Tell believing men to lower their gaze, and protect their private parts. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze, and protect their private parts and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils (head coverings) over their chests . Quran 24: 30- 31

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Quran: Chapter 18 ‘Qad Aflaha’ ‘Successful indeed are’, Sura: 24 ‘An Nur’ ‘The Light’, Verse: 30- 31

Verse 30: Tell the believing men to lower their gaze, and protect their private parts. That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All- Aware of what they do.

Verse 31: And tell the believing women to lower their gaze, and protect their private parts and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils (head coverings) over their chests and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband’s fathers, or their sons, or their husband’s sons, or their brothers or their brother’s sons, or their sister’s sons, or their (Muslim) women, or the (female) slaves whom their right hand possess, or old male servants who lack vigor, or small children who have no sense of feminine sex. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful.

Explanation by Ibne Kathir (‘Imad Ad-Din, Isma’il bin ’Umar bin Kathir b.702 Hijri in Basra, Syria– d.774 H/ b. 1301 Christian Era– d. 1373CE)

Explanation for 24:30

The Command to lower the Gaze:

This is a command from Allah to His believing servants, to lower their gaze from looking at things that have been prohibited for them. They should look only at what is permissible for them to look at, and lower their gaze from forbidden things. If it so happens that a person’s gaze unintentionally falls upon something forbidden, he should quickly look away.

Muslim

[From samia2010oct: Muslim: Full name Imam Abu’l-Husain ‘Asakir-ud-Din Muslim b. Hajjaj al-Qushayri al-Naisaburi (202 H – 261H/ 817 CE- 874 CE) http://www.sunnah.org/history/Scholars/Imam_muslim.htm ]

recorded in his Sahih that Jarir bin Abdullah Al-Bajali, may Allah be pleased with him, said,

“I asked the Prophet about the sudden glance, and he commanded me to turn my gaze away.

In the Sahih it is narrated that Abu Sa`id said that the Messenger of Allah said:

إِيَّاكُمْ وَالْجُلُوسَ عَلَى الطُّرُقَاتِ

Beware of sitting in the streets.

They said, “O Messenger of Allah, we have no alternative but to sit in the streets to converse with one another.”

The Messenger of Allah said:

إِنْ أَبَيْتُمْ فَأَعْطُوا الطَّرِيقَ حَقَّهُ

If you insist, then give the street its rights.

They asked, “What are the rights of the street, O Messenger of Allah!” He said,

غَضُّ الْبَصَرِ، وَكَفُّ الْأَذَى، وَرَدُّ السَّلَامِ، وَالْأَمْرُ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ، وَالنَّهْيُ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ

Lower your gaze, return the greeting of Salam, enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil.

Abu Al-Qasim Al-Baghawi recorded that Abu Umamah said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah say:

اكْفُلُوا لِي سِتًّا أَكْفُلْ لَكُمْ بِالْجَنَّةِ:

إِذَا حَدَّث أَحَدُكُمْ فَلَا يَكْذِبْ،

وَإِذَا ائْتُمِنَ فَلَا يَخُنْ،

وَإِذَا وَعَدَ فَلَا يُخْلِفْ،

وَغُضُّوا أَبْصَارَكُمْ،

وَكُفُّوا أَيْدِيَكُمْ،

وَاحْفَظُوا فُرُوجَكُمْ

Guarantee me six things and I will guarantee you Paradise:

when any one of you speaks, he should not lie;

if he is entrusted with something, he should not betray that trust;

if he makes a promise, he should not break it;

lower your gaze;

restrain your hands; and

protect your private parts.

Since looking provokes the heart to evil, Allah commanded (the believers) to protect their private parts just as he commanded them to protect their gaze which can lead to that.

So He said:

قُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَغُضُّوا مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ وَيَحْفَظُوا فُرُوجَهُمْ … 

Tell the believing men to lower their gaze, and protect their private parts.

Sometimes protecting the private parts may involve keeping them from committing Zina, as Allah says:

وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِفُرُوجِهِمْ حَـفِظُونَ

And those who guard their chastity. (23:5)

Sometimes it may involve not looking at certain things, as in the Hadith in Musnad Ahmad and the Sunan:

احْفَظْ عَوْرَتَكَ إِلَّا مِنْ زَوْجَتِكَ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ يَمِينُكَ

Guard your private parts except from your wife and those whom your right hands possess.

… ذَلِكَ أَزْكَى لَهُمْ …

That is purer for them.

means, it is purer for their hearts and better for their commitment to religion, as it was said:

Whoever protects his gaze, Allah will illuminate his understanding, or his heart.

… إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا يَصْنَعُونَ ﴿٣٠﴾

Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do.

