What does the Quran really say about a Muslim woman’s hijab? | Samina Ali | TEDxUniversityofNevada

Reviewer: Peter van de Ven I’m going to take you back
in time, 1400 years, to the city of Medina, Saudi Arabia. To a time when Prophet Mouhammed
was given the task of finding a solution to women in the city
being attacked and molested. The situation was this: It was around the year 600 AD, long before the modern convenience, of plumbing. When a woman awoke
in the middle of the night with the urge to relieve herself, she would have to walk out, past the outskirts of the city,
and into the wild by herself, for privacy. Believe it or not, a group of men actually began
to see an opportunity in women’s nightly tracks, and started to linger
at the outskirts of the city – their identities hidden
in the dark, watching. If a woman walked by, and she happened to be wearing a jilbab, which was a garment like a coat, the men knew to leave her alone. A jilbab of centuries ago
was a status symbol, like a Burberry trench or a Chanel jacket. It announced that the woman was free, and a free woman
was protected by her clan. She would have no problems
speaking out against the attacker and identifying him. But if the woman walking out at night
wasn’t wearing a jilbab, if she happened to be dressed
a bit more freely, then the men knew she was a slave, and they attacked her. Concerned members of the community
brought the situation to the Prophet, and like so many other social,
political, and familial issues that Muhammed faced
during his Prophethood, he turned this particular
matter over to God, and a verse was revealed for the Quran, the Muslim holy book. “O Prophet,” it reads, “tell your wives, your daughters,
and the women of the believers to draw upon themselves their garments. This is better, so that they
not be known and molested.” Basically, the verse advises
that all women dress similarly, so that they can’t be
picked out from one another, zeroed in on, and attacked. Now, on the surface, this may seem like a relatively
easy solution to the problem, but turns out it wasn’t. The early Muslim community was tribal,
and so deeply entrenched in social status, and the idea that a slave
would look like a free woman, that was almost insulting. And then there was
the matter of practicality. How would a slave do her work? How would she function,
if her body was constricted by a coat? How would she cook, clean, fetch water? In the end, the early
Muslim scholars ruled that a woman’s way of dress
should be based on two considerations: a woman’s function in society – her role, what we might consider her job – and the society’s specific customs. Or, in another way: when in Rome. Muslims like to take historical rulings
and apply them to the modern era. So, let’s do that. A woman’s way of dress
should be based on custom and function. So, what does that mean for
a Muslim woman living in America today, for someone like me? First, it means that I have a function,
a role in society, a contribution that I can make. Second, it means that while I’m making that contribution, and living in a society
where veiling is not the custom, and where, in fact, if I veil
it might actually lead to harassment, then wearing what is the custom, such as a dress, a pair of jeans
or even yoga pants, is not only acceptable, it’s recommended. But wait, could that be right? After all, haven’t we all come to assume that a Muslim woman must veil, that veiling is
a requirement of her faith? There is even a term that we’ve all come to associate
with the Muslim woman’s veil, an Arabic term
that we’ve all heard use, whether or not we’ve been aware of it: “Hijab.” So, maybe I missed it. Maybe the requirement that a woman veil
is in a different part of the Quran. For those of you who don’t know,
the Quran consists of 114 chapters, each chapter is written out
in verses, like poetry. There are more
than 6,000 verses in the Quran. Out of the 6,000 plus verses, three refer to how a woman should dress. The first is the verse
I’ve already told you about. The second is a verse that directly
speaks to the Prophet’s wives, asking that they begin to dress
a bit more modestly because of their role,
their function in society as his wives. And the third verse
is similar to the first, in that it was revealed in direct response
to a historical situation. Early records show that the custom, the fashion during the pre-Islamic era, was for women to wear a scarf
on the head, called a khimar, which would be tucked behind the ears
and allowed to flow behind the back. In the front, a woman wore
a tight vest or a bodice, which she left open exposing her breasts – sort of like the images
you’ve seen in Game of Thrones. (Laughter) When Islam spread through
the Arabian Peninsula, a verse was sent down asking
that women use this scarf, or any other garment, to cover the breasts. And that’s it. That’s basically all there is in the Quran
concerning how a woman should dress. Turns out, God doesn’t give a bullet point
of all the parts on a woman’s body that he wants hidden from view. And in fact, it might be argued,
and it is argued, I cannot stress enough that it is argued
by many Muslim scholars that the reason these verses
were left intentionally vague is so that a woman could choose
for herself how to dress according to her specific culture and the progression of time. And that the term “hijab,” guess what? It’s not in any of these three verses. In fact, it’s nowhere in the Quran,
directly meaning a woman’s veil. That’s not to say that the word
doesn’t appear in the Quran because it does appear. But when it appears,
it’s actually used correctly, to mean a barrier or a divide. Such as the barrier or divide that exists
between us humans and the divine, or between believers and non-believers. Or it means a barrier,
like a physical screen, that men during Muhammad’s time
were asked to stand behind when speaking to his wives. Or it means the seclusion,
the separation that Mary sought when she was giving birth to Jesus. That separation and seclusion, that means hijab; that physical screen, that means hijab; that barrier, that divide, that means hijab. Hijab doesn’t mean a woman’s veil. And yet, isn’t it strange
that what the term actually means, being screened off, divided away,
