As debate rages about the choices of Aisha Ahmad, Knottedpost is publishing the following letter, It was originally attributed to Queen Rania of Jordan by the Arab Times. Although the authorship is since a subject of dispute we feel it is relevant as it raises important issues concerning Islamic religious sciences:
God, the Most Gracious, Most Merciful, insists on making His religion easy, practical and enjoyable for His true believers. God also told us that those who reject Him or His books are making life miserable for themselves and for heir loved ones who follow in their footsteps. He reminds us in the Quran that He has placed no hardship on us in practicing our religion (see Quran 22:78) God established also several rules in His book, the Quran, for His TRUE believers. Breaking any of His rules or refusing any of them means loss, misguidance, misery and eternal suffering. To understand a topic like the DRESS CODE for Muslim Women, we need to review quickly some of these rules established by our Creator, God Almighty, to whom we will be responsible for our deeds. Every rule is important and every rule is meant to be.
(1) The Quran is a complete book, See Quran 6:19,38,114, 115, 12:111 and 50:45. Remember that when God says that His book is complete, it means 100% complete.
(2) The Quran is perfect; no mistakes, no falsehood, no nonsense. See Quran 41:42,12:40, 30:30, 30:43 and 98:5
(3) The Quran is detailed, and when God says He detailed His book it means FULLY detailed. God does not do half jobs. See Quran 6:114, 7:52, 11:1, 41:3, 10:37 and 12:111
(4) God does not need any addition to His book. God teaches us in the Quran that He does not run out of words and that if He so willed He could have given us hundreds, thousands or millions of books besides the Quran (see Quran
18:109). Since the Quran is complete, perfect and fully detailed, God did not give us any more books.
(5) God calls His book, the Quran, the BEST HADITH. HE called on His true believers to accept no other hadiths as a source of this perfect religion . See Quran 7:185, 31:6, 39:23, 45:6, and 77:50.
(6) God calls on His true believers to make sure not to fall in the trap of idol-worship by following the words of the scholars instead of the words of God. See Quran 9:31
(7) God calls those who prohibit what He did not prohibit, aggressors, liars and idol-worshipers. Idol-worship is the only unforgivable sin, if maintained till death. See Quran 5:87, 9:37, 7:32, 6:119, 6:140 and 10:59.
(8) Muhammed is represented only by the Quran. The Prophet Muhammed was the last Prophet and a messenger of God (See Quran 33:40). He was not the messenger of God because of who he (Muhammed) was, but because he was given the Quran (the message) to deliver to the world. The religion of Islam is a religion of God, not about Muhammed, who was blessed by God with the delivery of the message of the Quran. He did not have an agenda of his own. His job was to deliver to the world what God was giving him, the Quran. See Quran 42:48, 13:40, 5:99-100 Muhammed cannot prohibit things, or make lawful things on his own. When he tried to do that God admonished him publicly, see Quran 66:1 66:1 reminds us that God is the only ONE to prohibit or make things lawful. NO ONE can attribute to Muhammed a prohibition that God did not give him in the Quran. Anyone who tries to do so is admitting his/her refusal of God’s words and commandments in the Quran.
(9) The TRUE believers KNOW that when God says something, He means it, and when He does not, he means it as well. Everything given to us in the Quran was done deliberately and everything left out was also left out deliberately. God does not forget. See Quran 19:64. We are not to add to this religion what God deliberately left out and claim it to be from Him or His messenger. His messenger has only ONE message, the Quran. God already told us He does not run out of words. See Quran18:109
(10) God does not need us to improve on His book, the Quran, but we very much need Him for every aspect of our lives. Those who think they have some mprovement on the Quran are but asking for recognition of their idols as gods besides the ONE and ONLY GOD.
