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Offline Reader Questions

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Do I have to cover my arms and my legs?
« on: December 15, 2011, 03:14:12 PM »

Does the Quran expect women to cover their arms and their legs or do we learn this from the sunnah only?

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Do I have to cover my arms and my legs?
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2011, 03:18:18 PM »
Salamun Alaikum.

There is a clear expectation from the Quran that women will have their arms and legs covered by the wearing of a suitable garment such as a 'thobe' that would provide such a coverage. The Arabic word 'thobe' is singular of the word 'thiyaab' and means something that is worn as a garment. It can be a normal garment and an outer garment. (11:5; 24:58). A 'thobe' is primarily a garment or robe worn by men but when applied to women (classically), it is usually referred to as a long gown reaching to the feet with wide sleeves. It is usually worn over other garments when it applies to women.

In verse 24:60, we clearly note that an older woman is permitted to remove this 'thobe' without wanton display of their beauty. This cannot refer to her normal garments as if this were to be removed she would be left exposed.
Hence, there is an inherent expectation that younger women will continue to wear an outer garment such as a 'thobe' that covers their arms and legs up to their feet.
"Such elderly women as are past the prospect of marriage, there is no blame on them if they lay aside their (outer) garments (Arabic: Thiyabahunna), provided they do not display their beauty / adornment. But it is best for them to modestly refrain: and God is One Who sees and knows all things"

Today, it is still a reference to a type of long draping garment worn by many Arabs, especially men (thobe, dishdasha etc).

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