The treatise on Hijab (Women’s Covering): al-Uthaimeen

رسالة الحجاب

للشيخ محمد صالح العثيميين

The treatise on Hijab

(Women’s Covering)

By the late eminent scholar,

Sheikh Muhammad ibn Salih Al-Uthaimeen,

May Allah have mercy on him

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ترجمة وتعليق

” أبو سلمان” ضياء الدين إبرلي

Translation and Notes by

“Abu Salman” Deya-ud-Deen Eberle

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بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

إن الحمد لله نحمده ونستعينه ونستغفره ونعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا ، من يهده الله فلا مضلَّ له، ومن يضلل فلا هادي له ، وأشهد أن لا إله الا الله وحده لا شريك له ، وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله

أما بعد

Table of Contents

Translator’s Preface

Author’s Introduction

First: Evidence from the Qurán

Second: Evidence from the Sunnah  (the Way and Traditions of the Prophet, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him)

Third: Evidence of Analytical Reasoning

Fourth: Evidence of those who allow the exposure of a women’s face

Fifth: The Answer to this Evidence

Abbreviated List For Further Reading:

Table of Contents

Translator’s Preface

Indeed, all praise belongs to Allah. We praise Him, seek His Aid and His Forgiveness and we seek refuge in Allah from the evil of ourselves and from the evil of our actions. Whomsoever Allah guides, none can misguide, and whomsoever Allah leaves in unguided none can guide thereafter. I bear witness that there is no god (nothing has the right to be worshipped) except Allah, who is alone without partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.

“O you who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared and die not except that you are Muslims.’ [Aal-i-‘Imran (3):102]

“O Mankind! Fear your Lord, Who created you from a single soul (Adam) and from him created his partner (Hawwa, Eve) and from them both sent forth and scattered many men and women. So fear Allah through whom you demand your mutual rights and by the reverence of the wombs that bore you. For Allah is ever watchful over you.” [Nisa’ 4:l]

“O you who believe! Fear Allah and say a truthful word. He will direct you to do righteous actions and will forgive your sins. Whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has already attained the highest success.”[Ahzab 33:70-71]

To proceed: Indeed the best speech is the Book of Allah and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him. The worst of affairs are the invented matters, for every newly invented matter is an innovation and every innovation is misguidance and every misguidance is in Hellfire.

This precise booklet is by one of the most pre-eminent Islamic scholars of our age, Sheikh Muhammad Salih Al-Uthaimeen, may Allah have mercy upon him. Anyone who had the pleasure of hearing him speak and teach, or who has read his books frequently, knows that he is indeed an “Imam” (leader) in Islamic jurisprudence.  Not only does he have a great understanding of the Quran, Sunnah, principles and details of jurisprudence, and the Arabic language, but he also has the widely recognized ability to easily convey knowledge to others. This booklet deals with the controversial issue of the Muslim women’s “Hijab” and “Naqab” (head-scarf & veil) and what is obligatory for her to cover in front of marriageable males from the perspective of the exact scriptural evidences of Allah’s Book, the Qur’an and the Guidance of the Messenger Muhammad, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, the Sunnah, the proofs and evidences and arguments as derived and formulated from the procedures of Islamic jurisprudence on the subject. There are many articles and books on this subject because the issue of the treatment of women in Islam and their rights generally, and the covering of their heads and bodies in particular, has been and continues to invoke strong emotions from Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The issues carry intense symbolic value in all the major spheres of human identification, including the religious, social, cultural and political. As will be explained below, the Islamic Hijab has been made compulsory on Muslim women in order to distinguish them and protect and safeguard their person, honor and chastity.  Similar to many other cultures where modest dress is part of a unique identity of chastity and moral uprightness, Islam protects and safeguards the individuals and the society from awkward situations of unnecessary intermingling of marriageable males and females leading to natural temptations.  Jewish and Christian traditions were very strict in segregation of the sexes and modest dress until the process of secularization and Western style modernity marginalized religious and moral values in general. This in turn has led to a decline of modesty in speech, action and attire from their societies, and the rise in extramarital sexual activity, homosexuality, illegitimate children and abortion.  Muslim societies stand as the last fortress of modesty and chastity in the human race, and this is one of the realities that enrage the proponents of secularism and liberal values all the more.  The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, said in authentic tradition (hadith): “Verily for every religion there is a characteristic, and the characteristic of Islam is haya` (modesty, shyness, bashfulness).” And he said, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him: “…and haya` is part of faith.”  And he said, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him: “Indecency and crudeness is not a part of anything but that it makes it ugly and Modesty is not a part of anything but it makes it beautiful.” And he said, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him:  “Al-Haya` and Iman (faith) are bound together: if one is raised, so is the other.”

