WOMEN'S DRESS IN THE QURAN 2

WOMEN'S DRESS IN THE QURAN 2

HOW DO BELIEVING WOMEN BEHAVE WITH UNRELATED MEN ?

In talking with unrelated men or strangers the believing women are informed about the type of behavior they should maintain. Allah informs us through the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP): "O Women of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP)! You are not like any other of the women; If you will be on your guard, then be not soft in (your) speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease yearn; and speak a recognized utterance."(1)

"NIQAB" NOT MANDATORY

While identifying the parts of a woman’s body which should be covered, the Quran also gives us evidence to refute the claim of those who associate "Niqab" (Veils, face covers) as an ingredient of a womens dress code ordained by Allah.

THE EXAMPLE OF Saint MARY

Holy Saint Mary the mother of prophet Jesus (PBUH) is mentioned in the Quran as the woman
chosen and purified above all the women of all the worlds.

"And when the angels said: O Mary! surely Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of  all  the worlds."(2)

She has been called as an example for the believers and her conduct is called to exemplify: "And Allah sets forth an example to those who believe...Mary, the daughter of Imran, who guarded her chastity, so We breathed into her of Our inspiration and she accepted the truth of the words of her Sustainer and His books, and she was of, the obedient ones.(3)

In observing her behavior mentioned in the Quran, we see that as she appears from seclusion with young Jesus, her people recognized her. Now had she been wearing a "Niqab" to cover her face, her people would not have identified her immediately as she had appeared from seclusion. This informs us that she was not covering her face i.e. not wearing a "Niqab", as mentioned in the following verses: "And she came to her people with him, carrying him (with her). They (having recognized her) said: O Mary! surely you have done a strange thing. O sister of Haroon! your father was not a bad man, nor, was your mother an unchaste woman. But she pointed to him. They said: How should we speak to one who was a child in the cradle? He (Jesus) said: Surely I am a servant of Allah; He has given me the Book and made me a Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP)."(4)

Mary's recognition by her people indicates that she was not wearing a "Niqab" to protect her face from being seen.

In the Quran there is further evidence which negates the practice of wearing "Niqab". After Allah informs Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) (SAW) about marriage with certain relations He further reminds: "It is not allowed to you to take women afterwards, nor that you should change them for other wives, though their beauty be pleasing to you, except what your right hand possesses and Allah is Watchful over all things."(5)

In the above verse it is clearly mentioned that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) (SAW) was also in a position to see the "Husn" i.e. Beauty of women and this clearly establishes that women not related to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) did not wear "Niqab" or veils to cover their faces when they used to appear in front of him. We must realize that attributing anything to Allah which He has not ordained is a very serious action on our part. Allah has informed us through His messenger that attributing anything to Allah which He did not made as an obligation is "haraam" i.e Forbidden, as the following verse states: "Say: Surely my Sustainer has  prohibited (made haraam) indecencies, those of them that are apparent as well as those that are concealed, and sin and rebellion without justice, and that you associate with Allah that for which He has not sent down any authority, and that you say against Allah what you do not know."(6)

"Niqab" has not been made mandatory by any verse of the Quran, it is a cultural practice of pagan tribes and unbelievers. The Quran also identifies unbelievers who used to cover themselves up with their garments. Allah informs us through Noah: "And whenever I have called them that Thou mayest forgive them, they put their fingers in their ears, cover themselves with their garments, and persist and are puffed up with pride."(7) 

We should strive to in-form and re-form our selves through Quranic guidance. CAN WOMEN TALK TO MEN TO WHOM THEY ARE NOT RELATED (NOT MARRIED)?

UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES ?

In the Quran we have the example of prophet Moses (p) as he is shown to hold a conversation with two women who are not married to him yet. This conversation clearly indicates that women can talk to men  who are not related to them, provided it is for important tasks only and not complacent speech, as complacency in speech is not allowed by verse 33:32. The following verses identify the conversation of Moses with the two women who are not related to him.

"And when he came to the water of Madyan, he found on it a group of men watering, and he found besides them two women keeping back (their flocks). He said: What is the matter with you? They said: We cannot water until the shepherds take away (their sheep) from the water, and our father is a very old man. So he watered (their sheep) for them, then went back to the shade and said: My Sustainer! surely I stand in need of whatever good Thou mayest send down to me. Then one of the two women came to him walking bashfully. She said: My father invites you that he may give you the reward of your having watered for us. So when he came to him and gave to him the account, he said: Fear not, you are secure from the unjust people."(8)

The above example which depicts the conversation of a messenger of Allah with two un-married girls is a clear indicator that women can talk with men who are un related to them provided it is for important tasks only and is done within the limits ordained by Allah.

Continue in the next article: ( WOMEN'S DRESS IN THE QURAN 3 )

NOTES:

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1. (33:32)

2. (3:42)

3. (66:11-12)

4. (19:27-30)

5. (33:52)

6. (7:33)

7. (71:7)

8. (28:23-25)