I Appeal To Your Sense Of Shame
I Appeal To Your Sense
My Muslim Sister...
Will You Not Respond?
Translated by Abdul-Qaadir Abdul-Khaaliq
Table Of Contents
What Is Hayaa'?
Why I Write
Do You Not Understand?
What A Difference!
Take A Look Around You
Don't Be A Leaf In The Wind
Astonished and Astounded
Take Action And Do The Right Thing
The Requirements Of Women's Hijaab In Accordance With The Qur'aan, The Authentic Sunnah,
And The Practice Of The Pious Predecessors
the praise and thanks is due to Allah. We offer to Him all praise and
gratitude, and we seek His assistance and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah
from the evil of our souls and the wickedness of our deeds. Whoever Allah
guides there is none who can lead him astray and whosoever Allah misguides
there are none who can bring him to the path. I bear witness that there is
nothing truly worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is His slave
servant and Messenger. May Allah send his salaat and
salaam upon His Prophet Muhammad, his family, companions, and all those who
follow them in righteousness until the Day of Resurrection.
thought it prudent to preface the translation of this brief work by our sister Nawaal Bint Abdullah (may Allah
preserve her) with a few words about the background and context of the booklet.
This is because the author is describing a common phenomenon in Muslim
countries, especially in the Arabian Gulf
region. It is an appeal that is full of emotion and concern and even a bit of
outrage that may not be readily understood by not only non-Muslims but Muslims
living in other parts of the world. Her outrage may seem strange to many in
places where what she is complaining of and describes commonly occurs and
largely goes unnoticed. Such behavior however, has far more of an impact where
the Islamic environment or local culture is relatively more conservative than
in most places.
author's evident dismay and distress at what would seem a relatively mild lack
of adherence may indeed appear extreme to those outside her context. Indeed we
realize that perhaps most Muslim women would find absolutely nothing wrong with
what she describes and may even view some women whom she even points to who
wear niqaab in their midst as quite conservative
considering that most other women in their locale may not consider a face veil
at all necessary as opposed to the majority view in Saudi Arabia from where the
author wrote. Many commonly wear merely a scarf and slacks, dresses that do not
reach the ankles, no abaayah (A lightweight overgarment worn by Muslim women that
covers the dress underneath. It is commonly black in Gulf countries) or jibaab (see the Appendix: Requirements of Women's Hijaab) some make-up, perfume, or maybe nothing close to
Islamic hijaab and often interact with members of the
should be considered is if the author is comparing the state of affairs to the
actual requirements of Islamic Hijaab, and not merely
local culture, and if those requirements are being adhered to or not by the majority.
If they are not, what does that tell us about the state of the ummah and its women as a whole?
must also mention that in a relatively conservative Islamic environment, men
often become far more sensitive to the attractions of women and the sight of
merely a woman's hands or even feet, much less a pretty face, can be enough to
cause a great trial upon them! The great Imaam,
Muhammad Idrees Shaafi once
remarked that he was in the marketplace when he happened to see a woman's ankle
and thought he would lose half of his knowledge! Imagine the impact on such
people of the satellite dish, videos, magazines and other media where the
beauty of women is highlighted and exploited!
Nawaal fervently points to the dangers and the
negative influence of western culture and moral values upon the habits and
thought processes of many Muslim women. She asserts that such influence is
neither passive nor haphazard and that it is a serious and substantial threat
not just to Islamic values but to livelihood and
values once held precious by mankind as a whole. Can it not be so when the
evidence of reality is before our eyes! Could a clear-thinking believer see
otherwise? Ours is a world where pornography is a multi-billion dollar
industry. Sexual practices of all types are commonly and openly broadcast on television.
Men and women speak openly on talk shows and other venues of the most graphic
and lurid details of their sexual exploits, and women
suffer more physical and sexual abuse than any other group. Even the president
of the most revered nation on the earth has his most illicit sexual encounters
graphically described for the world to read.
living in Islamic environments are in stark contrast to those (including
Muslims) living in places where women are almost always uncovered and
beautified and often practically naked in public places. The latter are usually
far less sensitive and even rarely shocked at anything. Western civilization is
built upon the appreciation of the naked form in art and in life. (Even ancient
eastern cultures heavily emphasized sexuality such as the Indian Karma Sutra)
is well known that in the west, today's "modern and progressive"
women are encouraged to be as unashamed of their bodies as possible and to
never allow themselves to be restricted. Every day
life is full of images and interaction between the sexes involving every type
of woman. Sexual openness is considered healthy while anything limiting that is
considered repressive and backward. How must such a woman like the author feel
in light of this reality? Additionally, she is seeing these things in the
Heartland of Islam where there is relatively easy access to many scholars whom
one can listen to and speak with (women included) in person or by phone,
through audio tapes, or even the radio and television. Not to mention the
treasure trove of good Islamic books, the presence of institutions of learning
and memorizing the Qur'aan and hadeeth
for women. On top of all that she sees it among women whose native tongue is
Arabic and whose heritage is Islam and should therefore have little excuse to
is a hadeeth that goes: This world is like a prison
to the believer but it is the paradise of the disbeliever. [Muslim, At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Maajah,
Ahmed & others] Our sister Nawaal, and many other
men and women like her, face a seemingly unwinnable
battle to stem the tide of western influence in Islamic areas. They are painted
as fanatics and regressive while those who advocate relaxation of Islamic shari'ah are deemed reasonable and progressive, especially
with regards to women, and their usual first target is observance of Islamic hijaab.
ask Allah to reward the author and we are grateful to her for granting
permission to translate and publish her work in English. We have attempted to
do justice to her Arabic style though we have always found this almost unrealistic
due to the vast difference between Arabic and English prose. In this regard my
greatest thanks goes to Mr. Ahmed Ezzat
whose revision of the translation was invaluable. We hope to have successfully
overcome most of the difficulties of translating such a work like this and pray
that we are successful in conveying the meaning of this heartfelt message from
a member our most precious and respected Islamic sisterhood to her sisters in
Abdul-Qaadir Abdul-Khaaliq Riyadh
What Is Hayaa?
