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WOMEN'S DRESS IN THE QUR'AN

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(bismillah)

WOMEN'S DRESS IN THE QUR'AN

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WHY SHOULD WOMEN COVER CERTAIN PARTS OF THEIR BODIES ?

Women have been identified in the Qur'an as a "zeenah" i.e. adornment and beauty for all

mankind.

"Adorned for the people are the worldly pleasures, such as the women, having children, piles upon piles of gold and silver, trained horses, livestock, and crops. These are the materials of this world.

A far better abode is reserved with Allah." (3:14)

Since women are termed an adornment or attraction (zeenah), they are required to cover certain parts of their bodies. Note that a woman being an adornment for mankind is quite evident all over the world in all societies. The media is one example were she is quite abundantly promoted and made as an attraction in place of men. Now since women are an open attraction to mankind because of their bodily features, she is required to cover some parts of herself in public. But before we see what are the physical ingredients of her dress, let us see what Qur'an identifies as the best dress.

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WHAT IS THE BEST DRESS ?

"O Children of Adam ! Surely We have sent down to you a garment that would cover your shame and be a good vesture. And the garment of Piety <taqwa> that is the best. That is from the Ayat (Signs) of Allah that they may take reminder." (7:26)

Above verse says that the best dress is the garment of "taqwa" or piety. Before wearing any physical garment we should adorn ourselves with the garment of "taqwa" as without it we become prone to the vile intentions of satanic people. (see 7:27)

INGREDIENTS OF WOMENS DRESS IN PUBLIC

The areas of body which are to be covered by women in public, are mentioned in 24:31. Allah informs us through His messenger:

"Wa qul lilmumina_ti yagdudna min absa_rihin na wa yahfazna furu_jahun na wa la_ yubdina zinatahun na il la_ ma_ zahara minha_ wal yadribna bikhumurihin na ala_ juyu_bihin na wa la_ yubdina zinatahun na ila_ libuu_latihin na au a_ba_ ihin na au a_ba_i buu_latihin na au abna_ ihin na au abna_i buu_latihin na au ikhwa_nihin na au bani ihwa_nihin na au bani ahwa_tihin na au nisa_ ihin na au ma_ malakat aima_nuhun na awit ta_ bi ina ghairil ulil irbati minar rija_li awit tiflil lazina lamyaz haru_ ala_ aura_tin nisa_i wala_ yadrib na biarjulihin na liyulama ma_ yukhfina min zinatihin na wa tu_bu_ ilal la_hi jamian ay yuhal muminu_na la'al lakum tuflihu_"

"And say to the Believing Women,to lower their gaze and guard their private parts. And they should not display their adornment <zinatahunne> save what is apparent therefrom. And they should place their covers <khummerehenne> over their bossoms. And they should not display their adornment except to their husbands or their fathers or the fathers of their husbands or their sons or the sons of their husbands or their brothers or their brother's sons or sister's sons` or their women or those whom their right hands posses or Those under their authority other than skillfull men or small children who are not aware of women's nakedness. And they should not strike their feet so as to make known what they hide of their adornment. O Believers turn you all together to Allah so that you may be successful."(24:31)

From the above verse the following points are derived: 1. Women have two types of "zeenah" i.e. beauty and adornment. (a) "ma zahara minha" What is already apparent from their adornment and beauty. (B) "ma yukhfaina min zinata hunne" That which is hidden from their adornment. 2. She is to cover her whole self publicly except those areas which are apparent from her adornment. <ma zahara minha> These areas are the exposed areas which if covered will restrict daily work and have to be uncovered for performing ablution. (see 5:6). The other type of <zeenah> or adornment of a woman identified in the above verse is that which has been called as "ma yukhfaina min zinata hunne" That which is hidden from their adornment. This type of adornment is the one which becomes apparent when a woman strikes her feet or walks. Allah has ordered that this type of adornment be covered at all times. Thus the dress should be loose enough so as not to reveal the shape and features of the body which get

obvious when the woman strikes her feet or walks.

3. They are to place their covers or shrouds over their bosoms.<wa le yazribanne be khummureheene a'laa jyuub'ehenne> In Sura 33:59 they are also ordered to bring over them their over garments <jalabeeb> while going in public:

"O Nabi! Say to your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers that they bring their over-garments nearer to themselves (while in public); this will be more proper, that they may be recognised, and thus they will not be given trouble; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful." (33:59)

In public she is to take "Jilbaab" or over garment over herself according to above verse.

