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Is the niqab and headscarf an innovation?

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#1 [Permalink] Posted on 4th July 2020 14:03
I am currently convinced the niqab has no place in Islam, unless anyone has evidence otherwise. Please stick to Quran, Hadith and any evidence from the time of the prophet SAW when and if women used to wear these things. I am not here to push anything, just to discuss. I am open to all the refutations I’m likely to get.

Note: I am aware the word hijab is not limited to the headscarf, I am aware even if the headscarf is not mentioned, the verses clearly talk about wearing loose, long, well covered clothing, which I agree is clear and mandatory without a doubt. I would like everyone to tackle this subject factually and sensibly...I know it’s a touchy topic for some.

Concerning hijab. I believe the verses on hijab are too vague to interpret as a head covering. I have read in multiple sources the word Khimar means “a covering” not “head covering” Head covering is rather what the word has evolved to mean. Other than the word Khimar, the words head or hair were not mentioned. Surely if Allah wanted us to cover our heads and hair, it would be said directly, using those words? Surely such an integral part of our religion won’t be revealed in such a way that must be interpreted so doubtfully?

(One of the articles)

What most non-Arabic speakers incline to do is to ask the common Arabic speaking person what a Quranic word may mean today. Of course, a modern day Arabic speaker will most likely give a response based on the 21st century popular rendering of the term if the term is known to them. This is also the case with popular translations which often incorporate popular uses of Arabic terms.

For academics and students of the Quran who study classical languages, this is of little use. For a student of the Quran, one needs to understand what is meant by a word in its classical / Quranic usage to obtain the best meaning given the context. Words often develop in languages and the best meaning of a word needs to be understood in the context that is being studied. Conversely, it is also futile to obtain a classical rendering of a term to understand what a word means in its modern usage.

The Arabic word ‘Khumur’ does not simply imply a head-covering for women as commonly understood in its modern day usage.

It is formed from the root word ‘Kha-Miim-Ra’ which primarily means to ‘conceal or to cover’. A veil is an example of such a covering but it is not restricted to it.

The same root word Kha-Miim-Ra also forms words such as ‘Khamr’ which means something which intoxicates (e.g. wine) as it clouds, obscures, covers and conceals the intellect. Again, the core meaning is derived from the understanding ‘to conceal’

"O you who believe! Strong drink / wine (Arabic: Khamru) and games of chance and idols and divining arrows are only an abomination of Satan's handiwork. Leave it aside in order that you may succeed"

Please note the primary rendering of the word 'Khimar' in John Penrice's 1873 dictionary as 'a covering'. The lexicographer is also correct to note the most popular usage of the word as a veil of the head and face. However this is not the 'primary' meaning.

Information regarding what women wore at the time of Jahliyya (Period of Ignorance) or what their Khimar’s consisted of, are only known to us by traditions and folklore often centuries removed from source and not the Quran. Many of these narratives are well known to be aggressive interpretations against women. The Quran is and undoubtedly remains the primary source of any interpretation of Quranic words. The word ‘Khimar’ or ‘Khumur’ comes from the root ‘Kh-Mim’Ra’ which means something which veils or conceals.

The last point to note is the Arabic word: 'yadribna' which is formed from the root word ‘Da-Ra-Ba’ which in this context means to draw or draw over (as in to cover). This term does not necessarily or exclusively imply that it is to be drawn from a particular location such as the head.

Therefore, a better rendering of the specific part of the verse in question is as follows:

“...And to draw their coverings over their chests” (24:31)
The focus is simply on the chest. If one is to remain true to the classical Arabic and the Quran itself, there is also no implication of ‘hair covering’ by virtue of the word ‘bi’khumurihinna’ which simply means ‘a covering’ in its primary sense. The ‘head-covering’ is just one example which has also become a popular example and often used to interpret the Quran.
(Source- quransmessage)

(Another article)

And say to the believing women to lower their gaze and to guard their private
parts, and not to show their beauty spots except that of it which is normally
shown. They shall also cover their cleavage with their 'khimars'.
The starting point for this inquiry is to address the following questions:
1- Do we see the Arabic words 'shaar' (hair) or 'ras' (head) in 24:31? The answer is no.
2- Are there any words in 24:31, or anywhere in the Quran, which address women with the words 'cover your hair' or 'cover your head'? The answer once again is no.

