Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Quran Is Not for Muslims

If you like the article, please click "Like", "tweet", "facebook" and "email" to your friends - from the Huffington Post.  If you don't like it, let it be known in the comment section, Insha Allah, I will respond to you. 
The very first verse in Quran reads, "1:2 (Asad) All praise is due to God alone, the Sustainer of all the worlds (that exist)," and the very last chapter opens with this line, "114:1 (Ali) Say: I seek refuge with the Lord and Cherisher of Mankind," and there is a whole lot in between. God chose to address the entire mankind, and rightfully so. Quran is for the whole humanity and not just Muslims exclusively.

Hold your breath, I cannot pack the next 1200 words in one single sentence, or utter it in one single breath, but I promise you a better understanding by the end of this essay.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Attacks on Quran (33:50) are nothing new.

By Mike Ghouse

The good and evil forces are always chasing us, and whichever possess us in a given minute we act that out.  All religions evolved to show us the good path, a path that restores peace of mind and not throwing us into tumultuous 

A friend has been posting several negative things about Islam and Quran on the Facebook. It has become her mission to denigrate the faith.  Thanks to Sean Hannity, through his show, I have learned not to play into the hands of the negative forces like Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller and their ilk. Instead, I have learned to take a positive step to mitigate conflicts and nurture goodwill. I strongly believe, if we can enlighten others, that enlightenment becomes contagious. Aggravating the other does not solve the problem, it takes you down as well.

 She posted the following verse;

Qur'an (33:50) - "O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those (slaves) whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee" This is one of several personal-sounding verses "from Allah" narrated by Muhammad - in this case allowing himself a virtually unlimited supply of sex partners. Other Muslims are restrained to four wives, but, following the example of their prophet, may also have sex with any number of slaves...

I held the temptation to correct and explain, but decided that would be a wrong approach with the "determined" ones. One has to find the truth on his/her own to believe it, so I gave her the formula to read Quran (down below) that successfully worked out in our Quran Conference. Finding the truth is your own responsibility.  

Here was my response.

It is human to denigrate and find faults with other’s faiths, traditions and books; it is also human to find the right answers. If something bothers you about a certain verse in “other’s” faith or books, the right thing to do is to read three verses before, three after, and the given verse.  Read enough times to understand it, instead of “gotcha” and gloat. Truth always brings relief, and liberates one from prejudices.  It is like having a good orgasm, it brings relief to the body, soul and the mind and you'll be free and at peace with yourselves.

Four years ago, Pastor Robert Jeffress of Dallas Baptist Church blurted out, “Quran is a evil book written by an evil man” I challenged him to show where he finds that evil, how he interpreted them… he chickened out, I offered him to find 5 faults with Quran that we can agree in a public forum, if he could, I will become a Baptist, if not I will ask him to shed his hatred for Islam, Quran and the Prophet and become a peace maker that Jesus had called for. This went on local TV for a week and two pieces were written at Dallas Morning News

Of course, Jesus don’t mean a thing to these men and women, it’s what they can get out using his name. Its’ just not Christians, but Muslims, Jews, Hindus and others also mis-use the scriptures for their gain.  Jeffress owed his congregation to do the research and tell the truth, he chose not to. One’s religion does not become superior by denigrating other’s, its cheap tactics. Finally thanks to our friend, Jon Halsey, we ended up doing a full blown Quran conference with 10 non-Muslim clergy on the panel, and we dedicated the conference to Pastor Robert Jeffress with gratitude for causing the conference.  It’s all here

This is where we need God’s guidance, to prevent us from promoting and encouraging hatred towards the other.  I wish you had written, this verse bothers me and I want to understand, instead of passing a judgment on the Prophet.

I ask you to gather up all those men and women, who want to remove bias against Islam, and have questions. As a matter of fact, removing bias towards any one or any faith. I am an an expert in Pluralism and will be happy to address the group of any questions they may have about Quran, bring all the questions.  I have taken the time to write because, I believe, we all need to help each other find freedom from misunderstanding and bias. Amen. 