4. With her bosoms covered well, and dress loose enough so as not to reveal her hidden adornment, she is to maintain this type of dress in public in front of all relations. The only exceptions are: (1) Husband

(2) Fathers (Includes Grandparents as well).

(3) The Fathers of their husbands.

(4) Their sons.

(5) The sons of their husbands.

(6) Their brothers.

(7) Their brother's sons.

(8) Their sister's sons`.

(9) Their women.

(10) Those whom their right hands posses.

(11) Those under their authority other than skillfull men.

(12) Small children who are not aware of women's nakedness.

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HOW ARE BELIEVING WOMEN TO BEHAVE WITH UN RELATED MEN ?

In talking with un related men or strangers the believing women are informed about the type of behaviour they should maintain.Allah informs us through the Nabi:

"O Women of the Nabi! You are not like any other of the women; If you will be on your guard, then be not soft in (your) speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease yearn; and speak a recognised utterence." (33:32)

"NIQAB" NOT MANDATORY

While identifying the parts of a woman’s body which should be covered, the Qur’an also gives us evidence to refute the claim of those who associate "Niqab" (Veils, face covers) as an ingredient of a women’s dress code ordained by Allah.

THE EXAMPLE OF MARY Mary the mother of Jesus (p) is mentioned in the Qur'an as the woman

chosen and purified above all the women of all the worlds.

"And when the angels said: O Mary! surely Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of all the worlds." (3:42)

She has been called as an example for the believers and her conduct is called to exemplify:

"And Allah sets forth an example to those who believe . . . Mary, the daughter of Imran, who guarded her chastity, so We breathed into her of Our inspiration and she accepted the truth of the words of her Sustainer and His books, and she was of, the obedient ones. (66:11-12)

In observing her behavior mentioned in the Qur'an, we see that as she appears from seclusion with young Jesus, her people recognised her. Now had she been wearing a "Niqab" to cover her face, her people would not have identified her immediately as she had appeared from seclusion. This informs us that she was not covering her face i.e. not wearing a "Niqab", as mentioned in the following verses:

"And she came to her people with him, carrying him (with her). They (having recognized her) said: ‘O Mary! surely you have done a strange thing. O sister of Haroon! your father was not a bad man, nor, was your mother an unchaste woman.’ But she pointed to him. They said: ‘How should we speak to one who was a child in the cradle?’ He (Jesus) said: ‘Surely I am a servant of Allah; He has given me the Book and made me a Nabi." (19:27-30)

Mary's recognition by her people indicates that she was not wearing a "Niqab" to protect her face from being seen. In the Qur'an there is further evidence which negates the practice of wearing "Niqab". After Allah informs Nabi (SAW) about marriage with certain relations He further reminds:

"It is not allowed to you to take women afterwards, nor that you should change them for other wives, though their beauty be pleasing to you, except what your right hand possesses and Allah is Watchful over all things." (33:52)

In the above verse it is clearly mentioned that Nabi (SAW) was also in a position to see the "Husn" i.e. Beauty of women and this clearly establishes that women not related to the Nabi did not wear "Niqab" or veils to cover their faces when they used to appear in front of him. We must realize that attributing anything to Allah which He has not ordained is a very serious action on our part. Allah has informed us through His messenger that attributing anything to Allah which He did not made as an obligation is "haraam" i.e Forbidden, as the following verse states:

"Say: Surely my Sustainer has prohibited (made haraam) indecencies, those of them that are apparent as well as those that are concealed, and sin and rebellion without justice, and that you associate with Allah that for which He has not sent down any authority, and that you say against Allah what you do not know." (7:33)

"Niqab" has not been made mandatory by any verse of the Qur’an, it is a cultural practice of pagan tribes and unbelievers. The Qur’an also identifies unbelievers who used to cover them selves up with their garments. Allah informs us through Noah:

"And whenever I have called them that Thou mayest forgive them, they put their fingers in their ears, cover themselves with their garments, and persist and are puffed up with pride." (71:7)

We should strive to in-form and re-form our selves through Qur’anic guidance.

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CAN WOMEN TALK TO MEN TO WHOM THEY ARE NOT RELATED (NOT MARRIED) ?

UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES ?

In the Qur'an we have the example of Moses (p) as he is shown to hold a conversation with two women who are not married to him yet. This conversation clearly indicates that women can talk to men who are not related to them, provided it is for important tasks only and not complacent speech, as complacency in speech is not allowed by verse 33:32. The following verses identify the conversation of Moses with the two women who are not related to him.

