Opinion: In Islam doing an entire purdah by Muslim women is an act of worship


By Farooq Ahmad Bakloo

Since a month after the episode of Karnataka where some Muslim girls were not allowed to enter the school because of a violation of the school dress code. After that, the issue has become a national sensation and nourishment to those Media channels that repeatedly are a forerunner in unfurling the poison against the Muslims and the entire Muslim community.

These news channels are doing discussions with a high velocity on the issue of whether doing pardha is in Islam or not. These channels tried to endorse or cultivate the opinion that doing Pardha by Muslim women is a sign of suppression and a tool of male domination in their households. During these debates, some participants even called that there is no word Hajib in the noble Quran and some misquoted the verses and the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to cook their bogus argument. In reply to these faulty arguments about the Pardha of Muslim women presented and posed by controlled media. Some Muslim sections tried to respond to these posed undesirable questions. Those who are presenting the questions about the Pardha did not know the status and significance of doing pardha in Islam. To cite the example the Muslim girls most often said that doing Pardha is our choice and identify some say it is our culture. However, one must know that the Pardha of Muslim girls is an act of worship it is no choice, it is obligatory as it is a commandment in the noble Quran by Allah.

The reason why I said this worship, the noble Quran says “I did not create Jin, or mankind, except to worship me. (Al Quran 51: 56). Here the word worship has a comprehensive meaning it means every action and saying that Allah loves and is pleased is included in the worship.

According to the
Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah rahimahullah ( d. 728H ) worship is a comprehensive term that brings together everything that Allah loves and is pleased with from actions or sayings both inward and outward ( Majmu al-Fatawa 10/49).
According to Ibn Kathir (d. 774H) rahimahullah worship is obedience to Allah by acting what Allah commands and abandoning what Allah forbids (Tafsir al Quran al- Adhim).

From the above definitions of both great scholars of Islam, it is crystal clear that worship is obeying the orders of Allah through the way Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught his companions. Therefore, the matter of Pardha of Women in Islam is undoubtedly the instruction of Allah mentioned in (An-Nur, 24) and (Al – Ahzab, 33 ) of the noble Quran. Allah says in Chapter 24 An-Nur verse 31 as: And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their chastity and not reveal their adornments except what normally appears. Let them draw their veils over their chests, and not reveal their hidden adornments except to their husbands, their fathers, their father–in–law, their sons, their stepsons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons or sisters sons their fellow women, those bondwomen in their possession, male attendants with no desire, or children who are still unaware of women nakedness. (Translation Saheeh International Dr. Mustafa Khattab, the clear Quran).

Another place where the Noble Quran commands the believing women to cover their entire body is chapter 33 Al – Ahzab verse, 59 as:
O Prophet! Ask your wives, daughters, and believing women to draw their cloaks over their bodies. In this way, it is more likely that they will be recognized as virtuous and not be harassed. (Translation Saheeh International Dr. Mustafa Khattab, the clear Quran).

Hence, it is evident that Pardha is an obligatory ruling and if anybody obeys this ruling as shown teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is doing the act of worship and fulfilling the commandment of Allah.


Mostly the Word Hijab is famously associated with the covering of the body but the Quran does not use the term Hijab in this covering body context. We Muslims significantly used the word Hajib as equal to the Burka and regard the Hajib and Burka as identical. However, the word Hijab which is mentioned seven times in the Noble Quran is not used in this context. If we see the word Hajib according to the terminology of the noble Quran the Word Hijab refers to a curtain, barrier and in all seven places, it is used as a curtain and barrier as shown below:
· Al – Ahzab Chapter 33, Verse 53.
· Al- Mutaffin chapter 83 verse 15.
· Al – Araf Chapter 7 verse 46.
· Sad Chapter 38, verse 32.
· Fussilat chapter 41, verse 5.
· Ash-Shura chapter 45, verse 51.
· Al – Isra chapter 17 verse 45.
· Maryam chapter 19 verse 17.
From the above verses of seven places of the noble Quran, it is clear that the word Hijab is used to define a barrier, and curtain. It is a big slap for those who are advocating that there is no word Hijab in the noble Quran and some ignorant people say that it is an Urdu word. These guys have never seen the noble Quran in their eyes. They only know how to spread the venom against the Islam and Muslim community.

However, the Hijab that the Muslims used as the garment by which the woman has covered acts as a barrier and protects her from the unwanted gaze of the people.


As far as the covering of the body of the Muslim women is concerned the noble Quran instructs the believers in two places in An-Nur chapter 24 verse 31 and Al- Ahzab chapter 33 and verse 59. In both places, the noble Quran used two different words for covering the body. In An-Nur the word Khimaar and in Al- Ahzab the word is Jalbaab.


