According to my understanding of the related prescription of the Qur’an (in Surah Al-Noor), the Shari`ah has not made it obligatory upon Muslim women to keep their heads covered.
You also wrote in one of your earlier discussion titled “Further Exchange on ‘Is it Obligatory for Women to Cover their Heads“
The word “Khumur” is the plural of “Khimaar”. The word “Khimaar” when used with reference to women particularly implies the head covering. The well known Arabic dictionary “Aqrab al-Mawaarid” writes about the word “Khimaar”:
All such pieces of cloth, which are used to cover the head. It is a piece of cloth, which is used by a woman to cover her head.
So it can be safely said that “khimaar” naturally covers the woman head.
Isn’t the God used this word to imply the covering of head here naturally? He did not need to specify it.
Isn’t this directive regarding proper dressing of the women i.e. covering the bosoms also those were not covered, may be, by some women while wearing khimaar? After all it is a directive that came after the directive of “Jilbab“, in Surah Al-Ahzab, that naturally covers the bosoms.Â
Please clarify it.
It is true that “Khimar” is generally used for head covering. However, a close examination of the related verse of Surah Al-Noor shows that the directive entailed in it is for women to cover their bosoms. “Khimar” is only referred in this verse as a possible ‘tool’ for covering their bosoms. A woman who uses any other piece of cloth for this purpose would be said to have carried out the directive of the Shari`ah. This point is further substantiated by the fact that in verse 60 of Surah Al-Noor, where the Qur’an has allowed older women to be less careful in covering their bosoms, it has used the word “Thiyaab” – implying any piece of cloth that may have been used for the stated purpose.
It is clear that had the Qur’an required women to cover their heads, it would then have given an express directive to the effect.
In view of the above, I am of the opinion that head-covering, even though it has always remained a part of the noble Muslim social traditions, is not a directive of the Shari`ah.
I hope this helps.
May 12, 2003