Friday, December 10, 2010

The Overgarment

This isn't very important topic for me, but I do find it an itneresting topic like I do hijab.

The jilbab is commanded by Allah to the sahabat (and it is assumed by people, to Muslimahs in general) in the Qur'an and it's pretty clear.

O Prophet! Say to your wives and your daughters and the women of the faithful to draw their JALABIB close around them; that is better that they will be recognized and not annoyed. And God is ever Forgiving, Gentle. (33:59)

And it is accepted that it means "overgarment" or "outergarment" based on the root of the word and tradition (the sunnah). An opinion that makes sense in not contradicting the Qur'an or the deemed authentic narrations of hadith is that a woman has regular clothing that she wears when she is not outside that she can receive company while wearing and pray in (so it is full hijab clothing) and that there is something else she must wear on top of that when going out in public and this is the jilbab.

A person might say that the jilbab can be worn without full hijab underneath since it wouldn't make a difference to the way it looks anwyay, being fully covered and all... but people argue that it would go against the definition of "overgarment/outergarment". It becomes simply a garment! A woman would not be able to remove her overgarment when she gets inside or she'd be wearing nothing. A verse that seems to support the view that it is an extra layer is:

And the elderly women, those who do not have hope of marriage, there is no fault on them that they lay aside (some of) their clothing as long as they are not making a display of their adornment. And that they refrain is better for them. And Allah is the Hearer, the Knower (24:60)

Elderly women probably have the same adornment to hide as any other woman. Adornment that needs to be covered with hijab. And the verses clearly says that this needs to be covered (she needs to be wearing hijab still), but she is not obligated to wear ALL the clothing other women wear. Other women have something more than hijab that they are wearing. An extra layer (the jilbab).

All of this information for jilbab being an overgarment makes a lot of sense, really (nothing really contradicts itself in this reasoning). But I think everyone knows that it's not proof of truth that it "makes sense". Lots of other explanations could make sense. This one might be the strongest opinion when we take the hadiths into consideration, especially with the mindset that society as it was in prophet Muhammad's time is the ideal society for a Muslim. Meaning, taking the fully literal approach as opposed to an approach that takes things in context. That approach could give a MUCH different interpretation. I won't go into that because I just don't have the knowledge.

What do you all think? And here is a "light" question:

Do you think an overgarment ceases to be an overgarment if it is worn without anything underneath?

5 Comentários:

Jamilah said...

I wrote about this on my blog too. Yes I think an overgarment ceases to be an overgarment if there is nothing under it.

NeverEver said...

I also wrote about this in my "how to hijab" set.

I also think it ceases to be an overgarment at that point. I always keep under my abaya at minimum whatever clothes would be necessary for being around other women :-)

Candice said...

I read both your blogs! I'd started this blog post a long time ago (July, I think) and after reading about it on both your blogs, decided to come back and finish it.

I'm not sure I agree with you both about the overgarment needing to have something underneath, but definitely, it wouldn't be worn in the traditional sense if it had nothing underneath because it couldn't be taken off once inside. Just like a coat will stay a coat even if it's worn without anything underneath, I think an overgarment does too. It just forces a person to wear it out of its regular functions if that's the case (not able to take off the coat when arriving inside somewhere, not able to take off the overgarment when arriving inside somewhere). The overgarment is a lot more flexible though because unlike a coat, it wouldn't be uncomfortable to keep it on inside because it's not made out of thick material. Basically, it seems to me like the traditional view of the overgarment is that it is made to be worn outside only, and that full hijab *should* be underneath (if you enter a mosque, a house with non-maharams, etc, you still take it off) and that it would be outside the norm to keep it on inside. But if a person does choose to keep it on inside, there's not a bit of difference in the function you are choosing for it (because instead of choosing to wear it as a garment for outside, you are choosing to wear it as your main garment which needs to only cover the appropriate parts) and so, it simply doesn't make a difference! It's being worn outside the traditional function/definition. Just like if I went outside with my coat to take snow off the car with nothing underneath. Doesn't make my coat a shirt, I'm just not wearing it the ideal way.

Anisah said...

I agreee Candice !

Susanne said...

Amber wrote a good post about this complete with pictures. You should visit it since this post inspired her. :)

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