…Like Pearls in their Shells
As Muslims we submit to the will and commands of our Lord – Allah who is the creator of the worlds. His commands and rules as stated in His Book-the Quran should be humbly accepted and practiced without arrogance. It is this Divine Book where Allah commands His believing servants to believe in Him alone, pray five times, fast in the month of Ramadan, give zakah, to respect their parents…etc. And it is the same noble book where Allah orders the believing women to wear hijab or cover themselves, hide their beauty and guard their modesty. Allah says in the Holy Quran,
And tell the believing women reduce some of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except only that which (necessarily) appears thereof and to wrap their head covers over their chests and not expose their adornment ( i.e., beauty) except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husband’s sons, their brothers or their brother’s sons, or their sister’s sons, or their women, that which their right hands possess (i.e. slaves), or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. And repent to Allah, all of you, O believers that you might succeed. (24:31)
Allah also says,
“O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down upon themselves part of their outer garments (lowering and drawing together a sheet like garment concealing from head to toe). That is more suitable that they will be known (as chaste believing women) and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.” (33:59)
My dear sisters in Islam, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala created us unique and then blessed us with these special rules out of His wisdom and mercy, to provide for us a great degree of privacy and protection. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala conveys His concern for the honour and reputation of believing women and hence His instruction to avoid the careless dress and behaviour of the pre-Islamic period and of the non-believers. All praise and thanks be to Him who freed women from the shackles of ignorance and blessed them with Islam and its bounty. He chose the perfect attire for us as He being our Lord and Creator knows what is best for us. Therefore, if we believe in Allah, we must comply with His orders to wear Hijab with the conditions stated by Allah, in the verses of the Quran mentioned above . The interpretators of the Quran have explained the conditions of Hijab…and they appear the explanation of Surah Nur by Saheeh International as follow
- The clothing must cover the whole body except the face and hands.
- It must be wide and loose enough to conceal body shape and curvature. Allah’s command to draw the large head wrapper (khimar) over the chest insures that its folds will conceal the neck, shoulders, the chest area as well as the head and hair. The clothing should also hang loosely over the hips.
- The cloth must be thick enough as not to reveal the skin colour beneath it or the shape of the body. Prophet cursed women of later generations who would be dressed yet undressed…,they will not enter paradise and they will not smell its fragrance which can be smelled from such-and-such a distance, in a hadith narrated by Muslim.
- The clothing itself should be simple so as not to attract attention.
- It should not resemble clothing usually worn by the opposite sex. Styles may vary with time and location but among Muslims there’s a clear distinction between the appearances of males and females. The Prophet cursed the man who dresses like a woman and the woman who dresses like a man in a saheeh hadith narrated by Abu Dawood and Al Hakim.
- The dress should not resemble the dress which is particular to the non believers and it should not be a clothing of distinction or reputation. A dress that indicates pride or the opposite…i.e. a dress excessively shabby worn out of indifference to the world.These conditions with the exception of the first one apply to the Muslim men’s clothing as well. Men should also dress modestly according to recognized norms, avoiding clothing that is eccentric, which resembles that of females or that of the non believers. Men are not allowed to wear gold or silk. However, both are allowed for women.