barred, separated out, these are the very terms
that come to our minds when we think of a Muslim woman? Why shouldn’t they? We have all seen the way some Muslim women
are treated around the world: if she attempts to go to school, she’s shot in the head; if she attempts to drive a car, she’s jailed; if she attempts to take part in the political uprisings
happening in her own country, to be heard, to be counted, she is publicly assaulted. Forget about hiding out in the dark
at the outskirts of the city, some men now feel comfortable enough
to assault a woman on the sidewalk, for the world to see. And they don’t care
to hide their identities, they’re more interested
in making international headlines. They’re too busy making videos
and uploading them onto YouTube, bragging about what they’ve done. Why don’t they care
to hide their crimes? They don’t feel like
they’ve committed any crimes. It’s the women
who’ve committed the crimes. It’s the women who got
these funny ideas in their heads, ideas that actually
led them out of the house, led them into society, believing that they
can make a contribution, and we all know, honorable women, they stay at home; honorable women stay invisible. Just as it was the custom
for honorable women to do during the Prophet’s time. Is that true? 1400 years ago is long before feminism. Were women locked away
behind doors, screened off by veils? Well, it turns out
that the Prophet’s first wife was what we would define today as a CEO. She was a successful merchant whose caravan equaled the caravans
of all the other traders put together. She essentially headed up
a successful import-export company. When she hired Muhammed to work for her, she was so taken with his honesty that eventually she proposed. (Laughter) I’m not sure how many women
feel comfortable proposing marriage to a man today. And Muhammad’s second wife? She was no slacker either. She rode into battle
on the back of a camel, which is equivalent to a woman
riding into battle today inside of a Humvee or a tank. And what of the other women? Early records show that women
demanded to be included in the Islamic revolution
taking place around the Prophet. One woman became famous as a general when she led her army of men
into battle and crushed a rebellion. Men and women freely associated
with one another, exchanged gifts. It was custom for a woman
to select her own husband and propose. And when things didn’t work out, to initiate divorce. Women even loudly debated
with the Prophet himself. Seems to me that if fundamentalists want to return
current Muslim society to 680 AD, it might be a huge step forward. (Laughter) Progress. (Applause) But we still have to answer
an important question. If not from Islamic history,
and if not from the Quran, how is it that we, in the modern era, have come to associate
Muslim women with hijab? With being separated out from society, secluded and isolated, barred from the most basic human rights? I hope it’s not any surprise to you
that this isn’t by accident. For the past few decades, the very people
who have been given the important task of reading and interpreting the Quran in a variety of different
Muslim communities, certain clerics have been
inserting a certain meaning into those three verses concerning women. For instance that verse
I told you about earlier: “O Prophet, tell your wives,
your daughters, and the women of the believers
to draw upon themselves their garments, this is better, so that they
not be known and molested.” Some clerics, not all, some clerics have added a few words to that, so that in certain
translations of the Quran, that verse reads like this: “O Prophet, tell your wives,
your daughters, and the women of the believers,
to draw upon themselves their garments, parentheses, a garment is a veil that covers the entire head and the face, the neck and the breast
all the way down to the ankles and all the way to the wrists. Everything on a woman’s body
is covered except for one eye because she must see where she is headed, and the hands must be covered in gloves. Because, of course, there was certainly a lot of gloves
back in the desert of Saudi Arabia. (Laughter) Etc., etc., etc., etc.,
on, and on, and on, end of parentheses, so that she not be known and molested.” And what these so-called clerics have concluded based
on these types of insertions is that a woman only has one function. To understand what that function is, all you have to do is read
some of the fatwas or legal rulings that these so-called clerics
have actually gone ahead and issued. Let me give you a sampling. A woman need only finish elementary school before she gets married. Which puts her, what,
at the ripe old age of 11, 12 years old? A woman cannot fulfill
her spiritual obligations to God until she first fulfills
her physical obligations to her husband. If he desires her while she sits
on the mount of a camel, she should submit. Islam has forbidden a woman
from wearing a bra because bras lift up
and make a woman appear younger, and this is calculated deception. My personal favorite: if a man has an ulcer excreting puss, from the top of his head
to the bottom of his feet, and she licked it for him, she would still not fulfill
what she owes him. What these and the many other rulings
just like it concerning women boil down to is this: The best of women,
the most honorable among them is uneducated, and so powerless, not very different from a slave. So, she remains at home
without complaint, without a bra. (Laughter) Ready and available at all times
to satisfy his every whim, even if it’s to lick his entire body; satisfying him whenever he calls, whether it’s in his bed
or on the mount of a camel. Does this sound like God’s will to you? Does this sound like scripture? Or does this sound strangely,
uncomfortably erotic, like the worst kind of misogynist fantasy? Are these so-called clerics, and the fundamentalists
and extremists who support them, truly purifying Islam from within, bringing it back to its intended form? Or are these men
no different from those men standing out in the dark
at the outskirts of the city, eager to prey upon a woman? Thank you. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “What does the Quran really say about a Muslim woman’s hijab? | Samina Ali | TEDxUniversityofNevada”

