So obviously, if a Muslimah is going to imitate anyone, it should be the women of the early Sahaba right, so does that mean that modern (this time period) clothing is out of the question? I know alot of sisters have heard that the only option that they have is to wear a traditonal abaya as an overgarment. Whoever has taught them this usually uses the hadith above "whoever imitates a people is one of them” to prove the ruling that an overgarment must consist of one solid, opaque piece. I am an abaya girl myself but I know that solely using a hadith and establishing it as a ruling is incorrect. Ayat from the Qu`ran and ahadith are the raw materials which the jurists use to provide the istilaal (rulings).
Answer is, it doesn't, but one has to be very careful of not to compromise the conditions of hijab which modern and cultural clothing is often ill-designed for. The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam advised us to take what is good of culture and leave what is bad of it (what goes against the teachings of Islam). Islam accepts (and indeed absorbs) the cultures and traditions of other societies on the condition that they do not violate the Shariah. The wording of the hadith [in question] is general and on the face of it seems to suggest that *any* emulation/imitation makes you from that nation, additionally, as stated, it doesn’t suggest that it is a bad thing (being from the nation you emulate) since the Qur’an has stated “We have made you into nations so that you may know one another”, so immediately there is a problem of defining what is meant by the hadith.
We can find evidence in the Sunnah that suggests that Muslims are to refrain from any unislamic behaviour (doing things that could be seen as unislamic behaviour such as displaying sexual beauty or ostentatious displays of wealth or pride of affiliation with any other group other than Islam in their public clothing, as well as doing anything that might leave some doubt in the minds of the disbelievers if you are a Muslim or not, or idenifies you as following a practice of the disbelievers that is forbidden or disaproved of in Islam). Think of when the call to prayer was being designed for example. The Muslims could have used either the horn or Jews or the bell of the Christians to announce when salat was to begin, but that might have confused people and led to people assuming they were other than the Muslims. If your clothing or appearence is confusing as such (even if is meets all the requirements or what must be covered and what that garment consists of) then it fails to meet the requirements of the hadith that says we are not to imitate the disbelievers.
The first thing that must be discussed in the issue of hijab, is that hijab is not the headscarf or even simply modest clothing. It is the entire veil of modesty and protection that is a right given to all women and men by their Creator which includes lowering their eyes from what is harmful, also their minds and hearts from such things. It the right of each individual to be judged solely for their right actions and piety, and modest hijab should help decrease vanity of an individual, and increases idealogical and spiritual success, being that ideas and effort are more valued in the public sphere than physical bodies and beauty which are often irrelevant to being productive in the work place, or in a learning environment, and can belie the actual depth of spiritual achievment. Modest clothing is only complimentary to this pursuit, not the aim of it. So called `shariah` laws of governments enforcing hijab and meteing out punishments for those who do not wear what is termed ``appropraite hijab`` are in erre, because there is nothing in the guidance of the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam to say that another man or another woman can legislate a punishment for a woman who disregards the obligations set out clearly in the Qu`ran, but this is the realm of the Creator, not the Created. There can be no earthly punishment inflicted on those men and women who do not wear Islamic clothing. It is not an issue for men and other women to discuss about a Muslimah if she disregards an ayah pertaining to herself, or to try and punish her for not fulfilling a commandment about hijab. Their job is only to warn her.
That having been said, for the believing woman to ignore a commandment written in the holy Qu`ran, is to ignore Allah subhanhu wa ta ala, and to risk being ignored by Him on the day He subhanhu wa ta ala admits the believers into Jannah. The first commandment revealed in the Qu`ran pertaining to a woman dress (her hijab) was the commandment to wear a ``jilbab``. Scholars know that the commandment for jilbab came before the ayah about khimar (the headscarf) because there are ahadith that attribute the ayah about khimar to the Medina period (after the early Muslims had already migrated there), hadith stating that the women of Ansar (a people in Medina that converted to Islam and sheltered the persecuted Muslims from Mecca) made their khimars from their overgarments (their jilbabs). As will be discussed, and the hadith that denotes the time period presented, the jilbab was the first condition of a Muslim woman's physical dress.
