Salams my brother. I spent this week refreshing my knowledge on the issues of hijab taking a look at current trends and discussions on various aspects of the Muslim clothing. My conclusions so far are: firstly, that those arguing that the covering of the hair was not mentioned in the Holy Quran are wrong. It is mentioned. It is in the word ‘Khimar’. This khimar is the head covering that women wore even before Islam in Arabia and many other cultures of the past, both in the East and West. Allah(swt) did not need to tell women to cover their heads because they were doing it already. All He (swt) did was to tell them to use the khimar to cover their bosoms or cleavages and any pockets of the clothing which exposed the seductive parts of their bodies.
That is only one aspect of Hijaab, which broadly means putting a barrier of respect between male / female relationships. Included in the concept of Hijab is avoiding staring at the opposite sex, seeking sexual excitement and women walking in a manner which makes their physical parts seductive. This can be said of men too. There is a question of ‘Urf’ or custom, to be considered in this matter, but we can have further discussions later. For the moment look at the following clip: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=n1ua0VYe9-I
Hence, the private parts of women and men was already defined by the code of modesty that the Arabs did before the revelation. The revelation only came to modify their customs slightly by telling them not to stare and how not to attract the opposite sex in a sexual manner, through how they spoke to each other, and interacted with each other in each other spaces. Hence, the holy prophet (pbuh) in his practice showed us what parts of body needed to be covered and so did his wives.
Moreover, brother, I am trying to make this issue easy for your comprehension and those that ask you. However, to conclude with the evidences you seek we will have to discuss this issue from scratch. For example, in this following Hadith it clearly states that there are parts of a man and woman’s body other men and women should not see: ‘Abd al-Rahman, the son of Abu Sa’id al-Khudri, reported from his father: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: A man should not see the private parts of another man, and a woman should not see the private parts of another woman, and a man should not lie with another man under one covering, and a woman should not lie with another woman under one covering. Are you okay with this?
The scholars of Islam have referred to this as the major private parts. For men, exposing those parts above the knees, excluding the private parts, there is some flexibility with family members for instance: ‘The Prophet (saw) was reclining in his house with his legs and thighs bared. Abu Bakr (rdn) and Umar (rdn) asked to enter and when they did, the Prophet (saw) remained in that position. They conversed with each other, and then Uthman (rdn) asked to enter. Immediately Allah’s Messenger (saw) sat upright, and covered himself. The Prophet (saw) and Uthman (rdn) conversed. When he left, I (Aisha) asked ‘O Messenger of Allah! When Abu Bakr and Umar entered, you did not sit upright for them. But when Uthman entered, you sat upright and covered yourself??’ The Prophet (saw) answered, ‘Should I not be shy in front of the man even the angels feel shy of?’… (Muslim) Read between the lines of that Hadith and it will reveal to you much wisdom on the matter.
The majority of scholars hold that the thigh is one of the parts of the body that must be covered in public. They cited Hadiths as evidence to that effect. All these Hadiths have some aspects of weakness with regard to their chain of transmitters such as discontinuity in their chains of transmitters or weakness in some of the narrators. However, these Hadiths support each other and therefore, are liable to be cited as proof. Some of them are as follows: Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah reported on the authority of `Aly (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: Do not uncover your thigh, and do not look at the thigh of the living or the dead. It was also reported by Ahmad and Al-Bukhari in his book called Al-Tarikh on the authority of Muhammad Ibn Jahsh that he said: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) passed by Ma`mar ibn `Abdullah while his two thighs were uncovered. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: ‘O Ma`mar, cover your thighs as the thigh is `Awrah.’ It was also reported by Malik in his book called Al-Muwata’, Ahmad, Abu Dawud and Al-Tirmidhy in the Hadith reported by Jarhad Al-Aslamy that he said: The Prophet (peace be upon him) passed by me while I was wearing a burdah (garment) and my thigh was uncovered. He (peace be upon him) said: ‘Cover your thigh as the thigh is a private part.’Al-Tirmidhy considered this Hadith to be Hasan.
A group of scholars considered that a man’s thigh is not `Awrah. As evidence they cited the Hadith reported by Anas (may Allah be pleased with him). He said: The Prophet (peace be upon him) uncovered his thigh and I saw the whiteness of his thigh. This Hadith was reported by Ahmad and Al-Bukhari. Al-Bukhari said that the Hadith reported by Anas is more authentic, but the Hadith reported by Jarhad is more precautions. The opinion of the majority of jurists is more cautious because of what was mentioned by Al-Bukhari. The first Hadiths are clear texts on this subject, but the Hadith mentioned by Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) can be interpreted otherwise.
