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And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their khimār over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husband, their fathers, their husband's fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments.

Surat An-Nūr - ayah 31

It makes clear that believing women need to veil their beauty. So shouldn't that mean unattractive women, such as those that are over the age of 50, or the very fat etc don't need to wear a hijab?

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I am not an expert on this, but I have never heard the term "unattractive women" in any religious texts or talks. If I am not mistaken, there is no concept of "unattractive women" in Islam. – yasar Aug 25 '12 at 13:07
Beauty is very subjective. In this case, it's all about guarding your modesty, and in order to do that, you start off by not displaying your beauty (subjective) and ornaments. As beauty is subjective, your idea of beauty is different from my idea of beauty. But modesty is the same for all. – oshirowanen Aug 25 '12 at 14:21
beauty is in the eye of the beholder – NesreenA Aug 25 '12 at 15:22
I don't understand the DVs. He just asked a question to learn something. Why are you down-voting him? Can't you simply answer yes or no, or just ignore it if you are not interested in? I find this kind of DVs very offensive. There are a lot of people among us who don't understand the meaning of voting, and even why and how to vote. – hkBattousai Aug 25 '12 at 19:18
@Mohayemin and ahmed han, i am one of the downvoters, and FYI i do not downvote based on personal belifs, i downvoted because i found the question lacking in research and effort, so plese do not try to discourage downvotes that help filter out low quality questions, if you go to the room you created in chat you can see my full reasoning – NesreenA Aug 27 '12 at 15:18
up vote 8 down vote accepted

There is an ayat about your question:

وَالْقَوَاعِدُ مِنَ النِّسَاء اللَّاتِي لَا يَرْجُونَ نِكَاحًا فَلَيْسَ عَلَيْهِنَّ جُنَاحٌ أَن يَضَعْنَ ثِيَابَهُنَّ غَيْرَ مُتَبَرِّجَاتٍ بِزِينَةٍ وَأَن يَسْتَعْفِفْنَ خَيْرٌ لَّهُنَّ وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ
And women of post-menstrual age who have no desire for marriage - there is no blame upon them for putting aside their outer garments [but] not displaying adornment. But to modestly refrain [from that] is better for them. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.
Noor 60

This ayat doesn't mention beauty or attractiveness, but it mentions age and losing hope of marriage.

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Ha, I was looking for this verse.. beat me to it. Beauty is too subjective to be put in legalese, and too personal. But age usually correlates with lack of beauty, so this comes close. – Muz Aug 25 '12 at 19:42
Good answer and the reference, but it needs explanation. What does really the verse mean? – muslim1 Aug 26 '12 at 23:53

The translation that you picked is wrong. The more accurate translation is by shakir

And say to the believing women that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts and do not display their ornaments except what appears thereof, and let them wear their head-coverings over their bosoms, and not display their ornaments except to their husbands or their fathers, or the fathers of their husbands, or their sons, or the sons of their husbands, or their brothers, or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or those whom their right hands possess, or the male servants not having need (of women), or the children who have not attained knowledge of what is hidden of women; and let them not strike their feet so that what they hide of their ornaments may be known; and turn to Allah all of you, O believers! so that you may be successful.- Shakir (Quran 24:31)

This means

  • A woman should guard her private parts. This most likely meant bosom, but applies equally other private parts well.
  • A woman should not display her ornament (bangles, necklaces, anklet) to men other than what is mentioned in the verse above, that is husband, father-in-law, sons, sons of her husband (of another wife), her brothers, brothers sons,sisters sons, other women like her, slaves, and servants who do not have desire for women or children who are not familiar with a woman beauty (that is they are not attracted to women).
  • The should not strike their feet, walk the way to draw attention to her ornaments.

So I think the term beautify is being misquoted here. It is verse related to all women, not just beautiful women. As far as I know, there is not such term as beautiful women or men in Islam.

As far as your question, A muslim women must wear hijab regardless of weather she is beautiful or not (unless someone can correct me). Note that I have answer it in general way. They may be specific cases that I have not addressed.

If you need more explanation, please comment, so I can explain better.

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I got my translation from, but in my book there is no mention of beauty either - strange. – Larry Harson Aug 27 '12 at 19:18
There are different translators of Quran. Some have translated Quran word by word. Other have translated it in their own context try to give a more "clear" meaning, but that often changing the meaning of the verse altogether. A correct translation is always word by word. – muslim1 Aug 27 '12 at 20:26
@crocodile yes, I agree. Is Arabic your native language? – Larry Harson Aug 30 '12 at 13:57
I have learned some basic arabic but google is your friend to find out the truth :) – muslim1 Aug 30 '12 at 14:01

This question reeks of western ideals of beauty standard and culture. To say a woman is automatically in attractive past a certain age only upholds our devaluation of older women in this society. To say that the hijab is only meant as a cover to ones beauty is an injustice to the myriad of meaning attached to it for those women. To wear a hijab is to be cloaked in the armor of your faith, to be wrapped quite literally in the embrace of Allah, and in western countries it is a bold testament to others that you do not adopt this culture of selfishness and looks.

To think of an almighty that judges women by their looks and that proscribes rules for no other reason than to shame them for those looks - whether by telling them they are aesthetically worthy of hijab or not, is terrible.

The Quran in the end leaves the choice up to the woman herself. It is her alone that decides if she needs or wants to wear the hijab - not for society to tell her she needs to because she is too beautiful, or needs not because she is not beautiful enough.

The original poster should do some reflection on his values and assumptions.

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