In the Quran, Surah al-Ahzab ayah 59 (33:59) says:
Ya ayyuha an-Nabiyy qul li azwajika wa banatika wa nisa al-mu'minin yudnina alayhinna min jalabib hinna; dhalika adna an yu'rafna fa laa yu'dhayn. Wa kana Allahu Ghafur Rahim
O Prophet! Say to your wives and your daughters and the women of the faithful to draw their JALABIB close around them; that is better that they will be recognized and not annoyed. And God is ever Forgiving, Gentle.
The word "jalabib" is the plural of "jilbab". Clearly, this ayah states a command for Muslim women to wear a garment which Allah subhanhu wa ta ala has called "jilbab".
In addition to this there are hadiths record how the sahabiyat (rAa) went about obeying Surah al-Ahzab ayah 59 when it was revealed: Narrated Umm Salama, Umm al-Mu'minin: When the verse, "That they should draw their jalabib close around them" was revealed, the women of Ansar came out as if they had crows over their heads by wearing jalabib. (Sunan Abu Dawud Book 32 #4090).
And there is more even than this. Some of the women remained in seclusion and never went out so that they did not own the garment called "jilbab". The hadiths record that the Prophet commanded the women to come out for the Eid gathering, and what he said about the issue of the garment called "jilbab": Narrated Umm Atiyya: We were ordered to bring out our menstruating women and screened women to the religious gatherings and invocation of the Muslims on the two Eid festivals. These menstruating women were to keep away from the musalla. A woman asked, "O Messenger of Allah! What about one who does not have a jilbab?". He said, "Let her borrow the jilbab of her companion".(Sahih Bukhari Book 8 #347) If it were halal for a sister to go outdoors without the garment called "jilbab", why didn't the Prophet allow the women to do this? But instead, he told them that they must find the garment called "jilbab" to wear, even if they had to borrow one from a friend. The obligation is plain for the believing women: it is a disobedience of Allah subhanhu wa ta ala and of His messenger for a woman to go outdoors if she is not wearing the garment called "jilbab". There are those who argue that the jilbab was worn primarily to distinguish a woman as a Muslim but hijab is enough to do that now so do we still have to wear it and the answer would be yes, because it is commandment in the Qu`ran that was never revoked by the Messenger of Allah sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam and this message was for all peoples for all times. Jilbab was made fard, and that is not argued by any of the companions or Salaf, but what exactly jilbab is, and how much it must cover, is something the Muslims are allowed to have different opinions on, because it is something which the four madh'habs (Shafi`ì, Hanbali, Hanafi, and Maliki) have different opinions on.
The opinion that nothing but the hands and face must show being fard with the jilbab (as an obligation) is the majority opinion, and the hanbali fiqh interpets that the face must be covered also). I will highlight both valid sides of this debate which has its place in the realm of the scholars in a post of a later date but I am of the opinion that while the niqab INDEED does have its place in Islam, it is not a religious obligation in the way that a headscarf and overgarment are. It is something that may be done for reward as is the majority opinion of the scholars. In the very least, it is perfectly halal and was an action of the Prophet`s wives (may Allah subhanu wa ta ala be pleased with them) so no muslimah should call down the practice of a fellow muslim sister in Islam, and fail to defend her rights by stating that the niqab is a practice outside of Islam. There is much evidence to say it is not an obligation, but it is certainly a valid and halal part of the religion.
Since there many state that there are no Islamic illustrations of 7th century jilbab, it is not at all clear if the modern jilbab (commonly referred to as the abaya) is the same garment as that referred to in the Qu`ran. Some modern Muslims insist that the contemporary jilbab and the garment described in the Qur'an and the hadith are exactly the same, and that the Qur'an therefore requires the believer to wear these garments, while other modern Muslims think that so long as garment meets the requirements of jilbab by covering the necessary areas in the same manner it can be composed of whatever garment or garments the discerning Muslimah feels most comfortable in. So what does the Qu`ran and the ahadith state jilbab was and what did it have cover and what manner did it have to be worn in to count as jilbab, one is left wondering.
The Scholars of the four madhabs and all of the companions are unanimous that the garment called jilbab is fard from studying the various ahadith, and the scholars formed two vaild opinions about what the jilbab might be. That the jilbab is a loose outergarment like a coat or cloak or that it is a sheet covering the entire body except for the eyes. The coat/cloak opinion is the majority and the sheet but for the eyes, the minority. Both opinions are valid, but there are no opinions that state that loose clothing or a shalwar kameez is ok and counts as jilbab.
