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The Conditions for the Proper Hijaab

Second: An explanation of the conditions required for the Hijaab to fulfill its religious objective. Below is a list of the Hijaab’s necessary conditions: 1. The Hijaab must cover a woman’s entire body, based on Allaah’s statement: “O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the believing women to cast their jalaabeeb over themselves (i.e. their bodies).” [33:59] You have already come to know from what we have written previously that the jilbaab is a long garment that is ample enough to cover the entire body and that the meaning of the word idnaa (to cast) is “to lower” and “to let down” as was stated previously. 2. The garment must be thick, not thin and transparent. This is since the objective of the Hijaab, which is to veil a woman’s entire body and her hidden and apparent adornment, cannot be achieved with a thin garment. Therefore, that which a great amount of covered women wear today, which they call the ‘abaa’ah (cloak) or the malaa’ah (mantle), but which are transparent and describe the skin, such that the onlooker can see what lies beneath the garment, is not considered a legitimate Hijaab since it only brings about an increase in her ability to entice (men) with her attractive and alluring features. And yet they only wear it so that it could be said: “They are wearing Hijaab.” So we seek Allaah’s refuge from deception, the harm of which only falls on those who love and are infatuated with it. 3. The Hijaab must not be a source of decoration in itself, such as by it being colorful and flashy, causing eyes to turn towards it and hearts to be diseased (with temptation). We explained previously the meaning of Allaah’s saying: "And (tell the believing women) not to display their zeenah (adornment) except for that which is apparent from it.” [24:31] So since it is this way, then every Hijaab that does not prevent the display of one’s adornment in front of male-strangers, is not a valid Hijaab. 4. It must be ample and loose, since a tight garment outlines the body and reveals it in front of male strangers. So it goes against the objective that is sought after from the obligation of Hijaab. Furthermore, from the various types of tight clothes is that which is called pants, since it does not properly cover what it goes over. On top of that, it describes and outlines the body, as well as resembling the dress of men, and the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) cursed: “The man who wears a woman’s garment and the woman who wears a man’s garment.” [Reported by Abu Dawood and An-Nasaa’ee] 5. It is also required for the Hijaab not to be perfumed, since fragrances cause men’s desires to be incited and for them to be tempted, against their wills. So a woman who does this carries the sin of her action as well as the sin of those who respond to her active call to this type of fornication. It is reported in a hadeeth collected by the Sunan compilers and others that the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Indeed, when a woman perfumes herself and then passes by a gathering, she is such and such” – meaning a fornicator. And in another narration, he (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Verily, when a woman perfumes herself and then passes by a group of people such that they can smell her scent, she is a fornicator.” These, O Muslim brothers and sisters, are the conditions required for the Hijaab to achieve its intended objective. So we must fear Allaah and be dutiful to Him by obeying what He has commanded and abstaining from what He has forbidden, and by following His Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), for indeed this brings success in both this life and the next.


SOURCE: His treatise "Wujoob Sitr-il-Wajhi wal-Kafayn"


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