Half way done with the Fiqh of Women’s clothing that is part of my Precious Provisions notes, taught by Shaykh Yasir Qadhi…Today we will look at the ‘awrah of women in different scenarios and the requirements of hijab.
‘Awrah of Women
There are three situations:
- In public or when family men or cousins come to visit
The entire body, except for the face and the hands should be covered in front of non mahram men. There is no difference of opinion. There is ijmaa` on this opinion. The ikhtilaaf is over face, hands and feet.
- A woman in front of her mahram male relatives
There is ikhtilaaf (difference of opinion), and there is no specific ruling, therefore it goes back to what is culturally acceptable. A father has a right to tell his daughter to dress in a certain manner. Whatever your father or brother feel comfortable with is what you are allowed to show. For example, if your father or brother are uncomfortable with you wearing a skirt that exposes part of your calves, then you shouldn’t wear it around the home. The sleeves can be half sleeves, etc.
- Women in front of other women
It appears that there is nothing specific for women in front of other women, except for what is men in front of men: which is from the navel to the knee. However, throughout the ages and centuries, when women breastfeed, they don’t necessarily cover in front of other women. It doesn’t mean that they should go around exposing themselves (how disgusting), but if they happen to while breastfeeding, then it is ok.
The shaykh mentioned that he often hears this complaint from women – that Muslim sisters tend to dress inappropriately in front of just women. You should not wear extremely tight clothing in front of other women. There is a level modesty in front of other women. We all know of the hadith of haya` (or shyness) being a branch of iman. Also, a point I’d like to make here, is that dressing immodestly in front of women will make you more immodest in general. I’m not saying that you’ll start dressing bad in public, just that it has an effect on your shyness in general.
Requirements of Hijaab
- That hijaab not be tight or transparent. What is the point of covering yourself with tight clothing? Women actually accentuate their beauty by wearing tight or transparent clothing.
Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Two groups of Hellfire I have yet to see … and the other are women who are clothed yet naked, maa’eelaat mumeelaat, their heads will be like camel-humps. They shall not enter Jannah, nor even smell its fragrance, even though its fragrance can be smelt for such and such a distance.” [Muslim] These women are not naked, but they might as well be.In another hadith, it is narrated that the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam gave a thin cloth to a companion. The sahabi said that he will give it to his wife, to which the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam asked him to have her wear a cloth underneath, for he was afraid that her body would show.
- The hijaab should not be eye-catching in and of itself. If you’re not allowed to shake your feet to draw attention to your ankle bracelets, then how would this be allowed? And by eye-catching, we mean what is eye-catching according to culture. For example, in Saudia, all women wear black. To wear a shocking pink scarf is asking for trouble. You can say that it is haraam for a woman living in that culture to wear pink. In America, there are many cultures, and colored hijaabs are not eye catching, even if they are red.
- It should conform with the general etiquettes of clothing.
- That it covers a woman’s awrah.
- That she wear an outer garment over her regular clothes, that is, a jelbab. Allah clearly mentions the word jelbaab in the Qur’aan. Every society and culture has its own jelbaab, so it doesn’t have to be from country X. There is a cultural element here. From all of the pictures the shaykh showed us from varying cultures, the jelbab is basically a large, loose outer garment. There are many evidences for the requirement of wearing a jelbab, we will mention a few here:
- O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. (Al-Ahzab, 59). The word used here is jalabeeb.
- “And women of post-menstrual age who have no desire for marriage – there is no blame upon them for putting aside their outer garments [but] not displaying adornment. But to modestly refrain [from that] is better for them. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.” (An-Nur, 60) This ayah is talking about the women being able to take off their outer garment at an old age; meaning they can remove something that is fardh for the younger women to wear. This is referring to the jelbab. If it were referring to just the clothes – that wouldn’t make any sense! That would mean that the older women could go around naked! 😛
- The Propeth sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam commanded women to attend ‘Eid, at which one woman said, “O Messenger of Allah! Some of us do not have a jilbab so can we remain at home?” To which the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Let her sister share her jilbab with her.” [Al Bukhari] This is referring to the jelbab as well. You cannot share a head scarf or your actual clothing. An outer garment or cloak, however, could be shared.Another thing to note in the hadith – look at the imaan of the sahabiyyah – their natural inclination was to stay at home if they didn’t have a jilbab. This shows that the status of the jilbab is that it must be worn outside.
- ‘Aa`isha narrates, “The believing women would attend Fajr prayer with the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, wrapped up in their thick cloaks, and then return home after the prayer, and no one would recognize them because of the darkness.” [Al Bukhari]
A jilbaab is larger than a khimaar, but smaller than a lower garment.
Your scarves have to cover your chest.
A sister who exposes her hair but wear loose clothing is doing better hijaab than girl with tight jeans and a tight shirt.
Pants will simply not do the job. They don’t cover the ‘awrah.
For women who don’t wear jilbab yet, the bare minimum could be an extra large scarf.
For men: they are in charge of telling their wife and daughter how to dress. They should tell their sisters but to a lesser extent and in a gentle manner. Brothers – you have no business telling a woman who attends your local halaqa or who is part of the MSA how to wear proper hijab. Leave that to the sisters. (These are shaykh Yasir Qadhi’s words, not mine 🙂
For sisters who wear hijab or not – this is a great support site for hijabi sisters – I Got It Covered