According to ibn Kathir: “Khumur is the plural of khimaar which means something that covers, and is what is used to cover the head. This is what is known among the people as a khimaar.”

Shaykh Muhammad al-Munajjid defines “Khimaar comes from the word khimaar, the root meaning of which is to cover. For example, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Khammiru aaniyatakum (cover your vessels).” Everything that covers something else is called its khimaar. But in common usage khimaar has come to be used as a name for the garment with which a woman covers her head; in some cases, this does not go against the linguistic meaning of khimaar. Some of the fuqaha has defined it as that which covers the head and the neck. The difference between the jilbaab and the khimaar is that the jilbaab is something that covers all of a woman’s body, whilst the khimaar, in general, is something with which a woman covers her head.”

Shaykh Muhammad Nasiruddin Albani: The word khimaar linguistically means only a head covering. Whenever it is mentioned in general terms, this is what is intended.

Imam Abu Abdullah Qurtubi: “Women in those days used to cover their heads with the khimaar, throwing its ends upon their backs. This left the neck and the upper part of the chest bare, along with the ears, in the manner of the Christians. Then Allah commanded them to cover those parts with the khimaar.”

Ibn Kathir: “‘Draw their khumur to cover their bosoms’ means that they should wear the khimaar in such a way that they cover their chests so that they will be different from the women of the jahiliyyah who did not do that but would pass in front of men with their chests uncovered and with their necks, forelocks, hair, and earrings uncovered.

“The dictionary of classical Arabic, Aqrab al-Mawarid: “[The word khimaar refers to] all such pieces of cloth which are used to cover the head. It is a piece of cloth that is used by a woman to cover her head.
From the statements of these Islamic scholars, Khimaar is the garment that covers the head, neck, shoulders, and chest of the women. It is the obligatory dress commandment by Allah in the noble Quran for the believing women.


The Noble Quran commands to the believing women to cover their entire body are chapter 33 Al – Ahzab verse, 59 as:

O Prophet! Ask your wives, daughters, and believing women to draw their cloaks over their bodies. In this way, it is more likely that they will be recognized as virtuous and not be harassed.

In this verse, the noble Quran mentions the word Jalbaab
The word “jalabaab” is the plural of “jalbaab”. This ayah states an instruction for Muslim women to wear a garment which Allah SWT has called “jilbab.

“The jilbab is the outer garment, mantle, or cloak. It is derived from the word tajalbaba, which means to clothe. Jilbab is the outer sheet or covering that a woman wraps around her on top of her garments to cover herself from head to toe. It hides her body completely” (Lisan al-Arab )


Beyond this, the hadiths record how the sahabiyat (r.a) went about obeying Surah al-Ahzab ayah 59 when it was revealed: Sunan Abu Dawud Book 32 #4090. Narrated Umm Salama, Umm al-Mu’minin: When the verse, “That they should draw their jilbaab close around them” was revealed, the women of Ansar came out as if they had crows over their heads by wearing jilbaab.

And there is more even than this. Some of the women remained in seclusion and never went out so that they did not own the garment called “jilbaab”. The hadiths record that the Prophet (sAas) commanded the women to come out for the Eid gathering, and what he said about the issue of the garment called “jilbaab”:

Sahih Bukhari Book 8 #347. Narrated Umm Atiyya: We were ordered to bring out our menstruating women and screened women to the religious gatherings and invocation of the Muslims on the two Eid festivals. These menstruating women were to keep away from the musalla. A woman asked, “O Messenger of Allah! What about one who does not have a jilbaab?”. He said, “Let her borrow the jilbaab of her companion.


From the noble Quran and authentic Sunnah, it is apparent that covering the entire body from head to toe. This is an act of worship for the Muslim women. By doing this act Allah is pleased to those Muslim believing women who perform this action as shown by the authentic Sunnaha of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

All the scholars are agreed on this, that covering the entire body by Muslim women is obligatory. And if any Muslim sister is not doing the complete pardha she is not obeying the order of Allah. The point of disagreement among the scholars is on the obligatory status of face veil and hand cover. However, these scholars also state Muslim women must cover the entire body including the face and hands.

Besides this, the word Hijab in the noble Quran is used to refer to the barrier while for the complete coverage of the body of the believing women the word khimaar and Jalbaab is used in the noble Quran. The Khimaar, is an garment covering the head, neck shoulders, and the chest. it is the dress that is mandatory and obligatory when the believing women is at home with Muharrams.

