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Jilbab and the Muslim Woman's Dress Code

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 Sources of Islamic Law

The sources in Islamic law are primarily the Qur’an and Sunnah[1]. The Qur’an, the book held sacred by Muslims, contains approximately 500 verses dealing with diverse topics which are of a legal relevance. The Sunnah represents the repository of reports of sayings, acts and consent of the Prophet Muhammad. The role of the Sunnah is seen as an elaboration of the Quranic injunctions. There are other sources which derive from the two primary sources and they are the Ijma’ (legal consensus), Qiyas (analogical deduction) and other disputed sources but they are not relevant to the discussion at hand.

The Notion of an Islamic Dress Code

Islamic law is comprehensive in its enunciation of a code of conduct with respect to an individual’s life and dealings with others. Part of this are the rules pertaining to dress and attire. The dress code includes rules for men and women. So for example, a man is obliged to cover a certain part of his body whilst in front of others and he is not allowed to wear gold and silk which women are allowed to do. On the other hand women are also obliged to cover a certain part of their person when going out of the family home wearing a headscarf (khimar) and an outer garment (jilbab) which men are not required to do. Thus, the jilbab is not a new innovation but part of the well known attire of the dress code for Muslim women.

Explicit Mention of Jilbab in Primary Muslim Religious Sources

The authority of the requirement for women to wear the jilbab is the Qur’an itself. In the chapter of al-Ahzab (The Confederates) the following verse instructs Prophet Muhammad:

'O Prophet!
Say to your 
wives and your daughters and the women of the faithful to draw their jalabib (pl. of jilbab) close around them; that is better that they will be recognized and not annoyed. And God is ever Forgiving, Gentle.’ [2]

The divine wisdom for instructing women to wear the jilbab mentioned in the above verse is so that women be modestly attired and not be subject to the irreverent insults of the unscrupulous.

The obligation of jilbab is also derived from the Sunnah of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) which is the second primary source of law for Muslims.

Narrated Umm Atiyya: We were ordered to bring out our menstruating women and screened women to the religious gatherings and invocation of the Muslims on the two Eid festivals. These menstruating women were to keep away from the musalla. A woman asked, "O Messenger of Allah! What about one who does not have a jilbab?". He said, "Let her borrow the jilbab of her companion".[3]

The above understanding was practised by women at the time of the revelation of the above verse as the following reports indicate:

A report narrated Umm Salama,(A wife of the Prophet): When the verse, "That they should draw their jalabib close around them" was revealed, the women of Ansar (inhabitants of Madinah) came out as if they had crows over their heads by wearing jalabib.[4]

A report narrated by Aisha (Another wife of the Prophet): The wife of Rifa'a al-Qurazi came to Allah's Messenger while I was sitting...and she was showing the fringe of her jilbab.[5]

The Opinion of Reputable Experts in Quranic Exegeses

The classical experts of Quranic exegesis all support the legitimacy of the jilbab with only difference being whether it extends to covering that face. Here are some quotes from the most widely recognised Sunni sources.

Ibn Jarir At-Tabari (d.310[6]):
‘God Almighty said to His Prophet Muhammad (pbuh[7]): Tell your wives, daughters and the wives of the believers…that they should draw over themselves their jilbabs.’

Al-Qurtubi (d.671):
‘Jalabeeb is the plural of jilbab, and it is a garment larger than a khimar (headscarf). It has been narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas and Ibn Masud that it is a ridaa (large sheet of cloth). It is said that it is a qina’/veil but the correct view is that it is a garment which covers the whole body. It has been reported in Sahih Muslim on the authority of Umm ‘Atiyyah who asked; "O Messenger of Allah! What about one who does not have a jilbab?". He said, "Let her borrow the jilbab of her companion".

