I Appeal To Your Sense Of Shame

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  • I Appeal To Your Sense Of Shame




    I Appeal To Your Sense
    Of Shame

    My Muslim Sister...

    Will You Not Respond?


    Nawaal Bint




    Translated by Abdul-Qaadir Abdul-Khaaliq

    Al-Haramain Foundation
    Table Of Contents


    Translator's Foreword


    What Is Hayaa'?


    Why I Write


    Do You Not Understand?


    What A Difference!


    Take A Look Around You


    Don't Be A Leaf In The Wind


    Amazed, Bewildered,
    Astonished and Astounded


    Take Action And Do The Right Thing




    The Requirements Of Women's Hijaab In Accordance With The Qur'aan, The Authentic Sunnah,
    And The Practice Of The Pious Predecessors


    As-Salaamu 'Alaikum


    the praise and thanks is due to Allah. We offer to Him all praise and
    gratitude, and we seek His assistance and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah
    from the evil of our souls and the wickedness of our deeds. Whoever Allah
    guides there is none who can lead him astray and whosoever Allah misguides
    there are none who can bring him to the path. I bear witness that there is
    nothing truly worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is His slave
    servant and Messenger. May Allah send his salaat and
    salaam upon His Prophet Muhammad, his family, companions, and all those who
    follow them in righteousness until the Day of Resurrection.


    thought it prudent to preface the translation of this brief work by our sister Nawaal Bint Abdullah (may Allah
    preserve her) with a few words about the background and context of the booklet.
    This is because the author is describing a common phenomenon in Muslim
    countries, especially in the Arabian Gulf
    region. It is an appeal that is full of emotion and concern and even a bit of
    outrage that may not be readily understood by not only non-Muslims but Muslims
    living in other parts of the world. Her outrage may seem strange to many in
    places where what she is complaining of and describes commonly occurs and
    largely goes unnoticed. Such behavior however, has far more of an impact where
    the Islamic environment or local culture is relatively more conservative than
    in most places.


    author's evident dismay and distress at what would seem a relatively mild lack
    of adherence may indeed appear extreme to those outside her context. Indeed we
    realize that perhaps most Muslim women would find absolutely nothing wrong with
    what she describes and may even view some women whom she even points to who
    wear niqaab in their midst as quite conservative
    considering that most other women in their locale may not consider a face veil
    at all necessary as opposed to the majority view in Saudi Arabia from where the
    author wrote. Many commonly wear merely a scarf and slacks, dresses that do not
    reach the ankles, no abaayah (A lightweight overgarment worn by Muslim women that
    the dress underneath. It is commonly black in Gulf countries) or jibaab (see the Appendix: Requirements of Women's Hijaab) some make-up, perfume, or maybe nothing close to
    Islamic hijaab and often interact with members of the
    opposite sex.


    should be considered is if the author is comparing the state of affairs to the
    actual requirements of Islamic Hijaab, and not merely
    local culture, and if those requirements are being adhered to or not by the majority.
    If they are not, what does that tell us about the state of the ummah and its women as a whole?


    must also mention that in a relatively conservative Islamic environment, men
    often become far more sensitive to the attractions of women and the sight of
    merely a woman's hands or even feet, much less a pretty face, can be enough to
    cause a great trial upon them! The great Imaam,
    Muhammad Idrees Shaafi once
    remarked that he was in the marketplace when he happened to see a woman's ankle
    and thought he would lose half of his knowledge! Imagine the impact on such
    people of the satellite dish, videos, magazines and other media where the
    beauty of women is highlighted and exploited!


    Nawaal fervently points to the dangers and the
    negative influence of western culture and moral values upon the habits and
    thought processes of many Muslim women. She asserts that such influence is
    neither passive nor haphazard and that it is a serious and substantial threat
    not just to Islamic values but to livelihood and
    values once held precious by mankind as a whole. Can it not be so when the
    evidence of reality is before our eyes! Could a clear-thinking believer see
    otherwise? Ours is a world where pornography is a multi-billion dollar
    industry. Sexual practices of all types are commonly and openly broadcast on television.
    Men and women speak openly on talk shows and other venues of the most graphic
    and lurid details of their sexual exploits, and women
    suffer more physical and sexual abuse than any other group. Even the president
    of the most revered nation on the earth has his most illicit sexual encounters
    graphically described for the world to read.


    living in Islamic environments are in stark contrast to those (including
    Muslims) living in places where women are almost always uncovered and
    beautified and often practically naked in public places. The latter are usually
    far less sensitive and even rarely shocked at anything. Western civilization is
    built upon the appreciation of the naked form in art and in life. (Even ancient
    eastern cultures heavily emphasized sexuality such as the Indian Karma Sutra)


    is well known that in the west, today's "modern and progressive"
    women are encouraged to be as unashamed of their bodies as possible and to
    never allow themselves to be restricted. Every day
    life is full of images and interaction between the sexes involving every type
    of woman. Sexual openness is considered healthy while anything limiting that is
    considered repressive and backward. How must such a woman like the author feel
    in light of this reality? Additionally, she is seeing these things in the
    Heartland of Islam where there is relatively easy access to many scholars whom
    one can listen to and speak with (women included) in person or by phone,
    through audio tapes, or even the radio and television. Not to mention the
    treasure trove of good Islamic books, the presence of institutions of learning
    and memorizing the Qur'aan and hadeeth
    for women. On top of all that she sees it among women whose native tongue is
    Arabic and whose heritage is Islam and should therefore have little excuse to
    be uninformed.