Hayaa' (modesty and a sense of shame) is a fundamental
characteristic of the noble and a sign of high standards and eemaan. Among the best of what has been said of it is that,
"It is a fine sensitivity and delicate feeling that is evident in the eye
and that affects the features. Whoever has been forbidden from it has been
forbidden from all good and whoever has been crowned with it has obtained honor
and nobility and been bestowed with complete good.' [Mawaarid
Ath-Thamaan Li-Duroos Az-Zamaan - Abdul-Azeez As- Salamaan, Vol. 3 pg. 367] How could it be otherwise when
the best of the creation of Allah, sallallahu 'alaihi wa
sallam, stated: Al-Hayaa' khairun kulluh (Hayaa' is all good) [Muslim]?
hayaa' has become feeble and withdrawn. Moreover,
destructive concepts and designs aimed at us from the enemies of Allah and
(enemies of) the Muslim woman, eat away at its body until it has deteriorated and
weakened to the point that the caller [to hayaa'] has
little affect upon many Muslim women when they are called to it.
we look at the profound state of affairs in which the Muslim woman lives and
her digression behind western trends and continuous imitation of them until if
they enter the lizard's hole she would enter along with them, we see a strong
testimony of the weakness of deen and hayaa' in such a Muslim woman. This is why I have strived, asking the Most High and Able Protector for
assistance and sincerity, to write a few words aimed at my Muslim sisters that
I hope will affect and reverberate upon their souls.
Why I Write
beloved sister, the words I write are from a heart full of sorrow and pain at
the sorry condition of so many Muslim women today. We see the Muslim woman who,
dressed in clothing that is covering yet nakedness, comes out to display her
charms and seduces the slaves of Allah with the filthiest of weapons - the
weapon of enticement and allurement that she has learned of the ways and means
of seduction. For you find this seduction in the home and in the street and in
speech and in movement. Seduction in clothing and beautification,
in walking and sitting and in the glance. It is really a serious matter
that is disgraceful and that dismembers the heart with grief when we live in a
reality where so many Muslim women are divested of hayaa'.
The deen and the Qur'aan
are forgotten and practices and morals are disavowed...and there is no ability
or power except from Allah!
sister, this address is from my humble and insufficient pen and lined by my
injured inner being and it is naught but a cry from one warning and cautioning
you, my dear sister. They are but words which I can only hope find your ears
and by which the door of your heart may be reached and they find space, an
entrance and acceptance and then application.
words emanate from a heart that has love, friendship and sincere advice to you.
Advice from a sister who has been caring much for her sister who she sees is
heading down the road of misguidance upon which she is practically swept away.
She has been deviated and is falling into the trap and snare that was prepared
for her by the Zionist and she is negligent and doesn't know. How is it that I
don't take hold of her hand and advise her and direct her or try to open her
eyes to the plots and designs around her?
deserving sister, my words are not new, yet they are a reminder for you so that
perhaps Allah would cause you to benefit by them and make them flow over your
heart with coolness and tranquility. Would that they have a
great influence upon you, in shaa Allah. I appeal
to you my beloved sister, to your sense of religion, your pure nature which
Allah has created you upon, and your sense of modesty (hayaa'),
and your fear of Allah the Most High and Able. Do you not listen at all to the
call of your sincere sister who so cares for you?
my dear sister, that you and I and every Muslim woman,
are standing on a port among the harbors of Islam. Namely, the Muslim family
and the education of the children in the manner loved and accepted by Allah.
Its pillar and foundation is obedience to Allah and following His Messenger (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) and searching for what
pleases Allah to acquire the priceless commodity that all of us hope for - Al- Jannah.
is for this, my Muslim sister, that when the scheming enemies of Islam saw the
position of the Muslim woman and the powerful influence she had amongst those
with whom she lives as the teacher and developer of the coming generations and
due to her would the upbringing be either solid or corrupted, they turned their
focus on us. They focus on us, we Muslim women, to destroy our morals and take
away our deen and hayaa'
toward which we were naturally disposed and which we were commanded to stick
to, until the morals of our sons, the men of the future and the pillars of the Ummah, get corrupted. They would destroy these morals which
support the Ummah in its progress and understanding
and (men) upon whom its honor depends after Allah. If this pillar is made
defective or is destroyed and this strong nature of the Ummah
is weakened, then what will become of its future? This is exactly what the
enemies of Allah want.
Do You Not Understand?
you know how they [i.e. the enemies of Islam - trans.] are able to infiltrate
and influence us through means that are enticing and outwardly innocent but
internally filthy? It is through the method of giving honeycovered
poison presented through advertising and glittering and captivating addresses.
