Unveiling the Islamic Veil
By Abul Kasem
Why do Islamists need to veil (hijab)
a Muslim woman? If you go to
Islamic websites or read many of the literature written by the Islamists,
you will be amazed by silly logics they put forward in support of Islamic
veil for women. Their logic runs the whole gamut ranging from protection
of women from rape/prying eyes, a woman’s beauty is skin deep, how
secured a woman feels, how beautiful a woman looks in hijab to divine
sanction and……. blah, blah, blah.
Many Muslims even believe that since the instruction of veiling had
emanated from Allah so there must be some scientific reasons and give
convoluted logic about the psychological make up of women and why they
need to be put under Islamic cover (hijab). All these reasons are utterly hilarious to any person who has
the slightest idea of the game that the Islamists play to fool the
gullible believers. You will have a hearty laugh I swear when you come to
know the real secret behind the Islamic veil and wonder why some Muslim
women support it.
So, what is the real reason for
Islamic veil? To know the
truth, we need to go back 1500 years backward and look at the
sanitary/toilet facilities of the poor Arabs during Muhammad’s time.
If you are living in a modern environment then, of course, it will
be difficult to imagine the sanitary condition of those old days of Islam.
However, if you have come from a poverty stricken family from a
poor country of Asia or Africa you may recall your childhood and find a
great similarity of what you are about to read below.
After the death of Khadijah,
Muhammad spent most of the wealth left by Khadijah. He became so poor that
he had very little money to support himself.
When he migrated to Medina, he and his followers were destitute.
Under this dire poverty, Muhammad had to house his wives in places with
very primitive or non-existent toilet/sanitary facilities. He had no
choice but to ask his wives to go to an open field nearby and answer the
call of nature. It is most likely that he himself did ease in this manner
on many occasions. Here is what Sahih Bukhari says:
Sahih Bukhari Volume 1, Book 4,
The Prophet said to his wives,
"You are allowed to go out to answer the call of nature."
The new converts of Islam were so
haplessly poor that they even had no shelter and privacy to engage in
sexual intercourse. The only place where they could satisfy this
biological need was in the open sky. Thus, having sexual intercourse in
open field was also common.
Sahih Bukhari Volume 6, Book 60,
Narrated Muhammad bin 'Abbas bin
he heard Ibn 'Abbas reciting: "No doubt! They fold up their
breasts." (11.5) and asked him about its explanation. He said,
"Some people used to hide themselves while answering the call of
nature in an open space lest they be exposed to the sky, and also when
they had sexual relation with their wives in an open space lest they be
exposed to the sky, so the above revelation was sent down regarding
So Muhammad’s wives started to
go to an open field only at night to answer the call of nature without any
veil or proper attire. Hazrat Umor used to watch these ladies and was very
uncomfortable and distressful to see them answering the call of nature in
the open sky without much protection to their privacy. He requested Muhammad to cover his wives with veils whenever
they went out to do their business in the open field at night.
At first, Muhammad ignored
Umar’s plea. But when Umor kept on pestering him on this issue, he
turned to Allah for His suggestion (since he did not have the pecuniary
means to solve this toilet problem). Allah promptly sent down the verse on
Muhammad's wives, daughters, and
believing women are to wear outer garments
(hijab)…33:59 (chronological order 90)
YUSUFALI: O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the
believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their
persons (when abroad): that is most convenient, that they should be
known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most
Here are some ahadith that confirm
those pathetic toilet facilities for Muhammad’s wives and Umor’s plea
to veil them.
Sahih Bukhari Volume 1, Book 4,
wives of the Prophet used to go to Al-Manasi, a vast open place (near
Baqia at Medina) to answer the call of nature at night. 'Umar used to say
to the Prophet "Let your wives be veiled," but Allah's Apostle
did not do so. One night Sauda bint Zam'a the wife of the Prophet went out
at 'Isha' time and she was a tall lady. 'Umar addressed her and said,
"I have recognized you, O Sauda." He said so, as he desired
eagerly that the verses of Al-Hijab (the observing of veils by the Muslim
women) may be revealed. So Allah revealed the verses of "Al-Hijab"
(A complete body cover excluding the eyes).
Sahih Bukhari Volume 1, Book 8,
note that this hadith has been shortened to show the relevant part only)
'Umar (bin Al-Khattab):
Lord agreed with me in three things: --------
as regards the (verse of) the veiling of the women, I said, 'O Allah's
Apostle! I wish you ordered your wives to cover themselves from the men
because good and bad ones talk to them.' So the verse of the veiling of
the women was revealed.
