Does wearing hijab (tasattur) cause bone thinning (osteoporosis)?
It is claimed that those wear hijab do not take sunlight and that this causes osteoporosis. How would you answer this claim? 1. Since hijab (tasattur) prevents women from taking vitamin D, which is of vital importance, and lack of it causes illnesses, why did Allah give such an order? Why did Allah order His slaves hijab, which is claimed to be harmful to health? 2. We need UV-B rays to produce vitamin D. How can this vitamin, which cannot be taken by sitting by the window, be taken? How will a woman who is wearing hijab take it? 3. Islam is seen as the perfect way of life for humanity by Muslims. However, if Islam had been sent by Allah and had ordered women to wear hijab, logically, He would not have created people with a body structure that would take vitamin by exposing their bodies to the sun. 4. Hijab is associated with obesity. It is said that Islamic clothes make it difficult or impossible for women to do sports. It is claimed that it is difficult for women wearing hijab to be able to play sports, and it is said that the weight cannot be covered by the burka and the problem of obesity cannot be solved by hijab. It is also claimed that the problem of obesity is covered with Islamic clothing and that there are more obese people in the Islamic world than in developed countries. Do you have any explanation for this? 5. Taking vitamin D is a vital issue. Is there not a satisfactory explanation to prevent the contradiction of Islamic orders with modern scientific knowledge? If Islam were in harmony with science, this issue would be made clear or mentioned somehow in the Quran or in the hadith literature, but it is not mentioned. Why not? 6. It is said that Islam complies with human nature. However, these forms of dressing that restrict and even shape human beings prevent these natural functions in women (in people) from operating. It blurs their perceptions. How would you explain it?
Submitted by on Mon, 17/04/2017 - 12:21
Dear Brother / Sister,
It is enough for some part of the skin as big as the palm to see the sun two days a week for half an hour in order to prevent osteoporosis. Any part of the body can see the sun. It can be the face, hands and feet. It is enough for the people covering their head to have their faces and the hands uncovered.
Osteoporosis is a natural process of human life. Pharmaceutical companies exaggerate bone thinning deliberately because there is a big market and a lot of money in this market. Unfortunately, media become an instrument of them.
However, the real question to ask is as follows:
Why do the media that highlight the phenomenon of osteoporosis do not make news about skin cancers caused by people being naked? Yes, why do they not mention it?
Now, let us try to answer the questions one by one:
Question 1: Since hijab (tasattur) prevents women from taking vitamin D, which is of vital importance, and lack of it causes illnesses, why did Allah give such an order? Why did Allah order His slaves hijab, which is claimed to be harmful to health?
Answer: The claim thathijab (tasattur) prevents women from taking vitamin D, which is of vital importance, is also valid for men who do not go out to the sunlight and work indoors all the time.
Vitamin D deficiency is an issue of recent years. In the past, all people worked outdoors under the sun to earn their livelihood.
Therefore, there was no question of vitamin D deficiency for the communities in those years.
Today, due to the lifestyle of modern and crowded city life, people can get less solar energy. This is more common in European countries.
Therefore, it is not true to associate vitamin D deficiency with hijab only. If it were true, most of the women living in the Islamic society in the past and today would be disabled.
Question 2: We need UV-B rays to produce vitamin D. How can this vitamin, which cannot be taken by sitting by the window, be taken? How will a woman who is wearing hijab take it?
Answer: There is no need to go out to the sunlight almost naked as Europeans do for the synthesis of vitamin D. Even the amount of the sunlight seen by a person's hands and face is enough for the synthesis of vitamin D. If little information is given on this subject, everyone can easily get enough vitamin D.
It would suffice for a woman wearing hijab to stretch her hand out of the window and get some sun.
For, there is no need for extra vitamin D. It is synthesized and used by the body as much as it is needed. Extra vitamin D is toxic and harmful. Excessive vitamin D causes more diseases than lack of vitamin D. The most important one is extremely fragile bones.
In addition, it causes several health problems like headache, weakness, nausea, vomiting, constipation and kidney stones.
