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Concept of Segregation and Hijaab

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    Concept of Segregation and Hijaab

    Salaamz all,
    I was having a discussion with some guy the other day on religion and we ended up arguing about Segregation and Hijab aspect of Islam. His argument was that Islam doesn't teach girls to wear Hijab or it doesn't talk about Segregation between men and women.I would like some evidence from the Quran and Hadith if possible, on these two matters. Only sensible answers, Thanx.

    I've tried to dig u up some stuff regarding jilbaab, nikaab and what is the awrah for a woman.
    Firstly Allah swt says in the Quran
    "And they do not show off their charm (Zeena) except only that which is apparent and let them draw their head coverings (khumur) over their necks and bosoms (juyub)". [An- Nur: 31]
    What is meant by this is that the awrah constitutes everything but the hands and the face ("except that which is apparent"). The reason this is understood is that there are many examples in the time of the prophet pbuh that the hands and face were shown and he did not object pbuh. Here are a few:
    1. Jabir b. Abd Allah said: "I attended prayer on Eid day with the Messenger of Allah r. He commenced with the prayer, before the Khutbah, without any adhan or iqamah. Then he rose, leaning on Bilal and addressing those present before him, commanded them to fear Allah and exhorted them to obey Him. He further admonished and warned them. Then he moved on until he came to the women whom he addressed saying: "Give charity, for verily most of you are fuel for the hellfire", whereupon there arose from the middle ladies congregation, a dark-cheeked woman who said: "Why is that, Oh Messenger of Allah"? He replied: "Because you woman make too many complaints, and you refuse to acknowledge your husbands good treatment". Upon hearing this the women began tossing their jewellery in charity upon Bilal’s outspread cloth". ( by the way the prophet pbuh wasn't joking - ref Faces of Islam )
    2. Umm Atiyya said: "We gave our Bay’a to the Messenger of Allah saw, so he (SAW) recited to us they should associate none with Allah and he forbade us from wailing (for the dead). A woman amongst us withdrew her hand saying: so and so woman has made me happy and I want to reward her, he (SAW) said nothing, the woman went, then came back".
    This indicates that the hand is not part of the ‘awrah. This hadith indicates that women used to give bay’a ( the pledge ) by hand because this woman withdrew her hand after extending it for the Bay’a. The fact the hadith states that the woman withdrew her hand when she heard the terms of the pledge (Bay’a), demonstrates clearly that the Bay’a used to take place by hand and that the Prophet (SAW) used to take the pledge by his noble hand.
    There is also a narration from Aisha (ra), she said: "The hand of the Messenger of Allah (SAW) did not touch the (hand of) any woman other than his own wives".
    This is the opinion of Aisha ra and an expression of the limit of her knowledge. If we compare Aisha’s ra statement with this hadith of Umm Atiyya then the latter’s hadith is preferred. This is because it specifies an action which happened in the presence of the Messenger (SAW) and indicates an action of the Messenger (SAW) which is preferable to a mere opinion of Aisha ra. That is why transmitters preferred Umm Atiyyaa’s hadith.
    To further emphasise this: Abu Dawud narrates on the authority of Aishah (ra), that Asmaa bint Abi Bakr entered the quarters of Allah’s Messenger wearing thin clothes. The Messenger (SAW) turned his face away and said: "Oh Asmaa, if the woman reaches puberty, it is not allowed to be seen from her except this and this, and he pointed to his face and hands".
    And just in case you're not sure: Abu Dawud narrates on the authority of Qatada that the Prophet (SAW) said: "When a young lady begins to menstruate, it is not correct that anything should be seen of her except her face and hands excluding the wrist".

    And in case the person you come across is a real stubborn geeza : Al-Bayhaqi narrates on the authority of Asma’ bint ‘Umays that she said: "The Messenger of Allah entered the house of ‘Aisha bint Abu Bakr while her sister, Asma bint Abu Bakr, was with her. She was wearing a Shammi (Syrian) dress with wide sleeves. When the Messenger of Allah (SAW) saw her he got up and went out". ‘Aisha said: "leave the room for the Messenger of Allah has seen something he does not like". So she withdrew. So the Messenger of Allah (SAW) entered, ‘Aisha (ra) inquired as to why he stood to leave? He (SAW) said: "Did you not see what she was wearing? It is not permitted for anything to be seen of a Muslim woman except this and this". He took his sleeves and covered the upper part of his hands until nothing could be seen of his hands except his fingers. Then he lifted his hands to his temples until only the face could be seen".
    As for nikaab ( the covering of the face ) this was something specific for the wives of the Prophet pbuh. A similiar example would be that the wives of the prophet pbuh were not allowed to remarry after his death pbuh yet this was only specific to them rah and not all Muslim women. With regard to Jilbaab ( the one piece ):

