What Does the Quran Say About Women’s Clothing?

What Does the Quran Say About Women's Clothing

What Does the Quran Say About Women’s Clothing?


What Does the Quran Say About Women’s Clothing?

The topic of women’s clothing in Islam has come under a lot of scrutiny in recent years. The modernization and globalization of all industries, including fashion, have ignited the debate surrounding how Muslim women dress has become a point of contention.

Strangely enough, it has risen to the forefront as a divisive issue, one that is frequently used by those who oppose Islam or are simply ignorant of the fundamentals to deem Islam a backward and oppressive religion. The reality could not be further from the truth.

This is why it is necessary to discuss the topic in depth by first clarifying what the Quran commands concerning how women dress and discovering the wisdom behind such commands. Allah (SWT) has chosen Islam as the best religion and perfected it.

Quranic Directives on How Women Should Dress

We must understand that Islamic teachings and practices harmonize with innate human nature. It is human nature to feel shame for our nakedness. It is uncomfortable and often unbearable. This is why clothing is such a basic need for all humans.

No matter where one lives, humans need food, clothing, and shelter. Clothing is greatly influenced by the climatic and cultural factors that prevail in an area. However, the basic need to cover up remains consistent no matter where one goes. Allah (SWT) says in the Holy Quran:

“O sons of Adam, We have revealed to you a dress that would both hide your nakedness and be an adornment, but the raiment of piety is best. This is one of the tokens of God: You may haply reflect.” [7:26]

In Islam, the directives on clothing for men and women are very clear. Quran and hadith make it very clear how believing men and women should dress. The requirements for women’s clothing, in the light of the Quran and Sunnah, are as follows:

·        Dress Modestly

Females should dress modestly. In the Holy Quran, very few verses address the issue of clothing for men and women. The most explicit verse dealing with the matter is found in Surah an-Nur:

“Tell the believing women to lower their eyes, guard their private parts, and not display their charms except what is apparent outwardly, and cover their bosoms with their veils and not to show their finery except to their husbands or their fathers or fathers-in-law, their sons or step-sons, brothers, or their brothers’ and sisters’ sons, or their women attendants or captives, or male attendants who do not have any need (for women), or boys not yet aware of sex. They should not walk stamping their feet lest they make known what they hide from their Ornaments. O believers, turn to God, every one of you, so that you may be successful.” [24:31]

The verse tells women not just how to cover themselves but also who their Mahram relations are, in front of whom they do not have to observe strict rules of veiling themselves. The verse also tells Muslim women how they should act. That is, to be modest not only in what they wear but also in how they act.

Wearing clothes that cover the entire body is necessary. Women should also wear a Hijab, a veil to cover their face and head. The details of women’s clothing in Islam are drawn from women’s garb at the time of the Holy Prophet (SAWW).

The wives (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهَا) and female companions (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهَا) of the Holy Prophet (SAWW) provide the best example of how Muslim women should dress. Their attire gives us further insights into women’s clothing.

·        It Should Be Loose-fitting

clothes worn by women should not be figure-hugging or too tight. The purpose of clothing is to provide a cover for feminine beauty and attractiveness. Tight clothes do not fulfill this purpose as they enhance the figure of a woman even more.

·        It Should not be See-through

A piece of loose-fitting clothing that covers the entire body may still not be suitable if it is not opaque. See-through or even partially see-through clothing is forbidden in Islam as it defeats the main objective, which is to cover up.

Many materials are light and thin and can be worn comfortably, no matter how hot, while still opaque. Pure cotton, for example, is perfect for wearing during the summer and provides ample coverage.

·        It Should Not Bear a Resemblance to Clothing of Men

Women should not imitate men or vice versa. Allah (SWT) has created both sexes with their unique characteristics, needs, and duties. Women should not try to be like men, and the same goes for men. Women possess feminine beauty, and their clothing should reflect their soft and gentle nature.

There is another reason why women should not dress like men and that is for their protection and safety. Women should be recognized from afar by their clothing so those nearby give them the respect and space they deserve. Donning clothes differentiated from men is a statement that women are different and should be treated differently.

·        It Should Not Bear a Resemblance to Clothes Worn by Non-Muslims

Resemblance and closeness to non-Muslims is frowned upon in general in Islam. For example, when it came to the call to prayer, the Holy Prophet (SAWW) did not consider the suggestion of some of his companions (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) of ringing bells like the Christians to gather the people.

Copying non-Muslims is like acknowledging they are superior to the believers and that is not acceptable. While cultural and geographical factors affect how we dress, the concept of the Hijab is uniquely Islamic. Only nuns dress similarly, but they are a very specific portion of the total female population within the Christian faith.

·        It Should be Plain and Not Have Images of Living Beings

As the verse of Surah an-Nur states clearly, women should not attract attention to their beauty. Our Holy Prophet (SAWW) also led a very simple life despite his position and status. Wearing gaudy clothing that is distracting due to bold colors or strange patterns and designs is not acceptable.

Images of living creatures on garments are also prohibited for both men and women as it makes prayer difficult. It is preferred that believers wear modest and simple clothes.

Why So Much Focus on Women’s Clothing?

Indeed, Islam is not equal in its treatment of men and women because they are fundamentally different beings. It is, however, just in its treatment. The innate biological differences that exist between men and women necessitate different treatment.

In some cases, men have more rights and are deemed superior to women, but in other instances, women get preferential treatment over men. It is important that every woman should know her rights in Islam. Women’s clothing may not be seen as contentious a subject when we examine the reason why Islam requires women to dress in a particular way.

Some of the reasons include:

·        Protects Women

The dress code for women in Islam is supposed to protect women and keep them safe. Covering up prevents women from leering stares and unwanted comments. Women dressed inappropriately, even if they do not intend to attract attention, are much more likely to be harassed than modestly dressed women.

·        Creates a Sense of Belonging

Wearing the typical garb that Muslim women wear strengthens your identity as a Muslim. It also encourages a sense of community and belonging as you can recognize fellow Muslim sisters anywhere you go in the world. You can bond due to your shared beliefs and develop new relationships that are grounded in faith.

·        Display your Faith Proudly

Muslim women are instantly recognizable as women’s dress is so unique, especially in this day and age of modernity. This is a good thing as we do not have to hide our religious identity. Being a Muslim should be a source of pride for us and we must display this pride publically through the way we dress, carry ourselves, and interact with others.

·        Allah’s (SWT) Command

Finally, we should follow the rules for wearing clothes as detailed in the Quran and Sunnah because it is the command of Allah (SWT). Blind faith in Allah (SWT) means that we follow what He (SWT) has commanded us without asking any questions. This is the height of piety to follow without any hesitation.

There is great wisdom in everything that Allah (SWT) requires of us. It is we who fail to see the truth and recognize that it is for our good. Allah (SWT) is All-Knowing and All-Merciful, after all.


Author Bio:

Rafia is a certified Quran scholar and Islamic content writer based in Pakistan. She is passionate about educating and inspiring others through her writing, promoting a deeper understanding of Islamic principles. She occasionally writes articles for Muslim And Quran.

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