WOMEN'S DRESS CODE IN ISLAM
God, the Most Gracious, Most Merciful, insists on making His religion easy, practical and enjoyable for His true believers. God also told us that those who reject Him or His books are making life miserable for themselves and for their loved ones who follow in their footsteps. He reminds us in the Quran that He has placed no hardship on us in practicing our religion (see 22:78).
"You shall strive for the cause of GOD as you should strive for His cause. He has chosen you and has placed no hardship on you in practicing your religion - the religion of your father Abraham..." 22:78
God established also several rules in His book, the Quran, for His TRUE believers. Breaking any of His rules or refusing any of them means loss, misguidance, misery and eternal suffering. To understand a topic like the DRESS CODE for Muslim Women, we need to review quickly some of these rules established by our Creator, God Almighty, to whom we will be responsible for our deeds. Every rule is important and every rule is meant to be.
(1) Quran is a complete book, See 6:19,38,114, 115, 12:111 and 50:45. Remember that when God says that His book is complete, it means 100% complete.
"..........We did not leave ANYTHING out of this book." 6:38
"The word of your Lord is COMPLETE, in truth and justice. Nothing shall abrogate His words. He is the Hearer, the Omniscient." 6:115
(2) Quran is perfect; no mistakes, no falsehood, no nonsense.
"No falsehood could enter it (Quran), in the past or in the future; a revelation from a Most Wise, Praiseworthy." 41:42
".......All ruling belongs to God, and He has ruled that you shall not worship except Him. This is the PERFECT RELIGION, but most people do not know.: 12:40 (see also 30:30, 30:43 and 98:5).
(3) Quran is detailed, and when God says He detailed His book it means FULLY detailed. God does not do half jobs.
"Shall I seek other than GOD as a source of law, when He has revealed to you this book fully detailed? Those who received the scripture recognize that it has been revealed from your Lord, truthfully. You shall not harbor any doubt." 6:114, See also, 7:52, 11:1, 41:3, 10:37 and 12:111
(4) God does not need any addition to His book. God teaches us in the Quran that He does not run out of words and that if He so willed He could have given us hundreds, thousands or millions of books besides the Quran (see 18:109). Since the Quran is complete, perfect and fully detailed, God did not give us any more books.
(5) God calls His book, the Quran, the BEST HADITH. HE called on His true believers to accept no other hadiths as a source of this perfect religion . See 7:185, 31:6, 39:23, 45:6, and 77:50.
"Have they not looked at the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all the things God has created? Does it ever occur to them that the end of their life may be near? Which HADITH, besides this (Quran) do they believe in?" 7:185
(6) God calls on His true believers to make sure not to fall in the trap of idol-worship by following the words of the scholars instead of the words of God (see 9:31).
(7) God calls those who prohibit what He did not prohibit, agressors, liars and idol-worshipers. Idol-worship is the only unforgivable sin, if maintained till death. See, 5:87, 9:37, 7:32, 6:119, 6:140 and 10:59.
"O you who believe, do not prohibit good things that are made lawful by God, and do not agress; God dislikes the aggressors." 5:87
"Say, "Did you note how God sends down to you all kinds of provisions, then you render some of them unlawful, and some lawful?" Say, "Did God give you permission to do this? Or, do you fabricate lies and attribute them to God?" 10:59
(8) Muhammed is represented only by the Quran. The Prophet Muhammed was the last Prophet and a messenger of God (33:40). He was not the messenger of God because of who he (Muhammed) was, but because he was given the Quran (the message) to deliver to the world. The religion of Islam is a religion of God, not about Muhammed, who was blessed by God with the delivery of the message of the Quran. He did not have an agenda of his own.
His job was to deliver to the world what God was giving him, the Quran. See 42:48, 13:40, 5:99-100, Muhammed cannot prohibit things, or make lawful things on his own. When he tried to do that God admonished him publicly, 66:1, 66:1 reminds us that God is the only ONE to prohibit or make things lawful.
NO ONE can attribute to Muhammed a prohibition that God did not give him in the Quran. Anyone who tries to do so is admitting his/her refusal of God's words and commandments in the Quran.
(9) The TRUE believers KNOW that when God says something, He means it, and when He does not, he means it as well. Everything given to us in the Quran was done deliberately and everything left out was also left out deliberately.
