Posted by: SAKINA AND SARA | March 10, 2009


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What is the correct Hijab?

Shaykh al-Albaani (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

The conditions of hijaab:


(It should cover all the body apart from whatever has been exempted).

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allaah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”

This aayah clearly states that it is obligatory to cover all of a woman’s beauty and adornments and not to display any part of that before non-mahram men (“strangers”) except for whatever appears unintentionally, in which case there will be no sin on them if they hasten to cover it up.

Al-Haafiz ibn Katheer said in his Tafseer:

This means that they should not display any part of their adornment to non-mahrams, apart from that which it is impossible to conceal. Ibn Mas’ood said: such as the cloak and robe, i.e., what the women of the Arabs used to wear, an outer garment which covered whatever the woman was wearing, except for whatever appeared from beneath the outer garment. There is no sin on a woman with regard to this because it is impossible to conceal it.


(it should not be an adornment in and of itself).

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“… and not to show off their adornment…” [al-Noor 24:31]. The general meaning of this phrase includes the outer garment, because if it is decorated it will attract men’s attention to her. This is supported by the aayah in Soorat al-Ahzaab(interpretation of the meaning):

“And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance” [al-Ahzaab 33:33]. It is also supported by the hadeeth in which the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There are three, do not ask me about them: a man who leaves the jamaa’ah, disobeys his leader and dies disobedient; a female or male slave who runs away then dies; and a woman whose husband is absent and left her with everything she needs, and after he left she made a wanton display of herself. Do not ask about them.”

(Narrated by al-Haakim, 1/119; Ahmad, 6/19; from the hadeeth of Faddaalah bint ‘Ubayd. Its isnaad is saheeh and it is in al-Adab al-Mufrad).


(It should be thick and not transparent or “see-thru”)

– because it cannot cover properly otherwise. Transparent or see-thru clothing makes a woman more tempting and beautiful. Concerning this the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “During the last days of my ummah there will be women who are clothed but naked, with something on their heads like the humps of camels. Curse them, for they are cursed.” Another hadeeth adds: “They will not enter Paradise or even smell its fragrance, although its fragrance can be detected from such and such a distance.”

(Narrated by Muslim from the report of Abu Hurayrah).

Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr said: what the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) meant was women who wear clothes made of light fabric which describes and does not cover. They are clothed in name but naked in reality.

Transmitted by al-Suyooti in Tanweer al-Hawaalik, 3/103.


(It should be loose, not tight so that it describes any part of the body).

The purpose of clothing is to prevent fitnah (temptation), and this can only be achieved if clothes are wide and loose. Tight clothes, even if they conceal the colour of the skin, still describe the size and shape of the body or part of it, and create a vivid image in the minds of men. The corruption or invitation to corruption that is inherent in that is quite obvious. So the clothes must be wide. Usaamah ibn Zayd said: “The Messenger of Allaah  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) gave me a thick Egyptian garment that was one of the gifts given to him by Duhyat al-Kalbi, and I gave it to my wife to wear. He said, ‘Why do I not see you wearing that Egyptian garment?’ I said, ‘I gave it to my wife to wear.’ He said, ‘Tell her to wear a gown underneath it, for I am afraid that it may describe the size of her bones.’” (Narrated by al-Diyaa’ al-Maqdisi in al-Ahaadeeth al-Mukhtaarah, 1/442, and by Ahmad and al-Bayhaqi, with a hasan isnaad).


(It should not be perfumed with bakhoor or fragrance)

There are many ahaadeeth which forbid women to wear perfume when they go out of their houses. We will quote here some of those which have saheeh isnaads:


  1. Abu Moosa al-Ash’ari said: the Messenger of Allaah  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Any woman who puts on perfume then passes by people so that they can smell her fragrance, is an adulteress.”

  2. Zaynab al-Thaqafiyyah reported that the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If any one of you (women) goes out to the mosque, let her not touch any perfume.”

  3. Abu Hurayrah said: the Messenger of Allaah  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Any woman who has scented herself with bakhoor (incense), let her not attend ‘Ishaa’ prayers with us.”


  5. Moosa ibn Yassaar said that a woman passed by Abu Hurayrah and her scent was overpowering. He said, “O female slave of al-Jabbaar, are you going to the mosque?” She said, “Yes,” He said, “And have you put on perfume because of that?” She said, “Yes.” He said, “Go back and wash yourself, for I heard the Messenger of Allaah  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: ‘If a woman comes out to the mosque and her fragrance is overpowering, Allaah will not accept any prayer from her until she goes home and washes herself.’”




