Is it right for women who are dressed according to Islamic rules to wear their headscarves covering their shoulders?

The Details of the Question
Is it right for women who are dressed according to Islamic rules to wear their headscarves covering their shoulders?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Women used to cover their heads in the Age of Jahilliyya.Yet, they used to tie their headscarves over their napes of the necks or they used to let these ties down the back.  Their collars would open and their necks and bosoms could be displayed. So, in order to fix this situation, Allah commanded “ Let them draw their veils over their bosoms”. ( the Qur’an, an-Nur, 24:31) The function of this veil is to cover firstly the head and then the neck and the bosom without a visible part left. And a thin and unattractive headscarf should be used. It would be wrong to say “ you should cover this or that way”. ( see Elmalili, Hak Dini, the interpretation of 31th verse of the surah an-Nur from the Qur’an).

Accordingly, the wisdom behind covering over the collars is to cover the neck, the chest and the bosom. According to the dressing of women today, necks and bosoms are covered when the headscarf is worn inside a topcoat or a bodice. Once this way of dressing is done, covering of a headscarf this way is religiously acceptable. What matters is covering the body according to Islamic rules.

A Muslim woman’s covering her head is the command of both Allah and the Prophet (pbuh). In other words, covering the head, neck and bosom, leaving the face uncovered is religiously obligatory. Uncovering them is regarded as a haram since it is considered to be abandoning an obligation.

A headscarf which a woman wears must not be too thin to make its underneath visible. This kind of covering is not considered to be appropriate. Moreover, women must avoid light-colored and eye-catching scarves that might attract people’s attention. One cannot say that this type of scarf is acceptable.

Not only headscarf but also the other outfits of women must not be made of attractive, colored fabrics. If the scarf over the veil has colors and a look that can be considered as an adornment, this type of covering cannot be regarded as a suitable one.

In the 33th verse of the surah al-Azhab from the Qur’an, the following is stated : “(Prefer to) remain in your homes (unless there is a need. If you do go out for a need,) do not go out flaunting your charms as (women used to do) in the former times of Ignorance.” ( the Qur’an, al-Ahzab, 33:33)

The word “flaunting” , according to Zamakhshari, refers to : “ in general meaning, attempt to reveal what needs to be concealed; in specific meaning, women’s displaying their adornments and charms to non-mahram men.”

 Imam Al-Suyuti says : “ Women’s walking attractively and their displaying their natural and artificial beauty and charms in inappropriate places without a neat covering of their heads, and their attracting with their adorment and attitudes the interest and attention of those who do not have the right to benefit from them.”

Al-Alusi describes his point of view as : “ To me, today’s some sort of women’s covering as outfit when they leave their houses can be considered as adorment which should not be displayed to non-mahram men because, they are colorful and attractive clothes.”

Accordingly, women must be careful about the covering they wear; they must also be careful about it so that it will not be considered as adorment.

Since Allah knows best the nature of those whom He created, because of women’s innate natural attractiveness, He commands them to cover their body parts that are attractive. The decrees both in the Qur’an and the sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) is clear in this issue and these decrees show that covering is obligatory. All the scholars of Islamic schools, Islamic jurisprudence, hadith and interpretation agree on this issue.

The Prophet (pbuh) warns women and heads of the family. It must not be forgotten that inappropriate dressing, behavior and attitudes contrary to Islamic rules will result into losing the chance to enter Paradise and into punishment in Hell. It is never right to risk our eternal lives just for the sake of the short worldly life and bodily appetites.  

They all will surely change if repented for. Allah accepts repentance of those who repent. Allah becomes more pleased with repentance of those who commit sins than a person who finds what he has lost. So, we advice those who have made the mistake of uncovering to repent to God; they must both cover their bodies according to God’s commands and commit their prayers so that they can have their chance to enter Paradise. Otherwise, Allah asks those who do not obey the decrees and prohibitions in the Qur’an this question : “Where are you going?)  ( At-Takwir, 81:26)

Let us ask it ourselves : “ Where are we going?”

We believe that it will be better if we act considering these warnings.

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