The treatise before us is included in the long list of writings on this contemporary issue. Each writer with his or her own particular interpretation of the texts on the subject can be put in perspective of the other writings as mentioned in the abbreviated list for further reading. In his introduction on the issue of jurisprudence, the Sheikh points out as to whether it is obligatory for a woman to cover her face or not.  The popular position of quite a few scholars is not to take covering of the face as obligatory (wajib) but it is rather a virtue (fadilah) and of the Sunnah (way of the wives of the Prophet).  As it will be clear to the reader, the Sheikh’s treatise is a rebuttal of this lax position wherein he proves essentially through the various evidences that point to the fact that it is indeed an obligation. Regardless of one’s position on the issue, proper conduct of argumentation and mutual respect should always be maintained in the spirit of Islamic brotherhood while seeking the truth by study, contemplation, discussion, dissertation, and the presentation of viewpoints.

[… some parts of introduction deleted here …]

The reader will find the translation of the treatise directly after the Arabic [retained in blue] with my exposition as the translator following if deemed necessary, placed between the following lines [^^^^^^].  The original Arabic is given since, as all students of knowledge and teachers know, this is a very useful tool for study, comparison and reference. To view the Arabic version only, see:

http://www.ibnothaimeen.com/publish/cat_index_304.shtml

For messaging the translator email to:

abusalman102@yahoo.com

abusalman102@gmail.com

Forth coming (insha-Allah: God willing)

Excerpt from pages  4-12

(Scroll down to bottom of page for footnotes)

 

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المقدمة

الحمد لله نحمده ونستعينه ونستغفره، ونعوذ به من شرور أنفسنا وسيئات أعمالنا، من يهده الله فلا مضل له ومن يضلل فلا هادي له. ونشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له، وأن محمداً عبده ورسوله صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وأصحابه ومن تبعهم بإحسان وسلم تسليماً كثيراً.

Introduction

 

“All praise is due to Allah; we praise Him and we beseech Him for help and we seek refuge in Allah from the wickedness of our souls, and from the evil of our deeds; whomsoever Allah guides, none can lead him astray, and whoever is left in error by Allah, there is none to guide him; and I bear witness that there is no god except Allah and that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger, may the blessings of Allah be upon him and his family and companions and whoever follows them with goodness and the frequently repeated salutations of peace. 

أما بعد، فلقد بعث الله تعالى محمداً صلى الله عليه وسلّم، بالهدى ودين الحق ليخرج الناس من الظلمات إلى النور بإذن ربهم إلى صراط العزيز الحميد، بعثه الله لتحقيق عبادة الله تعالى، وذلك بتمام الذل والخضوع له تبارك وتعالى بامتثال أوامره واجتناب نواهيه وتقديم ذلك على هوى النفس وشهواتها. وبعثه الله متمماً لمكارم الأخلاق داعياً إليها بكل وسيلة، وهادماً لمساوىء الأخلاق محذراً عنها بكل وسيلة، فجاءت شريعته، صلى الله عليه وسلّم، كاملة من جميع الوجوه. لا تحتاج إلى مخلوق في تكميلها أو تنظيمها، فإنها من لدن حكيم خبير، عليم بما يصلح عباده رحيم بهم.

