Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari
I wanted to get clarification on the explanation Sh. Nuh gave on the evidence for hijab. This has been a topic of debate since the hijab ban discussion in France and I’m unclear now on where the requirement comes from.
Sh. Nuh writes:
‘There is no other lexical sense in which the word khimar may be construed. The wording of the command, however, and let them drape their headcoverings over their bosoms, sometimes confuses nonspecialists in the sciences of the Qur’an, and in truth, interpreting the Qur’an does sometimes require in-depth knowledge of the historical circumstances in which the various verses were revealed. In this instance, the elliptical form of the divine command is because women at the time of the revelation wore their headcovers tied back behind their necks, as some village women still do in Muslim countries, leaving the front of the neck bare, as well as the opening (Ar. singular jayb, plural juyub, translated as “bosoms” in the above verse) at the top of the dress. The Islamic revelation confirmed the practice of covering the head, understood from the use of the word khimar in the verse, but also explained that the custom of the time was not sufficient and that women were henceforth to tie the headcover in front and let it drape down to conceal the throat and the dress’s opening at the top.’
I’m a bit confused about how the wording used in these particular verses are considered to be a command. My earlier understanding of the evidence for hijab was that the specificity of the command came from the hadith in Abu Dawood about the Prophet (AS) pointing out to Asma that only the face and hands should be revealed. Can you please clarify what it is about the wording/grammar in the verses reference above that makes them the evidence for the fard status for hijab? I’m not clear how the word “khimar” in and of itself is used as evidence to say that hijab is required.