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Khutba #21

Modest Dress and Hijab


May I ask you to hold to Taq’wa, which means piety and righteousness, and to revere Allah and obey His Divine Directives!  Let us be aware of our eventuality and departure into the everlasting life.  May Allah provide us all with the spirit of righteousness and obedience as best means for our salvation.


Allah instructs us in Surah 24 (al-Noor), Ayah 31, about male and female duties in the society.  It says:


وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إلا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَى جُيُوبِهِنَّ

“And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and to be mindful of their chastity, and not to display their charms [in public] beyond what [decently] be apparent thereof; hence let them draw their head-covering over their bosoms …”

On the basis of Islam, Hijab or covering for women is considered as a basic and important duty.  Islam’s view regarding women is quite different from what the west thinks about women.  Islam considers women as half of the body of the society and holds that women, like men, should live with high human standards and values.


Hijab (Islamic covering) for women is seen as oppressive by some people.  Yet, Millions of Muslim women worldwide vouch that Hijab, is an article of protection and expression without the negative attributes of sexual provocation. In their opinion Hijab brings dignity, purity and inner confidence to women, and it allows them to fully participate in society.  By so doing they feel as truly equal to man but without the interference of lustful feelings.  


The short cover, the scarf, the long cloak are the various titles used in the Prophetic traditions for a woman's modest covering.  A woman must consider herself a servant of God, and grateful to Him.  Being grateful means to consider His grandeur, the Hereafter and the Trial.  She must wholeheartedly obey the decrees of God in the Quran, on the tongues of the Prophets and Imams, so she may protect herself, her family and society from the harmful effects of not covering properly or at all.  The Holy Quran says in Surah 79 (al-Nazi'at): Ayah 40-41:


وَأَمَّا مَنْ خَافَ مَقَامَ رَبِّهِ وَنَهَى النَّفْسَ عَنِ الْهَوَى

فَإِنَّ الْجَنَّةَ هِيَ الْمَأْوَى

 “And as for him who fears standing before his Lord, and restrains his self from base desires,

verily his abode will be the Garden of Bliss.”

Unfortunately some girls and women in various parts of the world do away with Hijab.  Those who have let loose their lusts and sexuality have spread corruption in every corner of the world, something unprecedented in history.  Women have become a commercial commodity in many aspects of Western life, ranging from those in the mass media to streets and shops.  This is the ultimate of woman’s degradation and fall (in these societies), whose consequences are sleaziness and misery.


Islam does not look at women (in the same manner as in the West) mainly through the windows of sexual passion, regarding women as beings to satisfy sexual desires.  In Islam the question of sexual passions is set forth even in marriage.  While in opening vast and extensive fields for social activities for women, Islam has restricted sexual liberties with exacting guidelines.  Islam has established a just balance that holds woman’s individuality and social life in the highest regard.


The duty for Hijab or covering (as established for women in Islam) does not necessarily mean that they should not leave their homes.  It’s not the intention of Islam to imprison women.  We may find such ideas in the ancient pre-Islamic past of some countries but no such thing enlists in Islam.  The philosophy behind the Hijab for women is that they should not display their bodies in their associations with men when they are not related to them (according to the divine Law).


According to Islamic precepts, limiting sexual desires to the family environment and legal wives helps to maintain the well-being and health of the society.  There are Traditions that speak of the danger of a “look”, or the danger of a man and woman being alone together, and finally the danger of the instinct that attracts a man and a woman.[1]


Islam has established ways of controlling and balancing this instinct.  Duties have been given to both men and women in this area.  One duty (which is the responsibility of both men and women) relates at how to look at each other.  Surah 24 (al-Noor), Ayah 30 says:


 قُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَغُضُّوا مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ وَيَحْفَظُوا فُرُوجَهُمْ ذَلِكَ أَزْكَى لَهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا يَصْنَعُونَ

“And tell the believing men to lower their gaze and to be mindful of their chastity;

this will be conducive to their purity. 

Verily, Allah is Aware of what they do.”

The legitimate pleasures, which spouses receive from each other, are considered to be blessings in Islam, among the divine rewards.  Islam has placed many limitations on the issues of sex but within the area that has been limited, not only does Islam not forbid it, but it encourages it.  It is to be introduced with kindness and compassion to women, as being among the qualities upheld by God’s Prophets.


The Holy Prophet has forbidden the seeking of ascetic practices from the beginning.  While women are encouraged to limit their contacts with men who are not their husbands, they are encouraged to adorn themselves for their husbands.  A woman who does not do so is even condemned; because a woman is to beautify herself for her husband as best as she can.  At the same time, husbands are highly encouraged toward cleanliness.