Fakhr ad-Din ar-Razi (d. 606):
‘In the days of Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic times) the free and women in bondage would go out uncovered and they would be followed by those intent on fornication and consequently allegations would be levelled against them. So that is why God ordered the free women to wear the jilbab.’[8]

Ibn Kathir (d.774):
‘God Almighty commands His Messenger (Muhammad) to command the believing women – especially his wives and daughters – to draw the jilbab over their persons’[9]

In Safwat at-tafasir, a modern work by Muhammad Ali as-Sabuni, which compiled the exegeses from most of the reputable works of Quranic exegesis, said that verse 59 of chapter Ahzab is saying to the Prophet to ‘tell the women that they should wear a wide outer garment.’[10] This is the consensus view of the traditional Sunni scholars.

This view is not confined only to Sunnis but is the view of the Imami Shia as well:

Al-Janabizi said:
‘The women did not cover their faces and chests with their jilbabs, hence God Almighty ordered them to cover their faces and chest with jilbabs so that they can be distinguished from other women. The woman’s jilbab is a wide garment worn over the normal clothes…’[11]

Views of Contemporary Scholars

The classical position that that the jilbab is obligatory is the view generally held by contemporary scholars as well. Like the classical scholars their difference was on whether the jilbab should cover the face or not and not on the conditions of the jilbab. As an example of the contemporary position the following are words of the deobandi Mufti Ibn Adam al-Kawthari which is representative of the general view: ‘The above and other interpretations of jilbab are clear that a jilbab is the outer garment that women must wear when emerging in front of strangers. This garment must be wide, loose, and modest and covers the body completely.’

Sheikh Muhammad Al-Hanooti:
‘The verse 59 of Surah Al-Ahzab urges a woman to wear a Jilbab. A Jilbab means the outer garment over her inner clothes to guarantee that everything of her body is covered and doesn’t show or shape any of her figures. That is the objective of Shari’a.’

What is a Jilbab?

The jilbab is an outer garment which covers the whole body. This definition is discerned from a lexical and textual basis:

Lexical description of jilbab as an Outer Garment:

The nature and description of the jilbab can be understood from the lexical definition of the word jilbab as explained in classical Arabic dictionaries. These sources also explain the function of the jilbab as an outer garment:

Ibn Manzur:
"The jilbab is the outer garment, mantle, or cloak. It is derived from the verb tajallbaba, which means to clothe. Jilbab is the outer sheet or covering which a woman wraps around her on top of her garments to cover herself from head to toe. It hides her body completely"[12]

Al-Fayruz abadi:
"The jilbab...is that which conceals the clothes like a cover"[13]

As for modern dictionaries it is worth citing from the monumental work of the 19th-century British scholar and lexicographer Edward William Lane (1801-76):

Arabic-English Lexicon: ‘jilbab: …one that envelopes the whole body: (TA) and a wide garment for a woman, less than the milhafah (sheet): or one with which a woman covers over her other garments…’[14]

This description has also been given in the Oxford Dictionary of Islam edited by John L. Esposito where it states:

Jilbab Generic term for women’s outer garment (shawl, cloak, wrap) in Arabian sedentary communities before and after the rise of Islam. The Qur’an (333:59) instructs Muslim women to cloak themselves as a mark of status and as a defensive measure against sexual harassment in public places.[15]

The textual definition as enunciated by the law giver is of jilbab as an outer garment.

The reasons for concluding that the jilbab is an outer garment are textual as well as linguistic. What is meant by textual in this context is the primary corpus of Islamic legal text obligated by the law giver i.e. the Qur’an and the practise of Prophet Muhammad. So for example in chapter 24 the following verse gives elderly women the option to set aside their outer garment:

‘And as for women past child-bearing who do not expect wed-lock, it is no sin on them if they discard their (outer) clothing in such a way as not to show their adornment. But to refrain (i.e. not to discard their outer clothing) is better for them. And Allâh is All-Hearer, All-Knower.’ [24:60]


The garment mentioned must be an outer garment as the verse could not possibly be saying they should discard their normal everyday clothing. That is why companions of Muhammad, such as Ibn ‘Abbas and Ibn Mas’ud, both understood the garment to refer to the jilbab, since that is the outer garment that is worn by women.[16] Both of whom are considered experts in Quran exegesis.