"And when he came to the water of Madyan, he found on it a group of men watering, and he found besides them two women keeping back (their flocks). He said: What is the matter with you? They said: We cannot water until the shepherds take away (their sheep) from the water, and our father is a very old man. So he watered (their sheep) for them, then went back to the shade and said: My Sustainer! surely I stand in need of whatever good Thou mayest send down to me. Then one of the two women came to him walking bashfully. She said: My father invites you that he may give you the reward of your having watered for us. So when he came to him and gave to him the account, he said: Fear not, you are secure from the unjust people." (28:23-25)

The above example which depicts the conversation of a messenger of Allah with two un-married girls is a clear indicator that women can talk with men who are un related to them provided it is for important tasks only and is done within the limits ordained by Allah.

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CAN WOMEN WORK TO EARN A LIVING ?

Although the responsibility to provide for the family has been laid upon the man, but if required,women can also work to make a living:

"Do not covet what Allah has favored some with more than He has some others.Men have a share in what they earn and women have a share in what they earn. And ask Allah for His favours.

Surely Allah has knowledge of everything." (4:32)

RESPECTING THE PRIVACY OF OTHERS- MEETING PEOPLE WITH PERMISSION

"O you who believe! Do not enter houses other than your own houses UNTIL YOU HAVE ASKED PERMISSION and saluted their inmates; this is better for you, that you may be mindful. But if you do not find any one therein, then do not enter them until permission is given to you; and if it is said to you: Go back, then go back; this is purer for you; and Allah is Cognizant of what you do." (24:27-28)

BELIEVING MEN TO MAINTAIN PROPER CONDUCT AS WELL

"Say to the believing men that they cast down their looks and guard their chastity; that is purer for them; surely Allah is Aware of what they do." (24:30)

The believers guard their chastity, this trait of theirs is further clarified in Sura 23;

"Successful indeed are the Believers. Those who are humble in their Salat. And who keep aloof from what is vain. And who give Zakat, and who guard their chastity. Except before their mates or those whom their right hands possess (i.e with whom they are married), for they surely are not blameable. But whoever seeks to go beyond that, these are they that exceed the limits;" (23:1-7)

From the verses the dress code can be summed up as follows;

Dress should be loose enough so that the obvious parts of the body are not made apparent with a woman's movement. (24:31)

An extra covering (khummar) should be taken over the bosoms. (24:31)

Only those parts which are already apparent from a woman's adornment, i.e. those areas which are obvious whether a woman walks or remains still..<ma zahara minha> (24:31) are to be kept exposed.

While talking should not be too complaisant in speech. (33:32)

Should not bedeck herself too much as she is already made <zeenah> an adornment for mankind. (33:33) & (3:14)

One important reason that the Qur'an gives as to why should believing women maintain a proper dress code is given in (33:59) <zalika adna ayyu'rafna fa lla yuzaina> "That (dress code should be maintained) so that they may be recognized and should not be molested."

WHAT ABOUT THE TRADITION OF HEADCOVERS AND VEILS ?

The headcovers are clearly mentioned not in the Qur'an but in the BIBLE as St.Paul's instructions;

"But every Women who prays or prophesies with HER HEAD UNCOVERED dishonors her head,for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved.For if a woman is not covered let her also be shorn But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved LET HER BE COVERED." (1 Corinthians 11:5-6)

Also traditional Jewish teachings have the type of dress that is famous today among many women i.e. only the eyes showing. Ity should be noted that in the Qur'an we are also informed about some unbelievers who are 'covering themselves up with garments' . Can you identify these people ?

"Behold! they fold up their hearts that they may lie hid from Him! Ah even when they COVER THEMSELVES WITH THEIR GARMENTS He knoweth what they conceal and what they reveal: for He knoweth well the (inmost secrets) of the hearts" (11:5)

"And whenever I have called them that Thou (Allah) mayest forgive them, they put their fingers in their ears, COVER THEMSELVES UP WITH THEIR GARMENTS, and persist and are puffed up with pride:" (71:7)

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O Allah! Guide us to your straight path! The path of those who have your blessing, not those who qualify themselves for your punishment and nor those who are astray!

