(As for women past child-bearing, who have no hope of marriage) and do not need to get married, (it is no sin for them) for such women (if they discard their (outer) clothing) in front of strange people (in such a way as not to show adornment) without adorning themselves or showing their adornment to strangers. (But to refrain) to keep their outer garment on (is better for them) than discarding it. (Allah is Hearer) He hears what they say, (Knower) He knows their deeds. 24:60

What is Adornment?

a thing which adorns or decorates; an ornament.

An adornment is generally an accessory or ornament worn to enhance the beauty or status of the wearer.

the act or process of making someone or something attractive by decorating : the act or process of adorning someone or something.

something that adds attractiveness

Point 1: These explanations are in English and the word adornment is in English as well so, there is a high probability that the word has been explained well.

If adornment = ornament(non-body parts) If adornment = Regular_Cloths/Jewelry/Perfume/ then by referring to the following part of 24:60

without adorning themselves or showing their adornment to strangers

i.e. Outer cloths can be put off but adornment or Regular_Cloths/Jewelry/Perfume should still be kept hidden, So

Q 1.1 Which things get exposed after removing outer cloths while Regular_Cloths/Jewelry/Perfume are still hidden?

Q 1.2 What is the logic in hiding Regular_Cloths/Jewelry/Perfume even for an old woman?

Q 1.3 What benefit/relief will an old woman get by exposing that thing (answer of Q 1.1)?

Point 2: Since زينة is an Arabic word so there is a high possibility that the adornment is not the right word for زينة or there is no 100% accurate translation possible.

Now if زينة = outer-body-parts(hair, neck, feet, face, hands) and not Regular_Cloths/Jewelry/Perfume then by referring to the following part of 24:60

without adorning themselves or showing their adornment to strangers

i.e. Outer cloths can be put off but adornment or hair, neck, feet, face, hands should still be kept hidden, So

Q 2.1 Which things get exposed after removing outer cloths while hair, neck, feet, face, hands are still hidden?

Q 2.2 What is that cloth which is allowed to put off while keeping hair, neck, feet, face, hands hidden from strangers?

Q 2.3 What benefit/relief will an old woman get by exposing that thing (answer of Q 2.1)?

One would answer all questions of either Point 1 or 2 but not both. It would be interesting if one proves both points valid.

  • زينة zinah means necklace, anklet, etc.
    – Omar
    May 7, 2014 at 12:34
  • @Omar then please answer question 1.1 and 1.2
    – bjan
    May 7, 2014 at 17:30
  • You might be interested in my answer here @ islam.stackexchange.com/a/25111/12537. I would answer your question, but it doesn't really apply to my opinion about Hijab altogether.
    – user12537
    Aug 8, 2015 at 16:36
  • @AmericanMuslim Yes, that answer was interesting and now i am more interested in your answer to my questions
    – bjan
    Aug 12, 2015 at 17:20

5 Answers 5


We're defining things according to the Arabic language since Quran is in Arabic and not in English.

"Zeenah" comes from "za ya nun" literally means to add to something and make its appearance look beautiful. Like a decoration or adornment.

Allah uses the word "zeenah" for several different things in the Quran. So it matters on the context of the usage. Allah uses "zeenah" for children, wealth, women, power, horses, mules, donkeys, and even this worldly life is called zeenah and so on.

But when it comes to rulings of hijab, the word "Zeenah" refers to artificial beauty, and not natural beauty of a female.

Artificial beauty includes beautiful clothing, jewelry, perfume etc. And these are the things that a woman must cover up for her to be obeying Allah. [Surah al-Araf]

There are two words mentioned in the Quran in regards to hijab: Khimar (Surah an-Nur) and Jilbab (Surah al-Ahzab).

"Khimar" comes from Khamr literally means to cover the head. But in Surah an-Nur 24:31, Allah tells the females to cover the heads AND "'ala joyubihinna" over their chest.

Khimar is covering the head up to the chest.

And in Surah al-Ahzab 33:59, Allah tells the females to "bring down over themselves their outer garments."

So in summary, first a female must not be naked and wear clothes except in front of her husband (Surah al-Araf), then on top of those clothes she has to wear khimar and jilbab in front of non-mahram men.

Basically, her zeenah cannot be exposed to non-mahram men, including her uncles.

Zeenah is her regular clothes, her jewelery, her perfume, anything that she uses as adornment.

Finally coming to Surah an-Nur 24:60, for those women who cannot bear children and don't desire to marry i.e. used for elder women. They don't have to observe such standards of wearing extra clothing but still have to restrain themselves.