Allah out of His divine wisdom and precision exempted women from the ruling’s observance before specific categories of people…which He stated in the verse of Surah an Nur, “…except to their husbands,their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husband’s sons,their brothers or their brother’s sons, or their sister’s sons, or their women, that which their right hands possess ( i.e slaves), or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women …”(24:31) And some as mentioned in the hadiths of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) are the brothers of parents, the daughter’s husband and those related by nursing. Wherever fathers are mentioned, it includes grandfathers, great grandfathers, grandsons, great grandsons, etc., as far down as they exist. The uncle’s son is not a mahram relative since marriage to him is not prohibited. Neither are the sister’s husband or the husband’s brother and uncle. My dear sisters in Islam, hijab is a form of obedience and worship of Allah Ta’ala. It serves as a shield for us, guards our modesty and increases our faith with which we can gain a place in paradise with Allah-Most High insha Allah. Dear sisters, the modesty of a believing woman is reflected not only in her dress but also in her movements and behavior.It is not just a matter of simply putting a piece of clothe on our head, then wearing colourful or flashy clothes with no positive change in our way of thinking and our attitude! We wear hijab with all its conditions in order to get closer to Allah; it constitutes in us a special attitude, a way of thinking and behaving, and we proudly accept ourselves for who and what we are. Basically it constitutes an Islamic way of life; it is a statement which indeed should portray a certain meaning. The whole idea involves conducting ourselves with dignity at all times. It identifies us as Muslims, and ultimately people will judge Islam by us and that is a heavy responsibility! Hijab isn’t meant to restrict us from doing the kind of things we want to do, it is a blessing because it makes us check our behaviour continuously, and prevents us from doing the things that Muslims shouldn’t be doing anyway. Complimenting the rules stated above, Allah also prohibited the pre Islamic practice of attracting attention by letting the sound of ornaments(bangles, anklets, high heels, etc.) be heard and also prohibited women to use perfume in the presence of non-mahram men. Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, “When a woman perfumes herself and passes by an assembly, she is so-and-so,” meaning a fornicator. (Ahmad and atTrimidh-saheeh)
Al-Bukhari reports Mother of the believers A’isha as saying;
“May Allah have mercy on the emigrant women (Muhajirat).As soon as Allah revealed, ‘… and (let them) wrap their head covers over their chests,” they tore of the edge of their waist wrappers and wrapped their heads with it.” And she said, “By Allah I have not seen better or more believing than the Book of Allah than the women of the Ansar (helpers). When Surah Nur was revealed with ‘… and (let them) wrap their head covers over their chests,’ their men returned to them reciting what Allah revealed for them therein. There was no woman among them but that she took her extra waist wrapper and wound it tightly around her head out of faith and belief in what Allah had sent down of His Book. By morning they were praying behind the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) wrapped up (appearing) as if there were crows on their heads(due to knots or the dark colour of the cloth).”
SubhanAllah!! By mentioning the immediate compliance of the women companions, A’isha was illustrating the correct and appropriate response of every sincere believer to Allah’s injunctions as soon as he/she is aware of them!! May Allah make us like those believing women.
Unfortunately, most Muslims nowadays look upon the Hijab as being too “extreme”, some common excuses include: “that virtue and modesty are in our characters not in wearing hijaab…, Islam is not that complicated…its the religion of ease…, I love Allah and His Messenger and that love is in my heart so there’s no need to wear hijab…, I believe in the importance of hijab but I’ll wear it after I get married or when I reach such-and-such age…, so-and-so wear hijab but they commit major sins so what’s the use…,or I live in a non muslim country and wearing hijab makes me the earn the scorn of people…, ummm my husband doesn’t want me to wear hijab.., My parents/parents-in-law will hate me if I start covering…..!!!!!!!!!!!”
Dear sisters, Allah-the Lord of the worlds orders us to wear Hijab…He’s the One who created us, blessed us with life when we were nothing, He fashioned us, made us capable to stand, walk, talk…, He favoured us with infinite blessings, which if we were to count we would never be able to enumerate them… “And He gave you from all you asked of Him. And if you should count the favor (the blessings) of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed mankind (generally) is most unjust and ungrateful.” (14:34)
Do we dare to question His orders..? How can we even consider violating an order to be an insignificant thing although it comes from Allah? How can we call it irrelevant while it’s a part of faith, safety of the heart and stability of the society? Wearing hijab has so much to do with Islam, in this world and the Hereafter. Hijab is mandatory for Muslim women and not complying with this order becomes a major sin! We don’t sit and search for logic when it comes to the orders of Allah…we just hear and we obey. Iblees used his logic and refused to comply with Allah’s order to prostrate to Adam…and we all know what happened next…he’s cursed and doomed to the hell fire forever.
