Muslim women wear hijab, veil or head cover in the hopes of receiving reward from God being recognized as religious in the societies but most of them are not aware that they are committing an unforgiveable sin as the commandment of wearing it is not from God. It may come as a surprise to many people, but covering the head is not an idea from the Quran. This belief is an innovation, which had been attributed falsely to Islam. Hijab (veil or head cover) is a traditional dress that dates back to ancient civilizations, and has nothing to do with religion or Islam. In certain areas of the world, men are the ones who wear the hijab while in others the women do. There are also some areas where both men and women wear hijab. So the origin of head covering is tradition not religion. It is an idol worshiping if anyone wears head cover but claims it to be from God since the followers of traditions are following laws from sources other than God’s scriptures. Idol worship is the only unforgivable sin if maintained till death (4:48, 4:116, 39:65 & 25:71).
The believing women should cover them appropriately
There are 7 verses in the Quran that deal with how the believing men and the believing women should dress up. 7:26 describes the best garment is the garment of righteousness and 7:31 commands us to dress up nicely for going to masjids, is common for both men and women. 24:30 is for the believing men while 24:31, 24:60, 33:55 and 33:59 are for the believing women. Therefore, there are 6 verses in the Quran for the believing women that can be summarized as follows for better understanding how the believing women should dress up in all of their situations:
Rule 1: The best garment is the righteousness (7:26)
Rule 2: To dress up nicely for going to masjids (7:31).
Rule 3: To cover their chests or bosoms (24:31)
Rule 4: To dress up around the family members for the young women (24:31, 33:55).
Rule 5: To maintain modesty is better for the elderly women (24:60).
Rule 6: To dress up in an appropriate manner for the believing women including the prophet’s wives (33:59).
However, let us examine the relevant verses both in Arabic and English translations including the meaning of crucial individual Arabic words used in the verses that deal with the dresses of the believing women:
[7:26] O children of Adam, we have provided you with garments to cover your shame as well as for luxury. But the best garment is the garment of righteousness. That is from the signs of God so that they may take heed.
Yaabanee [O Children] Aadama [(of) Adam] Qad [Verily] Anzalnaa [we have sent down] Alaykum [to you] Libaasan [clothing] Yuwaaree [it covers] Saw-aatikum [your shame] wa-Reesan [and (as) an adornment]. wa-Libaasut-[but the clothing] Taqwaa [(of) the righteousness] Dhaalika [that] Khayrun [(is) best]. Dhaalika [that] Min[(is) from] Aayaatil– [(the) signs] Lahi [(of) Allah] La’allahum [so that they may] Yadhakkaroon [remember].
[7:31] O children of Adam, you shall be clean and dress nicely when you go to the masjid, and shall eat and drink moderately. Surely, He does not love the immoderate ones.
Yaabanee [O children] Aadama [(of) Adam] Khudhoo [take] Zeenatakum [your adornment] Inda [at] Kulli [every] Masjidan [masjid] Wa-Kuloo [and eat] Wa-Ish’raboo [and drink] Wa-Laa– [and (do)not] Tus’rifoo [be extravagant]. Innahu [indeed He] Laa– [(does) not ] Yuhibbul– [love] Mus’rifeen [the extravagant ones].
[24:31] And say, for the believing women they should lower their look and should maintain their chastity, and should not display their beauty (a part of the women body attractive to men) except what has been apparent of it. And they should cover with their covers over their chests and should not display their beauty except for their husbands, or their fathers, or their husbands’ fathers, or their sons, or their husbands’ sons, or their brothers, or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or other women, or whom has been rightfully themselves, or the male employees having no sexual desire, or the children who do not be aware of private aspects of the women. And they should not strike their feet when they walk in order to shake and reveal of their beauty. And you all shall turn to God, O you the believers that you may succeed.
And tell the believing women to subdue their eyes, and maintain their chastity. Wa-Qul– [And say,] Lil’Muminaati [to the believing women] Yaghdudna [they should lower] Min [of] Absaarihinna [their gaze] Wa-Yahfazna [and they should guard] Furoojahunna [their chastity]. They shall not reveal any parts of their bodies, except that which is necessary. Wa-Laa [and not] Yubdina [display] Zeenatahunna [their adornment] Illa [except] Maa [what] Zahara [is apparent] Minhaa [of it]. They shall cover their chests,Wal-Yadribna [and let them draw] Bi-Khumurihinna [their head covers] `Alaa [over] Juyoobihinna [their bosoms], and shall not relax this code in the presence of other than Wa-Laa [and not], Yubdina [display], Zeenatahunna [their adornment], Illa [except] :(1) their husbands, (2) their fathers, (3) the fathers of their husbands, (4) their sons, (5) the sons of their husbands, (6) their brothers, (7) the sons of their brothers, (8) the sons of their sisters, (9) other women, (10) the male servants or employees whose sexual drive has been nullified, or (11) the children who have not reached puberty. They shall not strike their feet when they walk in order to shake and reveal certain details of their bodies. Wa-Laa– [and not] Yadribna [let them stamp] Bi-Arjulihinna [their feet] Li-Yu’lama [to make known] Maa [what] Yukh’feena [they conceal] Min [of] Zeenatahunna [their adornment]. All of you shall repent to GOD, O you believers, that you may succeed. Wa-Tooboo [and turn] Ilaal– [to] Lahi [Allah] Jamee’an [altogether] Ayyuhal– [O you] Mu’minoona [believers] La’allakum [so that you] Tuf’lihoona [may succeed].
