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The Hijab .. Why?
By Dr: Muhammad Ismail

Translation & Comments
By Dr: Saleh As-Saleh

The Hijab is an act of obedience to Allah SW(4) and to His
Messenger Muhammad (SAAW(5)). He (SW) says:
“It is not for a believer, man or woman,
when Allah and His Messenger have
decreed a matter that they should have
an option in their decision. And
whoever disobeys Allah and His
Messenger, has indeed strayed in a
plain error.” (Qur’an 33:36)
Allah (SW) also says:
“But no by your Lord, they can have no
Faith, until they make you
(Muhammad (SAAW)) a judge in all
disputes between them, and find in
themselves no resistance against your
decisions, and accept (them) with full
submission.” (Qur’an 4:65)
Indeed,, Allah ordered that women must put on the Hijab(6).
He (SW) says:
“And tell the believing women to lower
their gaze (from looking at forbidden
things) and protect their private parts
(from illegal sexual acts, etc.) and not
to show off their adornment except
what must (ordinarily) appear thereof,
that they should draw their veils over
their Juyubihinna(7).” (Qur’an 24:31).
Allah considered the dazzling display of beauty an act of ignorance:
“And stay in your houses and do not
display yourselves like that of the times
of Jahiliyeeyah(8) (ignorance). ” (Qur’an 33:33)
He, Most Glorified, says:
“And when you ask the Prophet’s wives
for anything you want, ask them from
behind a screen.” (Qur’an 33:53)
The above Ayah (verse) does not apply only to the Prophet’s
wives but to all of the believing women. Carefully read the
following saying of Allah (SW):
“O Prophet! Tell your wives and your
daughters and the women of the
believers to draw their cloaks (veils)
over their bodies (when outdoors). That
is most convenient that they should be
known and not molested.”(9) (Qur’an 33:59)
The Prophet (SAAW) said:
“The woman (i.e. any woman) is A’wrah (10)”, that is she must be covered.
(4) SW: Subhanahu Wata’ala, Most Glorified and Most High is He.
(5) SAAW: Salla Allahu Aleihi Wassalam: May the Salat and Salaam
(Peace) of Allah be upon His Prophet Muhammad
(6)This is not something cultural. It is Allah’s order. Its conditions are not
Arabian, Egyptian, Pakistani, Black or White American, etc. Its
conditions are specified in the Qur’an and Sunnah to provide a protection
and safeguarding of women. No one knows about what is good for men
and women more than their Creator, Allah. His laws are Wise as it is the
case with all of His actions.
(7) Juyubihinna: The respected scholars from As-Salaf As-Saleh (righteous
predecessors) differed whether the veil cover of the body must include

the hands and face or not. Today, respected scholars say that the hands
and face must be covered. Other respected scholars say it is preferable
for women to cover their whole bodies.
(8) Jahilyeeyah: The days of ignorance prior to the Revelation of the Qur’an.
(9) No one can ignore the molestation of women that exists in the so called
“open” societies. The question is: why it is happening? The answer
begins to shape up when people think about the purpose behind
creation. Allah created us for the single purpose of worshipping Him
alone. He detailed all the ways to fulfill this purpose in the Last
Revelation to all mankind, the Qur’an. In it we can find how women and
men can safeguard their dignity, honor, and morality. The worship of
Allah is manifested in the following of His orders. Allah orders that
men and women must avoid all the roads that lead to animalistic ways of
living. The Hijab is one of Allah’s commands. It is an honor and
protection for women as well as a true freedom for her body from the
hands and eyes of aggressors and molesters.
(l0) This hadeeth is narrated by Abdullah bin Masoud and collected by
At-Tirmidhi who said it is Hassan-Ghareeb i.e. good and Ghareeb (The
Ghareeb is a narration by one narrator either in each level of the levels
of the chain of narrators or in some levels of the chain). Also As-Siyouti
hinted that it is authentic.
