This article was published at the Islamic Awakening web site (


Shariffa Carlo Al Andalusia

In the last few years, I have seen Muslims, become so ignorant of our
religion, as our beloved Prophet warned us, that many of us are being
fooled by those who would have us worship our desires and abandon the
correct worship of Allah.

Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Amr bin Al' As: I heard Allah's Apostle
saying, "Allah does not take away the knowledge, by taking it away
from (the hearts of) the people, but takes it away by the death of
the religious learned men till when none of the (religious learned
men) remains, people will take as their leaders ignorant persons who
when consulted will give their verdict without knowledge. So they
will go astray and will lead the people astray." Sahih Bukhari:
Volume 1, Book 3, Number 100.

We tend to indulge ourselves in "sheikh" hunting when we don't like
what we hear, until we find the "sheikh" who tells us what we want to
hear. It does not matter sometimes who this "sheikh" is or where
he/shs learned or even what level his/her understanding has reached.
If we heard someone call him sheikh or her sheikha, we follow what
they teach. We would never do this with our life matters, yet for our
deen, which extends beyond the limited bounds of our life, we find it
easy. We are supposed to verify that everything that we learn is
supported by the Quraan and the authentic hadiths of our beloved

Narrated Abu Huraira: I said: "O Allah's Apostle! Who will be the
luckiest person, who will gain your intercession on the Day of
Resurrection?" Allah's Apostle said: O Abu Huraira! "I have thought
that none will ask me about it before you as I know your longing for
the (learning of) Hadiths. The luckiest person who will have my
intercession on the Day of Resurrection will be the one who said
sincerely from the bottom of his heart "None has the right to be
worshipped but Allah."

And 'Umar bin 'Abdul 'Aziz wrote to Abu Bakr bin Hazm, "Look for the
knowledge of Hadith and get it written, as I am afraid that religious
knowledge will vanish and the religious learned men will pass away
(die). Do not accept anything save the Hadiths of the Prophet.
Circulate knowledge and teach the ignorant, for knowledge does not
vanish except when it is kept secretly (to oneself)." Sahih Bukhari:
Volume 1, Book 3, Number 98.

Think about this. In explanation of this hadith, Umar bin Abdul Aziz
told us to seek the knowledge of the hadith. Why? Its obvious,
because it is here that we can truely understand the verses of Allah
and stay away from shirk, by applying them as they were implemented
by our beloved Prophet. Any other way is denying the truth of La
ilaha il Allah!

The prophet warned us that there would emerge people, teaching from
their ignorance. And those people are alive and thriving today. This
is especially sad when we know that knowledge of what is truly Islam
is so easy for us to find. We do not have to travel hundreds of miles
on foot, or by steed to acquire knowledge of one hadith. They are all
collected, authenticated and analyzed for us now. May Allah guide us
to the true knowledge.

The latest trend to hit the streets as they say, is the invention of
new interpretations for the verses on hijab. They have discovered, it
seems, something the Prophet, himself, had not discovered. Audhu
billah! At first they claim that the word, "hijab" does not appear in
the Quraan. Which is not true. Hijab is there, in relation to the
mothers of the believers. who are our examples. Also, jilbab and
Khymar, two far more specific terms are there, and they are
specifically directed towards us, the Muslim women, and in observing
these two, we are essentially observing hijab. Since this is so
easily disputed, they have to invent a new loophole. They go on to
say that the verse for the khymar does not say hair. They have taken
a verse and ignored the implementation of this verse as found in the
authentic sunnah or the teachings of the scholars.

Those who are teaching this lunacy have committed two great
violations. One, they are denying the verses of Allah, which in
itself is outright shirk. Second, they are saying that our beloved
Prophet did not understand these verses, because when the women began
to cover themselves completely, he did not correct them. Which he
ALWAYS did when they were wrong!

Narrated Umm Salamah, Ummul Mu'minin: When the verse "That they
should cast their outer garments over their persons" was revealed,
the women of Ansar came out as if they had crows over their heads.
Sunan Abu Dawud: Book 32, Number 4090.


Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu'minin: Safiyyah, daughter of Shaybah, said
that Aisha mentioned the women of Ansar, praised them and said good
words about them. She then said: When Surat an-Nur came down, they
took the curtains, tore them and made head covers (veils) of them.
Sunan Abu Dawud: Book 32, Number 4089.


Narrated Anas ibn Malik: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) brought
Fatimah a slave which he donated to her. Fatimah wore a garment
which, when she covered her head, did not reach her feet, and when
she covered her feet by it, that garment did not reach her head. When
the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) saw her struggle, he said: There is
no harm to you: Here is only your father and slave. Sunan Abu Dawud:
Book 32, Number 4094.

Here, the Prophet was waiting for his daughter to cover from her head
to her feet, the mother of the believers was praising the women for
their understanding and implementation of this verse. If they were
wrong, it would have been correction, not praise. Did our great
Prophet, himself, not understand? Did his beloved daughter not
understand? Did Aisha, the mother of the Believers, who is
undisputedly one of the greatest scholars of al Islam, not
understand? It is inconceivable that the Prophet and these great
woman who lived with and learned from the Prophet himself, would
understand Islam less than these Modern self-appointed scholars of
Islam. May Allah guide them and protect us from them!