It is their saying terms like, "Move with the times",
"civilization", and "modernization". It is done through
lowly magazines, seductive fashions, and saucy stories and tales. It is done
through television series', films, songs and other means. Will you look to
Allah my sister? Will you not return to your Rabb and
throw the plots of your enemies back on their throats and reject their concepts
and misleading titles? Will you say with the strength and honor of a Muslim 'I
do not accept other than the order of Allah and the order of His Prophet!'?
dear sister: What your enemy wants of you is indeed precious and costly. It is
no simple matter for you. They want to ruin your deen,
your moral character, your virtue and your hayaa in
which you derive pride and honor. They want for you to be the despicable,
reprehensible, and neglected of the society, as is the condition of their
womenfolk. They call for the throwing off of the hijaab
and to nudity and exposing yourself and they say to you:
Tear to pieces your covering O daughter of Islam Tear it up and
burn it without hesitation For truly it is a sham
weave conspiracy after conspiracy and devise plots and take up ambush positions
all around us. They initiate dirty and poisonous activities such as the
so-called "liberation movement", and "equality", and the impetus
of that is for the destruction of your moral character and mine, as well as the
moral character of all other Muslim women. These are all means and weapons they
can use to ruin this true deen. This will occur if we
answer their cunning calls and filthy invitations. Let us confront them and
stand as one like a towering mountain before this destructive western whirlwind
current in aid of this true deen and the preservation
of Islam, morality and al-hayaa. Let us be a strong
hand cuffing with its grip, hijaab, decency and
morality the face of all who would violate any of its parts or who attempts to
approach it and harm it.
and I and every Muslim woman must say to the enemies of Allah what Aisha At-Taymuriyyah said:
With a hand of decency I defend the honor of my hijaab And by my modesty I have risen above my
contemporaries And by brilliant and gifted thought And critical disposition
have my good manners been perfected Nothing has harmed me of my culture and
good learning Except that I am best of those wise Nothing has prevented us from
rising Except letting down the head cover from our locks and the covering of
beloved sister, what really cuts into my soul and deprives me of rest is to see
a young Muslimah who believes in Allah as her Rabb, Islam as her deen and in
Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi
wa sallam) as a messenger
and prophet, roaming the streets, roads, shopping centers, and other public
places where one finds the good and the evil, the virtuous and the wicked,
those of pure heart and those whose hearts are diseased who follow their sexual
weakness and pursue young females. These young women go out beautified or
wearing hijaab of the type that is itself such an
adornment that by its appearance and style shoots like an arrow of attraction
in the lustful heart of such a man. He will be tempted and his heart captured
by her. Will Allah be pleased, I ask you by Allah, with the act of this young
woman while He is the one who says to her and those like her among women: Do
not make a display like the display of those previous to Islam (in ignorance).
[Al-Ahzaab 33] Or will He be pleased with her deen, her modesty, her character as she was taught and
sister, don't you realize that among the signs of weak eemaan
in a Muslim woman and the beginning of her defeat and the deprival of her honor
and virtue is when she forsakes or abandons her deen
and her morals? Al-Hayaa’ is considered part of her
nature. A Muslim lady has always been the parable of hayaa'.
A famous proverb says:
The highest modesty is that of the virgin in her quarters.
disappearance of al-hayaa’ in a woman is a
shortcoming in her eemaan and a departure from her nature.
Have you comprehended that!?
Allah that there is no good in life nor in the world when hayaa
What A Difference!
Sister: Where is that young woman upon whom you see hayaa
written all over to the point where it practically speaks to you because of her
outer appearance, her bashfulness, and complete covering where she is on guard
not to reveal even a finger fearing to reveal any part of her body or the tone
of her skin or any of her physical charms? If you were to see her you would
consider her like a black crow for her decorum and striving to maintain the hijaab.
image of this modest young lady is such a stark contrast and contrary to the
one who is made-up and leaves her home or school or workplace while at the
height of adornment and peak beautification. She wears enticing clothing with
nothing over it except a short abaayah (a lightweight
over-garment usually black in color commonly worn by women in Gulf countries -
Ed.) or a long one. However, it is no concern to her if it flys
open in the wind on occasion or if she purposely lifts it up on another. She
may even go out with a head covering that she uses to cover her face but it is
sometimes so thin that colors of her face show through or so tight to the face
that the contours of her nose or her cheeks are visible. She goes out adorned
with gold jewelry and displays it up her forearms or on her hands which are
also decorated with henna or with a manicure that she proudly shows to the
people around her, not thinking that Allah is watching her from above the seven
a difference between these two women! What a contrast between the one who
adheres to the legislation of her Rabb and safeguards
herself, her hijaab and her hayaa’,
and the one who neglects the matters of her religion and follow the ways of
here enemies! What a difference between who sees that the hijaab
is a part of deen and shariah
and the means of her protection against filthiness, base qualities, and morass,
and the one who views the hijaab as nothing but an
antiquated custom. It is (to the latter) now no more than a sign of
backwardness and regression. It is to her shackles that she must be released
from so she can then be free to go on her way to ruin, disgrace and nudity.
My Precious Sister
impoverished is the countenance and dying of shame is the believer when he
looks at our women today - the mothers of tomorrow and the rearers
of the generations to come - as they put their greatest concerns in trivial
matters of no value or weight. Matters that are really contemptible nonsense
that is incumbent for the Muslim to be far above because Islam is the religion
of honor, high rank and sublimity.