Allaho Alim

  • 1
    Good explanation but i was expecting answers of the questions. According to your views, please answer 1.1 and 1.2.
    – bjan
    Apr 17, 2014 at 4:41
  • "Zeenah" comes from "za ya nun" literally means to add to something and make its appearance look beautiful. Like a decoration or adornment. Reference please.
    – bjan
    Apr 17, 2014 at 4:46
  • 1.1 = Whatever a woman wears underneath the outer garment. It can be how she dresses in front of her father, brother, son etc. 1.2 = I don't know, Allah doesn't tell us the reason.
    – Sayyid
    May 11, 2014 at 2:26
  • What about Face? You can read comments on Zohal and Bludream.
    – bjan
    May 11, 2014 at 10:22
  • The Prophet never told women to cover their faces. The face us not part of zeenah unless they decorate it such as wear makeup, then it'll become zeenah and must be covered bc it has become artificial beauty and not natural.
    – Sayyid
    May 12, 2014 at 12:44

زينة simply means something that add beauty or to make look attractive. This could include this like jewelry or items of clothing.

The outer cloth worn is an extra cloth worn over clothing and over ornaments. When the outer cloth is removed, parts of the body are not exposed and neither is the body. Even an old woman should hide ornaments because these items are worn to make one more attractive and therefor not suitable to be worn in-front of those who are non-mahram.

The outer garment is the abaya or jilbab worn over other clothing. Underneath the abaya one will have worn clothing e.g. dress. However these are not to be worn infront of non mahram and so an abaya is worn over the clothing to cover her properly. The abaya hides the beauty of the clothing underneath to avoid attraction of the opposite sex. A headscarf will also have been worn. The out garment however will be worn from head to ankle. It is recommended that the outer garment flows from head to the ankle meaning it does not stop at the shoulder e.g. when you wear a headscarf and dress. Therefor when the outer garment is removed you are still cover since you still have clothing on underneath that cover you and body parts are not revealed.

It does not matter if you are young or old it is still the duty of the muslim to wear clothing to show modesty. You should not wear something to attract the opposite sex. Even if the woman does not wear certain items to attract men but just because she like it, it is still wrong because we do not know the intention of men.

Q 1.1 When you remove the outer cloth, the regular clothes can be seen. Some jewelry may be seen depending on the item how it is worn. Necklaces will not be be on show as the head scarf will cover it howver things like bracels will be seen. Perfume can be smelt however women should not wear stong perume to avoid the attraction of the opposite sex. But even if a weak perfume is applied when removing the outter cloth it may be smelt e.g. when women greet other females by hugging them.

Q 1.2 It does not make a different if you are young or old so your question of an old woman is not really valid. Personally I think older women should try to stay even more modest because younger girls may see them a role model but if they expose parts of their body or wear item that attract the opposite sex younger women will think it is ok too. It is also a matter of self respect. If you dont look after your modesty then men will too treat you like filth.

Q 1.3 By exposing her garment or body part she will simply gain attention from the opposite sex. It may not be likely that she gets the attention of young men thou it is possible. However old men exist too and even when a woman is married she is not allowed to show herself off to other men. She should only try to get her husbund's attention and dress up for him.

  • According to your point of view, please answer 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 explicitly. Let me know if something is unclear.
    – bjan
    May 8, 2014 at 6:42
  • @bjan Is that better? Does it make sense?
    – Zohal
    May 8, 2014 at 14:39
  • Yes it does. Now the point is Allah has clearly ordered to keep Zeenah hidden while allowing to put off outer cloths in this ayah. Is it? if yes then what is the point in hiding jewelry/cloths/perfume while putting off outer cloths? Are we sure that zeenah means jewelry/cloths/perfume? Please explain.
    – bjan
    May 8, 2014 at 15:30
  • 1
    The ayah is saying that old women do not have to wear the full abaya or jilbal even though it would better and so recomenemded. However if they dont wear it they still have to dress modestly. Zeenah is something that adds beauty. Even when a jilbab is not worn the headscarf will be covering the fashionable earing. The clothes worn should cover the whole body and not show the figure or the woman meaning it should not be thin or tight. It is better if the woman dresses modestly as she will be like a role model for the younger females and so they learn about modesty.
    – Zohal
    May 8, 2014 at 20:54
  • Can an older woman uncover Face/Head/Hairs/Hands/Neck/Ears/Feet according to this ayah?
    – bjan
    May 9, 2014 at 6:17

God wants women to hide from strangers anything that might be attractive for them, but he says it's no blame if an old woman doesn't put on outer garment. but not to the extent that they also show anything attractive.

زینه = anything attractive!

Anything that might be attractive!

The logic is that no one would probably fall into a sin.

The outer garment is Chador(the usual garment of Muslim women in public places). An old woman can still be unattractive and hiding her anything attractive by not wearing Chador.