Question 3: Islam is seen as the perfect way of life for humanity by Muslims. However, if Islam had been sent by Allah and had ordered women to wear hijab, he would not logically have created people with a body structure that would take vitamin by exposing their bodies to the sun.
Answer: The answer to this question was given above.
Very little solar energy is sufficient for vitamin D synthesis. Everyone takes it somehow.
A comparative study on a wide range of communities should have been made in order to reach a conclusion from the scientific studies that are mentioned.
For example, people working in shopping malls that are constantly illuminated by electricity do not receive any sunshine, especially during short winter days. Perhaps the vitamin D level in those people is much lower than that of women wearing hijab. Is it necessary to close down shopping malls then?
Therefore, we do not believe that the studies done regarding the issue are healthy.
On the other hand, let us consider the opposite of hijab in terms of the religion of Islam and humanity: The moral corruption caused by immodesty and obscenity (even the Europeans complain about it; they face the risk of extinction) brought about difficulties that are very difficult to compensate.
People wandering almost naked near the sea so that they can get solar energy have no right to mention health.
The Relationship of the spiritual aspect of hijab with illnesses
A woman who wears hijab because of her belief becomes in peace since she fulfills the orders of her religion and is protected from other disturbing situations. This spiritual structure prevents the production of harmful molecules called free radicals in humans. For, uneasiness and distress are very important sources of free radicals.
Free radicals are also the cause of many diseases, especially aging, cardiovascular diseases, sugar and cancer.
Question: Hijab is associated with obesity. It is said that Islamic clothes make it difficult or impossible for women to do sports. It is claimed that it is difficult for women wearing hijab to be able to play sports, and it is said that the weight cannot be covered by the burka and the problem of obesity cannot be solved by hijab. It is also claimed that the problem of obesity is covered with Islamic clothing and that there are more obese people in the Islamic world than in developed countries. Do you have any explanation for this?
Answer: This is a ridiculous, even stupid claim. Everybody knows that nowadays obesity is the leading health problem of developed countries, especially America and Europe. This is completely related to overnutrition.
The obesity in some Muslim Arab countries is also the result of overnutrition brought by richness. It has nothing to do with hijab. A woman who cannot eat well, cannot not be obese even if you cover her like a mummy. She cannot put on weight if she does not eat well and do sports.
Question 5: Taking vitamin D is a vital issue. Is there not a satisfactory explanation to prevent the contradiction of Islamic orders with modern scientific knowledge? If Islam were in harmony with science, this issue would have been made clear or mentioned somehow in the Quran or in the hadith literature, but it is not mentioned. Why not?
Answer: The religion of Islam or the Quran is not a medical book. Allah gave man intellect to realize scientific developments. Therefore, today's scientific developments are a blessing from Allah.
The duty of people is to lead their material and spiritual life more easily by using this blessing of intellect, which Allah gave them. This is the property that separates human beings from animals.
In the past, people did not know painkillers and antibiotics. They searched and found them using their intellect.
The same thing is valid for vitamin D and other vitamins. It is the necessity of being a human to take necessary precautions for our health in the light of new scientific developments. Besides, the religion of Islam orders it.
Historically, there has been no known difficulty related to the lack of vitamin D in the Islamic community. Nowadays, as I mentioned above, the deficiency of vitamin D is a problem of all communities and the people who are in little contact with the sunlight due to their lifestyle.
This problem can be solved with very little consciousness, without displaying all of your body and with little solar energy. Even if only the hands and faces of people are exposed to the sun, it is enough to prevent vitamin D deficiency.
Again, lack of vitamin D is a problem in modern society today. In the past, people worked outdoors under the sun all the time. Today's problem is the result of crowded city life, covered shopping malls and decrease of natural life.
Question 6: It is said that Islam complies with human nature. However, these forms of dressing that restrict and even shape human beings prevent these natural functions in women (in people) from operating. It blurs their perceptions. How would you explain it??
Answer: Hijab has thousands of benefits. The most important one is the satisfaction of the spiritual structure, which is a healthy spiritual structure.
It should be known that in today's society, mental health drugs are the leading drugs whose consumption is increasing.
It is a stupid claim to say that hijab is the form of dressing that restricts and even shapes human beings. Even men wear ironed suits and ties that squeeze their throats. They walk almost like robots so that their clothes will not be creased. In that case, should men walk around without trousers displaying their legs?