God does not forget. See 19:64. We are not to add to this religion what God deliberately left out and claim it to be from Him or His messenger. His messenger has only ONE message, the Quran. God already told us He does not run out of words. 18:109
(10) God does not need us to improve on His book, the Quran, but we very much need Him for every aspect of our lives. Those who think they have some improvement on the Quran are but asking for recognition of their idols as gods besides the ONE and ONLY GOD. Fabricated hadiths tried to add to Islam (Submission) what the disbelievers thought God forgot to mention in the Quran.
(11) God calls on His TRUE believers to verify every piece of information they see, hear or read, see 17:36.
"You shall not accept any information, unless you verify it for yourself. I have given you the hearing, the eyesight, and the brain, and you are responsible for using them." 17:36 So, VERIFY.
THREE RULES FOR WOMEN DRESS CODE IN ISLAM
THE BEST GARMENT, FIRST RULE :
[7:26] "O children of Adam, we have provided you with garments to cover your bodies, as well as for luxury. But the best garment is the garment of righteousness. These are some of GOD's signs, that they may take heed."
This is the BASIC rule of DRESS CODE in the Quran. This is the first rule in WOMEN DRESS CODE in Islam (Submission).
SECOND RULE, COVER YOUR BOSOMS:
The second rule can be found in 24:31. Here God orders the women to cover their bosoms whenever they dress up. But before quoting 24:31 let us review some crucial words that are always mentioned with this topic, namely "Hijab" and "Khimar"
THE WORD "HIJAB" in the QURAN
"Hijab" is the term used by many Muslims women to describe their head cover that may or may not include covering their face except their eyes, and sometimes covering also one eye. The Arabic word "Hijab" can be translated into veil or yashmak. Other meanings for the word "Hijab" include, screen, cover(ing), mantle, curtain, drapes, partition, division, divider.
Can we find the word "Hijab" in the Quran??
The word "Hijab" appeared in the Quran 7 times, five of them as "Hijab" and two times as "Hijaban," these are 7:46, 33:53, 38:32, 41:5, 42:51, 17:45 & 19:17.
None of these "Hijab" words are used in the Quran in reference to what the traditional Muslims call today (Hijab) as a dress code for the Muslim woman.
God knows that generations after Muhammed's death the Muslims will use the word "Hijab" to invent a dress code that He never authorized. God used the word "Hijab" ahead of them just as He used the word "Hadith" ahead of them.
Hijab in the Quran has nothing to do with the Muslim Women dress code.
While many Muslims call "Hijab", an Islamic dress code, they completely ignore the fact that, Hijab as a dress code has nothing to do with Islam and nothing to do with QURAN.
In reality "Hijab" is an old Jewish tradition that infiltrated into the hadith books like many innovations that contaminated Islam through alleged Hadith and Sunna. These in reality, came from Jewish origin. Any student of the Jewish traditions or religious books will see that head cover for the Jewish woman is encouraged by the Rabbis and religious leaders. Religious Jewish women still cover their heads most of the time and specially in the synagogues, weddings, and religious festivities.
Christian women cover their heads in many religious occasions while the nuns cover their heads all the time. This religious practice of covering the head was established from traditions thousands of years before the Muslim scholars claimed the Hijab as a Muslim dress code.
The traditional Arabs, of all religions, Jews, Christians and Muslims used to wear "Hijab," not because of Islam, but because of tradition. In Saudi Arabia, up to this minute most of the men cover their head , not because of Islam but because of tradition. Thank God this tradition has not been counted as Islamic dress code yet.
North Africa is known for its Tribe (Tuareg) that have the Muslim men wearing "Hijab" instead of women. Here the tradition has the hijab in reverse. If wearing Hijab is the sign of the pious and righteous Muslim woman, Mother Teresa would have been the first woman to be counted.
In brief, hijab is a traditional dress and has nothing to do with Islam or religion. In certain areas of the world, men are the ones who wear the hijab while in others the women do.
Mixing religion with tradition is a form of idol-worship, because not knowing (or not trying to find out) what God asked you to do in His book, the Quran, is a sign of disregarding God and His message. When tradition supersedes God's commandment, the true religion takes a second place. God never accepts to be second, God has to be always the FIRST and to HIM there is no second..
THE WORD "KHIMAR" in the QURAN:
"Khimar" is an Arabic word that can be found in the Quran in 24:31 While the first basic rule of Dress Code for the Muslim Women can be found in 7:26, the second rule of the DRESS CODE FOR WOMEN can be found in 24:31. Some Muslims quote verse 31 of sura 24 as containing the Hijab, or head cover, by pointing to the word, khomoorehenna, (from Khimar), forgetting that God already used the word Hijab, several times in the Quran.
