Issue No. 935 - 1/Jamadah-1/1432 AH
Corresponding to April 26, 201h AD
* Mihrab Platform:
The main axes of the subject:
1- Woman’s difference
2- Who she should be veiled from?
3- To what extent should she be veiled?
4- The characteristics of the legal Islamic Hijab (veil)
We will explain the duty of covering for women and the parts that she must cover of her body. We will also explain who she should be covering herself from and the characteristics of this legal veil.
Exporting the Subject:
The prophet (s.a.a.w.) was quoted as saying:”Two kinds of hell’s residents I never saw: people who have cow’s tail-like whips, slashing other people with them as well as the women who are naked-like dressed, walking with swagger and their heads are like the loose humps; never will they enter the heaven nor will they find its odor…”1
The somatic and body characteristics of softness and gentleness made her a different element that differs in many ways from man. Yet we must admit that both are equal regarding humanity on one hand, where the criterion of good deed and dignity with respect to Allah is piety. For example, His Exaltedness said: “O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.”2
On the other hand, the Hijab provides the woman with security against temptation and corruption as well as against being lost and going astray. Hence, the lord obliged her to conceal those charms in order to protect herself and society. For this issue, His Exaltedness said: “O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.”3 As a result, he ordered her to cover her body. But who she should be covering her body from?
The categories from whom she should be concealed:
Allah (The Exalted) said: “And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their head covers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers, their brothers' sons, their sisters' sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women…”4
We come to the conclusion that woman is not allowed to show her charms or uncover parts of her body other than those categories that were mentioned in the noble verse.
The parts that must be covered:
Based on the noble verse, His Exaltedness said: “…and to wrap [a portion of] their head covers over their chests…” What is meant by the portion of their head covers is the veil that the woman must use to cover her head and her entire neck.
The chests were mentioned because women used to let their cover flow to the back hence showing their ears, earrings, throats and upper part of their chests.
Therefore, the verdict in the verse obliges the woman to use the part that hangs down to the back in order to cover the exposed parts of her body.5
Imam al Sadiq (a.s.) was eloquent about that which was allowed to be exposed. For instance, he quoted Imam Abu Abdullah (a.s.), when asked about what a woman can show, as saying: "The face and the two hands."6 And the outer garment in the verse 59 of Surat al Ahzab (the Parties) is "the part that the woman uses to cover all her body."7
The characteristics of the Islamic legal Hijab (veil):
The parts of the body that must be covered cannot be concealed in any form; rather, the veil must have a number of special characteristics, which were mentioned by the narrations and hadiths. They are stated in the juristic (Istifta'a) books and the explanatory questionnaires of the great scholars and jurisprudents. These characteristics can be summarized by the following points:
1- A veil must cover the whole body except the face and the two hands.
2- It must be wide and shapeless and must not show clearly any shape or size of the covered parts.
3- It must not be transparent, mimicking the covered parts. The same issue applies to the socks on the feet.
On the other hand, the explanatory questionnaires of the great scholars and jurisprudents prohibited some characteristics that must not be contained by the veil that must be used by the Muslim woman. These are:
1- It must not contain bright or vivid colors, which can attract attention that may cause abuse.
2- It must not be ornamented by being sawn with ornaments and attractive gadgets.
3- It must not contain anything that propagates the opposite culture, which can melt or weaken the Islamic identity.
4- Women must not wear clothes that are similar to men's wear such as wearing trousers with a neck tie for example.
5- Women must not be satisfied by only wearing a woman's trousers on the lower part of the body in front of a foreigner.
6- Women must not depart their homes without socks and must never expose their legs or feet to foreigners.
7- The cover must not be a famous one.
The famous wear must be avoided because of its color and sewing model especially if wearing it becomes an issue of attraction even if it lacked any ornaments.
The prophet (s.a.a.w.) warned about the kinds of veil that are being propagated nowadays, which are far from the characteristics of the legal Hijab and because of which the issue of the Hijab and its legislation becomes out of purpose.
For instance, the prophet (s.a.a.w.) was quoted as saying: "Two kinds of hell’s residents I never saw: people who have cow’s tail-like whips slashing other people with them as well as women who are naked-like dressed, walking with swagger; their heads are like the loose humps; never will they enter the heaven nor will they find its odor. Its odor can be sensed from a great distance of such and such."8
Islam warned women about wearing makeup except for their husbands in order to protect their own selves and society. For example, the prophet (s.a.a.w.) was quoted in book Hadith al Manahi as saying: "He prohibited her from wearing makeup except for her husband. If she did, Allah will have the right to burn her in hell."9 All the aforementioned issues, except perfume, coupled with the special behavior of coquetry and acts of swaggering and other similarities are all prohibited.
1- Sahih Muslim, Vol. 2128.
2- Holy Quran: Surat al Hujurat (the Rooms), verse 13.
3- Holy Quran: Surat al Ahzab (the Parties), verse 59.
4- Holy Quran: Surat al Nour (the Light), verse 31.
5- Masalat al Hijab, by Shahid Murtada Mutahar, quoted from Sunan Abi Dawood, Vol. 2, P. 383.
6- Qurb al Isnad, by al Himiari, P. 40.
7- Tafsir al Mizan, by scholar Sayyid Muhammad Hussein Tabtabaei, interpretation of Surat al Ahzab.
8- Sahih Muslim, 21282.
9- A'mali al Saddouq, P. 5.