By Badruddoja Razvi Misbahi, New Age Islam
(Translated from Urdu by Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam)
24 February 2022
What is The Meaning and Significance of Hijab or Purdah in Islam?
1. The veil is not only a woman's protector, but also a guarantee of her honour, dignity, and chastity.
2. In the Quran, Allah commands the pious wives and other princesses of Islam to cover their bodies and faces with the chador when they leave their homes.
3. Women in Islam should not follow the example of European society and film actresses who display their beauty.
4. If one sees a non-Mahram woman by accident, it is pardoned because it is the first glimpse whereas the second intentional sight is a sin.
5. There is no such thing as extremism in Islam. Islam is a religion that encourages people to live in moderation.
The Literal Meaning of Hijab
Hijab means veil and barrier in Arabic. In other words, the hijab refers to anything that stands between two things. The gatekeeper is known as Hajib because he prohibits people from entering without the owner's consent. Similarly, the eyes and brows are referred to as "Hajib" and "Hawajib," respectively, because they prevent harmful objects from entering the eyes.
Hijab and veil are terms used in common parlance to describe anything that shields a lady from the gaze of a non-Mahram.
Also Read: Why the Indian Muslim Clergy is Hijacking Muskan’s Just Campaign: Do They Want to Buttress the Polarizing Efforts by Hindutva Forces in Assembly Elections?
The Hijab Verse and the Reason for Revelation
In the presence of the Prophet, Hazrat Umar Farooq (may Allah be pleased with him) remarked, “O Messenger of Allah! People of all stripes, both good and bad, flock to you. I wish you would impose veils on the exalted wives [Azwaaje Muttahirat]. The following verse was revealed at that time:
“O People who Believe! Do not enter the houses of the Prophet without permission, as when called for a meal but not to linger around waiting for it – and if you are invited then certainly present yourself and when you have eaten, disperse – not staying around delighting in conversation; indeed that was causing harassment to the Prophet, and he was having regard for you; Allah does not shy in proclaiming the truth; and when you ask the wives of the Prophet for anything to use, ask for it from behind a curtain; this is purer for your hearts and for their hearts; you have no right to trouble the Noble Messenger of Allah, nor ever marry any of his wives after him; indeed that is a very severe matter in the sight of Allah.” (33:53)
According to another narration, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) was once having lunch with several of his Companions when this blessed verse was revealed. Meanwhile, someone's hand dropped on the hand of Hazrat Ayesha Siddiqah, Umm Al-Mu'minin (may Allah be pleased with her). The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) disliked this happening. The Hijab verse was revealed at that time. However, because the commentator Abu Saud reported it using the word 'qeel,' the preferred view about its cause of revelation is the one indicated above in relation to Hazrat Umar Farooq's narration. (Tafsir Abi Saud, vol. 7. P.112)
Although the reason for the revelation of this verse is specific, this divine admonition applies to homes of all believers. As a result, it is essential for every Muslim not to enter someone's home without his permission. This restriction is also in conformity with natural principles, as men leave the house for work or other reasons, leaving women alone in their homes, unable to care for the concealable areas of their bodies [Satr-e-Aurah]. It's unclear which state they're in. In this case, common sense indicates that no one enters the residence without permission. Even if the husband is inside the house, the outsider has no idea what the husband and his wife are going through. It's feasible that they're in a one-of-a-kind situation. Watching a stranger in this circumstance would be a humiliation to them. As a result, according to Islam, before entering someone's home, you must first seek permission from the house owner. We'll go through this in further depth later.
We want to emphasise that the veil is not only a woman's protector, but also a guarantee of her honour, dignity, and chastity. Wearing a veil enhances a woman's dignity and self-respect. The veil holds the key to a woman's affluent existence. In the verses of Surah Al-Ahzab and Surah Noor, Allah Almighty commands women to be veiled.
