How to Hijab :)

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. It should conform with the general etiquettes of clothing.
  4. That it covers a woman’s awrah.
  5. That she wear an outer garment over her regular clothes, that is, a jelbabAllah 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

This entry was posted in AlMaghrib, Women and Islam and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to How to Hijab :)

  1. amm says:

    I think you can wear jeans with hijab… i mean ofcourse i am not talking about skinny jeans but if u wear jeans or pants which are loose……..what do u think? loose pants with a top that covers the bum area??

    • ummibraheem says:

      Just to be clear, these are the teacher’s (Shaykh Yasir Qadhi’s) words and not mine 🙂

      With that said – I know it’s hard to swallow sometimes that wearing jeans/pants is not an acceptable form of hijaab, but that’s just because we were raised to think differently and the thought seems foreign to us. wAllahu ‘Alam.

      And, also, no matter how loose the jeans are, when a sister walks, you can make out the shape of her thighs. wAllahu ‘Alam, just personal observation 🙂

      If you wear jeans/pants at the moment, I would advise to slowly wean yourself off of them 🙂 Slowly put more skirts in your wardrobe and longer shirts, weeding out the pants as you go.

      Before I wore an abaya, I had NEVER thought I would. I always told my friends that I respected it but never saw myself wearing it 🙂 SubhaanAllah. Baby steps 😉

  2. karen says:

    I took this class but I did understand what did he mean by wearing Khimar and jilbab.the khimar should be long(till knee)?could you explain?

    • ummibraheem says:

      wAllahu ‘Alam, but this is what I understood —

      The jilbab he was referring to is the long dress/outer garment we wear over our every day clothes. Also commonly called an abaya 🙂 Shaykh Yasir said that wearing the jilbab is fardh.

      However, Shaykh Yasir said that he realizes this transition may be be difficult for some sisters. For sisters who will find it difficult to wear a jilbab, then inshaAllah it would be alright to wear a very long khimaar (head covering/scarf) paired with a loose top and a skirt. He said that jeans/pants do not constitute hijaab.

      wAllahu ‘Alam I hope that clarifies a little.

  3. Muslimah says:


    I wanted to know if Yasir Qadhi covered the issue about wearing skirts as a form of jelbab. Is it permissible or does the jelbab have to be an outer covering over the skirts as well? I hope you can share the information he covered about this issue.
    Jazakhallah khair

  4. Muslimah says:

    I also wanted to know what he said concerning long summer dresses worn as a form of jalabab by many sisters.
    Jazakhallah khair

  5. ummibraheem says:

    Wa ‘alaykum as salaam wa rahmatullah

    wAllahu ‘Alam, but wearing a skirt does not constitute wearing jelbab (fromw what I understood of what he said in the class). I believe he mentioned this specifically as a lot of sisters do this – wear a skirt and a huge khimaar on top. He said that the jelbab refers to the outer covering. You can see my comment above for additional info.

    What did you mean by long summer dress? Did you mean by itself or over your normal clothes? Either way – I’d rather not answer that, as I don’t know if he mentioned. But jelbab, once again, is the outer garment worn over your every day clothing.

    Allah knows best. May Allah help me and all Muslims in understanding the deen better 🙂

  6. Newbie says:

    AssalamuAlaikum Sister,
    I know its been a while since the lecture, but do you remember if the Shaykh said whether we can take off the jilbab when indoors, like in a gathering but with non-mehram too.

  7. ummibraheem says:

    Sister Newbie — No, i remember this point clearly. The shaykh had said that if a woman is home and there are non mahram men (and that includes non mahram relatives!) then a woman is to observe the same hijab she would outside with non mahram men. wAllahu ‘Alam 🙂

