Quranic guidelines for women’s dress
The Best Garment
“O children of Adam, we have provided you with garments to cover your bodies, as well as for luxury. But the best garment is the garment of righteousness. These are some of God’s signs, that they may take heed.” 7:26
Righteousness is the basic rule of dress code in the Quran. Any woman knows quite well what is decent and what is revealing. Women do not need to be told, they know how to maintain righteousness and how not to. God created the woman and therefore He knows that she can make that distinction, and that is why God set this rule of righteousness as the first rule.
Cover your Bosoms
The second rule can be found in 24:31. Here God commands women to cover their bosoms. But before quoting 24:31 let us review some crucial words that are always mentioned with this topic, namely ‘hijab’ and ‘khimar’.
The word ‘hijab’ in the Quran
Hijab is the term used by many Muslim women to describe their head cover that may or may not include covering their face except their eyes, and sometimes covering also one eye. The Arabic word ‘hijab’ can be translated into veil or yashmak. Other meanings for the word ‘hijab’ include, screen, cover(ing), mantle, curtain, drapes, partition, division, divider.
Can we find the word ‘hijab’ in the Quran?
The word ‘hijab’ appeared in the Quran 7 times, five of them as ‘hijab’ and two times as ‘hijaban’, these are 7:46, 33:53, 38:32, 41:5, 42:51, 17:45 & 19:17.
Not to reveal any of their beauty spots
The third rule can also be found in 24:31. Here God commands women not to reveal their beauty spots except what is normally apparent (face, hair, lower arms and lower legs .. etc).
“They shall not reveal any of their ‘zeenatahhunna’ (beauty spots), except that which is normally apparent.”
Lengthen your Garments
“O prophet, tell your wives, your daughters, and the wives of the believers that they shall lengthen their garments. Thus, they will be recognised and avoid being insulted. God is Forgiver, Most Merciful.” 33:59
When we reflect on the above words, we would understand the great wisdom of God. In this verse, God, deliberately said that women should lengthen their garments, but did not say how long is long. God could have said tell them to lengthen their garments to their ankles or to their mid-calf or to their knees, but He did not. God knows that we will be living in different communities and have different cultures and insists that the minor details of this dress code will be left for the people of every community to decide for themselves, as long as righteousness is always maintained.
Conditions for women’s dress
- Clothing must cover the entire body ,only the habds and face may remain visible.
- The material mus not be so thin that one can see through it.
- The clothing must hang loose so that the shape of the body is not apperent.
- The female clothing must not resemble the man’s clothing.
- The design of the clothing must not resemble the clothing of the non believing women.
- The design must not consist of bold designs which attract attention.
- Clothing should not be worn for the sole purpose of gaining reputation or increasing one’s status in society.
I hope that with this article Muslim women will be able to decide for themselves what sort of life they want in this world, and how they want to be treated on the day of judgement.