The Hijab... Why? Part One: The Virtues Of Hijab - Ladies Views

Islamic Rulings - Living Shariah Verdicts

Islamic Questions & Answers

By Shayekh - Dr. Muhammad Bin Ismail

Translator and Commentator: Dr. Saleh As-Saleh


ALL praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, the Most Merciful, the Beneficent, and the Master of the Day of

Judgment. O Allah! Have Your Salat(1)  and Salam (peace) and blessing upon Your slave and Messenger Muhammad and upon all of his companions.


Extraordinary consideration has been given by the Islamic Law to women's affairs. Such consideration is sufficient to protect her chastity, to honor her and to secure her position in life. The "restrictions" placed upon her regarding her dress and the display of her beauty and ornament is only to guard against all ways of corruption arising from such dazzling displays. What Islam has established is not a restriction on the freedom of women but is a firm protection for her from falling down to the lowest levels of humility.


In this work, we mention the virtues of a critical aspect of this protection: the  HIJAB.  The  characteristics of the Hijab arediscussed, bringing the glad tidings promised (by Allah) to those women adhering to it. We also point out the danger of dazzling displays of ornaments and beauty as well as the terrible repercussions in this life and in the hereafter for those who practice Tabar'roj.


This is the second edition of this book.  It comes at a time when more women are throwing away their revealing clothes, and wearing the Hijab. It goes to print when Muslim women are being raped and tom in their Hijabs in "civilized" Europe(2)! and when France(3) prevents Muslim women from wearing the Hijab at school.  These are times of trials for Muslims and particularly for Muslim women. We all have to remember the path of the Prophets: endurance, patience, holding on, and aiming high by keeping the way of Allah above everything.


Allah knows our intentions and He is Sufficient to Us and He is the Best Guardian.




The Hijab is an act of obedience to Allah SW(4) and to His Messenger Muhammad (SAAW(5)). He (SW) says:


} ‏ وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍ وَلَا مُؤْمِنَةٍ إِذَا قَضَى اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ

أَمْرًا أَنْ يَكُونَ لَهُمُ الْخِيَرَةُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِمْ وَمَنْ يَعْصِ اللَّهَ

وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَالًا مُبِينًا‏{ [الأحزاب، 36]


"It is not for a believer, man or woman,

 when Allah and His Messenger have

 decreed a matter that they should have

an option in their decision.  And

whoever disobeys Allah and His

Messenger, has indeed strayed in a

 plain error." (Qur'an 33:36)


Allah (SW) also says:

} ‏ ‏فَلَا وَرَبِّكَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ حَتَّى يُحَكِّمُوكَ فِيمَا شَجَرَ

بَيْنَهُمْ ثُمَّ لَا يَجِدُوا فِي أَنْفُسِهِمْ حَرَجًا مِمَّا قَضَيْتَ

وَيُسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا‏‏{ [ النساء، 65 ]

"But no by your Lord, they can have no

 Faith, until they make you

(Muhammad (SAAW)) a judge in all

disputes between them, and find in

themselves no resistance against your

decisions, and accept (them) with full

 submission." (Qur'an 4:65)


Indeed,, Allah ordered that women must put on the Hijab(6). He (SW) says:

} ‏ وَقُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ

فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ

بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَى جُيُوبِهِنَّ ‏‏{ [النور،31]

"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 adornment except

what must (ordinarily) appear thereof,

 that they should draw their veils over

 their Juyubihinna(7)." (Qur'an 24:31).


Allah considered the dazzling display of beauty an act of ignorance:

} ‏ وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الْأُولَى‏‏{  [الأحزاب،33]

"And stay in your houses and do not

 display yourselves like that of the times

 of Jahiliyeeyah(8) (ignorance). " (Qur'an 33:33)           


He, Most Glorified, says:

} ‏ وَإِذَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُنَّ مَتَاعًا فَاسْأَلُوهُنَّ مِنْ وَرَاءِ حِجَابٍ

ذَلِكُمْ أَطْهَرُ لِقُلُوبِكُمْ وَقُلُوبِهِنَّ‏‏{ [الأحزاب، 53 ]

"And when you ask the Prophet's wives

 for anything you want, ask them from

 behind a screen." (Qur'an 33:53)


The above Ayah (verse) does not apply only to the Prophet's wives but to all of the believing women. Carefully read the following saying of Allah (SW): 

} ‏ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُلْ لِأَزْوَاجِكَ وَبَنَاتِكَ وَنِسَاءِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِنْ جَلَابِيبِهِنَّ ذَلِكَ أَدْنَى أَنْ يُعْرَفْنَ فَلَا يُؤْذَيْنَ ‏‏{ [الأحزاب،59]

"O Prophet! Tell your wives and your

daughters and the women of the

 believers to draw their cloaks (veils)

over their bodies (when outdoors). That

 is most convenient that they should be

 known and not molested."(9) (Qur'an 33:59)


The Prophet (SAAW) said:

" المَرأة عَوْرةَ "

"The woman (i.e. any woman) is A'wrah (10)", that is she must be covered.


