Why is it important for women to cover their heads and body and what is its reward?
In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.
Allah (SWT) states in the Holy Qur’an: “And tell the believing women that: “They should cast down their gazes and preserve their chastity, and not display their ornaments except that which is apparent of it.” And let them draw their head-coverings over their bosoms, and let them not display their finery except to their husbands, or their fathers, or the fathers of their husbands (fathers-in-law), or their own sons, or the sons of their husbands (step-sons), or their brothers, or the sons of their brothers, or the sons of their sisters (nephews), or their (Muslim) women, or the women in their possession (slaves), or such male subordinates who have no (sexual) interest (need), or such infants who have no carnal knowledge of women. And let the believing women not strike their feet so that the ornaments which they conceal be made known. And turn unto Allah all together O you believers, perhaps you prosper.” (Surah Noor, V31)
“O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters and to the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when out of doors): That is most convenient, that they should be known and hence not molested. And Allah is most forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Surah Ahzaab, V59)
“O children of Adam! Surely we have bestowed upon you a garment to cover your shame, as well as to be an adornment to you, and the garment of piety is the best.” (Surah al-ahzab V26)
In a Hadith recorded by Imam Tirmidhi, The Prophet said:
“A woman is supposed to be concealed. When she emerges outside (without covering herself properly), Shaytan makes her adorned in front of men.” (Sunan Tirmidhi)
Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (RA) said: The Prophet said: “There are two types of the people of Hell whom I have not seen: People with whips like the tails of cattle, with which they beat the people, and women who are clothed, yet are naked, inciting men and their heads looking like the humps of camels, leaning to one side. They will not enter paradise nor smell it’s fragrance, even though it’s fragrance can be detected from such and such a distance.” (Sahih Muslim, no. 2218)
The above verses and Hadiths are clear in establishing that it is obligatory (fard) upon a woman to cover herself.
It is clear that the aim is to eradicate fornication, adultery and all the preliminary steps that lead directly to such shameful acts. The references to ‘lowering their gaze’, ‘drawing their veils over their bosoms’ and ‘striking their feet to draw attention’ indicate that all acts or omissions which, in the ordinary course, lead directly to sexual promiscuity and fitna are forbidden.
Women are instructed to cover their entire heads. They may choose to wear clothing so long as it completely covers their hair. Whilst doing that it should be kept in mind that there is no imitation of the non-believers. In a Hadith recorded by Imam Abu Dawud (RA),the The Prophet said:
“Whosoever imitates a nation is amongst them.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, no. 4031)
In regards to the reward of wearing a hijab, what greater reward can there be than the pleasure and happiness of Allah (SWT) and entry into paradise.
“The righteous will be amid gardens and fountains” (Surah Hijr, V45)
“My servant! No fear shall be on you today nor shall you grieve. Those who have believed in our signs and submitted to us. Enter paradise, you and your wives and rejoice.” (Surah Zukhruf, V68 & 69)
It is narrated by Sayyidina Abu Huraira that The Prophet said, “Allah will give shade, to seven, on the Day when there will be no shade but His. These seven persons are-
(i) A just ruler
(ii) A youth who has been brought up in the worship of Allah (SWT) (i.e. worships Allah (SWT) sincerely from childhood i.e. wearing a headscarf will fall under this category)
(iii) A man whose heart is attached to the mosques (i.e. to pray the compulsory prayers in the mosque in congregation)
(iv) Two persons who love each other only for Allah’s sake and they meet and part in Allah’s cause only
(v) A man who refuses the call of a charming woman of noble birth for illicit intercourse with her and says: I am afraid of Allah
(vi) A man who gives charitable gifts so secretly that his left hand does not know what his right hand has given, and
(vii) A person who remembers Allah (SWT) in seclusion and his eyes are then flooded with tears.” (Shahih Al- Bukhari, Vol 1, Hadith no 629)
Allah knows best
Darul Ifta Birmingham