What is Hijab in Islam - Definition of Hijab (Khimar/Jilbab) amongst Muslim Scholars
This is often asked question that what is Hijab in Islam for women because there exists difference of opinion on the definition of hijab amongst the Muslim scholars and Islamic Jurists. However, majority of scholars have only two opinions to dispute on Hijab i.e. covering all the body except hand and face, and women as whole is to be covered.
Before explaining the difference of opinion on Hijab, lets come to cover the definition of hijab on which all the scholars and jurists are agreed upon. Hijab is generally denoted to clothing such as the veil and the headscarf, worn by Muslim women as a symbol of modesty in public place. Hijab comprises of two pieces of garments i.e. Khimar and Jilbab, where Khimar is a head covering or veil, typically covering the head, neck, and shoulders (and sometimes face according to some scholars) and Jilbab is a piece of garment or a full-length outer garment, covering from shoulders to feet.
The definition is derived from the verses of Quran as follow,
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 khimār over their breasts and not display their beauty except to their husband, 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. (Quran 24:31)
Those who harass believing men and believing women undeservedly, bear (on themselves) a calumny and a grievous sin. O Prophet! Enjoin your wives, your daughters, and the wives of true believers that they should cast their outer garments (Jalabeeb) over their persons (when abroad): That is most convenient, that they may be distinguished and not be harassed. (Quran 33:58 - "59)
As for the difference of opinion on the application of Hijab for women in public place, the four major Sunni schools and Jurists of namely Hanafi, Shafi'i, Maliki and Hanbali hold that the entire body of the woman, except her face and hands must be covered. However, a few scholars are of view that face and hands of women must also be covered during prayer and in public settings.
Last Updated: 21/7/2015