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Source is geted 4rm SYED ALI KASHAN RIZVI

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Guest Burqa N Purdah

(bismillah) (salam)

2. She is to cover her whole self publicly except those areas which are apparent from her adornment. <ma zahara minha> These areas are the exposed areas which if covered will restrict daily work and have to be uncovered for performing ablution. (see 5:6).
They are to place their covers or shrouds over their bosoms.<wa le yazribanne be khummureheene a'laa jyuub'ehenne> In Sura 33:59 they are also ordered to bring over them their over garments <jalabeeb> while going in public:
Women as it says should only cover the adornments

The head is already covered with hair..

What source is ACTUALLY from? I have recieved emails from the boy who sent you this one, but where did he get it from? You sould really ask. It is in gross error and sisters with out knowledge might fall into pray.

When studying the Qur'an you need to know more then just the English translation and "oh by the way here is the Arabic". Then, after you study the grammar and meaning of the Ayah in question (and the ones before it and after it), you will need to read about the history around that time. You should first look to Islamic sources and even if necessary unislamic resources like secular historians.

So my question is what does "khummur" mean. It is the plural for Khimar. No, not the khimar that we see today, but that should very well be an indicator of the meaning. Its the Khimar that you see women in the fields wearing, women in the heat, the desert. Infact, it is also the same khimar that you see MEN wearing when they are out mowing the lawn or working on your roof. Every SINGLE dictionary of Arabic language, including the famous one out of Lebanon done by the Christians there will tell you a Khimar is a scarf that covers the hair. Now if we go to the hadith at the time and the historians of the time, we discover that YES! the women actually wore scarves at the time. It was not uncommon for both men and women to have a scarf ALREADY on their head.

What is Allah really telling in this sentence? He is saying in other words, "Ladies, you already have a scarf on right now, I see it, it is the custome, it is a good thing now, but please I want you to do more. It is obligatory for you to take the folds of the scarf you have BEHIND your neck and pull it forward to where it covers your neck and your bossom (janub).

As you can see here, the Qur'an DOES mention veil or scarf.

NIQAB" NOT MANDATORY

I agree Niqab is not mandatory. Only a few scholars say that it is and at that a precatuionary obligation. However, these Ayahs that are being represented as proof are FAR from proof.

While identifying the parts of a woman’s body which should be covered, the Qur’an also gives us evidence to refute the claim of those who associate "Niqab" (Veils, face covers) as an ingredient of a women’s dress code ordained by Allah.

Are we really going to trust the people who claim a hair covering is not ordained by Allah? I wonder...

THE EXAMPLE OF MARY Mary the mother of Jesus (p) is mentioned in the Qur'an as the woman chosen and purified above all the women of all the worlds.

But she is NOT above Khair ul Nisa, Fatemah al zahraa (as) As we all know the family of the prophet held modesty in high regard and did not show their bodies and faces to everybody. Only certain people were given the honour to see her face like such as Salman Al Farsi (ra) who is also considered ahlul bayt, mashaAllah.

"And Allah sets forth an example to those who believe . . . Mary, the daughter of Imran, who guarded her chastity, so We breathed into her of Our inspiration and she accepted the truth of the words of her Sustainer and His books, and she was of, the obedient ones. (66:11-12)

I question the author to see what more proofs in the forms of hadith that can be given that she did not cover her face. Does the author know that it was NOT uncommon for women in the Judeo traditions to COVER their face. Infact, there has also been inumerable reports of women only showing one eye. I am talking about reports from Secular historians/Jewish Historians.

Also, keep in mind the Laws of Allah (shariah) has been added to since then. For example, at the time of Musa, Ausiya (ra) one of the best women was stuck with Farun. She could not divorce him. Now today, are we also going to follow her example? No, we can't! We are not even allowed to marry non Muslim men. Divorce would become obligatory.

In observing her behavior mentioned in the Qur'an, we see that as she appears from seclusion with young Jesus, her people recognised her. Now had she been wearing a "Niqab" to cover her face, her people would not have identified her immediately as she had appeared from seclusion
.
"And she came to her people with him, carrying him (with her). They (having recognized her) said: ‘O Mary! surely you have done a strange thing. O sister of Haroon! your father was not a bad man, nor, was your mother an unchaste woman.’ But she pointed to him. They said: ‘How should we speak to one who was a child in the cradle?’ He (Jesus) said: ‘Surely I am a servant of Allah; He has given me the Book and made me a Nabi." (19:27-30)

Does the ayah say they saw her from a far far distance? No it doesn't. Was she more then a half mile away? A third? Quarter?

