This "Micro-Series" is written by an SFC Guest Contributor, Khi'dah Nayar
The first definition for Hijab is a literal translation-“something that covers and conceals completely.” or “To hide oneself from view” - the fabric must be thick enough so as not to show the color of the skin or shape of the body.
The second definition is based on Islamic jurisprudence (the science or philosophy of law), an interpretation translated from Sharia; “To cover, conceal or hide oneself from view of those with whom marriage is or may be permissible.”
All schools of Islamic jurisprudence agree: “veiling the face is part of hijab.”
Other references to hijab:
Hijab bi al-buyut – observing hijab by staying in the home.
Abaya – a loose robe worn by Muslim women that covers the entire body from head to toe.
Jilbab - an outer sheet which hides the body completely, a Muslim woman wraps it around herself on top of other garments to cover her body.
Satr - a portion of the body (private parts) which the Shari’a requires to be covered and which may not be exposed to others (to uncover satr for medical treatment, certain restrictions apply).
Nafs - The (lower) self that is the source of base (immoral) desires.
The rule of modesty applies to both men and women.
“O mankind! Fear your Guardian Lord, who created you from a single Person, created,out of it, His mate, and from them twain scattered (like seeds) countless men and women; Fear Allah, through whom ye demand your mutual (rights) and be heedful of the wombs (that bore you): for Allah ever watches over you.” Qur'an 4: 1;34
Hijab is protection for women against pornography, rape and sexual molestation (in some countries). It serves as a barrier to restrict ill-natured men from aggressive sexual behavior. It is the religious duty of men to practice modesty, morality and to respect a woman’s privacy. It is the religious duty of women to demonstrate dignity, observe practices of morality and dress modestly. Modest behavior means avoiding public displays of sexual attractiveness to draw attention from the opposite sex. Women do this by being flirtatious, wearing transparent garments or clothing that displays a woman’s shape, including wearing short sleeves, low cut (short) dresses (exposing the bosom & legs), being undressed (i.e., in underwear, bathing suits) and naked.
Stay tuned for the next part of this Micro-Series.
The "Ideal Muslimah" section of Striving For Clarity provides an array of articles, micro-series and short tidbits geared towards highlighting the important characteristics of a Muslim woman.