"... that they should draw their khimār over their breasts 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 (Muslim) 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..." Quran 24:31

This is what I found in the hadith:

Narrated Safiya bint Shaiba: "Aisha used to say: 'When (the Verse): "They should draw their veils (Khumur) over their necks and bosoms (juyyub)," was revealed, (the ladies) cut their waist sheets at the edges and covered their faces with the cut pieces.'" [Sahih al-Bukhari, 6:60:282, 32:4091] (Wikipedia)

As you can see, the hadith quotes the ayah diffently from the Quran. First, it uses the word "khumur" instead of "khimar". Then, the hadith mentions that the khumur must also be worn over the neck. But the Ayah in the Quran makes no mention of neck.

So was this ayah changed or not?


1 Answer 1


The transliteration of your own Quran quote shows that your assumption is wrong "bikhumurihinna" (2nd line)! The Quran uses the plural of khimar خِمَار (khumur خُمُر) as it addresses a plural (women). Here the translator for some reasons used the singular instead, which doesn't make sense, but as he uses the Arabic word in an English text to emphasize a khimar he maybe intends to link that khimar is prescribed by Allah. Note that what people now call khimar isn't really the same as what the Quran is talking about khimar in the context of this verse is something which is similar to a scarf or anything we put around the neck or any body part with the intention to hide it. There's also a khimar for men according almaany (Arabic/Arabic) which is his head cover->turban etc..

The rest is a matter of interpretation the verse says they shouldn't show of their beauty or adornment (which refers to anything which could be counted as 'awrah or attracting sexual arousal or at least -lustful- intentions by men). Whether one should wear it over the neck or not isn't even described in the verse, so the hadith might be an explanation or extension or ... You should try to make a side by side comparison of the hadith quote of the verse and the verse itself in Arabic (see for example here were the quoted words of the hadith begin at the left of the 2nd line and end at the right on the 3rd line). Alhamdulliah here the standard Arabic and the original text as written by the sahaba are still the same so a comparison without further explanations is easily possible.

  • So only the English translation of the hadith mentions the word "neck" but the arabic translation of the hadith quotes the ayah perfectly? That's weird. Why would the translator do that?
    – user16329
    Nov 30, 2016 at 8:27
  • Because he want to declare his understanding as the view of Islam.
    – Medi1Saif
    Nov 30, 2016 at 8:28
  • Also, I would like to ask, what exactly does "khimar" mean according to the Quran? I heard that during the prophet's time, it didn't mean head cover. Some muslims say that it only means "covering for the chest".
    – user16329
    Nov 30, 2016 at 9:05
  • @curiosity either you take the meaning from the hadith or the meaning that it is any tissue that covers a given body part. Here the body parts to be covered are somewhat explained in the verse جُيُوبِهِنَّ‏ (juybihina), so a bit of interpretation is allowed. Juyub is any orifice or opening in clothes like a pocket or the opening were your head or feet or hands come out in trousers or pullovers (like for example a plunging neckline).
    – Medi1Saif
    Nov 30, 2016 at 9:32
  • There's another thing I don't quite understand. At the beginning of this ayah (24:31), it says "Tell the believing women to lower their gaze and gaurd their private parts". The Arabic word used for "private parts" is فُرُوجَهُنَّ. But in a few other ayahs, the Arabic word used for "private parts" is سَوْآتِكُمْ or سَوْآتِهِمَا. What exactly is the difference between these words? What kind of private parts is Allah talking about? Is he talking about the sex organs in all these verses?
    – user16329
    Nov 30, 2016 at 9:48

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