Allah (SW) made the adherence to the Hijab a manifestation
for chastity and modesty:
“O Prophet! Tell your wives and your
daughters and the women of the
believers to draw their cloaks (veils)
over their bodies (when outdoors). That
is most convenient that they should be
known and not molested.” (Qur’an 33: 59)
In the above Ayah there is an evidence that the recognition of
the apparent beauty of the woman is harmful to her. When the
cause of attraction ends, the restriction is removed. This is
illustrated in the case of elderly women who may have lost
every aspect of attraction. Allah (SW) made it permissible for
them to lay aside their outer garments and expose their faces
and hands reminding, however, that it is still better for them to
keep their modesty:
“And as for women past child-bearing
who do not expect wed-lock, it is no sin
for them if they discard their (outer) in
such a way as not to show their
adornment; but it is best to be modest
and Allah knows and sees all things
provided they do not make a display of
their beauty; but it is best to be modest
and Allah knows and sees all
things.” (Qur’an 24:60)
So how about young women? Clearly they must stay modest
find not display their beauty.
Allah (SW) had shown us the Hikma (Wisdom) behind the
legislation of the Hijab:
“And when you ask them (the Prophet’s
wives) for anything you want, ask them
from behind a screen, that is purer for
your hearts and their hearts.” (Qur’an 33:53)
The Hijab makes for greater purity for the hearts of believing
men and women because it screens against the desire of the
heart. Without the Hijab, the heart may or may not desire.
That is why the heart is more pure when the sight is blocked
(by Hijab) and thus the prevention of fitna (evil actions) is
very much manifested. The Hijab cuts off the ill thoughts and
the greed of the sick hearts:
“Be not soft in speech, lest he in whose
heart is a disease (of hypocrisy or evil
desire for adultery, etc.) should be
moved with desire, but speak in an
honorable manner.” (Qur’an 33:32)
The Prophet (SAAW) said:
“Allah, Most High, is Ha’yeii(11), Sit’teer(12), He loves Haya’
(Bashfulness) and Sitr (Shielding; Covering)”(13).
The Prophet (SAAW) also said:
“Any woman who takes off her clothes in other than her
husband’s home (to show off for unlawful purposes). has
broken Allah’s shield upon her”(14)
The hadeeth demonstrates that depending upon the kind of
action committed there will be either reward (if good) or
punishment (if bad).
(11) Ha’yeii: Allah is Bashful: He does not unravel the acts of disobedience
by His slaves. They openly disobey Allah while they are in need of Him,
yet He (being Ha’yeii) is ashamed of humiliating them leaving the door
of repentance opened for them. If, however, they become arrogant and
persist on the spread of evil, and disobedience, Allah certainly is All-Just
in His infliction of punishment.
(12) Sit’teer: Allah is Sit’teer: He provides means that shield against the
uncovering of disobedient acts. The slaves commit acts of disobedience
while Allah is providing them with many of His favors. He (SW) gives
the opportunity for each one of us to return to Him in repentance and to
seek His forgiveness. He loves those who do not like the spread of sin.
He dislikes the Muslim who publicizes his acts of sin and disobedience.
He loves the Muslim who does not unravel the sins of his brother in
Islam while at the same time calls him to repent. The Hijab is something
beloved by Allaah because it is a shield against the spread of evil
manifested in the display of beauty to strangers.
(l3) Collected by Abu Dawoud, An-Nissa’ee, AI-Baihaqee, Ahmed, and in
Saheeh An-Nissa’ee.
(14) Collected by Abu Dawoud and At-Tirmidhi who said: it is a good
hadeeth” .
Allah (SW) says:
“O Children of Adam! We have
bestowed raiment upon you to cover
yourselves (screen your private parts,
etc.) and as an adornment. But the
raiment of righteousness, that is
better.” (Qur’an 7:26)
The widespread forms of dresses in the world today are mostly
for show off and hardly taken as a cover and shield of the
woman’s body. To the believing women, however, the purpose
is to safeguard their bodies and cover their private parts as a
manifestation of the order of Allah. It is an act of Taqwah
(righteousness ).
Allah (SW) did not address His Words about the Hijab except
to the believing women, Al-Mo’minat:
“And say (O Muhammad (SAAW) to
the believing women.” (Qur’an 24: 31)
In another Ayah Allah (SW) also says:.
