Hijab and Code of Public Sphere for Women in Islam – Sajid Hameed

In a Muslim society, the code of veil provides a basis for a separate sphere of activities for women. Since it demands some kind of segregation, it defines separate spheres for men and women and consequently generates the debate on whether women are allowed to go out of their homes and whether they can work. In this paper, we will study the code of dress and veil from the said perspective and will attempt to understand related commandments, whether they demand separation of men’s and women’s spheres and how they were practiced during the era of the Prophet (peace be on him) and his Companions


What  is  the  sphere  of  a  woman’s  activism  is  the  burning  issue  of  the  day.  The  prevailing perception is that her real status is to stay at home. But this opinion is based on the  regional  concepts  instead  of  the  Qur’┐n  and  Sunnah.  If  some  normative  texts  (nu╖┴╖)  are  presented  in  support  of  this  opinion  it  is  only  because  they  are  superficially  interpreted,  ignoring their context. In this paper, we will discuss the issue in the light of the Qur’┐n and  Sunnah and will attempt to uncover the true intentions of the related normative texts (nu╖┴╖).  It is to note that hundreds, if not thousands, of incidences have been recorded in the ╒ad┘ths  which contradict the current concepts about the sphere of women’s activism. 

Based  on  direct  and  profound  study  of  the  texts  of  the  Qur’┐n  and  the  Sunnah,  we  hold that the Qur’┐n and Sunnah do lay down rules and regulations of going out of homes for  women  but  they  forbid  them  neither  from  working  nor  from  going  out  of  home.  On  the  contrary,  the  very  existence  of  rules  and  regulations  of  going  out  of  homes  for  women  indicate that they have the right to go out and interact with men because if they did not enjoy  such freedom then the law would be purposeless.