Sahih Muslim Book 026, Number 5397:
reported that the wives of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) used
to go out in the cover of night when they went to open fields (in the
outskirts of Medina) for easing themselves. 'Umar b Khattab used to say:
Allah's Messenger, ask your ladies to observe veil, but Allah's Messenger
(may peace be upon him) did not do that. So there went out Sauda, daughter
of Zama, the wife of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him), during one
of the nights when it was dark. She was a tall statured lady. 'Umar called
her saying: Sauda, we recognise you. (He did this with the hope that the
verses pertaining to veil would be revealed.) 'A'isha said: Allah, the
Exalted and Glorious, then revealed the verses pertaining to veil
After Allah took care of
veiling Muhammad’s wife, Muhammad was relaxed. He did nothing to improve
physically the toilet/sanitary facilities for them. In fact, he even
developed the specifications of how to cleanse oneself with stones after
defecating. His wives still continued to relieve themselves in the open
field albeit with the hijab. Umar continued to monitor. When Sauda was
caught red handed by Umar, she complained to Muhammad about Umar and asked
about what to do with the business of easing oneself. Muhammad sought
Allah’s help. Allah immediately revealed that she could continue with
the old style (that is defecating in the open field).
Sahih Bukhari Volume 6, Book 60,
(the wife of the Prophet) went out to answer the call of nature after it
was made obligatory (for all the Muslims ladies) to observe the veil. She
was a fat huge lady, and everybody who knew her before could recognize
her. So 'Umar bin Al-Khattab saw her and said, "O Sauda! By Allah,
you cannot hide yourself from us, so think of a way by which you should
not be recognized on going out. Sauda returned while Allah's Apostle was
in my house taking his supper and a bone covered with meat was in his
hand. She entered and said, "O Allah's Apostle! I went out to answer
the call of nature and 'Umar said to me so-and-so." Then Allah
inspired him (the Prophet) and when the state of inspiration was over and
the bone was still in his hand as he had not put in down, he said (to
Sauda), "You (women) have been allowed to go out for your
Sahih Muslim Book 026, Number 5395:
reported that Sauda (Allah he pleased with her) went out (in the fields)
in order to answer the call of nature even after the time when veil had
been prescribed for women. She had been a bulky lady, significant in
height amongst the women, and she could not conceal herself from him who
had known her. 'Umar b. Khattab saw her and said: Sauda, by Allah, you
cannot conceal from us. Therefore, be careful when you go out. She ('A'isha)
said: She turned back. Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) was at
that time in my house having his evening meal and there was a bone in
his hand. She (Sauda) came and said: Allah's Messenger. I went out and 'Umar
said to me so and so. She ('A'isha) reported: There came the revelation
to him and then it was over; the bone was then in his hand and he had
not thrown it and he said:" Permission has been granted to you that you may go out for your
is most likely that Muhammad was not very comfortable with the original
style of veiling (complete cover except the eye-slit: somewhat like the
Burqa so common in Afghanistan). After marrying Aisha (the child bride)
and other younger women, he changed his mind on the veil issue.
Allah now revealed the new specification of veiling:
women are to draw their veils over their bosoms and they are not to
display their beauty to unrelated men…24:31 (chronological order 102)
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 and not display their beauty except to their
husbands, their fathers, their husband's fathers, their sons, their
husbands' sons, their brothers or their brothers' sons, or their sisters'
sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or
male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense
of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order
to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! turn ye
all together towards Allah, that ye may attain Bliss.
verse 33:59 (chronological order 90) is an earlier verse than 24:31
(chronological order 102) it is not clear which of the verses (i.e 33:59
or 24:31) is the appropriate verse for veiling of women. Nowhere does
Qur’an say that one of them is the replacement of the other. When you
watch the hapless Afghan women in TV in their mobile prisons (Burqa), you
are probably seeing verse 33:59 in action in a pure Islamic Paradise.
When you are walking through the streets of an infidel land and
suddenly watch a hijab clad Muslim lady, you are probably seeing verse
24:31 in action in a Kufir land. It will be interesting to know amongst
two groups who will be more in hell. After all, most of the inhabitants of
hell are women (Sahih Bukhari 2.18.161).
is quite clear that there is absolutely no compelling reason to impose the
intolerable and ugly hijab on Muslim women.
If there was any reason, it could reasonably be attributed to the
prehistoric toilet facilities that Muhammad offered to his wives.
Do today’s women still head towards the open fields to defecate
or to ease themselves? It
may be true that in some very backward Muslim countries in Africa and Asia
the sanitary/toilet facilities may still be very primitive but it is
definitely not like what it used to be during Muhammad’s time.
interesting point comes into mind, though.
How come Hazrat Umar was such a busybody to watch Muhammad’s
wives easing themselves? Have
you ever thought about this? After
all, Islamists always say that Islam respects greatly the privacy, be that
a man or a woman. Another interesting point is this: where did the male
Muslims during prophet’s time used to go to defecate? I am sure that
they did not have sanitary lavatory in their homes. Most likely, they also
used to go in the open land to ease themselves (as well as for sexual
intercourse, as we saw earlier). Why
was prophet so discriminatory? Why
did Allah have to veil women only? Why
did He not ask for the veiling of men?
Why did not prophet ask his male colleagues to taste how it is like
wearing hijab or going inside a mobile prison (Burqa)?
Is this the fairness of Islam?
Is this gender equality?
message is very clear, folks. All
the inane arguments that the Islamists give in support of veiling of women
are completely hollow and illogical.
Now that we know the real reason for veiling, let our women assert
their right to chose the attire that befits them.
Why should they be imprisoned in ugly hijab and the unconscionable
Kasem, a resident of Sydney, Australia can be contacted via his e-mail
address – [email protected]