Allah (SW) made the adherence to the Hijab a manifestation for chastity and modesty:

} ‏ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُلْ لِأَزْوَاجِكَ وَبَنَاتِكَ وَنِسَاءِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِنْ جَلَابِيبِهِنَّ ذَلِكَ أَدْنَى أَنْ يُعْرَفْنَ فَلَا

يُؤْذَيْنَ ‏‏{ [الأحزاب،59]


"O Prophet! Tell your wives and your

daughters and the women of the

believers to draw their cloaks (veils)

over their bodies (when outdoors). That

is most convenient that they should be

known and not molested." (Qur'an 33: 59)


In the above Ayah there is an evidence that the recognition of the apparent beauty of the woman is harmful to her. When the cause of attraction ends, the restriction is removed. This is  illustrated in the case of elderly women who may have lost  every aspect of attraction. Allah (SW) made it permissible for  them to lay aside their outer garments and expose their faces  and hands reminding, however, that it is still better for them to  keep their modesty:


} ‏ ‏وَالْقَوَاعِدُ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ اللَّاتِي لَا يَرْجُونَ نِكَاحًا

فَلَيْسَ عَلَيْهِنَّ جُنَاحٌ أَنْ يَضَعْنَ ثِيَابَهُنَّ غَيْرَ مُتَبَرِّجَاتٍ

بِزِينَةٍ وَأَنْ يَسْتَعْفِفْنَ خَيْرٌ لَهُنَّ وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ‏ ‏‏{ [النور،60 ]


"And as for women past child-bearing

 who do not expect wed-lock, it is no sin

for them if they discard their (outer) in

 such a way as not to show their

adornment; but it is best to be modest

 and Allah knows and sees all things

provided they do not make a display of

 their beauty; but it is best to be modest

 and Allah knows and sees all

 things." (Qur'an 24:60)


So how about young women? Clearly they must stay modest find not display their beauty. 




Allah (SW) had shown us the Hikma (Wisdom) behind the legislation of the Hijab:


} ‏ وَإِذَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُنَّ مَتَاعًا فَاسْأَلُوهُنَّ مِنْ وَرَاءِ حِجَابٍ

ذَلِكُمْ أَطْهَرُ لِقُلُوبِكُمْ وَقُلُوبِهِنَّ‏‏{ [الأحزاب، 53]


"And when you ask them (the Prophet's

wives) for anything you want, ask them

from behind a screen, that is purer for

your hearts and their hearts." (Qur'an  33:53)


The Hijab makes for greater purity for the hearts of believing men and women because it screens against the desire of the  heart. Without the Hijab, the heart may or may not desire.  That is why the heart is more pure when the sight is blocked (by Hijab) and thus the prevention of fitna (evil actions) is very much manifested. The Hijab cuts off the ill thoughts and the greed of the sick hearts:

} ‏ فَلَا تَخْضَعْنَ بِالْقَوْلِ فَيَطْمَعَ الَّذِي فِي قَلْبِهِ مَرَضٌ

وَقُلْنَ قَوْلًا مَعْرُوفًا ‏‏{ [الأحزاب، 32]

"Be not soft in speech, lest he in whose

heart is a disease (of hypocrisy or evil

desire for adultery, etc.) should be

moved with desire, but speak in an

 honorable manner." (Qur'an 33:32)



The Prophet (SAAW) said:

"إنَّ الله حَييٌ سِتَّير يُحِبُّ السِتْر"


"Allah, Most High, is Ha'yeii(11), Sit'teer)12(, He loves Haya' (Bashfulness) and Sitr (Shielding; Covering)"(13).


The Prophet (SAAW) also said:

"إيما إمرأةٌ نَزَعَت ثِيابَها في غير بيتِ أهلِها، خَرَقَ الله عزَّ وجَلَّ عَنها سِتْرِها"


"Any woman who takes off her clothes in other than her husband's home (to show off for unlawful purposes). has broken Allah's shield upon her"(14)


The hadeeth demonstrates that depending upon the kind of action committed there will be either reward (if good) or

 punishment (if bad).