Now, has the author ever made friends with and associated with women in niqab? I attended a conference last December where in there was over a hundred if not two hundred plus women wearing niqab. There was probably no more then 2 thousand attendants. While I was there, I had met all those people for the first time, and I never mistook them for another person. It is clear that you can easily reconize a niqabi woman by her 1. height 2. weight and build 3. the shape of eyes 4. the color of her eyes and utlimately 5. her voice.

If I am on the tube, the bus, or walking down a crowded street there is not one person who knows me (not necesarily as well as a friend mind you) that would not reconize me for me.

Mary's recognition by her people indicates that she was not wearing a "Niqab" to protect her face from being seen. In the Qur'an there is further evidence which negates the practice of wearing "Niqab". After Allah informs Nabi (SAW) about marriage with certain relations He further reminds:

"It is not allowed to you to take women afterwards, nor that you should change them for other wives, though their beauty be pleasing to you, except what your right hand possesses and Allah is Watchful over all things." (33:52)

Are you saying the Prophet looks at women's physical beauty that are not married to him? Do you also believe the degrading story of the Prophet ejaculating at the site of Zaynab...while she still being married to another person? ASTAGAFURALLAH. What on earth are Muslims coming to. Why degrade the Prophet in such a manner. Even being that the case, women in Niqab also have beauty and if someone wants to marry it is strongly urged that the Man see the woman (face and even hair if he so desires). FYI, many people believe this verse was abrogated.

In the above verse it is clearly mentioned that Nabi (SAW) was also in a position to see the "Husn" i.e. Beauty of women and this clearly establishes that women not related to the Nabi did not wear "Niqab" or veils to cover their faces when they used to appear in front of him.

There are innumerable narrations of women wearing niqab. Then there are a few that mention spots on the face, man/woman starring at one another and the prophet nt telling the woman anything,etc. Be it weak or Sahih to the author (if they even follow hadith) it doesn't matter. It was common for men and women to cover their faces in the desert and if they feel it is best in terms of modesty, why wouldn't they?

We must realize that attributing anything to Allah which He has not ordained is a very serious action on our part. Allah has informed us through His messenger that attributing anything to Allah which He did not made as an obligation is "haraam" i.e Forbidden, as the following verse states:

"Say: Surely my Sustainer has prohibited (made haraam) indecencies, those of them that are apparent as well as those that are concealed, and sin and rebellion without justice, and that you associate with Allah that for which He has not sent down any authority, and that you say against Allah what you do not know." (7:33)

"Niqab" has not been made mandatory by any verse of the Qur’an, it is a cultural practice of pagan tribes and unbelievers. The Qur’an also identifies unbelievers who used to cover them selves up with their garments. Allah informs us through Noah:

What about saying something is not wajib when it IS wajib? I.e. Covering the hair, neck, and bossom with a Khimar.

We should strive to in-form and re-form our selves through Qur’anic guidance.

Indeed we should,...without contradicting the Qur'an and Hadith and the wise judgements of the qualified ulemah and commentators of the Holy Qur'an.

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Guest Burqa N Purdah

(bismillah) (salam)

post-22162-1124970484_thumb.jpg

See. This is like a Khimar at the time of the Prophet. I'd assume they were actually bigger ones because the ones I see now on field women and men in the heat are usually larger to cover all their back. That I don't know for sure or not.

Anyway, Allah said don't do it that. Take the edges of ur scarf and pull them forward down to where they cover bossoms.

Like this:

wH15-INSET.jpg

It goes forward, covers shoulders, neck, and bossom.

Edited by Burqa N Purdah

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This is just a personal opinion

Most people do not understand is the Koran never really tells you to cover up. It does mention your adornments. The best way of explaining if Women should cover up is by Mother Mary. Let me give you an example of how much we should cover up.

The story below is the Jesus's birth from he Koran. There was no Joseph, no barn, only Mary by herself. Most Muslims do not even know the story because of the Christian stories we have been preached for years. This is what is says in the Koran. Please read carefully.

So she conceived him, and she retired with him, to a remote place.

And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm-tree:

She cried (in pain): "Ah! I wish I died and not feel this pain! I wish I had been forgotten and out of sight!"

But (a voice) cried to her from beneath the (palm-free):

"Don't Cry! For your Lord has provided a stream under you;

"Shake towards yourself the trunk of the palm-tree; Fresh ripe will fall dates upon you.”

