scarf which matched my dress and perched lightly on my head so that it was almost fashionable. Now in Saudi Arabia, I wear an all-covering black cape; not even my eyes are visible. Thus, I have experienced hijab from its simplest to its most complete form. What does hijab mean to me? Although there have been many books and articles about hijab, they always tend to be written from an outsider’s point of view. I hope this will allow me to explain what I observe as an insider, so to speak. When I decided to declare my Islam, I did not think whether I could pray five times a day or wear hijab. Maybe I was scared that if I gave it serious thought I would, reach a negative conclusion, and that would affect my decision to become Muslim. Until I visited the main mosque in Paris, I had nothing to do with Islam – neither the prayers nor hijab were familiar to me. In fact, both were unimaginable, but my desire to become a Muslim was too strong (God be praised) for me to be overly concerned with what awaited me on the “other side” of my conversion.

The Benefits

The benefits of observing hijab became clear to me following a lecture at the mosque when I kept my scarf on even after leaving the building. The lecture had filled me with such a previously unknown spiritual satisfaction that I simply did not want to remove it. Because of the cold weather, I did not attract too much attention but I did feel different, somehow purified and protected; I felt as if I was in Allah’s company. As a foreigner in Paris I sometimes felt uneasy being stared at by men. In my hijab I went unnoticed, protected from impolite stares. My hijab made me happy; it was both a sign of my obedience to Allah and a manifestation of my faith. I did not need to utter beliefs, the hijab stated them clearly for all to see, especially fellow Muslims, and thus it helped to strengthen the bonds of sisterhood in Islam. Wearing the hijab soon became spontaneous, albeit purely voluntary. No human being could force me to wear it; if they had, perhaps I would have rebelled and rejected it. However, the first Islamic book I read used very moderate language in this respect, saying that “Allah recommends it (hijab) strongly” and since Islam (as the word itself indicates) means we are to obey Allah’s will, I accomplished my Islamic duties willingly and without difficulty, Alhamdulillah. [all praise is to God] Hijab reminds people who see it that God exists, and it serves as a constant reminder to me that I should conduct myself as a Muslim. Just as police officers are more professionally aware while in uniform, so I had a stronger sense of being a Muslim wearing my hijab. Two weeks after my return to Islam. I went back to Japan for a family wedding and took the decision not to return to my studies in France; French literature had lost its appeal and the desire to study Arabic had replaced it. As a new Muslim, with very little knowledge of Islam, it was a big test for me to live in a small town in Japan completely isolated from Muslims. However, this isolation intensified my Islamic consciousness, as I realised that I was not alone and Allah was with me. I had abandoned many of my clothes and with some help from a friend who knew dressmaking, I made some pantaloons, similar to Pakistani dress, I was not bothered by the strange looks the people gave me.

Visit to Cairo

After six months in Japan, my desire to study Arabic grew so much that I decided to go to Cairo where I knew someone. None of my host family there spoke English or Japanese and the lady who took my hand to lead me into the house was covered from head to toe in black. Even her face was covered. Although this is now familiar to me here in Riyadh, I remember being surprised at that time, recalling an incident in France when I had seen such a dress and thought, “There is a woman enslaved by the Arabian tradition, unaware of real Islam”, (which I believed taught that covering the face was not necessary, but an ethnic tradition). I wanted to tell the lady in Cairo that she was exaggerating her dress, that it was unnatural and abnormal. Instead, I was told that my self-made dress was not suitable to go out in, something I disagreed with since I understood that it satisfied the requirements for a Muslimah. [female Muslim]. But (acting on the dictum), when in Rome (do as the Romans do) … I bought some cloth and made a long dress, called khimar which covered the loins and the arms completely. I was even ready to cover my face, something most of the sisters with whom I became acquainted did. They were, though, a small minority in Cairo. Generally speaking, young Egyptians, more or less fully Westernised, kept their distance from women wearing khimar and called them “sisters”. Men treated us with respect and special politeness. Women wearing a khimar shared a sisterhood which lived up to the Prophet’s saying (Allah’s Blessings and peace on Him) that “a Muslim greets the person he passes by in the street, whether he knows him or not”. The sisters were, it is probably true to say, more conscious of their faith than those who wear scarves for the sake of custom, rather than for the sake of Allah. Before becoming Muslimah, my preference was for active pant-style clothes, not the more feminine skirts, but the long dress I wore in Cairo pleased me. I felt elegant and more relaxed. In the Western sense, black is a favourite colour for evening wear as it accentuates the beauty of the wearer. My new sisters were truly beautiful in their black khimar, and a light akin to saintliness shone from their faces. Indeed, they are not unlike Roman Catholic nuns, something I noticed particularly when I had occasion to visit Paris soon after arriving in Saudi Arabia. In the same Metro carriage I sat across a nun and I smiled at our similarity of dress. Hers was the symbol of her devotion to God, as is that of a Muslimah. I often wonder why people say nothing about the veil of the Catholic nun but criticise vehemently the veil of a Muslimah, regarding it as a symbol of “terrorism” and “oppression”. I did not mind abandoning colourful clothes in favour of black; in fact, I had always had a sense of longing for the religious lifestyle of a nun even before becoming a Muslimah.

