Dress Code for Muslim Women
Prof. Dr. Mahmoud Hamdy Zaqzouq
President of Al-Azhar Center for Dialogue
Dr. Kamal Boraiqa Abdelsalam Hassan
Al-Azhar Magazine (Safar, 1442 A.H. September, 2020.)
1- Every nation has its own distinct character and way of life. It has its traditional meals, drinks, attire, and architecture. All this reflects the nations' culture, civilization, and beliefs. God has created people different from each other in many aspects, and nations also differ from each other, and this difference will continue until the end of the world.
Furthermore, what suits and pleases one nation might not suit or be accepted by another. For example, Indian women wear the sari and this attire is not criticized by the western world although the sari is not practical in modem life. The sari is worn by all women in India and the late Mrs. Indira Ghandi, former Prime Minister of India, also wore it and nobody ever objected to it and claimed that it prevented Indian woman from pursuing their careers or that it hindered their ability to be productive citizens.
2- Most European women until the beginning of the twentieth century, wore clothes that reached the ground and they all wore hats or some form of headdress when they went outside the house, yet nobody ever criticized this. The style of women's clothes developed year after year until it reached its current style, which is no longer subject to any rules and it will continue to change according to the ideas and whims of those responsible for the fashion of women's clothes.
3- Islam does not impose any particular style of attire on Muslim women other than its being decorous so that she would not subject herself to the harassment of an irresponsible youth. Furthermore, this decorous and respectable attire does not hinder the Muslim woman to practice her work or do her job. Women in all walks of life wearing the Islamic attire are officials in factories, companies, departments of Ministries, schools, and colleges of the universities. They perform their duties just as efficiently as their colleagues who wear European fashioned clothes. The accusation that the Islamic attire for women is unsuitable for modern life is completely groundless. There is no study that has ever been made to attempt to prove this ridiculous allegation.
The fact is that the western world would like to prove that their way of life, customs, traditions, and fashions are more suitable than all other customs and traditions, and this in itself is against the law of nature since every nation has its own distinctive character. The Muslim woman has the right to be proud of her distinctive character, which is reflected in her attire and her conduct in the same way that Indians and Europeans have that right.
4- Currently, there are many Muslim women dressed in the Islamic attire who hold high-ranking positions in their countries and execute their work in the best possible manner. Mrs. Benazeer Bhutto, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, used to wear clothes similar to the Islamic attire and nobody ever accused her of not being efficient in performing her duties. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh is another example of a Muslim woman who used to wear clothes similar to the Islamic attire.