As Americans we have to work together to create a cohesive America, you can support our work or do it yourselves, I will be happy to help you, and you can help us by donating generously at: 

Mike Ghouse

World Muslim Congress

To be a Muslim is to be a peace maker, one who seeks to mitigate conflicts and nurtures goodwill for peaceful co-existence of humanity. Our work is geared towards building a cohesive society where no human has to live in apprehension or fear of the other. World Muslim congress is a think tank established in 2002 to bring Muslims of all denominations together, one small step at a time. If we can learn to respect the otherness of others and accept our uniqueness, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Warning to Terrorists - the big red poster

The acronyms SOB, AH, BS and others are certainly uncouth, but they effectively communicate a purposeful message, hence I made that choice.  The Warning poster to Terrorist is a double edged sword and is at the bottom - the big red poster.

The following comments have been received against the poster below.

  1. sometimes your brain goes on strike I guess”,
  2. “Don’t jeopardize”
  3. “Who gave you the authority to represent Muslims?”
  4.  “Not appropriate and safe for you in today's hostile environment.”
  5.  “this is a mindless drivel”
  6. “You are not qualified to speak for Islam”
  7.  “Do you think your severe warning will have any darn effect on these fanatics”
  8. I second it”
  9. “it is appropriate response”.

In a learning environment, good thoughts and concrete ideas are developed with criticism and feedback; here is why this kind of response is needed. 

  1. Don't bark at the religion for the acts of bad guys. Punishment is set for bad acts, to restore the trust in a given society. When a Rapist is running around in a neighborhood, everyone is apprehensive, but when the guy is caught and nailed, peace of mind is restored in the neighborhood. Instead of catching the guy, if we blame his raising, his family, his religion, his race or nation, and his imam, rabbi, pastor or pundit – we will not restore peace. I intend to aggressively communicate this idea, the right idea, and intend to speak at various law enforcement agencies as well as religious institutions.  
  2. The criminal ought to know that he will be punished; we will not allow the poor alibi of religion, not at all. The Law enforcement and the media people also need to get this in their heads, the purpose of investigations and chasing the bad guys is to restore trust and not to aggravate by barking at a non-entity like Religion. The more you bark at criminal’s religion, race or ethnicity, the worse it gets. You cannot shoot, kill, hang, beat or bury the religion, then why bark at it?

  3. 72 Virgins are promised. Both the terrorists and the communicators of the problem (Media and Politicians) to the world at large have gotten it wrong. The poor guy needs to be outraged at the recruiters that he was duped, and there are no 72 virgins waiting for him, instead the SOB will rot in Jail if we Americans get him, or killed mercilessly if he is caught by the opposite party. No Geneva conventions will be observed by either the terrorist or his chasers.  The Media needs to stop the BS of propagating the falsity with nothing to back up in the Qur'an.

  4. Both the criminal and the law enforcement (coupled with the media and politicians) must be aware that it is the Sin, and not the sinner we are after. The clarity should prevent us from being unjust.  We should not be abusive in disciplining or punishing the wrong doer. As a civil society, we cannot become the very evil we want to eradicate.
  5. We should seek the criminal to lead us to the source of recruiting material and the recruiters by mitigating his punishment. 
  6. The Challenge to “read the right translation/interpretation” of Qur'an applies to both the criminal and the law enforcement. I am certain, the criminal will become a genuine repenter, and the law enforcement will not buy or propagate the dished out non-sense in the market or bark irrelevantly.

This is the right time to forge peace to the society in general, and American society in particular by boldly and loudly getting people to get the message, and i.e.,

I am being assertive, never has any Muslim or other communicated this so clearly and it is time we do that, thank God for the opportunities he has blessed us with to find solutions.   If I don't, no one will speak, and I sincerely hope many of us to speak up, do it on your own or join me.

It is time we separate the evil from good.

Bottom line is to free Islam and Muslims from the stupid stereotyping, and focus on punishing the bad guys and restoring trust in the society. 

You SOB, you are the damned murderer, you messed up the peace, and your ass will nailed big time.

Don’t give me the BS about your job, childhood, parents, kids, siblings, spouse, imam, rabbi, pastor or the pundit. You did it and you'll pay for it.

I am not stupid to buy in your argument that your religion made you do that, and then bark at the religion endlessly. AH, you are the bad guy and you are going to pay for it. I am here to restore justice in the society and not be detracted and scream at your religion like a stupid ass. I can hang you, shoot you, bury you and beat you up to restore justice and trust in the society, and that is my goal

 Note: Mr. Terrorist, I don't condemn you, it is your sin I condemn. If you claim to be a Muslim, just remember, those guys who recruited you, and cheated you with  false promises of Hoories and virgins in paradise were dead wrong. There is no such thing nor is it mentioned in Qur'an, instead you will rot in jail for life. Would you turn in your recruiters for cheating you? Would you read the correct translations of Qur'an, we might minimize your sentence?