The Jalbaab is used when the believing women went out to the market, school, or any other public place. She must cover by the the entire body by an outer garment including the face and hands. The scholars defined the Jabaab as Sheikh Abdul Aziz ibn Baaz rahimahullah the previous grand Mufti of Saudia Arabia stated that Jalbaab is the outer garment covering all the body except eyes. Molana Maududi rahimahullah defined jilbaab as an outer garment covering the face. Sheikh Yousuf Qaradawi hafzahullah explains the Jalbaab as a loose outer garment and the sheik Nasir ul din Albani rahimahullah says the Jalbaab as an outer garment that is thick and opaque and covers the clothing under it and the women form.
Apart from this some of the untaught people who say that covering the entire body by Muslim women is a sign of backwardness and suppression, those people must understand that covering the entire body including face and hands is not backwardness. Nevertheless, it is the state of undress which linked with the backwardness and Stone Age.
Modernization has nothing to do with the clothing of the person as modernization means the emergence of new ideas, inventions, and discoveries that have benefited the entire humanity. We see how the Muslim women who are strict ardent of parda are attaining good positions at the international and national level.

Instructions related to the covering the body of women especially hair is also found in other religions as well like Judaism and Christianity. In Judaism, it is called (Kissui Rosh). But it is some anti-Islamic forces only target Muslim women because of their religious identity and their faith.


Farooq Ahmad Bakloo is a research scholar. Views are personal. 



  1. Nowhere in any of the above verses the word Burqa is mentioned.

    Converted Muslims have more pressure to associate themselves with Arab culture. Burqa and Nakab is a Arab culture it predates islam. No where in the Quran it says you will be muslim only when you wear burqa or niqab else men must also wear it, this is why it is women oppressions. It only shows that native arabs were oppressive to women.

    The burqa is not a part of Islam but an element of Pre-Islamic Jahiliat Arab culture.
    There is a great difference between Muslims and Islam recited by Gabriel and preached by Mohd, what you see today is corruptions introduced by the Islamic caliphate post death of Mohammed.

    Yet still it is claimed by todays Muslim that the wearing of it is a part of Quranic teaching, this is lies of Muslims.

    The source of Islam is the Quran rather than Muslim culture. Muslim culture is a social phenomenon or corruption which has adopted arab pre Islamic Jahiliat doctrines.

    The word ‘burqa’ was in use in Arabia before the advent of Islam in the first quarter of the seventh century. At that time the word ‘burqa’ meant a piece of clothing that was used as a protection, especially in winters. The well-known Arabic dictionary Lisan al-Arab gives us two examples of its use during the pre-Islamic period: the first, as a cover for animals during the winter season and the second, as a covering chaadar, like a shawl for village women. Although the word ‘burqa’ existed in the Arabic vocabulary at that time, the Quran did not use the word ‘burqa’ for women’s purdah.

    History shows that the present veil or burqa first came into vogue in Persia. When Islam entered Persia, a complete civilisation was already in existence there. Many things were introduced into Islamic culture from the Persian culture. For instance, the word Khuda instead of Allah, the word Namaz instead of Salat. Similarly under the influence of Iranian culture burqa was adopted by Muslims. Gradually it was Islamised and became a part of Muslim culture.

    At present Muslims use the term ‘hijab’ as equivalent to ‘burqa’ but the word ‘hijab’ is likewise not used in the Quran in this sense. ‘Hijab’ literally means curtain. ‘Hijab’ is used in the Quran seven times, but not in the sense that is prevalent among the Muslims today, that is, it is used in its literal sense of ‘curtain’ .

    Regarding women’s purdah, two words have been used in the Quran: jilbab (33:59) and khimar (24:31). But again these words are not used in their present connotation. It is a fact that both words have a similar meaning, that is, chaadar or duppatta, that covers the body of a woman and not her face. So it is very clear that the present ‘burqa’ or ‘hijab’ are not Quranic terms; both are part of Muslim culture and not part of Quranic commandments.