This is like the Ayah :

يَعْلَمُ خَآئِنَةَ الاٌّعْيُنِ وَمَا تُخْفِى الصُّدُورُ

Allah knows the fraud of the eyes and all that the breasts conceal. (40:19)

In the Sahih it is recorded that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Messenger of Allah said:

كُتِبَ عَلَى ابْنِ آدَمَ حَظُّهُ مِنَ الزِّنَا أَدْرَكَ ذَلِكَ لَا مَحَالَةَ، فَزِنَا الْعَيْنَيْنِ النَّظَرُ، وَزِنَا اللِّسَانِ النُّطْقُ، وَزِنَا الْأُذُنَيْنِ الْاسْتِمَاعُ، وَزِنَا الْيَدَيْنِ الْبَطْشُ، وَزِنَا الرِّجْلَيْنِ الْخُطَى، وَالنَّفْسُ تَمَنَّى وَتَشْتَهِي، وَالْفَرْجُ يُصَدِّقُ ذَلِكَ أَوْ يُكَذِّبُهُ

The son of Adam has his share of Zina decreed for him, and he will commit that which has been decreed.

The Zina of the eyes is looking;

the Zina of the tongue is speaking;

the Zina of the ears is listening;

the Zina of the hands is striking; and

the Zina of the feet is walking.

The soul wishes and desires, and the private parts confirm or deny that.

It was recorded by Al-Bukhari without a complete chain.

[From samia2010oct: Al-Bukhari: Full name Imâm Abû `Abdullâh Muhammad ibn Ismâ`îl al-Bukhârî (194 H- 265 H / 809 CE- 878 CE) http://www.sunnah.org/history/Scholars/imam_bukhari.htm ]

Muslim recorded a similar report with a different chain of narration.

Many of the Salaf said,

“They used to forbid men from staring at beardless handsome boys. ”

Explanation for 24: 31

The Rulings of Hijab:

This is a command from Allah to the believing women, and jealousy on His part over the wives of His believing servants. It is also to distinguish the believing women from the women of the Jahiliyyah and the deeds of the pagan women.

The reason for the revelation of this Ayah was mentioned by Muqatil bin Hayyan, when he said: “We heard — and Allah knows best — that Jabir bin Abdullah Al-Ansari narrated that Asma’ bint Murshidah was in a house of hers in Bani Harithah, and the women started coming in to her without lower garments so that the anklets on their feet could be seen, along with their chests and forelocks. Asma’ said: `How ugly this is!’ Then Allah revealed: وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ   (And tell the believing women to lower their gaze…).”

And Allah says:

وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ … 

And tell the believing women to lower their gaze, meaning, from that which Allah has forbidden them to look at, apart from their husbands.

(Some) scholars said that it is permissible for women to look at non-Mahram men without desire, as it was recorded in the Sahih that the Messenger of Allah was watching the Ethiopians playing with spears in the Masjid on the day of `Id, and A’ishah the Mother of the believers was watching them from behind him and he was concealing her from them, until she got bored and went away.

… وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ …

and protect their private parts.

Sa`id bin Jubayr said: “From immoral actions.”

Abu Al-Aliyah said: “Every Ayah of the Qur’an in which protecting the private parts is mentioned means protecting them from Zina, except for this Ayah– وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ (and protect their private parts), which means protecting them from being seen by anybody.”

… وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا …

and not to show off their adornment except that which is apparent, means, they should not show anything of their adornment to non-Mahram men except for whatever it is impossible to hide.

Ibn Mas`ud said: “Such as clothes and outer garments,” Meaning what the Arab women used to wear of the veil which covered their clothes and whatever showed from underneath the outer garment. There is no blame on her for this, because this is something that she cannot conceal. Similar to that is what appears of her lower garment and what she cannot conceal.

Al-Hasan, Ibn Sirin, Abu Al-Jawza’, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i and others also had the same view as Ibn Mas`ud.

… وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَى جُيُوبِهِنَّ …

and to draw their veils all over their Juyub,

means that they should wear the outer garment in such a way as to cover their chests and ribs, so that they will be different from the women of the Jahiliyyah, who did not do that but would pass in front of men with their chests completely uncovered, and with their necks, forelocks, hair and earrings uncovered. So Allah commanded the believing women to cover themselves, as He says:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُل لِّأَزْوَاجِكَ وَبَنَاتِكَ وَنِسَاء الْمُؤْمِنِينَ يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِن جَلَابِيبِهِنَّ ذَلِكَ أَدْنَى أَن يُعْرَفْنَ فَلَا يُؤْذَيْنَ

O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks all over their bodies. That will be better, that they should be known, so as not to be annoyed. (33:59)

And in this noble Ayah He said: وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَى جُيُوبِهِنَّ (and to draw their (Khumur) veils all over their Juyub.

Khumur (veils) is the plural of Khimar, which means something that covers, and is what is used to cover the head. This is what is known among the people as a veil.

