Hijab in Quran

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Hijab (Arabic: حجاب‎) is a very misunderstood concept in Islam which is further complicated due to the contemporary worlds over emphasis on one particular aspect of Hijab. The aspect that relates to modesty of women is further narrowed to a limited view on one specific item of clothing that covers the head (Khimar). Hijab is not simply a physical object that one can grasp, but a deeper concept with greater implications to ones well being as a Muslim.

Meaning of Hijab

Hijab literally means a partition, barrier, screen, veil, or cover. From the stand point of practice in Islam a Hijab is to place protection between someone and potential harm and there are many forms of Hijab (barrier) that exist.


Hijab Between Paradise and Hellfire

To prevent the people of the fire from trying to approach the people of Paradise, Allah will place a partition between Paradise and Hellfire. Particularly those individuals considered amongst the worst who disbelieved in the Meeting of Allah in the afterlife while devoting their efforts to prevent people from seeing and following Allah's deen, His Law and what His Prophets brought. They will be people of the fire because of the seriousness of their evil actions and their lack of concern regarding the justice that awaits them.[1]

And between them will be a partition, and on [its] elevations are men who recognize all by their mark. And they call out to the companions of Paradise, "Peace be upon you." They have not [yet] entered it, but they long intensely. [2]
﴾ وَبَيْنَهُمَا حِجَابٌ ۚ وَعَلَى الْأَعْرَافِ رِجَالٌ يَعْرِفُونَ كُلًّا بِسِيمَاهُمْ ۚ وَنَادَوْا أَصْحَابَ الْجَنَّةِ أَن سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ ۚ لَمْ يَدْخُلُوهَا وَهُمْ يَطْمَعُونَ ﴿

Wabaynahuma hijabunwaAAala al-aAArafi rijalun yaAArifoonakullan biseemahum wanadaw as-habaaljannati an salamun AAalaykum lam yadkhuloohawahum yatmaAAoon

Hijab Between Guidance and Misguidance

When a believer recites the Quran it is a barrier to protect them from disbelief, but for those overtly misguided will find a hijab over their hearts that prevents them from the benefits of the recitation.

"And when you recite the Qur'an, We put between you and those who do not believe in the Hereafter a concealed partition." [3]
﴾ وَإِذَا قَرَأْتَ الْقُرْآنَ جَعَلْنَا بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَ الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ حِجَابًا مَّسْتُورًا ﴿

Wa-itha qara/ta alqur-anajaAAalna baynaka wabayna allatheena layu/minoona bil-akhirati hijabanmastoora

Hijab of Maryam

Maryam the mother of Isa (Jesus)(ﷺ) was secluded from her people to protect her from influence and harm.

And she took, in seclusion from them, a screen. Then We sent to her Our Angel, and he represented himself to her as a well-proportioned man.[4]
﴾ فَاتَّخَذَتْ مِن دُونِهِمْ حِجَابًا فَأَرْسَلْنَا إِلَيْهَا رُوحَنَا فَتَمَثَّلَ لَهَا بَشَرًا سَوِيًّا ﴿

Fattakhathat min doonihim hijabanfaarsalna ilayha roohanafatamaththala laha basharan sawiyya

Hijab of the Prophet's (ﷺ) Wives

O you who have believed, do not enter the houses of the Prophet except when you are permitted for a meal, without awaiting its readiness. But when you are invited, then enter; and when you have eaten, disperse without seeking to remain for conversation. Indeed, that [behavior] was troubling the Prophet, and he is shy of [dismissing] you. But Allah is not shy of the truth. And when you ask [his wives] for something, ask them from behind a partition. That is purer for your hearts and their hearts. And it is not [conceivable or lawful] for you to harm the Messenger of Allah or to marry his wives after him, ever. Indeed, that would be in the sight of Allah an enormity. [5]