Why do the scholars say that the jilbab is an outergarment? Why aren't loose modest clothes without anything worn underneath of them what is talked about in the Qu'ran?
There is one thing that all the scholars referenced above are agreed on and that is that the garment called "jilbab" is an outergarment. Their only disagreement is in how much of the body the jilbab is to cover. How did the scholars derive that the jilbab is an outergarment? There are two ways to do this. First, they might just look up the definition of the word "jilbab" in a dictionary of classical Arabic. Second, they might verify for themselves by intelligent analysis of the Quran that the jilbab is an outergarment. We can look at both of these sources.
What is the defintion of the word "jilbab" in Arabic? The definitive dictionary of classical Arabic, Lisan al-Arab by ibn al-Mandhur, provides the following definition, "The jilbab is the outergarment, mantle, or cloak. It is derived from the word tajalbaba, which means to clothe. Jilbab is the outer sheet or covering which a woman wraps around her ON TOP OF HER GARMENTS to cover herself from head to toe. It hides her body completely" (Lisan al-Arab, volume 7, page 273) The dictionary Al-Qamus al-Muhit by Abu Tahir al-Fayruzabadi provides the definition, "The jilbab...is that which CONCEALS THE CLOTHES like a cover" The dictionary Al-Sihah by Jawhari provides the definition, "The jilbab is the cover and some say it is a sheet. Jilbab has been mentioned in the hadiths with the meaning of sheet, which the woman WRAPPED OVER HER CLOTHES". Of course, this dictionary meaning COULD have just evolved from scholars opinions so I want to see what the Qu`ran has to say about it all.
Surah an-Nur ayah 31 (24:31) reads as follows: Wa qul li al-mu'minat yaghdudna min absarihinna wa yahfazna furujahunna wa laa yubdina zenatahunna illa maa zahara min haa wal-yadribna bi khumurihinna ala juyubihinna; wa laa yubdina zenatahunna illa li bu'ulatihinna aw aba'ihinna aw aba'i bu'ulatihinna aw abna'ihinna aw abna'i bu'ulatihinna aw ikhwanihinna aw bani ikhwanihinna aw bani akhawatihinna aw nisa'ihinna aw maa malakat aymanu hunna aw at-tabi'ina ghayri ulu'l-irbat min ar-rijal aw at-tifl alladhina lam yazharu ala awrat an-nisa wa laa yadribna bi arjulihinna li yu'lama maa yukhfina min zenatahinna. Wa tubu ilaAllahi jami'an, ayyuha al-mu'minun la'allakum tuflihun
And say to the faithful women to lower their gazes, and to guard their private parts, and not to display their adornment except what is apparent of it, and to extend their headcoverings (khimars) to cover their bosoms, and not to display their adornment except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband's fathers, or their sons, or their husband's sons, or their brothers, or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their womenfolk, or what their right hands rule (slaves), or the followers from the men who do not feel sexual desire, or the small children to whom the nakedness of women is not apparent, and not to strike their feet (on the ground) so as to make known what they hide of their adornments. And turn in repentance to Allah together, O you the faithful, in order that you are successful.
This ayah lists a number of things that Muslim sisters are to do:
1) Lower the gaze (from looking at what is haram to be seen of men).
2) Guard the private parts. This means not to let them be seen or touched by who is haram to see or touch.
3) Conceal all of the body and its decorations except "what is apparent of it". Most scholars are agreed that the face and the hands are "what is apparent of it". Some scholars say that only the eyes are "what is apparent of it".
4.) Wear a khimar (headcovering) and extend it to cover the bosom. This means that it covers the hair, the neck, the shoulders, and the upper chest.
5.) That the husband, mahram relatives, women, slaves, male servants who do not feel sexual desire, and children are the only people who can see more of the woman than "what is apparent of it".
6.) Not stamp the feet or otherwise act so that what is hidden becomes known to others. This means do not make noise purposefully from anklets or bracelets or high heel shoes in an effort to attract attention to à woman`s movements.
