The Significance Importance of Veil & Influence on Our Lives and Sociality
A Brief definition and explanation of the Veil Everything you want to know about it.
Hello, Dear Readers and followers, welcome back to my new story, I hope all’s well. Today’s story is on a most sensitive and controversial topic which is the Veil — what is it, where does it come from, how and why is it worn, and what does it mean? Veiling has grown into a significant topic in recent decades.
Veils and veiling are controversial topics in social and political life, generating debates across the world. The veil is enmeshed within a complex web of relations encompassing politics, religion, and gender, and conflicts over the nature of power, legitimacy, belief, freedom, agency, and emancipation. In recent years, the veil has become both a potent and unsettling symbol and a rallying point for discourse and rhetoric concerning women, Islam, and the nature of politics.
No symbol is so linked to Muslim women as that of “the veil.” Whether a simple headscarf or a head-to-toe cover such as the chador or burka, Muslim women’s covered dress has meaning for many far beyond its simple use as clothing.
For many women, wearing the hijab was and is an element of piety, but it’s been coopted into a political symbol.
Sociologist Caitlin Killian explains that in the past as in present, the tradition of veiling has been influenced by different religious interpretations as well as by politics.
It recently received a great deal of attention due to legislation and proposed legislation in several western countries that ban its use in government institutions as well as educational institutions.
Moreover, the veil has gained massive popularity among Islamic countries, as almost all women cover their faces, and the headscarf worn by many New Converted Muslim women has become increasingly visible in global metropolises western countries, it has also become increasingly politicized. And it’s true nowadays.
Many people are surprised to learn that the hijab, in the sense of a head-covering appears nowhere in the Qur’an.
In this story, I will try to cover different side’s perspectives whether wisdom concepts from Religious Sacred texts or the general concept of psychological, or philosophical sciences.
There is a lot misconception about the Islamic concept of the veil in western countries and also some secular and atheist as well.
The purpose behind this post (It is part of my series about clothing and religious perspective) is to share the true picture and clear those misconceptions that nowadays a lot of people have. In this story, I will try to clear up all those misconceptions with the help of some references from religious scriptures, most importantly the Quran and Sunnah. At this point, it is important to explain the importance of the veil in Islam, as it has grown to become a requirement for all Muslim women.
This story focuses on veiling in Islam of Muslims, especially women that appropriate the sharia. There is a commonly-held belief among both Muslims and non-Muslims that Islam explicitly and unequivocally prescribes veiling upon Muslim women. Moreover, there is a parallel belief among both Muslims and non-Muslims that such a prescription is stated clearly in the Holy Book of Islam, that is the Quran. This story explores the central religious texts in Islam that treat the topic of veiling. This is my main purpose behind this series where I talked about different other important topics in my recent different posts.
This topic the veil is a huge topic and there are many things which related and connected with each other without them it's hard to understand the complete concept of the veil in different cultures and religions. So, I shared some of my previous post’s links here for a better and full understanding of the Islamic concepts and the principles and manners relating to modest and veil dress codes. without those posts, you could not understand and learn things completely. These posts are part of one series and interconnected with each other. So, I should recommend each of my readers and followers and those who first time read me here.
I hope you medium readers will enjoy and take this opportunity to learn new things about the veil and religion and also the general concept of philosophy science.
Today’s story is going to be a bit of a long one but I hope you stay for the full ride because it’s also a super interesting one!
The General Concept of Veil:
The word “veil” could be used to explain a wide range of headscarves and clothing, the term has found important meaning and application among Muslims and Christianity throughout history.
Etymologically, the veil has several definitions, as mentioned in various places from different religions and cultures.
- A veil is a soft covering of clothing or hanging cloth that is intended to cover some part of the head or face or an object of some significance. It has often been used by women in many cultures and religions as well.
- Khimar (small veil covering one’s head and bosom)
- A kind of covering sheet (veil) that is used by the woman to cover her body
As for definition in terminology, some different religion scholars have given their definitions regarding this matter:
Ibn Hazm (PBUH) said, “Veil in the Arabic language that was mentioned by the Messenger of Allah -peace, and prayer of Allah be upon him- is a kind of clothes that cover all of the body, not just half of it.” While Ibn Katsir said, “Veil is a kind of shawl that is used over a smaller veil. Today, it functions as an izar (a covering sheet).” (Explanation of Sheikh Al Albani in “The veil of Muslim women”).
