Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Proofs on the obligations of Hijab (Veil)

We start in the name of Allah, the only One Who deserves to be worshipped, the only Creator, the One with no similar, the One Who has no wife or children, the One Who ordered us to follow His rules and to be pious and patient in His obedience. We ask Him to increase the honor and the rank of His beloved slave and messenger, our master Muhammad, and to save his nation from that which he fears for it. I ask Allah to grant us sincerity and piety, and make this work beneficial to anyone reads it.
It could be said:
Muslims nowadays face many malicious attacks and wrongful criticism from their enemies no matter how moderate, decent and reasonable they are. Sadly, some of the “Islamically” poorly educated Muslims (self-appointed speakers) are on the foot steps of these enemies. All what the practicing Muslims do is questionable for their haters, and at times Muslims feel that they need to justify their acts. It should be known to these people and for every Muslim that Islam is not just a mere ideology established by someone, or a set of bylaws compiled by a group of lawyers and legislators. Rather, Islam is a sacred complete system based on components of beliefs, acts of worship, morality and codes of conduct, which are revealed by the Creator and conveyed by His Messenger Muhammad, salla-llahu ^alayhi wa sallam, to all humankind, and perpetually valid for implementation in every age.
One issue which became and remains controversial is the dress of the Muslim woman. Some may ask, “Why must she cover?”and “How much must she cover?”  The answer is: "Simply, because Allah commanded her to do so". Among learned Muslims, hijab has never been a controversial issue; because of the Qur'anic and Hadith conclusive evidences, moreover, there is a unanimous agreement (ijma^, consensus) among all Islamic scholars on its obligation. It is important to make a distinction at this point between the hijab and the niqab. The hijab is the headdress which covers the head and neck, while the niqab is what covers the face.
To clarify this matter and to substantiate this well known Islamic practice, the 3 main Islamic references: The Qur'an, Hadith, and the agreement of the Muslim scholars (ijma^) are utilized. These references are the main tool used in the standard Islamic jurisprudence practice. Then, in the discussion section, we will present the significance of this practice in establishing the Muslim identity and we'll show what's acceptable and non-acceptable in this practice. Hopefully, the skeptics and the poorly educated Muslims will see the irrefutable truth and will return to the ideal path of shari^ah.

Ayah 31 of suratun-Noor means:
[O Prophet] tell the believing women to restrain their gaze (the forbidden look) and to guard themselves from sinning (fornication or adultery) and not to display excessive jewelry and make up (to prevent seduction) except what is normally revealed and to draw (extend) their khumurst (Hijabs) over their chests. They should not reveal their beauty (removing their head scarves because hair is part of the beauty) to anyone but their husbands, or their fathers, or their husbands’ fathers (father in law), or their sons, or their husbands’ sons (step sons), or their brothers, or their brothers’ sons (nephews), or their sisters’ sons (nephews), or other women of acquaintance, or their slaves, or the subservient male (mentally handicapped) servants who are not attracted to women, or children (not pubescent) who have no awareness of the hidden aspects of women. They should [also] not stomp their feet in order to seduce and draw men's attention to their hidden ornaments (anklet).  O believers repent to Allah so that you may succeed.
— Qur'an ,  24:31
This ayah makes clear what must be covered, a woman’s unlawful nakedness, and infront of whom a woman may uncover.

Ayah 59 of suratul-Ahzab means:
O Prophet Enjoin your wives, your daughters, and the wives of believers to draw their [jalabeeb] cloaks (outer garment) over them [when they go out]. That is more proper, so that they may be distinguished and not be harassed. Surely, God is the most forgiving and merciful.
— Qur'an ,  33:59
The following verses of suratul-Ahzab are taken to apply exclusively to the wives of Muhammad, salla-llahu ^alayhi wa sallam,

