Modesty in the Qur’an

Following on from my article titled ḥijāb (حِجَاب) According To Qur’an, I have decided to write an article dedicated toward the subject matter of what the concept of modesty is in terms of dress code according to the Qur’an.

Dress Code

There are two verses in the Qur’an which speak on dress code and these can be found at 24:31 and 33:59 (verse 33:59 speaks to believing women, as well as the prophets wives who, undoubtedly would have passed down these moral principles through tradition).

And say thou to the believing women that they restrain some of their vision and guard their modesty. And that they show not their adornment save that they draw their coverings over their bosoms. And not reveal their adornment save to their husbands or their fathers or the fathers of their husbands or their sons or their sons of their husbands or their brothers or their sons of their brothers or their sons of their sisters or their women or what their right hands possess or the attendants who have not the urge of men or the children not yet aware of a women’s private parts. And let them not strike their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment*. And turn to God altogether, O believes that you might be successful.

24:31

24:31 contains the imperative for believing women to cover their adornment or beauty (zīnatahunna).

Imperative 1

” ..And that they show not their adornment save that they draw their coverings over their bosoms..”

24:31

Imperative 2

“..And let them not strike their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment (zīnat)..”

24:31

Keynote Extracts

  1. Women are commanded to cover their breast area.
  2. Women are commanded to cover their waist, bum, hip area.
  3. Women are commanded to not walk in such a manner so as to reveal these covered areas of the female anatomy.

Women may relax modesty with:

  1. Husband.
  2. Father.
  3. Husbands father.
  4. Sons.
  5. Husbands sons.
  6. Brothers.
  7. Nephews – (both her brothers & sisters sons).
  8. Fellow women.
  9. Those who her right hands possess.
  10. Children.
  11. Males whom have no sexual desire.
  12. If they are of old age (24:60).

Imperative 3

And those past child-bearing amongst the women, who have no expectation of marriage. They do no wrong that they lay aside their garments without displaying adornment. But that they refrain that is best for them. And God is hearing knowing.

24:60

Women who are past the age of child bearing can relax their dress code but not displaying their adornments.

Imperative 4

O prophet: say to thou wives and thy daughters and the women of believers to draw down over them some of their garments. That will tend to them being recognised and not hindered. And God is forgiving, merciful.

33:59

In verse 33:59, God commands the believing women to lengthen their outer garments in public so they may be recognised. The question does not need to be asked as to what length, as it should be common sense. The purpose of this imperative seems to lean upon the importance of making a display of modesty via lengthened garments so as to avoid hindrance, opposed to a display of her ‘adornment and beauty’ which the God commands to be reserved from those belonging to the aforementioned groups above.


Men Dress Code

Say thou to the believing men that they restrain some of their vision and guard their modesty, that is purer for them. God is aware of what they do.

24:30

Men and women were designed anatomically different by God, thus a there is a different dress code placed upon men than women. Men are commanded to guard/cover their private parts and lower their gaze.


Raiment of Taqwā (تَقْوَى)

O children of Adam: we have sent down upon you raiment to hide your shame and as adornment. But the raiment of piousness, that is best. That is among the proofs of God, that they might take heed.

7:26

This verse teaches that the raiment of piousness is by far a more vitally important possession comparatively with the physical clothes we wear. A wise person once told me that you either feed the flesh or the soul – this is true.

There exists in the Qur’an many moral values and principles that regard vanity, gratification and self-worship. The Qur’an regards these as being emphatic acts of evil that harms both the self and society in which they are practiced.

Note that in verse 7:26, raiment is stated to serve the purpose of covering the human beings shame. It is axiomatic that sexual organs represent mortality, and mortality is not a condition that should not be celebrated for one who desires the hereafter. On that basis I deduce such shame to be referring to the morality of mankind which are represented by the sexual organs of both sexes. Furthermore, sexual organs are physical characteristics and attributes of the beast; man can either seek to transcend this state and condition of his, or succumb to it. For the submitted believer of who desires the hereafter, this should need no further elaboration.

As an aside, many people foolishly assume that a modest dress code earns them reward points with the Absolute and this usually is an attitude by one who seeks gratification and publicity by others. In truth, the sole function and purpose modest dress is the betterment of ones own soul (self). Prevention is better than cure. God is the Free From Need, the Praiseworthy – anything one does is either for or against your soul. Instead, what should be the core focus are the objectives which the modesty one possesses accomplishes.

Taqwa sows conducive ground for the seeds of humility and humbleness to be grown and nurtured. From the perspective of the Qur’an, the focus of ones time and efforts are to be channeled toward the soul, not the flesh; the material; the vehicle which is the body.

The body is our temporal home, but it was created by dust, and to dust it shall return to dust; whereas the self will continue to live on after our bodily departure at death, for eternity. Getting caught up in feeding the flesh beyond the the point of meeting of necessity is suicide, as ones investments are to be condemned for eternal deletion, damnation and hell – this is a no return investment.


To Conclude

You can either feed the flesh, or feed the soul. There is great wisdom in the aforementioned verses revealed to us by the Most High..


I hope this article has been insightful, I hope it was worth your time and has benefitted you.

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Peace and may God bless you,

Alex Matityahu

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