    is a hadeeth that goes: This world is like a prison
    to the believer but it is the paradise of the disbeliever. [Muslim, At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Maajah,
    Ahmed & others] Our sister Nawaal, and many other
    men and women like her, face a seemingly unwinnable
    battle to stem the tide of western influence in Islamic areas. They are painted
    as fanatics and regressive while those who advocate relaxation of Islamic shari'ah are deemed reasonable and progressive, especially
    with regards to women, and their usual first target is observance of Islamic hijaab.


    ask Allah to reward the author and we are grateful to her for granting
    permission to translate and publish her work in English. We have attempted to
    do justice to her Arabic style though we have always found this almost unrealistic
    due to the vast difference between Arabic and English prose. In this regard my
    greatest thanks goes to Mr. Ahmed Ezzat
    whose revision of the translation was invaluable. We hope to have successfully
    overcome most of the difficulties of translating such a work like this and pray
    that we are successful in conveying the meaning of this heartfelt message from
    a member our most precious and respected Islamic sisterhood to her sisters in


    Abdul-Qaadir Abdul-Khaaliq Riyadh


    What Is Hayaa?


    Hayaa' (modesty and a sense of shame) is a fundamental
    characteristic of the noble and a sign of high standards and eemaan. Among the best of what has been said of it is that,
    "It is a fine sensitivity and delicate feeling that is evident in the eye
    and that affects the features. Whoever has been forbidden from it has been
    forbidden from all good and whoever has been crowned with it has obtained honor
    and nobility and been bestowed with complete good.' [Mawaarid
    Ath-Thamaan Li-Duroos Az-Zamaan - Abdul-Azeez As- Salamaan, Vol. 3 pg. 367] How could it be otherwise when
    the best of the creation of Allah, sallallahu 'alaihi wa
    sallam, stated: Al-Hayaa' khairun kulluh (Hayaa' is all good) [Muslim]?


    hayaa' has become feeble and withdrawn. Moreover,
    destructive concepts and designs aimed at us from the enemies of Allah and
    (enemies of) the Muslim woman, eat away at its body until it has deteriorated and
    weakened to the point that the caller [to hayaa'] has
    little affect upon many Muslim women when they are called to it.


    we look at the profound state of affairs in which the Muslim woman lives and
    her digression behind western trends and continuous imitation of them until if
    they enter the lizard's hole she would enter along with them, we see a strong
    testimony of the weakness of deen and hayaa' in such a Muslim woman. This is why I have strived, asking the Most High and Able Protector for
    assistance and sincerity, to write a few words aimed at my Muslim sisters that
    I hope will affect and reverberate upon their souls.


    Why I Write


    beloved sister, the words I write are from a heart full of sorrow and pain at
    the sorry condition of so many Muslim women today. We see the Muslim woman who,
    dressed in clothing that is covering yet nakedness, comes out to display her
    charms and seduces the slaves of Allah with the filthiest of weapons - the
    weapon of enticement and allurement that she has learned of the ways and means
    of seduction. For you find this seduction in the home and in the street and in
    speech and in movement. Seduction in clothing and beautification,
    in walking and sitting and in the glance.
    It is really a serious matter
    that is disgraceful and that dismembers the heart with grief when we live in a
    reality where so many Muslim women are divested of hayaa'.
    The deen and the Qur'aan
    are forgotten and practices and morals are disavowed...and there is no ability
    or power except from Allah!


    sister, this address is from my humble and insufficient pen and lined by my
    injured inner being and it is naught but a cry from one warning and cautioning
    you, my dear sister. They are but words which I can only hope find your ears
    and by which the door of your heart may be reached and they find space, an
    entrance and acceptance and then application.


    words emanate from a heart that has love, friendship and sincere advice to you.
    Advice from a sister who has been caring much for her sister who she sees is
    heading down the road of misguidance upon which she is practically swept away.
    She has been deviated and is falling into the trap and snare that was prepared
    for her by the Zionist and she is negligent and doesn't know. How is it that I
    don't take hold of her hand and advise her and direct her or try to open her
    eyes to the plots and designs around her?


    deserving sister, my words are not new, yet they are a reminder for you so that
    perhaps Allah would cause you to benefit by them and make them flow over your
    heart with coolness and tranquility. Would that they have a
    great influence upon you, in shaa Allah.
    I appeal
    to you my beloved sister, to your sense of religion, your pure nature which
    Allah has created you upon, and your sense of modesty (hayaa'),
    and your fear of Allah the Most High and Able. Do you not listen at all to the
    call of your sincere sister who so cares for you?


    my dear sister, that you and I and every Muslim woman,
    are standing on a port among the harbors of Islam. Namely, the Muslim family
    and the education of the children in the manner loved and accepted by Allah.
    Its pillar and foundation is obedience to Allah and following His Messenger (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) and searching for what
    pleases Allah to acquire the priceless commodity that all of us hope for - Al- Jannah.


    is for this, my Muslim sister, that when the scheming enemies of Islam saw the
    position of the Muslim woman and the powerful influence she had amongst those
    with whom she lives as the teacher and developer of the coming generations and
    due to her would the upbringing be either solid or corrupted, they turned their
    focus on us. They focus on us, we Muslim women, to destroy our morals and take
    away our deen and hayaa'
    toward which we were naturally disposed and which we were commanded to stick
    to, until the morals of our sons, the men of the future and the pillars of the Ummah, get corrupted. They would destroy these morals which
    support the Ummah in its progress and understanding
    and (men) upon whom its honor depends after Allah. If this pillar is made
    defective or is destroyed and this strong nature of the Ummah
    is weakened, then what will become of its future? This is exactly what the
    enemies of Allah want.