Those blessed by God can see that the use of the word "Khimar" in this verse is not for "Hijab" or for head cover. Those who quote this verse usually add (Head cover) (veil) after the word Khomoorehenna, and usually between ( ), because it is their addition to the verse not God's.
Here it is 24:31;
"And tell the believing women to subdue their eyes, and maintain their chastity. They shall not reveal any parts of their bodies, except that which is necessary. They shall cover their chests, (with their Khimar) and shall not relax this code in the presence of other than their husbands, their fathers, the fathers of their husbands, their sons, the sons of their husbands, their brothers, the sons of their brothers, the sons of their sisters, other women, the male servants or employees whose sexual drive has been nullified, or the children who have not reached puberty. They shall not strike their feet when they walk in order to shake and reveal certain details of their bodies. All of you shall repent to GOD, O you believers, that you may succeed." 24:31
Here is Yousuf Ali's translation, but the word KHIMAR was put back in place instead of (veils), so the verse would look as it should have been before adding Ali's own interpretation:
"And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments ... that they should draw their KHIMAR over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands.." Y. Ali's translation, with the word khimar put back in place.
"Khimar" is an Arabic word that means, cover, any cover, a curtain is a Khimar, a dress is a Khimar, a table cloth that covers the top of a table is a Khimar, a blanket can be used as a Khimar..etc. The word KHAMRA used for intoxicant in Arabic has the same root with Khimar, because both covers, the Khimar covers (a window, a body, a table . etc.) while KHAMRA covers the state of mind. Most of the translators, obviously influenced by Hadith (fabrications) translate the word as VEIL and thus mislead most people to believe that this verse is advocating the covering of the head.
In 24:31 God is asking the women to use their cover (khimar)( being a dress, a coat, a shawl, a shirt, a blouse, a tie, a scarf . . . etc.) to cover their bosoms, not their heads or their hairs. If God so willed to order the women to cover their heads or their hair, nothing would have prevented Him from doing so. GOD does not run out of words. GOD does not forget.
God did not order the women to cover their heads or their hair. He was not waiting for a Scholar to put the words for Him.
The Arabic word for CHEST, GAYB is in the verse (24:31), but the Arabic words for HEAD, (RAAS) or HAIR, (SHAAR) are NOT in the verse. The commandment in the verse is clear - COVER YOUR CHEST OR BOSOMS, but also the fabrication of the scholars and most of the translators is clear by claiming- cover your head or hair.
The last part of the verse (24:31) translates as, "They shall not strike their feet when they walk in order to shake and reveal certain details of their bodies." The details of the body can be revealed or not revealed by the dress you wear, not by your head cover.
Notice also the expression in 24:31, "They shall not reveal any parts of their bodies, except that which is necessary." This expression may sound vague to many because they have not understood the mercy of God.
Again God here used this very general term to give us the freedom to decide according to our own circumstances the definition of "Which is necessary". It is not up to a scholar or to any particular person to define this term. God wants to leave it personal for every woman and no one can take it away from her.
Women who follow the basic rule number one i.e. righteousness, will have no problem making the right decision to reveal only which is necessary. The word "zeenatahunna" in this verse refers to the woman's body parts (beauty) and not to ornaments and decorations as some people interpret it or translate it.
At the end of the verse, God told the women not to strike with their feet to show their "zeenatahunna". You do not need to strike your feet to show your ornaments but the way you strike your feet while walking can expose or shake certain parts of the body that do not need to be emphasized.
Accepting orders from anybody but God, means idol-worship. That is how serious the matter of Hijab/ khimar is. Women who wear Hijab because of tradition or because they like it for personal reasons commit no sin, as long as they know that it is not part of this perfect religion. Those who are wearing it because they think God ordered it are committing Idol-worship, as God did not order it, the scholars did. These women have found for themselves another god than the One who revealed the Quran, complete, perfect and FULLY detailed to tell them they have to cover their heads to be Muslims.
Idol-worship is the only unforgivable sin, if maintained till death, 4:48.
THIRD RULE OF DRESS CODE FOR WOMEN:
The first regulation of DRESS CODE for Muslim women is in 7:26, the second is in 24:31 and the third is in 33:59.
"O prophet, tell your wives, your daughters, and the wives of the believers that they shall LENGTHEN their garments. Thus, they will be recognized and avoid being insulted. God is Forgiver, Most Merciful." 33:59
In 33:59, God sets the other regulation for the dress code for the Muslim women during the prophet's life. Although the verse is talking to the prophet which means this regulation applies to the time of the prophet, just like the order in 49:2, the description fits the spirit of Islam, and can teach us a great deal.
