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Is The Hijab REALLY Required?

Posted on: February 15, 2012

In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

Is The Hijab REALLY Required?

A non-hijabi Muslimah recently wrote to me because she is not convinced that the hijab is a requirement in Islam. She asked me to put forward the Islamic evidences of hijab. In this post I will try my best to do just that using Quranic iyas and authentic ahadith.

1. Surat Al Nur: 

– Bism’Allah Al Rahmaan Al Raheem –
And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be protect their private parts, and not to display of their zeenah except that which is apparent, and to draw their headcovers over their juyub, and not to reveal their zeenah save to their own husbands or fathers or husbands’ fathers, or their sons or their husbands’ sons, or their brothers or their brothers’ sons or sisters’ sons, or their women, or their slaves, or male attendants who lack vigour, or children who know naught of women’s nakedness. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And turn unto Allah together, O believers, in order that ye may succeed.” [24:31]
“..and not to display of their zeenah except that which is apparent” 
i.e. they should not show anything of their zeenah to a non-Mahram man, except for whatever it is apparent (clear, impossible to hide..) – most scholars agree that this refers to the hands and face…- …however, slight differences have arisen amongst the scholars concerning the precise meaning of …except only that which is apparent… from Surat Al Nur which according to Ibn `Abaas (RAA), includes “the face, the two hands, and rings. This view is shared by Ibn `Umar, `Ata’a, and others from the Tabi’een.” [Tafseer Ibn Kathir]. Imam Ash-Showkani states that it includes: “The dress, the face, and the two hands”; Ibn `Abaas and Qatadah have stated: “The adornments include eye shadow (i.e., Kuhul), bracelets, hand dye, and rings, and it is permissible for women to (uncover) them.” [Fateh Al-Qadeer]
– ‘Zeenah‘ (adornment) means 2 things: natural beauty and physical adornments e.g. makeup, jewelry etc

– “..draw their headcovers over their juyub..” The women used to cover their hair but leave their necks and bosoms uncovered. This iya makes it clear that women should cover their ‘juyub’ – which most agree refers to the neck and chest area (and some say includes the ribs) – with a head covering. I know that some Muslims use this iya to back their opinion that Islam only requires women to cover their breasts, however, why would Allah (SWT) have mentioned the ‘khimaar’ (a headcover) when telling these women to cover? The Quran is timeless and applies to nations at any time, if the headcover was simply cultural it would not have been mentioned at all.

2. Surat Al Ahzaab:

O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their outer garments about themselves (when they go out). That is better so that they may be recognised and not harassed. And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” [Al-Ahzaab, 33:59]

– Abu Dawood related that Aishah (R) said: “After this Aayah was revealed the women of the Ansar appeared like crows.” (because of the color and shape of the cloaks they wore).

– “ be recognised..” i.e. as Muslim women (would modest clothing alone allow people to recognise you as a Muslim woman?)

3. Ahadith

There are other ahadith on the hijab but these are the ones I have picked to post:

– Aishah (R) said: “May Allah bestow His Mercy on the first Muhajirat (emigrants). When Allah revealed:…and draw their headcovers over their necks and bosoms… they tore material and covered themselves with it.” [Al-Bukhari]
– Usamah ibn Zaid said: Allah’s Messenger (S) gave me a gift of thick Coptic cloth he had received as a gift from Dahiah Al-Kalbi, and so I gave it to my wife. Thereafter the Prophet (S) asked me: Why didn’t you wear the Coptic cloth? I replied: I gave it to my wife. The Prophet (S) then said: Tell her to wear a thick gown under it for I fear that it may describe the size of her limbs. [Narrated by Ahmad, Al-Bayhaqi, and Al-Haakim]
– Narrated by Aishah: Allah’s Apostle used to offer the Fajr prayer and some believing women covered with their veiling sheets used to attend the Fajr prayer with him and then they would return to their homes unrecognized. [Bukhari]
– The Prophet (S) said: There will be in the last of my Ummah (nation of believers), scantily dressed women, the hair on the top of their heads like a camel’s hump. Curse them, for verily they are cursed. In another version he said: …scantily dressed women, who go astray and make others go astray; they will not enter Paradise nor smell its fragrance, although it can be smelled from afar. [At-Tabarani and Sahih Muslim]
Also keep in mind that the concept of ‘hijab’ is not an Islamic one but a command from Allah (SWT) to the Jews, Christians and the all of the monotheistic religions before that. It has only been recently that the question of the obligation of hijab has been risen amongst the Muslim ummah, before it was accepted and expected.
I hope that has cleared up your doubts, if not, perhaps you should focus on some other part of your religion and I am pretty sure you will want to adopt the hijab sooner or later, Insha’Allah 🙂
[written by a sister]

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11 Responses to "Is The Hijab REALLY Required?"

If in doubt, better do than sorry. Why need so many scholars to proof? Cover as much as we can, then pray that that’s what Allah required us to do. Allah know best. Astaghfirrulaahalazeem.
P.S. Shaytan is constantly whispering into our ears “Don’t listen to the scholars, who are they to tell you what to do, who are all these people judging you, you only answer to Allah…”


In all of what you gave, only the Scholars have said to cover the ‘hair’. No where in the Qur’an or Sunnah does it say CLEARLY to cover the hair. Nothing about hairlines, ears, etc. You would think that if it so required that it would have been delt with in more detail.

Hijab is more than just covering your head, it’s covering your body. I knew I muslimah who wore the headcovering part of Hijab and she didn’t pray, fast, or do the rest of the 5 pillars. Just because a Muslim woman wears a covering on her head does not make sure a true Muslim. It doesn’t increase your Iman, it doesn’t make you a better person.

I also knew of a Muslim woman who was VERY modest. Prayed, fasted, made Dawah, gave to the poor, all the 5 pillars. She dressed modestly, acted modest. . . but she didn’t cover her hair. She didn’t wear fancy hair styles, no make up, nothing. She has more Iman than the Muslim woman that covered her hair.

The point is, we don’t know. We just assume because some Scholars say so. In the end only Allâh knows. And as long as we have good intentions Allâh will forgive us. Insha’Allâh


lol really? “And to draw their headcovers over their juyub”,
Allah(swt) just mentioned “headcover”…… what else do you think that means? I dont know of any head cover that doesnt really cover ones hair. I dont get what is so confusing about this verse. Its so clear.. I guess people just want to follow their desires and find excuses. Anyways, Allah(swt) knows best. Peace n love


Think what you want of me, I don\’t care. Today the Ummah is so judgmental of each other, its sad. My intentions are 100% pure, and I don\’t need you or any Scholar to tell me otherwise. May Allah continue to guide us all and Insha\’Allâh one day we can be more caring of one other. Buy don\’t you dare say that I am making excuses. You DO NOT know me.


jazakala khaira


Nice for hijab


SubhanAllah that last part describes this new style girls/women wear their hijab, it really does reflect a camels hump now that I think about it! It never made any sense to me why they wore the hijab this but I have to admit I did have thoughts of trying it just to see how it would look! Scary! ALHAMDULILAH I didn’t, Alhamdulilah, may Allah swt make us firm in His religion, ameen


Very good one.I pray to our muslim sister should adopt this as a means of their daily activities.


very nice…




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