(11) God calls on His TRUE believers to verify every piece of information they see, hear or read, see Quran 17:36. So, Please VERIFY for yourself. THREE RULES FOR WOMEN DRESS CODE IN ISLAMFIRST RULE: THE BEST GARMENT See Quran[7:26] This is the BASIC rule of DRESS CODE in the Quran. This is the first rule in WOMEN DRESS CODE in Islam. SECOND RULE: COVER YOUR BOSOMS The second rule can be found in Quran 24:31. Here God orders the women to cover their bosoms whenever they dress up. 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 manyMuslims 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,”. See Quran 7:46, 33:53, 38:32, 41:5, 42:51, 17:45 and 19:17. None of these “Hijab” words are used in the Quran in reference to what the traditional Muslims call today (Hijab) as a dress code for the Muslim woman.God knows that generations after Muhammed’s death the Muslims will use the word “Hijab” to invent a dress code that He never authorized. God used the word “Hijab” ahead of them just as He used the word “Hadith” ahead of them. Hijab in the Quran has nothing to do with the Muslim Women dress code.HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: While many Muslims call “Hijab”, an Islamic dress code, they completely ignore the fact that, Hijab as a dress code has nothing to do with Islam and nothing to do with QURAN. “Hijab” or veil can be traced back to early civilizations. It can be found in early and late Roman and Greek art. The evidence can be seen in archeological discoveries whether in pottery fragments, paintings or recorded civil laws. In Greco-Roman culture, both women and men wore head covering in religious contexts. The tradition of wearing the veil (by women) and the headcover (by
men) was then adopted by the Jews who wrote it in the Talmud then the Christians adopted the same. A well respected Rabbi once explained to a group of Jewish young women, “We do not find a direct command in the Torah mandating that women cover their heads, but we do know that this has been the continuing ustom for thousands of years.” After the prophet Muhammad’s death , the writers of the hadith books adopted and encouraged the ancient tradition of head covering. Hadith book’ writers took after the Jews as they did with many other traditions , and alleged them to the prophet since the Quran did not command it. Any student of the Jewish traditions or religious books will see that head cover for the Jewish woman (and men) has been encouraged by the Rabbis and religious leaders. Observant Jewish women still cover their heads most of the time and specially in the synagogues, weddings, and religious festivities. Christian women cover their heads in many religious occasions while the nuns cover their heads all the time. As we can expect the traditional Arabs, of all religions, Jews, Christians and Muslims used to wear head cover, or “Hijab,” not because of Islam, but because of tradition. In Saudi Arabia, up to this day most of the men cover their heads , not because of Islam but because of tradition. North Africa is known for its Tribe (Tuareg) that have the Muslim men wearing “Hijab” instead of women. Here the tradition has the hijab in reverse. If wearing Hijab is the sign of the pious and righteous Muslim woman, Mother Teresa would have been the first woman to be counted.
In brief, hijab is a traditional dress and has nothing to do with Islam or religion. In certain areas of the world, men are the ones who wear the hijab while in others the women do. Mixing religion with tradition is a form of idolworship, since the followers of traditions are following laws from sources other than God’s scriptures and claim it to be from God. Idolworship is the only unforgivable sin if maintained till death. Ignoring what God asks you to do in His book, or following innovated laws not stated in the the Quran, is a clearsign of disregarding God and His message. When tradition supersedes God’s commandment, the true religion takes a second place. God never accepts to be second,God has to be always the FIRST and to HIM there is no second.