Again, women who are half-naked are not comfortable even when they are sitting while trying not to show their underwear.
To sum up, hijab does not mean to be chained. The women wearing hijab are aware of this fact. It may have some difficulties, but it has thousands of benefits like fasting and praying.
If we think about everything materially, it is also very difficult to perform fasting and prayers.
Similarly, it will be regarded as an unnecessary expense to go to hajj and to sacrifice an animal.
However, the worldly and otherworldly benefits of these deeds of worshipping are numerous.
Likewise, hijab is also a deed of worshipping. Of course, for those who do not know what worshipping is, hijab is unnecessary.
Prof. Dr. İdris MEHMETOĞLU
Selçuk University, faculty of Medicine
Biochemistry USA (E) Academician. Konya, Turkey
Vitamin D is a vitamin that dissolves in oil. Its active form is synthesized in kidneys. Sources of vitamin D are as follows: Fish oil, egg yolk, milk enriched in vitamin D and cereals. The daily need of vitamin D is around 400 units for people up to 50 years old, and about 700 units for people over 70 years old.
Vitamin D is a steroid that can dissolve in oil. Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) is formed from 7-dehydrocholesterol in the skin under the influence of ultraviolet rays of the sun. In other words, vitamin D is synthesized from the sun through the ultraviolet B rays in the wavelength of 294-310 nm. Vitamin D2 is synthesized by irradiation of plant sterol ergosterol.
In the regions of the northern half of the world, that is, in the countries above the latitude of 42°, vitamin D synthesis decreases or does not take place at all because the rays of the sun come at an oblique angle. Besides, window glass, cloudy weather in the daytime, and the sunlight passing through the polluted air in cities do not provide enough ultraviolet light for the production of vitamin D. Therefore, deficiency of vitamin D occurs in people living in these countries.
Vitamin D deficiency leads to bone disease called osteomalacia (bone softening, bone pain) in adults and bone disease called rickets (rachitism = bony malformation) in children. Vitamin D is necessary for healthy bone structure.
People living over latitude 42° in countries like France, northern Italy, northern parts of former Yugoslav republics and Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Russia, Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Czechia, Slovakia, Poland, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, England, North of China and Canada do not receive ultraviolet B in sufficient quantity from the sunlight from the beginning of October to the end of March.
Therefore, people living in those places cannot synthesize vitamin D in sufficient amounts. In Turkey, only a small part of Sinop is located above latitude 42°. A very large part of Turkey is below 42°, in the area close to the equator.
In the equator, and areas close to the equator, the sun's rays are more perpendicular to the earth. If people in the countries between latitude 42° and the North Pole do not take extra vitamin D, vitamin D deficiency will develop in them since the sun's rays come very oblique.
For example, the National Health Service (www.nhs.uk), which is one of the four health institutions in the UK, gave detailed information about vitamin D in the article it published in 25-11-2015. It stated very clearly how the British citizens should meet the need for vitamin D, how long they should remain in the sun, the amount of vitamin D babies, children, adults, women and elderly people needed to receive and other issues. It is written in the report that if the hands and arms up to the elbows and the feet are kept open and are exposed directly to the sun for 10-15 minutes from the beginning of September to the end of March and at lunchtime (between 11.00-15.00) in England it is sufficient for vitamin D synthesis in the white-skinned people. They are advised to take extra vitamin D during winter months (October to March).
Countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States produce vitamin D-rich foods by adding vitamin D to dairy products and certain foods; and the labels on them indicate how much vitamin D they contain. Vitamin D deficiency is seen more commonly in people who live in the cloudy countries, those who cannot get enough sun, those who stay at home all the time, those who do not consume enough oil, the people who go out in the sun but cover all parts of the body and those who take certain drugs. Such people will be able to take vitamin D at sufficient amounts if they expose their hands, feet and faces directly in their gardens or at home by opening their windows for 10 to 15 minutes a day, sufficient amounts of vitamin D will be synthesized in their skin. Accordingly, the people who walk under the sun with open hands and faces will take enough vitamin D.
