The Importance Of Purdah
Evidence To Support Purdah
Some Ahaadith On Purdah
Meaning Of Hijaab
Meaning Of Jilbaab
Law Of Hijaab
Hijaab From A Blind Person
The Veiling Of The Face
The Observance Of Hijaab At Times Of Difficulty
How Should A Muslim Lady Dress

see also: Hijab In Islaam
High Esteem of Women in Islam

The Importance of Purdah

As we move further away from the time and age of the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam, and we approach ever closer to the Day of Judgement, the Muslims are growing more and more weaker in their beliefs and practices. One of which is purdah. 

Purdah in Islam is necessary upon every woman who is close to the age of puberty or has reached it. 

Many complain that the Hijaab enjoined upon the Muslim women is far too restrictive and rigid and is in order to keep them inferior to men. Ignorance and misunderstanding can only be the cause of such beliefs. Besides Islam which other religions or nations have given homes full protection from exploitation from strangers? While at the same time guides women upon importance of purity and morality as well as upholding her status and dignity. 

A woman is likened to a sweet creature everything about her is an attraction for spectators. Islam protects her by enjoining her to wear Hijaab so that covering herself does not attract the swamps of flies and dirty creatures attracted to uncovered sweets as in the cone of today’s woman who falls prey to this. 

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Evidence to Support Purdah

Allah states in the Holy Quran: 

"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 adornments except only that which is apparent (like palms of hands or one eye or both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer dress like veil, gloves, head cover, apron, etc.), and to draw their veils all over Juyubihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms, etc.) and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their son’s, their husband’s sons, their brothers or their brother’s sons, or their sisters sons or their (Muslim) women (i.e. their sisters in Islam), or the (female) slaves whom their right hands possess, or old male servants who lack vigour, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And beg Allah to forgive you all O believers, that you may be successful. 

Commentary of the above verse: - 

(And not look freely at the faces of the women who are not their sisters, daughters, mothers or wives). 

Here is a law of inward purity of the strictest kind and a peace of very sound advice to the tempted. This injunction puts a full and complete stop to lusting with the eyes and the maxim, if acted upon, does and must serve as a most powerful agent for the prevention and control of sexual extremes. Islam is not at all enamoured of free and restricted intermingling of the sexes and of the mixed gatherings at bridge tables and supper tables and in schools, colleges, clubs, cinemas, and public parks. It exists upon segregation of the sexes and bans altogether lewd literature, lewd pictures and lewd cinemas. 

Bible: - "But I say unto you that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." (Mt. 5:28) 

This bans altogether every form of nudity whether under cover of naturism or in the name of health and efficiency. If this were the universal practice, how different would have been the record of sexual morality all over the world! 

May Allah Give Us the Tawfeeq (Ability) To Act upon His Commandments and avoid His Prohibitions. Ameen!
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The actual date governing Hijaab is one of differing opinions. However, Hijaab was ordained compulsory within 3AH or 5AH. The Holy Quran contains seven verses altogether concerning Hijaab, three of these are featured within the surah Noor and four in surah Ahzaab

There are more than seventy available hadith, which concern matters of Hijaab. From amongst the seven Quranic verses, scholars are unanimous upon the fact that the verses within surah Ahzaab were revealed before those of surah Noor. 

Hazrat Umar may Allah be pleased with him once suggested that the wives of the Holy Prophet peace and blessings be upon him should observe the veil as many persons of differing manners and natures visit the houses of the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him. The Holy Prophet peace and blessings be upon him himself found this a desirable suggestion. However, he was unable to turn the suggestion into practice as the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him was in divine revelation. 

Shortly afterwards the revelation of Hijaab was revealed successively. The first of the revelations concerning Hijaab is as follows: 

"O you who believe! Enter not the houses of the Holy Prophet peace and blessings be upon him unless you have been granted permission." 

(Surah Ahzaab: 53)
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Some Ahaadith on Purdah

1. When a woman applies perfume and passes by a gathering of men, she is like this and this (like an adulterer) 

2. The gaze (at a ghair mahram) is a poisonous arrow from among the arrows of Iblis. He who restrains (his staring gaze) for fear of me. I shall exchange it for such solid Imaan, the sweetness of which he will experience in his heart. 

3. 'A Dayooth will not enter Jannah.' The Sahabah asked, 'Who is a Dayooth?' Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam said, 'A man who does not care who visits his wife (i.e. men).' 