    Do You Not Understand?


    you know how they [i.e. the enemies of Islam - trans.] are able to infiltrate
    and influence us through means that are enticing and outwardly innocent but
    internally filthy? It is through the method of giving honeycovered
    poison presented through advertising and glittering and captivating addresses.
    It is their saying terms like, "Move with the times",
    "civilization", and "modernization". It is done through
    lowly magazines, seductive fashions, and saucy stories and tales. It is done
    through television series', films, songs and other means. Will you look to
    Allah my sister? Will you not return to your Rabb and
    throw the plots of your enemies back on their throats and reject their concepts
    and misleading titles? Will you say with the strength and honor of a Muslim 'I
    do not accept other than the order of Allah and the order of His Prophet!'?


    dear sister: What your enemy wants of you is indeed precious and costly. It is
    no simple matter for you. They want to ruin your deen,
    your moral character, your virtue and your hayaa in
    which you derive pride and honor. They want for you to be the despicable,
    reprehensible, and neglected of the society, as is the condition of their
    womenfolk. They call for the throwing off of the hijaab
    and to nudity and exposing yourself and they say to you:


    Tear to pieces your covering O daughter of Islam Tear it up and
    burn it without hesitation For truly it is a sham


    weave conspiracy after conspiracy and devise plots and take up ambush positions
    all around us. They initiate dirty and poisonous activities such as the
    so-called "liberation movement", and "equality", and the impetus
    of that is for the destruction of your moral character and mine, as well as the
    moral character of all other Muslim women. These are all means and weapons they
    can use to ruin this true deen. This will occur if we
    answer their cunning calls and filthy invitations. Let us confront them and
    stand as one like a towering mountain before this destructive western whirlwind
    current in aid of this true deen and the preservation
    of Islam, morality and al-hayaa. Let us be a strong
    hand cuffing with its grip, hijaab, decency and
    morality the face of all who would violate any of its parts or who attempts to
    approach it and harm it.


    and I and every Muslim woman must say to the enemies of Allah what Aisha At-Taymuriyyah said:


    With a hand of decency I defend the honor of my hijaab And by my modesty I have risen above my
    contemporaries And by brilliant and gifted thought And critical disposition
    have my good manners been perfected Nothing has harmed me of my culture and
    good learning Except that I am best of those wise Nothing has prevented us from
    rising Except letting down the head cover from our locks and the covering of
    our faces


    beloved sister, what really cuts into my soul and deprives me of rest is to see
    a young Muslimah who believes in Allah as her Rabb, Islam as her deen and in
    Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi
    wa sallam) as a messenger
    and prophet, roaming the streets, roads, shopping centers, and other public
    places where one finds the good and the evil, the virtuous and the wicked,
    those of pure heart and those whose hearts are diseased who follow their sexual
    weakness and pursue young females. These young women go out beautified or
    wearing hijaab of the type that is itself such an
    adornment that by its appearance and style shoots like an arrow of attraction
    in the lustful heart of such a man. He will be tempted and his heart captured
    by her. Will Allah be pleased, I ask you by Allah, with the act of this young
    woman while He is the one who says to her and those like her among women: Do
    not make a display like the display of those previous to Islam (in ignorance).
    [Al-Ahzaab 33] Or will He be pleased with her deen, her modesty, her character as she was taught and
    raised on?!


    sister, don't you realize that among the signs of weak eemaan
    in a Muslim woman and the beginning of her defeat and the deprival of her honor
    and virtue is when she forsakes or abandons her deen
    and her morals? Al-Hayaa’ is considered part of her
    nature. A Muslim lady has always been the parable of hayaa'.
    A famous proverb says:


    The highest modesty is that of the virgin in her quarters.


    disappearance of al-hayaa’ in a woman is a
    shortcoming in her eemaan and a departure from her nature.
    Have you comprehended that!?


    Allah that there is no good in life nor in the world when hayaa
    has vanished


    What A Difference!


    Sister: Where is that young woman upon whom you see hayaa
    written all over to the point where it practically speaks to you because of her
    outer appearance, her bashfulness, and complete covering where she is on guard
    not to reveal even a finger fearing to reveal any part of her body or the tone
    of her skin or any of her physical charms? If you were to see her you would
    consider her like a black crow for her decorum and striving to maintain the hijaab.


    image of this modest young lady is such a stark contrast and contrary to the
    one who is made-up and leaves her home or school or workplace while at the
    height of adornment and peak beautification. She wears enticing clothing with
    nothing over it except a short abaayah (a lightweight
    over-garment usually black in color commonly worn by women in Gulf countries -
    Ed.) or a long one. However, it is no concern to her if it flys
    open in the wind on occasion or if she purposely lifts it up on another. She
    may even go out with a head covering that she uses to cover her face but it is
    sometimes so thin that colors of her face show through or so tight to the face
    that the contours of her nose or her cheeks are visible. She goes out adorned
    with gold jewelry and displays it up her forearms or on her hands which are
    also decorated with henna or with a manicure that she proudly shows to the
    people around her, not thinking that Allah is watching her from above the seven


    a difference between these two women! What a contrast between the one who
    adheres to the legislation of her Rabb and safeguards
    herself, her hijaab and her hayaa’,
    and the one who neglects the matters of her religion and follow the ways of
    here enemies! What a difference between who sees that the hijaab
    is a part of deen and shariah
    and the means of her protection against filthiness, base qualities, and morass,
    and the one who views the hijaab as nothing but an
    antiquated custom. It is (to the latter) now no more than a sign of
    backwardness and regression. It is to her shackles that she must be released
    from so she can then be free to go on her way to ruin, disgrace and nudity.