Authority for it as an outer garment is also to be found in the Sunnah. The above report of Umm ‘Atiyyah is clear in its indication that the jilbab is an outer garment. This is because the Prophet stipulated that before going out she needs to wear a jilbab and if she does not have one she must ‘…borrow the jilbab of her companion".[17] The fact that she was not allowed to go outside without it indicates its function as an outer garment.

Also Abu Dawud records a report on the authority of Umm Salama (a wife of the Prophet) which indicates that jilbab is an outer garment. It is reported that she asked the Prophet: "Can a woman pray in a long dress and a headscarf without wearing an izar (a type of jilbab)?" He (pbuh) replied, "If the long dress is ample and covers the surface of her feet." (Abu Dawud[18]) The fact that Umma Salmah asked if she can wear a long dress and headscarf without the izar (jilbab), this indicates that the izar (jilbab) is normally worn on top of the regular clothes.

This is supported by the view of companions who said that the clothing of women during prayer is the above three items, which means the izar (jilbab) must have been worn above the normal clothes. So for example it is narrated that Umar (ra) said: ‘The woman should pray in three items of clothing: long dress, headscarf and izar (jilbab).’ It is also reported that his son Abdullah b. Umar said: ‘The woman should pray wearing long dress, headscarf and milhafa[19] (jilbab).’[20]

It is due to the above narrations that Al-Shirazi took the view that the jilbab is the outer garment as the following excerpt shows: ‘It is recommended that when a woman prays that she wears three items of clothing: a headscarf by which to cover the head and neck. A dress to cover the body and feet and a milhafa (jilbab) by which to cover her clothes. This is due to the report that Umar (ra) said: ‘The woman should pray in three items of clothing: dress, headscarf and izar (jilbab).’ It is also reported that Abdullah b. Umar who said ‘The woman should pray wearing dress, headscarf and milhafah (jilbab).’ Also, it is recommended that her jilbab is thick so that it does not describe parts of her body and does not move away when she assumed the bowing and prostration positions so that it does not describe her clothes.’

An-Nawawi (d.676)[21], a commentator of Al-Shirazi’s Muhazzab explained the latter’s comments and attributed it to Shafi’i (the founder of the Shafi’i school of thought): ‘This ruling has been stated by ash-Shafi’i and the scholars of the school are agreed on this.’ Then he quotes the view that the jilbab: ‘is a sheet worn over the clothes i.e. that it is an outer garment)’ saying: ‘This view is correct and it is the view of ash-Shafi’i (i.e. that the jilbab is worn over the ones clothes).[22]

Ibn Hazm stated in his al-Muhalla: ‘In the Arabic language of the Prophet, jilbab is the outer garment which covers the entire body. A piece of cloth which is too small to cover the entire body could not be called jilbab.’[23]

Thus, the fact that the jilbab is an outer garment is established by the Qur’an and Sunnah and it is the same meaning understood by the companions of Muhammad (pbuh) and attested by the scholars.

Other conditions:

There are other conditions which are not specific to jilbab but generally applicable to all clothing when women go before non-mahrams (close relations to whom marriage is impermissible) whether inside or outside the home. They are the following:

i. It must be loose-fitting
ii. Should not be semi-transparent
iii. Should not become an attraction (tabarruj)
iv. Should not resemble the clothing of men.

These conditions are well known and accepted and there is no need to dwell on them, for further discussion of their evidences one can consult the relevant books of Islamic jurisprudence. [24]

Is Selwar Kameez Sufficient?

The question that needs to be answered is that does it fulfil the key requirements of a jilbab i.e. is it a loose fitting outer garment which covers the entire body? The Selwar Kameez normally does not cover the whole body but leaves some parts exposed and nor is it always loose fitting and provided even these are met it is certainly not an outer garment. It is not worn over ones normal clothes; rather it is an every day garment worn by south Asian women. An outer garment by definition is worn over the home clothes and outside the home whereas the Selwar Kameez is the normal home clothes worn inside the home. Therefore, the Selwar Kameez fails the first basic criteria of being an outer garment before one looks at the other criteria’s that have been mentioned.

