Hijab (Veil) between the Bible and the Qur’an

Hijab between the Bible and the Qur'an

Hijab was made incumbent by all divine messages, including Judaism, Christianity and Islam

As a matter of fact, the desire for woman as a female is one of the desires which man naturally craves for a divine rationale, which is the perpetuation of mankind and their preservation from extinction. There must be some impulse which man cannot resist so that he will live with woman and beget offspring from her. God has rendered the desire for women one of the most burning desires alluring men. In the Qur’an, God says:

Beautified for people is the love of that which they desire – of women and sons, heaped-up sums of gold and silver, fine branded horses, and cattle and tilled land. That is the enjoyment of worldly life, but Allah has with Him the best return. (Aal `Imran 3:14)

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “I have not left after me any temptation to men which is stronger than women.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Indeed, such sexual desire is something which is indicative of God’s mercy towards His servants. Were it not for it, a husband would not have shouldered any responsibility for his wife and would not have endured hardships to provide for her as well as her children. In the Qur’an, God says:

And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought. (Ar-Rum 30:21)

Since the desire for women is something which men cannot resist easily, God has imposed strict regulations in His successive divine messages to make sure that such a desire will play its legitimate role in the human life and will not be got out of the lawful context in which it was essentially placed, given the fact that the satisfaction of such a desire outside its legitimate framework has considerable disadvantages and enormous damage threatening man’s happiness as they ruin his life and lose him the Hereafter.

One of such strict regulations is the imposition of hijab on women. That is to say, women are commanded to conceal their attractive parts whose charm cannot be resisted by men and only allowed to expose such outer parts of the body which do not cause much temptation and have such humanly reasonable adornment which is quite far away from such finery which involves deliberate display of woman’s beauty and intentional arousal of men’s desires.

In this sense, hijab was made incumbent in all divine messages, including Judaism, Christianity and Islam. No wonder, the female believers in any of the divine messages used to wear hijab.

Hijab in Judaism

Here is the Old Testament telling us that women used to wear the hijab (or the veil) and praising those decent women. In the Old Testament, we read the following verses: “Rebekah also looked up and saw Isaac. She got down from her camel and asked the servant, ‘Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?’ ‘He is my master,’ the servant answered. So she took her veil and covered herself.” (Genesis 24:64-65)

In the Old Testament, we also read: “Take millstones and grind flour; take off your veil. Lift up your skirts” (Isaiah 47:2), “How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves.” (Song of Songs 4:1), “Now Susanna was exceeding delicate, and beautiful to behold. But those wicked men commanded that her face should be uncovered, (for she was covered,) that so at least they might be satisfied with her beauty.” (Daniel 13:31-32)

Hijab in Christianity

This is the New Testament commanding women to wear hijab (or the veil) and warning them against unveiling and uncovering themselves. In the New Testament, we read: “But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved. For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head.” (1 Corinthians 11:5-6)

The New Testament also commands women to dress modestly and be characterized by decency and propriety and prohibits them from finery and from uncovering or unveiling themselves. We read: “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes.” (1 Timothy 2:9)

Hijab in Islam

Being the final divine message, Islam has not introduced novel teachings. Rather, the teachings of Islam came as an extension of the previous divine messages. Therefore, Islam also commands women to be modest and decent and avoid finery and unveiling or uncovering themselves. In the Qur’an, we read:

And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their head covers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed. (An-Nur 24:31)

We also read:

And abide in your houses and do not display yourselves as [was] the display of the former times of ignorance. And establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah intends only to remove from you the impurity [of sin], O people of the [Prophet’s] household, and to purify you with [extensive] purification. (Al-Ahzab 33:33)

The Qur’an accounts for the command to wear hijab, indicating that it is intended for protecting women from any potential harm to which they may be vulnerable if men happen to perceive their beauty and finery. We read:

O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful. (Al-Ahzab 33:59)

Prophet Muhammad confirmed women’s obligation to wear the hijab. He said: “O Asma’, when a woman reaches the age of menstruation, it does not suit her that she displays her parts of body except this and this.” He pointed to his face and hands. (Abu Dawud)

The obligation to wear hijab is more stressed upon offering prayers. Prophet Muhammad said: “The prayers of a woman who has reached the age of menstruation is not accepted without a khimar (veil).” (Recorded by the five compilers except Al-Nasa’i)

Finally, the obligation of the hijab is better proven by the fact that devout, godly and pious women believing in all divine messages wear it, be they religious Jewish women, Christian nuns or strict Muslim women.