This should be the attitude of Law enforcement
Authorized by Mike Ghouse, World Muslim Congress.

Thank you


Mike Ghouse

(214) 325-1916 text/talk 
Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism at work place, politics, religion, society, gender, race, culture, ethnicity, food and foreign policy. He is commentator on Fox News and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major news papers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post.  All about him is listed in several links at and his writings are at and 10 other blogs. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Quran Formula - Quran verses about Justice


Let me share a formula that I have discovered in Quran about most of the verses about justice.  I hope this gives you confidence about Quran and its wisdom, you can apply this to any verse, provided you read three verses before and three verses after the given verse.  Take a look at the 2nd part of item 5, it sounds bad, but if you read the first part and 2nd, it makes sense.

1. You mind your own business
2. Someone throws you out of your own space and seeks to destroy you.
3. You ask them to back off
4. If they still come after you, you hit them back in self-defense.
5. If they do not stop, you chase them and shoot them wherever you find them
6. But if they seek to retrieve, you let them
7. The Ultimate goal of Islam is peace, harmony and cohesive societies, most people get this right and a few don’t, and that is the case with every faith and everything in life.

Items 1-5 is universal law, indeed it is the American law. Quran takes you a step further.

Here are some of the articles/compilations in this site, there are more items buried within the articles.

Slay the Idolaters, wherever you find them, Sura Tauba 9

Muslim response to Dutch legislators lies about Quran

If you get a chance read “Mission of World Muslim Congress” at and now I am adding American Muslim Agenda to it.

Jazak Allah Khair

Mike Ghouse is a Muslim speaker, thinker and a writer, and presides over the World Muslim congress, a think tank, and a forum with the express goals of nurturing pluralistic values embedded in Islam to build cohesive societies. More about Mike at

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Golden rule in Islam - treat others as you wanted to be treated.

It is a part of every religious teachings. Some said,  it is is not in Islam.

Here was my reponse at

Islamic Text on the Golden Rule:

 “Serve God, and join not any partners with Him; and do good – to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbors who are near, neighbors who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (ye meet), and what your right hands possess [the slave]: For God loveth not the arrogant, the vainglorious” (Q:4:36)

(In fact the Quran goes beyond saying the Golden Rule by stating in more than four places that “Return evil with Kindness.” (13:22, 23:96, 41:34, 28:54, 42:40)

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh):

“None of you have faith until you love for your neighbor what you love for yourself” (Sahih Muslim)

“Whoever wishes to be delivered from the fire and to enter Paradise…should treat the people as he wishes to be treated.” (Sahih Muslim)

“None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself” (Forty Hadith-Nawawi)

“None of you is a believer if he eats his full while his neighbour hasn’t anything.” (Musnad)

“Do unto all men as you would wish to have done unto you; and reject for others what you would reject for yourselves.” (Abu Dawud)

“Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you.” (Farewell Sermon)

“There should be neither harming nor reciprocating harm.” (Ibn- Majah)

When Ferdinand expelled Jews and Muslims, they were allies against Christian ire at that time, they were allies in Spain, and they were allies in Jerusalem during the crusades.
The Palestinian Christians and Muslims are allies against Israel's occupation, and you find different combinations to find security and balance among those who are oppressed.

The reference to evil doers applies to those who are evil doers and resist finding a peaceful solution. Evil doers are those who are a hindrance to peaceful existence, and it could be Muslims, Jews, Christians or anyone.
Despite how the verse is interpreted by the right, the Muslims and Jews were allies in Spain and elsewhere, indeed the Jewish history calls it their Golden period. The Israel Palestinian conflict has really goofed up a lot of equations, giving it different colors and nuances.

Indeed the right wingers among Muslims believe the verse to mean not to make friends with Jews and Christians. That is not the case with most moderate Muslims as they see them fellow beings in a belief in oneness of God.