    It has been narrated on the authority of Umm Atiyya (ra.): We were ordered to bring out our menstruating women and veiled women in the religious gatherings and invocation of Muslims on the two ‘Eid festivals. These menstruating women were to keep away from prayer, witnessing the blessing and dua of the Muslims. I asked, "Oh Messenger of Allah, what if one of us does not have a Jilbab?" He said, "Let her wear the Jilbab of her sister". Which means that she did not have a garment to wear over her clothes to go out in. So, the Prophet ordered her to borrow one from her sister, which she could wear over her dress.
    This hadith makes it clear that Allah (SWT) has requested the Prophet (SAW) to tell his wives and the wives and daughters of the Muslims to wear garments over their clothes which reach right down to the feet as evidenced by the narration of Ibn Abbas: "The Jilbab is the rida (large sheet of cloth) which covers from top to bottom".
    The meaning, in terms of letting the Jilbab drape down, is found in the noble hadith. It is narrated on the authority of Ibn Umar that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: "On the day of judgement, Allah will not look with mercy towards the one who trails his garment behind him in haughty pride". Umm Salama asked: "what are the women to do with the hems of their dresses?" He (SAW) answered: "Let them increase their hems the length of a hand span". She rejoined: "Then their feet will be uncovered! He then replied: "Let them increase a fore arms length and no more". [Tirmidhi]


      Here's an extract from an informative article by Dr. Shariffa Carlo, a revert to Islam (you should read the whole article though) :

      The latest trend to hit the streets as they say, is the invention of new interpretations for the verses on hijab. They have discovered, it seems, something the Prophet, himself, had not discovered. Audhu billah! At first they claim that the word, "hijab" does not appear in the Quraan. Which is not true. Hijab is there, in relation to the mothers of the believers. who are our examples. Also, jilbab and Khymar, two far more specific terms are there, and they are specifically directed towards us, the Muslim women, and in observing these two, we are essentially observing hijab. Since this is so easily disputed, they have to invent a new loophole. They go on to say that the verse for the khymar does not say hair. They have taken a verse and ignored the implementation of this verse as found in the authentic sunnah or the teachings of the scholars.

      Those who are teaching this lunacy have committed two great violations. One, they are denying the verses of Allah, which in itself is outright shirk. Second, they are saying that our beloved Prophet did not understand these verses, because when the women began to cover themselves completely, he did not correct them. Which he ALWAYS did when they were wrong!

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


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


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

      Here, the Prophet was waiting for his daughter to cover from her head to her feet, the mother of the believers was praising the women for their understanding and implementation of this verse. If they were wrong, it would have been correction, not praise. Did our great Prophet, himself, not understand? Did his beloved daughter not understand? Did Aisha, the mother of the Believers, who is undisputedly one of the greatest scholars of al Islam, not understand? It is inconceivable that the Prophet and these great woman who lived with and learned from the Prophet himself, would understand Islam less than these Modern self-appointed scholars of Islam. May Allah guide them and protect us from them!

      Having said this, let me give you the verses relating to the woman's covering and try to explain them. Allah says:

      O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments (Jalbab) 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. 33:59


      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; that they should draw their veils (khymar) over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband's fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical 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. And O ye Believers! turn ye all together towards Allah, that ye may attain Bliss. 24:31


      O ye who believe! Enter not the Prophet's houses,- until leave is given you,- for a meal, (and then) not (so early as) to wait for its preparation: but when ye are invited, enter; and when ye have taken your meal, disperse, without seeking familiar talk. Such (behavior) annoys the Prophet: he is ashamed to dismiss you, but Allah is not ashamed (to tell you) the truth. And when ye ask (his ladies) for anything ye want, ask them from before a screen: that makes for greater purity for your hearts and for theirs. Nor is it right for you that ye should annoy Allah's Messenger, or that ye should marry his widows after him at any time. Truly such a thing is in Allah's sight an enormity. 33:53

      In these verses, we see that we have been commanded to wear the jalbab and the Khymar. What are these things? For a technical explanation, we find that jalabib, which is used in the verse is the plural of Jalbab. "Jalbab, is actually the outer sheet or coverlet which a woman wraps around on top of her garments to cover herself from head to toe. It hides her body completely." Lisan ul Arab vol 1 p. 273. The best explanation is that it is what we would today call a burqa or an abiya.