Sheikh Ibn Baz (taken from Program of Mausu’ah Fatawa Lajnah wal Imamain) said, “Veil is a cloth put on the head and body, over an undergarment (casual gown). Thus, a veil is a cloth that is used by women to cover their heads, faces, and their whole bodies. Whereas a cloth used to cover one’s head is termed khimar (small veil). Thus, by wearing a veil over her undergarment, women cover her head, face, and all of her body.” (bin Baz, 289). He also said, “Veil is a kind of rida’ (shawl) that is used over a khimar (small veil), like an abaya ( the clothes of women in Saudi).” (Ibn Baz, 214). In another occasion he said, “Veil is a cloth or garment, put on the head of a woman to cover her face and body, as an additional garment to her usual clothes at home. ” (Ibn Baz, 746). He also said, “Veil is all garments worn by women to cover her body. It is used after wearing a dar’un (a kind of gown) and khimar (small veil), in order to cover the places of adornment, original (awrah, the private body parts of women that must not be seen by strange men/men that are lawful to marry her, -translator) or imitation (such as necklace, earrings, etc.)” (Ibn Baz, 313)
Different people have taken varying positions in explaining the origin and significance of the veil which is a key symbol of identity. In general, a veil can be described as a piece of clothing worn by women to cover sections of the body like the face and head.
Modest behavior includes not touching the opposite gender, nor being alone in a room together.
In most cases, veils are common among religious communities, where women are expected to wear them for various reasons, which have immensely contributed to the debates and stereotypes linked to the practice. This is the case, with some of the people under this practice who wear hijab out of religious conviction or else are unable to explain and defend the origin of the Hijab. For others with limited knowledge or understanding of the Hijab, it can be confusing.
Some kinds of veil include a hood that covers the entire head, like a hijab. The point of covering the head entirely is to cover all parts which have any sexual meaning. A woman’s hair is one of her secondary sexual characteristics and acts (with her face, body, and personality) to attract the opposite sex. Some religious groups believe that female sexuality should not be shown in public.
The most important part of the head (for the viewer) is the face because the human face takes part in communication. Covering it says, in effect, ‘this person is not available. That is why it has been used so often by women. Because it is of soft material, the veil may be lifted back over the head or unclipped from one side. This is also a signal. It says ‘now I am available’. So brides lift their veil at the point when they are married.
In different religions and cultures, Once a young woman reaches puberty, the headscarf becomes an obligation. Some young girls like to wear it to practice, or dress up and pretend to be grown-up, but it’s not required of them.
History of the veil:
Veiling has a long history in European, Asian, and African societies. The practice has been prominent in different forms in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The practice of veiling is especially associated with women and sacred objects, though in some cultures, it is men, rather than women, who are expected to wear a veil. Besides its enduring religious significance, veiling continues to play a role in some modern secular contexts, such as wedding customs.
Historic pieces of evidence suggest that veiling was not introduced in Arabia by the last Prophet of Islam, but already existed there and was associated with high social status, and was practiced by women of several religions. It also was largely linked to class position: Wealthy women could afford to veil their bodies completely, whereas poor women who had to work [in the field] either modified their veils or did not wear them at all.
According to different studies from different historians, Statuettes depicting veiled priestesses date back as far as 2500 BC. Elite women in ancient Mesopotamia and in the Byzantine, Greek, and Persian empires wore the veil as a sign of respectability and high status.
Read more about the History of the veil here;
veil The earliest evidence for veiling is an Assyrian legal text dating from the thirteenth century bce, requiring…
The Religious Concept of Veil:
The concept, however, is not unique to Islam but embraced by other religions too such as Judaism and Christianity. Catholic nuns still wear head coverings, and Mary the mother of Jesus, peace be upon him, is always depicted in a head covering. Orthodox Jewish women are also required to cover their hair.
Many different faith and ethnic groups have head coverings for both men and women. Sikh and Hindu women wear loose veils over their heads. Amish women wear headscarves.
Catholic nuns still wear head coverings, and Mary the Mother of Jesus, peace be upon him, is always depicted in a head covering. Orthodox Jewish women are also required to cover their hair. Many avoid the modern conundrum of appearing strange by using a wig instead of cloth to accomplish this.
Many avoid the modern conundrum of appearing strange by using a wig instead of cloth to accomplish this.
Significance of the Veil in Islam:
Islam is a world religion; its presence can be felt all over the world through conversion or migration. However, the most visible symbol of Islam’s presence in the West is the hijab the headdress used by a Muslim woman to cover her head. Hijab, or veil among Muslims, takes the center stage whenever there is a battle between truth and falsehood. It has always remained a debatable, sensitive and controversial issue for decades, across the world.
In Islam, Modesty and chastity, very important ideologies in Islam, are achieved by prescribing standards on behavior and the dress of a Muslim. In Islam, women and men are required to dress modestly.
A woman who adheres to the tenements of Islam is required to follow the dress code called Hijab, other synonyms are Veil, Purdah, or just Covering. It is an act of faith and establishes a Muslim’s life with honor, respect, and dignity.