Now if the Circumcision ban, Kosher/ Halal ban gains grounds Jews and Muslims will be allies against a common threat to their existence, again it is a natural things, as Quraan calls it Fitra. I was one of the first Muslims to stand up with Jews on many occasions including the impending-but-going-to-failed ban on circumcision.

( )

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Islamic Discourses on Veiling, Hijab, Burqa, Chador and covering, a comprehensive write up

Islamic Discourses on Veiling, Hijab, Burqa, Chador and covering.

This is one of the most comprehensive, but yet straight forward write up on the topic. I appreciate the work done by UNC-Chapel Hill in this regard. There is also material about veiling in Jewish, Christian and other traditions. The have lined up what Quran, Hadith, Jurisprudence (Sharia) and interpretations are about.  A number of articles on the subject, are posted here at this site, but this is by far the best for Muslims and Non-Muslims to read and understand the issue.

Those who are prejudiced against Hijab, please let it be known, that a majority of women around the world, and 100% of women in the United States wear out of their own volition. Compelling women to comply to men's demand is not Islamic, it is a men thing.  Indeed, the sadistic men (Christian, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and others) among us regardless of their national origins are insecure, and want to "control" their women through violence and  or economic dependence, Caucasian men are no exception to this. 

Most Muslims believe that the format of Hijab is cultural and not religious. If it was religious, it shouldn't exist, but since it is cultural it has taken many forms and shapes. The current Hijab worn in the west and literally all other places is more of a fashion statement than a sign of modesty.  Hijab is more of a peer pressure than religious need. 

I just want to make sure, that Quran always address almost all issues to both men and women equally. You can read what the Quran says down below -addresses both men and women and uses the same language about Modesty.

I thank
Shah N. Khan for sharing these sites on our forum at

Mike Ghouse

Hijab in Iran This section focuses on veiling in Islam. There is a commonly-held belief among both Muslims and non-Muslims that Islam explicitly and unequivocally prescribes veiling upon Muslim women. Moreover, there is a parallel belief among both Muslims and non-Muslims that such a prescription is stated clearly in the Holy Book of Islam, that is the Quran.

This section explores the central religious texts in Islam that treat the topic of veiling.

In the section titled The Quran, we cite all passages from the Quran that address the topic of veiling.
In the section titled The Hadith Tradition, we examine key hadiths that are regularly invoked to justify veiling. 
The term “hadith” refers to the tradition of Reports that have preserved the Deeds and Sayings of the Prophet Mohamed. This tradition is considered foundational in Islam and viewed by Muslims as a key resource (second only to the Quran) that provides practical information on how Muslims are to behave on a daily basis.

In the section titled Islamic Jurisprudence and Law, we present what Islamic Law (or Sharia) tells us about the requirement that Muslim women veil.

In the section called Interpretations, we present both traditional and progressive interpretations of those passages in the Quran and Hadith that address the question of veiling.

The Quran

The Quran is the Holy Book of Muslims believed to be the direct and unadulterated word of God transmitted to the Prophet Mohamed (d. 632 C.E), through the archangel Gabriel over a 22-year period, beginning in 610 C.E. The Revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Mohamed is said to have taken place while he was in meditative retreat in Mt. Hira, at the outskirts of Mecca in present-day Saudi Arabia. The Quran was revealed in Arabic, hence the prestigious, sacred, position of the Arabic language among Muslims until today. The Quran consists of 114 chapters (known in Arabic as suras) and each chapter is subdivided into verses (known in Arabic as ayat). The majority of Muslims and non-Muslims believe that the Quran explicitly and unequivocally prescribes veiling upon Muslim women. In this section, we propose to present what the Quran says about veiling. In order to learn what the Quran says about veiling and in what terms this Book addresses the question of women’s clothing, we must look at two main types of passages in the Quran:
  1. Every occurrence of the term hijab (the Arabic word that is regularly translated as veil in English); and
  2. All Quranic verses that address the question of Muslim women’s proper attire, even though the Quran may not use the term hijab.

The term hijab in the Quran

The term hijab (in bold in the quotations below) is used in the Quran a total of five times (Q 7:46; Q 19:16-17; Q 33:53; Q 41:5; Q 42:51). These passages are listed below for easy reference. The English translations of Quranic verses provided here are by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem in his new translation of the Quran (Oxford World’s Classics, 2004).
We invite the reader to explore other Quran translations of the same passages to see how the term hijab has been rendered by other translators. The following link gives access to the full Quranic text in Arabic, accompanied by different translations and oral recitation: Multimedia Quran.