    My Precious Sister


    impoverished is the countenance and dying of shame is the believer when he
    looks at our women today - the mothers of tomorrow and the rearers
    of the generations to come - as they put their greatest concerns in trivial
    matters of no value or weight. Matters that are really contemptible nonsense
    that is incumbent for the Muslim to be far above because Islam is the religion
    of honor, high rank and sublimity.


    Take A Look Around You


    my beloved sister, can see your Muslim sister while she is keeping with
    shameless magazines, mean fashion, immoral television serials which a Muslim
    should be above watching, with lowly propagators all calling to the
    annihilation of the deen and morals. You can see your
    Muslim sister concerned with every hue and cry made to her by the callers of Shaytaan. Whereas, if the call to the
    truth is presented to her, she tries to silence it.
    You find the Muslim
    woman occupied with memorization of poetry, romance, and ridiculous narratives
    that are written by none other than the most foolish of people. Whereas when it
    comes to the Book of her Rabb, she may only have
    memorized a few odd ayaat and if you ask her what
    they mean or about a hadeeth she will not be able to
    answer you.


    is precisely what the enemies of Islam want They want
    to distance our youth from the manhaj (way) of Allah
    and distance them from the source of light, honor, and elevation. They want
    them to preoccupy themselves with other than the Book of our Rabb and the sunnah
    of our Prophet (sallallahu alaihi
    wa sallam) because without
    them we are nothing! They want to make those of us who are cherished by this deen, follow them and be their adherents when it is they
    who Allah has humiliated and scorned.


    We so regretfully find that the majority of our youth are
    not highly cognizant or knowledgable of deen.
    So what is the reason for this?! It is
    precisely because of their substitution of that learning for the education and ideas
    which have come to us from the west, and they coincide with their desires and
    lusts so that they do not look elsewhere.


    sister, the invasion of these ideas upon our intellects and
    conceptions have
    had an influence and are manifested in many Muslim
    women and has changed their understanding. So many women now find the salaah such a heavy burden that when they are called by the
    caller to the truth to hurry to the salaah
    you see
    one of them standing around as if lead-footed and moving so
    lazily you would think the weight of the worlds mountains was upon her head!
    However if there is a wedding or a party or a gathering for tea you will find
    her rushing to it and getting ready in the best and most beautiful outfits. She
    longs for the get-together in which may indeed be surrounded by the shayateen and permeated with back-biting, gossip, and
    mangling peoples honor.


    sister, you will find most of the young women of Islam wasting their time on
    things that are of no benefit. You may find one of them spending hours before
    the mirror dolling herself up but if you watch her salaah
    she flies through it like the pecking of a crow! Does she not know that her
    beauty, magnificence, and happiness is not in her skin,
    appearance or hairstyle? By Allah, it is rather in her taqwaa,
    her righteousness, her eemaan, and preservation of
    her morality, deen and hayaa.


    Don't Be A Leaf In The Wind


    beloved sister, beware of being a characterless female blindly following every
    noise or new trend originating from the Zionists. You have your own dignity and
    independent personality that distinguishes you from others. If you must follow
    an example it should be that found in the biographies of the women companions
    who were superior and pure. You must look to the righteous and God-fearing
    callers to Allah for they are suitable for us to look to, rally around and
    follow in their footsteps. They are the torchlights
    on the path to guidance and upon their companionship is the best of this life
    and the Hereafter.


    follow, my dear sister, the vile callers to corruption who boast of
    vice...those who are bereft of the garment of virtue or hayaa'.
    By Allah what makes the heart weep and severs the grieved soul is to see a Muslim
    woman...if she sees her evil counterparts wearing tight, short, thin clothing
    she wears it and follows them. If she sees them wearing tight, tempting pants
    and revealing dresses sometimes even showing their private parts, thighs and
    buttocks, she parrots them! She neither upholds the ruling of the shari'ah in her clothing nor does she see what Allah has
    deemed acceptable for her of it. Instead she goes along with their so-called
    progressiveness and has no desire to divert from the procession of civilization
    and development and sees any digression as regression and backward repression
    despite that the source of regression, backwardness, self-defeatism and
    guilelessness is actually in her concepts, portrayal and action.


    Amazed, Bewildered, Astonished and Astounded


    believing sister, I am increasingly amazed and astounded by the Muslim sister
    who wears tight and seethrough clothing and who
    appears before strange men while she knows the threat of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam): There are two types of
    people in Hellfire among them are the women who are clothed yet naked, astray,
    tempting and whose hair is piled upon their heads like the humps of camels.
    They will neither enter Al-Jannah nor even smell its
    fragrance. [Muslim]


    I am in wonderment at the one who gathers up her dress until her legs are
    exposed while her beloved Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wa
    sallam) ordered her to lower it by an armspan when he was asked by one of the noble women
    companions saying: Lower it by a handspan. So she
    said: But her feet would then still be exposed! So he replied: Then by an armspan and don't exceed that. [At-Tirmidhi
    and others and ruled as hasan saheeh
    (good and authentic) in Sunan At-Tirmidhi
    no. 1415]


    am astounded at the one who knows that the voice of a woman is to be covered (awrah) unless there is a necessity but nevertheless she
    raises her voice with neither hayaa
    deen. She talks with her girlfriends or whoever
    is with her as though they are in her house paying no heed to or concern with the
    presence of strange men around her while Allah the Mighty and Sublime states:
    And do not be too soft in speech lest he in whose heart is a disease (of
    hypocrisy, or evil desire for adultery, etc) should be moved with desire. [Al- Ahzaab 32]


    again am I with the one who knows the ruling regarding wearing perfume outside
    of her home or school, especially when she puts it on and passes by strange men
    and they smell her scent through the air, Allah save us from it! Nevertheless
    she will put on the strongest scent that will surely try the one who smells it,
    and she goes out among strange men either in the marketplaces, malls or
    otherwise and brings upon herself the statement of Al-Mustafa (sallallahu alaihi was sallam): Verily the woman who is perfumed and passes by men
    and they smell her scent, she is called a zaaniyah
    (fornicator or adultress) in the heavens.[Ahmed and others with isnaad hasan Saheeh Al-Jaami 2701] But she cares not.


