Corruption of 24:31 – Hijab


“And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and to guard their
private parts, and not to reveal any of their ‘zinatahhunna’ (beauty spots)
except what is normally apparent, and to draw their ‘khumurihhinna
(their khimars) over their ‘juyoob’ (cleavage/bossom)”

24:31

The starting point for this inquiry is to address the following questions:
Do we see the Arabic words ‘shaar’ (hair) or ‘raas’ (head) in 24:31?
!

The answer is no.
 ‘
Are there any words in 24:31, or anywhere in the Quran, which address
women and 
which say in plain words “cover your shaar (hair) or raas
(
head)?
The answer once again is no
However, traditional scholars and Imams insist that God issued such a
command for women to cover their hair and they refer to 24:31 to make
such claim.
 ‘
The fact that the words ‘hair‘ and ‘head‘ are not found in 24:31 should be
sufficient 
for any unbiased reader to conclude that there cannot be a
command to cover parts 
of the body if these parts are not mentioned in
the first place.
 ‘
Nevertheless, traditional Muslim scholars manipulated the words in 24:31
in order to
enforce the covering of the hair on women, but in reality they are
enforcing their culture 
on people and claiming is it Islamic!
!
It is thus the aim of this paper to analyse 24:31 in detail. In the light of the
Quran it can 
be shown that their claims are all based on manipulated
interpretations of the text in
24:31.
 ‘

Their claim
:
They state that the word ‘khimar’ in 24:31 means head cover, and thus they
state that this 
word alone makes it obligatory for all women to wear a khimar
to cover their hair.
 ‘
Here it is necessary to analyse two issues:
 ‘
1- What is the correct meaning of the word khimar?
2- Is there a command in 24:31 for women to cover their hair?
 ‘
1- What is the correct meaning of the word khimar?
 ‘
The Arabic word khimar means cover. Any cover can be called a khimar
such as a curtain,
a dress, also a table cloth that covers the top of a table is a
khimar, also a blanket can be called a khimar and so on. The word khamr, which
is used in the
Quran for intoxicantshas the same root as khimar. Both words
mean that which covers. The
khimar covers a window, our body, a table and so
on, while
khamr is that which covers the mind.
Traditional translators, being influenced by Hadith and culture, claim that
khimar in 24:31 
has only one meaning, and that is veil or hijab, and thus they
mislead women into believing 
that 24:31 commands them to cover their hair!
The fact that the word
khimar can mean any cover, and not just head cover, is a
matter which can be verified by consulting any Arabic 
dictionary.
 
In 24:31 God is telling women to use their khimar (cover/garment), which
could be 
a dress, a coat, a shawl, a shirt, a blouse, a scarf and so on to cover
their
cleavage/bosoms.
 
2- Is there a command in 24:31 for women to cover their hair?
 
For a start, we note that the words ‘head’ and ‘hair’ are not found in 24:31.
In addition, we must differentiate between two components in the wording of 24:31.
God says to women to draw their khimar (garment) over their cleavage/bossom
!
Here we have:
1- The subject of the command, which is the cleavage/bossom
2- The tool, which is the khimar.
 
The command is only obligatory in relation to the subject and not the tool.
If the obligation was for the tool as well God would have said:
~
cover your hair and cleavage with your khimar
 
God is not short of words, nor is God vague in the commands He decrees for us.
God will hold us accountable on the Day of Judgement to the commands He
gave us, so it is not rational to imply for one moment that God would give us
vague commands which lack precision and certainty.
 
To further demonstrate the difference in obligation between the command and
the tool, 
reference can be made to 5:4. In 5:4 God tells us that we can eat what
our trained birds 
of prey catch for us. Does this mean that all believers are
commanded to own or use a 
trained bird of prey for what they eat?
!
Obviously not, for even though the trained birds of prey are mentioned in 5:4
(as a tool), 
yet the message of 5:4 is related only to how God made it lawful for
us to eat the catch of 
trained birds.
 
Similarly, in 24:31 all women are obliged to obey the command to cover their
cleavage/bosom.As long as the woman covers her cleavage she would have
obeyed 
God’s command in 24:31.She can use any garment she is wearing (tool)
to cover her chest 
(subject of the command).
 
In addition, the command to cover the cleavage/bosom also proves that there
is no 
obligationto cover what is above the cleavage/bosom (neck, head and hair).
If these parts above the bosom are also to be covered then why would God single
out the cleavage/bosom
This rationale proves once again that the Quranic command to cover the
cleavage/bosom 
indicates that there is no obligation to cover what is above the
bosom, that being the neckhead and hair.
 
Finally a mention must be included regarding the words:
 
“not to reveal any of their ‘zinatahhunn’ (beauty spots) except what is
normally apparent”
 
Somehow, the scholars managed to manipulate these words as well to imply
that the 
woman must be covered from head to toe.
This claim can be easily refuted by analysing these words.
 
The immediate question is: what are the parts of the body which people (in general)
and 
women (in particular) normally cover, and thus would be described as
normally apparent“? When we have defined what is normally covered, it follows
that the remaining parts of the 
body are what is referred to as “normally apparent“,
or normally uncovered.
!
In general, people cover the following :
 
1- People cover their private parts in order to maintain righteousness (7:26).
For women 
this would include all parts of the body which have sexual
connotation such as the private 
parts, the backside, the chest, thighs and
so on. It is for this purpose that
God commands women in 33:59 to lengthen
their garments so as not to be too revealing.
O children of Adam, We have bestowed upon you clothing to conceal your
private parts 
and as adornment. But the clothing of righteousness – that is
best
. That is from the signs 
of Allah that perhaps they will remember. 7:26
O Prophet! Tell thy wives and thy daughters and the women of the believers to
draw their cloaks close round them (when they go abroad). That will be better,
so that they may be recognised and not annoyed. Allah is ever Forgiving,
Merciful. 
33:59
!
2- People also cover their bodies in order to keep warm. In warm climates
people would 
only cover what is included under item 1 above, which would
be the minimum clothing 
required but also with maintaining righteousness,
while as in colder climates people would 
cover more of their bodies depending
on the severity of the weather.
 
The above two points define what parts of the body would normally be covered
under the 
words “normally apparent”.
 
To imply that the words “normally apparent” mean all the body, as some
Imams preach, 
is yet another manipulation of God’s words.
!
If God wanted the woman to cover all her body God would not have bothered
with words 
such as the “cleavage” nor with “what is normally apparent”!
God
would have simply said cover all your body”. But for God to single out
specific parts of the body for covering is 
the proof that God never required
women to cover all their bodies.
 
 
For more info please see the following related page:

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