Posts Tagged ‘Hijaab’

Is the Veil Religious or Cultural?

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Is the Veil Religious or Cultural?

In the Light of Qur’an and Sunnah

By Shaykh Hafidhuddin and proofread by Brother Arfan Khan (May Allah سبحانه و تهالى reward them both)

بسمالله الرحمان الرحيم

السلام عليكم ورحمت الله و بركاته

الحمد الله

After you have read this pamphlet; ponder over the words of the Holy Qur’an and the Ahadith of the Holy Prophet, Hadhrat Muhammad-ur RasulluLah (Sal-Allaahu Alayhi Wasallam)) and decide for yourself whether the veil is indeed religious or cultural?

On Friday 6th October, 2006,s Jack Straw’s (who was demoted and replaced by Margaret Beckett as Foreign Secretary) comments about the veil stirred controversy, so, therefore it has become paramount for me to write an article on the Niqaab.

If the Hijab is a screen of privacy, then the Niqaab is a better screen; if the Hijab helps develop Taqwa (piety, self-restraint, fear of Allah Taa’la), then the Niqaab helps develop more Taqwa; if the Hijab is a jihad (struggle) that purifies the soul, then the Niqaab is a greater jihad and if the Hijab is a protection for our mothers and sisters, then the Niqaab is a better protection.

Let’s begin by looking at the revelation of the Hijaab. The wives of the Holy Prophet, Hadhrat Muhammad-ur RasulluLah (Sal-Allaahu Alayhi Wasallam) used to go to Al-Manasi, a vast open place (near Jannah tul Baqi in Madinah tul Munawarrah) to answer the call of nature at night. Hadhrat Umar (Radi Allah Anho), the righteous Leader of the Believers used to say to the Holy Prophet “Let your wives be veiled,” but Allah Taa’la’s Apostle did not do so, as He (Sal-Allaahu Alayhi Wasallam) was simply waiting for a revelation from Allah Taa’la! One night Hadhrat Sauda bint Zam’a (Radi Allah Anha), the wife of the Holy Prophet went out at Isha time and she was a tall lady. Hadhrat Umar (Radi Allah Anho) addressed her and said, “I have recognised you, O Sauda (Radi Allah Anha).” He said so, as he desired eagerly that the verses of Al-Hijab (the observing of veils by the Muslim women) may be revealed; (“O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) 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.” (Surah Al-Ahzab 33:59) So, Allah Taa’la revealed the above verses of “Al-Hijab” (A complete body cover excluding the eyes). (Bukhaari Book1: Hadith Number 148). Umm ul Mu’mineen, the Mother of the Believers, Hadhrat Aisha (Radi Allah Anha) used to say: “When (the Verse): ‘They should draw their veils over their necks and bosoms,’ was revealed, (the ladies) cut their waist sheets at the edges and covered their faces with the cut pieces.” (Bukhaari Book 6: Hadith Number 282) Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalanee (Alayhi Rahmah), who is known as Ameer Al-Mu’mineen in the field of Hadith, said that the phrase, “Covered themselves”, in the above Hadith means that they “Covered their faces”. (Fath al Bari). Now you have to think who would understand these verses better than Hadhrat Aisha (Radi Allah Anha) the MOST knowledgeable woman in the matters of Din (religion) and the wife of our Blessed Prophet, Hadhrat Muhammad-ur RasulluLah (Sal-Allaahu Alayhi Wasallam)?

The first Hadith which has been quoted by Imam Bukhaari (Alayhi Rahmah). Who was Imam Bukhaari (Alayhi Rahmah)? He wasn’t a politician or a scholar of this century, but, Imam Bukhaari (Alayhi Rahmah) was born 194 years after the passing away of our beloved Prophet, Hadhrat Muhammad-ur RasulluLah (Sal-Allaahu Alayhi Wasallam) (194 A.H.) Imam al-Bukhaari Alayhi Rahmah) is one of the most eminent of those pious righteous scholars who has given endless bliss to the Ummah of the Holy Prophet, Hadhrat Muhammad-ur RasulluLah (Sal-Allaahu Alayhi Wasallam). This is made apparent in the book of Ahadith called an-Nabawi that Imam Al Bukhaari (Alayhi Rahmah) had compiled, commonly known as Sahih al-Bukhaari. It is universally acknowledged as the most authentic book after the Holy Qur’an. So long as there is one Muslim left on the earth, the blessings of Imam Bukhaari (Alayhi Rahmah) will remain.