However, traditional scholars insist that God issued a command for women to cover their hair. They refer to 24:31 to make their claim.

The fact that the words 'hair' and 'head' are not found in 24:31 should be sufficient for any unbiased reader to conclude that there cannot be a command to cover parts of the body if these parts are not mentioned in the first place.
Nevertheless, traditional Muslim scholars manipulated the words in 24:31 in order to enforce women to covering their hair, but in reality they are enforcing their culture on women and claiming it is Islamic!
It is thus the aim of this paper to analyse 24:31 in detail. In the light of the Quran it can be shown that their claims are all based on manipulated interpretations of the text in 24:31.

The claim:

The word khimar in 24:31 is interpreted to mean head cover. And thus it is stated that this word alone makes it obligatory for all women to wear a khimar to cover their hair. Here it is necessary to analyse three issues:

1- What is the correct meaning of the word khimar?
2- Is there a command in 24:31 for women to cover their hair?
3- The law vs the tool.

1- What is the correct meaning of the word khimar?

The Arabic word khimar means cover. Any cover is a khimar. A curtain is a khimar, a table cloth that covers the top of a table is a khimar, a blanket can be called a khimar and so on. Equally, an item of clothing, be it a dress, a blouse, a scarf or any other item of clothing can be called a khimar, because it covers the body. The word khamr, which is used in the Quran for intoxicants, has the same root as khimar. Khamr (intoxicants) is given that name since it covers the mind.

Traditional translators, influenced by hadith and culture, claim that khimar in 24:31 has only one meaning, and that is veil or hijab! As a result, they mislead women into believing that 24:31 commands them to cover their hair! The fact that the word khimar can mean any cover, and not just head cover, is a matter which can be verified by consulting any Arabic dictionary.
In 24:31 God is telling women to use their khimar (cover/garment), which could be a dress, a coat, a shawl, a blouse, a scarf and so on to cover their cleavage/bosoms. The command in 24:31, regardless of the meaning of the word khimar, is to cover the bosom and not to cover the hair.

2- Is there a command in 24:31 for women to cover their hair?

As mentioned, the words 'head' and 'hair' are not found in 24:31. In addition, the word 'hair' is not found anywhere in the Quran. It makes little sense to claim that God made it compulsory for women to cover a part of their body (hair), yet that part of the body is not mentioned anywhere in the Quran!
The law of God in the Quran is given in clear straightforward words. The Quran does not have any crookedness or ambiguity:

An Arabic Quran without any crookedness so that hopefully they may be reverent. 39:28

If God had made it a law for women to cover their hair, and that they will be accountable on the Day of Judgement to obeying such a law, God would have without any doubt said: 'cover your hair'.

3- The law vs the tool

The law in 24:31 = cover the cleavage
The tool = with the khimar

We have in the Quran other examples of verses which speak of a law and a tool:

They ask you what has been made lawful for them, say, "Lawful for you are all good things, including what the trained birds of prey and dogs catch for you." 5:4

The law : It is halal to eat what the trained birds and dogs catch.
The tool : The trained birds and dogs.

Similar to the arrangement in 5:4, the khimar in 24:31 is the tool and the law is to cover the cleavage/bosom.

If we follow the same procedure as those who have turned the khimar in 24:31 (which is the tool), into a law, we would say:
We cannot eat any meat unless it is caught by our trained birds and dogs!
This means that we would have turned the tool (trained birds and dogs) into a law!

It can also be said that the command to cover the cleavage confirms that there is no obligation to cover what is above the cleavage (neck, head and hair). If these parts which are located above the cleavage are also to be covered then why would God single out the cleavage only? It can only be because God did not make it mandatory to cover what is above the cleavage?

What exactly do the words "normally shown" mean?

This phrase in 24:31 is an integral phrase that contributes to the meaning of the whole verse.
God is instructing women to cover their beauty spots except what is "normally shown" of it. So what exactly is what is "normally shown" of a woman's beauty spots?
The correct answer can only be the Quranic answer.
Sadly, those who do not believe God's assurance that the Quran has all the details (6:114), and that it provides explanations for all things (16:89), have sought the meaning of this phrase by consulting other sources such as the hadith, fatwas of clerics or simply the opinion of their local Imam.