It can clearly be seen from this analysis that Allah subhanhu wa ta ala in Surah an-Nur ayah 31 already commands a woman that when non-mahram men are present, she is to wear clothing that is loose and opaque plus a headscarf (referred to in the Quran as khimar) so that with these garments, she covers everything but her face and her hands. If this were all that was necessary, why has Allah subhanhu wa ta ala also revealed Surah al-Ahzab ayah 59? For this reason, the garment called "jilbab" that has been commanded in Surah al-Ahzab ayah 59 must be something in addition to the modest clothing. This is how the scholars derive the obvious interpretation that that the garment called "jilbab" is some type of outergarment, something that is worn on top of the modest clothing commanded in Surah an-Nur ayah 31.
Surah an-Nur ayah 60 (24:60) provides an exemption for certain women in regard to hijab (and for me personally this is the most importan bit of evidence that jilbab as an overgarment is fard). It reads as follows: Wa al-qawa'idu min an-nisa allati laa yarjuuna nikahan fa laysa alayhinna junahun an yada'na thiyab hunna ghayra mutabarrijat bi zenat. Wa an yasta'fifna khayru la hunna. WaAllahu Sami'un Alim
And the elderly women, those who do not have hope of marriage, there is no fault on them that they lay aside (some of) their clothing as long as they are not making a display of their adornment. And that they refrain is better for them. And Allah is the Hearer, the Knower
Here is an interesting puzzle. Elderly women who have no hope of getting married again are allowed to "lay aside (some of) their clothing" - but they are restricted from making a display of their adornment. How can a woman lay aside any part of her clothing without making a display of her body? If all she were wearing was the the loose modest clothing (and that was her jilbab) then she would be naked. The only possible answer is that she is laying aside an extra layer. When she takes off the extra layer, the layer of clothing that she is wearing under it will still cover all of her body that must be covered. Contrary to popular belief, the hijab is not allowed to removed at old age by women in public, because this means that the woman would not have to wear it during salat while it is well known that the khimar (hijab-headcovering) must always been worn while prayers are preformed else the salat is invalid, as testified to by Aisha (r.a).
So what is this "extra layer" that Muslim women are wearing over their modest clothes---it is is their jilbab. What else can it be? What we have here is that the Muslim woman is commanded by Surah an-Nur ayah 31 that when she is around non-mahram men, she must cover all of her body except her face and her hands. This rule is always in force whenever non-mahram men are present, whether she is indoors or outdoors. But when she goes outdoors, she is to wear an extra layer, an outergarment, over the clothes she is already wearing (on account of Surah an-Nur ayah 31). This extra layer or outergarment is the jilbab. The only exception to the rule regarding dress is that elderly women who do not have hope of marriage may leave off the jilbab as long as they continue to wear other clothing that covers all of their bodies except the face and hands. Surah an-Nur ayah 60 would not even make sense unless the jilbab is an extra layer, an outergarment worn over the normal clothes. This is another reason why modest clothing is not enough.
So, the jilbab is an OUTERGARMENT, but why?
Modesty is always a concern whenever non-mahram men are present, and for the purposes of modesty a sister must wear a khimar and loose, opaque clothing so that she covers everything but her face and hands whenever non-mahram men are present. This is what has been commanded by Surah an-Nur ayah 31. It is therefore correct to say that shalwar kameez or other conservative outfits, and the khimar, are sufficient for the purposes of modesty. But when a sister goes outdoors or in public, there may be other concerns beyond modesty. Surah al-Ahzab ayah 59 mentions these concerns in giving the reason for the command of jilbab, when it says "that is better so that they are recognized and not annoyed". From this we can see that the jilbab has two purposes:1) To make the sister recognizable as a Muslim woman 2) To protect her from being "annoyed", i.e., harassed. In conclusion, the jilbab is not primarily for the purpose of modesty, which is satisfied by the khimar and conservative clothes, but is for the additional purposes of identity and protection, issues that are only factors of concern outdoors and in open public places. Some may say this is not necessary in this day an age since Muslim women in modest clothing are not mistaken for prostitutes, but it was a condition of a woman`s dress that was never removed. It is for your protection, and it identifies you as Muslimah different from traditional Christian and Jewish dress, where similiar modest clothing is worn. Islam is the only religion where an overgarment was required, and it was to keep the Muslims from resembling the disbelievers.
