What Type of Dress Code Is Prescribed For Women?

Women have been identified in the Qur'an as a "zeenah" i.e. adornment and beauty for all mankind.

"Adorned for the people are the worldly pleasures, such as the women, having children, piles upon piles of gold and silver, trained horses, livestock, and crops. These are the materials of this world. A far better abode is reserved with Allah." (3:14) Since women are termed an adornment or attraction (zeenah), they are required to cover certain parts of their bodies. It should be noted that a woman being an adornment for mankind is quite evident all over the world in all societies.

The media is one example were she is quite abundantly promoted and made as an attraction in place of men. Now since women are an open attraction to mankind because of her bodily features, she is required to cover some parts of herself in public. But before we see what are the physical ingredients of her dress, let us see what Qur'an identifies as the best dress.


"O Children of Adam ! Surely We have sent down to you a garment that would cover your shame and be a good vesture. And the garment of Piety that is the best. That is from the Ayat (Signs) of Allah that they may take reminder." (7:26)

Above verse says that the best dress is the garment of "taqwa" or piety. Before wearing any physical garment we should adorn ourselves with the garment of "taqwa" as without it we become prone to the vile intentions of satanic people. (see 7:27)

Ingredients Of Womens Dress In Public

The areas of body which are to be covered by women in public, are mentioned in 24:31. Allah informs us through His messenger:

"And say to the Believing Women,to lower their gaze and guard their private parts. And they should not display their adornment save what is apparent therefrom. And they should place their covers over their bossoms. And they should not display their adornment except to their husbands or their fathers or the fathers of their husbands or their sons or the sons of their husbands or their brothers or their brother's sons or sister's sons` or their women or those whom their right hands posses or Those under their authority other than skillfull men or small children who are not aware of women's nakedness.

And they should not strike their feet so as to make known what they hide of their adornment. O Believers turn you all together to Allah so that you may be successful."(24:31)

From the above verse the following points are derived: 1. Women have two types of "zeenah" i.e. beauty and adornment. (a) "ma zahara minha" What is already apparent from their adornment and beauty. (b) "ma yukhfaina min zinata hunne" That which is hidden from their adornment.

  1. She is to cover her whole self publicly except those areas which are apparent from her adornment. These areas are the exposed areas which if covered will restrict daily work and have to be uncovered for performing ablution. (see 5:6). The other type of or adornment of a woman identified in the above verse is that which has been called as "ma yukhfaina min zinata hunne" That which is hidden from their adornment.

This type of adornment is the one that becomes apparent when a woman strikes her feet or walks. Allah has ordered that this type of adornment be covered at all times. Thus the dress should be loose enough so as not to reveal the shape and features of the body which get obvious when the woman strikes her feet or walks. 3. They are to place their covers or shrouds over their bosoms. In Sura 33:59 they are also ordered to bring over them their over garments while going in public:

"O Nabi! Say to your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers that they bring their over-garments nearer to themselves (while in public); this will be more proper, that they may be recognised, and thus they will not be given trouble; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful." (33:59)

In public she is to take "Jilbaab" or over garment over herself according to above verse. 4. With her bosoms covered well, and dress loose enough so as not to reveal her hidden adornment, she is to maintain this type of dress in public in front of all relations. The only exceptions are:

  1. Husband
  2. Fathers (Includes Grandparents as well).
  3. The Fathers of their husbands.
  4. Their sons.
  5. The sons of their husbands.
  6. Their brothers.
  7. Their brother's sons.
  8. Their sister's sons`.
  9. Their women.

  10. Those whom their right hands posses. (i.e. those who were freed from some tyrannical rule and are now under the care and guardianship of believing men and women)

  11. Those under their authority other than skillful men.

  12. Small children who are not aware of women's nakedness.