In order to be able to produce a commandment referring to the “headscarf” from verse 31 of Surat an-Nur, various misleading interpretations have sometimes been employed by commentators while translating the verse. The aim behind that is to be able to adapt the verse in the light of fabricated hadiths that we will be analyzing soon (surely the verse is beyond that). The main misleading interpretation in question was brought about by the mistranslation of “... that they should draw their head coverings...”
A False Interpretation: “That They Should Draw Their Head Coverings”"
As we have seen from examining the Arabic, this passage, interpreted in some translations to mean, “... that they should draw their head-coverings across their breasts,” contains a reference neither to a ”head-covering” nor “drawing down.” Nonetheless, some people desirous of interpreting the verse along those lines fall into serious contradictions and errors in terms of meaning because their interpretations conflict with the Qur'an. Many of them make surprising comments along the lines of “They drew the headscarves they were already wearing on their heads across their breasts,” maintaining that the women already had a covering on their heads. In order for Muslim women of the time to “already have a covering on their heads,” there would have to be a commandment to that effect in the Qur'an: Yet nowhere in the Qur'an does it say anything about the headscarf. It is therefore impossible for the women of the time to have had scarves on their heads as a religious commandment. The idea of the “scarf already on their heads” in some commentaries is therefore a serious logical flaw. Let us now look at these flaws of logic:
1- In order to back up the idea of “a scarf already worn on the head,” some commentators suggest that the reference to the “jilbab,” that is burqa, in verse 59 of Surat al-Ahzab was revealed before verse 31 of Surat an-Nur, and that Muslim women therefore already wore scarves on their heads. As we shall be seeing in detail, the jilbab is a piece of cloth that covers the entire body, from head to foot; its purpose is essentially to cover the entire body. If we remember that verse 31 of Surat an-Nur commands women to cover up their breasts, we can see that there is no possibility of the chest of a woman wearing the jilbab being uncovered in any way, so the verse is not addressing women who cover their entire head and body. The people making that claim seem to have forgotten this very important and fundamental point.
2- Women in Arab societies of the time moved around unclothed and that is why the verse was sent down. Following that verse, Muslim women began covering their previously exposed chests. Let us recall that the word “juyub” in the verse means bosom, and that the true sense of the passage in question is “that they should cover their breasts with their coverings.”
3- According to some commentators who insist on the idea of a “pre-existing head covering,” the women in question have “already” covered their heads with scarves, yet, according to their way of thinking, their chests are somehow completely uncovered! According to this peculiar way of thinking, women managed to think of covering their heads, but not of covering their breasts (surely Muslims are beyond that). They were supposedly scrupulous when it came to covering their heads, but walked around naked. That is the inevitable conclusion from these commentators' idea of “the pre-existing headscarf.” With this interpretation, these people are maintaining that women “with their chests exposed but their heads covered up” are being advised to pull those head coverings down to cover up their chests. This terrible flaw of logic is the result of trying to include the idea of the headscarf in the Qur'an.
4- According to this strange idea, “the pre-existing headscarf” must be so long that it can be pulled down in such a way as to completely cover the chest from both sides. Therefore, each one of the women who were apparently wandering around topless at the time must “already” have been wearing the headscarf, which was as long as a full body covering. The misinterpretation of the verse along the lines of “that they should draw their head coverings” has thus led the proponents of this idea into a logical fallacy. That is the consequence of trying to impute another meaning onto this explicitly clear verse.
False hadiths fabricated in order to add the headscarf to this verse result in even worse logical distortions. This will be described in later sections.
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Surat an-Nur Verse 31, 1st Part
Misleading or Incorrect Translations Based on Fabricated Hadiths
What Needs to Be Known about the Meanings of the Arabic Versions of Verses and Accuracy of Interpretations
Surat an-Nur Verse 31, 2nd Part
The Error of Making Adornments and Accessories Unlawful
How Is the Word “Ornament” Used in the Qur'an?
The Region Referred to in Verse 31 of Surat an-Nur
Fabricated Hadiths on the Subject of the Head-Covering and Their Internal Inconsistencies
Forbidden Things Are Not Left Obscure in the Qur'an
The Desire to Shut Only Women and Their Bodies Away
Surat al-Ahzab Verse 59
Espousing the Head-Covering but Never Mentioning the “Jilbab”
A Muslim Woman Knows How to Dress in Accordance with the Qur'an