Sa`id bin Jubayr said:

وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ (and to draw), means to pull it around and tie it securely.

بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَى جُيُوبِهِنَّ (their veils all over their Juyub), means, over their necks and chests so that nothing can be seen of them.

Al-Bukhari recorded that A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said: “May Allah have mercy on the women of the early emigrants, when Allah revealed the Ayah: وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَى جُيُوبِهِنَّ (and to draw their veils all over their Juyub), they tore their aprons and Akhtamar themselves with them.”

He also narrated from Safiyyah bint Shaybah that A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, used to say: “When this Ayah: وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَى جُيُوبِهِنَّ (and to draw their veils all over their Juyub) was revealed, they took their Izars (waist sheets) and tore them at the edges, and Akhtamar themselves with them.”

… وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَائِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَاء بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَائِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَاء بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي أَخَوَاتِهِنَّ …

and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband’s fathers, or their sons, or their husband’s sons, or their brothers or their brother’s sons, or their sister’s sons,

All of these are a woman’s close relatives whom she can never marry (Mahram) and it is permissible for her to show her adornments to them, but without making a wanton display of herself.

Ibn Al-Mundhir recorded that Ikrimah commented on this Ayah, وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَائِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَاء بُعُولَتِهِنَّ   (and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband’s fathers…),

“The paternal uncle and maternal uncle are not mentioned here, because they may describe a woman to their sons, so a woman should not remove her Khimar in front of her paternal or maternal uncle.”

With regard to the husband, all of this is for his sake, so she should try her best when adorning herself for him, unlike the way she should appear in front of others.

… أَوْ نِسَائِهِنَّ …

or their women, this means that she may also wear her adornment in front of other Muslim women, but not in front of the women of Ahl Adh-Dhimmah (Jewish and Christian women), lest they describe her to their husbands.

This is prohibited for all women, but more so in the case of the women of Ahl Adh-Dhimmah, because there is nothing to prevent them from doing that, but Muslim women know that it is unlawful and so, would be deterred from doing it.

The Messenger of Allah said:

لَا تُبَاشِرِ الْمَرْأَةُ الْمَرْأَةَ فَتَنْعَتَهَا لِزَوْجِهَا كَأَنَّهُ يَنْظُرُ إِلَيْهَا

No woman should describe another woman to her husband so that it is as if he is looking at her.

It was recorded in the Two Sahihs from Ibn Mas`ud.

… أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُنَّ …

or their right hand possessions.

Ibn Jarir said, “This means from among the women of the idolators. It is permissible for a Muslim woman to reveal her adornment before such a woman, even if she is an idolatress, because she is her slave-girl.”

This was also the view of Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib.

Allah says;

… أَوِ التَّابِعِينَ غَيْرِ أُوْلِي الْإِرْبَةِ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ …

Tabi`in among men who do not have desire, such as hired servants and followers who are not at the same level as the woman and are feeble-minded and have no interest in or desire for women.

Ibn Abbas said, “This is the kind of person who has no desire.”

Ikrimah said, “This is the hermaphrodite, who does not experience erections.”

This was also the view of others among the Salaf.

It was narrated in the Sahih from A’ishah that a hermaphrodite, used to enter upon the family of the Messenger of Allah and they used to consider him as one of those who do not have desire, but then the Messenger of Allah came in when he was describing a woman with four rolls of fat in front and eight behind. The Messenger of Allah said,

أَلَا أَرَى هَذَا يَعْلَمُ مَا هَهُنَا لَا يَدْخُلَنَّ عَلَيْكُمْ

Lo! I think this person knows what is they are; he should never enter upon you.

He expelled him, and he stayed in Al-Bayda’ and only came on Fridays to get food.

… أَوِ الطِّفْلِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يَظْهَرُوا عَلَى عَوْرَاتِ النِّسَاء …

or children who are not aware of the nakedness of women.

Because they are so young they do not understand anything about women or their `Awrah or their soft speech or their enticing ways of walking and moving.

If a child is small and does not understand that, there is nothing wrong with him entering upon women, but if he is an adolescent or approaching adolescence, so that he knows and understands these things, and can make a distinction between who is beautiful and who is not, then he should not enter upon women.

It was recorded in the Two Sahihs that the Messenger of Allah said:

إِيَّاكُمْ وَالدُّخُولَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ

Avoid entering upon women.

It was said, “O Messenger of Allah, what do you think about the male in-laws!”

He said:

الْحَمْوُ: الْمَوْتُ

The male in-law is death.

The Etiquette of Women walking in the Street:

Allah’s saying:

… وَلَا يَضْرِبْنَ بِأَرْجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعْلَمَ مَا يُخْفِينَ مِن زِينَتِهِنَّ…

And let them not stamp their feet…

During Jahiliyyah, when women walked in the street wearing anklets and no one could hear them, they would stamp their feet so that men could hear their anklets ringing. Allah forbade the believing women to do this.