Allah (SW) says:

} ‏ يَا بَنِي آدَمَ قَدْ أَنْزَلْنَا عَلَيْكُمْ لِبَاسًا يُوَارِي سَوْآتِكُمْ

وَرِيشًا وَلِبَاسُ التَّقْوَى ذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ ‏‏{ [الأعراف، 26]


"O Children of Adam! We have

 bestowed raiment upon you to cover

yourselves (screen your private parts,

etc.) and as an adornment. But the

raiment of righteousness, that is

 better." (Qur'an 7:26)


The widespread forms of dresses in the world today are mostly for show off and hardly taken as a cover and shield of the woman's body. To the believing women, however, the purpose is to safeguard their bodies and cover their private parts as a manifestation of the order of Allah. It is an act of Taqwah  (righteousness ). 




Allah (SW) did not address His Words about the Hijab except  to the believing women, Al-Mo'minat: 

} ‏ وَقُل للمُؤمِناتِ ‏‏{ [النور،31]

"And say (O Muhammad (SAAW) to

 the believing women." (Qur'an 24: 31)


In another Ayah Allah (SW) also says: 

} ‏ ونِسآءِ المُؤمِنين‏‏{ الآية [الأحزاب،59]


"And the believing

women" (Qur'an 33: 59).


A'isha (RAA(15)) the wife of the Prophet (SAAW), addressed some women from the tribe of Banu Tameem who came visiting her and had light clothes on them:


"If indeed you are believing women, then truly this is not the dress of the believing women, and if you are not believing women, then enjoy it."(16) 




The Prophet (SAAW) said:


"إنَّ لِكُلَّ دين خُلُقاً، وخُلُقُ الإسلام الحياء"

"Each religion has a morality and the morality of Islam is haya' (bashfulness)."(17)


He (SAAW) also said:  

"Bashfulness is from belief and belief is in Aj-Jannah (Paradise)."(18)


Furthermore, he (SAAW) said:


"الحياءُ والإيمانُ قُرِنا جميعاً، فإذا رُفِعَ أحَدُهُما رُفِعَ الآخر"


"Bashfulness and belief are fully associated together if one is  lifted the other follows suit."(19)


The mother of the believers, A'isha said: "I used to enter the room where the Messenger of Allah (SAAW) and my father  were later buried in without having my garment on me, saying it is only my husband and my father". But when Umar (RAA) was later buried in (the same place), I did not enterthe room except that I had my garment on being shy from Umar (RAA)."(20) The Hijab fits the natural bashfulness which

is a part of the nature of women.




The Hijab fits the natural feeling of Gheerah which is intrinsic in the straight man who does not like people to look at his wife or daughters. Gheerah is a driving emotion that drives the straight man to safeguard women who are related to him from strangers.  The straight Muslim man has Gheerah for all Muslim women. Many in the world had lost this great moral aspect. In response to lust and desire men look (with desire) at other women while they do not mind that other men do the same to their wives or daughters! In "free" societies you see men sitting with strange women who are half-naked "enjoying" the scene! They introduce their wives to other strange men. Mutual looks here and there! Affairs develop and phone calls are exchanged. "Love affairs" destroys many  families and children suffer most. What kind of "love" is this?


The mixing of sexes and absence of Hijab kills the Gheerah in men. The eyes "eat up" other men and women! The inner "justification" is:  since I can look they can look. It's a " free choice"!!   Few are those who feel anything when they discover their wives have "affairs". They become numb!! No dignity ! No honor!  The bottom line is that in many societies of this modern World the animalistic behaviors are becoming very apparent.


Ali (RAA) said: "It was related to me that you women used to crowd the Kuffar (disbelieving men) from the non-Arabs in the markets; don't you have Cheerah? There is no good in the one who does not have Gheerah."


Islam considers Gherrah an integral part of faith .The dignity of the wife or daughter or any other Muslim woman must be highly respected and defended.