Having said this, let me give you the verses relating to the woman's
covering and try to explain them. Allah says:

O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women,
that they should cast their outer garments (Jalbab) over their
persons (when abroad - ie in the public arena): that is most
convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And
Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. 33:59


And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and
guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and
ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they
should draw their veils (khymar) over their bosoms and not display
their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband's
fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers or their
brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or the slaves
whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical
needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and
that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to
their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! turn ye all together
towards Allah, that ye may attain Bliss. 24:31


O ye who believe! Enter not the Prophet's houses,- until leave is
given you,- for a meal, (and then) not (so early as) to wait for its
preparation: but when ye are invited, enter; and when ye have taken
your meal, disperse,without seeking familiar talk. Such (behavior)
annoys the Prophet: he is ashamed to dismiss you, but Allah is not
ashamed (to tell you) the truth. And when ye ask (his ladies) for
anything ye want, ask them from before a screen: that makes for
greater purity for your hearts and for theirs. Nor is it right for
you that ye should annoy Allah's Messenger, or that ye should marry
his widows after him at any time. Truly such a thing is in Allah's
sight an enormity. 33:53

In these verses, we see that we have been commands to wear the jalbab
and the Khymar. What are these things? For a technical explanation,
we find that jalabib, which is used in the verse is the plural of
Jalbab. "Jalbab, is actually the outer sheet or coverlet which a
woman wraps around on top of her garments to cover herself from head
to toe. It hides her body completely." Lisan ul Arab vol 1 p. 273.
The best explanation is that it is what we would today call a burqa
or an abiya.

In explanation of this word, Allamah ibin Al Hazam writes:

"In the Arabic language of the Prophet, Jalbab is the outer sheet
which covers the entire body. A piece of cloth which is too small to
cover the entire body could not be called Jalbab." Al Muhalla, vol.
3, p. 217.

The second piece, the Khymar is from the root Khmr which means
something which veils. As we can see from the term Khamir (alcohol or
any substance which veils the mind). The Khymar was a piece which
covers the head and the breast area as instructed in the verse.

Sheikh Al Albaani was asked about this verse in relation to its
limitations. He explained that it means a covering that goes over the
head, shoulder and breast area, excluding the face. Here is the
exchange in a question/answer

"What is the ruling regarding a woman's wearing a scarf on her head?

Ans. That is not enough - she has to wear a 'khimaar' which covers
the head and chest. The scarf is not loose fitting and does not cover
enough. Should not the shoulders also be covered by it?

Yes, that is the 'khimaar'. It is a wide cover covering the head and
shoulders. When we say that it covers the chest, then it covers the
shoulders since it is wide. But as regards the head-scarf we often
see a woman wearing it revealing a part of the neck due to it, but
the 'khimaar' covers the neck and shoulder, and Allaah ta'aala orders
that saying:


The head-scarf is as they say these days a compromise, and there is
no such thing in Islaam!

Many people hold that the khimaar' is a covering for the face.

Ans. That is ignorance with regard to the language. The 'khimaar' is
a covering for the head and the man also wears the khimaar - putting
it upon his head - the same as for the woman. He ta'aala said:


If the khimaar covered the face then He ta'aala would not say
WALYADRIBNA meaning pull/draw together, but he would have said "let
fall" [ using the verb 'sadala' ]. This is ignorance regarding the

Here we can clearly see the limitations of the piece that covers our
heads. It must be over the shoulders and the breast to fit what is
described in the Quraan.

When we put the two pieces together, what we have is a long dress
jilbab and a head/shoulder/breast cover: khymar. These two pieces
were commanded by Allah. Together they comprise the cover of the
Muslim woman. Now, how do we know how serious it is to not cover? We
find this in the explanations of the verses. We have one particularly
strong hadith which pretty much covers it all.

The Prophet said, "The worst among women are those who freely leave
their homes without hijab. They are hypocrites and few of those will
enter paradise." (Sunan Baihaqi)

Also, In al Qurtubi, Aisha is narrated as having said to some women
from the tribe of the Bani Tamim who were wearing dresses made of
thin material when they were visiting her, "If you are mumin this is
not the type of dress suitable for mumin women. But if you are not
mumin, then do as you please." Also, narrated in Al Qurtubi is a
statement from the mother of the believers, Aisha, that the woman who
does not cover does not believe in surat al Noor. These are very
strong words, for the one who disbelieves in any part of the Quraan
is not a believer and has committed shirk!