Take A Look Around You
my beloved sister, can see your Muslim sister while she is keeping with
shameless magazines, mean fashion, immoral television serials which a Muslim
should be above watching, with lowly propagators all calling to the
annihilation of the deen and morals. You can see your
Muslim sister concerned with every hue and cry made to her by the callers of Shaytaan. Whereas, if the call to the
truth is presented to her, she tries to silence it. You find the Muslim
woman occupied with memorization of poetry, romance, and ridiculous narratives
that are written by none other than the most foolish of people. Whereas when it
comes to the Book of her Rabb, she may only have
memorized a few odd ayaat and if you ask her what
they mean or about a hadeeth she will not be able to
is precisely what the enemies of Islam want They want
to distance our youth from the manhaj (way) of Allah
and distance them from the source of light, honor, and elevation. They want
them to preoccupy themselves with other than the Book of our Rabb and the sunnah
of our Prophet (sallallahu alaihi
wa sallam) because without
them we are nothing! They want to make those of us who are cherished by this deen, follow them and be their adherents when it is they
who Allah has humiliated and scorned.
We so regretfully find that the majority of our youth are
not highly cognizant or knowledgable of deen. So what is the reason for this?! It is
precisely because of their substitution of that learning for the education and ideas
which have come to us from the west, and they coincide with their desires and
lusts so that they do not look elsewhere.
sister, the invasion of these ideas upon our intellects and
conceptions have had an influence and are manifested in many Muslim
women and has changed their understanding. So many women now find the salaah such a heavy burden that when they are called by the
caller to the truth to hurry to the salaah
you see one of them standing around as if lead-footed and moving so
lazily you would think the weight of the worlds mountains was upon her head!
However if there is a wedding or a party or a gathering for tea you will find
her rushing to it and getting ready in the best and most beautiful outfits. She
longs for the get-together in which may indeed be surrounded by the shayateen and permeated with back-biting, gossip, and
mangling peoples honor.
sister, you will find most of the young women of Islam wasting their time on
things that are of no benefit. You may find one of them spending hours before
the mirror dolling herself up but if you watch her salaah
she flies through it like the pecking of a crow! Does she not know that her
beauty, magnificence, and happiness is not in her skin,
appearance or hairstyle? By Allah, it is rather in her taqwaa,
her righteousness, her eemaan, and preservation of
her morality, deen and hayaa.
Don't Be A Leaf In The Wind
beloved sister, beware of being a characterless female blindly following every
noise or new trend originating from the Zionists. You have your own dignity and
independent personality that distinguishes you from others. If you must follow
an example it should be that found in the biographies of the women companions
who were superior and pure. You must look to the righteous and God-fearing
callers to Allah for they are suitable for us to look to, rally around and
follow in their footsteps. They are the torchlights
on the path to guidance and upon their companionship is the best of this life
and the Hereafter.
follow, my dear sister, the vile callers to corruption who boast of
vice...those who are bereft of the garment of virtue or hayaa'.
By Allah what makes the heart weep and severs the grieved soul is to see a Muslim
woman...if she sees her evil counterparts wearing tight, short, thin clothing
she wears it and follows them. If she sees them wearing tight, tempting pants
and revealing dresses sometimes even showing their private parts, thighs and
buttocks, she parrots them! She neither upholds the ruling of the shari'ah in her clothing nor does she see what Allah has
deemed acceptable for her of it. Instead she goes along with their so-called
progressiveness and has no desire to divert from the procession of civilization
and development and sees any digression as regression and backward repression
despite that the source of regression, backwardness, self-defeatism and
guilelessness is actually in her concepts, portrayal and action.
Amazed, Bewildered, Astonished and Astounded
believing sister, I am increasingly amazed and astounded by the Muslim sister
who wears tight and seethrough clothing and who
appears before strange men while she knows the threat of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam): There are two types of
people in Hellfire among them are the women who are clothed yet naked, astray,
tempting and whose hair is piled upon their heads like the humps of camels.
They will neither enter Al-Jannah nor even smell its
I am in wonderment at the one who gathers up her dress until her legs are
exposed while her beloved Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wa
sallam) ordered her to lower it by an armspan when he was asked by one of the noble women
companions saying: Lower it by a handspan. So she
said: But her feet would then still be exposed! So he replied: Then by an armspan and don't exceed that. [At-Tirmidhi
and others and ruled as hasan saheeh
(good and authentic) in Sunan At-Tirmidhi
am astounded at the one who knows that the voice of a woman is to be covered (awrah) unless there is a necessity but nevertheless she
raises her voice with neither hayaa
or deen. She talks with her girlfriends or whoever
is with her as though they are in her house paying no heed to or concern with the
presence of strange men around her while Allah the Mighty and Sublime states:
And do not be too soft in speech lest he in whose heart is a disease (of
hypocrisy, or evil desire for adultery, etc) should be moved with desire. [Al- Ahzaab 32]
again am I with the one who knows the ruling regarding wearing perfume outside
of her home or school, especially when she puts it on and passes by strange men
and they smell her scent through the air, Allah save us from it! Nevertheless
she will put on the strongest scent that will surely try the one who smells it,
and she goes out among strange men either in the marketplaces, malls or
otherwise and brings upon herself the statement of Al-Mustafa (sallallahu alaihi was sallam): Verily the woman who is perfumed and passes by men
and they smell her scent, she is called a zaaniyah
(fornicator or adultress) in the heavens.[Ahmed and others with isnaad hasan Saheeh Al-Jaami 2701] But she cares not.
