Saturday, May 30, 2009

PART I: The Illustrated History of the evolution of Hijab in the Authentic Sunnah

This will, inshaAllah, be an illustrated history on the evolution of hijab in the authentic Sunnah
Its aims will be to answer the following questions. Where did the clothing we wear now as "hijab" come from? Did it ever exist in a different form? What did the last approved of form of hijab approximately look like?

Where did the clothing we wear now as "hijab" come from?
Many say that veiling the face, wearing an overgarment, and covering the hair in the manner of hijab, predated the birth of the Prophet Mohammed sallalahu alahi wa salaam. Indeed it did. In stating such they infer that it is not a practice from God at all, but one invented by man, rather than the Creator. But Messengers had come before, all the way back to Adam (allahi wa salaam), and no doubt it was revealed to all of the messengers (allahi wa salaam), as their message was always the same. There is one God, worship and obey Him. The Christian Bible contains traces of the command for khimar and a small percentage of Jewish and Christian women preserve the tradition of what was revealed to the Prophets their faiths claim. The meaning of why it was worn, and how it was to be worn was lost, until the message of Islam came to bear the same message yet again, this time as a last and final message, clear and precise, as Allah subhanhu wa ta'ala promises in the mercy and warning that IS the Qu'ran “…This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as a religion…” (Al-Maa’idah:3).

At the time when the Prophet Mohammed sallalahu allahi wa salaam was born Scholars say that pagan women among the Quyaish did still wear the remnants of a khimar in the form of covering their hair (or covered it partially) with a headress, which they often threw over their shoulders, wearing a simple or elaborate thobe dress (khamisa) which sometimes was left open so that the breasts were exposed, as Egyptian women did in the time of Pharoh.
From authentic ahadith we know what sort of trade came in and out of Makkah, it being on a premier caravan route "...For the protection of the Quraysh, their protection on their summer and winter journeyings, let them worship the Lord of this House." (Surah Quraysh). Above are pictures of Saudi tribal clothing typical of the areas surrounding Makkah, of a MiddleEastern wig dating from the time period of the Prophet Mohammed sallalahu alahi wa salaam, a sketch from a Roman engraving of the same style of wig from the period, and Beduoin women with traditional blue tribal tattoos on their chins and forheads---some tribes tattooed brown or red circles on the women's cheeks depending on the region. Another picture is of a woman wearing her eyes rimmed with kohl.
We know that yellow, rust red, orange, and brown dyes were available to the peoples of Makkah. Aisha [May Allah be pleased with her], from Al-Qaasim – and he is Muhammad ibn Abee Bakr As-Siddeeq: " ‘Aa’ishah used to wear clothing dyed with safflower while she was in a state of Ihraam." Ibn Abee Mulaikah reported: "I saw upon Umm Salamah a garment and a covering coloured with safflower [i.e. yellow/red]." The yellowish/red dye came from saffron and was thus a more expensive dye, as purple was, in the days before synthetics came about. Thus the Prophet Mohammed sallalahu alahi wa salaam did not like men wearing coloured with these dyes because often they did so to show off their financial status and tribal status and himself discarded clothing this colour, but said "there is no harm" in it for women, as obviously Aisha and Umm Salamah [May Allah be pleased with them] were always allowed to be dressed in it, even during pilgrimmage. Striped garments woven in Syria came through on the caravan routes because the Prophet sallalahu alahi wa salaam was given one such garment but he discarded it since it nearly distracted him from his prayer. The Prophet sallalahu alahi wa salaam himself favoured simple garments saying: "Wear white garments, for they are the best and the cleanest and you enshroud dead in them". But that by no means meant that white was the only colour allowed. Darker colours made the woven cloth less see-through and so no matter their expense (such as saffron) they were to be given to the women after the coming of Islam. Black, being the most common of dark dyes, could be made from goat's milk, so it was easily accessible. We know many colours were available to the women of the Quraysh, and we know that after the coming of Islam, they continued to be worn by the women of Al Islam. Red, yellow, green, brown, indigo, and even black. Natural dyes are made from vegetable or mineral sources. One of the most important natural coloring agents is from the madder, a common plant that grows wild in Persia. The root of the madder produces dye for various shades of red and pink. When combined with a mixture of milk and fermented grape juice, the madder root yields a violet dye. The bright red cochineal insect also provides red dye, as well as the kermes insect that lives in the bark of oak trees. Saffron produces the brightest and also the most expensive yellow. Sumac, turmeric, and pomegranate also supply various yellow dyes. Green can be made from a dyeing of indigo followed by a bath of yellow. Black dye can be made from iron oxide or goat's milk. Brown dyes can be made by mixing madder root with yellow or from the shells of green walnuts, gallnuts, and valonia. Brown dyes sometimes have a tendency to dull with age. Imam Bukhari narrated from Umm Khalid she said: "Some clothes were presented to Allah's Apostle as a gift and there was a black Khamisa with it. The Prophet asked (his companions), "To whom do you suggest we give this Khamisa?" The people kept quiet. Then he said, "Bring me Um Khalid." So I was brought to him and he dressed me with it with his own hands (i.e he handed it to her) and said twice, "May you live so long that you will wear out many garments." . So we know that before Islam and even after, the women of the Sahaba wore colours. For more on the historical processes of dyeing
We also know that before Islam it was common for women to file their teeth and archeological records indicate this. Also wearing wigs, weaving false hair into hair, plucking the eyebrows, and tattooing (typically for women their chins and forheheads and sometimes cheeks) can be evidenced by traditions that exist among Beduoins, and illustrations on the walls of Egypt and in the accounts of the Romans. Growing the nails to impractical lengths and filing them into claw-like shapes resembling falcons talon was also a common attribute considered beautiful among the pagan women of the Quraysh. Allah Almighty has said: "What they call on apart from Him are female idols. What they call on is an arrogant shaytan whom Allah has cursed. He said, 'I will take a certain fixed proportion of Your slaves. I will lead them astray and fill them with false hopes. I will command them and they will cut off cattle's ears. I will command them and they will change Allah's creation.'" Ibn Mas'ud said, "Allah curses women who tattoo and are tattoed, women who pluck their eyebrows, and women who file their teeth to make gaps for beauty, altering Allah's creation!" A woman spoke to him about that and he said, "Why should I not curse those the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, cursed when that is in the Book of Allah? Allah Almighty says, 'So take what the Messenger assigns to you, and deny yourselves that which he withholds from you.' (59:7)". Ibn 'Umar reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, cursed anyone who joins hair together and the person asks for it to be joined, and the tattooer and the woman who is tattooed. Asma' reported that a woman asked the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, "O Messenger of Allah, my daughter was afflicted by measles and her hair fell out. I have given her in marriage, can I join on other hair to hers?" He said, "Allah has cursed anyone who joins hair together and the person to whose hair it is joined." One variant has, "The woman who joins hair and the woman who asks for it to be done." The like of it is related from 'A'isha. Humayd ibn 'Abdu'r-Rahman reported that he heard Mu'awiya on the minbar in the year when he made pilgrimage. He took a bunch of hair which was in the hand of a guard and said, "O people of Madina! Where are your men of knowledge? I heard the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, forbid the like of this and say, 'The tribe of Israel was destroyed when their women adopted this.'" Imam Bukhari and Muslim reported that the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) listed five acts are considered from the (Sunan) Al-Fitrah and he mentioned clipping one’s fingernails and toenails. It is preferred that they are removed whenever they get long, not exceeding forty days as reported in the Hadith by Anass (R.A.A.). To leave the nail for longer was to make one's self resemble the animals and the disbelievers, so we know it was a fashion of the pagan Quraysh.
Two other fashions common to the Quraysh before Islam were the wearing of kohl in the eye rims, henna on the hands, and the wearing of anklets. Anklets were never forbidden to be worn, nor was any other expensive jewelry but 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. (Quran Surah an-Nur ayah 31 (24:31). does command women not to stamp their feet to make those charms obvious. There are also many ahadith that talk about women's jewelry, so obviously this jewelry was also worn before the advent of Islam. Henna and kohl are two form of beautification that the Prophet sallalahu allahi wa salaam did not say were changing Allah's creation, so they remained halal forms of beautification after the event of Islam and obviously existed before. It was also common practice for wealthier women to wear perfume in public but the Prophet sallalahi alahi wa salaam warned women not to do so in front of non-maharam men or outside of their homes, because he likened the action of men being able to smell her perfume to as if she had committed fornication with them.
This above is a form of traditional Saudi dress for the tribes that reside in Al Madinah. It may have been similiar to what the Ansaari women wore, and is often dark-dyed (indigo is a popular shade for some tribes), fitted and belted at the waist and decorated with embroidery and hand-made metal beads, and quilted at the hem to protect against thorny bushes. Patch work is common. This would have been similiar to the dress of the women of Ansaar before the ayaat pertaining to jilbab and khimar were revealed.