Ayahs 32-33 of suratul-Ahzab mean:
[O] Wives of the Prophet, you are not like other women (some of the judgments that apply to you, do not apply to other women). So, if you fear God, do not be too complaisant in your speech, lest the lecherous-hearted should lust after you. Talk with such people in plain and simple words. Abide still in your homes and do not dress as women used to do in the first ignorance era (the era that preceded the prophet Nooh, peace be upon him, when women used to dress in revealing clothes). Attend to your prayers, pay zakah and obey God and His Messenger. O household of the Prophet (wives and children), Allah wants to cleanse you from the filth of the sins [these hypocrites want to besmear you with] and to fully purify you with piety. –meanings from al bahr al muhit
The prophet’s wives had particular Islamic judgments that only applied to them. For example, if the Prophet divorced her or after he passed away, she was Islamically forbidden from remarrying. Another such judgement was with regards to the dress, where the Prophet’s wives were obligated to cover more than other Muslim woman.
There are many Ahadith (plural of Hadith, sayings and doings of the Prophet) related to the subject of men and women's ^awrah (unlawful nakedness, i.e. body parts that need to be covered) that are narrated by al-Bukhary, Muslim, Abou Dawood, and other scholars which talked about the obligation of the woman's conservative clothing and head covering. Some of these Ahadith described the circumstances and events when these aforementioned Qur'anic verses were revealed to the Prophet, salla-llahu ^alayhi wa sallam, while other Ahadith talked about the events when the Messenger of Allah, salla-llahu ^alayhi wa sallam, just ordered the Muslim women to dress conservatively, to cover their heads, not to display their excessive jewelry and to avoid wearing seductive makeup and perfume in order to attract the men's attention and lure them. Nevertheless, only one comprehensive Hadith is mentioned in this article because of its clarity and generality.
  • ^A'ishah, Ummul Mu'minin, radiya-llahu ^anha (the most knowledgeable woman in the Muslim nation), narrated that when her sister Asma', the daughter of Abu Bakr, radiya-llahu ^anhu, entered upon the Messenger of Allah, salla-llahu ^alayhi wa sallam, wearing thin clothes, the Messenger of Allah, salla-llahu ^alayhi wa sallam, turned his attention from her and said which means: O Asma', when a woman reaches the age of menstruation, she is not allowed to show of herself except this and this, and he pointed to her face and hands. Sunnan Abi Dawood 32:4092. The Prophet, salla-llahu ^alayhi wa sallam, didn't specify this judgment for the prayer and hajj only; it's a general ruling for women to cover in front of marriageable men no matter how chaste, dear and close such men are.
Scholars' Arguments
Because of the vast Islamic region and the diversity in the ethnic and cultural backgrounds, Muslims have recognized many different forms of clothing as satisfying the demands of hijab. Although there's a unanimous agreement among the renowned and reliable Muslim scholars from as-salaf (in the first 300 years hijriy) and al-khalaf (after the 300 years hijriy) on the woman’s obligation to cover all of her body except the hands and face when in front of marriageable (men).
The debate focused on the degree of conservatism necessary when covering. Even though covering the face and hands were special restrictions for the wives of the Prophet, salla-llahu ^alayhi wa sallam, as per the ayah 32 of suratul-Ahzab, scholars consider it recommended, not as an obligation, that women do the same as the wives of the Prophets, salla-llahu ^alayhi wa sallam, did, since they were considered role models for the Muslim women. Different scholars adopted different interpretations of the original texts.