Before understanding the concept of the veil in Islam, I think it’s better to understand and know some other basic things (beliefs, principles, and laws rules). To understand its importance, one should know that modesty has been part and parcel of the Islamic culture all through.
Read more about Islamic Modesty here;
Religious Wisdom: Modesty & Modest Dresses in Islam & Christianity
Different Religions promote modest appearance, among men and women, to various degrees.
In my previous story, In Islam, both men and women are required to dress modestly and behave within certain norms to uphold a moral social order. veil encourages modesty, both physically and spiritually. When a woman covers her head as per Allah’s command, it is her way of showing her belief in Allah and accepting all his commands.
It makes the connection between the Almighty and that woman stronger.
“And tell the believing women to reduce of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which appears thereof and to wrap their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, fathers, sons, husband’s sons, brothers, brother’s son, sister’s sons…” (Qur’an 24:31)
This verse in the Holy Quran tells us that veil is a religious obligation, and every woman faithful to Islam should cover their head. A woman who wears a hijab doesn’t show off her beauty.
Read more about Islamic Modesty (Haya) here;
Islamic Wisdom: Haya: More Than Just Modesty
The concept of Haya is considered a major Islamic virtue and an integral part of human character. Haya’ is modesty…
Even within a house, the members are expected to respect each other’s privacy and modesty. Residents of a home, except young children, should not enter anyone else’s private room without first getting permission (Quran 24:58–59). Likewise, Muslims are not allowed to enter others’ houses without permission (Quran 24:27,29).
In my previous story about awrah, I told that In Islam, the Awrah’ has to be completely covered, even though the manner in which it is done varies widely from one country to the other.
According to Islamic teachings, Muslims are supposed to be careful with their appearance in terms of decency and level of dignity, to enjoy Allah's creation. Awrah is any part of the body, for both men and women, which may not be visible to the public. Awrah is interpreted differently depending upon the sex of the company one is in.
Both men and women are required to cover certain parts of their bodies in front of strangers (Qur’an, 24:30–31).
These parts are called satr or ‘awrah, The Arabic word awrah refers to the parts of the body which must be covered with clothing which means is the whole body except the face and hands for women and the area from the knees to the navel for men. While some women may choose to cover their faces and hands, it is not required. The face and hands are not satr or ‘awrah because if these were so, they would have to be covered even during prayers and Hajj, which is not the case.
Read more about Islamic awrah or star (intimate parts) here;
Islamic Wisdom: Awrah / Satr (Intimate parts of Body) Which Speaks the Overall Covered Body &…
Awrah is an Arabic term that denotes the intimate parts of the body, for both men and women, which must be covered with…
The Purpose of the Islamic Veil:
The veil is considered as a sign of obedience among Muslim women in Islam. The veil is an important part of sharia, that women are obliged to wear. It is not merely an identification means, adornment, or a barrier for women to fulfill their roles and task in society. Wearing a veil that appropriates the guidance of the Messenger of Allah -peace, and prayer of Allah be upon him- is an obligation for women, just as they are obliged to perform any other obligations in sharia, such as prayers, fasts, etc.
According to the Islamic scripture texts Quran and Hadith, Muslims (men and women) are supposed to obey Allah wholly by respecting his commands and responding to the message of his messenger appropriately.
It is also believed that the Quran requires Muslims to avoid looking at certain things, which have been forbidden by God. In other words, there are specific things, which Allah does not expect believing Muslims to look at. As a sign of obedience, they are also expected to draw their veils and avoid showing off their beauty, apart from that which has been allowed by the law.
Even though the veil is mentioned in the Quran and Muslims ought to wear it, there are scholars who have differed on whether the veil should cover the entire body or not. This is based on the fact that some veils are designed to cover a woman’s body completely, including the head, face, and hands.
The use of the veil by Muslim women is considered to be a sign of being modest. According to Allah, women are supposed to cover themselves with veils whenever they are not in their houses. This ensures that they are not harassed once they get into the public.
Even though it is Allah who creates beauty, it is important for women to know that they can be harmed by others, when they dress in a manner that does not conform to Islam standards.
There are two important instances of wisdom in ordering Muslim women to cover themselves. Muslim women are women who deserve respect and who are to be protected from any offense or harassment. The veil both shows that they are Muslims, decent, and free (not bondmaids), and demands protection against any harassment. Although no one can claim that a woman who does not wear a veil desires to attract the attention of men to herself, it is an undeniable and frequently witnessed reality that a woman who displays her charms often exposes herself to unwanted attention.
The veil In Islamic Scripture Texts:
The majority of Muslims and non-Muslims believe that the Islamic Scripture Text Quran explicitly and unequivocally prescribes veiling upon Muslim women. but somewhere some believe nothing is mentioned in the Quran.