    am really bewildered when I see a bondswoman of Allah who knows the ruling
    regarding high heels (Many scholars view them as impermissible to wear due to
    the deception, physical harm, and tendency to cause a seductive gait and
    drawing undue attention. Trans.) and that wearing them
    is a form of trickery and seduction of the one who sees her and thinks she is
    tall while she is not. She knows that they are also unhealthy and harmful
    socially and morally. She closes her ears to the caller to the correct way and
    persists on wearing flashy, gaudy, eye-catching shoes that are sure to turn
    heads and bring on fitnah to make matters worse as
    they say.


    am amazed at my sisters, those who hear the call to what is right and
    nevertheless distance themselves from following it out
    of pursuing their desires and the diseases of the baser self (an-nafs al-amaarah bis soo). Can you guarantee, my
    beloved sister, your lifetime even for a moment what would happen if perhaps Allah
    would not permit you another day and you are upon the sinfulness you are commiting? Can you imagine how you would meet your Rabb?!


    about that, my Muslim sister, and know that the pleasures of this worldy life are but fleeting and no person will leave
    behind anything but their deeds. If they were righteous, then there is only the
    best reward...if they were otherwise, then woe to them for what they may meet.


    Take Action And Do The Right Thing


    dear sister, safeguard your complete Islamic hijaab
    and throw away the hijaab of beautification and proceed
    to the obedience of your Rabb. Put aside the nonsense
    and the vices because you are above all that. Tear apart, no burn every
    shameless and vile page, novel or sentence that calls for release from values, deen and hayaa' to depravity,
    corruption, shame and scandal.


    your ears to the bleating of the west, their noisemaking and other clamoring
    and instead open your ears and heart to the call of goodness and faith. Be
    acceptant of the Book of your Rabb, the fountainhead
    of all good for you in this life and in the Hereafter and adhere to the sunnah of your Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) the example for your
    life and your torchlight. Throw back the plots of your enemies upon their necks
    by holding firm to the Book of your Rabb and the sunnah of your Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) and cause them to
    suffocate in exasperation and vexation at your upsetting them. Do it, my
    beloved sister, for it is the act of the Muslim woman who is proud of her deen.





    The Requirements Of Women's Hijaab In Accordance With
    The Qur'aan, The Authentic Sunnah,
    And The Practice Of The Pious Predecessors




    essay will attempt to briefly yet concisely enumerate the basic requirements
    regarding Muslim women's dress (Hijaab) as stipulated
    by the Sharee'ah of Islaam.
    The term Hijaab, itself includes not only dress and covering
    the body, but methods of behavior before members of the same and/or opposite
    sex, promoting privacy for females and prohibiting loose intermingling between
    males and females, and thereby encouraging modesty, decency, and chastity.


    differences exist among the scholars regarding the actual number of the
    requirements because of varying methods used by them in codifying such. The
    ones mentioned here represent the ones agreed upon by the overwhelming majority
    of scholars and are all solidly backed by firm evidence taken from the Quraan, the Sunnah and the
    practice of the Sahaabah (radiallahu


    The First Requirement: The Extent of Covering


    dress worn in public must cover the entire body except what has been specifically
    excluded, based upon the following proofs:


    Ta'ala says: And tell the believing women to
    lower their gaze and guard their private pans from sin and not show off their
    adornment (Zeenah) except only that which is
    apparent, and draw their headcovers (Khumur) over their necks and bosoms and not reveal their
    adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' fathers,
    their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers, or their brothers' sons, or
    their sisters' sons, or their women (i.e., their sisters in Islaam),
    or their female slaves whom their right hands possess, or old male servants
    free of physical desires, or small children who have no sense of women's
    nakedness. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of
    their adornment. And turn unto Allah all together, 0 you Believers, in order
    that you may attain success.
    [An-Noor: 31]


    word zeenah in the Aayah
    above, literally means 'adornment', and includes both (a) that which Allah has
    adorned, i.e., the woman's natural and/or physical beauty, and (b) that with
    which they adorn themselves, i.e., jewelry, eye shadow, attractive clothing,
    hand dye, etc. Soorah An-Noor
    spells out specifically the commands concerning the fact that a woman's natural
    beauty and her adornments are to be concealed from strangers except by: (1) What may show due to accidental or uncontrollable factors
    such as the blowing of the wind, etc., and (2) What has been exempted (see
    explanation at end of this section).


    also says: O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters the women of the
    believers to draw their out garments (jalaabeeb)
    about themselves (when they go out). That is better so that they may be
    recognized and not molested. And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.