"So eat and drink and cool yourself.

And if you do see any man, say `I have vowed a fast to (Allah)

Most Gracious, and this day I will I not talk with any human being.' "

At finally she brought the (babe) to her people,

Carrying him (in her arms).

They said: "O Mary! Truly an amazing thing have you brought!

"O sister of Aaron! Your father was not a man of evil, nor was your

Mother an unclean woman!"

But she pointed to the babe.

They said: "How can we talk to a child in the cradle?"

He said (from the cradle): "I am indeed a servant of Allah:

He has given me revelation and made me s prophet;

"And He has made me blessed wherever I be and has given me

Prayer and Charity as long as I live:

"(He) has made me kind to my mother and not to the Overbearing or miserable;

"So Peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, And the Day that I Shall be raised up To life (again)"!

Such (was) Jesus the son of Mary: (it is) a statement of truth, about which

They (vainly) dispute. Qur'an 19: 16-34

They key point in this is they recognised her and approached her to ask,

"O Mary! Truly an amazing thing have you brought!

The most sacred woman in the world had her face in the open. What I meant to say before was there was no veil or face covering, not head. She was recognisable. So what makes Muslim these days better than Mary?

It tells the prophets wives to cover up totally. But what happened was when all his wives covered up; they actually stood out more because the rest of the town wasn't so the town actually started covering up to protect the wives from any danger. That is how these totally covered woman started.

Women have been identified in the Qur'an as a "zeenah" i.e. adornment and beauty for all mankind.

"Adorned for the people are the worldly pleasures, such as the women, having children, piles upon piles of gold and silver, trained horses, livestock, and crops. These are the materials of this world.

A far better abode is reserved with Allah." (3:14)

Since women are termed an adornment or attraction (zeenah), they are required to cover certain parts of their bodies. Note that a woman being an adornment for mankind is quite evident all over the world in all societies.

The media is one example were she is quite abundantly promoted and made as an attraction in place of men. Now since women are an open attraction to mankind because of their bodily features, she is required to cover some parts of herself in public.

They are attractive but covering them totally actually puts suspicion into the mind. It wants you to see what’s inside and gives you a more guttered vision. Cover up to the best of that country. Remember it also tells you not to stand out in a crowd, so if the nation is not a country of hijabs, don’t wear it.

I do not mind head covering, pleas do not misunderstand me. Its just the excessive type im against.

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WOMEN'S DRESS IN THE QUR'AN

...

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BELIEVING MEN TO MAINTAIN PROPER CONDUCT AS WELL

An extra covering (khummar) should be taken over the bosoms. (24:31)

WHAT ABOUT THE TRADITION OF HEADCOVERS AND VEILS ?

The headcovers are clearly mentioned not in the Qur'an but in the BIBLE

That is typical submitter cult nonsense. Please see my essay on hijab below.

Allah commands women to cover their heads in the Qur'an. The concept of the headcovering for women is in the Qur'an in at least two verses by virtue of its language and the implication of its meaning. Prophet Muhammad also expressed this verdict, and it was confirmed by his family, successors, and the `ulama who now guide us. The Qur'an considers a clothing called the khimar obligatory, and that the khimar is defined as a headcovering, especially by virtue of the requirement that women cover their heads when praying. I do not know of a single Muslim woman who would claim that her salat has been accepted without covering her head. Obviously, the word "khimar" refers to a headcovering. Otherwise, it would be perfectly acceptable for a Muslim woman to offer her salat with her head bare and only her chest (and the rest of her body) covered.

In the Qur'an, the word "khumur" is used in 24:31. "Khumur" is the Arabic plural of the word "khimar." The khimar hasalways and only ever been a head covering. The meaning of the word never changed to a face veil or a chest covering. Suheil Laher remarks about this ayah, "The verse talks not about 'khumur' in general, but about 'their khumur', i.e. the women's khumur, and these are the scarves which they were wearing on their heads." ( http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/Books/Q...tasar/libas.htm ) This is a reference to Arabic culture. That will be explained later.