Is modest clothing enough to fulfil the requirement of Jilbab?

The answer to the question depends whether one includes the conditions mentioned above as part of what constitutes modest clothing. It is valid that the outside garments do not all have to be uniform in their design but they nevertheless have to fulfil the criteria set down by Islamic law. Modesty is not left to the subjective interpretation of individuals but rules have been laid down governing the requirements of modesty i.e. modesty cannot transcend the conditions but must incorporate them. Hence, it is not enough that the garments cover the whole body but is tight fitting and not is it enough that it is loose fitting but not an outer garment. In this respect, the outer garment can be of diverse forms as long as the individual conditions have been met.

Juristic Difference and the Muslim Individual

Those not familiar with Islamic law wonder why certain Muslims insist on following a rule which other Muslims do not follow and consequently assume that the one insisting is extreme or un-necessarily strict. So for example, a particular Muslim scholar might say a certain dress as acceptable, but this does not mean others are bound or even allowed to follow this view. The reason for the difference is that like any other legal tradition Muslim jurists differ on the details of law and it is up to the individual to follow the verdict of the jurist s/he regards as the most trustworthy and competent. The criterion for following a particular ruling is not self interest and expediency but the competence of the jurist who derived it. Having followed a particular verdict this becomes God’s law for that individual and cannot be changed for considerations of public approval or disapproval. This because not following the rule is an abandonment of a religious obligation which has to be accounted for in the Hereafter. Thus, in the context of the jilbab for a Muslim woman who follows a particular jurist’s understanding of what is required by Islamic law, she is obliged to follow that even if others hold different views simply because she believes that view to be sound. In this respect, it does not matter what contrary views exist out there as the obligation on her is to follow the jurist she trusts and not what is expedient. Particularly in this case as the view that jilbab is necessary is something that is expressed in both the letter of the law and in harmony with the spirit of the law. In fact it is a rule that traditionally has not been a matter of dispute amongst early jurists both Sunnite and Shiite.

Religious Duty or Political Statement?

Jilbab is essentially a religious duty first and foremost. The authority for it is derived directly from Islamic sources and not the political writings of contemporary Muslims. It was advocated by the classical jurists who expounded its requirement a thousand years before the phenomenon of resurgent Islam. The jilbab predates the current political controversies and therefore the motivation for adhering to it is born of a feeling of religious obligation and not a political statement.

The legislative wisdom behind the jilbab dress code is for women to be modestly attired as mentioned in the aforementioned verse and commentary of the Qur’an. The motivation is religious. Had the motive been other than religious then it would not be accepted as an act of worship which requires that the act be of exclusive devotion to God. Wearing it as a political statement or even a fashion statement and not a religious obligation will still be considered as sinful act because the motivation was not adherence to the religious obligation which is the only motive that is acceptable in matters of obeisance to God.

Is Jilbab a symbol of Oppression?

The Muslim woman’s attire are viewed by some non-Muslims as oppressive because, it is claimed, the jilbab represents the inferior status of woman, that they are compelled against their will or that it inhibits their participation in public life. This view is not born of an understanding of the divine wisdom for legislating the dress and nor from the positive effects that accrue from its adherence. Rather, the origins of such thinking are the abuse of women by some Muslim men which Islamic law itself denounces or the stereotypical perceptions of role of women in Islam[25]. Islamic law views men and women the same in their worth and religiosity before their Lord. The disparity in the rules arises not from a discriminatory view of any one gender but the fact that Islamic law recognises that there is a gender difference and hence prescribes rules accordingly. The great majority of rules apply equally to men and women due to their identical nature and but differ in a few cases due to the gender dissimilarity. Thus, Muslim women wear the jilbab to remain modestly attired in public life and feel that it enhances their worth rather than diminish it. Its practical effects are also appealing to women who feel they can confidently[26] participate in the outside activities such as work and study free from the disrespectful glances of men. So far from obstructing women’s social participation the jilbab actually facilitates it by empowering and liberating her from unwanted sexual advances and thereby promoting an atmosphere which is conducive to the social interaction of men and women.