What are the rules for the jilbab?
The Muslim woman must wear jilbab whenever she leaves the house and the scholars have determined that jilbab should not reveal her physical form by being tight-fitting or see through in nature. Booty-hugging abayas don`t count as jilbab. The scholars have differed as to just how much the jilbab must cover. As explained above, there are two opinions on this.
The first opinion of the scholars is, in effect, that the jilbab or outergarment should cover everything but the face and the hands. There are two sub-opinions here. The first sub-opinion is that there must be a single garment that covers everything that must be covered. This would mean that the garment called "jilbab" must be something like the garments known as "abaya" and "chador". The second sub-opinion is that a combination of garments that cover what the jilbab is to cover may substitute for the jilbab. Specifically, these scholars permit the head to be covered by the headscarf (khimar) and the feet to covered by socks and shoes. As long as a sister covers her head and neck with the khimar, then her jilbab does not need to cover over her head, but may be like a coat, which just covers from the shoulders on down (or a long tunic and skirt worn over other modest clothing). And as long as her feet are completely covered with socks and shoes, then her jilbab does not need to come down to the ground but may come down only to the ankles. This is the majority position. We can say that according to the majority opinion of the scholars, the garment called "jilbab" is any garment that meets the following criteria: this garment is an outergarment; an extra layer; something worn over the normal clothingif the khimar is not worn, this garment must cover from the top of the head on down, but if the khimar is worn, this garment only needs to cover from the shoulders on downsimilarly, if socks are not worn, this garment must cover down to the ground, but if socks are worn so that the feet are completely covered, this garment only needs to cover down to the anklesthis garment must be made of fabric that is thick and opaque so that it does not show what is beneath it, and it must be loose so that it does not reveal the contours of what is beneath it. These scholars are agreed that the jilbab is to be worn outdoors and in open public places like the market, the masjid, etc. It does not need to be worn indoors, such as in the house or a building where access is controlled. This is because the jilbab serves the purposes of asserting the Islamic identity of a sister, and of protecting her from harassment, which are concerns only outdoors and in public. The rules in Surah an-Nur ayah 31 govern the dress of the Muslim woman indoors. Thus a sister may wear the khimar and modest clothing indoors, and this is her hijab for this location. However, the jilbab is part of her hijab when she is outdoors or in open public places.
According to the second opinion of the scholars, the jilbab must cover the entire body except for the eyes. Just as most of the scholars who hold the first opinion allow the khimar, coat, and socks and shoes to substitute for a one-piece outergarment that covers everything but the face and hands, so most of the scholars who hold the second opinion allow multiple pieces to substitute for the one-piece outergarment or sheet that covers everything but the eyes. These multiple pieces may include a separate affixed face veil (niqab), a headscarf (khimar), a coat or cloak (jilbab), and socks and shoes. However, these scholars would strongly emphasize that the coat-jilbab is not the same as the Quranic jilbab. The Quranic jilbab must cover everything but the eyes. It should also be noted that most of these scholars also hold that Surah an-Nur ayah 31 mandates the covering of everything but the eyes around non-mahram men, even when the sister is indoors. It is not clear if these scholars would allow modest clothes, a khimar, and a niqab or if they do require the jilbab indoors (i.e., if non-mahram men are present). Sisters who prefer this opinion should consult a scholar for specific advice on this question. Note: Some scholars of this group hold that the jilbab must be a one-piece outergarment that covers everything but the eyes. This is the position of the Saudi ulama.