I propose to present what the Islamic Scripture Texts say about veiling.
In order to learn what the Quran says about veiling and in what terms this Book addresses the question of women’s clothing, we must look at two main types of passages in the Quran:
- Every occurrence of the term hijab (the Arabic word that is regularly translated as the veil in English); and
- All Quranic verses address the question of Muslim women’s proper attire, even though the Quran may not use the term hijab.
Muslim scholars have differed as to how these sacred texts' references from Quran and Hadith should be applied, with some stating that a headscarf is required and others saying that a headscarf is not required.
Although the tradition of wearing the hijab is deeply rooted in Islam,
Qur’anic verses relating to dress codes use the terms khimār (head covering) and jilbāb (a dress or cloak) rather than ḥijāb. The term veil (Khimar) is used in the Quran a total of five times to refer specifically to the way a woman should dress and walk-in public. These passages are listed below for easy reference.
Note: I invite the readers and followers to explore other Quran translations of the same passages to see how the term hijab has been rendered by other translators. The following link gives access to the full Quranic text in Arabic, accompanied by different translations and oral recitation.
They [the unbelievers] say “Our hearts are encased against [the faith] you call us to; our ears are heavy; there is a barrier between us and you. So, you do whatever you want, and so shall we.” (Q 41:5).
It is not granted to any mortal that God should speak to him except through revelation or from behind a veil, or by sending a messenger to reveal by His command what He will: He is exalted and wise. (Q 42:51)
Verse 59 of Surah Al-Ahzab, states, “O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be recognized and not be abused. And ever is Allah forgiving and merciful.”
Interestingly, those Quranic verses that use the word hijab do not address the question of Muslim women’s clothing. In order to continue to explore Quranic discourses on proper Muslim women’s attire, we must look at other Quranic verses that deal specifically with this topic.
There are three references to women’s clothing in the Quran that are made without the use of the term hijab. All three references are listed below. In these three Quranic passages about women’s clothing, the Quran uses the Arabic word khimar to refer to women’s headscarves (Q 24:31), and jilbab to their outer garments (Q 33:59), and zinah to refer to their “finery” (Q 32:33).
The clearest verses on the requirement of modest dress are Surah 24:30–31, telling both men and women to dress and act modestly.
Say to the believing men that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts; that is purer for them; surely Allah is Aware of what they do. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their private parts; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their khimār over their breasts and not display their beauty except to their husband, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sister’s sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. (Quran 24:30)
The word khimar, in the context of this verse, is commonly translated as “head coverings”. Such head coverings were worn by women in Arabia at the advent of Islam.
Qur’an 33:59, tells Muhammad to ask his family members and other Muslim women to wear outer garments when they go out so that they are not harassed:
O Prophet! Enjoin your wives, your daughters, and the believing women that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): That is most convenient, that they may be distinguished and not be harassed.
“[Prophet], tell believing men to lower their glances and guard their private parts: that is purer for them. God is well aware of everything they do. And tell believing women that they should lower their glances, guard their private parts, and not display their charms beyond what [it is acceptable] to reveal; they should let their headscarves fall to cover their necklines and not reveal their charms except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their womenfolk, their slaves, such men as attending them who have no sexual desire, or children who are not yet aware of women’s nakedness; they should not stamp their feet so as to draw attention to any hidden charms. Believers, all of you, turn to God so that you may prosper.” (Q 24:30–31)
“Wives of the Prophet, you are not like any other woman. If you are truly mindful of God, do not speak too softly in case the sick at heart should lust after you, but speak in an appropriate manner; stay at home, and do not flaunt your finery as they used to in the pagan past; keep up the prayer, give the prescribed alms, and obey God and His Messenger.” (Q 32:32–33)
“And those who undeservedly insult believing men and women will bear the guilt of slander and a flagrant sin. Prophet, tell your wives, your daughters, and women believers to make their outer garments hang low over them so as to be recognized and not insulted: God is most forgiving, most merciful.” (Q 33:58–59)
The word ḥijāb in the Quran refers not to women’s clothing, but rather to a spatial partition or curtain. Sometimes its use is literal, as in the verse which refers to the screen that separated Muhammad’s wives from the visitors to his house (33:53), while in other cases the word denotes separation between deity and mortals (42:51), wrongdoers and righteous (7:46, 41:5), believers and unbelievers (17:45), and light from darkness (38:32).
The interpretations of the ḥijāb as separation can be classified into three types: as a visual barrier, physical barrier, and ethical barrier. A visual barrier (for example, between Muhammad’s family and the surrounding community) serves to hide from sight something, which places emphasis on a symbolic boundary. A physical barrier is used to create a space that provides comfort and privacy for individuals, such as elite women. An ethical barrier, such as the expression purity of hearts in reference to Muhammad’s wives and the Muslim men who visit them, makes something forbidden.