    Dawood narrates that 'Aaishah
    (radiallahu 'anhaa) said Asmaa' the daughter of Abu Bakr (radiallahu 'anhumaa) came to see
    the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam)
    wearing a thin dress; Rasool- Allah (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) turned away from her
    and said: 0 Asmaa', once a woman reaches the age
    menstruation, no part of her body should be seen but this - and he pointed to
    his face and hands.


    word Khumur (p1. of Khimaar)
    refers to a cloth which covers the head (including the ears), hair, neck and
    bosom. The esteemed Mufassir (Quraanic
    interpreter) Al-Qurtubee explained: Women in the past
    used to cover their heads with Khimaar, throwing its
    ends over their backs. Thus leaving the neck and the upper part
    of the chest bare, in manner of the Christians.
    Then Allah commanded
    them to cover those parts with the Khimaar.


    states further in this Aayah: And let them not
    stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment...


    women in the time of the Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam)
    wore anklets which could employed to attract attention by stamping their feet
    thereby making the anklets tinkle. This practice is not only forbidden by
    Allah, but moreover, shows that the legs and ankles are to be covered as well.


    of modern day Hanafee scholars are of the mistaken
    view that a woman can display her feet, a portion of her forearms and her ears;
    yet there is no authentic proof from the practice of the Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) or Sahaabah
    to uphold such a view.


    the authentic Ahadeeth which clarify this point is
    the following: lbn 'Umar (radiallahu 'anhu) reported that Rasoolullah (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam)
    said: On the Day of Resurrection Allah will not look at the man who trails his
    garment along out of pride. Umm Salamah then asked:
    What should women do with (the hems of) her garment? He replied: Let them
    lower them a handspan.
    She said: Their feet would
    be exposed! He then said: Let them lower them a forearm's length but no
    [Reported by At~Tabaraanee-Saheeh).


    Aayah of Soorah An-Noor also lists in detail those with whom a woman is
    permitted to be more at ease. Furthermore, the ayah from Soorah
    Al-Ahzaab orders Muslim women to draw their outer
    garments about themselves when they go out.


    Dawood related that 'Aaishah
    (radiallahu 'anhaa) said:
    After this Aayah was revealed the women of the Ansaar appeared like crows (because of the color and shape
    of the cloaks they wore). Hence, an outer garment or cloak must be worn by a
    Muslim woman whenever she goes out in public or if she is presence of strangers
    within her own home or the home of a close relative. Slight differences have
    arisen among the scholars concerning the precise meaning of ...except that
    which is apparent... from Soorah An-Noor which according to Ibn 'Abbaas (radiallahu 'anhu), includes 'the face and the two hands, and rings.'
    This view is shared by Ibn 'Umar,
    'Ata'a, and others from the Tabi'een.
    [Tafseer Ibn Katheer] Also, Imaam Ash-Showkani states concerning this same ayaah,
    that it includes: "The dress, the face, and the two hands"; Ibn 'Abbaas and Qataadah have stated "The adornments include eye
    shadow (Kuhul), bracelets, hand dye, and rings, and
    it is not permissable for women to (uncover)
    them." [Fath Al-Qadeer]


    major point of difference among the scholars concerns the hadeeth
    of Asmaa (radiallahu 'anhaa) i.e., that the face and hands need not be covered; a
    number of the scholars have maintained that the face and hands must also be
    covered, because it was the practice of the wives of the Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) and the wives of the Sahaabah to cover themselves completely according to
    authentic Ahadeeth. The above point has been a topic
    of debate amongst the scholars both past and present and will be dealt with, Insha' Allah at the end of this essay.


    The Second Requirement: Thickness


    garment should be thick and opaque so as not to display the skin color and form
    of the body beneath it. Delicate or transparent clothing does not constitute a
    proper covering. Al-Qurtubee reports a narration from
    'Aaishah (radiallahu 'anhaa) that some women from Banu Tameem came to see her wearing transparent clothing. 'Aaishah said to them: If you are
    women, these are not the clothes of believing women. He also
    reports that a bride came to see her, wearing a sheer, transparent Khimaar whereupon 'Aaishah (radiallahu 'anhaa) said: A woman
    who wears such clothing does not believe in Soorat
    An-Noor. Moreover, the following hadeeth
    makes this point graphically clear. Rasool-Allah (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: There will be
    in the last of my Ummah, scantily dressed women, the
    hair on the top of their heads like a camel's hump. Curse them, for verily they
    are cursed.


    another version he (sallallahu 'alaihi
    wa sallam) said: ...scantily
    dressed women, who go astray and make others go
    astray; they will not enter Paradise nor smell
    its fragrance, although it can be smelled from afar.
    [At-Tabaranee and Saheeh Muslim]


    dressed women" are those who wear clothing which reveals more than it
    conceals, thereby increasing her attractiveness while opening the path to a
    host of evils.


    The Third Requirement: Looseness


    clothing must hang loosely enough and not be so tight-fitting as to show the
    shape and size of the woman's body. This obviously includes such things as
    skin-tight body suits, etc. The following hadeeth proves
    this point clearly. Usaama ibn
    Zayd (radiallahu 'anhumaa) said: Rasool-Allah (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) gave me a gift of
    thick Coptic cloth he had received as a gift from Dahiah
    Al-Kalbee, and so I gave it to my wife.


    the Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi
    wa sallam) asked me: Why
    didn't you wear the Coptic cloth? I replied: I gave it to my wife. The Prophet
    (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) then said: Tell her
    to wear a thick gown under it (the Coptic garment) for I fear that it may
    describe the size of her limbs.
    [Narrated by Ahmad, AI-Bayhaqee,
    and Al-Haakim]


    The Fourth Requirement: Color, Appearance and Demeanor Allah Ta'ala says: 0 wives of the Prophet! You are not like
    any other women; if you fear (Allah), then do not he
    too pleasant of speech, lest one in whose heart is a disease should feel desire
    for you.
    [Al- Ahzaab: 32]


    reason for the revelation of this verse is not the fear of distrust nor misbehavior on the part of the women, but rather to
    prevent them from speaking invitingly, walking seductively, or dressing
    revealingly so as to arouse sexual desire in the heart of lecherous and evil
    men. Seductive dressing and enticing speech are the characteristics of
    ill-intentioned women, not Muslims. Al-Qurtubee
    mentions that Mujahid (radiallahu
    'anhu) said: Women (before the advent of Islaam) used to walk about among men. Qataada
    (radiallahu 'anhu) said: They
    used to walk in a sensuous and seductive manner. Maqaatil
    (radiallahu 'anhu) said:
    The women used to wear an untied cloth on their heads, while provocatively
    toying with their necklaces, earrings and other ornamental jewelry.