Q 7:46

سورة الأعراف ( آية 46)
وَبَيْنَهُما حِجابٌ وَعَلَى الْأَعْرافِ رِجالٌ يَعْرِفُونَ كُلًا بِسِيماهُمْ وَنادَوْا أَصْحابَ الْجَنَّةِ أَنْ سَلامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ لَمْ يَدْخُلُوها وَهُمْ يَطْمَعُونَ (46)

A barrier divides the two groups with men on its heights recognizing each group by their marks: they will call out to the people of the Garden, ‘Peace be with you!’-they will not have entered, but they will be hoping, etc.”

Q 19:16-17

سورة مريم ( آية 16 و 17)
وَاذْكُرْ فِي الْكِتابِ مَرْيَمَ إِذِ انْتَبَذَتْ مِنْ أَهْلِها مَكانًا شَرْقِيًّا (16)  فَاتَّخَذَتْ مِنْ دُونِهِمْ حِجابًا فَأَرْسَلْنا إِلَيْها رُوحَنا فَتَمَثَّلَ لَها بَشَرًا سَوِيًّا (17)

Mention in the Quran the story of Mary. She withdrew from her family to a place to the east and secluded herself away. We sent Our Spirit to appear before her in the form of a perfected man.”

Q 33:53

سورة الأحزاب (آية 53)
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَدْخُلُوا بُيُوتَ النَّبِيِّ إِلَّا أَنْ يُؤْذَنَ لَكُمْ إِلَى طَعَامٍ غَيْرَ نَاظِرِينَ إِنَاهُ وَلَكِنْ إِذَا دُعِيتُمْ فَادْخُلُوا فَإِذَا طَعِمْتُمْ فَانْتَشِرُوا وَلَا مُسْتَأْنِسِينَ لِحَدِيثٍ إِنَّ ذَلِكُمْ كَانَ يُؤْذِي النَّبِيَّ فَيَسْتَحْيِي مِنْكُمْ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَسْتَحْيِي مِنَ الْحَقِّ وَإِذَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُنَّ مَتَاعًا فَاسْأَلُوهُنَّ مِنْ وَرَاءِ حِجَابٍ ذَلِكُمْ أَطْهَرُ لِقُلُوبِكُمْ وَقُلُوبِهِنَّ وَمَا كَانَ لَكُمْ أَنْ تُؤْذُوا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَلَا أَنْ تَنْكِحُوا أَزْوَاجَهُ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ أَبَدًا إِنَّ ذَلِكُمْ كَانَ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ عظيم (53)

Believers, do not enter the Prophet’s apartments for a meal unless you are given permission to do so; do not linger until [a meal] is ready. When you are invited, go in; then when you have taken your meal, leave. Do not stay on and talk, for that would offend the Prophet, though he would shrink from asking you to leave. God does not shrink from the truth. When you ask his wives for something, do so from behind a screen: this is purer both for your hearts and for theirs.

Q 41:5

سورة فُصلت  (آية 5)
وَقالُوا قُلُوبُنا فِي أَكِنَّةٍ مِمَّا تَدْعُونا إِلَيْهِ وَفِي آذانِنا وَقْرٌ وَمِنْ بَيْنِنا وَبَيْنِكَ حِجابٌ فَاعْمَلْ إِنَّنا عامِلُونَ (5)

They [the unbelievers] say “Our hearts are encased against [the faith] you call us to; our ears are heavy; there is a barrier between us and you. So you do whatever you want, and so shall we.”

Q 42:51

سورة الشورى (آية 51)
وَمَا كَانَ لِبَشَرٍ أَنْ يُكَلِّمَهُ اللَّهُ إِلَّا وَحْيًا أَوْ مِنْ وَرَاءِ حِجَابٍ أَوْ يُرْسِلَ رَسُولًا فَيُوحِيَ بِإِذْنِهِ مَا يَشَاءُ ۚ إِنَّهُ عَلِيٌّ حَكِيمٌ (51)

It is not granted to any mortal that God should speak to him except through revelation or from behind a veil, or by sending a messenger to reveal by His command what He will: He is exalted and wise.
Interestingly, those Quranic verses that use the word hijab do not address the question of Muslim women’s clothing. In order to continue to explore Quranic discourses on proper Muslim women’s attire, we must look at other Quranic verses that deal specifically with this topic.