  8. Mohammad Yasrab says:

    I agree with all you wrote, and I think that covering your head is not as much as important as covering the rest of your sexual attributes, you know, your bosom, hips, thighs, atleast mid calves, atleast half of the arms, cleavage, lower neck and of course genitals etc. Cause you see these are the things which actually attract a man and differentiate you from a man. The head cover is a cultural thing, it can be a recommendation, a sunnah perhaps, but I dont agree that its fard, it can be close to fard, but the parts i mentioned above are what are actually fard, what do you think? It matters from society to society, like in KSA I agree, covering your head should be fard, as naturally, it seems immodest to un cover your hair. But here in Pakistan where i come from, uncovering your head is not immodest at all. In fact since the women here all uncover their head, and use their khimars (Dobatta in Urdu) to cover their bosoms instead, so a woman who DOES cover her head gets the most attention, as it looks so unique. So I think its not obligatory to cover your head cuz Allah also never explictily says to do it, but in fact Allah focuses more on the Bosom and the other sexual attributes. The reason I wrote this was to share my views with you guys, plz dont freak out or anything. and I would like it if you do tell me what do you think about my views 🙂 oh and ASSALMUALAIKUM WA RAHMATULLAHI WA BARAKATUHU

  9. ummibraheem says:

    As salaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah

    Just to be clear, the stuff I post on my blog is usually (almost never) my own opinions. If they are rants or reflections, I usually say so 🙂 The majority of my posts are from what other scholars or imams have said or from what I have read in books. I also cite where my information is from–for example, this post was from a class taught by Shaykh Yasir Qadhi (he’s very well known in the US).

    Also, as for you mentioning about the hijab being fardh or not– it is actually not a cultural thing 🙂 I was surprised when I read that in your comment. As I mentioned above, all of the scholars agree on this. wAllahu ‘Alam. I come from a desi background myself, so I know what you are referring to in the cultural aspect.

    I see your point about one wearing hijab sticking out more, but in that case–you should say that any woman living in the west shouldn’t wear hijab. The primary reason for us women wearing hijab is because Allah subhaana wa ta’aala commanded us to, just as that should be the first reason we do anything in life. wAllahu ‘Alam. I get sad when I see Muslimahs defending hijab by saying it’s modest and pointing out other practical reasons women should wear it. The first and foremost reason is that Allah told us to.

    Allah knows best. I appreciate you disagreeing in a polite manner, by the way. jazakAllah khayr for that 🙂 May Allah guide us all to what is right.

  10. mimi says:


    My two cents: I felt when I was wearing a chador it covered my torso more and there was no shape to be seen, it would fall from my head, over my shoulders, down to well below the waist. I felt it hid the pregnancy bump pretty well too.

    Now that Im in jilbab and scarf, I feel no-matter how loose the jilbab, the tummy’s gonna show (-More).

    I know I can always pair up a dupatta or chador with the jilbab, but the general norm is to wear the scarf and i was wondering if there were any styles or options that would incorporate both the full coverage and screening of chador as well as fulfill the requirement of a jilbab.

    Any comments on this? would appreciate any thoughts.

    Plus, I think wear a chador that falls down to the shins/calves fulfills the ‘jilbab’ (a covering OVER your normal clothes) requirement, non?

    • ummibraheem says:

      wa ‘alaykum as salaam wa rahmatullah,

      I agree that the chadar covers a lot better than what a lot of women wear. I hadn’t actually taken strict notes on the abaya section because most of what the shaykh said was what I had previously understood about hijaab. Wearing a tiny hijab (commonly called “amirah” hijabs) on top of an abaya does not constitute hijaab, as that exposes your chest. That’s my understanding, wAllahu ‘Alam.

      The best option would be wearing an abaya/jilbab with a khimar. I’ve never seen anything else that covers as well. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the khimaar that a lot of sisters wear on top of the abaya–it is pretty much a chadar, except that it’s fixed around the face so that no hair shows. Here are some illustrations: (By the way, I have no idea about the site…I just googled khimaar and that was one of the first hits 🙂

      As for your last question about a chadar that comes to the calves as fulfilling the requirement of hijaab…wAllahu ‘Alam, I don’t know if it would. I hope you find something to cover during pregnancy 🙂 I don’t know where you live, I’m guessing the indo-paki region? — but when I was pregnant once I wore huge chadar type things over my abaya and people couldn’t tell I was pregnant.

      On a side note, I don’t know that hiding a pregnant belly is required in Islam. wAllahu ‘Alam. Never heard of it. You should ask an imam/shaykh about that 🙂

  11. mimi says:

    ,,, the arms feel more open and exposed, as does the chest, back, tummy area, waist.

  12. mimi says:

    do you think you can email me or jot down here what he had to say about the face veil?
    would appreciate very much.

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