Appendix I: legal verdict (fatwa) of Mufti al-Kawthari[27]:

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

Allah Most High says:

“O Prophet! Tell your wives and daughters and believing women that they should cast their outer garments over their persons. That is most convenient that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Most Forgiving and Most Merciful”. (Surah al-Ahzab, 59).

The above verse is clear in determining that it is obligatory (fard) upon a woman to cover herself with a jilbab. This leaves us with a question, what is a jilbab?

It is stated in Lisan al-Arab:
“Jilbab, plural of Jalabib: an outer garment or a cloak with it a woman covers her head and chest. And it is said: It is a long cloak that covers a woman completely”. (Ibn Manzur, Lisan al-Arab, 2/317).

Sayyiduna Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) states:
“Jilbab is long cloak that covers a woman from her head to her feet”. (Ruh al-Ma’ani, 22/88).

The above and other interpretations of Jilbab are clear that a jilbab is the outer garment that women must wear when emerging in front of strangers. This garment must be wide, loose, and modest and covers the body completely.

After the revelation of this verse, many female Companions (Allah be pleased with them all) used to emerge outside their homes with complete reticence as though birds were sitting on their heads. They used to cover themselves with long black cloaks. (See: Ruh al-Ma’ani, 22/89).

Therefore, a woman must cover her self with a loose and modest cloak when emerging in front of strangers. This may be a traditional veil (burqa) or some other garment.

And Allah knows best


Appendix II: Biographies of Scholars:

Contemporary Scholars:

Muhammad Ali as-Sabuni: a professor at the College of Sharia and Islamic Studies, Mecca. Author of Safwat At-Tafasir (Beirut: Dar Al-Qur’an Al-Karim, 1402 a.h., 1981).

Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari: Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari completed the Dars-e-Nizami curriculum of Islamic studies under traditional scholars in Britain, after which he completed a specialization in hadith, in which he covered the 9 major works of hadith, and culminated this with the attainment of a 2-year specialization in the science of giving legal verdicts (ifta’), under Mufti Taqi Usmani and other top scholars in Pakistan. He then went to Syria, where he completed a Master’s in Advanced Fiqh through al-Azhar (Cairo), and studied under top Arab scholars. One of these scholars, Shaykh Abd al-Latif Farfour said that Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam has a tremendous future, and seems destined to become one of the top scholars of our times. He presently teaches at a Darul Uloom in Leicester, and answers people’s questions at Darul Iftaa.[28]

Sheikh Muhammad Al-Hanooti: Born: March 12, 1937 in Haifa, Palestine. Education: Learned Shari’a from his father, Sheikh Ali Hanouti, and in Al-Azhar he studied Hadith at the hands of Sheikh Muhammad Said Azzawi from 1953-1958. Previous Positions: Was an imam, teacher and khatib in Baghdad from 1962-1965. Was an imam, teacher and khatib in Kuwait from 1965-1978. He has served as the head of various Islamic centers in the United States since 1978, including Jersey City, NJ, and Dar Al-Hijra, in Virginia. He is a member of the North American Fiqh Council.


Classical Scholars:

Ibn Hazm: born November 7, 994, Córdoba, Caliphate of Córdoba died August 15, 1064, Manta Lisham, near Sevilla in full Abu Muhammad 'Ali ibn Ahmad ibn Sa'id Ibn Hazm Muslim litterateur, historian, jurist, and theologian of Islamic Spain, famed for his literary productivity, breadth of learning, and mastery of the Arabic language. One of the leading exponents of the Zahiri (Literalist) school of jurisprudence, he produced some 400 works, covering jurisprudence, logic...[29]

Ibn Jarir At-Tabari (d.310): born c. 839,Amol, Tabaristan [Iran]died 923, Baghdad, Iraq in full Abu Ja'far Muhammad Ibn Jarir At-tabari Muslim scholar, author of enormous compendiums of early Islamic history and Qur'anic exegesis, who made a distinct contribution to the consolidation of Sunni thought during the 9th century. Major works. His life's labour began with the Qur'an Commentary and was followed by the History of Prophets and Kings. At-Tabari's History became so popular that the Samanid prince Mansur ibn Nuh had it translated into Persian (c. 963).[30]