One day three women went to the Prophet (pbuh).  They complained about their husbands.  One said that her husband did not eat meat (vegetarian).  Another said her husband kept away from perfume. The third said her husband distanced himself from her. The Prophet (pbuh) became aggravated, he threw down his cloak, left his house, and went to the mosque.  He went upon the Minbar (pulpit) and cried out: [2] 


“What should be done with a group of my companions

who reject eating meat, shun perfume, and avoid their women?

I myself eat meat, I use perfume, and I receive pleasure from my wives.

Whoever objects to my methods is not from among us”.

The Holy Quran says in Surah 7 (al-A’raaf), Ayah 32:


قُلْ مَنْ حَرَّمَ زِينَةَ اللّهِ الَّتِيَ أَخْرَجَ لِعِبَادِهِ وَالْطَّيِّبَاتِ مِنَ الرِّزْقِ

قُلْ هِي لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا خَالِصَةً يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ

كَذَلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ الآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ

“Say [O Muhammad]: Who is there to forbid the adornment brought forth by Allah for His servants, and the good things He has provided?

We ask Allah to support us in understanding and following the straight path; the path that has been described by His Messengers to help us in our life individually, in family life and social life.


For the end of the 1st part of the Khutba, read Surah Al-Asr, take a short intermission, then start the 2nd part of the Khutba with a short Du’aa.


Allah says in the Quran, Surah 3 (Aali Imran), Ayah 102:


يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اتَّقُواْ اللّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلاَ تَمُوتُنَّ إِلاَّ وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ

  “Oh you who believe! Pay heed to Allah with the degree due Him, and do not die but as Muslims.”

The second part of the Khutba is about the concept of peace in Islam.  To appreciate how Islam approaches the questions of peace, one has only to consider a few elementary facts about Islam.


There is no doubt that a peace imposed by an imperialist power (controlling the masses for its own benefit) is no peace.  Humanity is suffering because of lack of peace in a meaningful sense.  Peace in Islam is related to:




    Spirituality and


The Arabic word Silm means Peace and the Arabic word for “Islam” is derived from the same root. One of God’s 99 Distinguished Names is Peace.  The concluding words of the daily prayers are words of Peace. The word of greetings of the Muslims when they return to God is Peace.  The daily salutations among the Muslims are expressions of Peace. The adjective “Muslim” means in a sense “Peaceful”.  Heaven in Islam is the abode of Peace.


The individual who approaches God through Islam cannot fail to be at peace with God, with himself, and with his fellow men. Taking all these values together, putting man in his proper place in the cosmos, and viewing life in the Islamic perspective, men of good faith and principles cannot fail to make our world a better world,

    to regain human dignity, and to achieve equality,

    to enjoy universal brotherhood, and to build a lasting peace.


For Islam, peace is only one among many ingredients in the effective recipe for human happiness.  People must be free to think, to weigh all possibilities, and to have thought them out through the light of reason.  This is the Quranic prescription as laid down, for instance, in Surah 2 (al-Baqarah), Ayah 256 we are told:

لاَ إِكْرَاهَ فِي الدِّينِ قَد تَّبَيَّنَ الرُّشْدُ مِنَ الْغَيٌِّ

“There shall be no compulsion in matters of Faith; distinct has now become the Truth from the way of error”

or in Surah 6 (al-Anaam), Ayah 104:


قَدْ جَاءكُم بَصَآئِرُ مِن رَّبِّكُمْ فَمَنْ أَبْصَرَ فَلِنَفْسِهِ وَمَنْ عَمِيَ فَعَلَيْهَا

وَمَا أَنَاْ عَلَيْكُم بِحَفِيظٍ

“Means of insight have now come unto you from your Lord.  Whoever, therefore, chooses to see, does so for his own good; and whoever chooses to remain blind, does so to his own hurt. And [o Muhammad] say to the blind of heart: I am not here to be your guardian.”

Conviction and faith are matters of heart.  No compulsion can force the heart to conform.  Education, training, instruction, logic, and demonstrations can help.


Islam condemns the territorial and commercial wars of modern great powers with their merciless involvements of the innocent.  Islam demands that ethical values, humanity and respect for the rights of others, in submission to truth and to what is right, shall be made prevalent over the thinking of all mankind.  Islam insists that until that demand is realized the world can never find its way to peace and quiet.


The more progress in technology and the material side of civilization makes the more devoid from peace they are if they avoid faith, religion and justice.  The more obvious the truth is made, the more the humanity stands at a crossroads of choice between:

    mass suicide or salvation by faith;

    annihilation or acceptance of ethical principles;

    brutal dictatorship of a man, or the merciful government of God.


Islam brings to humanity the delicate feelings of brotherhood and of belonging together.  Islam designs a beautiful pattern of gentleness and goodness in the hearts, and omits all the ugly injustices and rival interests.


Finally, let us read Surah Al-Nasr with a short Du’aa to close the Khutba.


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