Or do you have some book in which you are studying? Do you have in it whatever you choose? 68:37-38

The more lenient among the non-Quranic interpretations quote a hadith in which it is alleged that when prophet Muhammad was asked as to what a woman should cover of her body, he said that all the body of the woman is to be covered except the face and the hands.
The most extreme opinions state that women have to be covered from head to toe apart for two 2 small holes in her niqab/burka from which she can see!

If we leave these non-Quranic sources aside and consult the Quranic verdict, we find that God gave us the answer by stating various reasons for which clothes are necessary for us to wear:

1- God made clothes available to us so that we cover our private parts:

O Children of Adam, We have brought down to you garments to cover your private parts, as well as for adornment, yet the garment of reverence is the best. These are some of God's signs. Hopefully they may remember. 7:26

God made clothes available to all people (male and female) for the purpose of covering the private parts. Wearing clothes for the purpose of adornment is also mentioned in 7:26 but since adornment is a voluntary matter, it need not enter our analysis of 24:31. The instructions in 24:31 are mandatory on women and not voluntary.

2- God made clothes available to us in order to keep us warm:

And He created the livestock for you. They provide you with warmth and other benefits, and from them you eat. 16:5

Clothes are made out of the skins of animals and the wool of sheep and so on. These clothes keep us warm.
The two reasons above are the only reasons mentioned in the Quran for which God made clothes necessary for us to wear. It therefore follows that any parts of the body that do not fall under either of the two categories above are parts that are not required to be covered, and can therefore be classified as "normally shown".

When we consider women's hair, is the hair among what are called "private parts"? The answer is no.
Apart from global areas with freezing conditions, do women in normal circumstances feel cold in their hair? The answer is no.
Therefore, the hair of the woman does not fall under either of the above two reasons for which parts of the body need to be covered. The hair of the woman is therefore among the parts of her body that are "normally shown".

This analysis was based entirely on Quranic evidence and Quranic logic. The Quran, as always, provided us with all the evidence and clues we needed to better understand the meaning of what is "normally shown".

(Second article)

Before presenting the Quranic rules for women's dress, it is essential to be reminded of the following:

1- The Quran is the only source of law authorised by God (6:114).

2- The Quran is complete and fully detailed (6:38, 6:114, 6:89 and 12:111).

3- God calls on His true believers to make sure not to fall in the trap of idol worship by following the words of the scholars instead of the words of God (9:31).

4- God calls those who prohibit what He has not prohibited aggressors, liars and idol worshippers (5:87, 7:32, 10:59, 6:140, 6:150, and 16:116).

The command to follow the Quran alone is spelt out clearly in the Quran, see: Dozen Reasons

The following are the Quranic guidelines for women's dress:

First Rule : The Best Garment

O Children of Adam, We have brought down to you garments to cover your private parts, as well as for adornment, yet the garment of reverence is the best. These are some of God's signs. Hopefully they may remember. 7:26

Revering God is the most important guideline for women when they choose their dress. The righteous reverent woman will know that God is always watching her, she will therefore dress modestly and in line with God's requirements for decency and morality. Any woman knows full well what clothes are considered decent and what clothes are revealing, she will not need to be told. This is why God set the rule of reverence as the first rule.

Second Rule : Cover your Cleavage

The second rule can be found in 24:31. God commanded women to cover their cleavage. Before reviewing 24:31, it is necessary to address some key Quranic words which have been subject to manipulation by those who enforce non Quranic dress rules on women. The two words in question in 24:31 'hijab' and 'khimar'.

The word 'hijab' in Islamic practice vs its use in the Quran

Hijab is the term used by many Muslim women today to describe their head cover. The Arabic word 'hijab' literally means barrier or veil. Other meanings for the word 'hijab' include, screen, cover(ing), mantle, curtain, drapes, partition, division, divider, barrier.

The word 'hijab' is used in 7 Quranic verses. The verses are: 7:46, 33:53, 38:32, 41:5, 42:51, 17:45 and 19:17.

None of these occurrences of the word 'hijab' mean a head cover for women.

God knows that there would come a time when Muslims will use the word 'hijab' to invent a dress code that God Himself never authorised. God used the word 'hijab' ahead of them just as He used the word 'hadith' ahead of them (45:6).