If you reflect on this verse and how God ordered the prophet to tell his wives, his daughters and the wives of the believers to lengthen their garments, you would understand the great wisdom of the MOST WISE, the MOST MERCIFUL. In this verse, God, DELIBERATELY, (and all the TRUE believers know that everything GOD says, does, or did is DELIBERATE) said, tell them, to lengthen their garments, and never said how long is long.
God could have said tell them to lengthen their garments to their ankles or to their mid-calf or to their knees, but HE DID NOT. He did not, OUT OF HIS MERCY, not because HE FORGOT as God does not forget. God knows that we will be living in different communities and have different cultures and insists that the minor details of this dress code will be left for the people of every community to hammer for themselves.
It is clear from the above verses that the DRESS CODE for the Muslim women (Submitters) according to the Quran is righteousness and modesty. God knows that this modesty will be understood differently in different communities and that is why He left it open to us to decide for ourselves.
Decide, after righteousness what is modesty. Modesty for a woman who lives in New York may not be accepted by a woman who lives in Cairo Egypt. Modesty of a woman who lives in Cairo, Egypt may not be accepted by a woman who lives in Saudi Arabia. Modesty of a woman who lives in Jidda in Saudi Arabia may not be accepted by a woman who lives in a desert oasis in the same country.
This difference in the way we perceive modesty is well known to God, he created us, and He put NO hardship on us in this great religion. He left it to us to decide what modesty would be. For any person, knowledgeable or not to draw a line and make conclusion for God about the definition of modesty is to admit that he/she knows better than God. God left it open for us and no-one has the authority to restrict it, it has to stay open.
RELAXING THE DRESS CODE:
In the family setting, God put no hardship on the women, and permitted them to relax their dress code. If you reflect on the verses, 33:35 and 24:60, you will see that God did not give details of what this relaxation is, because every situation is different. A woman may relax her dress code in front of the four-year-old son of her brother but not as much in front of the 16 year old son.
[33:55] "The women may relax (their dress code) around their fathers, their sons, their brothers, the sons of their brothers, the sons of their sisters, the other women, and their (female) servants. They shall reverence GOD. GOD witnesses all things."
[24:60] "The elderly women who do not expect to get married commit nothing wrong by relaxing their dress code, provided they do not reveal too much of their bodies. To maintain modesty is better for them. GOD is Hearer, Knower."
DRESS CODE FOR THE MOSQUES (MASJIDS):
[7:31] "O children of Adam, you shall be clean and dress nicely when you go to the masjid. And eat and drink moderately; Surely, He does not love the gluttons."
HARDSHIP IN THIS RELIGION:
God, the MOST GRACIOUS, MOST MERCIFUL decided that those who will reject His complete book and go look for other sources for guidance will suffer in this life and in the HEREAFTER by their choice. God never put any hardship on the believers, but the scholars did, they invented their own laws in defiance of God, to regulate everything from the side of bed you sleep on, to which foot should step in the house, to what to do with a fly in your soup, to what to say when having intercourse with your spouse.
Those who believe God and believe that His book is COMPLETE, PERFECT AND FULLY DETAILED, will have everything easy for them as God promised, See 10:62-64, 16:97 while those who could not believe God and have been seeking other sources than the Quran will have all the hardship of this life and the life to come. In the Hereafter they will complain to God, "we were not idol-worshipers," but God knows best, He knows they were See 6:22-24
"On the day when we summon them all, we will ask the idol worshipers, "Where are the idols you set up?" Their disastrous response will be, "By GOD our Lord, we never were idol worshipers." Note how they lied to themselves, and how the idols they had invented have abandoned them." 6:22-24
God, the Most Merciful, gave us three basic rules for the Dress Code for Women in Islam (Submission),
(1) The BEST garment is the garment of righteousness.
(2) Whenever you dress , cover your chest (bosoms).
(3) Lengthen your garment.
While these three BASIC rules may not sound enough for those who do not trust God, the TRUE believers know that God is ENOUGH. God could have given us more details to the point of having graphs, designs and color rules, but He , the Most Merciful, wants to give us exactly these very basic rules and leave the rest for us. After these three basic rules every woman is more aware of her circumstances and can adjust her dress for her situation. Any addition to these basic Quranic rules is an attempt to correct God or improve on His merciful design.
We have no obligation to follow but God's rules. Innovations and fabrications that added thousands of rules to the women dress code are nothing but idol-worship and should be refused.