COMMANDMENT FOR WOMEN TO STAY HOME
Women and Islam | Women’s Rights in Islamic Law– To protect the chastity of women and preserve the moral fiber of society, it is most important to minimize intermingling between men and women. The most effective way to ensure this is for women not to leave their homes unnecessarily. The grave outcome of frequent contact with non-maúram (Marriable men [i.e. those who do not fall under the category of maúram [unmarriable] men like the father, brother, grandfather, etc.) men and excessive outings as manifested in the immorality of past and present societies is nothing to be ignored. This is why the Qur’an orders women to stay in their homes. Allah u says in Surat al-Aúzób:
O wives of the Prophet, you are not like any other women, if you observe taqwó [righteousness]. So, do not be too soft in your speech, lest someone having disease in his heart should develop fancies [about you]; and do speak with appropriate words. Remain in your homes, and do not display [your] beauty as it used to be displayed in the days of earlier ignorance; and establish üalót, and pay zakat, and obey Allah u and His Messenger. Allah u only intends to keep [all sorts of] filth away from you, O members of the family [of the prophet], and to make you pure through a perfect purification. (32:32-33)
Women and Islam – Two important commandments are made in the above ayas. First, women should not talk to non-maúram men unnecessarily or in a soft and sweet tone. Instead, they should talk to them in a straightforward and dry manner so that those who have disease in their heart [bad intentions] do not misinterpret them or entertain bad thoughts about them.
Imam al-Qurøubī writes:
Women and Islam -Allah u has commanded Muslim women to talk in a straightforward and terse manner with non-maúram men. The tone of their voice should be devoid of softness and sweetness unlike the promiscuous women of Jóúiliyya who flirted with men or even those women today Women and Islam possess bad moral character. Women should be wary while talking to strange men, even if they are members of her in-laws, and they should speak in a firm voice; however, the voice should not carry over to others. ( Tafsīr al-Qurøubī)
Mufti Muúammad Shafī‘ writes:
Women and Islam –Women and Islam -Faló takhða‘na bi al-qaul (So, do not be too soft in your speech) means that even when it becomes necessary to talk to nonmaúram men from behind a curtain, a Women and Islam should avoid the pleasant and attractive tone of voice which is part of her nature. What this means is that she should not speak in a way that might charm or attract the listener. As Allah u says: lest someone having disease in his heart develop fancies [about you] (33:32)
‘Disease’ in this aya refers to partial or complete hypocrisy [nifóq]. A true hypocrite [munófiq] is expected to behave in this manner but sometimes even a believer will incline towards úaróm (prohibited) which is also one form of hypocrisy. A person who has true faith can never be inclined towards úaróm. ( Tafsīr al-Maþharī)
Women and Islam –The main objective of the first part of this injunction is that women must acquire such a state of hijab and an avoidance of strange men that the weak of faith do not raise their hopes or expect anything from them. After this aya was revealed, some of the wives of the Blessed Prophet s would muffle their mouths with their hands to hide their natural voice while talking to strangers. ‘Amr ibn ‘ôü gnarrated from the Blessed Prophet s:
ان النبي صلي الله عليه و سلم نهي ان تكلم النساء الاباذن أزواجهن
Indeed, the Prophet s prohibited women from talking [to nonmaúram men] without the permission of their husbands. (Aúmad, 29/302 | Kanz al-‘Ummól, 16/391)
Women and Islam -The second part of this injunction is that the best way for women to observe hijab is that they remain in their homes and not come out of them without a valid reason. Observing hijab in this manner is known as úijób bi al-buyñt [observing hijab by staying in the four walls of the home].
Women and Islam -Also deduced from the above aya is that the nature of women is that they can only attain contentment and peace by staying in their homes and by occupying themselves with domestic and family matters. The welfare and prosperity of society also depends on this. Unlike men, a woman’s physical nature is not well suited for working outside the home to earn a living and to face all the severe hardships associated with it. This is why, in Islam, women do not bear the burden of earning a living. Her parents and brothers must fulfill her needs until she is married [after which the responsibility is passed on to the husband]. This rule indicates how much Islam emphasizes the importance of women remaining in the homes.