To continue: Allah the Exalted sent Muhammad, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, with guidance and the religion of truth to bring the people out of darkness to the enlightenment and to the way of the Almighty and Praiseworthy One (Allah). He sent him to bring people to the fulfillment of the worship of Allah in humility and submission to His orders and commands, even if they conflict with their own self-desires and impulses. He sent him to perfect comely conduct, good behavior, generous and noble manners, and to call to the Guidance in all the ways of propagation (word, deed and personal example) and to destroy the evil and wicked behavior and manners, and warn against them in all possible ways. Thus the revealed law of the Prophet Muhammad, (the Shariah) peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, is the final, most complete and perfect form of law for mankind’s guidance, without need for any abridgement or re-organization since it is from Allah, the All Wise and Sublime, who knows all that is good for mankind, and Who is the Most Merciful towards them and their needs. 

وإن من مكارم الأخلاق التي بعث بها محمد صلى الله عليه وسلّم، ذلك الخلق الكريم، خلق الحياء الذي جعله النبي صلى الله عليه وسلّم من الإيمان، وشعبة من شعبه، ولا ينكر أحد أن من الحياء المأمور به شرعاً وعُرفاً احتشام المرأة وتخلقها بالأخلاق التي تبعدها عن مواقع الفتن ومواضع الريب. وإن مما لا شك فيه أن احتجابها بتغطية وجهها ومواضع الفتنة منها لهو من أكبر احتشام تفعله وتتحلى به لما فيه من صونها وإبعادها عن الفتنة.

ولقد كان الناس في هذه البلاد المباركة بلاد الوحي والرسالة والحياء والحشمة كانوا على طريق الاستقامة في ذلك فكان النساء يخرجن متحجبات متجلببات بالعباءة أو نحوها بعيدات عن مخالطة الرجال الأجانب، ولا تزال الحال كذلك في كثير من بلدان المملكة ولله الحمد. لكن لما حصل ما حصل من الكلام حول الحجاب ورؤية من لا يفعلونه ولا يرون بأساً بالسفور صار عند بعض الناس شك في الحجاب وتغطية الوجه هل هو واجب أو مستحب؟ أو شيء يتبع العادات والتقاليد ولا يحكم عليه بوجوب ولا استحباب في حد ذاته؟ ولإزالة هذا الشك وجلاء حقيقة الأمر أحببت أن أكتب ما تيسر لبيان حكمه، راجياً من الله تعالى أن يتضح به الحق، وأن يجعلنا من الهداة المهتدين الذين رأوا الحق حقّاً واتبعوه ورأوا الباطل باطلاً فاجتنبوه فأقول وبالله التوفيق:

One of the perfect comely ways of conduct, and the generous and noble manners that the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, was commissioned to propagate to mankind, is the virtuous and noble character of modesty (haya`a). The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, declared that modesty is a branch of faith (iman).  No one can deny that the modesty that is commanded by the Islamic law and encouraged by general decency enhances the natural shyness of a woman and develops in her all those good traits that distance her from the evil deeds and temptations. Included in these most becoming traits of her modesty is the veil that protects her face and other parts of her body to avoid temptation to the men.  By this simple expression of her modesty she distances herself from molestation.

The people of this blessed land of the Arabian Peninsula, the land of the Divine revelation and virtuous merit, have been upon the straight path in the past so that women were accustomed to leave their homes attired in modest clothes, covering their faces and bodies with an overall (aba`a) and keeping a distance between themselves and male strangers without mingling and mixing. This has continued to be the practice in many areas of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for which Allah is to be praised.  Then controversy took place.  It became an issue of contention for those who do not observe this practice and perceive that it is all right for Muslim women to uncover the face, which produced some doubts among the people. They began to ask: is it obligatory and mandatory, or is it only a desired and recommended practice? Is it just done due to customs and the culture of some peoples?  Is it true that there is neither any special obligation nor recommendation concerning this practice in and of itself in the Islamic law?  In order to clarify the issue and bring the reality to light, I wanted to write in this treatise before the reader to describe the Islamic ruling and make it manifest before all concerned. I hope from Allah, the Exalted, to make the truth apparent, and to make us of those who are rightly guided, who perceive the truth as truth and follow it, and perceive the falsehood as falsehood and stay clear from it. Therefore I say as follows, and all the success is from Allah.