Fakhr ad-Din ar-Razi (d. 606): born 1149, Rayy, Iran died 1209, near Herat, Khwarezm. Abu 'abd Allah Muhammad Ibn 'umar Ibn Al-husayn Fakhr Ad-din Ar-razi Muslim theologian and scholar, author of one of the most authoritative commentaries on the Qur'an in the history of Islam. His aggressiveness and vengefulness created many enemies and involved him in numerous intrigues. His intellectual brilliance, however, was universally acclaimed and attested by such works as Mafatih al-ghayb or Kitab at-tafsir al-kabir (“The Keys to the Unknown” or “The Great Commentary”) and Muhassal afkar al-mutaqaddimin wa-al-muta'akhkhirin (“Collection of the Opinions of Ancients and Moderns”).[31]

Ibn Kathir (d.774): was an Islamic scholar born in Busra, Syria in 1301 CE. He was taught by the Islamic scholar Ibn Taymiyya in Damascus, Syria and Ibn al-Qayyim. Ibn Kathir wrote a famous commentary of the Qur'an named Tafsir ibn Kathir which linked certain Hadith, or sayings of Muhammad, and sayings of the Sahaba (companions of Muhammad) to verses of the Qur'an, in explanation. Tafsir Ibn Kathir is famous all over the Islamic world and among Muslims in the Western world, and is one of the most widely used explanations of the Qu'ran today.[32]

An-Nawawi (d.676): (born 1233 - 1278), author on Fiqh and Hadith, was born at Nawa near Damascus. In the latter city he studied from his eighteenth year, and there, after making the pilgrimage in 1253, he settled as a private scholar until 1267, when he succeeded Abu Shama as professor of hadith at the Ashrafiyya school. He died at Nawa at a relatively young age, having never married.[33]

Al-Qurtubi (d.671): Imam Abu 'Abdullah Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Abu Bakr al-Ansari al-Qurtubi, was born in Cordoba, Spain, at the summit of its great period of Islamic civilization. He was an eminent Maliki scholar who specialized in fiqh and Hadith. The breadth and depth of his scholarship are evident in his writings. The most famous of then is his twenty-volume tasfir al Jami' li-ahkam al-Qar'an.[34]

ash-Shafi’i: born , 767, Arabia died Jan. 20, 820, al-Fustat, Egypt Muslim legal scholar who played an important role in the formation of Islamic legal thought and was the founder of the Shafi'iyah school of law. He also made a basic contribution to religious and legal methodology with respect to the use of traditions.[35]

Classical Arabic Lexicographers:

Al-Fayruz abadi: Abu-t-Tahir Ibn Ibrahim Majd ud-Din ul-Fairuzabadi (1329-1414) was an Arab lexicographer born at Karazin near Shiraz (in modern Iran) and educated in Shiraz, Wasit, Baghdad and Damascus. He lived in Jerusalem for ten years and then travelled in western Asia and Egypt, before settling in Mecca in 1368. He remained there for the bulk of the next three decades, spending some time in Delhi in the 1380s, and finally leaving Mecca in the mid-1390s to return to Baghdad, Shiraz (where he was received by Timur), and finally travelling to Ta'izz in modern Yemen. In 1395, he was appointed chief qadi (judge) of Yemen and married a daughter of the sultan. During the later years of his life, Fairuzabadi converted his house at Mecca into a school of Maliki law and established three teachers in it. He also wrote a huge lexicographical work uniting the dictionaries of Ibn Sida, a Spanish philologist (d. 1066), and of Sajani (d. 1252). An abridgement of this last work was published as Al-Qamus Al-Muhit (Comprehensive Dictionary) and has over the centuries itself served as the basis of some later dictionaries.[36] Ibn Manzur: Period: 1230 – 1311. Full name: Jamaluddin Muhamad Bin Mukkaram Ibn Manzur, was born in Tunis and died in Cairo. The author of the most comprehensive dictionary of Arabic called Lisan ul Arab, in twenty volumes.[37]

