Mohamed Irtaza: Peace be upon you. God Almighty reminds in the Quran that He has placed no hardship on us,men and women both, in practicing Islam - "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..." (Quran 22:78)
The Quran gives us a clue that women, during the Prophet's time, were not placed in hardship and were not veiled (hijab) - "Beyond the categories described to you, you are enjoined from marrying any other women, nor can you substitute a new wife (from the prohibited categories), no matter how much you admire their beauty. You must be content with those already made lawful to you. God is watchful over all things." (Quran 33:52). Clearly, you cannot admire their beauty if they were veiled. Is it not a historical fact that the prophet's wife Ayesha took command of the army against Caliph Ali !? How could she perform that job if she was in veil !?
According to the Quran, the best garment is the "garment of righteousness" and not the "veil" (hijab) as understood from this - "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" (Quran 7:26).
Obviously, our Islamic scholars do not take heed from the Quran. They consider "hijab" as the best garment even though we will find, God willing, later in this article that the word "hijab" has nothing to do with the dress code for women. Mr. Yusuf Ali translated the above verse (Quran 7:26) this way - "...but the raiment of righteousness-that is the best..." ! A question to our Islamic scholar - why God doesn't say "...but the veil (hijab)- that is the best..." in verse 7:26 above!? Women shall cover their chest (bosom) and not the face or hair as understood from this verse - "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 (Khimar) their chests, 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 details of their bodies. All of you shall repent to God, O you believers, that you may succeed." (Quran 24:31) The Arabic word "Khimar" (not Hijab) in the above verse 24:31 means any cover. Most of the traditional translations are obviously influenced by so called hadith attributed to the prophet and take the word "Khimar" as "Hijab" (veil)!
Mr. Yusuf Ali translated the above verse of 24:31 this way -"...they should draw their "veils" over their bosoms...". The distortion is obvious, the Arabic word for "veil" is 'hijab" and not "khimar"! According to Quran, women shall lengthen their garments - "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." (Quran 33:59)
A woman may relax her dress code in the following situations - "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 servants. They shall reverence God. God witnesses all things." (Quran 33:55). Please note that in case of a male servant we need to refer to the Quran 24:31 mentioned earlier. Elderly women may also relax their dress code under certain conditions (Quran 24:60).
It is clear from the above verses that the dress code for the Muslim women according to the Quran is righteousness and modesty and not the veil (hijab)! The Arabic word "hijab" appeared in the following seven verses of the Quran which tell us something other than the dress code for women! : " A barrier separates them (Wa bayna-humaa hijaab), while the Purgatory is occupied by people who recognize each side by their looks. They will call dwellers of paradise:"Peace be upon you." They did not enter (paradise) through wishful thinking." (Quran 7:46) "When you read the Quran, we place between you and those who do not believe in the Hereafter an invisible barrier (hijaabam-mastuu-raa)." (Quran 17:45) " While a barrier separated her from them (Fattakhazat min duunihim hijaabaa), we sent to her our Spirit. He went to her in the form of a human being." (Quran 19:17) " O you who believe, do not enter the prophet's homes unless you are given permission to eat, nor shall you force such an invitation in any manner. If you are invited, you may enter. When you finish eating, you shall leave; do not engage him in lengthy conversations.
This used to hurt the prophet, and he was too shy to tell you. But God does not shy away from the truth. If you have to ask his wives for something, ask them from behind a barrier (Wa izaa saaltumuu- hunna mataa-an fasaluuhunna minw-waraaa-i hijaab). This is purer for your hearts and their hearts. You are not to hurt the messenger of God. You shall not marry his wives after him, for this would be a gross offense in the sight of God." (Quran 33:53) " He then said, "I enjoyed the material things more than I enjoyed worshiping my Lord, until the sun was gone (hatta tawaarat bilhijaab)." (Quran 38:32) " They said, "Our minds are made up, our ears are deaf to your message, and a barrier separates us from you (wa baynika hijaabun-fa- mal innanaa aamiluun). Do what you want, and so will we" (Quran 41:5) " No human being can communicate with God except through inspiration, or from behind a barrier (aw minw-waraaai hijaabin), or by sending a messenger through whom He reveals what He wills. He is the Most High, Most Wise." (Quran 42:51)
The Quran imposes the responsibility on both men and women to subdue their eyes, and definitely, not to veil the woman (hijab) as understood from this - "Tell the believing men that they shall subdue their eyes, and to maintain their chastity. This is purer for them. God is fully Cognizant of everything they do. And tell the believing women to subdue their eyes, and maintain their chastity...." (Quran 24:30-31) Thanks and God bless M. Irtaza
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