Rafed English

Veil and Chastity

The issue of veil "covering" being one of self­evident truths of Islamic jurisprudence, having multifarious and extensive arenas. Before broaching it, I find it necessary to give a bright image of the matter on hand, and the terms used in these subjects of discussion.

The words that are used in this field being: Covering, veil "hijaab", sitr, chastity, limits of relations between woman and man. It is possible that what is intended by these words being keeping off and detaining the woman inside the house, or observing some of regulations in regard of social associations.

The issue that I intend to manifest and expound by this article being the meaning antithetical to unrestrain, sexual liberalism which is called by the Quran tabarruj "displaying the charms".

In other words, we are in search of an answer to this question: Can femininity and masculinity of women and men be displayed on scene of society? Or is this quality confined inside the realm of family, and the woman and man should appear in arena of society and act as two human beings?Al­Ostaz Mutahhari is quoted to have said:

"In fact concerning the issue of covering and according to term used recently Hijaab, we don't intend to talk about whether is it good for the woman to appear within society with a covering or naked? The essence of speech is that: can the woman and man's enjoyments "seeking content by marriage" be free of charge? Has the man any right to enjoy himself as much as he can of any woman, other than fornication or not? So the core of matter, being confining all the successes to the sphere of family and legal spouses, or setting free the successes and extending them to environment of society." 153

On this basis, my intention, in this article is neither to prove the seclusion of woman nor talking about a special issue. i.e. covering of the woman as Sitr, but what I intend is a more distant subject within the framework of which many Islamic legislated rules can be propounded through a harmonious thought structure, like obligation of Hijaab "cover", prohibition of gazing at a foreigner, and abominations such as adultery and homosexuality and alike.

The following pages are determined to give answers to questions such as:

1. What is intended by Islam from veil and covering?

2. What criteria Islam depended upon in regard of limits of relations between women and men?

3. What is philosophy of covering?

4. Have various religious precepts like necessity of covering, prohibition of gazing at women, and forbiddance of "committing" abominations and alike, been enacted for the sake of diminishing any contact or touching between women and men or is there any other purpose behind them?

5. What thing can withstand the sexual liberalism, unrestrainment "tahallul" and displaying "woman's" charms? Beside other questions.

Also it should be known that in the recent century many writings in forms of books and articles, in Persian and Arabic, 154 have been composed analysing and investigating into so many of dimensions of this subject, among which valuable researches can be seen. Despite all these, still many centres of investigation and searching in this field are found everywhere, and investigation file is still open.

Making researches and studies in connection to veil "hijaab", can pursue different objectives each needing a particular method:

1. The purpose and motive of investigation may be rational manifestation of fiqhi beliefs and judgements, in a way that it can be propounded in secular societies.

2. Sometimes the target of investigation may be to solve the mental problems of the issue of veil inside religious communities, in a way that all mental and theoretical unrestrained obstacles should be lifted from this way.

3. Also it is possible that the aim of investigation be mere Fiqhi fathoming and studying profoundly, to the extent that can only be proper for "teaching in" the Islamic theological centres.

4. Further it is possible that the goal be guiding the society toward the required "ideal" covering... and others.

It is explicit that every goal has its own method and tendency to follow, so it is infeasible to cover and discuss all of them in one book.

In fact, other than the practical leniency witnessed in case of covering, and production of desire and hope of human beings, some ideological questions and ambiguities inside religious societies, with viewpoints and visions of secular societies, and a number of Fiqhi opinions and verdicts on carelessness and unrestrainment, can be influential in the matter of covering.

Hence reason and reflection necessitate from us to choose proper ways for confronting practical leniency, desire and inclination, like advice and counsel, and making impunible and allowable amusements and exercise to replace exciting and seductive manifestations. And also in opposite to mental obstacles we should resort to scientific searches and circulation of their thought fruits.

In this chapter, I am going to select and elaborate some subjects from among those related to veil "hijaab" as follows:

1. Chastity and philosophy of covering.

2. General conditions for mantle of women.

3. Adornment.

4. Intermingling "between men and women".

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