  • Some Muslims recommend that women wear a jilbab, a high-necked loose robe that covers the arms and legs, and a khimar, a scarf or cowl that covers all but the face.
  • Some think that the jilbab and the khimar are the very garments demanded by the Qur'an.
  • Others believe that the words used in the Qur'an are best understood as words with a general meaning and that Muslim woman have some freedom in choosing which form of head-covering or cloak to wear as long as they meet the obligation.
Before it was mandatory for Muslim women to dress conservatively and cover their heads, they used to uncover their ears and their necks, if they cover their heads at all (in era of ignorance, al-jahiliyyiah). The fact that they used to uncover is mentioned in al bahr al muhit (in Qur’anic interpretation). The argument that hijab is just an extended tradition, started before the time of the Prophet Muhammad, salla-llahu ^alayhi wa sallam, then continued and as such is compulsory, is objectionable because if they used to cover from before then why did Allah order them to cover, if they had already been doing so? Such an argument is baseless and unacceptable to the Muslim scholars because of the assurance of the Qur'anic scriptures and Hadith texts on its obligation.
Muslim scholars agree that the basic requirements are that when praying, (performing al-hajj, pilgrimage), or in the presence of marriageable men, (not maharim plural of mahram), a woman should cover herself, except her face and hands. Some scholars specify the degree of conservatism necessary in such a dress.
Allah the One Who created mankind Knows what is beneficial and what is harmful for them. He sent prophets and messengers to guide the people to the path of righteousness and to warn them about the evil and what leads to it, through revelation. The Islamic shari^ah is valid for any time and age, because the One Who revealed it Knows the best about the needs of His creations. Total faith in Allah means full subjugation to Him and submission with commitment to all what He decreed. Muslims should believe with no doubt about whatever was explicitly deemed in the Islamic shari^ah (i.e. by the Qur'an, authentic Hadith, and the unanimous agreement of the reliable Muslim scholars[1]) to be a fard (obligation) or to be haram (forbidden). Nevertheless, with issues that were not explicitly mentioned by the Qur'an, authentic Hadith, and there was no consensus among the scholars, the Prophet, salla-llahu ^alayhi wa sallam, gave permission for ijtihad, deducing an Islamic judgment, by qualified Muslim scholars using the proper tools for ijtihad. Al-hamdu-llilah for this permission, it gave the Muslims leverage in dealing with any circumstance, anywhere, at any time.
Regretfully, this permission is well misused, or actually, abused by some of the unlearned Muslims who imposed themselves as thinkers or clergymen. Using out of context Qur'anic verses and reliable Hadith, or using unauthentic Hadith and untrustworthy sources, they make false judgments that are harming the credibility of our truthful and reliable scholars, who are the most knowledgeable about the shari^ah and the true followers of the Prophet, salla-llahu ^alayhi wa sallam, whom he praised. For some meaningless publicity, gaining a little popularity and shameful reputation, these faked individuals are giving baseless judgments under the permission of fatwa and ijtihad with no fear of Allah whatsoever. Deceiving lay Muslims by good intention to facilitate some matters, or to act as reformers to update the shari^ah and make it applicable for this current time, they are disserving Muslims, and giving a big favor for the enemies of Islam. Having said that, every judgment that contradicts our shari^ah has no merit and is rejected no matter who said it. Consequently, wearing Hijab for women is an obligation till the Day of Judgment.