am really bewildered when I see a bondswoman of Allah who knows the ruling
regarding high heels (Many scholars view them as impermissible to wear due to
the deception, physical harm, and tendency to cause a seductive gait and
drawing undue attention. Trans.) and that wearing them
is a form of trickery and seduction of the one who sees her and thinks she is
tall while she is not. She knows that they are also unhealthy and harmful
socially and morally. She closes her ears to the caller to the correct way and
persists on wearing flashy, gaudy, eye-catching shoes that are sure to turn
heads and bring on fitnah to make matters worse as
am amazed at my sisters, those who hear the call to what is right and
nevertheless distance themselves from following it out
of pursuing their desires and the diseases of the baser self (an-nafs al-amaarah bis soo). Can you guarantee, my
beloved sister, your lifetime even for a moment what would happen if perhaps Allah
would not permit you another day and you are upon the sinfulness you are commiting? Can you imagine how you would meet your Rabb?!
about that, my Muslim sister, and know that the pleasures of this worldy life are but fleeting and no person will leave
behind anything but their deeds. If they were righteous, then there is only the
best reward...if they were otherwise, then woe to them for what they may meet.
Take Action And Do The Right Thing
dear sister, safeguard your complete Islamic hijaab
and throw away the hijaab of beautification and proceed
to the obedience of your Rabb. Put aside the nonsense
and the vices because you are above all that. Tear apart, no burn every
shameless and vile page, novel or sentence that calls for release from values, deen and hayaa' to depravity,
corruption, shame and scandal.
your ears to the bleating of the west, their noisemaking and other clamoring
and instead open your ears and heart to the call of goodness and faith. Be
acceptant of the Book of your Rabb, the fountainhead
of all good for you in this life and in the Hereafter and adhere to the sunnah of your Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) the example for your
life and your torchlight. Throw back the plots of your enemies upon their necks
by holding firm to the Book of your Rabb and the sunnah of your Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) and cause them to
suffocate in exasperation and vexation at your upsetting them. Do it, my
beloved sister, for it is the act of the Muslim woman who is proud of her deen.
The Requirements Of Women's Hijaab In Accordance With
The Qur'aan, The Authentic Sunnah,
And The Practice Of The Pious Predecessors
essay will attempt to briefly yet concisely enumerate the basic requirements
regarding Muslim women's dress (Hijaab) as stipulated
by the Sharee'ah of Islaam.
The term Hijaab, itself includes not only dress and covering
the body, but methods of behavior before members of the same and/or opposite
sex, promoting privacy for females and prohibiting loose intermingling between
males and females, and thereby encouraging modesty, decency, and chastity.
differences exist among the scholars regarding the actual number of the
requirements because of varying methods used by them in codifying such. The
ones mentioned here represent the ones agreed upon by the overwhelming majority
of scholars and are all solidly backed by firm evidence taken from the Quraan, the Sunnah and the
practice of the Sahaabah (radiallahu
The First Requirement: The Extent of Covering
dress worn in public must cover the entire body except what has been specifically
excluded, based upon the following proofs:
Ta'ala says: And tell the believing women to
lower their gaze and guard their private pans from sin and not show off their
adornment (Zeenah) except only that which is
apparent, and draw their headcovers (Khumur) over their necks and bosoms and not reveal their
adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' fathers,
their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers, or their brothers' sons, or
their sisters' sons, or their women (i.e., their sisters in Islaam),
or their female slaves whom their right hands possess, or old male servants
free of physical desires, or small children who have no sense of women's
nakedness. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of
their adornment. And turn unto Allah all together, 0 you Believers, in order
that you may attain success. [An-Noor: 31]
word zeenah in the Aayah
above, literally means 'adornment', and includes both (a) that which Allah has
adorned, i.e., the woman's natural and/or physical beauty, and (b) that with
which they adorn themselves, i.e., jewelry, eye shadow, attractive clothing,
hand dye, etc. Soorah An-Noor
spells out specifically the commands concerning the fact that a woman's natural
beauty and her adornments are to be concealed from strangers except by: (1) What may show due to accidental or uncontrollable factors
such as the blowing of the wind, etc., and (2) What has been exempted (see
explanation at end of this section).
also says: O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters the women of the
believers to draw their out garments (jalaabeeb)
about themselves (when they go out). That is better so that they may be
recognized and not molested. And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. [Al-Ahzaab:59)
Dawood narrates that 'Aaishah
(radiallahu 'anhaa) said Asmaa' the daughter of Abu Bakr (radiallahu 'anhumaa) came to see
the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam)
wearing a thin dress; Rasool- Allah (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) turned away from her
and said: 0 Asmaa', once a woman reaches the age
menstruation, no part of her body should be seen but this - and he pointed to
his face and hands.
word Khumur (p1. of Khimaar)
refers to a cloth which covers the head (including the ears), hair, neck and
bosom. The esteemed Mufassir (Quraanic
interpreter) Al-Qurtubee explained: Women in the past
used to cover their heads with Khimaar, throwing its
ends over their backs. Thus leaving the neck and the upper part
of the chest bare, in manner of the Christians. Then Allah commanded
them to cover those parts with the Khimaar.
