The Significance of Dress Code.

The Significance of Dress Code

By Amanulla Vadakkangara

And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest and to display of their ornaments only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms and not to display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husband’s son , their brothers or theirs brothers’ sons, or their sister’s son, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free from physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet so as to reveal what is in their inner garments. [Surah Nur, 24:31]

OURS is an age of anxiety and restlessness. A change is imperceptibly overtaking the world. Man-made systems and policies are disintegrating and not capable of dealing with the ever increasing problems of humanity in a practical and effective way. So there is a good tendency of people turning to the teachings of Islam in tackling the issues and an Islamic revivalism is under way in many parts of the world. Here I’m discussing the significance of a dress code as taught by Islam and its effect on the moral and cultural life of the people.

Dress, as must be obvious to anyone interested in humanity, is a marked characteristic of any culture. The Islamic code of dress for both men and women is farsighted and divine. It forbids pure silk garments for men and permits them for women. But at the same time it commands ladies to cover all parts of her body. A serious study in this regard reveals that extraordinary care and consideration have been taken by the Islamic law towards the Muslim women.

I regret to state that so much has been debated and discussed regarding the dress code for women prescribed by Islam. Some sector have been mocking at it as an outmoded and uncivilized system, which curtails the freedom for women. But when we analyze it impartially and without prejudices, we come across the fact that it was Islam which emancipated her from the bonds of ignorance, superstitions and pre-¬Islamic barbarianism, whatever Islam compelled her was to protect her chastity, honour her status and place her in a respectful level. The restrictions placed upon her regarding her dress and the display of her beauty and ornaments was only to guard against all ways of corruption arising from such dazzling displays. What Islam has established is not a restriction on the freedom of women but a firm protection for them against falling down to the lowest humiliations.

A recent research shows that violence against women has become the world’s most pervasive form of human rights abuse.  Nobody can deny the role of dress code in such violence. An impartial study makes it crystal clear that both men and women should be confined to their respective nature and safeguards their natural instincts and endow them with modesty and high morality. It is rightly observed that the very practical solution to the women’s problems can be found in the framework of religion. Only, if it has to have a populist appeal.

Nobody can underestimate the good effects of the Hijab proclaimed by Islam apart from its religious perspectives.

Sheikh Dr Mohamed bin Ismail has summarized the eight conditions dress code or the proper Hijab as follows:

1. It is an act of obedience to Allah SWT and to His messenger SAW.

It is because Allah indeed has ordered that women must put on the veil.

Allah Says: “And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what must (ordinarily) appear thereof, that they should draw their veils over their bosoms. [Surah An-Nur, 24:31].

The Prophet SAW is reported to have said “The woman is Awrah” that is she must be covered.

2. The Hijab is ‘Iffah’ [Modesty].

Allah made the adherence to the Hijab as a manifestation for chastity and modesty. The Qur’an says:

“Such elderly women as are past the prospect of marriage there is no blame on them if they lay aside their (outer) garments, provided they do not make a display of their beauty, but it is best to be modest and Allah knows and sees all things.” [Surah An-Nur, 24:60]

Allah made it very clear that even for an elderly woman, it is better to keep her modesty. More so about the young woman! In the same verse Allah reminds us that He is All seeing and All Knowing. Nobody can question on His acquaintance and encompassing of everything that relates to what is good for men and women. The Hijab is one of His orders. Allah’s knowledge about its effects is perfect and most wise.

3. The Hijab is Taharah [Purity].

Allah had shown us the wisdom behind the legislation of the Hijab. Allah says:

“And when you ask them (the Prophet’s wives) for anything you want, asks them from behind a screen that is purer for your hearts and their hearts.” (Surah Al-Ahzab, 33:53).

The Hijab makes for greater purity for the hearts of believing men and women because if the eye does not see then the heart does not desire. If on the other hand the eye sees then the heart may or may not desire. That is why the heart is more pure when the sight is blocked (by Hijab) and thus the prevention of fitnah (evil actions) is very much manifested. The Hijab cuts off the ill thoughts and the greed of the sick hearts.

4. The Hijab Is A Shield.

The Prophet SAW said: “Allah is bashful, He loves bashfulness and shielding.” That means Allah does not unravel the acts of disobedience by His slaves. They openly disobey Allah while they are in need of Him, yet He is ashamed of humiliating them leaving the door of repentance opened for them. If, however, they become arrogant and persist on the spread of evil, and disobedience, Allah certainly is All just in His infliction of punishment.

He also provides means that shield against the uncovering of disobedient acts. The slaves commit acts of disobedience while Allah is providing them with many of His favours. He gives the opportunity for each one of us to return to Allah in repentance and seeking his forgiveness. He loves those who do not like the spread of sin. He dislikes the Muslim who publicizes his acts of sin and disobedience. He loves the Muslim who does not unravel the sins of his brother in Islam while at the same time calls him to repent and seek the way of Allah. The Hijab is something beloved by Allah because it is a shield against the spread of evil manifested in the display of beauty to strangers.

5. The Hijab Is Taqwa.

Allah says: “O Children of Adam! We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover your private parts and as an adornment. But the raiment of righteousness that is better” [Surah Al-A’raf, 7:26]

The widespread forms of dresses in the world today are mostly for showing ¬off and hardly taken as a cover and shield of the woman’s body. To the believing women, however, the purpose is to safeguard their bodies and cover their private parts as a manifestation of the order of their Lord, Allah. It is an act of righteousness.

6. The Hijab Is Iman.

Allah did not address His Words about the Hijab except to the believing women. That shows that it is applicable to those who believe.

In fact when women from the tribe of Banu Tamim came visiting Aishah and they had light clothes on them, she said:

“If indeed you are believing women, then truly this is not the dress of the believing women, and if you are not believing women, then enjoy it.”

7. The Hijab Is Haya [Bashfulness].

The Hijab fits the natural bashfulness which is a part of the nature of women.

8. The Hijab Is Gheerah.

The Hijab fits the natural instinct of Gheerah that is intrinsic in the straight man who does not like people to look at his wife or daughters. Gheerah is a driving emotion that drives the man to safeguard the women from strangers. Many in the world had lost this great moral aspect. In response to lust and desire you will see them looking at other women and thus do not mind others to look at theirs. You see many sitting with strange women who are half naked “enjoying” the scene! Consequently their wives sit in similar situations and they do not mind others looking at their “private” parts. The eyes “eat up” these parts with their gazing and there is no problem. The inner “justification” is: since I can look, they can look. It’s a “free choice”!! They become numb!! No dignity! No honour!! The bottom line is that in this modern world the animalistic behaviors are becoming very apparent.

Believers are strictly reminded of the verse that “It is not fitting for a believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His messenger, to have any option about their decision: if anyone disobeys Allah and His messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong path.” [Surah Ar-Rum, 30:36].

That is why the honest Muslim receives the order of his Lord and hastens to manifest this as his love to Islam into action and listens and obeys to the Sunnah of the Prophet SAW. He does not give attention to the lost and astray ways of the masses of human beings which do not realize their awaiting destiny.

On the basis of these observations it is proved that by strictly adhering to the Islamic dress code we can not only fulfill our religious obligation but also attain so many moral and social benefits.

©Islamic Network


About Md Radzi Ahmad
A retired Malaysian civil servant. Served the Malaysian government for thirty-one years. Posted to London, Rangoon, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Bangkok. Born in Kampong Hutan Kandeh, Alor Star, Kedah. Educated at Sultan Abdul Hamid College, Alor Star and University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. Currently resides in Subang Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan,Malaysia.Blessed with three children, a son, two daughters, daughter in law and two grandaughters.

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