About the private parts of the women:
It has been authentically related on the authority of Ibn `Abbas, Ibn `Umar and `Aa’ishah that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “Allah does not accept the prayer of an adult woman unless she wears a head covering (khimar, hijab).” This is related by “the five,” except for An-Nasa’i, and by Ibn Khuzaimah and Al-Hakim. At-Tirmidhi grades it as Hasan.
Now those who are ranting that women do not have to wear the hijab will say that this only apples to prayer. Won’t they?
Consider, the following also. It is also narrated in Saheeh Muslim (2128) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There are two types of the people of Hell whom I have not seen (meaning in his time, but is yet to come): people with whips like the tails of cattle, with which they beat the people, and women who are clothed yet naked, misguided and leading others astray, with their heads like the humps of camels, leaning to one side. They will not enter Paradise or even smell its fragrance …”
Consider also, that the very reason why the wearing of outer garments which at that time covered head down to foot in the same fashion many Iranian women wear today is the following hadith showing the historical reasons behind chapter 33 verses58-61: Umar bin Al-Khattab used to say to Allah’s Apostle “Let your wives be veiled” But he did not do so. The wives of the Prophet used to go out to answer the call of nature at night only at Al-Manasi.’ Once Sauda, the daughter of Zam’a went out and she was a tall woman. ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab saw her while he was in a gathering, and said, “I have recognized you, O Sauda!” He (‘Umar) said so as he was anxious for some Divine orders regarding the veil (the veiling of women.) So Allah revealed the Verse of veiling. (See Bukhari- Hadith No. 148, Vol. 1) Volume 8, Book 74, Number 257
That hadith proves that the covering up commanded was not intended for prayer alone, but as a means so that believing women can be distinguishable from others and not harmed.
When this verse was revealed, Um Salamah, may Allah be pleased with her (the wife of the Prophet peace be upon him), said: “ The women of the Ansar came out (of their homes) as if they had (black) crows on their heads from their serenity, and they wore black clothes.” Ibadah as-Salmani and others (who witness and testify) said that the believing women would let their outer garments cover down from the top of their heads such that nothing will show except their eyes for the sake of seeing the way.”
Now if your source above is correct, what I have just explained defines the type of dress worn at the time of the Prophet (pbuh) by women.
Hadith Anas ibn Malik:
The Prophet (ﷺ) brought Fatimah a slave which he donated to her. Fatimah wore a garment which, when she covered her head, did not reach her feet, and when she covered her feet by it, that garment did not reach her head. When the Prophet (ﷺ) saw her struggle, he said: There is no harm to you: Here is only your father and slave.
حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عِيسَى، حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو جُمَيْعٍ، سَالِمُ بْنُ دِينَارٍ عَنْ ثَابِتٍ، عَنْ أَنَسٍ، أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَتَى فَاطِمَةَ بِعَبْدٍ قَدْ وَهَبَهُ لَهَا قَالَ وَعَلَى فَاطِمَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهَا ثَوْبٌ إِذَا قَنَّعَتْ بِهِ رَأْسَهَا لَمْ يَبْلُغْ رِجْلَيْهَا وَإِذَا غَطَّتْ بِهِ رِجْلَيْهَا لَمْ يَبْلُغْ رَأْسَهَا فَلَمَّا رَأَى النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم مَا تَلْقَى قَالَ ” إِنَّهُ لَيْسَ عَلَيْكِ بَأْسٌ إِنَّمَا هُوَ أَبُوكِ وَغُلاَمُكِ ” .
Grade : Sahih (Al-Albani) صحيح (الألباني) حكم :
Reference : Sunan Abi Dawud 4106
In-book reference : Book 34, Hadith 87
English translation : Book 33, Hadith 4094
To sum up, if those women who contend that they do not have to wear the Hijab do not want to do so, they are free to decide not to. Having said that they cannot claim the title of ‘Believing Women’ as addressed in chapter 33. But I will not judge then until they begin abandoning the prayer and or the fasting in which they will have to cover their heads when performing these rituals. Won’t they? Or are there a fatwas for that too?
Some more comments for reflecting upon: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yN5uxgp74EQ