What we must always keep clear in our minds is that there is the Quranic jilbab, which is any outergarment that meets the criteria set out in the Shari'a; and there may also be a "cultural jilbab" that refers to a very specific style. As Muslims we are responsible for following the Shari'a not Arab culture. When a word is used in the Quran or hadiths, we need to give it the definition it has according to the Shari'a, not the definition it might have in Arab culture. So whether you wear an abaya, a chador, a djellaba, or indeed a "jilbab", be sure that it meets the criteria of the Shari'a: It is an outergarment, an extra layer, something that you wear over your clothes. It is made of thick, opaque fabric so that nobody can see what is under it. It is loose so that nobody can see the contours of your figure. If you are going to wear a coat-like jilbab, be sure that your head and neck are covered by your khimar and that your feet are completely covered by your socks and shoes (and, if you follow that opinion, that your face is covered by your niqab). None of the scholars have mentioned pants to be an overgarment so they are not referred to as jilbab but if the pants are indeed loose enough that they conceal modest clothing and the shape of the body underneath of them (leggings, skinny jeans, and underwear don`t count as such clothing) ---they might be adapted (IF THEY ARE LOOSE ENOUGH YOU COULD FIT LOOSE CLOTHING UNDERNEATH) with a VERY long tunic top or dress over top. I will do a post on this, but I do not recommend this as none of the scholars support this opinion, but I know there are some cases where women have to wear pants. It is safer to compose a jilbab out of coat, or abaya, but since some scholars have made it permissable to have the jilbab composed of different pieces since the khimar was cut from the jilbab, one might also wear a modest skirt and tunic over their modest clothing and have this suffice, though it is safer to wear a single piece garment. Allah and His Messenger know best.
From studying the subject of jilbab as I have, here is my opinion. It is not an istilal or fatwa, just my opinion:
I am of the opinion that jilbab and khimar are fard and the niqab is mustahaab (or in the very least halal). Along with the majority of scholars I think that the jilbab is a non-see through garment that covered everything but the face and hands, and that it may consist of more than one piece since women of the Ansaar made their headcoverings from the extra hanging cloth of their overgarments when the ayah precribing the obligation of khimar was revealed. Although historically this garment consisted of a solid-piece garment such similar to an abaya, with the addition of the headscarf worn in the Shariah prescribed manner, there are no ahadith that state that if the garment indeed is worn over the woman's usual clothing, that it cannot consist of more than these two pieces, such as a a long coat, and a skirt (I will do a seperate post on pants very soon because there are VERY few pants that can be worn as overgarments and if indeed you do believe the Qu'ran is perfect an overgarment is something that cannot be rejected-the condition of it was never lifted and it was a condition for all the believing peooples for all time). What the overgamrent (called jilbab) consists of can be debated by the different madhabs and each opinion is valid. The fact is though, the abaya is the safest approach to wear, since it is closest to the historical garment when covering the conditions of an overgarment (or a cloak that covers even the head because this is what the ansar wore before the ayah about khimar was revealed). But that does not mean that an educated woman (on the subject of hijab) cannot adapt other pieces of clothing found in today's malls cover the same principles.
The principles are
a. the piece or peices of clothing that form the jilbab must be worn over other clothing or be loose enough to accomodate decent clothing worn underneath. Leggings and bra are considered undergarments dearies (much love my sisters) and they don't count as clothing. If you can't wear loose pants under your tryingtopassforjilbab pants then those pants are not loose enough to meet the conditions of a woman's dress as prescribed the the Qu'ran and you should be wearing a loose garment over them at LEAST to your mid-calf but ankle is better (because there is NO one in the Ulema that says showing your ankle`s form is halal).
b. The overgarment must be loose enough to not show the shape of your body such as your breasts, your hips, the indent of your waist, or your butt. Anything else counts as clothed but naked and there is a hadith where the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam narrates that in hell there will be women you were fully covered but were nonetheless naked. Tight clothing counts as such.
c. It cannot be see-through. If the overgarments reveals anything that should be covered because of its transparency it counts as clothed but naked.
d. It cannot make an ostentatious show of wealth through its decoration or design or draw attention to sexuality, or be worn in such such a manner to stand out and be the center of attention. At the same time it cannot be styled in a deliberate manner to look messy or unkempt or deliberately so plain that one stands out from the people in that manner. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam resented us all to do anything in extremes, and showing off for mankind is considered a form of shirk. Our purpose in dressing should be to please Allah subhanahu wa ta ala and to be presentable and draw people to Islam (not to make them resent us for a more pious-than-thou attitude, for arousing lusts, or for making people feel inferior to our means and properties). Simple decoration was permitted in a few hadith. Ostentatious displays of wealth were NEVER.
It should not contain messages or symbols of the disbeliver's message that are contrary to the message and teachings of Islam. Nor should the clothing contain images of living creatures in anything other than abstract pattern, or faces of people.
f. it should not resemble another religious group in a way that confuses others about whether or not you are a Muslim.