  1. the fatwas you mention are from your imagination and we didn't hear about them before ,for instance even the "salafi" say that the woman should work as a doctor because they don't accept a man to examine her unless there is no female doctor, so you should give us the resources of these strange fatwas or at least mention their scholars' names

  2. In life, it is prudent to take advice from people who are subject matter experts in the field you are looking for advice. Don't take advice for your car from a sheepherder rather ask a car mechanic. Please ignore Samina Ali regarding advice on Islamic theology, rather ask people who have your well being in this life as well as the next.
    It would be very foolish to think you have acquired the approval of Allah in this life, only to find out in the next life you were only following your own wimps and desires.

  3. Every Muslim woman should watch someone who has read and understood and researched the Quran and its origins like her. If they already know this good for them.

  4. nada convincente…y vestida asi menos….si es musulmana que se cubra…y no se exiba de esa manera….SUS PALABRAS NO SON LA VERDAD!!!!!

  5. This video is unfortunately the most misleading video about Islam I’ve ever seen!!
    The word hijab is actually means the cover and in the verse’s context it means the hijab that women should wear on their heads..
    I pray that all of us find the right way ❤️

  6. Why wasn’t the original focus on educating/disciplining the men rather than changing the women’s garments?! Why are women always to blame?

  7. I once thought that "Hijab" is like a costume practice, because in my country Malaysia, those full cover outfit is trending, yet under the hot sunny day with no sandstorm or camel. That baffled me because it seems no benefit other than strict Islamic practices. But I realized now that "hijab" is just an Arabic word means barrier or divide. Don't get me wrong, those outfits are beautiful in their own way, it is also their freedom to present themselves, but if you say to me that "Hijab" is what loyal Islamic women should do, covering all body except eyes so that not get "creampied" by strangers, please, that is your problem of not able to regulate yourself, not their problem. Don't try to deny your mistake and use the woman to take your responsibility, Jesus Christ.

  8. The Qur'an = Deuteronomy, one of the five sacred books of JUDAISM (see: the "Pentateuch"), retold by an Arabic warlord — whom most objective scholars agree, likely suffered from schizophrenia — not dissimilarly to Saul of Tarsus / the "Epistle Paul", who had epilepsy (see: "revelations" / "Paul" never actually meeting or seeing the character "Jesus", for whom not historical evidence exists) — spanning a period of 23 years.