اعلم أيها المسلم أن احتجاب المرأة عن الرجال الأجانب وتغطية وجهها أمر واجب دل على وجوبه كتاب ربك تعالى، وسنة نبيك محمد صلى الله عليه وسلّم، والاعتبار الصحيح، والقياس المطرد:

Know, O Muslim, that for a woman covering her body and the face from male strangers is obligatory (wajib) as is proven by the scriptures of the Book of your Lord, Allah the Most Exalted, in the Qur’an and by the Sunnah, the way of your Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him.  It is also proven by the correct assessment of the issue and its facts, and by properly recognized analogy according to the rules of Islamic jurisprudence.

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Translator’s Exposition:

 

The author, may Allah have mercy upon him and grant him the high reaches of the paradise, introduced the subject by reference to the general traits of good conduct like haya`a (modesty, shyness, bashfulness, etc) and other honorable characteristics that were more common among the general population of the Muslims before this modern era, to prepare the readers for the coming call to strict obedience to the commands contained in the meanings of the words of Allah Most Exalted and the traditions and sayings of the Prophet, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him and his family. He will also quote the sayings of the Sahabah (companions), other followers and scholars among the Muslims, to verify his viewpoint that for a woman covering the entire body including the face is more than just a recommended virtue.  It is actually a commanded obligation for which we are all responsible.

 

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أولا: أدلة القرآن ، فمن أدلة القرآن

* الدليل الأول: قوله تعالى: {وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَـاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَـارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلاَ يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلاَّ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَى جُيُوبِهِنَّ وَلاَ يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلاَّ لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ ءَابَآئِهِنَّ أَوْ ءَابَآءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَآئِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَآءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي أَخَوَتِهِنَّ أَوْ نِسَآئِهِنَّ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَـانُهُنَّ أَوِ التَّـابِعِينَ غَيْرِ أُوْلِى الإِرْبَةِ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ أَوِ الطِّفْلِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يَظْهَرُواْ عَلَى عَوْرَاتِ النِّسَآءِ وَلاَ يَضْرِبْنَ بِأَرْجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعْلَمَ مَا يُخْفِينَ مِن زِينَتِهِنَّ وَتُوبُواْ إِلَى اللَّهِ جَمِيعاً أَيُّهَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ }. (النور: 31).

First: Evidence from the Qurán:

* The first proof: The saying of Allah the Most Exalted: “And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their private parts and not to display their adornment (and beauty), except that which appears thereof  (ordinarily) and to draw their coverings over their chests and not to display their adornments except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husband’s sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women, and those whom their right hands possess (their 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 adornments. And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed.” [Nur 31]

وبيان دلالة هذه الاية على وجوب الحجاب على المرأة عن الرجال الأجانب وجوه:

1 ـ أن الله تعالى أمر المؤمنات بحفظ فروجهن والأمر بحفظ الفرج أمر به وبما يكون وسيلة إليه، ولا يرتاب عاقل أن من وسائله تغطية الوجه؛ لأن كشفه سبب للنظر إليها وتأمل محاسنها والتلذذ بذلك، وبالتالي إلى الوصول والاتصال. وفي الحديث: «العينان تزنيان وزناهما النظر». إلى أن قال: «والفرج يصدق ذلك أو يكذبه»(1). فإذا كان تغطية الوجه من وسائل حفظ الفرج كان مأموراً به؛ لأن الوسائل لها أحكام المقاصد.

The explanation of the above verse in relation to the obligation of women to cover from male strangers is as follows:

1. Allah ordered the believing women to lower their gaze and to guard their private parts, and everything that is a mean and way to accomplish and help this act is included in the command. Any intelligent person can reason that from among the means and ways of guarding the private parts is the covering of the face because exposing it is the primary mean of looking at it and of contemplation her beauty and the pleasure which comes from it, which in turn leads to greetings and meetings, and as it says in the hadith of the Prophet, peace be upon him: “The eyes fornicate and the fornication of the eyes is looking,,,-  until he said – ,,, and then the private parts confirm the truth of that or deny it (in actual deed of fornication).”  Thus, if the covering of the face in modesty is a mean of guarding one’s chastity, it is obviously commanded. The means and ways of something take the ruling of that which is intended by the basic command.      

