Sunday, 6 October 2013

Proper Hijab- Jilbab/Khimar/Abaya..??

Asalam Waliykum, 

I have been wanting to write about this topic for such a long time. It has been something I have put off for obvious reasons, I have done something similar on Facebook before and have been under attack by my fellow Muslim sisters and brothers which is sad. However, in the end I have decided it is my duty to give dawah, and although the truth hurts it needs to be said. I have been inspired by the sister who owns the One Chinese Muslimah blog. This sisters blog posts are always straight to the point, honest and truthful and she supports all her points with Hadith and Quran and views from valuable scholars and Sheikhs. Allah bless her and may she continue this good work, I recommend you do have a look at her blog.

I previously spoke about the Hijab for Men you can read that post HERE! so it is fair to also address the sisters who are the majority of readers of my blog. In Sha Allah, you take this advice from one sister to another. I know before I started to wear hijab I would of appreciated someone to speak to me frankly and honestly about it, everyone was too scared of bringing up the subject and there were hardly any sisters online addressing this issue at that time. (Perhaps in the future I will blog about why I started to wear hijab.) I previously blogged about the style that is all the rage "Gamoo3a/Camel hump" and you can read that Here!!

So take this as it is intended to be, a reminder, advice, and not from my own opinions or nafs or ego, this is from Allah and the Messenger (SAW). I am not "attacking" anyone. I started to wear hijab when I was 20, so I know what it feels like to be on the "other side" so to speak. So please do not get offended, I love you for the sake of Allah and wish the best for you as I wish the best for myself, and I speak to you as if you are a blood sister, but Islam makes us closer then that and so we should be open to one another and help one another. 

The best place to start is looking at the Quran, we should always seek answers and guidance from Allah Subhana-Wa'ta3ala which He has given to us in the Quran. There is clear ayat in the Quran addressing the issue of proper hijab and what is commanded of us. 

Allah commands the Prophet to address the women (Previous ayat addressing the men to do the same):

قُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَ يَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوْجَهُنَّ...

“Say to the believing women that: they should cast down their glances and guard their private parts (by being chaste)…” (Surah an-Nur-24, Ayat 30)

I know this ayat is hard for us to implement, even me. Especially those who are bought up in the west. I am not sure about you sisters, but from the day I entered school until I graduated university it has been drilled into my head by teachers, advisers etc that it is rude to not look at someone when speaking to them, and it is crucial to maintain eye contact when going to an interview etc. I remember one teacher and a lecturer both saying a similar thing, that no employer will be interested in someone who is looking down at the floor/hands and not looking them in the eye. While I understand the concept behind this, and yes if the employer/interviewer is female and you are female do maintain "healthy" eye contact. However, If it is a man, and you are a woman then as Muslimahs we are ordered to lower our gaze by our creator, if they are not mahram/close relative to us.

For us Muslims, lowering our gaze is firstly an act of worship and obedience to our creator, and secondly a sign of respect to the opposite gender. Some women may be offended by a man who lowers his gaze as she walks past, and get frustrated that a man did not look at them. Yet Muslimahs who know these words of Allah that I have mentioned above, will feel a great sense of respect and admiration for that person, I know I do. So it is difficult to maintain this act of worship and obedience when you grow up in an environment in a society that is constantly telling you the norm' is opposite to what Islam is all about. 

Allah then addresses the issue of the Islamic dress code for women:

                 ...وَ لاَ يُبْدِيْنَ زِيْنَتَهُنَّ إِلاَّ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَ لْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلىَ جُيُوْبِهِنَّ

“...and not display their beauty except what is apparent, and they should place their khumur over their bosoms...”

Any arabic speaker will know that Khumur is plural for khimar. This is a cloth/veil that covers from the head down, some are shorter, some to the waist, knees or to the feet. You can Google the word Khimar and you will see all the images of varying styles of that veil. 

Historically the dress code back then in Arabia, most of the women would wear the khimar. But in a style that meant it was draped/tied behind the neck/back and only covering some/all of the hair exposing the neck, ears, chest etc. So Allah commanded the women to bring the Khimar in front to cover their chest, the awrah "..they should place their khumur over their bosoms...”

There has been disagreements among sisters, many take the ayat in a way to say that they only need to cover the chest! And that their head, ears and neck can remain uncovered. This is one of the reasons why their is a lack of consistency in proper hijab in this ummah. Some sister's may wear a turtle neck/ polo neck and a turban, or no head scarf at all. As they take the Ayat and interpret it to suit their own opinions and desires, to mean that they are only commanded to cover the bosom.

I would like to just give you an example to clarify that the Ayat means to cover the head all the way to the chest with the khimar. If you wore a skirt, and someone said to you that the skirt has to cover the calf and ankles... please tell me who would pull down the skirt, removing it from the waist and hips and drop it to only cover the calf and the ankle exposing the waist, thighs and knees? No body would take it to mean that... well I hope not! So this is the same with Khimar. The women wore Khimar on the head and Allah ordered them to bring the excess material from the back to wrap and cover their front. In Sha Allah that has cleared that issue up. 

The issue of head covering has now been addressed, so what about the rest of our body. If we choose to wear a khimar/veil that covers from the head to the chest, then what else should be worn. Again we will look into the Quran for the answer, and Allah says:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ, قُلْ لأَزْوَاجِكَ وَ بَنَاتِكَ وَ نِسآءِ الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ: يُدْنِيْنَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِنْ جَلاَبِيْبِهِنَّ...

