By Sumaira Hayat Edited by Maleeha Zafar
Purdah in the Holy Qur’an
Allah Almighty says in the Holy Qur’an “Say to the believing men that they restrain their eyes and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Surely, Allah is well aware of what they do. And say to the believing women that they restrain their eyes and guard their private parts, and that they disclose not their natural and artificial beauty except that which is apparent thereof, and that they draw their head-coverings over their bosoms, and that they disclose not their beauty save to their husbands, or to their fathers, or the fathers of their husbands or their sons or the sons of their husbands or their brothers, or the sons of their brothers, or the sons of their sisters, or their women, or what their right hands possess, or such of male attendants as have no sexual appetite, or young children who have no knowledge of the hidden parts of women. And they strike not their feet so that what they hide of their ornaments may become known. And turn ye to Allah all together, O believers, that you may succeed.” (Surah Al Nur, Chapter 24, Verses 31-32)
The Holy Prophet (saw) on Purdah
From “Gardens of the Righteous” translated by Hazrat Sir Muhammad Zafrullah Khan Sahib (rz)
- Shaddad ibn Aus relates that the Holy Prophet said: “A wise person is one who watches over himself and restrains himself from that which is harmful and strives for that which will confront him after death; and a foolish one is he who gives rein to his cravings and seeks from Allah the fulfillment of his vain desires“ (Tirmidhi).
- Ibn Umar relates that the Holy Prophet passed by a man of the Ansar who was rallying his brother on his modesty. The Holy Prophet said: “Leave him alone, for modesty is part of faith” (Bokhari and Muslim).
- Imran ibn Husain relates that the Holy Prophet said: “Modesty only results in good” (Bokhari and Muslim). Muslim’s version is: “Modesty is all good.”
- Abu Hurairah relates that the Holy Prophet said: “Faith has more than sixty or seventy elements, the greatest of them is the affirmation: There is none worthy of worship save Allah; and the least of them is removal from a path of that which causes inconvenicence. Modesty is also and element of faith” (Bokhari and Muslim).
- Abu Sa’id Khudri relates that the Holy Prophet was more modest than a virgin behind her veil and that when something displeased him we could perceive it from his face (Bokhari and Muslim).
- Abu Hurairah relates that the Holy Prophet said: !It is not permissible for a woman that she should travel for a day and a night unless she is accompanied by someone related to her within the prohibited degrees” (Bokhari and Muslim).
- Uqbah ibn ‘Amir relates that the Holy Prophet said: “Do not visit women outside the prohibited degrees. A man from among the Ansar asked: What about in-laws? He answered: They are fatal” (Bokhari and Muslim).
- Ibn Mas’ud relates that the Holy Prophet said: “Let not a woman embrace another woman and then describe her to her husband in such detail as if he was looking at her” (Bokhari and Muslim).
The Promised Messiah (as) on purdah
VI condition of Ba’it
That he/she shall refrain from following un-Islamic customs and lustful inclinations and shall completely submit himself/herself to the authority of the Holy Qur’an; and that he/she shall make the Word of God and the sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsaw his/ her guiding principles in every walk of his/her life.
Elaborating on this condition of Ba’ait, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) explains….
- “The Promised Messiahas admonishes us not to follow the un-Islamic customs that people have added to their faith because of the influence of the society in which they live. These customs have been adopted from other religions.”
- “These days, you are living in Western societies that have many customs and rituals of their own which can create distance between you and your religion and that can diminish the beauty of Islamic teachings for you. The lustre of worldliness is far more attractive; therefore, there is need for great caution at every step. Instead of adopting their wrong customs, we must present the beautiful teachings of Islam.”
- “Each Ahmadi should possess such a strong character that Western culture should have no effect on him/her whatsoever. For instance, women are enjoined to observe purdah [the veil] according to Islamic teachings. It is in the interest of a woman’s integrity that she attains a prominent status in society due to the fact that she observes Islamic purdah. When a woman observes purdah willingly and she herself tells others the benefits of this Islamic injunction, it will have a far greater impact on others as compared to men who propagate the advantage of purdah in this society. Those women who observe purdah acquire many more chances to perform tabligh due to their unique prominence in society. This matter requires great attention.”