Dark-skinned people and black-skinned people need to be exposed to the sun for more than 15 minutes a day. People older than 65 years should be exposed to the sun for more than 15 minutes. As for babies and children, children younger than 6 months must not be kept in strong direct sunlight. They should be dressed in appropriate clothes and be kept in the shade from 11:00 to 15:00 between March and October.
There are also writers who state that risk of skin cancer increases in people who are exposed to too much sunlight hence it is enough to sunbathe for about 15 minutes a day, 2 days a week, especially in areas close to the equator.
Scientists say it is enough to stand in the sunlight for about 15 minutes for vitamin D synthesis. However, they say that it is necessary to stay in the sun for an average of 15 minutes without sunscreen. For, they report that when sunscreen is applied to the skin, vitamin D synthesis decreases a lot.
The amount of vitamin D required for the body is very small. Vitamin D is measured with a special unit called International Unite (IU). One microgram (one-billionth of a gram) vitamin D = 40 IU vitamin D. In various countries, lists of daily vitamin D requirements are prepared.
For children up to the age of one, daily vitamin D requirement is 5 micrograms, that is, 200 units. Daily vitamin D requirement for the age of 1 to 18 years is again 200 IU. Daily vitamin D requirement of people between the ages of 18 and 50 is 200-400 units. The daily need of people over 51, and according to some writers, over 65, increased and the average daily vitamin D requirement for them is 600 IU. Pregnant women and lactating mothers should take 600 IU of vitamin D.
As it is mentioned above, the vast majority of this vitamin D is obtained by exposure to the sun. For, there are about 200 IU D vitamins in 100 grams of tuna fish. This amount decreases to half in the oil-free tuna fish.
120 IU vitamin D is present in 100 grams of sardines. There are up to 40 units of vitamin D in 100 grams of anchovy. One large egg has about 25 IU vitamin D. 100 ml of milk contains 40 units of vitamin D. Cheese and yogurt also have as much vitamin D as milk. There is also vitamin D in red meat.
The main duty of vitamin D is to help the body absorb calcium intestinally, which in turn, has an important role in bone development. It is very important to get enough vitamin D especially in the growth phase when bone development continues so that growth will not slow down and in terms of bone tissue production.
In addition to consuming foods with vitamin D, it is necessary to make use of the daylight for vitamin D in sufficient quantity. For, human body has the ability to produce vitamin D using sunlight.
As it is mentioned above, it is enough to stand in the sunlight for about 10- 15 minutes without sunscreen on a cloudless day for the vitamin D that the body needs. The time period to stay in the sun can vary a few minutes depending on the person's skin color and the time of day. However, the sun is the most important source for vitamin D.
Getting excess vitamin D is harmful. Though it is not possible to go far beyond the recommended daily amount of vitamin D through food, people using Vitamin D supplements should be careful. Excess vitamin D also damages the body. It causes many diseases. Consequently, vitamin D is especially important for the protection of bone health as it works with calcium. The difference of vitamin D from the other vitamins is that the body can produce this vitamin in the skin under the sunlight.
In the past, people used to travel on foot, on horseback, in carriages drawn by horses or oxen. Besides, in the winter months, the elderly used to take fish oil from Norway. Most people used to work outdoors in the field. Now, most people are office clerks, and they travel in vehicles with closed windows. Today, perhaps lack of vitamin D is seen in more people because of this.
Who should take additional vitamin D?
*All babies under one year old.
*Children aged between 1 and 4.
*People who spend most of their time indoors.
*People who live and work in nursing homes.
*People who cover the whole body.
*People who are on continuous medication for any disease (Not all medicines, but some medicines cause vitamin D deficiency; so people who use regular medication should take extra vitamin D with their doctor's recommendation after showing their medication to the doctor.)
*Pregnant women and lactating mothers are recommended an addition of 5-10 micrograms of vitamin D per day. This additional vitamin D should be given in winter. In the summer months, sunshine should be utilized. In summary, it is enough to stay in the sun for 15 minutes a day or for half an hour twice a week to get enough vitamin D.
Pediatric endocrinology specialists often recommend that children play outside in the sun, and they do not give vitamin D to children without necessity.