Another part of this aya […and do not display (your) beauty as it used to be displayed in the days of earlier ignorance…] explains how women roamed about shamelessly in pre-Islamic times. Therefore, the earlier interpreters of the Qur’an interpreted these ayas in light of the ways and culture of the people in the times of Jóhiliyya. When one reads such interpretations against our times, it seems as if the people of our times are more ignorant than the people from the time of Jóhiliyya. Mujóhid and Qatóda say that the word tabarruj in this aya means “walking flirtatiously.”
- Muqótil says that tabarruj is when a woman only covers her head with her scarf without covering the neck and cleavage.
- Mubarrad says that tabarruj is when a woman reveals the beauty of her physical body, which she is required to cover.
- Laith says tabarruj is when a woman does not hide the beauty of her face and contours of her body and is inclined to reveal it.
- Abñ ‘Ubaida says tabarruj is when a woman exhibits her beauty and her body in a way as to cause sexual excitement in men. ( Rñú al-Ma‘ónī)
Allóma Ibn Jauzī, after quoting the above opinions, writes:
Women and Islam | Women’s Rights in Islamic Law– I believe that a woman’s leaving her home and wandering on the streets is the biggest fitna, (Fitna has various meanings: trial, tribulation, corruption, and punishment.)let alone exhibiting her beauty and her body which is simply adding fuel to the fire. ( Aúkóm al-Nisó)
All of the above points explained by the earlier interpreters under the definition of tabarruj are prevalent today. Most Muslim women today have gone far beyond that. This is despite the fact that the Blessed Prophet s said:
It was this tabarruj which predominated in the times of Jóhiliyya. In order to eliminate tabarruj, the Blessed Prophet s asked women who took bai‘a with him not to practice tabarruj.
The use of tabarruj in the above aya also clarifies that a woman must hide her beauty if she must leave the house. This can be achieved by wearing an ‘abóya or jilbób (Abóya is a coverall worn by Muslim women that drapes over their garments. Jilbób is the outer sheet or shawl used by women to wrap around the body over the garments for the same purpose.)which covers the entire body. This will be discussed in later chapters.
Women’s rights advocates often object that this aya addresses the wives of the Blessed Prophet s who are its main subject; therefore, the injunctions must be restricted to them and cannot include other women.
In fact,Women and Islam , if one reads the whole aya, it is clear that none of the five injunctions in this aya are restricted to the wives of the Blessed Prophet s since the ayas before and after the aya of hijab relate to all Muslim women. In this aya, the first commandment is about the rule of speaking with a non-maúram; the second is about women staying in their homes, establishing their üalót, paying the zakat, and then finally, obeying Allah u and His Prophet s. Who can say that the commandments related to üalót, zakat and obedience to Allah u and His Prophet s are restricted to the wives of the Blessed Prophet s only?
The truth is that these injunctions include all Muslim women, though it addressed the wives of the Blessed Prophet s first. In many places in the Qur’an, we find that an aya addresses a specific person but the ensuing commandment applies to the whole Umma. Imam Abñ
Bakr al-Jaüüóü writes: This aya provides a clear argument that women are required to stay in their homes and that it is forbidden for them to leave them [without necessity]…. And all the rules in this aya are those which were taught to the wives of the Blessed Prophet s to safeguard their chastity. And all Muslim women are required to follow these commandments. (Aúkóm al-Qur’an 25 Tafsīr Ibn Kathīr 26 33:33)
Imam Ibn Kathīr writes:
These are those rules which Allah u taught the wives of the Blessed Prophet s, and as all women of the Muslim Umma are required to follow their example, these commandments are applicable to all Muslim women. In addition, the wives of the Blessed Prophet s held such a high status that Allah u acknowledges their purity and chastity in an entire segment of Qur’an. He says:
Allah u only intends to keep [all sorts of] filth away from you, O members of the family [of the prophet], and to make you pure through a perfect purification.
This aya is also called “the aya of purification.” The Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jamó‘a [People of the Sunna and Majority of Scholars] believe that this aya was revealed about the ýaúóba l and the family of the Blessed Prophet s, more specifically the wives of the Blessed Prophet s.