So strong is the importance of covering, that we can not even reveal
to others that which is hidden. Abdullah Ibin Masud narrated that the
Prophet said, "A woman should not look at or touch another woman so
that she may describe this woman to her husband in such a way as if
he were actually looking at her." (Bukhari, Abu Dawud)

The covering of the Muslim woman is not an option, it is a privilege
and a commandment from Allah. It is the duty of every Muslim woman
and the responsibility of every Muslim man. For the man was commanded

O ye who believe! save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose
fuel is Men and Stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and)
severe, who flinch not (from executing) the Commands they receive
from Allah, but do (precisely) what they are commanded. 66:6

Now, the words of Allah in commanding us to wear khymar and jalbab
should be enough. Added to that the words of our Prophet and the
explanations from his wives, should be more than enough. Let's add to
that that it is the consensus of the scholars (ijimaa) that
the "hijab" is mandatory, and there should remain no woman who does
not observe it, if she believes in Allah and the last day.

So, knowing this, what is the believing woman to do, except submit to
Allah. And how exactly do we do this. The cover of the Muslim woman
is two pieces: An overgarment (jilbab) and a head/shoulder/bosom
scarf (khymar). It is not pants, skirts, or other... The word in the
Quraan is clear -- jalbab (which is clearly a one piece garment).
Also, the teachings and examples of the mothers of the believers, the
family of the Prophet and the female companions of the Prophet are
enough to show us that these are the only acceptable alternatives.
While pants and skirts were available and known, there is not one
single example of them being utilized as appropriate covering
outdoors. This means they can not be utilized as such today. The
covering has certain limitations and those limitations came from
Allah's commandments, not man (or woman's) desires or

Second, the dress must be loose, and touching (even dragging ) on the
ground. We know this from the following two hadiths.

When the Prophet was talking about Allah not gazing upon the one who
trails his garments in pride,

Narrated Umm Salamah, Ummul Mu'minin: Safiyyah, daughter of AbuUbayd,
said: When the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) mentioned lower
garment, Umm Salamah, wife of the Apostle of Allah
(peace_be_upon_him), asked him: And a woman, Apostle of Allah? He
replied: She may hang down a span. Umm Salamah said: Still it (foot)
will be uncovered. He said: Then a forearm's length, nor exceeding
it. Sunan Abu Dawud: Book 32, Number 4105.


Narrated Dihyah ibn Khalifah al-Kalbi: The Apostle of Allah
(peace_be_upon_him) was brought some pieces of fine Egyptian linen
and he gave me one and said: Divide it into two; cut one of the
pieces into a shirt and give the other to your wife for veil. Then
when he turned away, he said: And order your wife to wear a garment
below it and not show her figure. Sunan Abu Dawud: Book 32, Number

These two hadiths show that the dress must touch the ground and must
be loose. Since we know that they had shoes and socks, and they were
not given as options, then we also know that they can not be taken as
options today. The dress had to cover the feet and the legs. The
commandments of covering never spoke of just covering the skin. They
gave a specific UNIFORM for the Muslim woman. Remember, in the verse
about Jalbab, one of the reasons for it was so that the Muslim woman
should be known as such. This is important for us to remember. We
need to be able to recognize each other, and to be able to be easily
recognized by others. This is one of the primary purposes of the

Also, the dress should not be decorated, making it more beautiful
than what is covered. Allah commands the believing woman to "not
display their beauty" (24:31). and he orders us to " not strike their
feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments" (24:31).
We are not to show the decorations we place on ourselves or even to
allude to that which we hide. Therefore, the things which do show,
the jilbab and the khymar should be devoid of decoration or

Now we have a dress which is plain, long and wide and a plain scarf
which covers the head, shoulders and bossom. The only things showing
should be the face and the hands. now what is face. It is the part we
have to clean in wudu --the circle from the hairline (not including
any hair), to the ears but not including the ears as they are
considered part of the head, to the chin. The hands are from the
wrist down. All else is considered aura (that which is to be hidden)
including the feet which we were told to cover with our dress, not
with socks or shoes. To strengthen this, we have a hadith from Sunan
Abu Dawud. A woman asks Um Salama, " I am a woman who drags herdress
and I walk in the dirty places, what shall I do? Um Salama
answered, "Rasool Allah said 'What is after it purifies it. '"
Therefore, if the dress could be shortened and socks or shoes serve
in their place as sufficient covering, this special right, that the
dress becomes clean for salat by dragging over clean dirt would not
have been necessary or even acceptable. And Allah knows Best.

Last, but not least, because the woman and man are forbidden to
imitate each other and because we can not imitate the Kufar, the
dress also can not imitate the dress of a man (like pants or a thob
or dishdasha) nor can it
imitate the kufar, like trying to make it match the latest kafir
fashions or dressing like a nun. And the dress should never be a
dress of pride.

May Allah guide us all to the best for this life and the next.

May Allah guide our women to the proper dress of the Muslim woman, to
the uniform of the Muslim, to the dress of dignity and piousness.

May Allah keep us from worshipping our desires and guide us all to
the sirat al mustaqeem. Ameen.

Shariffa Carlo Al Andalusia was born in America, and holds an islamic degree conveyed upon her by shuyuk in Mecca, alhamdulillah, and currently resides in the gulf region.  She has written several articles which you will find if you do a web search on her name in several net e-zines.

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