What is Hijab? A Deeper Understanding

Does Hijab Include Head Covering?

Question: In the past I have allowed my wife to temporarily continue hijab until we finalize the issue.

During last few I learned that hijab does not means head cover at all, it is much more than head cover. Head cover is not at all hijab, in general terms when a women wear head cover people say she does hijab, that is absolutely wrong.

He only made covering of bosom to be fard and we shall limit it at that.

Is there any where in Quran or hadees that states that covering of head is fard?


The evidence for head covering is in the verse:

“draw their khimaars over their bosoms” (24: 31)

Khimaar: singular

Khumar: plural

The verse is not asking women to cover their chests in any way they want; rather it is commanding them to cover it with a `khimaar.’

Some people misunderstand the verse to mean simply cover the chest. They think the manner to cover it does not matter, as long as the chest is covered, the purpose is met.

In order to properly understand this verse, two things must be clearly understood:

(a) The precise command of the verse.

(b) Meaning of `khimaar

Precise Command of the Verse

Women are not being asked to simply cover their chests in any way, but rather to do so with a `khimaar.’

If a woman covers her chest in some other manner such that her hair, neck, and shoulders are exposed, she has not fulfilled the divine command which requires her to wear a khimaar and cover her chest with it.

How do we know this is a command and not a recommendation?

The Arabic word states ‘li-yadribna,’ in which laam is “lamm ul-‘amr,” meaning it’s “laam for imperative.” This is based purely on Arabic language. The closest explanation I could find online is here:

but it requires knowledge of Arabic language to fully understand.

Meaning of `khimaar

In Arabic language `khimaar‘ is what covers the head and neck of a woman.

According to all the classical scholars of the Quran, Allah is ordering believing women to cover their necks and chests with their `khimaar‘. In other words, the covering used to conceal their hair, neck, and shoulders must also conceal their chest. Women are not being asked to simply cover their chests in any way, but rather to do so with a `khimaar.’

The Arabic word ‘khimar‘ does not mean just a cover, but it means a head-cover. I will quote the largest, most authentic Arabic-English dictionary written by a Christian missionary some 100 years ago, the eight volume Lane’s Arabic-English Lexicon. He based it on the classical Arabic dictionaries. In vol. 2 p. 809, he defines the word “khimar“:

‘A woman’s muffler, or veil with which she covers her head and the lower part of her face…a woman’s hair covering.’

The general meaning of the Quran can be understood by reading translation, but it is not sufficient to derive rulings of halal and haram from the Arabic text.

There is evidence from hadith for head-covering that I have not mentioned.

Bottom line: Head-cover is wajib and fard. A husband has no right to ask his wife to remove it. She cannot be accused of disrupting family life.

In the end I would like to remind spouses to thank Allah if they have a compatible partner who supports them to practice their religion.

And Allah knows best.


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