    Allah has commanded women not to display their beauty, meaning both natural and
    acquired beauty.


    Allah commands the believing women thus: ...And do not make a
    display of yourselves (tabarruj) like the displaying
    of the ignorance of long ago...
    [Al-Ahzaab: 33]


    garment which is intended to conceal a woman and her beauty from public view
    cannot be a thing which enhances her beauty. Therefore, the garment cannot
    contain bright colors, bold designs or shiny and reflective material
    that draw
    men's attention to the wearer. The word above, At-Tabarruj, means not only "to display oneself" but
    also "to spruce up one's charms for the purpose of exciting desire"!


    Imaam Adh-Dhahabee says in his book Kitaab AI-Kabaa'ir (The Book of
    Major Sins): Amongst the deeds which a woman is cursed for are displaying the
    adornments she wears, wearing perfume when she goes out, and wearing colorful
    clothes... Hence, the Muslim woman is encouraged to wear muted, somber colors and
    to avoid bright designs, patterns and colors.


    point should serve also as a reminder to Muslim men who are in positions of
    responsibility for their women, that Rasool-Allah (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) has warned in an
    authentic hadeeth narrated by 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr ibn
    Al-'Aas that amongst the three individuals who would
    not enter Jannah (Paradise)
    would be: Ad-Dayooth, who is contented with obscenity
    within his family. i.e., a cuckold - a man who permits the women he is
    responsible for, such as his wife, daughter, etc. to engage in illicit sexual
    relations or to display their beauty to men, thereby stimulating sexual desire!


    The Fifth Requirement: Difference from Men's Clothing


    clothing of a Muslim woman must not resemble the clothing of men. The following two hadeeth help to explain


    Hurayrah (radiallahu 'anhu) said: Rasool-Allah
    (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) cursed the man who wears
    women's clothes and the woman who wears men's clothes.
    [Abu Dawood and Ibn Maajah Saheeh]


    ibn 'Umar (radiallahu 'anhumaa) said he
    heard Rasool-Allah (sallallahu
    'alaihi wa sallam) say: The man who resembles a woman and the woman
    who resembles a man is not of us (i.e., not of the believers).
    [Ahmad and
    At-Tabaraanee - Saheeh)


    Abu Dawood relates a narration from Umm Salamah (radiallahu 'anhaa) which shows that the Prophet (sallallahu
    'alaihi wa sallam) forbade women to bundle their Khumoor
    on their heads in such a way as to resemble the turban of a man. Western Muslim
    sisters should pay specific attention to this point since regretfully this has
    become a widespread practice amongst many of them!


    The Sixth Requirement: Difference from the Clothing of Unbelievers


    clothing must not resemble the clothing of unbelievers. This is a general
    ruling of the Sharee'ah which encompasses not only
    dress but also such things as manners, customs, religious practices and
    festivities, transactions, etc. Indeed, dissimilarity with unbelievers is a
    precedent that was established by the first generation of Islam. The following two hadeeth and statement
    of 'Umar (radiallahu 'anhu) will help to clarify this position.


    ibn 'Amr ibn Al-'Aas said: Rasool-Allah (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam)
    saw me wearing two saffron colored garments, so he said: Indeed, these are
    the clothes of kuffaar (unbelievers), so do not wear them.
    [Saheeh Muslim]


    ibn 'Umar (radiallahu 'anhumaa) said: Rasool-Allah (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam)
    stated: Whoever resembles a people is one of them. [Abu Daawood]


    Musa Al-Ash'aree (radiallahu 'anhu) related that 'Umar (radiallahu 'anhu) told him: ...I shall not honor those whom Allah has
    dishonored, nor esteem those He has humbled, nor bring
    close those whom He has kept afar. [Ahmad]


    The Seventh Requirement: No Vain or Ostentatious Dressing


    woman's dress must not be an expression of ostentation, vanity or as a status
    symbol by being excessively showy or expensive, nor must it be excessively
    tattered so as to gain admiration and fame for being humble. Ibn 'Umar (radiallahu
    'anhumaa) reported that Rasool-Allah
    (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: Whoever
    dresses for ostentation in this world, Allah will dress that person in a dress
    of humiliation on the Day of Resurrection, and then set it on fire.
    [Abu Dawood]


    The Niqaab (Face Veil): Between Mustahab (Recommendable) and Waajib


    esteemed Quraanic commentators At-Tabaree
    and Al-Qurtubee have elaborated on the form of Hijaab or Jilbaab i.e.,
    "outer garments" as viewed by the Companions of the Prophet (radiallahu 'anhum), as well as the
    circumstances surrounding the revelation of Soorah
    Al-Ahzaab: 59, that was quoted at the beginning of this
    essay. They state that when the believing women used to go out at night
    (wearing ordinary clothes) to answer the call of nature, some hypocrites tried
    to annoy them, thinking the women were slave girls. The women thereby would
    scream out loudly causing these hypocrites to flee. Thereupon Allah revealed
    this Ayaah.