The term hadith refers to the tradition of Sayings by the Prophet Mohamed, and of actions he did. This tradition is viewed by Muslims as a key resource of practical information on how Muslims are supposed to behave on a daily basis.
The hadith sources specify the details of the hijab (Islamic rules of dress) for men and women, exegesis of the Qur’anic verses narrated by sahabah, and are a major source from which Muslim legal scholars used to derive their rulings. It was narrated by Aisha, that when Quran 24:31 was revealed, the men of Ansar went to the women of Ansar and recited to them the words Allah had revealed.
Each man recited to his wife, his daughter, his sister, and other female relatives. Each woman among them got up, took her decorated wrapper, and wrapped herself up in it out of faith and belief in what Allah had revealed. They appeared behind the Messenger of Allah wrapped up as if there were crows on their heads.
A similar hadith is Abū Dawud 32:4090, which describes that, in response to the verses, “the women of Ansar came out as if they had crows hanging down over their heads.” Although these narrations refer to black clothing (“crows on their heads”), other narrations indicate wives of the prophet also wore other colors like yellow or rose. Other hadith on hijab include:
- Narrated Safiya bint Shaiba: “Aisha used to say: ‘When (the Verse): “They should draw their veils (khimaar) over their breasts (juyyub),” was revealed, (the ladies) cut their waist sheets at the edges and veiled themselves (Arabic: فَاخْتَمَرْنَ, lit.’ to put on a hijab’) with the cut pieces.’” Sahih al-Bukhari, 6:60:282, 32:4091. This hadith is often translated as “…and covered their heads and faces with the cut pieces of cloth,”as the Arabic word used in the text (Arabic: فَاخْتَمَرْنَ) could include or exclude the face and there was ikhtilaf on whether covering the face is farḍ, or obligatory. The most prominent sharh, or explanation, of Sahih Bukhari, is Fatḥ al-Bārī which states this included the face.
- Yahya related to me from Malik from Muhammad ibn Zayd ibn Qunfudh that his mother asked Umm Salama, the wife of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, “What clothes can a woman wear in prayer?” She said, “She can pray in the khimār (headscarf) and the diri’ (Arabic: الدِّرْعِ, lit.’shield, armature’, transl.’a woman’s garment’) that reaches down and covers the top of her feet.” Muwatta Imam Malik Book 8 Hadith 37.
- Aishah narrated that Allah’s Messenger said: “The Salat (prayer) of a woman who has reached the age of menstruation is not accepted without a khimār.” Jami` at-Tirmidhi 377.
Islamic Jurisprudence & Law:
Islamic law is oftentimes used as a synonym for sharia. However, we must understand this Islamic law to be a law created by men, and not the law of God which itself is perforce unknown and unknowable. In fact, the Arabic term sharia literally means “path,” and is used in the Quran to refer to God’s law.
Read more about Islamic Jurisprudence & Law here;
Islamic Wisdom: Basic Fundamental (Prohibited and Permissible) Islamic Law’s Terms of Everything…
Islamic “law” is basically the Sharia. Islamic law is a complex of orders and rulings which are obtained by Islamic…
Interestingly, the juridical discussion of women’s attire did not treat the specific question of hijab, or appropriate Islamic dress to be worn by women in public. Muslim women’s dress was understood to be part of Islamic etiquette and not of required Islamic behaviors.
This means that in traditional Islamic law, the whole debate over clothing fell into the legal categories of appropriate Islamic conduct (wajib and adab), rather than mandatory behaviors (fard) such as praying, fasting during Ramadan, or giving alms to the poor. From the perspective of early Islamic law, and in contrast to the way many Muslims continue to assume, failing to cover one’s private parts (Arabic awrah) constitutes only a minor sin for Muslims, not a major sin. Donning a hijab can thus only be a “recommended” action, not a “required” behavior.
The only element debated by Muslim jurists was whether a woman’s hands and face were to be concealed or whether they could be left uncovered. On this specific matter, the four schools of Islamic jurisprudence differ.
Read more about Islamic Madhhab (School of Thought) here;
Islamic Wisdom; Madhhab ( School of Thought) in Islam
Islamic jurisprudence has developed over fourteen centuries. Over that span of time, various schools of jurisprudence…
Most Islamic scholars and most contemporary Islamic jurists have agreed that women are not required to cover their faces. There exist a number of reasons why women may cover their faces in public, and this practice must be understood within a particular social context.
The four major Sunni schools of thought (Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki, and Hanbali) hold by consensus that it is obligatory for women to cover their hair, and the entire body except for their hands and face, while in the presence of people of the opposite sex other than close family members.