Notes: The words, “Yadribna” comes from a multiple meaning root word “Daraba” (verb) means to beat, strike, cover, set up, travel, take away, give, get out, draw over, separate etc. and “Khumurihinna” comes from the root word “Khimar” (noun) means cover or any cover along with a prefixed “Bi” means in, with or by in the verse are mistranslated as “let them draw” and “their head covers” instead of “ cover” or “draw over” (verb) and “with their cover” (noun) respectively because of influence of tradition or hadith. The Arabic words, “Raas” means head and “Shaar” means hair are not in the verse and there is no reason to confuse the commandment in the verse to associate head cover or anything like this.
[33:55] There is no blame for them (women) around their fathers, nor their sons, nor their brothers, nor their brothers’ sons, nor their sisters’ sons, nor their women, nor whom has been rightfully theirs. You shall fear God. Indeed, God has been a Witnesses over everything.
Laa-[(there is) no] Junaaha [blame] Alayhinna [upon them] Fee [concerning] Aabaa-ihinna [their fathers] Wa-Laa-[and not] Abnaa-ihinna [their sons] Wa-Laa– [and not] Ikhwaanihinna [their brothers] Wa-Laa– [and not] Abnaa-e [sons] Ikhwaanihinna [(of) their brothers] Wa-Laa– [and not] Abnaa-e [sons] Akhwaatihinna [(of) their sisters] Wa-Laa– [and not] Nisaa-ihinna [their women] Wa-Laa– [and not] Maa [what] Malakatu [they rightfully possess (verb)] Aymaanuhunna [they rightfully possess (noun)]. Wa-Ittaqeenal– [and fear] Laha [Allah]. Innal-[indeed] Laha [Allah] Kana [is] Alaa [upon] Kulli [all] Shayin [things] Shaheedan [a Witness].
[24:60] And those in menopause among the women who do not have desire for marriage, then it has not been for them any blame that they have their garments without displaying of beauty, and that they restrain is better for them. And God is Hearer, Knower.
Wal-Qawaa-idu [and postmenopausal] Minan– [among] Nissa-el– [the women] Laatee [who] Laa– [not] Yarjoona [has desire] Nikaahaan [(for) marriage] Fa-Laysa [then not is] Alayhinna [on them] Junaahun [any blame] An [that] Yada’na [they put aside] Thiyaabahunna [their (outer) garments] Ghayra [not] Mutabarrijaatin [displaying] Bizeenatin [their adornment]. Wa-An [and that] Yasta’fifna [they modestly refrain] khayrul– [(is) better] Lahunna [for them]. Wal-Lahu [and Allah] Samee-un [(is) All-Hearer] Aleemun [All-Knower].
[33:59] O Prophet, tell your wives, your daughters, and the wives of the believers to cover themselves in an appropriate way that they can be recognized and are not harmed. God is Forgiving, Merciful.
Yaa-ayyuhaan-[O] Nabiyu [Prophet] Qul [tell] Li-Azwaajika [your wives] Wa-Banaatika [and your daughters] Wa-Nisaa-el– [women] Muminina [(of)the believers] Yudneena [to draw] Alayhinna [over themselves] Min [of] Jalaabeebihinna [their (outer) garments]. Dhalika [that] Adnayaa [(is) more suitable] An [that] Yu’rafna [they should be known] Falan [and not] Yu’dhayna [harmed]. Wa-Kanal-[and is] Lahu [Allah] Ghafooran [Oft-Forgiving] Raheeman [Most Merciful].
Note: The word, “prophet” (Nabi) in the Quran consistently refers to Muhammad when he was alive.
From the above verses, it is clear that the believing women are advised to cover their chests not to wear head cover or veil (hijab) as it is not supported or advocated by the Quran. The instructions related to women’s dress code is very general as God has not exactly specify how much they will cover or how much they will reveal like what He has done in the case of ablution in (5:6) leaving the decision with the believing women themselves to adjust them in their particular situations and what they use for their clothing. The right or privilege that has been given to them by God, no one neither the society nor the state can take it away from them.
It also appears from the relevant verses that the dress code is a recommendation rather than a commandment from God to protect the believing women from the harassment by the wicked men as there is no punishment is indicated in this world or in the Hereafter in the event of violating the dress code. Either ignoring what God asks us to do in His book, or following innovated laws not stated in the Quran, is a clear sign of disregarding God and His message. The women who are wearing head cover or veil (Hijab or Burqu in Arabic) expecting reward from God are committing gross offence being unaware that it is not from God’s scripture. However, there would be no sin for them if they wear it because they like it or because of the tradition being aware that it is not religious, for it is not from God.
May God bless us all to follow His message.
The individual word meanings are taken from the http://corpus.quran.com/wordbyword