states further in this Aayah: And let them not
stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment...
women in the time of the Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam)
wore anklets which could employed to attract attention by stamping their feet
thereby making the anklets tinkle. This practice is not only forbidden by
Allah, but moreover, shows that the legs and ankles are to be covered as well.
of modern day Hanafee scholars are of the mistaken
view that a woman can display her feet, a portion of her forearms and her ears;
yet there is no authentic proof from the practice of the Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) or Sahaabah
to uphold such a view.
the authentic Ahadeeth which clarify this point is
the following: lbn 'Umar (radiallahu 'anhu) reported that Rasoolullah (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam)
said: On the Day of Resurrection Allah will not look at the man who trails his
garment along out of pride. Umm Salamah then asked:
What should women do with (the hems of) her garment? He replied: Let them
lower them a handspan. She said: Their feet would
be exposed! He then said: Let them lower them a forearm's length but no
more. [Reported by At~Tabaraanee-Saheeh).
Aayah of Soorah An-Noor also lists in detail those with whom a woman is
permitted to be more at ease. Furthermore, the ayah from Soorah
Al-Ahzaab orders Muslim women to draw their outer
garments about themselves when they go out.
Dawood related that 'Aaishah
(radiallahu 'anhaa) said:
After this Aayah was revealed the women of the Ansaar appeared like crows (because of the color and shape
of the cloaks they wore). Hence, an outer garment or cloak must be worn by a
Muslim woman whenever she goes out in public or if she is presence of strangers
within her own home or the home of a close relative. Slight differences have
arisen among the scholars concerning the precise meaning of ...except that
which is apparent... from Soorah An-Noor which according to Ibn 'Abbaas (radiallahu 'anhu), includes 'the face and the two hands, and rings.'
This view is shared by Ibn 'Umar,
'Ata'a, and others from the Tabi'een.
[Tafseer Ibn Katheer] Also, Imaam Ash-Showkani states concerning this same ayaah,
that it includes: "The dress, the face, and the two hands"; Ibn 'Abbaas and Qataadah have stated "The adornments include eye
shadow (Kuhul), bracelets, hand dye, and rings, and
it is not permissable for women to (uncover)
them." [Fath Al-Qadeer]
major point of difference among the scholars concerns the hadeeth
of Asmaa (radiallahu 'anhaa) i.e., that the face and hands need not be covered; a
number of the scholars have maintained that the face and hands must also be
covered, because it was the practice of the wives of the Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) and the wives of the Sahaabah to cover themselves completely according to
authentic Ahadeeth. The above point has been a topic
of debate amongst the scholars both past and present and will be dealt with, Insha' Allah at the end of this essay.
The Second Requirement: Thickness
garment should be thick and opaque so as not to display the skin color and form
of the body beneath it. Delicate or transparent clothing does not constitute a
proper covering. Al-Qurtubee reports a narration from
'Aaishah (radiallahu 'anhaa) that some women from Banu Tameem came to see her wearing transparent clothing. 'Aaishah said to them: If you are
believing women, these are not the clothes of believing women. He also
reports that a bride came to see her, wearing a sheer, transparent Khimaar whereupon 'Aaishah (radiallahu 'anhaa) said: A woman
who wears such clothing does not believe in Soorat
An-Noor. Moreover, the following hadeeth
makes this point graphically clear. Rasool-Allah (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: There will be
in the last of my Ummah, scantily dressed women, the
hair on the top of their heads like a camel's hump. Curse them, for verily they
another version he (sallallahu 'alaihi
wa sallam) said: ...scantily
dressed women, who go astray and make others go
astray; they will not enter Paradise nor smell
its fragrance, although it can be smelled from afar. [At-Tabaranee and Saheeh Muslim]
dressed women" are those who wear clothing which reveals more than it
conceals, thereby increasing her attractiveness while opening the path to a
host of evils.
The Third Requirement: Looseness
clothing must hang loosely enough and not be so tight-fitting as to show the
shape and size of the woman's body. This obviously includes such things as
skin-tight body suits, etc. The following hadeeth proves
this point clearly. Usaama ibn
Zayd (radiallahu 'anhumaa) said: Rasool-Allah (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) gave me a gift of
thick Coptic cloth he had received as a gift from Dahiah
Al-Kalbee, and so I gave it to my wife.
the Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi
wa sallam) asked me: Why
didn't you wear the Coptic cloth? I replied: I gave it to my wife. The Prophet
(sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) then said: Tell her
to wear a thick gown under it (the Coptic garment) for I fear that it may
describe the size of her limbs. [Narrated by Ahmad, AI-Bayhaqee,
The Fourth Requirement: Color, Appearance and Demeanor Allah Ta'ala says: 0 wives of the Prophet! You are not like
any other women; if you fear (Allah), then do not he
too pleasant of speech, lest one in whose heart is a disease should feel desire
for you. [Al- Ahzaab: 32]
reason for the revelation of this verse is not the fear of distrust nor misbehavior on the part of the women, but rather to
prevent them from speaking invitingly, walking seductively, or dressing
revealingly so as to arouse sexual desire in the heart of lecherous and evil
men. Seductive dressing and enticing speech are the characteristics of
ill-intentioned women, not Muslims. Al-Qurtubee
mentions that Mujahid (radiallahu
'anhu) said: Women (before the advent of Islaam) used to walk about among men. Qataada
(radiallahu 'anhu) said: They
used to walk in a sensuous and seductive manner. Maqaatil
(radiallahu 'anhu) said:
The women used to wear an untied cloth on their heads, while provocatively
toying with their necklaces, earrings and other ornamental jewelry.