It should be noted that a difference of opinion does exist in which some scholars believe that the hijab is not obligatory and there is not enough evidence to make it so. According to Hanafis and other scholars, these requirements extend to being around non-Muslim women as well, for fear that they may describe her physical features to unrelated men.
The Sunni schools also believe women should cover their heads. Men must cover from their belly buttons to their knees, though the schools differ on whether this includes covering the navel and knees or only what is between them. It is recommended that women wear clothing that is not form-fitting to the body, such as modest forms of Western clothing (long shirts and skirts), or the more traditional jilbāb, a high-necked, loose robe that covers the arms and legs. A khimār or shaylah, a scarf or cowl that covers all but the face, is also worn in many different styles.
Most Maliki and Hanafi jurists believed that the entire woman’s body, except for the face and hands, had to be covered.
The Hanbali and Shafii schools, the most conservative of the four, required Muslim women to cover their entire body, including their face and hands.
The major and most important Shia hadith collections such as Nahj Al-Balagha and Kitab Al-Kafi for the most part do not give any details with regards to hijab requirements, however, in a quotation from Man La Yahduruhu al-Faqih Musa al-Kadhim when enquired by his brother solely makes reference to female hijab requirements during the salat (prayer), stating “She covers her body and head with it then prays. And if her feet protrude from beneath, and she doesn’t have the means to prevent that, there is no harm”.
Evidence for The Obligation of Veil Dress Codes:
There are only a few references to veiling in the hadith and most of these actually refer to the khimar, which is restricted linguistically to head covering. The covering of the face is only mentioned in three hadith and never by the command of the Prophet Muhammad. In fact, in one hadith, the companions of the Prophet Muhammad are even surprised at one woman’s wearing of the niqab during her time of bereavement.
The main evidence from scholars who believe that niqab is obligatory comes from these verses of the Qur’an. And I already mentioned this Quranic verse above;
O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft- Forgiving, Most Merciful. ( Qur’an 33:59)
Scholars, such as Imam Abul A’la Mawdudi from the Indian subcontinent, suggest that these verses refer to covering the entire body, including the face and hands. The order ‘cast their outer garments’ in Arabic is similar to the phrase ‘draw together. Scholars say that as a result of this verse, the women at the time of the Prophet drew together their garments over their entire body, including the face.
One hadith that is used as evidence for this is:
Narrated ‘Aisha (wife of Prophet Muhammad): The Messenger of God, may the peace and blessings of God be upon him, used to offer the Fajr prayer and some believing women covered with their veiling sheets used to attend the Fajr prayer with him and then they would return to their homes unrecognized. (Bukhari)
This hadith has been dated some time after verse 33:59 was revealed. Proponents of the the veil dress codes say that this hadith shows that the women during the time of the Prophet were not recognisable and hence they must have worn the veil dress codes.
However, other scholars have argued that their faces were unrecognisable because it was dark, not because they were covered up. It is interesting to note that Aisha says ‘some’ women, and not all. Furthermore she refers to the early-morning prayer and not to any other. It would certainly make it more difficult to see who individuals were if they were dressed in cloaks before sunrise.
In addition, they have argued that the order ‘cast their outer garments over their persons’ has been misunderstood. They say that the word ‘face’ has not been indicated in the Arabic, and it would therefore be wrong to extend the meaning.
Other proponents of the the veil use this Qur’anic verse for evidence for the the veil dress codes.
…And when ye ask (the Prophet’s wives) for anything ye want, ask them from before a screen: that makes for greater purity for your hearts and for theirs. (Qur’an 33:53)
The wives of the Prophet were indeed required to wear the veil dress code by this Qur’anic verse. This is because the special status they had meant they had to be kept clear from all gossip and slander. Scholars say that if the wives of the Prophet, as the best feminine examples, were required to wear the veil dress code, then the ruling falls on all women.
However, earlier on in the same chapter, the Qur’an also very clearly states that the Prophet’s wives were not similar to other women.
O Wives of the Prophet! You are not like any of the other women. (Quran 33:32)
Most scholars are in agreement that the verse about the screen, or concealing of the face, is only obligatory on the wives of the Prophet. They say the verses are a clear indication that the wives of the Prophet are much more restricted in their movement due to their political position, and that their code of conduct does not constitute a code of conduct for women in general.
Evidence Against The Obligation of Veil Dress Codes:
Most scholars, including the four main schools of Islamic jurisprudence, hold the view that the veil dress code is not an obligation.
They cite a number of references for this opinion.
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 acquainted with all that they do. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof… ( Quran 24:30–31)
According to the majority of contemporary scholars ‘, what is apparent of it’ refers to the hands and face.
Another scholar, Shaykh Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada suggests that because God asks both men and women to lower their gaze, it suggests their faces are visible, otherwise there would be no sense in it.