The best example of the meaning of the word "khimar" is in the Hadith of the Acceptance of a Woman's Salat. One could start, though, with a dictionary's definition of the word. The root of "khimar" is "kh-m-r," which means "to cover, hide, conceal" ("Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic," ed. J.M. Cowen, pub. Spoken Language Services, INC., Ithaca, NY, 1976). Qur'anic commentators throughout the ages have also concurred. "[Khimar] ... is a head covering." [Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Tafsir Ruh al-Ma`ani] ( http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/Books/Q...tasar/libas.htm )

In terms of Arabic culture, the khimar is a head covering. In ancient Arabic culture, women would wear a garment called a "khimar" on top of their heads to protect them from the blazing desert sun. Shaykh Rashid, a Shia Islamic scholar, has said the following about the word "khimar": "Arab women (and men) routinely wore head coverings to ward off the effects of the desert sun. In this verse, women are commanded to bring their head coverings forward to cover their bosoms as opposed to letting it fall behind their shoulders. ...it is understood that the proper Hijaab covers the hair, ears, neck and bosom." ( http://www.al-islam.org/organizations/Aali...k/msg00586.html )

The text of the Hadith of the Acceptance of a Woman's Prayer is as follows. Aisha narrates that the Messenger of Allah {sawas} said: "Allah does not accept the prayer of a woman who experiences menstruation (reaches maturity) except with a head cover (khimar)." (Sunan Abu Dawud, no. 641, Sunan Tirmidhi, Sunan Ibn Majah and others)

Other ahadith from Prophet Muhammad that command a woman to cover her body follow.

"Narrated Aisha: Asma, daughter of AbuBakr, entered upon the Apostle of Allah {sawas} wearing thin clothes. The Apostle of Allah {sawas} 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." (Abu Dawood, Book 32, Number 4092).

"Narrated Umm Salamah: 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 by wearing outer garments. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 32, Number 4090)

Narrated Aisha: 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. (Abu Dawood, Book 32, Number 4091)

Ibn `Abbas said that the 'apparent beauty' referred to in Allah's saying, (translated), "And let them not expose their beauty, except that of it which is apparent." is antimony and a ring, (i.e. the face and the hands). [Narrated by Tabari, Bayhaqi, Ibn Abi Shaybah, Abdur-Razzaq, Tahawi. It has a solid chain.]

Fudhail ibn Yasar once came to Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (?), and asked him: "Is the area from the elbows to the wrists of a woman the beauty of a woman (which must be concealed from a non-Mahram)? Since Allah in the Quran indicates that women should cover their beauty. "Imam Sadiq (?) replied: "Yes. These are among the parts of the body of a woman that are her beauty; and everything below the headscarf (hair and neck area) up to her bangles and upwards must be covered. "(Usul al-Kafi, vol. 5 p. 521)

Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (?) was asked by a man, which parts of a non-Mahram' lady's body he was allowed to see. The Imam replied: "Her face, her two palms, and the soles of her feet." (Usul al-Kafi, vol. 5, p. 521)

The Prophet (?) continue to say to Hawla, "Oh Hawla! In [front of?*] Allah and the Last Day, who among you women should allow your beauty to be seen by any man except your husband?* Your hair may your head and your arms are not to be shown. Every woman who shows her body to non-mahram men, her faith has undoubtedly been depraved and saddens Allah." (Mustadarak al Wasail, vol. 2, p. 529 for old edition. See vol. 14, p. 242 new edition) [*I first saw this in German and had Googled the translation. That explains the clumsiness of this wording. Where the question was starred, that is a rhetorical question that implies that a woman is not allowed to display her body to men. In a previous hadith, Prophet Muhammad indicated to Hawla that the feet are also not allowed to be shown.]

Finally, the conesus of the `ulama, both Shia and Sunni, is that a woman is obligated to cover her head.

The great Hanafi jurist, Imam al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him) states in his renowned Durr al-Mukhtar: "The Awra for a free woman (i.e. not a slave, m) is her full body including her descending hair according to the correct opinion, except for the face, hands.... and feet". (See Radd al-Muhtar, 1/405).

In addition, Shia Islamic scholars such as Ayatullah Sistani have ruled that the woman's `awrah includes only her face and hands ( http://www.al-islam.org/laws/marriage2.html ). Anyone who claims to be a Muslim scholar yet denies the obligation of covering the head for a Muslim has denied an obligation specified by Allah - by God Almighty - and it is hoped that such people will make a return to Islam.

To conclude, it is obvious from the evidences that Islam requires women to cover their heads. Indeed, they are required to cover their bodies excepting their faces and hands. Not only is this the language of Allah as revealed in the Qur'an, it is also the verdict of Prophet Muhammad, those who followed immediately in his footsteps, and the scholars who lead us today.

http://www.al-islam.org/laws/marriage2.html

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