Allah has commanded women not to display their beauty, meaning both natural and
Allah commands the believing women thus: ...And do not make a
display of yourselves (tabarruj) like the displaying
of the ignorance of long ago... [Al-Ahzaab: 33]
garment which is intended to conceal a woman and her beauty from public view
cannot be a thing which enhances her beauty. Therefore, the garment cannot
contain bright colors, bold designs or shiny and reflective material
that draw men's attention to the wearer. The word above, At-Tabarruj, means not only "to display oneself" but
also "to spruce up one's charms for the purpose of exciting desire"!
Imaam Adh-Dhahabee says in his book Kitaab AI-Kabaa'ir (The Book of
Major Sins): Amongst the deeds which a woman is cursed for are displaying the
adornments she wears, wearing perfume when she goes out, and wearing colorful
clothes... Hence, the Muslim woman is encouraged to wear muted, somber colors and
to avoid bright designs, patterns and colors.
point should serve also as a reminder to Muslim men who are in positions of
responsibility for their women, that Rasool-Allah (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) has warned in an
authentic hadeeth narrated by 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr ibn
Al-'Aas that amongst the three individuals who would
not enter Jannah (Paradise)
would be: Ad-Dayooth, who is contented with obscenity
within his family. i.e., a cuckold - a man who permits the women he is
responsible for, such as his wife, daughter, etc. to engage in illicit sexual
relations or to display their beauty to men, thereby stimulating sexual desire!
The Fifth Requirement: Difference from Men's Clothing
clothing of a Muslim woman must not resemble the clothing of men. The following two hadeeth help to explain
Hurayrah (radiallahu 'anhu) said: Rasool-Allah
(sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) cursed the man who wears
women's clothes and the woman who wears men's clothes. [Abu Dawood and Ibn Maajah Saheeh]
ibn 'Umar (radiallahu 'anhumaa) said he
heard Rasool-Allah (sallallahu
'alaihi wa sallam) say: The man who resembles a woman and the woman
who resembles a man is not of us (i.e., not of the believers). [Ahmad and
At-Tabaraanee - Saheeh)
Abu Dawood relates a narration from Umm Salamah (radiallahu 'anhaa) which shows that the Prophet (sallallahu
'alaihi wa sallam) forbade women to bundle their Khumoor
on their heads in such a way as to resemble the turban of a man. Western Muslim
sisters should pay specific attention to this point since regretfully this has
become a widespread practice amongst many of them!
The Sixth Requirement: Difference from the Clothing of Unbelievers
clothing must not resemble the clothing of unbelievers. This is a general
ruling of the Sharee'ah which encompasses not only
dress but also such things as manners, customs, religious practices and
festivities, transactions, etc. Indeed, dissimilarity with unbelievers is a
precedent that was established by the first generation of Islam. The following two hadeeth and statement
of 'Umar (radiallahu 'anhu) will help to clarify this position.
ibn 'Amr ibn Al-'Aas said: Rasool-Allah (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam)
saw me wearing two saffron colored garments, so he said: Indeed, these are
the clothes of kuffaar (unbelievers), so do not wear them.
ibn 'Umar (radiallahu 'anhumaa) said: Rasool-Allah (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam)
stated: Whoever resembles a people is one of them. [Abu Daawood]
Musa Al-Ash'aree (radiallahu 'anhu) related that 'Umar (radiallahu 'anhu) told him: ...I shall not honor those whom Allah has
dishonored, nor esteem those He has humbled, nor bring
close those whom He has kept afar. [Ahmad]
The Seventh Requirement: No Vain or Ostentatious Dressing
woman's dress must not be an expression of ostentation, vanity or as a status
symbol by being excessively showy or expensive, nor must it be excessively
tattered so as to gain admiration and fame for being humble. Ibn 'Umar (radiallahu
'anhumaa) reported that Rasool-Allah
(sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: Whoever
dresses for ostentation in this world, Allah will dress that person in a dress
of humiliation on the Day of Resurrection, and then set it on fire. [Abu Dawood]
The Niqaab (Face Veil): Between Mustahab (Recommendable) and Waajib
esteemed Quraanic commentators At-Tabaree
and Al-Qurtubee have elaborated on the form of Hijaab or Jilbaab i.e.,
"outer garments" as viewed by the Companions of the Prophet (radiallahu 'anhum), as well as the
circumstances surrounding the revelation of Soorah
Al-Ahzaab: 59, that was quoted at the beginning of this
essay. They state that when the believing women used to go out at night
(wearing ordinary clothes) to answer the call of nature, some hypocrites tried
to annoy them, thinking the women were slave girls. The women thereby would
scream out loudly causing these hypocrites to flee. Thereupon Allah revealed
Al-Qurtubee states that the jilbaab
is "a cloth which covers the entire body." Ibn
'Abbaas and 'Ubaidah As- Salmaanee have said that it is
to be fully wrapped anound the women's body, so that
nothing appears but "one eye with which she can see." The Tabi'ee, Qataadah (radiallahu 'anhum), stated that
the Jilbaab should be wrapped and fixed from above
the forehead and made to cover the nose, (although the eyes are to show) and
the chest and most of the face are to be covered.
