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Shaikh Ibn Al Hazam (Rahimahullah) writes: "In the Arabic language of the Prophet, Jilbab is the outer sheet which covers the entire body. A piece of cloth which is too small to cover the entire body could not be called Jalbab." (Al Muhalla, vol. 3, p.217.)
The Tabi'ee, Qatadah (Rahimahullah), stated that the Jilbab should be wrapped and fixed from above the forehead and made to cover the nose, (although the eyes are to show) and the chest and most of the face are to be covered.
Jalabib, which is used in the verse is the plural of Jilbab. "Jilbab, is actually the outer sheet or coverlet which a woman wraps around on top of her garments to cover herself from head to toe. It hides her body completely." Lisan ul Arab vol 1 p. 273. (The best explanation is that it is what we would today call a burqa or an abiya.)
Ibn Masood (Radhiallaahu Ánhu) explained Jilbab to be a cloak covering the entire body including the face and hands. (fatwaa Ibn Taymiyyah Page #110 Vol. #2)
What is Hijab really mean?
"The root word of hijab is hajaba and that means: (hajb) to veil, cover, screen, shelter, seclude (from), to hide, obscure (from sight), to make imperceptible, invisible, to conceal, to make or form a separation (a woman), to disguise, masked, to conceal, hide, to flee from sight, veil, to veil, conceal, to cover up, become hidden, to be obscured, to vanish, to become invisible, disappear from sight, to veil, to conceal, to withdraw, to elude perception.
Hajb: seclusion, screening off, keeping away, keeping off,
Hijab plural: hujub: cover, wrap, drape, a curtain, a woman's veil, screen, partition, folding screen, barrier,
Ihtijab: Concealment, hiddenness, seclusion, veildness, veiling, purdah.
Hijab: Concealing, screening, protecting,
Mahjub: concealed hidden, veiled!
These definitions of the hijab were taken from the: Arabic-English Dictionary, The Hans Wehr dictionary of modern written arabic, edited by JM Cowan.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:
Just to make it clear the point of this page is NOT to say if a woman doesn't wear niqaab she will go to Jehannam, as we know there are two valid view points on the hijab. One view held by the Ullima is that the niqaab (covering the face) is wajib (compulsory) and other Ullima hold the view it is Mustahab (recommended and the best thing to do but not compulsory). This page is to explain to those people who say things like "The niqab is not in islam or is not important" or is "bad for dawa" these people should understand that the Niqab is from the Qur'an and Hadith and even if you hold the view of it not being wajib it is still THE BEST thing and recommended and anyone who wears it is to be respected. And is anyone discourages the wearing of Niqaab or denies it being in Islam or makes fun of someone who wears it they should fear ALLAH and take their shahadah over.
And ALLAH (Subhana wa Ta'ala) knows best.
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