The Quran on women’s clothing

There are three references to women’s clothing in the Quran that are made without the use of the term hijab. All three references listed below. In these three Quranic passages about women’s clothing,  the Quran uses the Arabic word khimar to refer to women’s headscarves (Q 24:31), jilbab to their outer garments (Q 33:59), and zinah to refer to their “finery” (Q 32:33).

Q 24:30-31

سورة النور (آية 30) و (آية 31)
قُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَغُضُّوا مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ وَيَحْفَظُوا فُرُوجَهُمْ ذَلِكَ أَزْكَى لَهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا يَصْنَعُونَ (30)
وَقُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَى جُيُوبِهِنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَائِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَائِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي أَخَوَاتِهِنَّ أَوْ نِسَائِهِنَّ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُنَّ أَوِ التَّابِعِينَ غَيْرِ أُولِي الْإِرْبَةِ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ أَوِ الطِّفْلِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يَظْهَرُوا عَلَى عَوْرَاتِ النِّسَاءِ وَلَا يَضْرِبْنَ بِأَرْجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعْلَمَ مَا يُخْفِينَ مِنْ زِينَتِهِنَّ وَتُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ (31)

“[Prophet], tell believing men to lower their glances and guard their private parts: that is purer for them. God is well aware of everything they do. And tell believing women that they should lower their glances, guard their private parts, and not display their charms beyond what [it is acceptable] to reveal; they should let their headscarves fall to cover their necklines and not reveal their charms except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their womenfolk, their slaves, such men as attend them who have no sexual desire, or children who are not yet aware of women’s nakedness; they should not stamp their feet so as to draw attention to any hidden charms. Believers, all of you, turn to God so that you may prosper.”

Q 32:32-33

سورة الأحزاب (آية 32 و 33)
يَا نِسَاء النَّبِيِّ لَسْتُنَّ كَأَحَدٍ مِّنَ النِّسَاء إِنِ اتَّقَيْتُنَّ فَلا تَخْضَعْنَ بِالْقَوْلِ فَيَطْمَعَ الَّذِي فِي قَلْبِهِ مَرَضٌ وَقُلْنَ قَوْلاً مَّعْرُوفًا (32)
 وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ وَلا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الْأُولَى وَأَقِمْنَ الصَّلاةَ وَآتِينَ الزَّكَاةَ وَأَطِعْنَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا (33)

“Wives of the Prophet, you are not like any other woman. If you are truly mindful of God, do not speak too softly in case the sick at heart should lust after you, but speak in an appropriate manner; stay at home, and do not flaunt your finery as they used to in the pagan past; keep up the prayer, give the prescribed alms, and obey God and His Messenger.”

Q 33:58-59

سورة الأحزاب (آية 58) و(آية 59)
وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْذُونَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِناتِ بِغَيْرِ مَا اكْتَسَبُوا فَقَدِ احْتَمَلُوا بُهْتانًا وَإِثْمًا مُبِينًا (58)
يا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُلْ لِأَزْواجِكَ وَبَناتِكَ وَنِساءِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِنْ جَلابِيبِهِنَّ ذلِكَ أَدْنى أَنْ يُعْرَفْنَ فَلا يُؤْذَيْنَ وَكانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا (59)

“And those who undeservedly insult believing men and women will bear the guilt of slander and flagrant sin. Prophet, tell your wives, your daughters, and women believers to make their outer garments hang low over them so as to be recognized and not insulted: God is most forgiving, most merciful.”

The Hadith Tradition

The term hadith refers to the tradition of Sayings by the Prophet Mohamed, and of actions he did. This tradition is viewed by Muslims as a key resource of practical information on how Muslims are supposed to behave on a daily basis. There are six canonical hadith collections believed to contain the most authentic reports of the Prophet’s sayings and doings, the most famed being those by Bukhari (d. 870), by Muslim (d. 875), by Abu Dawud (d. 888) and the Musnad by Ibn Hanbal (d. 855). Hadith tradition

Veiling according to the hadith tradition

Of the thousands of reports included in the canonical hadith collections, only one can be said to address explicitly the requirement of women’s covering. This hadith is reported by the ninth-century hadith compiler Abu Dawud (d. 888).