it has been authentically related in the Muwatta of Imaam Maalik and the Sunan of Abu Dawood that the
Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi
wa sallam) forbade women
from covering their faces and hands during their performance of Salaat, Hajj or Umrah. This
clearly indicates that wearing the face veil (Niqaab
or Burqa'a) was a common practice during the time of Rasool-Allah (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam),
and not as some people claim, a cultural practice that appeared years later! Among
the proofs used by the scholars regarding the face veil are the following: 'Aaishah (radiallahu 'anhaa) said: May Allah bestow His Mercy on the first Muhaajiraat (emigrants). When Allah revealed: ...and draw their
headcovers over their necks and bosoms... they tore
their (material) and covered themselves with it. [Al-Bukharee]
Ibn Hajar AI-Asqalanee,
known as "Ameer Al-Mu'mineen
in Hadeeth" has explained that "covered themselves" means: "covered their faces." [Fath Al-Baree] Additionally,
after the battle of Khaybar, the Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) married Safiyah bint Huyai.
The Muslims said amongst themselves: Will she (Safiyah)
be one of the Mothers of the Believers (i.e., wives of the Prophet) or just
what his right hand possesses (i.e., slave girl). Some of them said: If he (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) makes her observe Hijaab, then she will be one of the Mothers of the Believers,
and if he does not make her observe Hijaab, then she
will be what his right hand possesses. So when he departed (for Medina), he made a place
for her behind him (on his camel) and made her observe Hijaab.
Looking At The Opinions
issue of the Niqaab has continued to arouse extended
controversy and debate between 'Ulamaa (scholars) and
Fuqahaa (jurists) both past and present concerning
whether it is Waajib (mandatory) or Mustahabb (favored by Allah ta'aalaa)
for the woman. And whether she subsequently falls into sin by
exposing her face or not. Each of the two sides clings to their own
opinion that they in turn support with evidences from the Quraanic
Ayaat, the Prophetic ahadeeth
and the practice of the Sahaabah and their views.
of the views on this is that the Niqaab is legally
binding on the woman and she who abandons it is a sinner. It says that the
woman's face - which she is ordered not to reveal to non-relatives - is
definitely part of the Auwrah (private areas that are
never to be exposed). The other view says that the Niqaab
is simply recommended and encourages the woman to cover her face; however, it
does not place it on the level of being mandatory. Consequently, this opinion
does not consider the woman falling into sin when she exposes and unveils her
face as long as in doing so, she has not applied facial makeup.
dispute continues between the two viewpoints and takes on, in certain
occasions, bitter aspects. The advocates for making the face
veil mandatory accuses the other group of following their own desires.
The other group accuses their opponents with being obstinate fanatics. The
matter is much broader than this and does not require accusations of obstinacy
nor of following the desires but rather requires making Ijtihaad
(judgement based on the Sharee'ah)
and following Daleel (proof from the Sharee'ah) to the best of one's ability. To give the
benefit of the doubt in such a situation is better and most befitting for the
Muslim, limiting the points of difference and narrowing the gap of disagreement
are two factors which are sought after. I do not want in this rush to take a
side with one group over the other: nor to validate
the proofs of which I see the truth in this issue. Rather the aim is, as I said, to narrow the controversy and to highlight the points agreed
upon. Thereby, we may adopt them and work on spreading them. As for the point
of disagreement - it will remain under the category of Ijtihaad
whose scholarly advocate will be rewarded whether he attains truth or was
Please Consider The Following
First: The two views agree upon the legitimacy of the Niqaab, that it is a consummate perfection for a woman and
more virtuous for her, as well as closer to the aims of the Sharee'ah
- which is to prevent Fitnah - and is an obstruction
to excuses as well as severing the path of those who follow their lusts. It is
therefore more appropriate that the efforts should be directed to encourage
wearing the Niqaab, and to motivate people towards
it, and to show and explain its virtues and merits. This implies that covering
the face with the Niqaab should be the general rule
and uncovering the face the exception.
Second: In spite of the fact that there are differing views on the Islaamic ruling regarding whether the Niqaab
is obligatory or recommended, it is undoubtably one's
duty to unify the call for it and cooperate as much as possible in urging young
women about its necessity and to limit their desire to expose their faces as
much as possible. Indeed, it is merely gracious to both parties, unlike what is
happening now between opposing sides - which is to
leave the matter loose and dangling through the claim that the Niqaab is only Mustahabb, and
being aloof from spreading the call for it. This is indeed an inversion of the
truth and poor judgement in the matter.
my brother Muslims, when you are asked: 'What is the form of the Hijaab according to the Sharee'ah,
especially from a woman who loves the Deen?' you
should urge and encourage her to wear the Niqaab even
if you are of the opinion that it is only Mustahabb. Lastly:
We truly hope from Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aalaa
for the day when all believing women rush to cover their faces with full
contentment of their souls and desire for their Deen
is the strongest of desires. This is a hope which, without any doubt, is shared
with me by those who are of the opinion of it being Mustahabb
and those who are of the opinion of it being Waajib.
pray that Allah guide us along the Straight Path, and protect us from deviation
after having followed guidance. And may Allah bless the Leader of His
Messengers, Muhammad (sallallahu 'alaihi
wa sallam), his family and
his companions, and all who follow in their footsteps until the Final Hour, Ameen.
Compiled by I.A. Palmer