Well that's it for part one, WHAT WERE WOMEN WEARING BEFORE THE GUIDANCE OF ISLAM. InshaAllah next up, the Qu'ran gives women guidance to how to dress to protect themselves and please their Creator:D I hope ya'll are looking forward to it.


Ayan said...

Very informative, can't wait for the other parts :)

socal muslimah said...

Jazakallah Khair Sister!
This was really interesting. Totally looking forward for the next part.
Saba =)

Aisha said...

How do you know that this type of traditional tribal clothing from the Mansoojat wasn't still being worn after Islam? Just wondering what the historical proofs were for that, as far as I know that type of clothing was still common even 100 years ago.

Pixie said...

Aisha: It WAS worn after the advent of Islam as well and you'll have to wait till PART II and Parts III to see how it was worn.

Anonymous said...

Jazakallah Khair Sis, very interesting...can't wait for the next part :)

-Umm Adam-

Aischa said...

Asalaamu alaikum,
There is sooo much color in tribal costume, how in the worls did black become so dominant? I would also be interested in socks.... Was it practical to wear socks in the desert, or were they something else?

Almallena said...

Asalaam walikum sis
Awesome stuff! JazakhAllah Khair, totally cant wait to see the other parts

lili said...

Sister PIXIE... your blog is in my favourites, and i follow your blog as the last fashion magazine... Good taste, but do you speack french as well as i am?

CareMuslimah said...

salam alaykum sis!!..

Can't waittt to read more about this. I'm loving it :D

Veryyyy interesting!

*~Ange~* said...

i read the whole thing and came out of it still asking myself "why the hell would you tattoo your chin?"

S said...

Salam, can you tell me if the hadith on Aisha (rah) wearing yellow is sahih? I am confused because I really like to wear colors, but at the same time I think colors attract the eye and that defeats the purpose of hijab. Thanks, Allah bless you.

Pixie said...

S: It is sahih.

Sumayyah said...

I just wanted to say: thank you so much for all the wonderful posts on your blog. I am a new muslim (I converted last year) and I must say no one here among muslim women could tell me what I needed to know about the requirements of jilbab etc. because no one (or at least not many) seems to dress accord. to these requirements!And many muslims, both men and women, don't really know what 'jilbab' and 'hijab' really mean in shariah. Thank you for helping me to become more modest and more learned in important figh issues. Keep up the good work. Jazakallahu khair and may Allah bless you

Anonymous said...

a great blog, mashallah!