“O Prophet! Say to your wives, your daughters, and the women of the believers that: they should let down upon themselves their jalabib.(Surah Al-Ahzab-33, Ayat 59)

Again in Arabic Jalabib is the plural for Jilbab. And Jilbab in the Arabic language means a Cloak, to be more specific a wide, loose outer garment. Many would like to argue the Jilbab/Abaya is "Arabic" clothing. But as you can see in the Ayat above, Jilbab/Jalabib is Islamic clothing for Muslim women from all over the world. You can wear your cultural clothes at home, but when you leave your house and in the presence of Non mahrams you should put on the Outer garment. 

The Islamic dress code not only requires the Khimar/head scarf but also the jilbab to cover to all the way down to the feet that is loose, wide, opaque, and modest. 

Sahih Bukhari Book 8 #347. Narrated by 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".


Sunan Abu Dawud Book 32 #4090. 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.

These two hadiths are Sahih and are accepted by the majority of Muslims, both showing us that women are not to leave the home without wearing their outer garment the Jilbab. 

The conditions required to fulfill in the Hijab of a Muslim woman:
  1. The Hijab must cover her body completely from the top to the bottom, except what was mentioned above i.e. face and hands.
  2. The Hijab itself must not be a Zeenah an adornment, otherwise, it would need another Hijab on top of it.
  3. The Hijab must be opaque or non-transparent so that nothing shows through from underneath it.
  4. The Hijab must be wide and big so that it does not outline the body of the woman and does not profile her body parts.

The majority of scholars Imams Abu Hanifah, Malik, Ash-shafi'i and Al-Awza'i said that what is meant with the exception is the face and the hands. They based their opinion on the evidence like the one reported by Imam Abu Dawud on the authority of Ae'ishah (R.A.) that said, "Asma', the daughter of Abu Bakr, came to the prophet (S.A.W.) wearing thin clothes. When the prophet (S.A.W.) saw that, he looked away and said:

 "Oh Asma’, if a woman reaches puberty, she should not show anything from her except this and he pointed to his face and his hand." 

Imam Abu Hanifah added the feet to this exception because it is more difficult to cover the feet than the hands, and many of the women of At-Tabe'een did not cover their feet when they worked in the country.

Depending on the school of thought you follow then you may believe the face and hands and feet are awrah also. Or if like me, I follow the Islamic opinion that face and hands are not awrah as the prophet SAW stated in the hadith above, and that the feet are to be covered. Either one is correct, and both acceptable to follow. 

To conclude, I would like to say everyone starts at some point. Some of us practice this ibbadah with no trouble, some of us it takes time and some others are never able to abide by this obligation. Either way the debate of Hijab being Fard needs to be lead to rest as there is no argument. It is Fard case closed, but the debate should be about why sisters are struggling to fulfill this obligation and what we can do to help them. Just as if our sister did not pray we would advise them, so we should do the same in regards to Hijab. 

Jazaka Allah khier, I leave you with some interesting videos that explain all I have spoken about very well and in more detail. Do check them out. There are plenty of lectures on you tube on this subject. Please feel free to share with family, friends and to the public,  I pray this helps sisters out there get closer to obeying Allah and being closer to the Siratt Al mustaqeem, the Straight Path to Allah. 


  1. assalamualaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatu !!!!!
    jazakillahu kheyrun for the special shoutout!! lool i feel honoured masha'Allah!!!!


  2. @Umm AbdurRahman, Waliykum Asalam sis, you welcome :D Wa Iyakoum.
    Afwan sister, And ameen. Allah give you the same xx

  3. Wa alaikum salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
    JazakAllah khair salwa your post was very beneficial MashaAllah

  4. @Asma/Kim

    Wa Iyakoum. Allah barek feek. I am glad that it has been useful :)

    wasalam -x-

  5. Assalamu Alaikum!

    As a convert, I really appreciate this post. It has helped me out so much! I have one question. Are we supposed to wear the hijab underneath the khimar or just the khimar? I have only been wearing the hijab all this time so I am very appreciative that you posted this. Now I know the proper way Allah commands women to dress. I'm just a bit confused about the hijab. Where does that come into play? Should I wear the hijab under a khimar or just the khimar and then the jilibab?

    1. I think it's the khimar(scarf) and then the jilbab on top. Allāh knows best. Maybe ask some knowledgeable people

    2. By the way some people confuse the hijab with khimar. Hijab is meant to refer to the whole covering/veil. Basically the whole look is referred to as hijab which consists of a khimar and jilbab (and niqab for some people).

  6. Great post. Explanation is done so nicely keeping in mind all the Muslim values. People who are not much aware of a lot of things related to Islamic Clothing should go through this post.

  7. Your blogs and accumulation attracts me to arrive rearward again n again. Keep sharing. If you are looking for hajj package, you get online many travel agency providing best services.

  8. Fashion accessory available for sale online within best available prices in entire United Arab Emirates offering safe shipment after purchase any products best online store available for serving mens and womens ( his & her ) fashion within Dubai Sharjah Abu Dhabi.

  9. Assalam-O-Alaikum

    Perform Umrah this year by gaining the opportunity of Cheap Umrah Packages 2017 UK provided by the one and only reliable source, Road to Makkah.

  10. salaamu alaykum.
    Thank you enlightening us with this post. I am a sister who wears jilbab and niqab full time and can agree with the backlash from our community. I am often told that I am too strict in Islam, and that I need to let go and allow myself more freedom. Reading this post has encouraged me to continue doing what everyone believes is outrageous. I really enjoyed this post. May Allah keep our hearts firm in Islam, ameen.


I love to hear from my readers so please feel free to comment everyone is welcome!
Please Respect the blog and all those who post and read, Any nasty, insulting, bullying and racial comments will be deleted and the person will be blocked. I do not tolerate such comments.
I welcome constructive criticism but please have Hiqma and do so privately and respectfully.
Jazaka Allah khier :)