Allah tells us in the Qur'an:

وَقُل لِّلۡمُؤۡمِنَـٰتِ يَغۡضُضۡنَ مِنۡ أَبۡصَـٰرِهِنَّ وَيَحۡفَظۡنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبۡدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنۡهَا‌ۖ وَلۡيَضۡرِبۡنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَىٰ جُيُوبِہِنَّ‌ۖ وَلَا يُبۡدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوۡ ءَابَآٮِٕهِنَّ أَوۡ ءَابَآءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوۡ أَبۡنَآٮِٕهِنَّ أَوۡ أَبۡنَآءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوۡ إِخۡوَٲنِهِنَّ أَوۡ بَنِىٓ إِخۡوَٲنِهِنَّ أَوۡ بَنِىٓ أَخَوَٲتِهِنَّ أَوۡ نِسَآٮِٕهِنَّ أَوۡ مَا مَلَكَتۡ أَيۡمَـٰنُهُنَّ أَوِ ٱلتَّـٰبِعِينَ غَيۡرِ أُوْلِى ٱلۡإِرۡبَةِ مِنَ ٱلرِّجَالِ أَوِ ٱلطِّفۡلِ ٱلَّذِينَ لَمۡ يَظۡهَرُواْ عَلَىٰ عَوۡرَٲتِ ٱلنِّسَآءِ‌ۖ وَلَا يَضۡرِبۡنَ بِأَرۡجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعۡلَمَ مَا يُخۡفِينَ مِن زِينَتِهِنَّ‌ۚ وَتُوبُوٓاْ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تُفۡلِحُونَ (٣١)

Translation (interpretation of meaning):

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 (ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' 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. And O ye Believers! Turn ye all together towards Allah that ye may attain Bliss. (31)

Surat 24 Ayah 31
Emphasis mine.

Not that I doubt the Ayah or the Hadith, but a translation into English will always be limited compared to when it is in it's original language so I don't know how articulate the translation is of this section;

...they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (ordinarily) appear thereof and that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands.

Here, what does Bosom mean? Chest, torso, upper chest, neck?

What is the original intention?

3 Answers 3


جيب (plural جيوب, translated here as "bosoms"), literally refers to the opening in a shirt where the head and neck emerge in classical Arabic (its meaning can then be extended to refer to the bosom — or even the heart — directly).

According to Tafsir Ibn Kathir, the command in this ayah refers to the neck and the chest, or the neck and the ribs. It is, however, reasonable to assume that it would apply to anything that is actually exposed by the neck-hole, no matter how deep or shallow it may be.


Those Ayat are talking about the exterior appearance of Muslim Women. They have never to show any of their body except their faces and hands.

This is the general meaning of the Aya in addition in the beginning of the Aya ALLAH asked Muslim women.

In the ALamthal Sheikh Naser Makarem Deen Slhirazi explain this:

: (وليضربن بخمرهن على جيوبهن) وكلمة "خُمُر" جمع "خِمار" على وزن "حجاب" في الأصل تعني "الغطاء"، إلاّ أنّه يطلق بصورة اعتيادية على الشيء الذي تستخدمه النسوة لتغطية رُؤوسهن. و"الجيوب" جمع "جيب" على وزن "غيب" بمعنى ياقة القميص، وأحياناً يطلق على الجزء الذي يحيط بأعلى الصدر لمجاورته الياقة. ويستنتج من هذه الآية أنّ النساء كنّ قبل نزولها، يرمين أطراف الخمار على أكتافهن أو خلف الرأس بشكل يكشفن فيه عن الرقبة وجانباً من الصدر، فأمرهن القرآن برمي أطراف الخمار حول أعناقهن أي فوق ياقة القميص ليسترن بذلك الرقبة والجزء المكشوف من الصدر. (ويستنتج هذا المعنى أيضاً عن سبب نزول الآية الذي ذكرناه آنفاً).

خمر mean veil, hijab

جيوب means in Arabic either the shirt collar or the upper part of the human chest that is near the neck. It's the area where necklace fit.

So why this Aya: draw their veils over their bosoms . The Sheikh says in his explanation that in past before Islam the Arabic women were used to put a veil and wrapped it around their necks. So ALLAH refuses that and asked them to hide the part of their upper chest which is called "bosom=جيوب".

  • Assalamu alaykum, JazakAllah alkhairen for answering! Could you translate the full text so I can read it? Mar 22, 2014 at 8:05
  • 1
    walaykum salam, You too Bro. I already did, there is no more thing to translate more than that above. In the Arabic text there is clarifying of the meaning which i already did above.
    – Maythux
    Mar 22, 2014 at 9:45

If you looked at how the term jayb is used in the verse 28:32, you'll get the notion that it is a place where you put something inside it.. اسْلُكْ يَدَكَ فِي جَيْبِكَ (insert your hand inside your jayb)

Does bosoms describe the behaviour? I don't think so..

So what does jayb hints us in the verse you questioning? imo, the ladies should put their veils inside their pockets, i.e. get rid of it. and do not show their beuties except to ... those who she got consent from (أَوۡ مَا مَلَكَتۡ أَيۡمَـٰنُهُنَّ / literally those whose rights owns), in other words she is at liberty to show them to anyone she pleases as long as the other party is consenting to also..

MMA (ma malakat aymanuhunna/أَوۡ مَا مَلَكَتۡ أَيۡمَـٰنُهُنَّ ) are not slaves.. they can not be slaves otherwise it would contradict the verse 3:64 وَلَا يَتَّخِذَ بَعْضُنَا بَعْضًا أَرْ‌بَابًا مِّن دُونِ اللَّـهِ

I believe this verse is to condition the people to accepting libertarian thoughts on women in the times where women are so "protected"


  • 2
    Could you please more explanation? This isn't a notion commonly associated with this ayah, so you might need to provide more proof than others to satisfy people that you've done adequate research. Apr 25, 2013 at 6:14
  • i can link it with the term jub as in the verse (12:10)غَيَابَتِ الْجُبِّ..an opening to a hole deep inside that is called a well (.. but then the traditionalist would not accept it "grammatically", from my point of view vowels such as ya ي, i/e , o/i, a is not part of root construction.. so i'd say that jayaba jabba has similar root thus has similar notions which they explain..
    – takajode
    Apr 25, 2013 at 6:28

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