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    Default Veiling according to the Qur'an.

    The death of Mahsa Amini in Iran and resulting demonstrations have people yet again debating what the Qur'an says about veiling. Two verses (33:59, 24:31) cover the subject (no pun intended), and in my opinion they appear to encourage full-body covering such as the niqab, rather than merely 'modest' dress.

    The word-for-word translation of 33:59 (The Quranic Arabic Corpus - Word by Word Grammar, Syntax and Morphology of the Holy Quran) says that believing (Muslim) woman should "draw over themselves their outer garments" so that they "should be known and not harmed". The first phrase clearly describes an extra layer of covering, while the second indicates that the degree of additional coverage should be noticeable enough to differentiate Muslim women from others. It does not, however, indicate if the extra covering applies to the face or hair.

    Verse 24:31 is not nearly as clear, and in my opinion, raises more questions than it answers. The only hope of understanding it is to parse it as follows:
    - It starts well as it clearly tells Muslim women to "lower their gaze and to guard their chastity".
    - Then it goes on to cryptically say, "and not to display their adornment". Three of the seven translato
    rs in corpus.quran.com chose to translate "adornment" as "beauty", and/or "ornaments". That could mean anything from facial beauty, which hints at veiling, to beads and bangles.
    - This is followed by, "except what is apparent of it", for which no further explanation is given. The range of possible interpretations of this phrase alone could account for the wide variety of dress codes found in the Islamic world.
    - It then says, "and let them draw their head covers over their bosoms". Unlike 24:31 which only describes "outer garments", this specifies a head covering, which when drawn past the bosoms, would automatically cover the face. Some might say this is merely telling them not to expose their breasts in public, but the next phrase suggests it refers to additional coverage.
    - "And not to display their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband's fathers, etc.", including other non-blood male relatives and male servants. This phrase is crucial in defining the difference between acceptable private versus public dress, as I believe it's safe to assume that Muslim women, as a matter of course, dress modestly in the presence of fathers-in-law, step-sons, nephews, etc. Therefore, to demand they take modesty to another level by "drawing their head covers over their bosoms", further supports the argument for complete covering.

    In my opinion, while by no means definitive, these verses are more suggestive of full-body veiling than not, and their lack of specificity explains why the debate is destined to continue.
    Last edited by stevecanuck; 11-16-2022 at 12:41 AM.
    The only way to make Islam sound compatible with the modern world is to lie about it.

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