Welcome to Janathi Message

Ramadan 2008 (The Blessed Month)



The status of women in Islam is often the target of attacks in the media. The Hijab or the Islamic dress is viewed by many as an example of degrading women under Islamic law. Before we analyze why islam has perscribed the Hijab for women,
let us first study the status of women in societies before Islam.

Status of women before Islam

The following examples from history illustrate the fact that the status of women in earlier civilizations was very low to the extent that they were denied basic human dignity:

Babylonian Civilization: The women were degraded and were denied all rights under the Babylonian law. If a man murdered a woman, instead of him being punished, his wife was put to death.

Roman Civilization: When Roman Civilization was at the zenith of its ‘'glory’', a man even had the right to take the life of his wife. Prostitution and nudity were common amongst the Romans.

Egyptian Civilization: The Egyptians considered women evil and as a sign of the devil.

Pre-Islamic Arabia: Before Islam spread in Arabia, the Arabs looked down upon women and very often when a female child was born, the child was buried alive.

What is the Hijab

Islam uplifted the status of women and granted them their just rights 1400 years ago. Islam expects women to maintain their status.

People usually only discuss hijab of women. However, in the Glorious Qur’an, Allah (S.W.T) first mentions hijab for men before hijab for the women. The Qur’an mentions in Surah Noor: “Order the Muslim men to lower down their sights a little and to guard their private parts. This is cleaner for them, undoubtedly, Allah is Aware of their deeds”. (Soorah Noor 24:30)

When a man looks at a woman and if any brazen or unashamed thought comes to his mind, he should lower his gaze.

The next verse of Surah Noor, says: “And order the Muslim women to lower down their sights a little and guard their chastity and show not their adornment but as much which is itself apparent and remain putting their head coverings over their bosoms. And disclose not their adornment but to their husbands, or to their fathers, or the fathers of their husbands, or to their or the of sons...” (Soorah Noor 24:31)

Six criteria: There are six criterias that mut be fulfilled, in order to comply to tha Quranic verses.

1. The first criterion is the extent of the body that should be covered. This is different for men and women. The extent of covering obligatory on the male is to cover the body at least from the navel to the knees. For women, the extent of covering obligatory is to cover the complete body except the face and the hands upto the wrist. If they wish to, they can cover even these parts of the body. Some scholars of Islam insist that the face and the hands are part of the obligatory extent of hijab.

All the remaining five criteria are the same for men and women.

2. The clothes worn should be loose and should not reveal the figure.

3. The clothes worn should not be transparent such that one can see through them.

4. The clothes worn should not be so glamorous as to attract the opposite sex.

5. The clothes worn should not resemble that of the opposite sex.

6. The clothes worn should not resemble that of the unbelievers i.e. they should not wear clothes that are specifically identities or symbols of the unbelievers religions.

Inshaallah the next topic we will discuss how this system uplifts a womans status.