- “There exist many other social evils in Western society. To adopt them merely because we live in this society and we feel compelled to do so is, indeed, a worrisome situation.”
Conditions of Bai‘at and Responsibilities of an Ahmadi by Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba)pp.103-108
Beloved Hazrat Khalifatul Massih V (aba) on purdah
In his Friday Sermon on January 30th, 2004, Hazrat Khalifatul Massih V (aba) addressed the Jama’at with regards to the importance of Purdah in this day and age.
Huzuraba stated that he had dealt with this subject in a few of his earlier sermons. However, he felt that it needed to be emphasized again because a few people say that purdah is an antiquated restriction that should be removed in this day and age and that the progress of Islam and Ahmadiyyat is not dependant on strict observance of purdah.
Huzuraba said that his answer to these people is that Allah has given clear instructions in the Holy Quran regarding purdah. Also, it is evident from the practice of the Holy Prophet that purdah was strictly observed at that time. Whether these people like it or not, Islam’s and Ahmadiyyat’s progress is linked to purdah.
The teachings of the Holy Quran will never be outdated and if anyone thinks this way then they should beg Allah’s forgiveness.
Then there is the instruction for the women to restrain their looks. Huzuraba said that it is necessary for all women to obey this instruction in order to prevent their good name and their family honour being dragged in mud.
Huzuraba said that if it is absolutely essential for a woman to talk to a strange man then she should adopt a harsh tone in her voice so that he may not be encouraged by the softness of her voice.
Huzuraba stated that someone enquired that at her job she is required to wear certain type of clothes. Is she allowed to work at such a place.
Huzuraba said that if she can wear long coat over her dress and a scarf to cover her head then she may work there otherwise she is not allowed.
Huzuraba had earlier spoken about certain places where women have to work in the fields and have to keep their face and eyes uncovered. Huzuraba stated that in those cases their purdah is considered to be complete even with their face uncovered.
Huzuraba mentioned about being careful of maid servants who come into homes with the purpose of misguiding young girls.
Huzuraba stated that nowadays internet is being used for the same purpose where certain groups entice young people and lead them astray. Huzuraba reminded parents that it is their responsibility to keep an eye on their children that they do not fall prey to such vices of the internet.
Huzuraba said that according to Hadhrat Musleh Maudrz, dancing is forbidden by the Holy Quran because it causes the spread of shamelessness.
Some people say that if women dance among other women then what is the harm in that.
Huzuraba said that when the Holy Quran says that it leads to the spread of shamelessness then it is so and every Ahmadi should pay heed to this instruction.
As far as singing is concerned, singing of poems and sober songs is permitted.
Huzuraba said that the secret of our success is in following the instructions of the Holy Quran. May Allah enable us to act upon these instructions. Aameen.
Our fellow Ahmadi sister on purdah
The Islamic Veil – by Maha Dabbous Sahiba, The Review of Religions, October 1992
Islam has always suffered from many false charges against it due to the misunderstanding of its true teachings. One example of this is the wide spread false notion that Islam in general deprives women of their rights and forces them to go behind the veil.
The Islamic veil is condemned by non-Muslim and regarded as a sign of backwardness and a thing of the past which is no longer practical in the daily way of life today. They think that it is a burden and a restriction which has been imposed on Muslim women to deprive them on them of their freedom; they see it as if it was a chain with which the cruel Muslim man has tied his poor wife or daughter or sister of any other woman under his rule, because of his selfishness or jealousy.
But if one looks with a deeper glance on this subject, it will be found that the veiling of women is not something that Islam has invented. The previous revealed scriptures also contain some traces of similar teachings and Islam came only to complete and perfect them.
The revealed religions teach women to be modest in clothes and actions. If we study the Bible we will find that it teaches that modesty and reverence demanded the veiling of the face of the woman and that the veil was used by ladies of high rank.
For the full article: http://www.alislam.org/library/links/00000133.html
Additional Reading & Viewing
- http://www.alislam.org/ismail/April-June-2012-EN.pdf (pages 37-40)
- http://www.alislam.org/maryam/Maryam-Jan-Mar-2012-EN.pdf (pages 26-30)
- http://www.alislam.org/alhilal/H2012-2.pdf (page 23)