Book 32, Number 4092

This hadith is narrated by Aisha (the youngest wife of the Prophet) and reports an incident involving an encounter between the Prophet and Asma who is the daughter of Abu Bakr, the Prophet’s closest friend and first Caliph at the death of the Prophet:
Asma, daughter of Abu Bakr, entered upon the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) wearing thin clothes. The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) turned his attention from her. He said: O Asma’, when a woman reaches the age of menstruation, it does not suit her that she displays her parts of body except this and this, and he pointed to her face and hands.
This hadith is included only in Abu Dawud’s late ninth-century compilation and is considered to be the single most explicit and authoritative source for the belief that women are required to veil in Islam.

Islamic Jurisprudence & Law

Islamic law is oftentimes used as a synonym for sharia. However, we must understand this Islamic law to be a law created by men, and not the law of God which itself is perforce unknown and unknowable. In fact, the Arabic term sharia literally means “path,” and is used in the Quran to refer to God’s law.
Because God’s law/sharia in the Quran was not as specific as one may have wished, and once the Prophet was no longer living to interpret the divine laws for the Muslim community, highly educated scholars and jurists were entrusted with the responsibility of elucidating God’s law. It is the body of laws that these ninth- and tenth-century jurists developed that came to be known as Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh), a human legal system that stands in contrast to sharia, which is God’s Law. The Arabic word fiqh literally means “understanding.”
By the end of the eleventh century four schools of Islamic jurisprudence emerged, each named after its leading interpreter: Maliki, Shafii, Hanafi and Hanbali. Each of them struggled to interpret the few Quranic verses on women’s dress and to name with certainty those body parts that were to be concealed.
Muslim Jurists developed a five-part moral scale to evaluate every conceivable human act from mandatory, to recommended, to morally neutral or permissible, to reprehensible to prohibited. Such a scale was meant to guide humans in understanding which acts they were required to perform and which ones to avoid if they were to obey God’s law.

What does Islamic law say about Muslim women’s proper dress?

The Hanbali and Shafii schools, the most conservative of the four, required Muslim women to cover their entire body, including their face and hands.
Ko Panyi, Thailand
Most Maliki and Hanafi jurists believed that the entire woman’s body, except for the face and hands, had to be covered.
Interestingly, the juridical discussion of women’s attire did not treat the specific question of hijab, or appropriate Islamic dress to be worn by women in public. Muslim women’s dress was understood to be part of Islamic etiquette and not of required Islamic behaviors.
This means that in traditional Islamic law, the whole debate over clothing fell into the legal categories of appropriate Islamic conduct (wajib and adab), rather than mandatory behaviors (fard) such as praying, fasting during Ramadan or giving alms to the poor. From the perspective of early Islamic law, and in contrast to the way many Muslims continue to assume, failing to cover one’s private parts (Arabic awrah) constitutes only a minor sin for Muslims, not a major sin. Donning hijabcan thus only be a “recommended” action, not a “required” behavior.
The only element debated by Muslim jurists was whether a woman’s hands and face were to be concealed or whether they could be left uncovered. On this specific matter, the four schools of Islamic jurisprudence differ. (See the examples with the two photos above.)

Implications for Muslim women today

Muslims are expected to follow the rituals and adopt the practices (including those related to veiling) of the Muslim-majority society they live in. These practices are defined by the particular school of Islamic law that the country observes.
The Hanbali school, like the Shafii, urge the Muslim communities living within their jurisdiction, to follow a more conservative dress code than the Hanafi and the Maliki. And this is one of the primary reasons Muslim women living in Saudi Arabia or Indonesia dress differently from those in Egypt or Morocco.

Distribution of the four schools of Islamic jurisprudence

Islamic school of law

The Hanafi school is the most prevalent one in Muslim-majority societies, with followers in about one-third of them, including: India Pakistan Bangladesh Afghanistan Central Asia The Caucasus The Balkans Turkey Parts of Iraq Egypt

The Hanbali, the most conservative school of Islamic jurisprudence, has most of its adherents in Saudi Arabia.