Lack of Understanding

Nevertheless, I balked at the suggestion that I should wear my khimar back in Japan. I was angry at the sister’s lack of understanding: Islam commands us to cover our bodies, and as long as this is done, one may dress as desired. Every society has its own fashions and such long black clothes in Japan could make people think I was crazy, and reject Islam even before I could explain its teaching. Our argument revolved around this aspect. After another six months in Cairo, however, I was so accustomed to my long dress that I started to think that I would wear it on my return to Japan. My concession was that I had some dresses made in light colours, and some white khimars, in the belief that they would be less shocking in Japan than the black variety. I was right. The Japanese reacted rather well to my white khimars, and they seemed to be able to guess that I was of a religious persuasion. I heard one girl telling her friend that I was a Buddhist nun; how similar a Muslimah, a Buddhist nun and Christian nun are. Once, on a train, an elderly man sitting next to me asked why I was dressed in such an unusual fashion. When I explained that I was a Muslimah and that Islam commands women to cover their bodies so as not to trouble men who are weak and unable to resist temptation, he seemed impressed. When he left the train he thanked me and said that he would have liked more time to speak to me about Islam.

Means of Identification

In this instance, hijab prompted a discussion on Islam with a Japanese man who might not normally be inclined to talking about religion. As in Cairo, hijab acted as a means of identification between Muslims; I found myself on the way to a study circle wondering if I was on the right route when I saw a group of sisters wearing hijab. We greeted each other with salaam and went on to the meeting together. My father was worried when I went out in long sleeves and head cover even in the hottest weather, but I found that my hijab protected me from the sun. As a matter of fact, it was I who felt uneasy looking at my younger sister’s legs while she wore short pants. I have often been embarrassed even before declaring Islam, by the sight of women’s bosoms and hips clearly outlined by tight, thin clothing. I felt as if I was seeing something I was not supposed to see. If such a sight embarrasses me, one of the same sex, it is not difficult to imagine the effect on men. In Islam, men and women are commanded to dress modestly and not be naked in public, even in all male or all female situations. It is clear that what is acceptable to be bared in society varies according to social or individual understanding. For example in Japan fifty years ago it was considered vulgar to swim in a swimming suit but now bikinis are the norm. If, however, a woman swam topless she would be regarded shameless. To go topless on the south coast of France, however, is the norm. On some beaches in America, nudists lie as naked as they were born. If a nudist were to ask a liberated female who rejects hijab why she still covers her bosom and hips which are as natural as her hands and face, could she give an honest answer? The definition to what part of women’s body should remain private to her is altered to suit the whims and fancies of either men or their surrogates, the so-called feminists. But in Islam we have no such problem; Allah has defined what may and may not be bared which we observe.

No Sense of Shame

The way people walk around naked (or almost so), excreting or making love in public, robs them of the sense of shame and reduces them to the status of animals. In Japan, women wear make-up only when they go out and have little regard for how they look at home. In Islam a wife will try to look beautiful for her husband and her husband will try to look good for his wife. There is modesty even between husband and wife and this embellishes the relationship. Muslims are accused of being over-sensitive about the human body, but the degree of sexual harassment which occurs these days justifies modest dress. Just as a short skirt can send the signal that the wearer is available to men, so hijab signals loud and clear: “I am forbidden for you.” The Prophet (Allah’s Blessings and Peace be on Him), once asked his daughter, Fatimah (R.A.), [may Allah be pleased with her], “What is the best for a women”. And she replied “Not to see men and not be seen by them”. The Prophet (Allah’s Blessings and Peace be on Him), was pleased and said: “You are truly my daughter.” This shows that it is preferable for a woman to stay at home and avoid contact with male strangers as much as possible. Observing hijab when one goes out has the same effect. Having married (a Japanese Muslim), I left Japan for Saudi Arabia, where it is customary for women to cover their faces outdoors. I was impatient to try the naqab (face cover) and curious to know how it felt. Of course non-Muslim women generally wear black cloak, rather nonchalantly thrown over their shoulder but do not cover their faces. Non-Saudi Muslim women also often keep their faces uncovered. Once accustomed to the naqab, it is certainly not inconvenient. In fact I felt like the owner of a secret masterpiece, a treasure which you can neither know about, nor see. Whereas non-Muslims may think they are life imitating caricatures when they see Muslim couples walk in the streets, the oppressed and oppressor, the possessed, and the possessor, the reality is that the women feel like queens being led by servants. My first naqab left my eyes uncovered. But in winter I wore a fine eye-covering as well. All the feelings of unease when a man’s eye met mine disappeared. As with sunglasses, the visual intrusion of strangers was prevented.