Allah Almighty says,
“O Prophet! Command your wives and your daughters and the women of the Muslims to cover their faces with a part of their cloaks; this is closer to their being recognised and not being harassed; and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” (33:59)
In this verse, Allah Almighty commands the pious wives and other princesses of Islam to cover their bodies and faces with the chador when they leave their homes so that wanderers will know she is a noble, chaste, and virtuous woman and will not try to tease her.
We can notice in our surroundings now that ladies who wear hijab and veil when they leave the house are less prone to lust. Human beasts are not afraid to touch or approach them. Women who leave the house naked, on the other hand, quickly become a source of sexual harassment, and their honour and dignity are shattered as a result, and they are occasionally kidnapped and even murdered.
As a result, women in Islam should not follow the example of European society and film actresses who display their beauty and their concealable parts of bodies, obtaining limelight in newspapers, magazines, and advertising, and trading their honour for a few coins. Muslim women should follow in the footsteps of the elevated ladies of Islam [Sahabiyat], study their biographies and lifestyles, especially those of Umm Al-Mu'minin Hazrat Ayesha Siddiqa and Hazrat Syeda Fatima Zahra, the Prophet's daughter, and adopt their lives and teachings for themselves.
Now, for the benefit of all, we give some impressions of Hazrat Ayesha Siddiqah and her style of life and teachings.
Even before the revelation of the verse of hijab, Umm Al-Mu'minin Hazrat Ayesha Siddiqah (may Allah be pleased with her) used to take special care of the veil. Following the revelation of the hijab verse, it became such a need in her life that she would grow outraged at the sight of a lady who was not veiled and demand that she be veiled.
Her niece was Hazrat Hafsa bint Abdul Rahman. She wore a small scarf when she went to see Hazrat Ayesha. When she saw the flimsy Dupatta, she became enraged and tore it up, saying, "Do you not know what Allah has commanded in Surah Noor?" (Ibn Sa'd's Tabaqat, vol. 8, p. 50)
When Hazrat Ayesha was a visitor at a residence, she noticed two young daughters of the owner praying without veils. Seeing this, she insisted that no girl offer prayers without wearing a veil. (Hazrat Ayesha's Biography with Reference to Musnad Ahmad, vol. 6, p. 96)
Women are not permitted to wear sound-producing pieces of jewellery. She was once presented with a girl dressed in Ghunghroo. When she saw her, she remarked, “Do not bring her to me while she is wearing this Ghunghroo.” One of the women was perplexed as to why this was the case. “When the bell sounds, the angels do not come to the house or caravan,” Hazrat Ayesha explained with reference to a hadith of Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) [From Musnad Ahmad's vol. 6 p. 225/240, Ayesha's biography]
When Amir-ul-Momineen Hazrat Umar Farooq was buried in her room, it was a great concern of Umm Al-Mu'minin Hazrat Ayesha Siddiqa for the sake of Taqwa that she did not enter the room without covering herself, even though there is no restriction of the veil from those who have died according to Islamic Sharia.
Women were allowed to perform prayers in the mosque during the Prophet's time, and they used to go to the mosque for prayers, but when their presence became a source of disturbance, Amir al-Mu’minin Hazrat Umar Farooq barred women from entering the mosque. When the women complained to Umm Al-Mu'minin Hazrat Ayesha, she replied, “What Hazrat Umar Farooq knew about the women of these days; if Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) had seen them earlier, he would not have let you enter the mosque,” [Fath ul-Qadir with Al-Kifaya, Vol. 1, p. 317]
Women were prohibited from attending the mosque for prayers during the time of Hazrat Umar Farooq. But what is the state of women in modern times, to say the least? Nudity and other heinous crimes are so common that we turn to God Almighty for refuge!
O, Islamic Princess! Please don't display your good looks. Live your life in accordance with Allah's and His Messenger's commandments. In Islam, the veil is so well-designed that women are instructed to walk carefully in their houses so that the sound of their jewels is not heard. Allah says:
“And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment.” (24:31)
The sound of jewels has been stated as a reason for the non-acceptance of dua [prayer] in the hadith, therefore you can imagine how much it would displease God Almighty if ladies did not wear veil.