Purification in this aya means discipline and refinement of the self and purification of the heart. This highest and most coveted status is only achieved by the chosen friends of Allah u [auliyó Allóh] after which they are safeguarded against sins though they are not innocent like the prophets. All those who stayed in the company of our Blessed Prophet s achieved this lofty status through the blessings of his company. The Muslims who came after his time also achieved this status by sitting in the company of the pious ones and attaining according to their aptitude and [inner] capabilities.
Now, when Allah u purifies someone, is there any chance of their becoming impure? How can one even perceive the possibility that they spoke to strangers regarding matters of faith in a soft tone? But the question is that if it is not possible, then why did Allah u even prohibit them from doing so in the first place?
The answer is that by this command, the wives of our Blessed Prophet s are being made aware of the natural attraction in a woman’s voice and that they must make a conscious effort to change it with curtness. If it becomes necessary to speak to non-maúrams then they should hide the softness in their voice and change their tone of voice. The following points are noteworthy here:
- The wives of the Blessed Prophet s claim the highest status among all women and none can imagine them committing sins. They were the purified ones because the one who purified them was Allah u No one could even pass the thought of them committing [lustful] sins.
- The wives of the Blessed Prophet s are mothers of the Umma as proclaimed by Allah u when He says, wa azwójuhñ ummahótuhum (and his wives are their mothers). (33:36) They were not conferred the status [of being mothers of the believers] only out of respect for them, but also to inform the men that they were permanently forbidden from marrying them as with biological mothers. Allah u said:
i.e. you may never marry the wives of the Blessed Prophet s after his death. As we are prohibited from marrying our mother; likewise, it is forbidden for any believer to marry any of the wives of the Blessed Prophet s after his death.
- Who were the people who came to ask questions about the Dīn from the wives of the Blessed Prophet s? The ýaúóba l who had attained the highest level of taqwó, whom the angels envied and whom Allah u Himself praised in the Qur’an by saying:
- …Allah u is well pleased with them, and they are well pleased with Him (98:8) In another aya, He says: …though Allah u has promised the good [reward] for each… (57:10)
- What type of conversations took place between the wives of the Blessed Prophet s and the ýaúóba l? It was nothing more than knowledge of Dīn. Now consider the women. Who were they? They were the wives of the
Blessed Prophet s whom Allah u purified; who are chosen as the mothers of the Umma, and; who were permanently forbidden upon every male of the Umma. Who were the men? They were the venerated ýaúóba l. What were the discussions? Matters of faith. Regarding such situations, Allah u says that the soft feminine tone should be covered by speaking in a stern voice. This was the special instructions given to the wives of Blessed Prophet s. On the other hand, the ýaúóba l were ordered,
…And when you ask anything from them [the blessed wives of the Prophet], ask them from behind a curtain… (33:54)
i.e. if they needed to speak to the wives of the Blessed Prophet s, they should speak from behind a curtain and not in front of them. At this moment consider who is being commanded. Who were the men? Who were the women? What were they being ordered to do? What necessity warranted this? If these highly venerated and blessed people are ordered to observe these commands, then we can understand its importance for us in our times.
ABAYA OR JILBôB-Women and Islam
In the last aya, Muslim women are asked not to leave their homes without necessity. And if they must, they should not leave without the hijab like the women in the days of Jóhiliyya did. Furthermore, in Sñrat al-Aúzób, Allah u clearly
O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers that they should draw down their shawls over them. That will make it more likely that they are recognized, hence not teased. And Allah u is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful. (33:59)
Women and Islam | Women’s Rights in Islamic Law– This aya is the most important of all the ayas on hijab as it clearly states the face being included in the meaning of hijab. Therefore, the scholars of Qur’an discuss covering of the face at great length based on this aya. In addition, this aya is not addressed to the wives of the Blessed Prophet s or his daughters alone, but includes all women. Thus, no no one can raise the argument that this aya is meant for specific women only and is not general in its purport. Before discussing this aya any further, it is important to understand the literal meaning of the words jilbób (shawls) and yudnīna ‘alai- hinna (should draw down their shawls over them) in the aya. for more information:Write a women to go out without necessity, hadith?