﴾ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَدْخُلُوا بُيُوتَ النَّبِيِّ إِلَّا أَن يُؤْذَنَ لَكُمْ إِلَىٰ طَعَامٍ غَيْرَ نَاظِرِينَ إِنَاهُ وَلَٰكِنْ إِذَا دُعِيتُمْ فَادْخُلُوا فَإِذَا طَعِمْتُمْ فَانتَشِرُوا وَلَا مُسْتَأْنِسِينَ لِحَدِيثٍ ۚ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكُمْ كَانَ يُؤْذِي النَّبِيَّ فَيَسْتَحْيِي مِنكُمْ ۖ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَسْتَحْيِي مِنَ الْحَقِّ ۚ وَإِذَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُنَّ مَتَاعًا فَاسْأَلُوهُنَّ مِن وَرَاءِ حِجَابٍ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ أَطْهَرُ لِقُلُوبِكُمْ وَقُلُوبِهِنَّ ۚ وَمَا كَانَ لَكُمْ أَن تُؤْذُوا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَلَا أَن تَنكِحُوا أَزْوَاجَهُ مِن بَعْدِهِ أَبَدًا ۚ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكُمْ كَانَ عِندَ اللَّهِ عَظِيمًا ﴿

Ya ayyuha allatheena amanoola tadkhuloo buyoota annabiyyi illa an yu/thanalakum ila taAAamin ghayra nathireenainahu walakin itha duAAeetum fadkhuloofa-itha taAAimtum fantashiroo walamusta/niseena lihadeethin inna thalikum kanayu/thee annabiyya fayastahyee minkum wallahula yastahyee mina alhaqqi wa-ithasaaltumoohunna mataAAan fas-aloohunna min wara-ihijabin thalikum atharu liquloobikumwaquloobihinna wama kana lakum an tu/thoorasoola Allahi wala an tankihoo azwajahumin baAAdihi abadan inna thalikum kana AAinda AllahiAAatheema

Hijab of the Sun

"And he said, "Indeed, I gave preference to the love of good [things] over the remembrance of my Lord until the sun disappeared into the curtain [of darkness]." [6]

﴾ فقال اني احببت حب الخير عن ذكر ربي حتى توارت بالحجاب ﴿

Faqala innee ahbabtu hubbaalkhayri AAan thikri rabbee hatta tawaratbilhijab


Hijab Between Allah and the Disbeliever

And they say, "Our hearts are within coverings from that to which you invite us, and in our ears is deafness, and between us and you is a partition, so work; indeed, we are working." [7]

﴾ وَقَالُوا قُلُوبُنَا فِي أَكِنَّةٍ مِّمَّا تَدْعُونَا إِلَيْهِ وَفِي آذَانِنَا وَقْرٌ وَمِن بَيْنِنَا وَبَيْنِكَ حِجَابٌ فَاعْمَلْ إِنَّنَا عَامِلُونَ ﴿

Waqaloo quloobuna fee akinnatinmimma tadAAoona ilayhi wafee athaninawaqrun wamin baynina wabaynika hijabun faAAmalinnana AAamiloon

Hijab Between Allah and the Believer

"It is not fitting for a man that Allah should speak to him except by inspiration, or from behind a veil, or by the sending of a messenger to reveal, with Allah's permission, what Allah wills: for He is Most High, Most Wise." [8]

﴾ وَمَا كَانَ لِبَشَرٍ أَن يُكَلِّمَهُ اللَّهُ إِلَّا وَحْيًا أَوْ مِن وَرَاءِ حِجَابٍ أَوْ يُرْسِلَ رَسُولًا فَيُوحِيَ بِإِذْنِهِ مَا يَشَاءُ ۚ إِنَّهُ عَلِيٌّ حَكِيمٌ ﴿

Wama kana libasharin anyukallimahu Allahu illa wahyan aw min wara-ihijabin aw yursila rasoolan fayoohiya bi-ithnihima yashao innahu AAaliyyun hakeem


Hijab Between Modesty and Immodesty

Hijab in terms of modesty includes behavior, manner, or appearance with the intention to avoid impropriety or indecency.