    According to the Hanafi and Maaliki School of fiqh, three parts of a woman are exempted from satr (body covering ). These three are wajh, kaffain, and qadmain. That is, face, hands and feet. According to the Shariah, women are required to cover their body with clothing which is not tight fitting and not meant to attract others. (Chapter 24, verse 31, Tafsir Usmani)

    It is noteworthy that the well-known Arab scholar, Sheikh Muhammad Naasiruddin al-Albani , clearly endorses the above-mentioned position of the Shariah in his book on this subject, Hijab al-Mar’ah al-Muslimah fil Kitab was-Sunnah (The Veil of a Muslim Woman). He goes on to say that it is clear from the Quran, the Hadith and the practice of the companions and the tabiun (companions of the Prophet’s companions) that, whenever a woman steps out of her home, it is incumbent upon her to cover herself completely so as not to show any part of her body except the face and the hands.
    The religion of Islam focuses on spirit rather than on form. It lays emphasis on pious thinking and value-based character. According to Islam, Muslims must purify themselves in terms of ethics. Muslim women must develop themselves in terms of spirituality; they must develop their own feminine personality rather than imitate men and must play a constructive role in society rather than become objects of entertainment.
    During the Prophet’s time, Muslim women were active in different fields, such as agriculture, horticulture and social work. But at the same time, they constantly preserved their feminine character. In the early history of Islam there are many such incidents which show that a woman has equal freedom as that of man. In this respect there is no difference between the two. A woman enjoys the same freedom as a man in Islam . Islamic literature mentions some pious women who have played a highly creative role in their society, like Hajira , the wife of the Prophet Abraham; Mariam, the mother of Jesus Christ; Khadija, the wife of the Prophet of Islam; Aishah, the wife of the Prophet of Islam. These women, accepted as models in the society of believers, are good examples for the women of today.

    In conclusion, I would like to add two relevant references: One from the Quran and the second from the Hadith (the sayings of the Prophet). The Quran refers to men and women in these words: “You are members one of another” (3:195). This means that men and women, although created different in gender, are complementary to each other. Let us take the other reference. The Prophet of Islam said: “Men and women are two equal halves of a single unit.” (Musnad Ahmad) This is the best expression of gender equality.

    To understand the prevalence of Hijab in Muslim society in the present times it is necessary to keep in mind that there is a difference between Islam and Muslims. Islam is a name of an ideology while Muslims are a community which has its own culture, which keeps changing owing to various circumstances.

    Another thing Quran also instructs same purdah for men why dont men then where the Burqa why they only force women to wear Hijab and Burqa. Muslim men need to understand that the Quran says they should observe hijab first, not women

    It is shameful that being from a Islamic faith, do you not know that quran says men cannot see women in the face, this is also against the quran why you dont follow quran and keep your eyes down always. you are so flexible when what men should follow but want to only force women. why such bigotry in Pakistan. It is seen that you pick and choose what you like rather than follow criminal laws of Islam. If you are Islamic state of pakistan , what is stopping you from cutting the hands of all thief’s. stoning to death all who commit adulatory then. Decide either you are Islamic or you are not and if you are islamic we should impose full criminal laws of shariya on you.

    Fundamentalist Salafists and Wahhabis generally view music and dancing as haram, forbidden. Muslims should stop listening to music or engaging in music related professions. You are always listening to music and bollywood songs why you dont follow Islamic ways yourself first. You are yourself shit person pretending to be muslim not following Islam and Qur’an. Such people are called munafiqs.

  2. simple solution implement full shariyah for musims, muslims should be only tried base on full criminal shariyah law in India.
    It is shameful that being from a Islamic faith, do you not know that quran says men cannot see women in the face, this is also against the quran why you dont follow quran and keep your eyes down always when talking to women. you are so flexible when what men should follow but want to only force women. why such bigotry only works in muslims. It is seen that you pick and choose what you like rather than follow criminal laws of Islam. If you are Islamic , what is stopping you from accept full shariyah law, cutting the hands of all thief’s. stoning to death all who commit adulatory then. Decide either you are Islamic or you are not and if you are islamic what is stopping you imposing full criminal laws of shariyah on muslims of India.. Stop bigotry.

  3. No Muslim till date is able to answer , If Islam is word of God and if the prophet of God used Female prisoners as sex slaves then does it mean that God supported forced sex and slavery. In reality the preaching’s of Mohammed were corrupted soon after his death and the first victim of radical Islam was Fatima , prophet Mohammed’s own daughter. Lies and deceit is part and parcel of Islam since that time. Muslim of Sub Continent are slaves of the Arabs who were forced or bribed to convert or child born to slave girl born in captivity forcibly made a Muslim. If President of India (Ansari) can be bribed by enemy nations Iran to Kill raw agents, then there is no patriotism in any Muslims.

  4. Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein , King of Jordon 41st Generation are direct decedents of Prophet Mohammed, all the women in his family wear western clothing none of them wear burqa or hijab. But the 3rd generation converts from Karnataka who say Hijab is mandatory part of religion, cannot prove to us which verse in the Quran makes the burqa mandatory for followers of Quran. So now the converts are more Muslims than the direct decedents of prophet Mohammed family. lol.
    Meanwhile in Pakistan which claims it is a Islamic state has not made it mandatory to wear burqa why
    Recently Saudi Arabia has started to modernize, the Women watching football match in Saudi Arabia given choice not to wear Abhaya or wear other modest clothing of choice. Women were seen without Abhaya in concerts in Saudi.
    In Afghanistan women are fighting against the burqa even challenging Taliban.