      In explanation of this word, Allamah ibin Al Hazam writes:

      "In the Arabic language of the Prophet, Jalbab is the outer sheet which covers the entire body. A piece of cloth which is too small to cover the entire body could not be called Jalbab." Al Muhalla, vol. 3, p. 217.

      The second piece, the Khymar is from the root Khmr which means something which veils. As we can see from the term Khamir (alcohol or any substance which veils the mind). The Khymar was a piece which covers the head and the breast area as instructed in the verse.

      Sheikh Al Al Baani was asked about this verse in relation to its limitations. He explained that it means a covering that goes over the head, shoulder and breast area, excluding the face. Here is the exchange in a question/answer format:

      "What is the ruling regarding a woman's wearing a scarf on her head?

      Ans. That is not enough - she has to wear a 'khimaar' which covers the head and chest. The scarf is not loose fitting and does not cover enough.

      Should not the shoulders also be covered by it?

      Yes, that is the 'khimaar'. It is a wide cover covering the head and shoulders. When we say that it covers the chest, then it covers the shoulders since it is wide. But as regards the head-scarf we often see a woman wearing it revealing a part of the neck due to it, but the 'khimaar' covers the neck and shoulder, and Allaah ta'aala orders that saying:


      The head-scarf is as they say these days a compromise, and there is no such thing in Islaam!

      Many people hold that the khimaar' is a covering for the face.

      Ans. That is ignorance with regard to the language. The 'khimaar' is a covering for the head and the man also wears the khimaar - putting it upon his head - the same as for the woman. He ta'aala said:


      If the khimaar covered the face then He ta'aala would not say WALYADRIBNA meaning pull/draw together, but he would have said "let fall" [ using the verb 'sadala' ]. This is ignorance regarding the language."

      Here we can clearly see the limitations of the piece that covers our heads. It must bo over the shoulders and the breast to fit what is described in the Quraan.

      When we put the two pieces together, what we have is a long dress jilbab and a head/shoulder/breast cover: khymar. These two pieces were commanded by Allah. Together they comprise the cover of the Muslim woman. Now, how do we know how serious it is to not cover? We find this in the explanations of the verses. We have one particularly strong hadith which pretty much covers it all.

      The Prophet said, "The worst among women are those who freely leave their homes without hijab. They are hypocrites and few of those will enter paradise." (Sunan Baihaqi)

      Also, In al Qurtubi, Aisha is narrated as having said to some women from the tribe of the Bani Tamim who were wearing dresses made of thin material when they were visiting her, "If you are mumin this is not the type of dress suitable for mumin women. But if you are not mumin, then do as you please." Also, narrated in Al Qurtubi is a statement from the mother of the believers, Aisha, that the woman who does not cover does not believe in surat al Noor. These are very strong words, for the one who disbelieves in any part of the Quraan is not a believer and has committed shirk!

      So strong is the importance of covering, that we can not even reveal to others that which is hidden. Abdullah Ibin Masud narrated that the Prophet said, "A woman should not look at or touch another woman so that she may describe this woman to her husband in such a way as if he were actually looking at her." (Bukhari, Abu Dawud)

      The covering of the Muslim woman is not an option, it is a privilege and a commandment from Allah. It is the duty of every Muslim woman and the responsibility of every Muslim man. For the man was commanded to:

      O ye who believe! save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is Men and Stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who flinch not (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allah, but do (precisely) what they are commanded. 66:6

      Now, the words of Allah in commanding us to wear khymar and jalbab should be enough. Added to that the words of our Prophet and the explanations from his wives, should be more than enough. Let's add to that that it is the consensus of the scholars (ijimaa) that the "hijab" is mandatory, and there should remain no woman who does not observe it, if she believes in Allah and the last day.

      [This message has been edited by sallu123 (edited June 09, 2002).]
      "When one bright intellect meets another bright intellect, the light increases and the Way becomes clear." - Rumi


        If there's still a doubt then here's what Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) says:

        "Halal (Lawful) is clear and Haram (Prohibited) is clear; between these two are doubtful matters concerning which people do not know whether they are halal or haram. One who avoids them, in order to safeguard his religion and his honour, is safe. Anyone who gets involved in any of these doubtful items, he may fall into the unlawful and the prohibited. This case is similar to the one who wished to raise his animals too close to a restricted area, so that the animals may step into that area. Indeed for every landlord there is a restricted area. Indeed the restrictions of Allah are the Haram." (Sahih Bukhari & Sahih Muslim)

        BTW Dr. Shariffa Carlo has many good articles at the following site:

        I especially liked these articles:

        Shariffa's Story
        Wisdom or Surrender?
        Divide and Conquer

        "When one bright intellect meets another bright intellect, the light increases and the Way becomes clear." - Rumi