Scholars holding this view also state that it is well accepted by all scholars that the Prophet categorically forbade people from covering their faces or hands during the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca. If it was necessary that the hands and face be covered at all times, he would not have stated its impermissibility during one of the most sacred points of a person’s life.
It is also generally held by the majority of scholars, including those that believe the veil dress code is obligatory, that covering the face during the five daily prayers is also prohibited.
Another strong indication that the veil dress code is not an obligation is presented in this hadith.
Abdullah bin Abbas reports that the Prophet was riding a camel with Al-Fadhl, Abdullah’s brother, behind him. A beautiful woman came to ask the Prophet about the Hajj of her father. Al Fadhl began to stare at her; her beauty impressed him a lot. The Prophet (PBUH) having noticed this while Al Fadhl was busy looking, put his hand behind and turned his face away from her hither and thither as she went along with them. Al-Abbas said to the Prophet, “you are twisting the neck of your nephew!” The Prophet replied, “I noticed that both the boy and the girl were young; and I feared that Satan may intervene”. (Tirmidhi and Bukhari)
Scholars argue that the Prophet controlled the boy Al Fadhl’s gaze, but didn’t mention the fact that the woman was not covering her face. As a rule, anything that Prophet Muhammad stays silent about is tacit approval. This hadith would seem to indicate strongly that the veil dress code is not obligatory.
Obligation V/S recommendation in The West Muslim World:
The Scholars in the west, Some contemporary scholars have gone further in their rulings about the niqab in the West. Although they may agree with its practice in Muslim countries, they say that it is harmful in the West and should therefore be avoided.
Shaykh Darsh, a prominent UK scholar, did not believe that the veil dress code like the niqab was necessary, or even recommended by the Prophet for women to wear. But if you were going to argue that the niqab was a recommended act, he explained his opinion on wearing the veil dress code in this country in the following way:
- Some people believe that the veil dress code is recommended (sunnah)
- Everybody believes that inviting people to Islam (da'wah) is obligatory (fardh)
- The niqab is often a very significant barrier to da'wah in the West where the concept of face-covering has never been known
- If a recommended action is a barrier to an obligatory act, one must not sacrifice the fardh for the sunnah
Shaykh Nuh Keller, a Jordanian Shafi’i scholar, and translator of Reliance of the Traveller have put forward a similar argument for women in the West. He says that women should not wear the veil dress code in the West because it can lead to harassment and act as a barrier to inviting people to Islam.
Freedom of choice
Although the much stronger scholarly opinion holds that the niqab is not an obligation in Islam, it is appreciated that there is an opinion that believes it is. Differences in opinion are respected and celebrated, which is why a follower of one of these opinions will rarely say the other is completely wrong, or haram.
Niqab has a place in Islam since the Prophet’s wives were required to wear them. In today’s context, many women attempt to emulate the best of women to bring themselves closer to God.
Covering Head/Hairs in Islam:
Among other body parts, the head has been given a lot of emphases, when describing clothing among women in Islam. This has been the center of controversy, especially in Western countries, where it is argued that this practice undermines women in society and may promote security threats.
Islamic Clothing of the veil in Islam:
Clothing has always been an important factor in Islam, it is widely mentioned in the Quran and Hadith, and explanations have been given to clarify the need for a particular code of dressing in society.
It has two major meanings, according to Islamic teachings. Firstly, clothing is necessary to cover the human body from nakedness, an element which is upheld by human beings everywhere. Secondly, Muslims believe that clothing is an essential component that enhances the beauty, especially in women. As a result, Muslims are required to cover their private parts at all times.
Read more about Islamic Significance of Clothing here;
Religious Wisdom: The Religious Significance of Clothing
Religious clothing is worn according to religious practice, tradition, or significance to a faith group.
In this context, both men and women are not allowed to wear tight clothes or which is against Islamic laws and may arouse others sexually. Under this, Muslims are required to enjoy life, including clothing, without any signs of pride or extravagance.
Within the context of Islam, there are several veils that are recognized. Nevertheless, the veil has continued to face criticism from western and other cultures, which view it as a practice imposed on women by men as a way of oppressing and promoting their power in society.
But in reality, Islam puts a strong emphasis on the manner in which women are supposed to present themselves in society. As above I talked about Islamic teachings about clothes and their emphasis on a modest dress code for both men and women. The dress code of the veil is also emphasized, requiring women to cover their heads and the entire body, using veils and headscarves. This is primarily guided by the veil, which is based on the presentation of women in a modest way.
This has however been interpreted differently, with a section of Muslims arguing that veils are important in preventing women from attracting men sexually. The veils come in different shapes, with others covering the head and the face alone, while others cover the entire body, from head to toe.
