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by: a Student of Darul-Uloom al-Arabiyah al-Islamiyah, Bury
The Importance of Purdah
Many complain that the hijab enjoined upon the Muslim women is far too restrictive and rigid and is in order to keep them inferior to men. Ignorance and misunderstanding can only be the cause of such beliefs. Besides Islam which other religions or nations have given homes full protection from exploitation from strangers? While at the same time guides women upon importance of purity and morality as well as upholding her status and dignity.
A woman is likened to a sweet creature everything about her is an attraction for spectators. Islam protects her by enjoining her to wear hijab so that covering herself does not attract the swamps of flies and dirty creatures attracted to uncovered sweets as in the cone of today’s woman who falls prey to this.
Evidence to Support Purdah
Here is a law of inward purity of the strictest kind and a peace of very sound advice to the tempted. This injunction puts a full and complete stop to lusting with the eyes and the maxim, if acted upon, does and must serve as a most powerful agent for the prevention and control of sexual extremes. Islam is not at all enamoured of free and restricted intermingling of the sexes and of the mixed gatherings at bridge tables and supper tables and in schools, colleges, clubs, cinemas, and public parks. It exists upon segregation of the sexes and bans altogether lewd literature, lewd pictures and lewd cinemas.
Bible: - "But I say unto you that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."
This bans altogether every form of nudity whether under cover of naturism or in the name of health and efficiency. If this were the universal practice, how different would have been the record of sexual morality all over the world!
There are more than seventy available hadith, which concern matters of hijab. From amongst the seven Quranic verses, scholars are unanimous upon the fact that the verses within surah al-Ahzaab were revealed before those of surah Noor.
Hazrat Umar once suggested that the wives of the Holy Prophet (saw.) should observe the veil as many persons of differing manners and natures visit the houses of the Prophet (saw.). The Holy Prophet (saw.) himself found this a desirable suggestion. However, he was unable to turn the suggestion into practice as the Prophet (saw.) was in divine revelation.
Shortly afterwards the revelation of hijab was revealed successively. The first of the revelations concerning hijab is as follows:
Some Hadith on Purdah
Meaning of Hijab
Meaning of Jilbab
Law of Hijab
A woman should not emerge from the house unnecessarily. If she has to, due to some need, then she should cover her face and body with the outer garment e.g. ‘Burqa’, so the face and shape of the body are not exposed. It should be kept in mind that the outer garment should be of simple quality and the eyes should be covered with a net or cloth so as not to be a cause of attraction. The veil should not be put on in such a way where the outer garment is of good quality or thin cloth or wrapped round the face so the shape of the nose are exposed.
Allah says in the Holy Quran, "Oh Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veil) 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."
Abu Hurairah reported Allah’s messenger having said this, "Two kinds of people would be in the worst situation in Hell. First, those officials who would carry with them whips looking like the tails of cows and they would use them for whipping people. Secondly, those women who would be naked despite wearing clothes (due to wearing see through and tight clothes) who would attract strangers (men) towards them and will themselves be attracted to them. Their heads will be on a side like the humps of fast camels. They will neither enter Paradise nor would they even smell the fragrance of Paradise which will reach for distances."
It is not permissible for women to wear very fine and thin clothes i.e. muslin etc. as it is to go naked. Women have been required and directed to keep their body covered from head to foot. No part of her body should be exposed before a non-mahram (un-permitted person).
Hijab from a Blind Person
Thus, we see the Prophet (saw.) ordering his wives to observe hijab even in the presence of a blind person. The above incident stands as proof of hijab in the era of prophecy. How is it that as wrongdoers we can throw wild accusations in the direction of the beloved Sahabiyat? May Allah the Almighty provide us with understanding and keep us safe from joining the slanderers of this world. (Ameen)
The Veiling of the Face
The Observance of Hijab at Times of Difficulty
All these narrations are sufficient to indicate that it is essential for women to observe Hijaab in assuring that their attire confirms to dictates of the Shariah.
How Should a Muslim Lady Dress?
Islam on the other hand commands a woman to cover herself completely so that she does not attract any attention. The Quran states in Surah al-Ahzab verse 59 "… O Nabi! Say to the believing women to draw over them their outer garments (or cloaks) so that they be recognised and not molested." Rasulullah (saw.) says in a Sahih Hadith, "Shame is a branch of Imaan." Rasulullah (saw.) said that, 'A lady who dresses and perfumes herself with the intention of creating interest in men is according to the Shariah an adulteress and she will be punished on the Day of Judgement for committing adultery or zina.'
All the prophets’ woman folk used to put on the outer cloaks, which are called burqah or jilbab. The Quranic verses and the prophet’s Hadith apply to all Muslims regardless of the generation they are born in not only for the times of the prophet (saw.). The outer cloaks is of dull colour and extremely loose so that the Muslim lady is fully covered from head to toe and does not draw any attention femininity when she is outdoors. However, she can dress as she pleases for her husband indoors.
The kuffar say that Islam has enslaved its women by enforcing them to stay in their homes and cover themselves when they come out. How very wrong they are! What have the kuffar given their women; prizes for displaying their bodies and exposing them to the risk of rape and molestation. Insecurity of losing their husbands to beautiful mistresses. Constant battle with nature to look young and pretty enough to keep your man with you! On the contrary, Islam elevates its women to the peak of respect and saves a woman from disgrace and humiliation, giving her a chance to be treated like an honourable human being and not a mere sex object for the lustful desires of bestial miscreants.
No doubt, we can adopt from the kuffar beneficial technology but should not be led into believing that their culture is better than ours is because it is definitely not! So when the kuffar and the unfortunately misled Muslims laugh at the covered Muslims ladies, calling them backward and fanatical, we can educate them on the advantage of covering ourselves. Not only will he gain true satisfaction and peace of heart by following the truth, but we will also gain the pleasure of our Rabb who in turn he will reward us very handsomely for not forgetting the teachings of Islam, even after fifteen centuries after Rasulullah's (saw.) death.
All the innocent Muslims who have strayed from the commands of Islam should know that the kuffar also lose their respect for us when they see us abandoning our culture and fumbling like sheep trying hard to make ourselves at home in their alien and immoral society. Allah says in surah Ashr…. "By the time man is in loss, except those who believe".
Just when will he start believing and prevent himself from incurring more loss and ruin? Rasulullah (saw.) has said, "He who imitates a nation will be raised with the kuffar and be thrown into the depths of Hell with them."
I hope that with this article Muslim women will he able to decide for themselves what sort of life they want in this world, and how they want to be treated on the Day of Judgement.