          Here is a good article, though you may find others more helpful: The Islamic Veil

          Note from Moderator: Your link has been removed because the article given comprised of an incorrect reference made to a verse of the Qur'an. The article quoted verse 32 of Surah Nur as stating: And say to the believing women that they restrain their looks and guard their private parts and that they display not their beauty or their embellishment except that which is apparent, thereof, and that they draw their head coverings over their bosoms, and that they display not their beauty or their embellishment save to their husbands, or to their fathers or the fathers of their husbands or their sons or the sons of their husbands or their brothers or the sons of their brothers or the sons of their sisters or women who are their companions or those that their right hand possess or such of male attendants as have not desire for women, or young children who have not yet attained knowledge of the hidden parts of women. And that they strike not their feet so that what hide of their ornaments may become known. And turn ye to Allah all together, O believers that you may prosper.

          ... whereas in fact verse 32 of Surah Nur reads:

          And marry the unmarried among you and the righteous among your male slaves and female slaves. If they should be poor, Allah will enrich them from His bounty, and Allah is all-Encompasing and Knowing.

          In future please check the referencing from the Qur'an for any links or articles you provide as it can be misleading.


          [This message has been edited by Sentinel (edited June 10, 2002).]
          I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
          - Robert McCloskey



            Walikum Asalam,

            SubhanAllah some very good explanations. A lot of Muslims don't think its mandatory. However, we have the Quran , Sunnah and the ijma of the scholars backing it up. I get so aggravated when people tell me its not required. Although, there is "no compulsion in religion" which means we can't force a woman to cover up, we can tell her this is what our deen teaches. I don't care if you do it or not its up to you ( i actually do care, i would love to see all muslims dress modestly, but its their relationship w/ Allah(swt) and their deeds)... what gets me is that when people who have no knowledge of Islam give *their* interpretations of Quran. Its like do you know Quranic(fusha) arabic? do you know the sciences of the Quran? where have you studied? You are telling me that the interpretations of the some of greatest shcolars is wrong and your are right??
            So inshaAllah May Allah(swt) give us strenght to stay on the right path. Ameen.
            also like when people especially non-mulims ask me about the modesty of women in islam, I also emphasize on that modesty refers to every aspect of one's life not just to hijab. Although, it is important but we need other things along w/ it. I also bring in that how men are also suppose to dress modestly.
            Jazakumallahu khair


              Jazakallah all, I was busy with my exams and didn't have the time to reply, thanx for all the info. Some of the articles are very detailed and long, i'll reply as soon as i have finished reading them. Ahmed bhai, can you please post that article again, i didn't get the chance to have a look at it. thanx.


                Dear Brother Sentinel,

                I believe you got mistaken.

                If you do not know, Ahmadies consider 'Bismillah' to be part of Quran-e-Majeed and so is numbered as ayat # 1. On the contrary, most other Muslims for some reason unknown to me, start counting ayats after Bismillah. And so the verses are off by one number.

                Those who don't browse through quickly can understand that difference & recognize the correct verses right next to it if they are not referencing the same translations. Not to mention it has been pointed out a few times before & an explanation has also been given.

                Which way is the 'right way' to number ayats, is a totally different discussion; that I wouldn't want to get involved in here.

                I hope my explanation cleared up your misunderstanding. Here is a link to the translation of Surat Al Nur from the same site. You can verify my above explanation if you choose to do so.

                Ahmed bhai, can you please post that article again, i didn't get the chance to have a look at it. thanx.
                The Islamic Veil, you also might find something interesting from Women in Islam

                Sorry I do not like to copy/paste long articles for the comfort of other readers.
                I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
                - Robert McCloskey


                  Originally posted by ahmadjee:
                  Dear Brother Sentinel,

                  I believe you got mistaken.

                  If you do not know, Ahmadies consider 'Bismillah' to be part of Quran-e-Majeed and so is numbered as ayat # 1. On the contrary, most other Muslims for some reason unknown to me, start counting ayats after Bismillah. And so the verses are off by one number.
                  Don't you think this 'practice' of labeling bismillah as verse no 1) is misleading; since it (bismillah) is not part of revealed verses.



                    Actually Bismillah is part of the revealed verses. As Surah Naml has it twice and Surah Tubah does not begin with Bismillah.

                    If you want to discuss it, please open another thread.
                    I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
                    - Robert McCloskey


                      How many times was 'bismillah' reveled?

                      p/s: Is it possible to continue the discussion here?

                      [This message has been edited by google (edited June 13, 2002).]