THE WORD “KHIMAR” in the QURAN: Khimar” is an Arabic word that can be found in the Quran in 24:31 While the irst basic rule of Dress Code for the Muslim Women can be found inQuran 7:26, the second rule of the DRESS CODE FOR WOMEN can be found in Quran 24:31. Some Muslims quote verse 31 of sura 24 as containing the Hijab, or head cover, by pointing to the word, khomoorehenna, (from Khimar), forgetting that God already used the word Hijab, several times in the Quran. Those blessed by God can see that the use of the word “Khimar” in this verse is not for “Hijab” or for head cover. Those who quote this verse usually add (Head cover) after the word Khomoorehenna, and usually between ( ), because it is their addition to the verse not God’s. See Quran 24:31 “Khimar” is an Arabic word that means, cover, any cover, a curtain is a Khimar,
a dress is a Khimar, a table cloth that covers the top of a table is a Khimar, a blanket can be used as a Khimar..etc. The word KHAMRA used for intoxicant in Arabic has the same root with Khimar, because both covers, the Khimar covers (a window, a body, a table . . . etc.) while KHAMRA covers the state of mind. In Quran 24:31 God is asking the women to use their cover (khimar)( being a dress, a coat, a shawl, a shirt, a blouse, a tie, a scarf . . . etc.) to cover their bosoms, not their heads or their hairs. If God so willed to order the women to cover their heads or their hair, nothing would have prevented Him from doing so. GOD does not run out of words. GOD does not forget. God did not order he women to cover their heads or their hair. God does not wait for a Scholar to put the correct words for Him! The Arabic word for CHEST, GAYB is in the verse (24:31), but the Arabic words or HEAD, (RAAS) or HAIR, (SHAAR) are NOT in the verse. The commandment in the verse is clear – COVER YOUR CHEST OR BOSOMS. The last part of the verse (24:31) show us that the details of the body can be revealed or not revealed by the dress you wear, not by your head cover. Notice also the expression in 24:31, This expression may sound vague to many because they have not understood the mercy of God. Again God here used this very general term to give us the freedom to decide according to our own circumstances the definition of “What is necessary”. It is not up to a scholar or to any particular person to define this term. God wants to leave it personal for every woman and no one can take it away from her. Women who follow the basic rule number one i.e. righteousness, will have
no problem making the right decision to reveal only which is necessary.THIRD RULE : LENGTHEN YOUR GARMENTS The first regulation of DRESS CODE for Muslim women is in Quran 7:26, the second is in Quran 24:31 and the third is in Quran 33:59
In Quran 33:59, God sets the other regulation for the dress code for the Muslim women during the prophet’s life. Although the verse is talking to the prophet which means this regulation applies to the time of the prophet, just like the order in Quran 49:2, the description fits the spirit of Islam, and can teach us a great deal. f you reflect on this verse and how God ordered the prophet to tell his wives, his daughters and the wives of the believers to lengthen their garments, you would understand the great wisdom of the MOST WISE, the MOST MERCIFUL. In this verse, God, DELIBERATELY, (and all the TRUE believers know that everything GOD says, does, or did is DELIBERATE) said, tell them, to lengthen their garments, and never said 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. He did not, OUT OF HIS MERCY, not because HE FORGOT as God does not forget. 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 hammer for themselves. It isclear from the above verses that the DRESS CODE for the Muslim women according to the Quran is righteousness and modesty. God knows that this modesty will be understood differently in different communities and that is why He left it open to us to decide for ourselves. Decide, after righteousness what is modesty. Modesty for a woman who lives in New York may not be accepted by a woman who lives in Cairo Egypt. Modesty of a woman who lives in Cairo, Egypt may not be accepted by a woman who lives in Saudi Arabia. Modesty of a woman who lives in Jidda in Saudi Arabia may not be accepted by a woman who lives in a desert oasis in the same country. This difference in the way we perceive modesty is well known to God, He created us, and He put NO
hardship on us in this great religion. He left it to us to decide what modesty would be. For any person, knowledgeable or not to draw a line and make conclusion for God about the definition of modesty is to admit that he/she knows better than God. God left it open for us and no-one has the authority to restrict it, it has to stay open. The word “zeenatahunna” in this verse refers to the woman’s body parts (beauty) that can be exaggerated by the movement of the body while walking and not to the artificial ornaments and decorations as some people interpret it or translate it. At the end of the verse, God told the women not to strike with their feet to show their “zeenatahunna.” Striking the feet while walking can emphasize , exaggerate or shake certain parts of the body that do not need to be emphasized. It is important to remember that striking the feet while walking does not have this effect on the head, hair or face, they are not part of what God calls in this verse the hidden zeena. Accepting orders from anybody but God, means idol-worship. That is how serious the matter of Hijab/khimar is. Women who wear Hijab because of tradition or because they like it for personal reasons commit no sin, as long as they know that it is not part of this perfect religion. Those who are wearing it because they think God ordered it are committing Idol-worship, as God did not order it, the scholars did. These women have found for themselves another god than the One who revealed the Quran, complete, perfect and FULLY detailed to tell them they have to cover their heads to be Muslims. Idol-worship is the only unforgivable sin, if maintained till death, See Quran 4:48. RELAXING THE DRESS CODE: In the family setting, God put no