Is the command of hijab given in verse 53 of the chapter of al-Ahzab to the wives of the Prophet (pbuh) valid for all Muslim women, or is it a special command?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

- The command of hijab in verse 53 of the chapter of al-Ahzab is a special command regarding the wives of the Prophet (pbuh). In that verse, attention is drawn to the special position of the wives of the Prophet (pbuh), rather than the way of being covered up and it is emphasized that non-mahram men who want to talk to them due to a necessity can talk to them by standing behind a curtain.

- The verse that mentions the hijab of all Muslim women in general is verse 31 of the chapter of an-Nur and verse 59 of the chapter of al-Ahzab.

- Verse 33 of the chapter of al-Ahzab: “And stay quietly in your houses, and make not a dazzling display, like that of the former Times of Ignorance; and establish regular Prayer, and give regular Charity; and obey Allah and His Messenger. And Allah only wishes to remove all abomination from you, ye members of the Family, and to make you pure and spotless.“

- “O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad)…” In the verse above (al-Ahzab, 33/59), the command of hijab is generalized to all believing women but the command in the verse, “stay quietly in your houses(al-Ahzab, 33/33) and the address in the verse, “Ye are not like any of the (other) women” (al-Ahzab, 33/32) are for the wives of the Prophet. (See Elmalılı Tefsiri)

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