Read more about Islamic Modest Dresses Code here;
Religious Wisdom: Modesty & Modest Dresses in Islam & Christianity
Different Religions promote modest appearance, among men and women, to various degrees.
The Veil Dress Code:
The Hijab is the most commonest, especially in Western countries. This covers the neck and head alone. However, most women outside these countries are required to use the traditional veil, mainly in the Muslim World.
Besides Hijab, there are other veils like the niqab these headdresses are commonly known as veils and are widely used by Muslim women all over the world, which cover the whole body, leaving tiny openings on the head to allow the person wearing it to see through. These veils have gained popularity in the Muslim world even though they are common in there.
Chador is another type of veil used by Iranian women, and in other countries in the Middle East. Unlike the niqab, the chador leaves the face of a woman exposed even though the head and the rest of the body remain covered. They are mainly black in color and are also common in countries where Islam is not deeply rooted.
A hanging veil, also known as a flowing veil or charity veil, is a type of Christian head-covering, which is worn by some Christian women continually, in obedience to Paul the Apostle’s command in 1 Corinthians 11:2–10
Hanging veils enjoy popularity in a diverse array of Christian denominations, especially those of the Anabaptist Christian tradition (such as Mennonites and Hutterites). In certain Conservative Mennonite Anabaptist congregationations of the Beachy Amish Mennonite tradition, an opaque hanging veil is permitted as an alternative to the Kapp if it covers as much or more hair as the Kapp, which traditionally is “of ample size to cover most of the hair”. Opaque hanging veils are usually white or black in color for modesty. Hanging veils are designed to drape over the natural curves of a woman’s head and hang down a woman’s neck. Certain denominations of Christianity provide guidelines regarding head-covering.
Read more about Islamic Modest Veil Dresses Code here;
Religious Wisdom: Modest Dress Code
Different Religions promote modest appearance, among men and women, to various degrees. The dress is influenced by…
Islamic dress, notably the variety of headdresses worn by Muslim women, has become a prominent symbol of the presence of Islam in the Muslim & western world. Various types of face veils have been in use since pre-Islamic times. The garment has different legal and cultural statuses in various countries.
In several countries, this adherence to the veil dress codes has led to political controversies and proposals for a legal ban. Laws have been passed in France and Belgium to ban face-covering clothing, popularly described as the “burqa ban”, although it does not only apply to the hijab.
Other countries are debating similar legislation, or have more limited prohibitions. Some of them apply only to face-covering clothing such as the burqa, boushiya, or niqāb, while other legislation pertains to any clothing with an Islamic religious symbolism such as the khimar, a type of headscarf. Some countries already have laws banning the wearing of masks in public, which can be applied to veils that conceal the face. The issue has different names in different countries, and “the veil” or hijab may be used as general terms for the debate, representing more than just the veil itself, or the concept of modesty embodied in hijab.
Rules of Veil in Islam:
This is highly emphasized in cases where the woman is in public, say, in the company of strange people who might not know her or understand her religion. Importantly, Islam is composed of a host of prohibitions and conditions, which define one’s way of dressing, as dictated by Islamic teachings.
The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said;
“ No woman should mix with a woman and describe her to her husband so that it is as if he can see her”. ( Muslim)
These are some rules in Islam;
- Covering all of her body but the exception
- Not functioned as Adornment
- The material (the fabric) must be thick, not sheer/transparent
- It should be loose, not tight
- It is given no fragrance or perfume
- The clothes should differ between men and women
- The clothes should cover the women’s whole body.
- It doesn’t resemble the clothes of infidel women (disbeliever)
- It is not ‘popularity clothes’
rules of Islamic veil (Hijab) & chastity
rules of Islamic veil (Hijab) & chastity rules of Islamic veil (Hijab) & chastity enrolling in a university where men…
The spiritual hijab and esoteric veil are what protect and seek the seeker of truth like an esoteric protector at all times from problems, worries, noise around the environment, as well as negative traits and inferiority.
This protector protects a person’s inner sanctuary from the effects of everyday problems, changes, difficulties, worries, and hardships like a strong siege and provides a suitable environment and atmosphere in which his inner abilities can be nurtured, e.g. The outer husk of the seed, which is mixed with the soil, is actually a protector, which makes it possible for the seed to grow on its own so that at the right time, this hard husk comes off and the plant could grow out of it.
The same example applies to human beings. He also needs a protective veil so that he can resist external problems and thus provide suitable conditions for the nurture and growth of the hidden abilities in his being so that he can recognize his existence. By living a balanced and harmonious life.
This is the veil that is actually obligatory for all seekers of the path of truth. The purpose of prayer, fasting, remembrance, supplication, and the observance of all the rules of Sharia is to provide the necessary environment for the nurture of the inner pleasures of human existence, so that man can have access to the message of God Almighty.
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