Dr. Jamal Badawi, a famous writer of Islamic Books writes,
“To some the subject of the Muslim woman’s dress might seem trivial. A basic requirement of a true believer is making one’s opinions and inclinations subservient to what Allah and His Messenger have determined. Placing one’s personal opinions, feelings or inclinations above or at the same level as the commandments of Allah is the ultimate of human pride and vanity. This means in effect that a mortal is responding to Allah’s guidance by saying, ‘ O my Creator, Your law is your opinion. I have my own opinion and I know best what is good for me.’ This attitude is befitting for unbelievers and the hypocrites, but not for a believer no matter how imperfect one may be in implementing Islam in one’s life.” (The Muslim women’s dress p.3)
Allah says, “It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should (thereafter) have any choice about their affair. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly strayed into clear error.” (33:36)
Allah ta’ala states his commands for a just reason and wants to make our lives easy for us not difficult…He knows the nature of His creatures… Displaying the woman’s beauty in public is aninstrument that shaytan uses to make people go astray. So we should be conscious that we do not become an agent for shaytan.
Hijab is ease because it guards us…; it’s a gift from our creator because it makes people realize that we’re precious pearls. It is a way to gain the creator’s love, pleasure mercy…it does show our love for Allah and His Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wasallam ) …and it guarantees that Allah will love us too, if we follow His commands. Everybody claims to love Allah and His messenger but the practical proof of this love is obedience to His commands mentioned in the Quran and in following His Messenger’s way of life.
Once we know about the rules of Allah…it becomes mandatory upon us to comply with them…we never know what the next minute might bring for us…death might catch us unaware…and we will be confronted with our account before the Lord of the worlds with hearts filled with regret. Allah says, “Every soul shall taste death, and you will be given your (full) compensation on the Day of Resurrection…” (3:185)
Allah will not hold us responsible for women who wear hijab but still commit bad deeds…Instead, we’ll be held responsible for what we did to please or displease Him in the world. Allah says, “…and no bearer of burdens shall bear the burden of another.” (17:15) “So whoever would hope for the Meeting with his Lord, let him do righteous work and not associate in the worship of his Lord anyone.” (18:110)
The decision to wear the hijab can become extra complicated through external pressures, especially from loved ones…, family and friends. Some parents and husbands prevent us from fulfilling this noble obligation…but remember, Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, “There should be no obedience to a creature in disobeying the Creator.” (Ahmad)
No doubt, obeying our guardians and taking care of their wishes and desires is a part of faith but NOT when they come between us and our Lord!
My Dear sisters, many of us were unaware of the significance of hijab and it might seem strange, scary and hard to some…Remember it is Allah’s order and He’s the One who will make things easy for us…!! Let us make dua to Him for guidance and strength and start complying…!! He will certainly help us and protect us if we strive in His cause. Never forget, no matter how difficult it is, that Allah never puts burdens on us that we cannot bear, and the more we persevere, the more blessings we receive, insha Allah. Dear sisters, Allah has blessed us by teaching us this important rule…lets hurry and implement this important rule with a sincere intention to please Allah…and a hope to gain His mercy and love in thins world and the hereafter. Allah says,
Say, O mankind, the truth has come to you from your Lord, so whoever is guided is only guided for (the benefit of) his soul and whoever goes astray only goes astray (in violation) against it…” (10:108)
O Allah!! Guide us all and give us the strength to implement Your rules!! O Allah!! Help us remember You, thank You and worship You in the best of ways.
-Compiled by Mariam Anwer
- The Qur’an [Our Guide to Peace & Succes]
- The Sayings of the best of all men – Prophet Muhammad [sallallahu alyhi wasallam]
- Some comments by my favourite teacher, my inspiration ‘Umm Muhammad’ in her book; “Explanation of Surah Nur by Saheeh International”.