Concept of Purdah in Islam – 8 Important Things To Know

Purdah in Islam: Islam has heavily emphasized the idea of modesty and decency in interactions between people of different genders. The overall teaching includes the dress code, also referred to as the “Pardah”. 

What is the True Meaning of Purdah in Islam?

The more common word used alternatively for Pardah is “Hijab”. The Arabic term “hijab” means “barrier” or “partition.” However, it has a more expansive connotation in Islam. It is based on the modesty concept and applies to both men’s and women’s behaviour and attire.

The head covering worn by many Muslim women is the most obvious example of a hijab. But the hijab extends beyond a head covering and also includes decent and modest behaviour in its definition. And we all know the elevated status of women in Islam.

Surahs that refer to the Hijab in Quran include Surah Nur, Surah Al-Ahzab, and Surat Al-‘A`raf.

1- What is Pardah for Muslim men?

The Pardah for men is not a common debate but Allah (SWT) has also laid down specific rules for men to maintain a modest appearance. In the following verse of the Holy Quran, Allah (SWT) commands the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H.) to convey those modesty rules to the believing men.

The verse states that a man’s Pardah lies not only in their chastity but also in their gaze. So, the believing men are told to keep their gazes low. However, if you happen to face anything inappropriate, remove your gaze immediately as you notice. Indeed, Allah (SWT) knows best and nothing is hidden from Him.

Only males are subject to the silk prohibition since it is regarded as effeminate. For the same reason, Muslim men are prohibited from wearing gold jewellery.

Concept of Purdah in Islam - 8 Important Things To Know

2 – What does Quran say about Purdah?

The following verse of the Holy Quran lays down the guidelines of Pardah for women. The verse guides the believing women to protect their chaste and lower their gaze from what Allah (SWT) has forbidden for them. Moreover, Allah (SWT) also commands Muslim women not to adorn themselves in a way that attracts someone else.

The women of Medina before the spread of Islam are said to have worn their khumur over their heads with the two ends tucked behind and fastened at the back of the neck, exposing their neck and ears in the process. Hence, in the following verse of the Holy Quran, Allah (SWT) has commanded Muslim women to cover their bosoms as well.

Furthermore, the verse also discourages women from wearing elaborate jewelry and stomp their feet to get attention. The warning to ladies not to stomp their feet to draw attention to themselves supports the interpretation of the jewelry as ankle bracelets were sometimes used by Arabian women to get attention from men.

The verse then lists the mahram, which is their spouse, father, father-in-law, son(s), and others, in whose company the hijab is not necessary.

Concept of Purdah in Islam - 8 Important Things To Know

3 – Importance of Pardah in Islam

Allah reminds His followers of the Libas and Rish He has bestowed upon them. Libas are garments worn to conceal private areas, whereas Rish are external decorations worn for aesthetic reasons. The first kind is, therefore crucial, but the second type is complementary.

Concept of Purdah in Islam - 8 Important Things To Know

4 – Pardah in Islam Quotes

Hazrat Fatima RA, one of the Most Influential Women in Islamic History, was known for her modesty and humility. In the following quote, she illustrates the importance of modesty for Muslim women.

Concept of Purdah in Islam - 8 Important Things To Know

5 – Punishment for Not Wearing Hijab in Quran

When Allah (SWT) has decreed something, then we have no option. The following verse explains that we as Muslims must obey our Creator if we want to be successful in this life and in the Hereafter.

Nonetheless, Allah (SWT) is Merciful and Oft-Forgiving. May He (SWT) guide us all to stay on the path that is beneficial for us in this life and the life after.

Concept of Purdah in Islam - 8 Important Things To Know

6 – Reasons to Wear Hijab in Quran

According to the Quran, this attire is worn so that ladies would be recognized as Muslims and will not be mistreated. Hence, the Hijab not only protects Muslim women against harassment but, also intends to differentiate them as women of Iman.

Concept of Purdah in Islam - 8 Important Things To Know

7 – Concept of Pardah in Islam for Elderly Women

It is not sinful for these women to discard their (outer) garments in a way that hides their private parts since they no longer believe they can carry children and have no prospect of marriage, i.e., they no longer have any desire for marriage. However, refraining is better for them despite this relaxation.

Concept of Purdah in Islam - 8 Important Things To Know

8 – Is Niqab Mandatory in Islam?

The niqab is a part of Arab and Afghan culture. It is not a part of the Islamic dress code as laid down in verse 24:31 of the Holy Quran.

There are several ways to interpret the term “what must generally appear thereof.” This saying is often interpreted as meaning that women should cover just the body portions required for daily activities. Typically, the face and hands are considered to be the body parts that generally appear thereof.

According to Islamic custom, women should remove their facial coverings when performing the Hajj pilgrimage.

Moreover, as for the debate that the wives of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) used to wear a veil. But, the following verse clarifies that the term “hijab” was not originally used in the Qur’an to refer to a veil or head covering. In fact, it was mentioned as a screen or barrier.

When read in the light of history, this passage appears to have been written largely to provide some protection for the Prophet’s wives from bothersome guests and snoopers.

When the passages pertaining to the hijab were revealed, gossip and slander were major issues.

Concept of Purdah in Islam - 8 Important Things To Know


Q. Is it sin to not wear hijab?

There are various views on this, and while some scholars believe it is a sin, others do not. While there is no clear punishment for it in the Quran or hadith, not wearing a hijab is disobeying Allah’s command and can be considered sinful. Rest Allah knows best.

Q. Is makeup Haram in Islam?

Wearing makeup with the intention to seduce men is frowned upon in Islam. But if you do makeup only for yourself at home, for your husband or for a women’s only gathering, it is not considered sinful according to most Islamic scholars. But you need to be careful about only using halal makeup products as many makeup products are made from haram animal derivatives such as pig fats.

Q. What is the meaning of Pardah?

Pardah is a screen, drape, or veil that is used to keep women out of sight of males or outsiders.

Q. At what age does a girl start wearing a hijab?

It can be interpreted that a girl starts wearing the hijab when she reaches the age of puberty. In many Islamic societies, such as in Saudi Arabia, girls start wearing hijab from the day of their first periods.


  1. Mohammad Motiur Rahman December 11, 2022

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