Some authors suggest vitamin D supplements if necessary after vitamin D tests and related tests. Thus, vitamin D as much as the body needs should be taken. Both less intake of vitamin D and excessive intake of vitamin are harmful. For, human body is created in a very balanced way.
Since vitamin D is so necessary for the body, the question why the Quran does not mention it may come to the mind.
The Quran was sent to ensure the happiness of people in both the world and hereafter. It talks about everything based on their value, but not everyone can see everything in it.
Badiuzzaman said Nursi explains this issue in a beautiful and clear way in his book called Sözler (Words) in Twentieth Word, Second Station.
It will not do if a man has three eyes or one eye. It will not do if a man has three arms or one arm. Having three legs is a disorder; so is having one leg. To maintain health in Islam is wajib. It is very meaningful that "measure" is mentioned four times at four degrees in the Quran (chapter of ar-Rahman 55 / 7, 8, 9). For, millions of chemical reactions take place in a meticulous measure in human body. We can buy glasses, gloves, shoes, socks and so on in the market but there are no store or shopping malls that sell human eyes, ears, hands or feet.
Allah gives them to us. He gave us eyes. What could we do with them if there was no light?
He gave us the sun so that the eye would see. He gave us a stomach, and created thousands of delicious foods for it.
The Quran, which is the Word of Allah, tells us about both the past and the present, and our future, and where and how we will go after we die.
The following is stated in the chapter of al-Araf (7/31) in the Quran: "…Eat and drink: but waste not by excess." That is, when all kinds of vegetables, fruits and foods from halal foods and beverages are taken to the body, vitamins, minerals, fats, carbohydrates, proteins, etc. which are necessary for the body are taken. Both too little and too much food are harmful for the body. The Quran recommends the moderate way.
Besides, there are also hadiths about eating and drinking moderately. Thus, we will take everything that is necessary for our body.
1. Harper’s Illustrated Biochemistry. 30th Edition. McGraw-Hill Education (2015) pages: 551-553
2. Lehninger. Biokimya’nın İlkeleri. Translation from 5th Edition. Translation Editor Y. Murat Elçin. Palme Publications Ankara,(2013) page:360
3. Kayaalp. Akılcıl Tedavi yönünden Tıbbi Farmakoloji. Volume 2, 13th Impression. Pelikan Publications- Ankara.(2012) pages: 1169-1176
4. Shereen Jegtvig. How Much Sun Exposure Do I Need for Vitamin D? About.Com Guide, Updated October 06, 2011
5. www.nhs.uk (report) (25-11.2015-25-11-2018)
6. D Vitamini Güneş Işınları UVB ve Kanser Doç. Dr. Murat Gültekin. Uzm. Dr. Ezgi Hacıkamiloğlu. Kanser .gov.tr/dosya/bilgi- dokümanları/ vitamin D Rapor.docx.pd
7. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy. 19th Edition Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. White House Stations, NJ(2011) pages:27-29, 41-43, 838-843
8. Nelson Essentials of Pediatrics 5th Edition. Elsevier Saunders. Philadelphia. (2006). Pages:151-152
9. Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine. McGraw-Hill Medical Publishing Division. New York 16th Edition. (2005). Pages:2246-2249-2265
Prof. Dr. Mehmet Gündoğdu
Atatürk University, Faculty of Medicine
Questions on Islam
- How should a woman’s outside covering be? How should a woman dress according to the code of tasattur in Hanafi madhab?
- What should the dressing style of a Muslim woman be like?
- Is it fard (obligatory) for women to cover their heads?
- Can there not be fashion of tasattur (hijab)? Can Fashion be Associated with Hijab?
- I am a woman who does not wear hijab but I perform prayers. Are the prayers performed by a woman who does not wear hijab valid?
- EVIDENCES OF ONENESS IN FISH OIL
- What is necessary to do in order to stop using alcohol?
- Is it permissible for women to paint their nails by polishing them?
- I started to be dressed in tasattur/hijab but I cannot put up with it. I cannot be happy; I am being alienated from the religion. What should I do?
- How should a woman’s outside covering be? To what extent can hands and feet be uncovered? How should the head be covered?