4. Every eye is a fornicator. 

5. The zina of the hands is to touch (a ghair mahram). 

6. It is better that a steel rod be plunged into your head than you touch a woman who is not lawful for you. 

7. When a man is alone with a woman, the third one present is Shaitan. 

8. Beware of visiting women (who are unlawful for you). 

9. Women should not speak with men, except with a mahram

10. It is not lawful for a woman who believes in Allah and the last day to allow anyone entry into her husbands home except with his permission. She should not go out of the house against his wishes. Nor should she obey anyone without his regard. 

11. Women may not emerge (from their homes) except when compelled to (by circumstances). (Tabrani)

12. A women is a object of concealment, thus when she emerges, Satan surreptitiously pursues her (and lays in wait to create his fitna for immorality). 

13. Allah curses the one who looks (at females) and the one to whom the look was directed. 

14. Beware of mingling with women. A man from the Ansaar asked, "What do you, O’ prophet of Allah say about the brother-in-law?" The Holy Prophet peace and blessings be upon him replied, "A brother in law is death." (I.e. intermingling with him is worse than death). 

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Meaning of Hijaab

Hijaab literally means screen, curtain, partition and concealment. As a verb it means to conceal oneself from the view. In Shari‘ah the word means to completely hide one’s self from the view of the ghair mahram. (A man with whom marriage is permissible) The normal and general rule of Hijaab is total seclusion and segregation between males and females (non-mahrams). 

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Meaning of Jilbaab

The Jilbaab is the outer sheet or cloak. At the time of the noble Prophets sallallahu alaihe wasallam this sheet was so large that two women would easily be covered by it. In the era of the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam ladies used to wear the Jilbaab in such a way that the cloak covered their entire person from head to toe including the face. 

The term "Yudneena" which literally means (they should lower or draw down) that the cloak should be drawn over from above and lowered in such a way that it covers the whole face, in addition to the body. 

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Law of Hijaab

The law of Hijaab requires that the whole female body (from head to feet, including the face) be concealed in the presence of ghair mahram (with whom marriage is permissible). 

A woman should not emerge from the house unnecessarily. If she has to, due to some need, then she should cover her face and body with the outer garment e.g. ‘Burqa’, so the face and shape of the body are not exposed. It should be kept in mind that the outer garment should be of simple quality and the eyes should be covered with a net or cloth so as not to be a cause of attraction. The veil should not be put on in such a way where the outer garment is of good quality or thin cloth or wrapped round the face so the shape of the nose are exposed. 

Allah says in the Holy Quran, 

"Oh Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veil) all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allah is ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."

Abu Hurairah radiyallahu anhu reported Allah’s messenger sallallahu alaihe wasallam having said this, "Two kinds of people would be in the worst situation in Hell. First, those officials who would carry with them whips looking like the tails of cows and they would use them for whipping people. Secondly, those women who would be naked despite wearing clothes (due to wearing see through and tight clothes) who would attract strangers (men) towards them and will themselves be attracted to them. Their heads will be on a side like the humps of fast camels. They will neither enter Paradise nor would they even smell the fragrance of Paradise which will reach for distances."(Abu Daud)

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1. The whole body, except for the exempted parts should be covered. 

2. Any veil which itself becomes an attraction is to be avoided. 

3. Garments should not be semi transparent. 

4. Dress should not be tight fitting. 

5. Garments should not be perfumed. 

6. The form of dress should not in any way resemble that of men. 

7. It should not resemble that of non believers. 

8. Garments should not reflect worldly honour.

It is not permissible for women to wear very fine and thin clothes i.e. muslin etc. as it is to go naked. Women have been required and directed to keep their body covered from head to foot. No part of her body should be exposed before a non-mahram (un-permitted person). 
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Hijaab from A Blind Person

Hazrat Umme Salmah radiyallahu anha narrates that once Hazrat Maymoonah radiyallahu anha and I were in the presence of the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam when Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Maktoom radiyallahu anhu arrived and presented himself to him. The Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam ordered "Veil yourselves from him." I replied, "O’ Prophet of Allah sallallahu alaihe wasallam is he not blind and unable to see us" The Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam said, "Are you both also blind? Are you not casting your sight upon him." 