The Maliki school, the second most-dominant school, prevails in countries such as: The Arabian Gulf States (Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Dubai and Abu Dhabi) East and West African countries (upper Egypt, Sudan, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mali, Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Senegal, Mauritania) Syria Yemen

The Shafii school is widespread in countries such as:
Sri Lanka
East Africa (Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania)



The information about veiling that is gleaned from Islamic religious texts (the Quran or the hadith), is ambiguous and open-ended. In fact, whether or not veiling is required in Islam, and the extent of that veiling, depends primarily on the interpretations of religious texts by Islamic scholars, as well as on the particular country a Muslim lives in.

We provide here an overview of the traditional interpretations of Islamic texts, and of the more progressive interpretations of these same texts are they are developing today.
Traditional interpretations
Traditional interpretations of the Quranic verses treating  women’s clothes were developed from the ninth to the thirteenth century, that is two to six centuries after the Prophet’s death. These interpretations were made by Quranic scholars, the most important of whom are undoubtedly Al-Tabari (b. 839, Iran); al-Razi (d. 1209); ibn al-Jawzi (d. 1200). This tradition of Quranic exegesis is known in Arabic as tafsir.

According to most traditional scholars, the Quran explicitly and unquestionably requires that Muslim women cover their entire bodies with loose fitting clothes and that they only leave their faces and hands uncovered. This interpretation of the Quranic verses continues to have a number of followers today, as can be observed by the way many Muslim women wear hijab around the world.

Some traditional Islamic scholars have opted for an even more extreme interpretation of the Quranic verses on women’s attire and asserted that the entire woman’s body ought to be covered, including hands and face. Some Muslim women feel swayed by this interpretation and dress in a manner consistent with this traditional view. Some Muslim rulers also have adopted this interpretation and required that women living in their country, whether Muslim or not, dress in this most conservative style. This is how we may interpret Muslim women’s adoption of a niqab (a veil that covers the face but not the eyes) or a burqa (a veil that covers both the face and eyes).
Progressive interpretations
Progressive Muslims is a group of pious Muslims from around the globe who are seeking to reinterpret Islam and core religious texts from an egalitarian, socially inclusive perspective. They believe that Islam, as is practiced around the world today, has been hijacked from the egalitarian spirit that was the core of the message that the Prophet received and preached in the seventh century. Their goal is thus to peel away the layers of interpretations that have been imposed on the Quran over the centuries and that have closed off the more open ended and fluid message of the Holy Book.
Progressive interpretations of the Quran
Progressive Muslims’ engagement with the Quran and with its exegetical tradition has led to the following conclusions:
  • The Quran does not prescribe a specific dress code for women. Rather, it invites both men and women to observe culturally appropriate codes of modesty.
  • The notion that Muslim women are required to veil is an interpretation of the Quran, rather than a prescription explicitly enjoined in the Quran. This interpretation has been superimposed on the Quran beginning in the ninth century by exegetes who read the Holy Book from the perspective of their own socio-cultural traditions.
  • The only women who were required to veil during the Prophet’s time were his wives. In fact, in the seventh century, the verb “to veil” was synonymous to “become the wife of the Prophet”.
Progressive interpretations of hadith

Progressive Muslims are also engaged in a rigorous examination of the hadith tradition and especially as it relates to Muslim women’s proper attire.

Progressive Muslims have called into question the reliability of Abu Dawud’s hadith and challenged the authenticity of his hadith based on their research into the massive scholarship of the hadith tradition. They have observed:
  • Abu Dawud’s hadith is not reliable because it is cited only in this one collection and is not attested anywhere else. It thus exhibits the very feature marking possible fraudulent reporting according to the complex evaluation system of authentification developed by classical hadith scholars themselves.
  • Abu Dawud’s hadith is not reliable because it is not supported by an unbroken chain of reporters going all the way back to the Prophet to guarantee its authenticity as all hadiths are supposed to be. It is cited only by Abu Dawud who lived in the ninth century, that is two hundred years after the Prophet’s death.
  • Abu Dawud’s hadith is unreliable because the female body parts that ought to be concealed are not contained in the Prophet’s own words, but are specified by the hadith reporter himself, in this case, Abu Dawud.
For these reasons, progressive Muslims have concluded that Abu Dawud’s hadith is unreliable and cannot be considered an indisputable proof that Muslim women are required to veil their entire body, except for the face and hands, as some Muslims continue to believe.