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Hijab An Alternative viewpoint



Javed Ahmed Ghamidi, an Islamic scholar well-known for historical contextualization of Muhammad's revelation[1](p.93), argues a more liberal, minority viewpoint. He believes that Qur'an mentions khumūr only as a 7th century Arabian dress, but there is no command to wear it in specific. In his interpretation of verse [Qur'an 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 jalābib 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.


According to another scholar, Leila Ahmed, nowhere in the whole of the Quran is the term hijab applied to any woman other than the wives of Muhammad. Muslim women probably began wearing the veil as a way to emulate the Prophet's wives, who were revered as `the Mothers of the Ummah,` but the veil was neither compulsory nor, for that matter, widely adopted until generations after Muhammad's death. [8]

And according to yet another scholar, Reza Aslan, there was a very good reason for the ayat (Qur'an 33:32-33) mentioning only the Prophet's wives and not other muslim women:


Muhammad's house was also the community's mosque: the center of religious and social life in the Ummah. People were constantly coming in and out of this compound at all hours of the day. When delegations from other tribes come to speak with Muhammad, they would set up their tents for days at a time inside the open courtyard, just a few feet away from the apartments in which Muhammad's wives slept. And new emigrants who arrived in Yatrib would often stay within the mosque's walls until they could find suitable homes.[9]


Ghamidi considers "head-covering" for women a cherished part of Muslim social custom and tradition but not compulsory.[10]HYPERLINK  \l "_note-9"[11]



Some contemporary Muslims take a relativist approach to hijab. They believe that the commandment to modesty must be interpreted with regard to the surrounding society. What is considered modest, or daring, in one society may not be considered so in another. It is important, they say, for believers to wear clothing that communicates modesty and reserve in the situations in which they find themselves.[12]










1. a b Esposito, John (2003). The Oxford Dictionary of Islam. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-512558-4. , p.112

8.  Aslan, Reza, No God but God, Random House, (2005), p.65-6

9.  Aslan, Reza, No God but God, Random House, (2005), p.65-6

10. Ghamidi, Javed (2001). "Norms of Gender Interaction (The Social Law of Islam)", Mizan. Dar ul-Ishraq. OCLC 52901690. 

11.  The Qur'anic Concept of Hijab, Renaissance, Al-Mawrid Institute, Vol. 6, No. 11, November, 1996.[1]

12.   Women in Islam: Hijab, Ibrahim B. Syed, 2001





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