Historical Background:

While many Muslims call 'hijab' an Islamic dress code, they are in fact oblivious of the fact that the concept of 'hijab' has nothing to do with Islam, nor with the Quran.

In fact, the 'hijab' is an old Jewish tradition that infiltrated the hadith books like many innovations that contaminated Islam through the hadith. Any student of Jewish traditions would know that the head cover for the Jewish woman is encouraged by the rabbis and religious leaders.
Religious Jewish women still cover their heads most of the time, especially in the synagogues, at weddings and religious festivities. This Jewish tradition is a cultural not a religious one. Hijab was observed by women of the civilisations that preceded the Jews and was passed down to the Jewish culture.

Some Christian women cover their heads on many religious occasions while the nuns cover their heads all the time. The tradition of covering the head was practiced thousands of years before Muslim scholars claimed the 'hijab' as a Muslim dress code.

The traditional Arabs, of all religions, Jews, Christians and Muslims used to wear 'hijab', not because of Islam, but because of tradition. In Saudi Arabia for example, all men cover their heads, not because of Islam but because of tradition.

North Africa is known for its Tribe (Tuareg) that have the Muslim men wearing 'hijab' instead of women. Here the tradition has the 'hijab' in reverse. If wearing 'hijab' is the sign of the pious and righteous Muslim woman, Mother Teresa would have been the first woman to be counted.

In brief, 'hijab' is a traditional dress and has nothing to do with Islam or religion. In certain areas of the world, men are the ones who wear the 'hijab' while in others the women do.

Mixing religion with tradition is a form of idol-worship since it implies setting up other sources of religious laws besides the law of God.

The word 'khimar' in the Quran:

The word 'khimar' can be found in the Quran in 24:31. While the first basic rule of Dress Code for the Muslim women can be found in 7:26, the second rule of the dress code for women can be found in 24:31. Some Muslims quote verse 31 of sura 24 as containing the 'hijab', or head cover, by pointing to the word, khumoorihinna, (their khimars), forgetting that God already used the word 'hijab', several times in the Quran, but none to mean head cover. Those who are not shackled by pre-conceptions will easily see that there is no command in 24:31 for women to cover their heads. The word 'khimar' does not mean 'hijab' nor head cover. Those who quote this verse usually add the words "head cover" or the word "veil" after the word 'khumoorihinna', usually between brackets. These additions are their own words not the words of God and they are clearly added to the text to imply a meaning not found in God's words. The words of 24:31 are:

And say to the believing women to lower their gaze and to guard their private parts and not to show their beauty spots except that of it which is normally shown. They shall also cover their cleavage with their 'khimars'. They shall not show their beauty spots except in the presence of their husbands, their fathers, the fathers of their husbands, their sons, the sons of their husbands, their brothers, the sons of their brothers, the sons of their sisters, other women, what their right hands possess, the male attendants who have no sexual desire and the children who are yet to attain awareness of women's nakedness. They shall not strike their feet so as to reveal details of their hidden beauty spots. You shall repent to God, all of you, O believers, so that you may succeed. 24:31

The Arabic word khimar means cover. Any cover can be called a khimar, such as a curtain, a dress. A table cloth that covers the top of a table is a khimar. A blanket can be called a khimar, and so on. The word 'khamr', is used in the Quran for intoxicants. It is a derivative of the word khimar. Both words mean: that which covers. The khimar covers a window, a body, a table and so on, while khamr is that which covers the mind. Traditional translators, obviously influenced by hadith and culture, claim that khimar in 24:31 has only one meaning, and that is the head cover. Thus, they mislead women into believing that 24:31 commands them to cover their hair!
In 24:31 God instructs women to use their khimar (cover/garment) to cover their cleavage. Covering the chest can be done by a dress, coat, shawl, shirt, blouse, a scarf and so on.
Third Rule: Not to reveal their beauty spots

The third rule can also be found in 24:31. Here God commands women not to reveal their beauty spots except what is normally apparent such as the head (face and hair), arms, lower legs, etc.

Not to show their beauty spots except that of it which is normally shown.

This expression may sound vague to many because they have not understood the mercy of God. God used the general phrase "what is normally shown" in order to allow women the freedom to decide, at different occasions, what is shown of her body. Righteous women will always make the correct decision so as to conform to the general code of morality, and also according to the time, place and occasion.