    This process was later uncannily mimicked by the Mormons' Joseph Smith, with his rabbit-from-a-hat gospels — one need only replace Smith's peeks into his stovepipe hat, with Mohammad's treks into a desert, to see the similarities.
    Thus assertion is further proofed by the fact that, as with the analogised Joseph Smith, Islam also incorporates a system whereby the "words of God" that may happen to conflict with earlier passages of the Qur'an (infallible gods FTW! 😂👌), are abrogated by later scripture — see: Naskh (نسخ). This practice of "correcting God" (🤣) was something that Mr. Smith, too, was often to avail — since many of the 'divine words' he fished from his hat to be recorded by his wife, were littered with inconsistencies and incongruities. Literally, the verbal Kool-Aid fountain progenitor to Jim Jones, was forgetting what he had previously lied about! 😆

    Indeed, the re-writing of the Christian bible, by King James (1688) — in order to make its brain-mulching bunkum less barbaric and more easily digestible for infants ("give me your child for its first seven years…" and all that 🙄), is another instance of Man abrogating the word of the so-called "God/s" it concocts for its empty-headed self.
    >religion: the opiate of the moronic masses

  9. This TED talk was so needed! Hats off to you Samina Ali,not only your attitude,gesture and your soft spoken but also your beauty and art of communication admires me.

  10. Women Biblically, Koranically and Toraic are supposedly cover themselves with cloth as to not tempt men. When women walk around with tits hanging out men immediately desire them. Women should have respect for themselves and stop trying to seduce men in. Society by dressing seductive. This weak woman is disrespecting all three faiths especially Islam……

  11. Such an amazing TED talk. And she delivered it flawlessly. Everyone should watch this, regardless of what they believe in, and that’s coming from a Christian

  12. I think it is time to review the Quran, and take all not ethical poins out and only leave Quran behind that surves every good Person(Men and Women) Rights and needs, so they, we all can live in a peaceful and Florishing Society.

  13. amk millet atomu parcaladi siz hala sac telimi biri gorse carpilir miyim, cehenneme mi giderim, evrenin isi gucu yok tabii sizin kilinizla tuyunuzle ugrasiyor birer birer, kadin olmaktan nefret ettim be sizin yuzunuzden

  14. Really prescious! There are crazy fundamentalistic people in every religion trying to brainwash people to think whats wrong is right and vice versa…so sad

  15. lol.. woman who showing his body wearing jeans is talking about hijab and vail.. hahaha. she should shutup.. by learning 2 or 3 versus of QURAN pak doesnt mean that u have got grip of each subject matter. Follow the rule first then come up to give lecture

  16. From where did she get those stories , rules or the explanations of the verses ?! ..
    the people who spent their entire life studying the islamic history know nothing of what she said..
    Please, lead me to one real source that support what she claimed ?!!..
    and for my brothers and sisters who listened.. please, get those important info. from trusted sources.. and don't listen to somebody story or theory which not exists but in their heads only.

  17. Absolutely fantastic speech. I really enjoyed it and I thought that it was really impactful. Thank you so much for going on there and giving that speech. A Muslim should never believe in any saying not written in the Qur'an.
    (Unless its sunnah)

  18. Part of the meaning of the Arabic word khmar includes covering the head. It’s root word is used with the same meaning for other things… like khumr… or alcohol because when drank it in a way… covers your head or makes you cloudy. Also, islamically, in order to pronounce something as permissible or not one should fully master Arabic, which she apparently hasn’t, as well as many other subjects. Anyways, Norman Ali khans lecture on covering or not explains the Arabic. There’s plenty of other Islamic scholars who have spent decades study, both men and women, like Anse Tamara Grey, promote and teach “veiling”. I’m surprised Ted talks would have someone like her in here.

  19. I am sad 🙁 I might be the only one who can't enjoy her voice. I felt the opposite about her voice. why 🙁

  20. She just twisted the facts according to her own taste and for publicity…. Hijaab is the proper way to follow the rules of dressing… Hijaab isn’t a kind of restriction on a woman its her protection and providing her comfort zone..

  21. Wow amazed! Loved this TED talk! You can came at them with historical facts, straight verses from the Quran and all. Best presentation I’ve heard!