Imam Ghazali (Alayhi Rahmah) mentions in his famous book of Fiqh, Ihyaal Uloom that, “Woman emerged during the time of Hadhrat Muhammad-ur RasulluLah (Sal-Allaahu Alayhi Wasallam) with Niqaabs on their faces.” Again who was Imam Ghazali (Alayhi Rahmah)? He too was neither a politician nor a scholar of this century, but, Imam Ghazali (Alayhi Rahmah) was born 450 years (450 A.H) after the passing away of our beloved Prophet, Hadhrat Muhammad-ur RasulluLah (Sal-Allaahu Alayhi Wasallam). Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi of Egypt states that, like Hadhrat Umar ibn Abd al Aziz and Imam al-Shaafi’ee for their respective times, Imam al-Ghazali is unanimously considered the ‘Renewer’ of the Fifth Islamic Century.

Let’s very briefly look at some other commentaries of the Holy Qur’an by renowned scholars of Islam:

TafsirIbn Kathir:
Allah (Taa’la) commanded the Muslim women to cover this sheet on top of them to cover their bodies except one eye, when it is necessary for them to come out of their homes.

Tafsir –xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Imam Muhammad bin Sirin (Alayhi Rahmah) said: “When I asked Hadhrat Ubaida bin Sufyan bin al-Haarith (Radi Allah Anho) the meaning of this verse (Surah Ahzab) and how the jalbaab was to be worn, he demonstrated it to me by pulling a sheet of cloth over his head to cover his entire body, leaving the left eye uncovered. This was also the explanation of the word ‘Alay Hinna’ of the verse.” (Commentary by Ibn Jarir; Ahkam-ul-Qur’an, Volume 3: pg. 457)

Tafsir Ruh-ul-Ma’anixxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Ibn Jarir Tabari and Ibn Al-Mundhir (Alayhim Rahmah) described the method of wearing the jalbaab according to Hadhrat Ibn Abbas (Radi Allah Anho) and Hadhrat Qatadah (Radi Allah Anho). The sheet should be wrapped around from the top, covering the forehead, then bringing one side of the sheet to cover the face below the eyes so that most of the face and the upper body is covered. This will leave both eyes uncovered (which is allowed in necessity). (Volume 22: pg. 89)

Shaykh Ibn Uthaimin (Alayhi Rahmah) writes in his Fatwa that, “the first of those bodily parts that a woman must cover is her face. It is the source of temptation and the source of people desiring her. Therefore, the woman must cover her face in front of those men that are not her Mahram.” (I.e. brother-in-law, cousins, etc.). It is not possible that there could be in the Esteemed, Wise and Noble Shari’ah a contradiction. How can one say that the Shari’ah does no allow the exposure of the foot of the woman while it allows her to uncover her face? Everyone knows that the attraction from uncovering the face is much greater than the attraction that results from the uncovering of the feet. Everyone also knows that the most required aspect of the woman for men is naturally the face. If you told a potential groom that a woman’s face is ugly but her feet are beautiful, do you honestly think he would propose to such a woman? I, along with all the readers, think NOT!!!!! However, if you told him that her face was beautiful but her hands, palms, or shins were less than beautiful, he would still propose to her. From this one can conclude that the face is the primary thing that must be covered. There are also evidences from the Holy Qur’an and the Ahadith of our Holy Prophet, Hadhrat Muhammad-ur Rasullullaah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). There are also statements from the Sahaabah (Ridhwaanullaahi Alayhim Ajma’een), the leading Imams and the great scholars of Islam that indicate that it is obligatory for the woman to cover all of her body in the presence of non-Mahram men. This obviously indicates that it is obligatory upon the woman to cover her face in front of such men. The Jamia tul Ulama Junbi Africa state in the book ‘Islamic Hijab’ on page 12 that the proper opinion for the Hanafi Madhab is that, “A woman must be properly and thoroughly covered in a loose outer cloak which totally conceals her entire body including her face!”xHadhrat Ibn Abbas was no ordinary Sahaabah, but, in fact Ibn Abbas (Radi Allah Anho) was one of the most learned men from the Sahaabah (Ridhwaanullaahi Alayhim Ajma’een). Rasullullaah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) even made Du’aa for him saying, “O Allah (Taa’la), make him acquire a deep understanding of the religion of Islam and instruct him in the meaning and interpretation of things.” He has been cited in Ma’rif ul Qur’an with reference to Surah Ahzab on the authority of Hadhrat Ibn Jarir (Radi Allah Anho) with a Sahih (authentic) chain of narrators that “The Muslim women are ordered to cover their head and faces with outer garments except for one eye.” Now this is the interpretation of the Qur’an from a companion of the Holy Prophet, Hadhrat Muhammad-ur Rasullullaah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) for whom Rasullullaah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) made Du’aa to be able to understand the interpretation of the Holy Qur’an.

Let’s conclude (for now) with Shaykh Muhammad Salih Al-Munajjid’s fatwa where he mentions, “The most correct opinion, which is supported by evidence, is that it is obligatory to cover the face, therefore young women are forbidden to uncover their faces in front of non-mahram men in order to avoid any mischief, and they should certainly do so when there is fear of Fitnah (temptation).”


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