1- The Glorious Qur’an (Sahih International Translation)

2- Sahih Al-Bukhari

3- Sahih Muslim

4- Sunan Abu Dawud

5- The Holy Bible (Visit biblegateway.com)


Read Also:

Your Illustrated Guide to Hijab in the Modern Western History

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8 thoughts on “Hijab (Veil) between the Bible and the Qur’an

Fanie Bekker

Fanie Bekker

That is true: but, and this is a big BUT: the “Hijab” “in Christianty” was a cultural tradition at the time of the birth of Christianity. Christianity however is not a religion of rules and fixed tradition: Christianity was meant as Good News which wants to reach every person in his or her own culture, and set him or her free as is. That Free Gift from God, is not meant to hold people back or to tie them down with external rules forced on them. Christians are free to dress, eat, drink and enjoy life to the fullest but as an offering in return to God, for saving their lives from eternal damnation.



    Dear sir, let me disagree with your statement: “the “Hijab” in Christianity was a cultural tradition at the time of the birth of Christianity.” The “Hijab” in Christianity was not a cultural tradition but a religious obligation according to (1 Corinthians 11:5-6)

Fanie Bekker

Fanie Bekker

And, if I may just say one more thing: Modesty in Christianity is a very different practice than modesty in Islam: Modesty in Christianity is in the heart and comes from inside: it is therefor not how you dress or whether you look at a women with lust: in Christianity the heart is changed so that the modesty of a born again women goes beyond what she wears, and the modesty of a born again man empowers him to control his own thoughts and own behavior rather than expecting the ;ladies to dress so that they would not seduce him. And only a change of heart as brought about bu a new birth, as Jesus explained to Nicodemus could bring about such a change. I am sure you know the story of Nicodemus in the New Testament. And I love you to.



    According to the very verses of both the Qur’an and the New Testament, modesty is actually in the heart and comes from inside but it must be reflected outside. Though I agree with you against showoff, affected religiosity and false appearance, modesty should have an external sign. For example, a modest woman cannot appear naked in public. Any such woman cannot be described as modest. My position is supported with the verses of both the Qur’an and the New Testament as follows: (1 Corinthians 11:5-6), (1 Timothy 2:9), (An-Nur 24:31), (Al-Ahzab 33:33), and (Al-Ahzab 33:59)

Fanie Bekker

Fanie Bekker

Why do you say that “the “Hijab” in Christianity was not a cultural tradition at the time of the birth of Christianity.” Was it not customary for women in the Jewish tradition which Paul is from as well as in the Christian tradition for women to cover their hair? Paul based his instruction for modesty on what was regarded at modest at the time. Please support your position with references to archeological or historical Internet site/s indicating that my suggestion that: “the “Hijab”(1Corinthians 11:5-6) in Christianity was a cultural tradition at the time of the birth of Christianity,” is incorrect, and that this was a new rule Paul implemented.



    Dear brother, all women of the world used to wear the veil, no matter how it might have looked like, until very recently, i.e. until one or two centuries ago. You can search for women’s attire one or two centuries ago anywhere in the world and will know that for a certainty. In my article, I pointed out that the veil was referred to in the Old Testament, i.e. before the birth of Paul. Is it not sufficient evidence that the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Qur’an made the veil incumbent?

Fanie Bekker

Fanie Bekker

And I must say I am not convinced that, as you said: “According to the very verses of both the Qur’an… modesty is actually in the heart and comes from inside… ” the Quran implies the same inner change as the New Testament, regarding this matter. To me the spirit of modesty in the New Testament is an inner change of heart, bringing about an external change of life, whilst in the Quran modesty a forced change of mind to adjust one’s external appearance. But let me give you the opportunity to quote and explain from the Quran your point of view. And please call me Fanie: the “Sir” is a bit to heavy for my white Afrikaans-South African “modesty.” I however appreciate the sincerity of the “Dear…” Your kind attitude is much appreciated. Please allow me to address you as ARM. It makes the typing easier.



    Can you please give me examples for your point of view from the Qur’an and the New Testament? For me, I do not notice any difference between, for example, (1 Corinthians 11:5-6) and (1 Timothy 2:9) in the New Testament and (An-Nur 24:31), (Al-Ahzab 33:33) and (Al-Ahzab 33:59) in the Qur’an. If you notice any such difference, please indicate it.

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