[1] For a good over view see: Sources of Islamic Law: An Overview by Yasin Dutton. http://www.muhajabah.com/docstorage/dutton.htm
[2] Qur’an: (33:59)
[3] Sahih Bukhari Book 8/347
[4] Sunan Abu Dawud 32/4090
[5] Sahih Bukhari Book 72/684
[6] Date of death according to Hijri calendar.
[7] pbuh is abbreviation for ‘peace be upon him.’
[8] ar-Razi, Fakhr ad-Din, at-Tafsir al-Kabir, p.231.
[9] Ibn Kathir, Tafsir al-Qur’an al-‘Azim.
[10] as-Sabuni, Muhammad Ali, safwat at-tafasir, p.538.
[11] al-Janabizi, Tafsir bayan al-sa’adah fi muqaddimat al-ibadah, see commentary of verse 59 of surah Ahzab.
[12] Ibn Man.zur, Mu.hammad ibn Mukarram, Lisan al-`Arab, (Bayrut : Dar .Sadir, 1955-56). Vol.7, p. 273.
[13] Al-Fayruzabadi, al-Qamus al-Muhit,
[14] Lane, Edward William, An Arabic-English lexicon, (London 1863-1893) under the relevant root verb.
[15] Esposito, John L. (ed.), The Oxford Dictionary of Islam, (Oxford University Press, 2003).p.160.
[16] al-Qurtubi, Jami li-ahkam al-Qur’an, verse 60 of sura Nur.
[17] Sahih Bukhari Book 8/347
[18] This narration is mawquf and is attributed more correctly to Umm Salama, the wife of the Prophet.
[19] Milhafa is a synonym of jilbab. Notice here Abdullah b. Umar uses the word milhafa (jilbab) instead of izar, indicating that izar here is the jilbab. See al-majmu’ sharh al-muhazzab, p.259.
[20] Al-Nawawi, al-majmu’ sharh al-muhazzab, (Beirut, 2002), pp.258.
[21] A major reference for Islamic law who’s interpretation of law is canonized in the Malaysian legal code.
[22] An-Nawawi, al-majmu’ sharh al-muhazzab, (Beirut, 2002), pp.258-9.
[23] Ibn Hazm, Al-Muhalla, vol. 3, p.217
[24] For a contemporary source see Badawi, Jamal, The Muslim Woman’s Dress According to the Qur’an and Sunnah, (Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd,1980) or http://members.tripod.com/iaislam/TMWD.htm
[25] Bullock, Kathrine, Rethinking Muslim Women and the Veil: Challenging and Historical and Modern Stereotypes, (Herndon, VA: International Institute of Islamic Thought, 2002).p.73.
[26] Ali, Sayyid, ‘Why Here, Why Now? Young Muslim Women Wearing Hijab,’ The Muslim World, vol.95, (2005), pp.515-530.
[27] http://sunnipath.com/resources/Questions/QA00002148.aspx
[28] http://www.sunnipath.com/aboutTeachers.aspx?sectionid=5&teacherid=12
[29] http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9041918?query=Ibn%20Hazm&ct=
[30] http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-7063
[31] http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9033610
[32] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibn_Kathir
[33] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nawawi
[34] http://www.bysiness.co.uk/quran/qurtubi.htm
[35] http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9067053?query=shafi%27i&ct=
[36] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairuzabadi
[37] http://www.salaam.co.uk/knowledge/biography/viewentry.php?id=812

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gwendolyn bender said:

Yes I agree an women should covered there body it shouldn't be open for an men to see it. It show that you got respect for yourself out in public and also inside of the home
 
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January 10, 2014
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Mazin said:


What is modesty? For us Muslims, modesty is what Allah and His messenger - peace be upon him - say modesty is. Anything that falls short of that is termed as 'a lack of modesty' and this differs as to how close/far a person is from what Allah and His messenger have stipulated. To say anything to the contrary, (i.e. that a person can be modest without wearing a hijab etc) is to say that Allah and His messenger did not define modesty properly or went to extremes. And this, we seek refuge in Allah from such beliefs, is a clear deviation from the path of the believers.