    But now women in India are becoming regressive. haha …lol

  5. The author has played a lot with the different shades of meaning of Khimar, Jilbab, Hijab, curtain, barrier and so on. This would have been totally unnecessary if he had a single proof from Quran or Prophetic sayings which clearly says women to cover their face. To make up for this he has even kicked up a little emotional appeal in the beginning about “obeying the orders of Allah”, which is not surprising, considering the lacks of proof to imply that 99% of Muslim women who ever lived, continue to live and would live in future would be in hell for- what – not covering their face in the public!. And see how this has landed the poor Muslim girls even the right to wear their head scarfs too in Indian Schools.

    The reality is there are lot of Quran and Prophetic traditions which unequivocally implies that the women are not expected to cover their faces which the author has preferred not bring into discussion even. Here are some of these.

    ˹O Prophet!˺ Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and guard their chastity. That is purer for them. Surely Allah is All-Aware of what they do. (Noor 30)

    There is no meaning in saying believing men to lower their gaze, if women has to cover their face.

    When a woman reaches the age of menstruation, it does not suit her that she displays her parts of body except this and this, and he pointed to his face and hands. (Abu Dawood, mursal Hadith)

    And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their chastity, and not to reveal their adornments, except what normally appears. (Noor 31).
    Note even women have to lower their gaze like men, but no-one argues men have to cover their face too.

    Again, what is the point of allowing women to wear jewellery, for which they have to pay hefty zakat too, if they have to cover their face too?

    The women are specifically ordered not to cover their face and hands during Hajj, where unrelated men and women interact in close proximity. This actually implicates this practice has pre-islamic and non-religious origins.

    Abdullah bin Abbas reports that the Prophet was riding a camel with Al-Fadhl, Abdullah’s brother, behind him. A beautiful woman came to ask the Prophet about the Hajj of her father. Al Fadhl began to stare at her; her beauty impressed him a lot. The Prophet (peace be upon him) having noticed this while Al Fadhl was busy looking, put his hand behind and turned his face away from her hither and thither as she went along with them. Al Abbas said to the Prophet, “you are twisting the neck of your nephew!” The Prophet replied, “I noticed that both the boy and the girl were young; and I feared that Satan may intervene”. (Tirmidhi and Bukhari)

    Note the Prophet did not order the woman to cover her face here, but only ordered the male to turn away his gaze.

    Even the points which the author strive to push in favor of face veil actually can be used as arguments against it. Curtain and barrier is definitely not faceveil. For example if Prophet’s wives were required to stay behind a barrier, it implies that even they did not wear face veil. Also why dont the face veil Mullas try to implement this by asking Muslim women to simply stay at home and never going out instead of prescibing face veil as a substitute, other than their financial benefits by way of their cloth commissions and foreign funds? (It is for this reason that Quran mentiones Prophet’s wives are not like ordinary women).

    The question is not whether these proofs are significant or not, but why the author, obviously for his ideological reasons, has hidden from view in his discussions even such plain Quran and Hadith verses as if they dont exist, and prefer to play with barriers and curtains. At least he could have discussed them and argued that they are no longer valid, for which he simply doesnt have the courage. And what advantage has this foul play brought other than landing the poor Muslim girls even the right to wear their head scarfs too for the first time in history. And remember the Wahabi promulgators of these ideals are not even ready to accomodate Myanmar Muslims in their country, leave alone Indian Muslims!

    It is true that some Islamic scholars might have argued in favor of face veil. However any such interpretations which make the above Quran verses, prominent hadiths and plain logic irrelevant, are not going to stand, especially as this practice has huge legal, moral and even racist implications. Otherwise we must understand that there are far too many outrageous interpretations – example killing ex-Muslims, killing those who dont perform obligatory prayers, killing polytheists, never using pictures, not using music, not living among polytheists etc to mention a few- which even the author may not be very eager to vouch for, at least in the Indian context. If you compile all the extreme interpretations of all the “scholars” who ever lived, then what you end up is called the “Islamic State”.

    Dont whine about “Islamophobia” by implying that Muslim students dont have to reveal their identity while writing exams or drawing cash from ATM, or suggesting that women who dont cover their face are “displaying” their beauty. Instead promulgate the ideal of Islam which endeared it to these same people from the beginning: “Even a smile is a charity”


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