The great wisdom of God in granting women this flexible concession can be witnessed every day and in every place. The following example demonstrates the application of this concession:

A woman attending the masjid for prayers, or attending a funeral would wish to wear fairly conservative clothes, but a woman playing sports for example, would wish to wear simple light clothes that do not hinder movement. If God did not grant this merciful concession in 24:31, it would mean that all women would have to wear identical clothes at all occasions!

The word 'zeenatahunna' (beauty spots) in this verse refers to the woman's beauty spots which carry a sexual connotation, examples are: thighs, breasts, back side. At the end of the verse, God tells the women not to strike with their feet to show their 'zeenatahunna'. The way a woman strikes her feet while walking can expose the outlines of certain parts of the body.

For a more detailed analysis of 24:31 please go to: Corruption of 24:31

Fourth Rule : Lengthen your Garments

O you prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to lower their garments. This is better so that they will be recognised and not harmed. God is Forgiver, Merciful. 33:59

When we reflect on the above words, we would understand the great wisdom of God. In this verse, God, deliberately said that women should lower their garments, but did not say any precise details of how much to lower. God could have said to lower their garments to their ankles or to their mid-calf or to their knees, but He did not. God knows that we will be living in different communities and have different cultures. Thus God left the exact amount of lowering of a woman's dress left for women to decide for themselves, as long as righteousness is always maintained.

Some scholars have claimed that the Quran commands women to cover all their bodies and not just lower their garments, for the details please see: Manipulation of 33:59.

Relaxing the Dress Code:

Within a family setting, God put no hardship on women, permitting them to relax their dress code. This is apparent from the words of 24:31 (above). In addition, elderly women who no longer expect to get married can also relax their dress code:

Regarding the elderly post-menstrual women who no longer seek marriage, there is no blame upon them for relaxing their clothes, provided they do not flaunt their beauty spots. Indeed, to maintain morality is better for them. God is Hearer, Knowledgeable. 24:60

Reply to those who claim that a Muslim woman should be covered except for her face:

Many Muslim scholars have invented extreme rules for women's dress which are not found in the Quran. Some say that women should be totally covered except for her face, while others who are even more extreme, say that all women must be covered from head to toe except for two holes for the eyes to see!

1- There are no words anywhere in the Quran which command women to cover all their bodies. Those who preach such un-Quranic rules cannot find words in the Quran to justify this extremity, so they manipulate various words in 24:31 and 33:59 to justify the falsehood.

2- The fact that God says in 24:31 to specifically cover the bosom indicates clearly that there are other parts of the woman’s body that do not have to be covered. To elaborate on the indication of the words in 24:31, let us ponder on the following example:

Think of your house and in it you have a garden. You have a gardener who comes to look after your garden. One day you tell the gardener: please water the area under the big tree and also water the back of the garden.

What does this example tell us?
It tell us that since you specified only areas to be watered, then this is a clear indication that there will be other areas in the garden that are not to be watered. If you wanted the gardener to water the whole garden you would have said: Please water the whole garden.

When we apply this example to the issue of women’s dress code in the Quran, the same principle applies. If God wanted the whole body of the woman to be covered, God would not have specified the chest to be covered, but would have issued a command for all the body to be covered. But since God specifies certain parts of the woman’s body to be covered, then there are other parts that do not have to be covered, as long as they are not beauty spots of a sexual connotation and as long as righteousness in dress is maintained.

3- The command to "lower their garment" also proves that the woman is not commanded to be covered from head to toe. For if that was the case and women must be covered down to their toes, there would be no meaning to "lower their garments". How can a woman lower a garment that is already down to the ground?

(Source- Quran-Islam)
(This one contains a lot on this topic for those who want to read more.)
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#2 [Permalink] Posted on 4th July 2020 14:19
This is what I think
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World Of Allah
#3 [Permalink] Posted on 4th July 2020 14:29

Welcome to the forum.

Are you a Submitter?

1- The Quran is the only source of law authorised by God (6:114).

The Quran also says that we have to follow God's Prophet and his commands!

Anyways, if we have continued with the tradition of Virgin Mary (May God be pleased with her) of covering the head, isn't it a good innovation?
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#4 [Permalink] Posted on 4th July 2020 15:34
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