By the same token, if there is any other kind of adornment that is hidden, women are forbidden to make any movements that would reveal what is hidden, because Allah says:

… وَلَا يَضْرِبْنَ بِأَرْجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعْلَمَ مَا يُخْفِينَ مِن زِينَتِهِنَّ…

And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment.

From that, women are also prohibited from wearing scent and perfume when they are going outside the home, lest men should smell their perfume.

Abu `Isa At-Tirmidhi recorded that Abu Musa, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Prophet said:

[From samia2010oct: At-Tirmidhi: Imam Abū ‛Īsa Muḥammad ibn ‛Īsa ibn Sawrah ibn Mūsa ibn al Ḍaḥḥāk al-Sulamīat-Tirmidhī (209-279 AH/824- 892 CE) http://sunnah.com/tirmidhi/about ]

كُلُّ عَيْنٍ زَانِيَةٌ، وَالْمَرْأَةُ إِذَا اسْتَعْطَرَتْ فَمَرَّتْ بِالْمَجْلِسِ فَهِيَ كَذَا وَكَذَا

Every eye commits fornication and adultery, and when a woman puts on perfume and passes through a gathering, she is such and such — (meaning an adulteress).

He said, “And there is a similar report from Abu Hurayrah, and this is Hasan Sahih.”

It was also recorded by Abu Dawud and An-Nasa’i.

[From samia2010oct: Abu Dawud: Imam Abu Dawud Sulaiman ibn Ash`ath ibn Ishaq ibn Bashir ibn Shaddad ibn `Umar ibn `Imran al-Azdi Sajastani, born in Sajistan, Khurasan, in 202 A.H., 817 CE, died on Friday 16th Shawwal 275 A.H., 889 CE, at the age of 72. http://www.sunnah.org/history/Scholars/imam_abu_dawud.htm

An-Nasa’i: Imam Aḥmad ibn Shu`ayb ibn `Alī ibn Sīnān Abū `Abd ar-Raḥmān al-Nasā’ī (214 -303 AH/ ca. 829 – 915 AD/CE) http://sunnah.com/nasai/about ]

By the same token, women are also forbidden to walk in the middle of the street, because of what this involves of wanton display.

Abu Dawud recorded that Abu Usayd Al-Ansari said that he heard the Messenger of Allah, as he was coming out of the Masjid and men and women were mixing in the street, telling the women:

اسْتَأْخِرْنَ فَإِنَّهُ لَيْسَ لَكُنَّ أَنْ تَحْقُقْنَ الطَّرِيقَ، عَلَيْكُنَّ بِحَافَّاتِ الطَّرِيقِ

Keep back, for you have no right to walk in the middle of the street. You should keep to the sides of the road.

The women used to cling to the walls so much that their clothes would catch on the walls.

… وَتُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ ﴿٣١﴾

And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful.

means, practice what you are commanded in these beautiful manners and praiseworthy characteristics, and give up the evil ways of the people of Jahiliyyah, for the greatest success is to be found in doing what Allah and His Messenger command and avoiding what He forbids.

And Allah is the source of strength.

{Disclaimer;  Explanation by Ibne Kathir is researched and written by http://www.quran4u.com/Tafsir%20Ibn%20Kathir/024%20Noor.htm#قُلْ  – I just copy-pasted from that site. I only added the date of births, date of deaths of the scholars and the places at which they took place. I also added some more text color than in the original article.}

Notes by samia2010oct: This is the Islamic code of conduct for men and women. The believing men and women must lower their gaze in each other’s presence. All types of illegal sex are strictly prohibited in Islam. Marriage is only between a man and a woman, out of marriage sex whether between a man and a woman, or a man and a man, or a woman and a woman, or with children or with animals every type is strictly prohibited. The believing women must not show off their make-ups and adornments (like jewelry) except only that which is apparent, and they must draw their veils (head coverings) over their chests and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband’s fathers, or their sons, or their husband’s sons, or their brothers or their brother’s sons, or their sister’s sons, or their (Muslim) women, or the (female) slaves whom their right hand possess, or old male servants who lack vigor, or small children who have no sense of feminine sex. Also the believing women must not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. After doing all the above all of the believing men and the believing women must beg Allah to forgive them, so that they may be successful in this life and also successful in the Hereafter.

It is Big Sin, Gunaahe Kabira, for men and women to look at each other with evil, immoral, sinful eyes. Illegal sex is also a Big Sin, Gunaahe Kabira. For a woman not to cover head and chest in public is also a Big Sin, Gunaahe Kabira, because when an order is given in the Holy Quran and it is not followed this also becomes a Big Sin, Gunaahe Kabira for her. 

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