2 ـ قوله تعالى: {وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَى جُيُوبِهِنَّ}. فإن الخمار ما تخمر به المرأة رأسها وتغطيه به كالغدفة فإذا كانت مأمورة بأن تضرب بالخمار على جيبها كانت مأمورة بستر وجهها، إما لأنه من لازم ذلك، أو بالقياس فإنه إذا وجب ستر النحر والصدر كان وجوب ستر الوجه من باب أولى؛ لأنه موضع الجمال والفتنة. فإن الناس الذين يتطلبون جمال الصورة لا يسألون إلا عن الوجه، فإذا كان جميلاً لم ينظروا إلى ما سواه نظراً ذا أهمية. ولذلك إذا قالوا فلانة جميلة لم يفهم من هذا الكلام إلا جمال الوجه فتبين أن الوجه هو موضع الجمال طلباً وخبراً، فإذا كان كذلك فكيف يفهم أن هذه الشريعة الحكيمة تأمر بستر الصدر والنحر ثم ترخص في كشف الوجه.

The saying of Allah “and to draw their coverings over their chests” is another evidence because the word “khimar” here means the cloth by which a woman covers her head, like a head cloth and scarf. If it is commanded to cover her chest with her scarf, then it follows that she is commanded to cover her face with it also, because it is either implied and attached to it by necessity, or by analogy.  Since the face is the place of feminine beauty and the source of temptation and attraction for a man, and since she is commanded to cover her neck and chest area, then it is more appropriate that the order also includes covering the face.  The well-known fact that when a man asks about the beauty of a woman he means primarily the beauty of her face, supports this logic. If the face is beautiful, nothing else of her body is given as much importance. When people say: “so and so is beautiful,” they do not mean anything, primarily, except facial beauty.  Thus we know that beauty is in the countenance of the woman. Therefore, this being the case, how can it be possible that the wise and sublime laws of Islam would command for the neck and chest area to be covered, and allow the face to be left open and exposed?

3 ـ أن الله تعالى نهى عن إبـداء الزينة مطلقاً إلا ما ظهـر منها، وهي التي لابد أن تظهر كظاهر الثياب ولذلك قـال: {إِلاَّ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا} لم يقل إلا ما أظهرن منها، ثم نهى مرة أخرى عن إبداء الزينة إلا لمن استثناهم، فدل هذا على أن الزينة الثانية غير الزينة الأولى. فالزينة الأولى هي الزينة الظاهرة التي تظهر لكل أحد ولا يمكن إخفاؤها، والزينة الثانية هي الزينة الباطنة التي يتزين بها، ولو كانت هذه الزينة جائزة لكل أحد لم يكن للتعميم في الأولى والاستثناء في الثانية فائدة معلومة.

3. Allah did not allow the women to show their ornaments and beauty (zeenat) in an absolute sense except what must be shown by necessity, which means the outer garments.  Thus He said: “except that which appears thereof  (ordinarily),” He did not say, “except what they show thereof.”  Moreover He prohibited them from showing their adornments except to those exempted cases (their husbands, fathers, etc), which shows us that the second adornment (zeenat) is different than the first one mentioned. The first zeenat is what is apparent and cannot be hidden, while the second zeenat is the hidden, personal and private one by which she makes herself beautiful to special people.  If this second kind was for everyone to see, there wouldn’t be any known benefit in mentioning the first kind for generality and absoluteness, and then the second one for exception to close relatives like husbands and so on.

4 ـ أن الله تعالى يرخص بإبداء الزينة الباطنة للتابعين غير أولي الإربة من الرجال وهم الخدم الذين لا شهوة لهم، وللطفل الصغير الذي لم يبلغ الشهوة ولم يطلع على عورات النساء فدل هذا على أمرين:

أحدهما: أن إبداء الزينة الباطنة لا يحل لأحد من الأجانب إلا لهذين الصنفين.