    Al-Qurtubee states that the jilbaab
    is "a cloth which covers the entire body." Ibn
    'Abbaas and 'Ubaidah As- Salmaanee have said that it is
    to be fully wrapped anound the women's body, so that
    nothing appears but "one eye with which she can see." The Tabi'ee, Qataadah (radiallahu 'anhum), stated that
    the Jilbaab should be wrapped and fixed from above
    the forehead and made to cover the nose, (although the eyes are to show) and
    the chest and most of the face are to be covered.


    it has been authentically related in the Muwatta of Imaam Maalik and the Sunan of Abu Dawood that the
    Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi
    wa sallam) forbade women
    from covering their faces and hands during their performance of Salaat, Hajj or Umrah. This
    clearly indicates that wearing the face veil (Niqaab
    or Burqa'a) was a common practice during the time of Rasool-Allah (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam),
    and not as some people claim, a cultural practice that appeared years later! Among
    the proofs used by the scholars regarding the face veil are the following: 'Aaishah (radiallahu 'anhaa) said: May Allah bestow His Mercy on the first Muhaajiraat (emigrants). When Allah revealed: ...and draw their
    headcovers over their necks and bosoms... they tore
    their (material) and covered themselves with it. [Al-Bukharee]


    Ibn Hajar AI-Asqalanee,
    known as "Ameer Al-Mu'mineen
    in Hadeeth" has explained that "covered themselves" means: "covered their faces." [Fath Al-Baree] Additionally,
    after the battle of Khaybar, the Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) married Safiyah bint Huyai.
    The Muslims said amongst themselves: Will she (Safiyah)
    be one of the Mothers of the Believers (i.e., wives of the Prophet) or just
    what his right hand possesses (i.e., slave girl). Some of them said: If he (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) makes her observe Hijaab, then she will be one of the Mothers of the Believers,
    and if he does not make her observe Hijaab, then she
    will be what his right hand possesses. So when he departed (for Medina), he made a place
    for her behind him (on his camel) and made her observe Hijaab.


    Looking At The Opinions


    issue of the Niqaab has continued to arouse extended
    controversy and debate between 'Ulamaa (scholars) and
    Fuqahaa (jurists) both past and present concerning
    whether it is Waajib (mandatory) or Mustahabb (favored by Allah ta'aalaa)
    for the woman. And whether she subsequently falls into sin by
    exposing her face or not.
    Each of the two sides clings to their own
    opinion that they in turn support with evidences from the Quraanic
    Ayaat, the Prophetic ahadeeth
    and the practice of the Sahaabah and their views.


    of the views on this is that the Niqaab is legally
    binding on the woman and she who abandons it is a sinner. It says that the
    woman's face - which she is ordered not to reveal to non-relatives - is
    definitely part of the Auwrah (private areas that are
    never to be exposed). The other view says that the Niqaab
    is simply recommended and encourages the woman to cover her face; however, it
    does not place it on the level of being mandatory. Consequently, this opinion
    does not consider the woman falling into sin when she exposes and unveils her
    face as long as in doing so, she has not applied facial makeup.


    dispute continues between the two viewpoints and takes on, in certain
    occasions, bitter aspects. The advocates for making the face
    veil mandatory accuses
    the other group of following their own desires.
    The other group accuses their opponents with being obstinate fanatics. The
    matter is much broader than this and does not require accusations of obstinacy
    nor of following the desires but rather requires making Ijtihaad
    (judgement based on the Sharee'ah)
    and following Daleel (proof from the Sharee'ah) to the best of one's ability. To give the
    benefit of the doubt in such a situation is better and most befitting for the
    Muslim, limiting the points of difference and narrowing the gap of disagreement
    are two factors which are sought after. I do not want in this rush to take a
    side with one group over the other: nor to validate
    the proofs of which I see the truth in this issue. Rather the aim is, as I said, to narrow the controversy and to highlight the points agreed
    upon. Thereby, we may adopt them and work on spreading them. As for the point
    of disagreement - it will remain under the category of Ijtihaad
    whose scholarly advocate will be rewarded whether he attains truth or was


    Please Consider The Following


    First: The two views agree upon the legitimacy of the Niqaab, that it is a consummate perfection for a woman and
    more virtuous for her, as well as closer to the aims of the Sharee'ah
    - which is to prevent Fitnah - and is an obstruction
    to excuses as well as severing the path of those who follow their lusts. It is
    therefore more appropriate that the efforts should be directed to encourage
    wearing the Niqaab, and to motivate people towards
    it, and to show and explain its virtues and merits. This implies that covering
    the face with the Niqaab should be the general rule
    and uncovering the face the exception.


    Second: In spite of the fact that there are differing views on the Islaamic ruling regarding whether the Niqaab
    is obligatory or recommended, it is undoubtably one's
    duty to unify the call for it and cooperate as much as possible in urging young
    women about its necessity and to limit their desire to expose their faces as
    much as possible. Indeed, it is merely gracious to both parties, unlike what is
    happening now between opposing sides - which is to
    leave the matter loose and dangling through the claim that the Niqaab is only Mustahabb, and
    being aloof from spreading the call for it. This is indeed an inversion of the
    truth and poor judgement in the matter.


    my brother Muslims, when you are asked: 'What is the form of the Hijaab according to the Sharee'ah,
    especially from a woman who loves the Deen?' you
    should urge and encourage her to wear the Niqaab even
    if you are of the opinion that it is only Mustahabb. Lastly:
    We truly hope from Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aalaa
    for the day when all believing women rush to cover their faces with full
    contentment of their souls and desire for their Deen
    is the strongest of desires. This is a hope which, without any doubt, is shared
    with me by those who are of the opinion of it being Mustahabb
    and those who are of the opinion of it being Waajib.


    pray that Allah guide us along the Straight Path, and protect us from deviation
    after having followed guidance. And may Allah bless the Leader of His
    Messengers, Muhammad (sallallahu 'alaihi
    wa sallam), his family and
    his companions, and all who follow in their footsteps until the Final Hour, Ameen.


    Compiled by I.A. Palmer





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