بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Answer to a Question
The Islamic Dress Islam Obliged on Women in the Public Life
I respect Hizb ut Tahrir, especially its unity of opinion in its books and leaflets that its members adhere to. This adherence is rare among other Islamic movements, but when I was reading on the internet pages I noticed a discussion among the members of the Hizb on the jilbab; some said it is made up of one piece and others said it is made up of two pieces…I thought that the Hizb has an opinion on this and that its members adhere to it especially since the Hizb was among the Islamic movements that greatly influenced the spread of jilbab among Muslim women… My question is: Did the Hizb change its policy of making its members abide by the Hizb’s opinion? Thank you.
First, regarding what came in the question, I say: That the committed members in the ranks of the Hizb must completely abide by the opinion of the Hizb and there is no change in this. They have no dispute among them that the jilbab consist of one piece: an overflowing dress worn on top of and covers the regular every day clothes and it must drape down to the feet, covering them (feet). It is also true that the Hizb has a great influence in the spread of the jilbab amongst Muslim women; this is by the grace of Allah (swt). The Hizb has given sufficient details on the subject of the Muslim women Islamic dress in The Social System (book) under the chapter of “Looking at Women”. The condition of the Islamic dress is that it must be a jilbab and Khimar that fulfill the covering of the awrah without Tabaruj, i.e. it is not permitted for women to go out in any dress that covers their awrah, but rather it is a specific dress that the Shar’i has detailed. Here are the explanations of the above points:
1- In The Social System, it states that women’s Islamic dress in the public life is the jilbab and khimar that cover the awrah without Tabaruj… I quote some of what came in the Social System on this subject:
“The evidence to show that the Legislator has obliged the covering of the colour of the skin is his (saw) saying: «لم يَصْلُحْ أن يُرى منها»“…it is not correct that anything should be seen of her.” This is a clear evidence to prove that the Legislator has stipulated that the awrah be covered such that it cannot be seen through the clothes, i.e. the clothes should cover the awrah and not reveal what is behind it. So it obligatory on the women to make sure that the garment by which she covers the awrah is not thin i.e. does not describe what is behind it nor reveal what is under it. This is the subject of covering the awrah. This subject should not be confused with the woman's dress in public life, or the tabarruj (revealing the beauty) portrayed by some types of clothes. Even though a garment covers the awrah, it does not mean that the woman is allowed to wear it in public, whilst in public a specific type of clothing has been specified by the Legislator. To merely use something that covers the awrah while in public is not sufficient. So trousers, for example, do cover the awrah, but still cannot be worn in public i.e. it is not proper to be worn in the public road.
With regard to the woman's dress in public life, i.e. marketplace and roads, the Legislator has obliged her to wear a garment which conceals her (home) clothes when she leaves to the market or public places. It is obliged upon her to have a wrap or covering to be worn over her clothing that drapes down until it covers her feet. If she does not have such a garment jilbaab, she must borrow one from a neighbour, a female friend or relative. If she is unable to borrow one, she is not allowed to go out without such a garment. If she leaves without a wrap over her (home) clothes she would be sinful, for she would have abandoned an obligation from Allah. This is in reference to the lower portion of women's clothes. As for the upper portion, she must have a khimaar (head cover) or anything similar which covers the entire head, the neck and the opening of the garment on the chest. Such a khimaar should be available when she goes out in public as this constitutes the upper portion of the woman's dress in public life. Once a woman has these two items of clothing, she is allowed to leave her home to the marketplaces, travel on the roads, i.e. the public life. If the woman does not have these two pieces of clothing, she is not allowed to leave no matter what. This is because the command to wear these two pieces is general (‘aam) and it will remain so, since there is no proof of specification.
As for the evidence which obliges these two items of clothing to be worn in public life, it is the saying of Allah (swt) with respect to the upper part of the clothing:
[وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَى جُيُوبِهِنَّ[“and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils all over juyubihinna ...” [An-Nur: 31] As for His (swt) saying regarding the lower half:
[يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُل لِّأَزْوَاجِكَ وَبَنَاتِكَ وَنِسَاء الْمُؤْمِنِينَ يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِن جَلَابِيبِهِنَّ]“Oh Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (Jalabeeb) all over their bodies”. [Al-Ahzaab: 59] Also, it has been narrated from Umm Atiyyah (ra), who said: «أَمَرَنا رسولُ اللهِ