الثاني: أن علة الحكم ومداره على خوف الفتنة بالمرأة والتعلق بها، ولا ريب أن الوجه مجمع الحسن وموضع الفتنة فيكون ستره واجباً لئلا يفتتن به أولو الإربة من الرجال.

4. Allah the Most Exalted allowed the hidden, personal and private adornments to be seen by the “male attendants having no physical desire.” These are the servants who do not have any physical sexual desire like eunuchs.   The “children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women,” means that they have not reached the age of puberty whereby they have sexual desire, and thus, they are not aware of the beauty of women. This fact demonstrates for us two points:

1) The first point is that the display of this hidden, personal and private adornment is not allowed to any strangers except to these two categories of males namely: children before puberty and men without sexual desire like eunuchs.

2) The second point is that the reason for the command is the fear of temptation concerning the women, whereby one may become attached to her with his desires (if he observes her beauty). There is no doubt that the face is the place of concentrated temptation and beauty, therefore, the covering of the face is obligatory so that those men that are born with natural sexual desire, will not fall into temptation, allurement and infatuation with her beauty.

5 ـ قوله تعالى: {وَلاَ يَضْرِبْنَ بِأَرْجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعْلَمَ مَا يُخْفِينَ مِن زِينَتِهِنَّ}.

يعني لا تضرب المرأة برجلها فيعلم ما تخفيه من الخلاخيل ونحوها مما تتحلى به للرجل، فإذا كانت المرأة منهية عن الضرب بالأرجل خوفاً من افتتان الرجل بما يسمع من صوت خلخالها ونحوه فكيف بكشف الوجه.

فأيما أعظم فتنة أن يسمع الرجل خلخالاً بقدم امرأة لا يدري ما هي وما جمالها؟! لا يدري أشابة هي أم عجوز؟! ولا يدري أشوهاء هي أم حسناء؟! أيما أعظم فتنة هذا أو أن ينظر إلى وجه سافر جميل ممتلىء شباباً ونضارة وحسناً وجمالاً وتجميلاً بما يجلب الفتنة ويدعو إلى النظر إليها؟! إن كل إنسان له إربة في النساء ليعلم أي الفتنتين أعظم وأحق بالستر والإخفاء.

5. The saying of Allah, Most Exalted: “And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment” which means that she should not move her legs in a fashion that makes it known to the people what ankle bracelets and other jewelry and adornments she is wearing. So if she is prohibited from a mere motion of the legs in a manner that exposes her bracelets for fear of tempting men with that little sound that it may make, then what about the temptation of the face? Which one of the two is greater in temptation and allurement? The little sound and jingle of bracelets on the ankles of a woman, even though the guy doesn’t know anything about her or her beauty, whether she is young or old, attractive or repulsive, or the gazing into the beautiful radiant face of vibrant youthful comeliness, adorned as it may be with cosmetics which attracts men’s glances and calls to attention?  Every man who has the natural inclination towards women knows which one of the two temptations is more infatuating and alluring, and therefore more in need of covering and hiding.

* الدليل الثاني: قوله تعالى: {وَالْقَوَاعِدُ مِنَ النِّسَآءِ الَّلَـتِى لاَ يَرْجُونَ نِكَاحاً فَلَيْسَ عَلَيْهِنَّ جُنَاحٌ أَن يَضَعْنَ ثِيَابَهُنَّ غَيْرَ

مُتَبَرِّجَـاتِ بِزِينَةٍ وَأَن يَسْتَعْفِفْنَ خَيْرٌ لَّهُنَّ وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عِلِيمٌ}. (النور: 60).