  22. Actually Muslims has 2 main sources for studying and truly knowing Islam; The Qur'an the Muslims' holy book , and The Sunnah which is the sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad PBUH. and Actually The Qur'an says that we should also follow the prophet and his Sunnah. Also some Arabic words are mistranslated or lose their exact meaning when translated, So I advice people to recheck this part.
    I have been a Muslim for my whole life, and I have never heard about the "fatwas" she said at the end. Yes, there are some people who pretend to be clerics and say wrong things, and some people actually follow them, but I guess this is not only in Islam, and There are a lot of true clerics that tell correct things, and each with a sequence of references up to prophet Muhammad.
    If you really want to know true Islam, you should know some history, read about the Sira (Prophet Muhammad's Life), Learn the Qur'an from a trusted source, and finally learn Arabic to know the exact meaning of the Qur'an and Sunnah 🙂

  23. she just dont want to wear it thats all …. god will not put his words in the quraan for the people back then otherwise the quraan will be also for "back then" only

  24. There is al lot a false statement on her speech I told you I am free as young Muslim woman my parents guide and protect me by educating me to learn Quran on how I should live peacefully and love the people, nature and animals.

  25. Involving Jesus Christ in any portion of the Islamic faith is is a travesty. Islam is nothing less than a falsification of our Lord Jesus Christs' sacrifice for all mankind.

  26. religion is false bs and islam is the worst of all. just read harris & hitchens book that prove my point. you can interpret anything. fact is: islam is misogynistic, gives women less rights than men, preaches hate and violence and is superstitious bs

  27. Muhammad made Saudi Arabia richer until today .All around the world ,poor people spend their money there .
    Merchant business needed traffic to grow,so he brought traffic to this country.He was a Genius just like all the other genius

  28. This women is a master deceiver to justify her waywardness. She is no Islamic Scholar. Quoting falsehoods and distorting what the Muslim scholars have written.The so called freedom she enjoys is self deception. The level of abuse is horrifying in America for women dressed like her. If she thinks she is free well check the statistics of female abuse in all levels of American and Western society. A person indoctrinated by western liberal ideolgy will talk and behave us such. The Western society is heavily bastardized. Single mothers, children not knowing who fathered them. Women to use and throw. Men have the fun and women left holding the baby or her reproductive health impaired. The veil and hijab are the dresses that has and will given dignity and honor to women. This women is a serial liar

  29. she is addressing her speech to certain audience telling them what they like to hear, boosting her statues among them ,,, everything she said is true yes, but taken out of context
    I respect her opinion but do not fully agree, the FATWAs she brought sounded like all Muslim clergy fatwas,, she never brought hundreds of Fatwas about women rights in marriage, women rules in muslim families they have the upper hand , with some exceptions due to customs and traditions and due to ignorance on the husbands's side,

    Islam never mandated on women to wear gloves or niqab to cover their faces,but she made it look as if its islamic rule, but she succeeded in making the crowd LAUGH ?

  30. She has Exaggerated !!!That’s her opinion but it’s not the truth at all she stands up for what she believes in to defend her self because she doesn’t want to wear a Hgab, But I believe that women can go to work and be a doctor or any thing she wants with covering her head and body, that’s shouldn’t be scary people should respect it , And it will be a huge step forward because that’s mean you respect your self and don’t let any man led an eye on your own beauty, it’s a big challenge for our faith on GOD , Don’t listen to the Satan like our father Adam did in the heaven

  31. women should have some respect for the civilization that men built for them instead of being ingrateful and asking men to "switch off" their masculinity

  32. That's correct only if women are covered top to bottom n same clothes by which men cannot differentiate who is who. Other than such clothes rest all will reveal who is who..

  33. WALTER VEITHS video lecture series called TOTAL ONSLAUGHT search lecture on
    ● ISLAM and the CATHOLIC church

    Books by Thomas Horn

  34. She is d brave woman who touches topic related to Islam.its like a bomb which can burst every time u go near.need to change d perception .

  35. Great! Thank you. But sadly those believers who fell for the "so called clerics with their strange misogynist erotic" will not give a 💩 about what this great speakeress said!

    I wonder where most of these clerics teach!???

  36. Sorry, the chapter refered says"" Tell the believing women to draw their head covers /veils to their chests …… Notice here, it's about only the BELIEVERS …. not everyone.

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