Tag Archives: sahabiyaats

The Sunnah Hijab; a living or forgotten legacy

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Bismillahir-rahmanir raheem. This article is firstly for all the good sisters out there trying to help others sisters wear the hijab in ways that would suit their needs and also for every muslim who wants to learn about the hijab of the sunnah.

Promiscuity, prostitution and sexual harassment of women used to be rampant in the pre-islamic era. Islam came and reformed these and inculcated decency in both muslim men and women. Then came a time in madina when the hypocrites started creating problems for them. They began spreading rumours and slander about muslims as well as using using vulgar, flirtatious words seeking adultery with their women.

Allah (swt) then sent down these verses:

“O prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves of their outer garments. That will be better for them,  that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allah is ever forgiving, Most Merciful. If the hypocrites and those in whose hearts is a disease and those who spread rumours in al-Madina do not cease, we will certainly incite you against them, then they will not remain therein except for a little. (Q33:59-60)

‘So as not to be annoyed’ meaning if they do that (cover up themselves), they will be known as free respectable women and not prostitutes or slaves (Tafsir Ibn khatir)

And those in whose hearts is a disease’: this instance means the adulteres in madina (i.e those seeking adultery)” (Tafsir ibn khatir)

These verses reveals the main reason hijab was commanded during the golden era of the prophet  (saw) i.e in the sunnah. Our hijab came to uphold the dignity of women and liberate them from being thought of as sex objects (a punch in the face to those who say muslim women are not liberated). How then did the women of the times of the prophet (saw) cover themselves?

A part of the previous verse read: “to bring down over themselves of their outer garments (their jalaabib)” then what is a “jalaabib”. Jalabib is plural for jilbab. ‘which is defined as a cloak covering the head and reaching the ground, thereby covering the woman’s entire body’. (Commentary,  sahih international Qur’an translation).

In the other verse that spoke about hijab in the qur’an, Allah (swt) said:

“And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision their gaze (looking only at what is lawful) and guard their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.) and not to expose their adornment (except that which (necessarily) appears thereof, and to draw down (a portion) of their headcovers over their chests and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husband’s sons, their brothers, their brother’s sons, their sister’s sons, or their women  that which their right hands possess (i.e slaves) or those male attendants  having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women…..(Q24: 31).

And not to show off your adornments except that which is apparent’  meaning both natural beauty such as hair or body shape, and that with which a woman beautifies herself of clothing, jewelry e.t.c (Commentary of verse, sahih international Qur’an translation)

‘To draw their  headcovers (khumur) all over their juyub (necks, chest e.t.c)’. Khumur is the plural of khimar which means something that covers and is what is used to cover the head. This is what is known amongst the people as veil.  This means they should wear the khimar in such a way as to cover their chests and ribs so that they will be different from the women of jahiliyyah (pre-islamic era) who did not do so but would pass in front of men with their chest uncovered and with their necks, forelocks, hair and earrings uncovered(Tafsir ibn khatir).

Aisha (RA) said: may Allah (swt) have mercy on the women of the early emigrants, when Allah (swt) revealed the ayah ‘to draw their veils all over their juyub’ they tore their aprons and covered all over themselves with them (Al-Bukhari).

Subhanallah, that was the hijab the sunnah. That was the hijab that was worn by the most noble of women to have ever walked the surface of this earth. This was the hijab of Khadeejah, A’isha and Hafsah, the mothers of the believers.

These descriptions tells us that the sunnah hijab was either a jilbab which is an outer garment (i.e jilbab) that covers from head to toe, or an outer garment (e.g abaya)to cover the body plus a veil (khimar) which covers the head upto the chest area. Though no one type of hijab is a status quo in islam, especially since what is available differs from place to place, but in essence, it has to fulfill the conditions of hijab, and who will fulfill them better than the best women on this earth.

And most iymportantluy, these  descriptions clears alot of misconceptions about the hijab;

The hijab is just a head cover: the hijab doesn’t cover the head only but rather that which covers the head and the whole body as well.

Our fitting clothing can serve as hijaab: The hijab is supposed to drape all over our body while clothes our size sits on our body. A hijab that reveals the body curves and or is just plain tight is therefore not a hijab.

The hijab cannot be a source of  attraction in of itself: The reason for the  hijab as we’ve seen in the first verse is to divert attention from muslim women while in the second Allah (swt) commanded us to hide our adornments. So beautifying the hijab with bright colours, patterns and stones is therefore not right.

Hence, i want to use this medium to call my sisters who have fallen into the fitnah of  wearing the hijab as is suitable for them and not that of the sunnah, and calling others to do the same to please desist. We wear the hijab for Allah’s sake, so let’s do it as He (swt) commanded. Remeber, as an underlying principle in our deen; deeds are only accepted when done according to the sunnah and for Allahs sake alone. It is okay to struggle to wear the correct hijab, as many people go through that phase at first (myself included), but justifying it for others to copy is very wrong. For every bad deed one calls to, he has an equivalent sin as the one who performs it. So let’s not create websites, fashion houses and runways, and skin tight burkinis in the name of hijab. The hijab already came to liberate us, so why we do have to compete with other women of textgram_1491772881different religion to show that we are liberated.

“….And whosoever initiates an evil practice (sunnah sayyi’ah) in Islam and is emulated by others will bear the sin of it and the sin of all those who act on it without their burden being diminished in the least. ” [Sahîh Muslim: (1017) Book 34, Hadith 6466 ]

[It will be said], “Read your record”. Sufficient is yourself against you this day (Q17:14).