وجه الدلالة من هذه الاية الكريمة أن الله تعالى نفى الجناح وهو الإثم عن القواعد وهن العواجز اللاتي لا يرجون نكاحاً لعدم رغبة الرجال بهن لكبر سنهن. نفى الله الجناح عن هذه العجائز في وضع ثيابهن بشرط أن لا يكون الغرض من ذلك التبرج بالزينة. ومن المعلوم بالبداهة أنه ليس المراد بوضع الثياب أن يبقين عاريات، وإنما المراد وضع الثياب التي تكون فوق الدرع ونحوه مما لا يستر ما يظهر غالباً كالوجه والكفين فالثياب المذكورة المرخص لهذه العجائز في وضعها هي الثياب السابقة التي تستر جميع البدن وتخصيص الحكم بهؤلاء العجائز دليل على أن الشواب اللاتي يرجون النكاح يخالفنهن في الحكم، ولو كان الحكم شاملاً للجميع في جواز وضع الثياب ولبس درع ونحوه لم يكن لتخصيص القواعد فائدة.

* The second proof: The saying of Allah the Most Exalted: “And women of post-menstrual age who have no hope for marriage – there is no blame upon them for putting aside their outer garments without displaying adornment. But to remain modest and refrain (from putting aside their outer garments) is better for them. And Allah is All-Hearing and All-Knowing.” [Nur 60]

 

The proof of the evidence here in this most noble verse of the Qurán is that Allah mentioned that there is no blame upon those old women who are past the age of hoping for marriage, by the simple fact that due to their old age men are not sexually attracted to them anymore. Allah takes any blame away from them for taking off this outer garment on the condition that they do not display their adornments. It is known that the expression here of “taking off their outer garments” is not that they disrobe and become naked but that they are allowed to take off that outer garment which is worn over their dresses to cover their adornment, face and hands while going out or meeting strangers.  Thus, the robe that is mentioned in the above verse is that which covers the inner garments worn at home including the face, and the exception is made for the elder women only, which proves that the young girls and the other women that are of marriageable age have essentially an opposite ruling from that which is for these elder ladies. If all of them were given the permission for taking off their outer garments and wearing their normal ornamented clothes and dresses, there would not be any point in making this special case and distinction about the elder women.

 

* الدليل الثالث: قوله تعالى: {يأَيُّهَا النَّبِىُّ قُل لاَِزْوَاجِكَ وَبَنَـاتِكَ وَنِسَآءِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِن جَلَابِيبِهِنَّ ذلِكَ أَدْنَى أَن يُعْرَفْنَ فَلاَ يُؤْذَيْنَ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُوراً رَّحِيماً }. (الأحزاب: 59).

قال ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما: «أمر الله نساء المؤمنين إذا خرجن من بيوتهن في حاجة أن يغطين وجوههن من فوق رؤوسهن بالجلابيب ويبدين عيناً واحدة»(2). وتفسير الصحابي حجة، بل قال بعض العلماء إنه في حكم المرفوع إلى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلّم، وقوله رضي الله عنه «ويبدين عيناً واحدة» إنما رخص في ذلك لأجل الضرورة والحاجة إلى نظر الطريق فأما إذا لم يكن حاجة فلا موجب لكشف العين.

والجلباب هو الرداء فوق الخمار بمنزلة العباءة. قالت أم سلمة رضي الله عنها لما نزلت هذه الاية: «خرج نساء الأنصار كأن على رؤوسهن الغربان من السكينة وعليهن أكسية سود يلبسنها»(3). وقد ذكر عبيدة السلماني وغيره أن نساء المؤمنين كن يدنين عليهن الجلابيب من فوق رؤوسهن حتى لا يظهر إلا عيونهن من أجل رؤية الطريق.

* The third proof: The saying of Allah, Most Exalted: “ O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the believing women to spread over themselves from their outer garments.  That is more suitable that they will be known and will not be abused (or molested). And Allah is most Forgiving and most Merciful [al-Ahzab 59]

 

(Abdullah) Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them, said: “Allah commanded the believing women that when they go out of their homes for some need of theirs, they cover their faces starting from their heads with their “Jalabeeb” (outer garments) and they are allowed to have one eye appear (to see).”