Having said that, I think the photo of the sister at the beginning of the article should be taken down. The reason is apparent. May Allah bless all and guide us to His path.
 
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March 20, 2012
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Amira said:

Salaams sister all of this info has helped me a lot however,I need more info on why women cover their whole body and jazzakallah for all the info:) may Allah bless you and reward you for spreading about islam

Jazzakallah Khairun!
 
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June 30, 2011
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Alya said:

Bismillah

Assalam walikom wa rahmatuh allahi wa barakatuh,

I have a question. Is it permissible to wear a tank top in front of other Muslim women? I have a fainting disorder and need to stay cool during the summer. Thanks for the info.

Sincerely,

Alya

Walikom assalam wa rahmatuh allahi wa barakatuh
 
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April 14, 2011
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Abdul-Kareem said:

Assalamu alaikum sister.

Both khimar (headscarf) and jilbab (long dress) are obligatory on Muslim women above puberty. Even for 1 minute outside the house you need to wear both garments.

InshAllah Allah makes it easy for you in wearing the hijab and jilbab.
 
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July 09, 2010
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muslimah said:

i have many questions..
i started wearing hijab this summer and it hasnt been that easy
because its summer but im still wearing it and really understanding the meaning of it
my question is, like if i go outside to get something from the car,
or trow some garbage do i have to wear hijab?? even if its like im going outside for 1 minute??
also i was thinking of wearing JILBAB to High School
would that be good for me? since im surrounded by guys
what is ur opinion??
THANKS=]
 
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July 09, 2010
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Clarity Needed said:

i have read the chapter thoroughly i am not understanding one thing

"Also Abu Dawud records a report on the authority of Umm Salama (a wife of the Prophet) which indicates that jilbab is an outer garment. It is reported that she asked the Prophet: "Can a woman pray in a long dress and a headscarf without wearing an izar (a type of jilbab)?" He (pbuh) replied, "If the long dress is ample and covers the surface of her feet." (Abu Dawud[18]) The fact that Umma Salmah asked if she can wear a long dress and headscarf without the izar (jilbab), this indicates that the izar (jilbab) is normally worn on top of the regular clothes.

This is supported by the view of companions who said that the clothing of women during prayer is the above three items, which means the izar (jilbab) must have been worn above the normal clothes. So for example it is narrated that Umar (ra) said: ‘The woman should pray in three items of clothing: long dress, headscarf and izar (jilbab).’ It is also reported that his son Abdullah b. Umar said: ‘The woman should pray wearing long dress, headscarf and milhafa[19] (jilbab).’[20]"

does the lines above showed that a women should wear jilbab when she is offereing prayer?
 
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April 16, 2010
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Muslima said:

I'm starting to believe in jilbab, and plan to begin observing it, but I have a question. Can I wear a loose shirt and skirt outdoors if I'm wearing, say, a t-shirt and leggings or a thick slip underneath? Because I have noticed that the important thing about jilbab seems to be wearing two layers...
 
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April 05, 2010
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muslim girl said:

what about skirts and long tops?
 
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March 15, 2009
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mulimah_73 said:

Jazakallah for this lovely article well researched, you can see it has been written with Islamic knowledge and not mere opinions.It is very sad to see the amount of Muslim women who go out without a proper jilbab,only wearing their inside clothes,and that's what they don't understand! those are only your INSIDE clothes you can't go out with them in public, the sharlwar khamees is bad enough but nowadays you see women with trousers,heels and make-up, all of it toped up with a small scarf called hijab. That's not a hijab and it never can be called one. As stated the jilbab is wajib upon women weither they believe in face veil or not, the requirement is the jilbab from the QU'RAN so really it puzzle me!? how can anyone wants to ever debate on the very crystal clear issue of the jilbab!
 
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February 04, 2009
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