The issue is not what gain might be in this for the old woman, The Problem is about society not to lose its order and modesty.

  • One can not define any rule by anything attractive for which part of body or wearing is to be kept hidden. An old lady may say her face/voice is attractive so i will keep it hidden while another may say even her belly is not attractive at all so i won't cover it. And then everyone will start questioning what is the rule of law.
    – bjan
    May 10, 2014 at 14:38
  • a woman herself doesn't decide that, it's on society!! If people see a part attractive, then she should hide it from strangers
    – user4710
    May 10, 2014 at 15:23
  • And who is going to decide who is part of society and who is not? who is going to resolve the conflict among them if there are multiple opinions? .... And, due to such kind of decision making approach, the society itself will be broken into small parts with lots of conflicts and confusions.
    – bjan
    May 10, 2014 at 18:47
  • Not at all, if you have something allergenic and if even it kills one person then you should be careful of that. Society doesn't break down you just be careful not to kill someone.
    – user4710
    May 10, 2014 at 18:52
  • Just google covering face in islam and you will find two different opinions with their respective strong references and interpretations
    – bjan
    May 10, 2014 at 18:56

Here is the translation:

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.

Please note the word OUTER garment. it does not says that completely remove all clothes, but it means outer garment, like Complete Hjiab or Jilbab, that women wear to fully cover their body. In front of their brothers and mahrams, they can remove the Hijab(outer garment).

Adornment, here means that beauty,that is visible to her mahrams, like her hair , neck, feet, face and hands are all visible to them.

And Allah knows the best

  • If adornment is her hair, neck, feet, face and hands then here without adorning themselves or showing their adornment to strangers, Allah is ordering to keep hair, neck, feet, face and hands hidden while putting some outer cloths off!!! What is the benefit? See the more elaborated question.
    – bjan
    Apr 16, 2014 at 17:14
  • Please re-read the question and let me know if something is unclear.
    – bjan
    May 8, 2014 at 6:41

As for the meaning of 'zeena' الزِينةُ، بالكسر: ما يُتَزَيَّنُ به What is decorated with/What is used to decorate This is the definition of alQamoos alMuheet, a famous ancient Arabic lexicon (dictionary for Ajami (non-native / Arabized) Arabs. Found here: http://www.baheth.info/ (This site is Arabic only.)

Q 1.1 -

'Zeena' in Arabic simply means "what is used to decorate; decorations; adornment; beautification".

I would say that 'zeena', however it is translated, is a matter of ''urf' or "custom", the relative function or meaning of a matter may have some role on its legality in shari'a. (See more detail here: http: //qahiri.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/shariah-and-sexuality/)

What a people in a given locale/period/culture/etc. consider to be decorative or beautifying is 'zeena'. It is left as a word rather than a list of clothing items/make-up so as to let people decide. It has been related to me by students of knowledge that even 'beard' is what a people in a given time/place/culture consider to be a beard, rather than a set definition.

This, of course, applies in the absence of an explicit mention of an item.

Or you could look at the verse in the Qur-an "And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment." (Qur-an 24.31) From that, you could define 'zeena' as what of beauty or decor can be revealed (visible? audible? ???) by the stamping of the feet.

Since we are not allowed to copy and paste, I will tell you that a full tafsir discussion of the meaning of 'zeena' listing the views of different Companions and jurists can be found here: http:// quranx.com/Tafsir/Maududi/24.31

This is a long way of saying that Question 1.1 is predicated upon a definition/translation of 'zeena' which is not necessarily correct.

Q 1.2 What is the logic in hiding Regular_Cloths/Jewelry/Perfume even for an old woman?

First of all, she doesn't have to, but there are reasons why doing so may be commendable, preferred or recommended.

It is the attitude of modesty. While the question of sexuality is closed, the act of flaunting one's adornments is still immodest. It can breed jealousy, shame people who are poor, and does not

There is also the issue of the example that would be set for younger women who are around them. Young women or girls could learn habits from their elders that do not suit their position.

Q 2.1-3: The 'outer cloth' is different things in different places, even today. In the Arabian Peninsula, it is a black cloak called an 'abaaya that is worn by all women when outside. In Pakistan, it is a very long, wide cloth that covers the head and most of the body, down to the knees. In Thailand, it is only a headscarf, but sometimes that is so big that it covers most of the arms (over a short-sleeved shirt). Basically, a woman gets dressed. Then she covers those- her normal clothes- with something else when in public. That's the outer garment. Her normal clothes are to cover her 'awra and to express and/or beautify herself. She may add jewelry, accessories and make-up for further style, comfort, expression and/or beauty. Then she puts something over all of those in public or in the presence of strangers.

An older woman is not in need of this outer garment because the question of sexuality and sexual activity is closed for her.

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