(1) The Salat of Allah upon prophet Muhammad is His Praise and
mentioning of the Prophet to the angels in the Most High place in

(2) Bosnia is a testimony against the "civility" of Europe and the West.
Civility stops at the word: Muslim or Islam!
(3) The country that raises the banner of: equality, brotherhood, and
(4) SW: Subhanahu Wata'ala, Most Glorified and Most High is He.
(5) SAAW: Salla Allahu Aleihi Wassalam: May the Salat and Salaam
(Peace) of Allah be upon His Prophet Muhammad
(6)This is not something cultural. It is Allah's order. Its conditions are not
Arabian, Egyptian, Pakistani, Black or White American, etc. Its conditions are specified in the Qur'an and Sunnah to provide a protection and safeguarding of women. No one knows about what is good for men and women more than their Creator, Allah. His laws are Wise as it is thecase with all of His actions.
(7) Juyubihinna: The respected scholars from As-Salaf As-Saleh (righteous predecessors) differed whether the veil cover of the body must include the hands and face or not. Today, respected scholars say that the hands and face must be covered. Other respected scholars say it is preferable for women to cover their whole bodies.
(8) Jahilyeeyah: The days of ignorance prior to the Revelation of the Qur'an.
(9) No one can ignore the molestation of women that exists in the so called "open" societies. The question is: why it is happening? The answer begins to shape up when people think about the purpose behind creation. Allah created us for the single purpose of worshipping Him alone. He detailed all the ways to fulfill this purpose in the Last
Revelation to all mankind, the Qur'an. In it we can find how women and men can safeguard their dignity, honor, and morality. The worship of  Allah is manifested in the following of His orders. Allah orders that  men and women must avoid all the roads that lead to animalistic ways of  living. The Hijab is one of Allah's commands. It is an honor and protection for women as well as a true freedom for her body from the  hands and eyes of aggressors and molesters.
(l0) This hadeeth is narrated by Abdullah bin Masoud and collected by At-Tirmidhi who said it is Hassan-Ghareeb i.e. good and Ghareeb (The Ghareeb is a narration by one narrator either in each level of the levels of the chain of narrators or in some levels of the chain). Also
As-Siyouti hinted that it is authentic.
(11) Ha'yeii: Allah is Bashful: He does not unravel the acts of disobedience by His slaves. They openly disobey Allah while they are in need of Him, yet He (being Ha'yeii) is ashamed of humiliating them leaving the door of repentance opened for them. If, however, they become arrogant and persist on the spread of evil, and disobedience, Allah certainly is All-Just in His infliction of punishment.

(12) Sit'teer: Allah is Sit'teer: He provides means that shield against the  uncovering of disobedient acts. The slaves commit acts of disobedience  while Allah is providing them with many of His favors. He (SW) gives  the opportunity for each one of us to return to Him in repentance and to  seek His forgiveness. He loves those who do not like the spread of sin. He dislikes the Muslim who publicizes his acts of sin and disobedience. He loves the Muslim who does not unravel the sins of his brother in Islam while at the same time calls him to repent. The Hijab is something beloved by Allaah because it is a shield against the spread of evil manifested in the display of beauty to strangers.
(l3) Collected by Abu Dawoud, An-Nissa'ee, AI-Baihaqee, Ahmed, and in Saheeh An-Nissa'ee.
(14) Collected by Abu Dawoud and At-Tirmidhi who said: it is a good hadeeth" .
(15) RAA: Radiya Allahu anhu (anha or anhum): May Allah be pleased with him (her or them)
(16) Reported in "Ma'alim As-Sunnan" by Abu Suleiman Al-Khitabi in his explanation of  Sunnan An-Nissa'ee V 4,  p.376
(17) Related by Imam Malik in his "Mu'wata" (2: 905-Arabic). The hadeeth chain is Mursal i.e. the chain of narrators is disconnected at one point or another.  For example to say: "On the authority of A, on the authority of B, on the authority of C that the Prophet said  "...." .  The hadeeth is Mursal if for example C did not hear directly from the Prophet.  In the case of the above hadeeth, Ibin Habban connected the chain by two ways of narrators, both of them are weak.
(18) collected by At-Tirmidhi who said it is: "a good and authentic hadeeth".
(19) Narrated by Abdul'lah bin Umar as Related by Al-Hakim in his "Mustadrak" (1/22-Arabic) who said: "it is a good and authentic Hadeeth….." and Al-Thahabi confirmed Al-Hakim on this.
(20) As-Simt Ath'ameeen Fee Maniqib Ummahat Ul-Mu'mineen, p.91:A Book by Ibin As-Sakir that represents a collection of the great attributes of the Mothers of  Believers (The wives of the Prophet-SAAW). Al-Hakim reported a similar narration and said that it is "good according to the conditions of Imam Bukhari and Imam Mulslim", noting that both Imams did not discuss the chain of narration itself.  Al- Thahabi had no comment about Al-Hakim's narration.




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