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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

More on Hijab

In all there are seven ayat that you should look at completely thoroughly and they are:
S. Noor, 24th sura, ayat 30 and 31
Sura Ahzab, 33rd sura, Ayat, 32, 33, 53, 55 and 59.
I mentioned in my previous note about "exempt" for which I am sorry as I did not know what better way I could adopt without going into detail.
What it meant was that male persons at home like father brother,male children, male servants are people that come and go in the house including where women are located and women are allowed to observe only the "satar" and not wear a "burqua" or Jalbab (which is used for perdah when women go out of home). So if she has face and hands and feet open it is OK in front of these persons (I have not given complete list)
Now that must be understood that "satar" has always been compulsory for men and women
Man: covering from navel to knees ( inclusive of them)
Woman: whole body except hands and face (and according to some feet also)
Coming back to hijab or perda, there is no doubt that segregation of sexes and keeping at home or wearing Jalbab when going out, keeping a curtain from unknown men are all forms of hijab. At present it seems that head-cover (called Khimar with plural khumur) combined with ordinary clothes (Not gaudy or flashy or showy) serves the same purpose, as long as it covers the whole body including the head and neck and bosom(which the women tend to show off particularly in the western way of dressing) and clothes are not tight or thin.
Staying at home and only going out when needed is a good suggestion. It is only, that now-a-days women need to go out more often ( because of the changes in life style.) But to enforce staying at home to the extent that it affcts the health is taking it too far, just as going out for no reason may be too far in the other direction). To go out with all the make up and wearing perfume and showy clothes for show-off only is just as bad.
Voice of women is "closed" as perdah which is stretching the meaning of those words of aya 32 of sura ahzab. What is being said that ".../ be not complaisant of speech, lest one whose heart is a disease, be moved to with a desire, but speak ye a speech (that is) just" Clearly here the way of speech is being told and not that you should not speak at all because the voice is under perdah"

My thinking is over but I wish to refer to two things. One which M.Maudoodi has discussed at length in his book on "perdah" and that is "ghoongat" which is in the translation of aya 59 of 33rd sura. All others like M. Junagadhi, M. Shafi, Usmani they all call it" chader ka pallu chehray per latka liya karain" (meaning ghunghat), when they go out.
Allama Yusuf Ali and Assad mention that they should cover their body with chader (jalbab).
I shall quote Assad, you may not agree with him (for those who dont know him, he is the Jew who was trained in Hebrew scripture, also bible and then studied Quran after learning Arabic, eventually accepting Islam): (Noor, 31--Illa ma zdahara minha)
"...what may (decently) be apparant thereof...."
Then in discussion he says, ".... several of the earliest Islamic scholars, and particularly by Al-Qiffal (quoted by Razi), as "that which a human being may openl;y show in accordance with the prevailing custom (al-A'dataljariyah), although the traditional exponents of Islamic law have for centuries been inclined to restrict the definition of "what may (decently) appear thereof"to a woman's face, hands and feet and sometimes even less than that. We may safely assume that the meaning of "Illa ma zahara minha" is much wider and that the deliberate vagueness of this phrase is meant to allow for all the time bound changes that are necessary for man's moral and social growth. The pivotal clause in the above injunction is the demand addressed in identical terms to men aa well as women to lower their gaze....."
As for the translation of 59th aya of 33rd sura he says, "......that they should draw over themselves some of their outer garments (when in public)......."
Yusufali also says, ".... they should cast their outer garments over their person (when abroad)......" And Farooq-e-Azam Malik also says draw the outer garment on their person.
Ibn-e-Katheer (I have Urdu translation) also mentions covering of face. They all mention about one Muslim (who did not meet the prophet during his life) that hedemontrated the outer garment covering the whole body and face except one eye with which to see.
Then there is discussion about free women and slave women.
I have great respect for Mauddodi but sometimes during discussion he uses extremely strong words which worry me. However I'll quote one last word from him, at the end of discussion of "commandments of Perdah" After quoting the propher PBUH
"Ask for the verdict of your conscience and discard what pricks"
"That is why Islam cannot be properly followed without knowledge. It is a rational law and to follow it rightly one needs to exercise reason and understanding at every step"
That is so true.
So If you are living in the west and customary thing is to wear dress that covers the body without showing curves and cover head also, it appears that it shows you care about the injubnctions of perdah. Secondly if not covering the head and hair is felt by you it is customary these dyas, you may not wear hijab, though I personally am in favor of head cover because of this being "satar", but I would not brand you being "indecent" if you are not wearing it. You can be a good Mulim without hijab also.
I have more to say about dress of men IA next time.


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