Surat al-Ahzab ayah 36 means: When Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter, nor a believer man or a believer woman should have any option in their decision (strictly they have to follow the shari^ah). And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed undoubtedly.
Civilization is not measured by nakedness; rather, it is measured by the contribution to the betterment of humans’ life. The Islamic shari^ah was revealed by the Creator as sign of mercy to humankinds. It is a perfect system from creed, to act of worships, to transactions, to codes of conducts. Men and women are ordered equally to comply with it. Both have observance responsibilities and adherence to its rules.
Islam is the religion of moderation and rejects extremism on both ends, strictness and liberalism (not too harsh or too dilute). Hence, obligating on woman what Allah has not made obligatory such as full body covering is rejected; as is contradicting what is established as being a recommended and rewardable act, ie covering the face for those who wish to do so. Islam affirms flexibility within the boarder of shari^ah). What was decreed to be fard, obligation, it is different from what was decreed to be sunnah, rewardable acts. Similarly, what was meant to be haram, forbidden, is different from what is meant to be makruh, disliked. The only sure way to know them is by learning the authentic Islamic knowledge.
Islamically, there's no definite punishment for the woman who doesn't observe hijab, yet, not wearing it shows some carelessness about this issue and some weaknesses in piety. On the other hand, even though the hijab is a sign of devotion and compliance with shari^ah, it's not the only standard used to measure a woman’s piety. Some women may wear it for a fashion purpose, some may wear it as a tradition, some may wear it because they're coerced to do it, and some may wear it for many other reasons. However, the ones who really wear it in compliance with the shari^ah, are those who were Islamically educated, totally convinced with its meaning, and obeyed Allah. One of the other reasons in dressing decently is to signify modesty for both men and women. Both will then be evaluated for intelligence and skills instead of looks and sexuality. One of our Muslim sisters said: "We want to stop men from treating us like sex objects, as they have done. We want them to ignore our appearance and to be attentive to our personalities and mind. We want them to take us seriously and treat us with respect and not just chase us around for our bodies and physical looks." Generally, a Muslim woman who covers her head is making a statement about her identity. Anyone who sees her will know that she is a Muslim and has a good moral character hypothetically. Many Muslim women who cover are filled with dignity and self esteem; they are pleased to be identified as Muslim. As a chaste, modest, pure woman, she does not want her sexuality to enter into interactions with men in the smallest degree. A woman who covers herself is concealing her sexuality but allowing her femininity to be brought out.
In general, there's no fixed standard as to the style of dress or type of clothing that Muslims must wear, only regional and cultural differences dictate such constraints. However, some requirements must be met. The first of these requirements is the parts of the body which must be covered, only the hands, face and feet may be uncovered. Thickness is the second requirement. The clothing must be thick enough so as not to show the color of the skin it covers and it is better for such clothing to conceal the shape of the body.
An over-all dignified appearance is highly recommended. The clothing should not attract men's attention to the woman. It is better for the clothing to be loose enough so as not to describe the shape of the woman's body. In addition, women must not dress so as to appear as men. Ibn ^Abbas narrated that the Prophet, salla-llahu ^alayhi wa sallam, cursed the men who appear like women and the women who appear like men. (al-Bukhariy)
Often forgotten is the fact that modern Western dress is a new invention. Looking at the clothing of women as recently as seventy years ago, we see clothing similar to hijab. These active and hard-working women of the West were not inhibited by their clothing which consisted of long, full dresses and various types of head covering. Hence, we should not allow the tides’ turning to dictate our outlook and belief rather we should remain steadfast to what was deemed obligatory. Muslim women who wear hijab do not find it impractical or interfering with their activities in all levels and walks of life. Hijab is not merely a covering dress but more importantly, it is behavior, manners, speech and appearance in public. Dress is only one facet of the total being. Muslim women are urged, in addition to acquiring the Islamic necessary knowledge, to pursue higher education, to be professional, to be socially active, and to be leaders and examples in conveying the true picture of Islam, the religion of all the honorable prophets from Adam to Muhammad.

Because of our care, unquestionable motive and love for our sacred shari^ah, in this article and with total sincerity, we intended just to present the Islamic proofs hoping to get the message across to those who were mislead so they can get back to their senses and be reasonable. The Prophet Muhammad (Salla-llahu ^alayhi wa sallam) said in the mutawatir hadith (ranked at highest degree of authenticity) which means that no one should be obeyed in disobeying Allah. Obeying Allah and His messenger is the ultimate goal. This is the definition of taqwa, piety, fear of Allah. One of the righteous scholars said: "People are asleep in this life; when they die they wake up". Let us not be among those careless people. Death is coming with no escape, let's be ready for this moment of truth.

Finally, we ask Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta^ala, to make us among those righteous who listen to what has been said, yet, they follow only what is the best of it, help us guide to what leads to His obedience and not to mislead, and to grant us the good and safe end.

[1] Renowned mainstream scholars such as: Abou Hanifah, Malik, Ash-Shafi^iy, Ahmad Bin Hanbal,

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