Men: Hijab of the Eyes

"Tell the believing men to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what they do." [9]
﴾ قُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَغُضُّوا مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ وَيَحْفَظُوا فُرُوجَهُمْ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ أَزْكَىٰ لَهُمْ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا يَصْنَعُونَ ﴿

Qul lilmu/mineena yaghuddoo min absarihumwayahfathoo furoojahum thalika azkalahum inna Allaha khabeerun bima yasnaAAoon

Women: Hijab of the Eyes and Hijab of Modest Dress

Ayat about Khumur (خُمُرٌ), plural of khimar (خِمَارٌ) and it means a piece of cloth for the head; veil or scarf. Allah makes the command that women should pull their khumur, head veils that traditionally hung down their backs, to be pulled around in front to include covering the bosom.

"And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers, their brothers' sons, their sisters' sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed." [10]

﴾ وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا ۖ وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَىٰ جُيُوبِهِنَّ ۖ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَائِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَائِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي أَخَوَاتِهِنَّ أَوْ نِسَائِهِنَّ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُنَّ أَوِ التَّابِعِينَ غَيْرِ أُولِي الْإِرْبَةِ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ أَوِ الطِّفْلِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يَظْهَرُوا عَلَىٰ عَوْرَاتِ النِّسَاءِ ۖ وَلَا يَضْرِبْنَ بِأَرْجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعْلَمَ مَا يُخْفِينَ مِن زِينَتِهِنَّ ۚ وَتُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ ﴿

Waqul lilmu/minati yaghdudnamin absarihinna wayahfathnafuroojahunna wala yubdeena zeenatahunna illa mathahara minha walyadribnabikhumurihinna AAala juyoobihinna wala yubdeenazeenatahunna illa libuAAoolatihinna aw aba-ihinnaaw aba-i buAAoolatihinna aw abna-ihinna awabna-i buAAoolatihinna aw ikhwanihinna aw baneeikhwanihinna aw banee akhawatihinna aw nisa-ihinnaaw ma malakat aymanuhunna awi attabiAAeenaghayri olee al-irbati mina arrijali awi attifliallatheena lam yathharoo AAala AAawratiannisa-i wala yadribnabi-arjulihinna liyuAAlama ma yukhfeena min zeenatihinnawatooboo ila Allahi jameeAAan ayyuhaalmu/minoona laAAallakum tuflihoon




Ayat about Jalabib (جَلاَبِيْبٌ) is the plural of jilbab (جِلْبَابٌ), which means a loose outer garment.

"O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful." [11]

﴾ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُل لِّأَزْوَاجِكَ وَبَنَاتِكَ وَنِسَاءِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِن جَلَابِيبِهِنَّ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ أَدْنَىٰ أَن يُعْرَفْنَ فَلَا يُؤْذَيْنَ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا ﴿

Ya ayyuha annabiyyuqul li-azwajika wabanatika wanisa-ialmu/mineena yudneena AAalayhinna min jalabeebihinna thalikaadna an yuAArafna fala yu/thayna wakanaAllahu ghafooran raheema

Notes

  1. Ibn Kathir - Full Citation Needed
  2. Qur'an [7:46] Surat Al-'A'Raf (The Heights) - سورة الأعراف
  3. Qur'an [17:45] Surat Al-'Isra' (The Night Journey) - سورة الإسراء
  4. Qur'an [19:17] Surat Maryam (Mary) - سورة مريم
  5. Qur'an [33:53] Surat Al-'Aĥzāb (The Combined Forces) - سورة الأحزاب
  6. Qur'an [38:32] Surat Sad (The Letter "Saad") - سورة ص
  7. Qur'an [41:5] Surat Fussilat (Explained in Detail) - سورة فصلت
  8. Qur'an [42:51] Surat Ash-Shuraa (The Consultation) - سورة الشورى
  9. Quran [24:30] Surat An-Nūr (The Light) - سورة النور
  10. Qur'an [24:31] Surat An-Nūr (The Light) - سورة النور
  11. Qur'an [33:59] Surat Al-'Aĥzāb (The Combined Forces) - سورة الأحزاب