Try the sunnah hijab today, together me and you can make it a living legacy in shaa Allah.

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Your worth and succesS

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When the topic of successful women in Islaamic history is brought up, names of the wives of the prophets, Aisha bint Abubakar, Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, Umm Salamah, Maimunah and his daughters Fatimah, Umm kulthum, Ruqayyah and zainab are mentioned. These women were successful and they died leaving a legacy worth remembering and their characters are certainly worth emulating.
It is important however to note that the success of these women had little if not nothing to do with their relationship with the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) otherwise, others like Aasiyaah bint Muzahim; the wife of fir’aun (pharoah), Umm Isah Maryam bint Imraan; the mother of Jesus, Sumayya; the first martyr of Islaam, Umm Sulaym the wife of Abu Talha;  she whose Mahr(dowry) is said to be the best and the likes won’t be mentioned anywhere even near this category.

Even in current times, our generation, we have people who have built a career and are successful. You don’t hear people comment on the looks of Huda Khattab or Dr Aisha Hamdan or Yasmin Mogahed or Na’ima Roberts or Sadaf Farooqi or Fatima Barakatullah. Our dearest Layinka Sanni, Maryam Lemu, Subahanallah so many i can’t even put a finger on a few. Rather you here comments to the effect of how amazing it is the things they do, the lives they touch, the inspiration, motivation, the impact they make. May Allah preserve them all ameen.
The things they do for the masses. They might be covered up-oppressed They might say. But this oppression hasnt stopped them from becoming successful now has it? In my words, they are the oppressed that have succeeded.

They, from behind the veil spread knowledge. They, from behind a screen teach, the impact of this has caused both them and their students (the likes of me) to go places, places only hearts can go. Can I not mention again our mother Umm Abdullah-Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her and make us of those who walk in her path, known for her excellence in knowledge?
She was the epitome of female scholarship. So much so that the companions of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to come to her seeking knowledge and clarification and all of this used to happen from behind a screen (curtain), not just the veil now, a screen to top it!
Allah commanded the wives of the prophet saying;

ِّ وَإِذَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُنَّ مَتَاعًا فَاسْأَلُوهُنَّ مِن وَرَاءِ حِجَابٍ ذَٰلِكُمْ أَطْهَرُ لِقُلُوبِكُمْ وَقُلُوبِهِنَّ وَمَا كَانَ لَكُمْ أَن تُؤْذُوا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَلَا أَن تَنكِحُوا أَزْوَاجَهُ مِن بَعْدِهِ أَبَدًا إِنَّ ذَٰلِكُمْ كَانَ عِندَ اللَّهِ عَظِيمًا

“…And when you ask of them any goods, ask of them from behind a curtain; this is purer for your hearts and (for) their hearts; and it does not behove you that you should give trouble to the Apostle of Allah, nor that you should marry his wives after him ever; surely this is grievous in the sight of Allah.”{Q33:53}

Never have we heard in the description of the extent of success of these women anything relating to their physical beauty or attractiveness. Even when this is mentioned, it is never the reason behind their success. Because, Islaam teaches that success lies not in the looks of a person but in the perfection of that which makes them invaluable. Their deen and khuluq (character).

In a hadith reported, the messenger of Allah said; “Verily, Allah neither looks at (considers) your suraa (physical nature) nor your amwaal (wealth). Rather, He looks at (considers) your Quluub (hearts) and your a’amaal (deeds).”

If Allah could care less about our looks and possessions, why waste so much time trying to perfect and acquire them, respectively? Would it be fair even to judge or consider a person by that which he/she has no control over?

This in no way means we shouldn’t strive to take care of our bodies, for this would be trangressing limits as our own bodies are an amaanah (trust) and we shall be questioned as to how we exhausted and took care of them.

We’ve lost understanding or perhaps we are ignorant of where success lies and perhaps what it means.  As Yasmin Mogahed mentions, “we need to unlearn.”

We take time out every single day to prepare face masks and cleanse and moisturise and set in foundation. Yet, it is most difficult for us to pray two extra raka’at (unit of salah-prayer) out of gratitude.

It is easy for us to go shopping, which if at all we make the right intentions could be an act of ibaadah, yet it is difficult for us to say ‘Alhamdulillah-all praise is for Allah’ for these blessings we could never number.

We all crave success, to feel that sense of accomplishment and to know “yes, when i die, atleast i’ve left something.” It is only human. But we need to understand where success lies, what the reality of accomplishment is and what legacy we should aim to leave behind.

In the lives of the mothers of the believers, these companions of the prophet whom like us all were either wives, mothers, aunts, teenagers or adults and very much human are alot of lessons to take from as we tread the path to success and build our legacies simultaneously.

If we could take some break from the hustles and bustles that have taken over our individual lives. Take a seat and breathe. Study their lives, we will come to realise that they feel/felt pain, they have/had families, they get/got exhausted at some point(s) in time, they have/had their highs and lows and their ‘dips’ aswell. Then, this realisation will perhaps plant a seed of curiousity in us as to what keeps/kept them going.

But know that; If the goal is worth it, the player doesn’t stop.

“Work on your worth to make yourself invaluable…and real worth lies in your deen and khuluq.” ~DeensisterS