May 2004: Page 1, 2, 3, 4

Submitters Perspective

Page 2

Female Dress Code

Cont’d from page 1

Misinterpreted Arabic words dealing with women dress code

“And tell the believing women to subdue their eyes, and maintain their chastity. They shall not reveal any parts of their bodies, except that which is necessary. They shall cover their chests, and shall not relax this code in the presence of other than their husbands, their fathers,…. They shall not strike their feet when they walk in order to shake and reveal certain details of their bodies. All of you shall repent to God, O you believers, that you may succeed.” 24:31

Verses 24:31 and 33:59 teach us what we need to know: If you look at the Arabic word Yudnina (which means lengthening), Alaihinna (which means on their / over their), Min- jaloabiibhinna (which means dress or garment), these are the only terms used in that verse to specify the teachings of our dress code. And even more notably, Arabic words describing head, hair, eyes or veil are nowhere to be found.

Khimar / khomoorehenna

The traditional meaning has always been a cover, NOT a head cover; however, the latest innovation in translation defines it as head cover. Khimar was intentionally MADE to mean “head cover” by scholars who wished to enforce their personal understandings — which, ironically, contradict God in the Quran. They passed this corrupted meaning to one another, including the scholars who re-wrote the Arabic dictionaries.

The word “khimar” comes from the root word khamara which means “to cover,” so anything

that covers anything is a khimar. Wine in Arabic is called “khamra”, because it covers the brain and makes one lose his or her ability to think correctly. A curtain is a khimar because it covers a window, a table cloth is a khimar because it covers a table, a dress is a khimar because it covers the body. So khimar is not limited to a head cover. Most of the translators, influenced by Hadith translate the word as VEIL and thus mislead most people to believe that this verse is advocating the covering of the head.

In 24:31 God is asking the women to use their cover ‘khimar’ (being a dress, a coat, a shawl, a shirt, a blouse, a scarf etc.) to cover their chest / bosoms, not their heads or their hair. If God so willed to order the women to cover their heads or their hair, nothing would have prevented Him from doing so, but God did not order the women to cover their heads or their hair.

The Arabic word for chest, “jaib” is in the verse (24:31), but the Arabic words for head, “raas” or hair, “shaar” are NOT in the verse.
The last part of the verse (24:31) translates as, “They shall not strike their feet when they walk in order to shake and reveal certain details of their bodies.” The details of the body can be revealed or not revealed by the dress you wear, not by your head cover.

Notice also the expression in 24:31, “They shall not reveal any parts of their bodies, except that which is necessary.”

This expression may sound confusing to many, simply because they have yet to understand the mercy of God. Again, God uses an extremely general term to give people the freedom to decide upon proper definitions of “what is necessary” in accordance with their own circumstances, respectively.


“O prophet, tell your wives, your daughters, and the wives of the believers that they shall LENGTHEN their garments. Thus, they will be recognized and avoid being insulted. God is Forgiver, Most Merciful.” (33:59)

In this verse, God said to the prophet to tell the women to lengthen their garments, and never said how long is the length. God could have said tell them to lengthen their garments to their ankles or to their mid-calf or to their knees, but GOD DID NOT. God knows that we will be living in different communities and have different cultures and insists that the minor details of this dress code will be left for the people of every community.

For any person drawing a line and making conclusions for God about the definition of modesty is merely to admit that he or she presumes to know better than God. God left it open for us (providing that they follow the three basic rules) and none have the authority to restrict it. Additionally, the right mind can tell which attire is fitting enough to avoid insult. Only men harboring unclean perceptions of women will maintain their crude thoughts. God commands “the believing men and women to subdue their eyes and maintain their chastity.”

Thus, the traditional Hijab is added by Sunnah, and it’s not detailed in the Quran. This make Sunnah a scripture ranked with the Quran. During the Prophet’s time, he followed only the Quran. By putting together the commands for women to dress as God intends them to, in addition to the instruction to look upon women with modesty and respect, there will be no problems afoot – God willing.