Effect of Judgement

It is an error of judgement to think that a Muslim woman covers herself because she is a private possession of her husband. In fact she preserves her dignity and refuses to be possessed by a stranger. It is non-Muslim (and “liberated” Muslim) women who are to be pitied for displaying their private self for all to see. Observing hijab from outside, it is impossible to see what it hides. “The gap, between being outside and looking in, and being inside and looking out, explains in part the void in the understanding of Islam. An outsider may see Islam as restricting Muslims. Inside, however, there is peace, freedom, and joy which those who experience it have never known before becoming practising Muslims, whether those born in Muslim families or those returned to Islam, choose Islam rather than the illusory freedom of secular life. If it oppresses women, why are so many well educated young .women in Europe, America, Japan, Australia indeed all over the world, abandoning the so-called “liberty” and “independence” and embracing Islam? A person blinded by prejudice may not see it, but a woman in hijab is as brightly beautiful as an angel, full of self-confidence, serenity and dignity. No signs of oppression scar her face. “For indeed it is not the eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts within the bosoms, that grow blind,” says the Qur’an (Al-Hajj XXII:46). How else can we explain the great gap in understanding between us and such people? –

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RULING ON SHOULDER ABAYAHS

Taken from Al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah li’l-Buhooth wa’l-Fataawa

Question: What is the ruling on wearing the kind of abayah that comes from the shoulders?

Answer: Praise be to Allaah.

The abayah that comes from the shoulders is not the kind of dress prescribed in sharee’ah that the Muslim woman should wear, because the ‘abayah that is prescribed in sharee’ah should cover the entire body from head to toe; this is more like the jilbab that Allaah enjoined in the verse (interpretation of the meaning): “O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks [Jalaabeeb pl. of jilbaab] (veils) all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allaah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” [al-Ahzaab 33:59]

The jilbaab is a cloak that is worn over the head cover (khimaar), like an abayah. It was narrated that Umm Salamah said: “When the verse ‘to draw their cloaks [Jalaabeeb pl. of jilbaab] (veils) all over their bodies’ was revealed, the women of the Ansaar came out looking as if there were crows on their heads, because of their outer garments.” (Narrated by Abu Dawood, 4101; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 3456)

‘Aa’ishah also described the woman’s jilbaab as coming from her head, as she said: “The riders would pass us when we were with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in ihraam. When they came close, each of us would lower her jilbaab from her head over her face, and when they went away we would uncover (our faces).” (Narrated by Abu Dawood, 1833; Ibn Maajah, 2935. al-Albaani said: its isnaad is jayyid, in Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 2690)

In addition to that, wearing the abayah coming from the shoulders involves imitating men, because this is what men do, not what women do.

The following question was submitted to the Standing Committee: In recent times a kind of ‘abayah which shows the shape of the body and is tight has become popular; it is composed of two light layers of thin material, and it has wide sleeves and embroidery and designs, and it is worn coming from the shoulders. What is the Islamic ruling on this kind of abayah? Please advise us, may Allaah reward you.

After studying the matter, the Committee answered that the ‘abayah which is Islamically acceptable for women is the “jilbaab”, which is what fulfils the aims of sharee’ah, namely complete covering and avoiding fitnah (temptation). Based on this, the woman’s abayah must meet the following conditions:

1 – It must be made of thick material that does not show what is underneath, and it should not cling to the body.

2 – It should cover the entire body, and be loose enough so that it does not show the shape.

3 – It should be open from the front only, and the sleeve openings should be narrow.

4 – It should not have any adornment that attracts attention, so it must be free of designs, decorations, writing and symbols.

5 – It should not resemble the dress of kaafir women, or men.

6 – The ‘abayah should come down from the top of the head.

Based on the above, the kind of abayah mentioned in the question is not the kind of abayah that is prescribed for women in sharee’ah, so it is not permissible to wear it, because it does not meet the necessary conditions. It is also not permissible to wear any other kind of ‘abayah that does not meet the necessary conditions, or to import them, manufacture them, sell them or distribute them among the Muslims, because this is a kind of cooperating in sin and transgression, and Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allaah. Verily, Allaah is Severe in punishment” [al-Maa’idah 5:3]

The Committee has stated that and has advised the believing women to fear Allaah and to cover their entire bodies with the jilbaab and khimaar from non-mahram men, in obedience to Allaah and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and so as to avoid the causes of fitnah and temptation.

And Allaah is the Source of strength. May Allaah send blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions.

4 thoughts on “Hijab”

  1. i read about hijaab and experiences of different muslim women from all over the world. I felt proud that inspite of so much distractions and everything, still there are people who have the urge to be on the right path and to be firm on our islam. After all we love ALLAH who has created us and blessed us. I supplicate Allah to guide us on right path and MAY WE BE ABLE TO UPHOLD THE NAME OF OUR ALLAH AND PROPHET(PBUH)

  2. jazakallah!
    really helpful may Allah grant all those young muslimah and women to wear their Hijaab openly.
    Ameen

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