 

The interpretative saying of the Companion of the Prophet, may the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, is here a definitive proof, and some of the scholars have even said that his words here are in effect from the Prophet covers the inner garments worn at home including the face, (since this interpretation would come from the Prophet alone). The mention of leaving one eye is an allowance for the necessity of seeing the way, but if there is no necessity, then there is no need to leave this eye exposed. And the word “jilbab” (sing. of jalabeeb) here is the outer garment worn over the head covering, as we have today what we call the “aba`a” (or colloquially as “abaiya”). When this verse was revealed, Um Salamah, may Allah be pleased with her (the wife of the Prophet peace be upon him), said: “ The women of the Ansar came out (of their homes) as if they had (black) crows on their heads from their serenity, and they wore black clothes.”  Ibadah as-Salmani and others (who witness and testify) said that the believing women would let their outer garments cover down from the top of their heads such that nothing will show except their eyes for the sake of seeing the way.”

* الدليل الرابع: قوله تعالى: {لاَّ جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِنَّ فِى ءَابَآئِهِنَّ وَلاَ أَبْنَآئِهِنَّ وَلاَ إِخْواَنِهِنَّ وَلاَ أَبْنَآءِ إِخْوَانِهِنَّ وَلاَ أَبْنَآءِ أَخَوَاتِهِنَّ وَلاَ نِسَآئِهِنَّ وَلاَ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُنَّ وَاتَّقِينَ اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَىْءٍ شَهِيداً }. (الأحزاب: 55).

قال ابن كثير رحمه الله: لما أمر الله النساء بالحجاب عن الأجانب بيّن أن هؤلاء الأقارب لا يجب الاحتجاب عنهم كما استثناهم في سورة النور عند قوله تعالى: {وَلاَ يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلاَّ لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ }. الاية.

* The forth proof: The saying of Allah Most Exalted: “There is no blame upon them (the prophet’s wives) concerning their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their brothers’ sons or their sisters’ sons or their women or those whom their right hands possess (slaves). And fear Allah. Indeed Allah is the Witness of everything.” [al-Ahzab 55]

 

(The Qur’anic commentator) Ibn Kathir, may Allah’s mercy be upon him, said: ‘When Allah commanded the women to observe hijab in front of marriageable men (the non-mehram), He explained that they did not have to observe this form of hijab in front of the relatives specifically exempted.  He explained that these men are exempted in Surat-an-Nur, wherein He said: “and to draw their coverings over their chests and not to display their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women, those whom their right hands possess (slaves) or those male attendants who have no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women….” [Nur 31]

 

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Translator’s Exposition:

 

A careful reading of the author’s explanations of these proofs from the Qur’an proves the soundness of the judgment that women must cover their bodies and faces, and succinctly answers the points mentioned by those who take the more lax view.

 

The completion of the authentic hadith mentioned above in an abridged form reads: “Allah has written the portion of Zina which a man will commit. There will be no escape from it. The Zina of the eye is the look, the Zina of the ears is the listening, the Zina of the tongue is speech, the Zina of the hand is the grip, the Zina of the feet is the walking, the heart yearns and desires, and then the private parts confirm or deny it.” [Reported by Al-Bukhari, Muslim and others]

 

This hadith proves the point that there is a whole series of temptations for believers to guard against, each leading to the more dangerous temptation and in turn leading to the final act. Since the face is the most attractive part of a woman it follows that it is in need of covering to avoid mutual attraction and temptation.

 

The author’s explanation of different kinds of “zeenat” is especially noteworthy since no one can deny that the exceptions mentioned above about the second kind, being those who have no sexual desire and do not understand anything about the sexual attraction of women, identifies the exact reasons for covering the face as well as other parts of the body for protection. The exception for elder ladies reinforces this idea.

 

The verse commanding the women to spread their outer garments over themselves is a definite proof as reinforced by the testimonies of those who witnessed the actual observance and practice of the Muslim women at that time. This proof destroys any contention and attempt to say that the observance of Muslim hijab developed among latter Muslim generations as a distinct cultural trait and was alien to the earlier generations.

 

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