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21 May 2019 CE | 17 Ramadhan 1440 AH
Explanation below

Hadith Explanation

Looking at Men

Ummul Mumineen Umm Salamah (radi Allahu anha) reported: “Once I and Maimoona were with the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) when suddenly Abdullah bin Umm Maktum entered the house. (Knowing that Abdullah was blind, we did not move behind a curtain and continued to sit there.) The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, ‘Observe the Hijab from him.’ I asked, ‘O Prophet of Allah! Isn’t he blind? He can’t see us.’ He replied, ‘Are both of you blind as well? Can’t you see him?’” [Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi]

As men have been commanded not to look at non-Mahram women, similarly women have been asked to abstain from looking at non-Mahram men. It is clear from the above Hadith that women should avoid looking at men as much as possible. Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) says in the Quran, “Say to the believing women to lower their gaze…” [Surah Noor, Ayat 30]

Abdullah bin Umm Maktum (radi Allahu anhu) was a blind and very pious Companion of the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) and both the wives of the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) were models of piety as well. In spite of this, the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) asked them to observe Hijab in front of him, i.e. move behind a curtain, so that they cannot be seen by, nor can they see, the non-Mahram.

Hijab literally means screen, curtain, partition, and concealment. As a verb, it means to conceal oneself or hide from view. In Islamic Shariah, the word means to cover, conceal or hide oneself from the view of non-Mahrams. These days the word Hijab is often translated in English as “headscarf,” which is not in accordance with its meaning and intent in the Quran and Ahadith. It is, therefore, misleading. The correct translation is “something that covers and conceals completely.” [Hijab by Dr Mohammed Ismail Memon Madani]

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