These ahaadeeth are general in implication. Just as the prohibition covers perfume applied to the body, it also covers perfume applied to the clothes, especially in the third hadeeth, where bakhoor (incense) is mentioned, because incense is used specifically to perfume the clothes.

The reason for this prohibition is quite clear, which is that women’s fragrance may cause undue provocation of desires. The scholars also included other things under this heading of things to be avoided by women who want to go to the mosque, such as beautiful clothes, jewellery that can be seen, excessive adornments and mingling with men. See Fath al-Baari, 2/279.

Ibn Daqeeq al-‘Eed said:

This indicates that it is forbidden for a woman who wants to go to the mosque to wear perfume, because this causes provocation of men’s desires. This was reported by al-Manaawi in Fayd al-Qadeer, in the commentary on the first hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah quoted above.


(It should not resemble the clothing of men)

It was reported in the saheeh ahaadeeth that a woman who imitates men in dress or in other ways is cursed. There follow some of the ahaadeeth that we know:


  1. Abu Hurayrah said: “The Messenger of Allaah  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) cursed the man who wears women’s clothes, and the woman who wears men’s clothes.”

  2. ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: ‘They are not part of us, the women who imitate men and the men who imitate women.’”

  3. Ibn ‘Abbaas said: “The Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) cursed effeminate men and masculine women. He said, ‘Throw them out of your houses.’” He said: “The Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) expelled So and so, and ‘Umar expelled So and so.” According to another version: “The Messenger of Allaah  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) cursed men who imitate women and women who imitate men.”

  4. ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr said: “The Messenger of Allaah  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘There are three who will not enter Paradise and Allaah will not even look at them on the Day of Resurrection: one who disobeys his parents, a woman who imitates men, and the duyooth (cuckold, weak man who feels no jealousy over his womenfolk).”


  6. Ibn Abi Maleekah – whose name was ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Ubayd-Allaah – said: “It was said to ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her), ‘What if a woman wears (men’s) sandals?’ She said: ‘The Messenger of Allaah  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) cursed women who act like men.’”




These ahaadeeth clearly indicate that it is forbidden for women to imitate men and vice versa, This usually includes dress and other matters, apart from the first hadeeth quoted above, which refers to dress only.

Abu Dawood said, in Masaa’il al-Imaam Ahmad (p. 261): “I heard Ahmad being asked about a man who dresses his slave woman in a tunic. He said, ‘Do not clothe her in men’s garments, do not make her look like a man.” Abu Dawood said: “I said to Ahmad, Can he give her bachelor sandals to wear? He said, No, unless she wears them to do wudoo’. I said, What about for beauty? He said, No. I said, Can he cut her hair short? He said, No.”


(It should not resemble the dress of kaafir women).

It is stated in sharee’ah that Muslims, men and women alike, should not resemble or imitate the kuffaar with regard to worship, festivals or clothing that is specific to them. This is an important Islamic principle which nowadays, unfortunately, is neglected by many Muslims, even those who care about religion and calling others to Islam. This is due either to ignorance of their religion, or because they are following their own whims and desires, or because of deviation, combined with modern customs and imitation of kaafir Europe. This was one of the causes of the Muslims’ decline and weakness, which enabled the foreigners to overwhelm and colonize them. “…Verily, Allaah will not change the condition of a people as long as they do not change their state themselves …” [al-Ra’d 13:11 – interpretation of the meaning]. If only they knew.

It should be known that there is a great deal of saheeh evidence for these important rules in the Qur’aan and Sunnah, and that the evidence in the Qur’aan is elaborated upon in the Sunnah, as is always the case.


(It should not be a garment of fame and vanity).

Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Whoever wears a garment of fame and vanity in this world, Allaah will clothe him in a garment of humiliation on the Day of Resurrection, then He will cause Fire to flame up around him.’”

(Hijaab al-Mar’ah al-Muslimah, p. 54-67).

And Allaah knows best.

Hijaab al-Mar’ah al-Muslimah, p. 54-67



  1. I have Allah and Islam to thank for. Allah and Islam have liberated me from the human shackles of oppression and of debilitating ignorance. I wear the hijab as acknowledgment of this liberation that can only come from Allah and His Last Messenger, Nabi Muhammad SAW. All Muslims are overwhelmingly humbled that Allah has perfected His Favor upon His creatures by giving to us Islam as ad–deen along with The Prophet as Mercy to Mankind. Indeed, we now have nothing whatsoever to fear except Allah swt.