(Mishkat, Tirmizi and Abu Dawood)
 Thus, we see the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him ordering his wives to observe Hijaab even in the presence of a blind person. The above incident stands as proof of Hijaab in the era of prophecy. How is it that as wrongdoers we can throw wild accusations in the direction of the beloved Sahabiyat? May Allah the almighty provide us with understanding and keep us safe from joining the slanderers of this world. (Ameen) 
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The veiling of the Face

The covering of the face was the standard and normal practice in the time of the Holy Prophet peace and blessings be upon him. On this regard Hazrat Aisha radhiallahu anha narrates that during the occasion of Hajj- atul-wida when people passed along side us, we would draw Hijaabs over our heads and faces, when they (the people) had moved on we would open our face. 

(Narrated by Abu Dawood).
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The Observance of Hijaab at Times of Difficulty

Hazrat Qais Ibn Shammas radiyallahu anhu reports that Umme Khallad radiyallahu anha came to the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam to inquire about her son who had been killed in one of the battles in the path of Allah. When she arrived she had a veil covering her face. Upon seeing this one of the Companions of the Holy Prophet peace and blessings be upon him said: "How is it that even under such unfortunate conditions (in spite of such grief and sorrow) you wear the Hijaab

Hazrat Umme Khallad radhiallahu anha replied, "If I have lost my son I should not lose my modesty" (should I lose them both). Thus, The Prophet said, "Your son had the reward of two martyrs." She asked, " Why?" The Prophet replied, "Because the Ahle kitab (The people of the book) murdered him." (Abu Dawud) 

All these narrations are sufficient to indicate that it is essential for women to observe Hijaab in assuring that their attire confirms to dictates of the Shariah. 

Allah Alone knows best!
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How Should a Muslim Lady Dress?

The non-Muslims encourage the exposure and exhibition of the female body regarding it as a great art. Public displays of female bodies in magazines like Vogue are considered artistic developments. Careers like modelling, acting, singing and dancing is short cuts for women to become famous and rich. They design clothes for fashion, which hints at the femininity of the woman and emphasises her figure. In other words, a non-Muslim woman should be dressed to kill at all times. Perfume and makeup should be her constant companions. She is dolled up to attract the attention of the people around her so that she can be noticed, admired and desired. 

Islam on the other hand commands a woman to cover herself completely so that she does not attract any attention. The Quran states in Surah Ahzaab verse 59 "… O Nabi! Say to the believing women to draw over them their outer garments (or cloaks) so that they be recognised and not molested." Rasulullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam says in a sahih Hadith, "Shame is a branch of Imaan." Rasulullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam said that, 'A lady who dresses and perfumes herself with the intention of creating interest in men is according to the Shariah an adulteress and she will be punished on the day of judgement for committing adultery or zina.' All the prophets’ woman folk used to put on the outer cloaks, which are called Burqah or jilbab. The Quranic verses and the prophet’s Ahaadith apply to all Muslims regardless of the generation they are born in not only for the times of the prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam. The outer cloaks is of dull colour and extremely loose so that the Muslim lady is fully covered from head to toe and does not draw any attention femininity when she is outdoors. However, she can dress as she pleases for her husband indoors. 

The kuffaar say that Islam has enslaved its women by enforcing them to stay in their homes and cover themselves when they come out. How very wrong they are! What have the kuffaar given their women; prizes for displaying their bodies and exposing them to the risk of rape and molestation. Insecurity of losing their husbands to beautiful mistresses. Constant battle with nature to look young and pretty enough to keep your man with you! On the contrary, Islam elevates its women to the peak of respect and saves a woman from disgrace and humiliation, giving her a chance to be treated like an honourable human being and not a mere sex object for the lustful desires of bestial miscreants. 

No doubt, we can adopt from the kuffar beneficial technology but should not be led into believing that their culture is better than ours is because it is definitely not! So when the kuffaar and the unfortunately misled Muslims laugh at the covered Muslims ladies, calling them backward and fanatical, we can educate them on the advantage of covering ourselves. Not only will he gain true satisfaction and peace of heart by following the truth, but we will also gain the pleasure of our Rabb who in turn he will reward us very handsomely for not forgetting the teachings of Islam, even after fifteen centuries after Rasulullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam death. 

All the innocent Muslims who have strayed from the commands of Islam should know that the kuffar also lose their respect for us when they see us abandoning our culture and fumbling like sheep trying hard to make ourselves at home in their alien and immoral society. Allah says in surah Asr…. "By the time man is in loss, except those who believe". Just when will he start believing and prevent himself from incurring more loss and ruin? Rasulullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam has said, "He who imitates a nation will be raised with the kufar and be thrown into the depths of hell with them? 

I hope that with this article Muslim women will he able to decide for themselves what sort of life they want in this world, and how they want to be treated on the day of judgement. 

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