Friday, May 18, 2007
Hijab and the Idle woman
Extracted from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hijab
'''Hijab''' or hijab (????) is the Arabic term for "cover" (noun), based on the root ??? meaning "to veil, to cover (verb), to screen, to shelter"
In some Arabic-speaking countries and Western countries, the word hijab primarily refers to women's head and body covering, but in Islamic scholarship, hijab is given the wider meaning of modesty, privacy, and morality.
The word used in the Qur'an for a headscarf or veil is khimar (????).
Javed Ahmed Ghamidi, an Islamic scholar well-known for historical contextualization of Muhammad's revelation(p.93), argues that Qur'an mentions khumur only as a 7th century Arabian dress, but there is no command to wear it in specific.
In his interpretation of verse 33:59, he argues that "they may be known, and thus they will not be given trouble" and the context of the verse shows that the directive to wear jalabib was for a specific situation. He also believes that the special restrictions for wives of Muhammad are not applicable to all women at all times.
He considers "head-covering" for women a cherished part of Muslim social custom and tradition but not compulsory.HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hijab" \l "_note-5"
Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World by Macmillan Reference states about hijab:
The term hijab or veil is not used in the Qur'an to refer to an article of clothing for women or men, rather it refers to a spatial curtain that divides or provides privacy. The Qur'an instructs the male believers (Muslims) to talk to wives of Muhammad behind a hijab.
This hijab was the responsibility of the men and not the wives of Muhammad. However, in later Muslim societies this instruction specific to the wives of Muhammad was generalized, leading to the segregation of the Muslim men and women. The modesty in Qur'an concerns both men's and women's gaze, gait, garments, and genitalia. The clothing for women involves khumur over the necklines and jilbab (cloaks) in public so that they may be identified and not harmed.
Guidelines for covering of the entire body except for the hands, the feet, and the face, are found in texts of fiqh and hadith that are developed later.
John Esposito, professor of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University, writes that the customs of veiling and seclusion of women in early Islam were assimilated from the conquered Persian and Byzantine societies and then later on they were viewed as appropriate expressions of Quranic norms and values.
The Qur'an does not stipulate veiling or seclusion; on the contrary, it tends to emphasize the participation of religious responsibility of both men and women in society.
Bloom and Blair also write that the Qur'an doesn't require women to wear veils; rather, it was a social habit picked up with the expansion of Islam.
In fact, since it was impractical for working women to wear veils, "A veiled woman silently announced that her husband was rich enough to keep her idle."
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