    Some very young Muslim women approached me. They expressed their anxiety over the fact that academic policies have compelled them to take off their hijab, specifically the head veil or khimar. School authorities ordered them as nursing students to take off their head veils while they are on hospital duty in the course of their RLE practicum. Naturally, these veiled Muslimah are naturally apprehensive. School authorities quashed their mild protestations with the following lame, controversial, and debatable reasons: that the veil is dirty (this is either a slanderous or libelous statement); that the veil is just a cultural costume or worse a fashion just because some Muslims wear hijab while others do not (highly fallacious); and that seeing veiled nurses on duty has traumatized hospital patients (are they running out of lucid alibi? Even, surgeons have to be fully clothed in sterilized gowns even their masks resemble the niqab except the color of course).

    This brought to mind a similar hijab incident at Pilar College. Pilar College’ authorities steadfastly refused to listen to the imploration of Muslim parents on behalf of their veiled daughters. They adamantly reasoned that no one forced them to enroll their children at Pilar College and so they have to conform to school regulations just as non–Muslim OFWs have to conform to Muslim countries’ legal compulsion for the former to wear the veil.

    During the Magna Carta for Women Conference organized by Cong Beng G. Climaco, we lobbied for the rights for equal educational opportunity for Muslim women in the Philippines. I observed that infringement on the Muslim student’s right to wear the veil is a result of profound ignorance of its divine merit and significance. Asking a Muslimah to take off her veil is not as ordinary as asking her to take off her hat; or as mundane as asking her to take off her coat; or as simple as asking her to take off her shoes. In Islam, the female body, excepting the face and the hands, is considered “private parts” (awrat or juyyubihinna), and thus, the Qur’an ( XXIV: 31; XXXIII:59) and Ahadeeth have so decreed that it must be covered before public eyes and even in private; i.e. home if in the midst of prohibited or restricted males. Thus, the school authorities are unaware that asking a Muslim student to take off her head veil is tantamount to asking her to strip off her unmentionables, her undergarments, or her underpants! Thus, such action is an encroachment upon her right to privacy; it is synonymous to stripping her nude or to physical transgression.

    A Muslimah who wears the veil by choice, in her obedience and worship of Allah as the Supreme Being fundamentally understands the wisdom of being covered. It is a protection of her hayya modesty or chastity just as the habit is as vital to a nun. How would a nun feel if one violates her habit? The hijab of a Muslimah is her shield from the penetrating bullet of evil desires of nafs/hawwa just as a knight cover himself with an armor or a cop protect himself with a bulletproof vest. How would a cop feel if he is deprived of his armor? One Muslimah in the name of Danah Quijano said, “It is my life; Islam is my life!” Armed with her faith in Allah, rather than disobey Allah and resolute in safeguarding her chastity, she chose to deprive herself of a nursing career and shifted to RadTech. If you take off my veil, you are killing me! I understand Danah’s predicament, I resonate her sentiments; and I know many Muslimah empathize with her. How would an astronaut feel if he is deprived of his spacesuit which to him is his lifeline?

    Such incidents trigger worst memories in the mid–1990s of students being expelled from schools and by some of them who countered by successfully suing the French government; of one French student who staunchly fought for her Islamic aqeedah and shaved off her hair in defiance of the educational ban. She declared: “My decision to shave my head is dignified than committing sins by taking off my hijab….” When “religious freedom in France was restricted by a law which outlawed religious proselytizing by persons of all faiths,” the French Minister of Education severely interpreted such law as banning the wearing of the hijab. Thus, he ordered the expulsion from schools of all female students who wore the hijab. President Jacques Chirac of France was even quoted to have pronounced this statement: “Wearing a veil, whether we want it or not, is a sort of aggression that is difficult for us to accept.” The Roman Catholic Cardinal Jean–Marie Lustiger was alarmed that enacting a law banning the wearing of hijab in public schools would encourage an aggressive anti–religious trend. He commented, “This clumsy law risks reopening … a religious war.”

    It is clear that the State and International Laws affirm the right to Islam and the right to wear the veil by Muslims is a fundamental right in as much as it is a substantive right; and for these very reasons it is ordained to be inalienable. The 1987 Constitution of the Philippines declares: The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable. (Article II, Section 6), and that, No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights. (Article III, Section 5).

    Furthermore, the right to freedom of religion and the exercise of it is entrenched in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). In the Philippines, Islam, as a comprehensive ad–deen or way of life is also a deeply significant part of the cultural and ethnic identity of the Bangsamoro people. As such the Muslim Filipinos’ freedom of religion is protected as both a cultural right by Article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and as a right of minority groups by Article 27 of the ICCPR which states: In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, or to use their own language.

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