19 February 2014 CE | 17 Rabbi al-Thanni 1435 AH

Hadith Explanation

Hypocrites without Hijab

The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “The worse among the women are those who freely leave their homes without Hijab. They are hypocrites and few of these will enter Paradise.” [Sunan Al-Baihaqi]

Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) says: “And stay quietly in your houses, and make not a dazzling display, like that of the former Times of Ignorance.” [Quran: Surah Ahzab, Ayat 33] This Commandment states that the best way for women to observe Hijab is to stay in their homes and not to come out without necessity. Observing Hijab in this manner is known as Hijab Bil Buyoot (observing Hijab by way of staying home).

However, if we do need to go out, this Ayat guides us in how to do it without forsaking the pleasure of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala): “La Tabar-rajna Tabarruja!” [Quran: Surah Ahzab, Ayat 33] So, what is this “Tabarruj”?

“Mujahid and Qatadah say that the word Tabarruj in this Ayat means walking in a lewd way. Muqatil states that Tabarruj is when a woman only covers her head with her scarf without covering her neck and chest. Mubarrad says that Tabarruj is when a woman reveals her physical attractiveness which she is required to hide. Lais states that Tabarruj is when a woman does not hide the beauty of her face and her physical shape and considers it good to reveal it. Abu Ubaidah (radi Allahu anhu) says Tabarruj is when a woman exhibits her beauty and her body in a way as to cause sexual excitement in men. Ibn Jauzi, after quoting the above statements, writes: ‘I believe that coming out of her house and roaming about the streets in itself is sufficient to cause trouble, let alone exhibiting her beauty and her body.’ (Ahkamun Nisa).” [Hijab by Dr Mohammed Ismail Memon Madani]

Before Islam, women used to roam about without Hijab freely, shamelessly and without any bounds. Their behaviour has been described as Tabarruj by these early exegetes (Mufassireen) of the Quran. When one reads these interpretations and compares them with the ignorance of the present times, it appears that today people have become even more ignorant than the people in the times prior to Islam.

It was to put an end to this Tabarruj that the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam), while accepting women in Islam, used to make them promise not to engage in Tabarruj. [Tabrani]

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