“And the believing
women” (Qur’an 33: 59).
A’isha (RAA(15)) the wife of the Prophet (SAAW), addressed
some women from the tribe of Banu Tameem who came
visiting her and had light clothes on them:
“If indeed you are believing women, then truly this is not the
dress of the believing women, and if you are not believing
women, then enjoy it.”(16)
(15) RAA: Radiya Allahu anhu (anha or anhum): May Allah be pleased
with him (her or them)
(16) Reported in “Ma’alim As-Sunnan” by Abu Suleiman Al-Khitabi in his
explanation of Sunnan An-Nissa’ee V 4, p.376
The Prophet (SAAW) said:
“Each religion has a morality and the morality of Islam is
haya’ (bashfulness).”(17)
He (SAAW) also said:
“Bashfulness is from belief and belief is in Aj-Jannah
Furthermore, he (SAAW) said:
“Bashfulness and belief are fully associated together if one is
lifted the other follows suit.”(19)
The mother of the believers, A’isha said: “I used to enter the
room where the Messenger of Allah (SAAW) and my father
were later buried in without having my garment on me,
saying it is only my husband and my father”. But when Umar
(RAA) was later buried in (the same place), I did not enter
the room except that I had my garment on being shy from
Umar (RAA).”(20) The Hijab fits the natural bashfulness which
is a part of the nature of women.
(17) Related by Imam Malik in his “Mu’wata” (2: 905-Arabic). The
chain is Mursal i.e. the chain of narrators is disconnected at one point or
another. For example to say: “On the authority of A, on the authority of
B, on the authority of C that the Prophet said “….” . The hadeeth is
Mursal if for example C did not hear directly from the Prophet. In the
case of the above hadeeth, Ibin Habban connected the chain by two ways
of narrators, both of them are weak.
(18) collected by At-Tirmidhi who said it is: “a good and authentic
(19) Narrated by Abdul’lah bin Umar as Related by Al-Hakim in his
“Mustadrak” (1/22-Arabic) who said: “it is a good and authentic
Hadeeth…..” and Al-Thahabi confirmed Al-Hakim on this.
(20) As-Simt Ath’ameeen Fee Maniqib Ummahat Ul-Mu’mineen, p.91:A
Book by Ibin As-Sakir that represents a collection of the great attributes
of the Mothers of Believers (The wives of the Prophet-SAAW). Al-
Hakim reported a similar narration and said that it is “good according to
the conditions of Imam Bukhari and Imam Mulslim”, noting that both
Imams did not discuss the chain of narration itself. Al- Thahabi had no
comment about Al-Hakim’s narration.
The Hijab fits the natural feeling of Gheerah which is intrinsic
in the straight man who does not like people to look at his
wife or daughters. Gheerah is a driving emotion that drives
the straight man to safeguard women who are related to him
from strangers. The straight Muslim man has Gheerah for all
Muslim women. Many in the world had lost this great moral
aspect. In response to lust and desire men look (with desire) at
other women while they do not mind that other men do the
same to their wives or daughters! In “free” societies you see
men sitting with strange women who are half-naked
“enjoying” the scene! They introduce their wives to other
strange men. Mutual looks here and there! Affairs develop and
phone calls are exchanged. “Love affairs” destroys many
families and children suffer most. What kind of “love” is this?
The mixing of sexes and absence of Hijab kills the Gheerah in
men. The eyes “eat up” other men and women! The inner
“justification” is: since I can look they can look. It’s a ” free
choice”!! Few are those who feel anything when they discover
their wives have “affairs”. They become numb!! No dignity !
No honor! The bottom line is that in many societies of this
modern World the animalistic behaviors are becoming very
Ali (RAA) said: “It was related to me that you women used to
crowd the Kuffar (disbelieving men) from the non-Arabs in
the markets; don’t you have Cheerah? There is no good in the
one who does not have Gheerah.”
Islam considers Gherrah an integral part of faith .The dignity
of the wife or daughter or any other Muslim woman must be
highly respected and defended.