Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Hijab - Muslim Dressing


The controversies as being debated on the hijab how much must be covered

It has been a heated debate whether the hijab, the Islamic head covering, is mandatory or a social tradition. Though growing number of young Muslims don the scarf, there is a general acceptance in the institution of higher learning and at the workplace that it is getting necessary as its reputation as Islamic have increased and the growing insistence by the religious community whose preference is that the women should cover their head.  

In some Islamic countries, the practice of veiling is very common and is seen as a fundamental part of Islam. Some people believe this practice has cultural roots rather than religious roots, while some Islamic scholars insist that the veil is compulsory for Muslim women, based on their interpretations of the Quran and hadith. However, this is an ongoing debate. In some countries, purdah is required by law, while in other countries, the decision whether and to what degree women should be veiled is a matter for families or the women themselves to decide.

Many people in the West believe head covers are required attire for Muslim women. Most Muslim women, for that matter, are not sure what God's exact requirements are for their "Islamic" dress code. Since religious scholars come from diverse religious schools of thought, then of course there are vast differences between what's considered to be appropriate women's clothing. Some believe head covers are a necessity for pious Muslim women, while others don't. In order to come to the correct understanding on required dressing, it is important to explore what God tells us through His scripture, the Quran. Referring back to the Quran allows us to avoid confusion from contrasting opinions. There will be no contradictions, and the truth will be exhibited.

No mentioned of covering of the head or woman hairs in the Quran.

The description of the earliest case of covering due to being disgrace or shame as in the case of Adam and Eve is that their immediate reaction is to cover their bodies. This seems very likelihood as there is nothing to be shameful of the head or the hairs. The following verse shows the first reaction of human modesty:

So by deceit he brought about their fall: when they tasted of the tree, their shame became manifest to them, and they began to sew together the leaves of the garden over their bodies…….(Surah 7:22)

Then there are other verses of the Quran which has not being explored to resolve with the right decent attire for the man and the woman.

If God foster beautiful dresses even at the mosques this means that restrictive ruling that current Muslims women must wear the black chador over the entire body and the head is certainly an invention. And worst is the invention of the ruling to cover the face as there is a command to lower the gaze when meeting one another which make the covering of the face unwarranted:

O Children of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer: eat and drink: But waste not by excess, for Allah love not the wasters. (Surah 7:31)

In the following verses of the Quran there is no mention of any ruling to cover the head or the face or the hairs but to cover their bodies whereas the head is not part of the body:

And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband's fathers…….. (Surah 24:31)

O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the 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 Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surah 33:59)

Covering the face is synonym with ignominy as related by the following verse of the Quran:

To those who do right is a goodly (reward) Yea, more (than in measure)! No darkness or shame shall cover their faces! They are companions of the garden; they will abide therein (for aye)! (Surah 10:26)

But those who have earned evil will have a reward of like evil: ignominy will cover their (faces): No defender will they have from (the wrath of) Allah: Their faces will be covered, as it were, with pieces from the depth of the darkness of night: they are companions of the Fire: they will abide therein (for aye)! (Surah 10:27)

The parts of the body that is permitted to be exposed by God

One of the areas which has not been the focus of the guiding principle of Muslim dressing is the neglect of the verse which state that parts of the body that is allowed by God to be exposed whether in public or in private. This is stated in the command to do the ablution a ritual before establishing the prayer:  

O ye who believe! When ye prepare for prayer, wash your faces, and your hands (and arms) to the elbows; Rub your heads (with water); and (wash) your feet to the ankles. …….  (Surah 5:6)

This command is directed to all whether man or woman and the mentioned parts of the body is allowed by God to be exposed whether one take the ablution in a public place like the mosques or wedding functions or in private. If this is taken as a guidance of modesty in dressing then it gives a fair ruling for both the man and the woman that they both should cover their bodies except that part of the faces, the hands to the elbow, the head and the feet to the ankles.

Thus the Quran should be the guiding principle in dressing which gives a fair value and respect to both man and woman as they are to cover similar parts of their bodies as compare to the tradition or the hadith which discriminate the woman to cover from head to toe but not the man.

In term of modesty and righteousness God is fair, both the man and the woman faces is allowed to be exposed but He make reservation that one should lower one gaze when encountering one another. He knows what is provoking that is the reason He allowed certain parts of the body can be uncovered as He had dictated in the Surah on ablution. And finally His guidance is the truth and fair to all and if one is deficient by any reason He said in the Quran:

O ye Children of Adam! We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover your shame, as well as to be an adornment to you. But the raiment of righteousness, that is the best. Such are among the Signs of Allah, that they may receive admonition!  (Surah 7:26)