Who Should Women Be Veiled For And Who Should They Not Be Veiled For?
This is stated explicitly in the following verse of the Holy Quran:
Allah Almighty says, [interpretation of the verse]: “And command the Muslim women to keep their gaze low and to protect their chastity, and not to reveal their adornment except what is apparent, and to keep the cover wrapped over their bosoms; and not to reveal their adornment except to their own husbands or fathers or husbands’ fathers, or their sons or their husbands’ sons, or their brothers or their brothers’ sons or sisters’ sons, or women of their religion, or the bondwomen they possess, or male servants provided they do not have manliness, or such children who do not know of women’s nakedness, and not to stamp their feet on the ground in order that their hidden adornment be known; and O Muslims, all of you turn in repentance together towards Allah, in the hope of attaining success.” (24:31)
According to a well-known proverb, “First the eye, then the heart, and then the concealable portions of the body [satr] go astray” Therefore, Islam has firmly advised all believing men and women to safeguard their eyes and has mandated that when they leave their homes, they should keep their eyes down. Allah says:
“Command the Muslim men to keep their gaze low and to protect their private organs; that is much purer for them; indeed Allah is Aware of their deeds.” (24:30)
In the same way, Allah has taught believing women to protect their honour and dignity and has covered it in a very effective way. Allah says:
“And command the Muslim women to keep their gaze low and to protect their chastity, and not to reveal their adornment...” (24:31)
Women's hearts are soft and sensitive, just like their skin. They have a soft personality and are ready to react to external stimuli. That is why women are severely forbidden from making eye contact with strangers and from displaying their ornamentation and beauty in front of anybody except the Maharams, and they must always wear the veil when leaving the house.
Hazrat Umme Salma (May Allah be pleased with her) narrates that “Maimuna (Umm Al-Mu'minin) and I were present at the Prophet's service. Then a blind Sahabi [companion] namely Ibn Umme Maktoom came to the Prophet for some needs. The Prophet ordered us to go behind the curtain. I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Isn't Ibn Umm Maktoom blind? The Holy Prophet said, “Are you both blind?” [Sunan al-Tirmidhi]
There is no such thing as extremism in Islam. Islam is a religion that encourages people to live in moderation. It may appear to everyone that in today's society, men and women sit, stand, and work in offices together, and face each other on trips and other occasions; how can a man or a woman not look at each other? It is an eye that has the ability to view anyone at any moment. This type of question was also posed to the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). Hazrat Jarir asked the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) about an unintended look (on a woman). He (peace be upon him) said, “Turn your eyes away”. [Sunan Abi Dawud 2148]
This hadith means that if one sees a non-Mahram woman by accident, it is pardoned because it is the first glimpse. However, as soon as one notices her, one must avert one’s gaze away. If one looks at her again, it will be classified as one’s intentional look and thereby adultery of the eye. Similarly, it is necessary for women not to glance at a non-Mahram male intentionally.
Maulana Badruddoja Razvi Misbahi, Principal of Madrasa Arabia Ashrafia Zia-ul-Uloom Khairabad, District Mau, UP (India) is a Sufi-minded, well-mannered, classical Islamic scholar, an expert teacher, an excellent writer, a good poet and orator. He has authored numerous books, some of which are as follows: 1) Fazilat-e-Ramazan, 2) Zad-ul-Haramain, 3) Mukhzin-e-Tib, 4) Tauzeehat-e-Ahsan, the commentary on the well-known logical book “Mulla Hasan” 5) Muhazarat fi Halle Qutbi Tasawwurat, 6) Tahzib al-Faraid commentary on “Sharh al-Aqaid”, 7) Atayib al-Tahani fi Halle Mukhtasar al-Ma’ani, 8) Commentary on Sahih Muslim
Urdu Article: Traditional Islamic Opinion on the Importance and Necessity of Hijab اسلام میں حجاب کی اہمیت و ضرورت
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