The virtue of the veil

السيد علي محمد حسين فضل الله

Allah says in His Glorious Book: 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. Allah, the Most Exalted, speaks the truth.

The twentieth of the month of Jamada II marks the birthday of the purified Lady of the women of the world; the infallible Fatima Az-Zahra (a.s.). This anniversary provides on occasion to recall all the values and virtues she embodied in her life.

The most significant of these traits is the one the Messenger (p.) described her with in his last days. When he saw that she was sad for his expected departure. He said to her: Would not you be satisfied by being the Leader of the Women of the Worlds… The Messenger (p.) did not say this merely to elevate her pain and sadness, or out of the love he has for her.

For he does not speak from [his own] inclination. It is not but a revelation revealed. He wanted to clarify the position Az-Zahra’ held at all times, as well as being the model for every girl, wife and mother in their life.

Today, we are going to benefit of this honorable occasion to talk about the Hijab (veil)… The duty that Az-Zahra’(a.s.) was the first to be committed to and to urge others to follow.

What drives us to talk about the Hijab is the increase in casting doubt about it and even saying that it is not mandatory and claiming that it is a tradition …..This is not true, for it is an obligatory duty on every woman that reaches the age of Taklief (the age one becomes required to perform religious duties). The Holy Quran has indicated this in several Ayats…

The first Ayat: O Prophet! Ask your wives, daughters, and believing women to draw their cloaks over their bodies. In this way it is more likely that they will be recognized ˹as virtuous˺ and not be harassed. And Allah is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful. In this Ayat, Allah, The Most Exalted, tells the Prophet to ask his wives, daughters, and believing women in general to draw their cloaks over their bodies which means they have to wear cloaks. It is clear that this Ayat addresses every Muslim woman and not only the wives and daughters of The Messenger (p. ). The Quranic interpreters have given many explanations for this Ayat. While some said that it means covering the entire body including the head others excluded it. Nevertheless, it is clear, as they all agreed on, that the entire body should be covered whether with the head or without it. Here comes the second Ayat to assert without any doubt that the covering includes the head too: Let them draw their veils over their chests. This Ayat addressed the women who used to put the veil behind their face and neck in a way that reveals the neck and part of the chest that they should put it in a way that covers their necks and the uncovered parts of their chests.

The third Ayat further explains what the veil should be like. It says: and not to reveal their adornments except what normally appears.  This Ayat explains that when a woman meets a non-mahram she should not wear jewels or put any makeup, except for certain exceptions the Islamic law had permitted.   This Ayat also states that the woman should only reveal what normally appears (the face, the palms and the feet). 

The Holy Quran talked also about another veil which is the veil of the voice. Yet this does not mean, as some imagine, that women should not talk or deliver speeches before men or through social media, news outlets and the like.  On the contrary, they should be active in these fields and they should also take part in seminars and conferences and assume various jobs. This is not a controversial issue. Rather, this is what we  all want and call for.   What is meant by the voice veil is that women should not talk in a seductive way lest he in whose heart is disease should covet: Do not be soft in speech [to men], lest he in whose heart is disease should covet.  The blame in this case is not only on women who should not talk in a soft voice, but also on men who, as the Quran describes them, have a disease in their hearts would commit HARAM.

 There is also another Hijab: The Hijab of seeing, which includes both men and women: O Prophet! ˺ Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and guard their chastity. That is purer for them. Surely Allah is All-Aware of what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their chastity.

Thus, the lawful Hijab is decreed in the Quran and in several Hadiths. It is not a habit or a social tradition. And Muslim women have abided by it in all their history from the time of the Prophet. Although Muslims differ in their sects and opinions, they all consider Hijab as a must and a religious duty.

Thus, we call for imbedding the significance of the duty of Hijab in the minds of our girls, as Allah, The Most Exalted, wished through it to enhance the female self-esteem as well as the way the society looks at her… That is not to see her as a female, but as a human being who plays a role in all fields. The challenges of building Islamic personalities that abide by the pillars and laws of the religion are increasing, especially that globalization and social media   and the press… have opened wide the door before various means of seduction and deviation. And this calls for more awareness and a bigger role for parents and social and religious institutions …

Thus we call on our girls to be aware and to trust in what Allah, The Most Exalted, and His Messenger (p.) have commanded them, and believe that it is for their own good.  It is enough in this respect, that they follow the example of Az-Zahra’, whose Hijab did not prevent her from being strongly active in the fields of science, religion, work, jihad and education as well as fighting wronging and deviation, reaching the highest ranks with respect to Allah, The Most Exalted, His Messenger(p.)  and life…

                                                      The Second Sermon

Worshippers of Allah, I advise you and myself to follow the advice of Az-Zahra’ when a man came to the presence of her and said, “‘O daughter of the Prophet of Allah! Do you possess a thing as remembrance of the Prophet that I can earn the reward of seeing it?’ Sayyidah Fatimah said to her maid, ‘Get the slate for me.’ The maid went to search for it, but could not find it. Sayyidah Fatimah said to her, ‘Woe be to you! Search for it, because the worth of it to me is similar to that of Hassan and Husayn.’

The maid once again searched for it and found it in the garbage can, as it was lost while sweeping the floor. She brought it to the presence of Sayyidah Zahra, and on it was written, ‘Muhammad the Prophet said: He is not a believer from whose harm one’s neighbor is not safe, and the one who believes in Allah and the Day of Resurrection does not hurt his neighbor. The one who believes in Allah and the Day of Resurrection, his speech should be gentle or remain silent. Allah loves the one who is benevolent, tolerant and virtuous. Allah hates the one who abuses, is foul-mouthed, shameless. Az-Zahra’   showed the greatness and significance of this Hadith when she said that its worth is similar to that of her sons, as it states the traits that distinguish the believer from others. He is the one who does not hurt his neighbor and he only speaks what is good. He is also benevolent, tolerant and virtuous. He does not lose his temper when angered and he does not sell his dignity and honor in return for money or a post … We are in a dire need to adopt these virtues to build the believing society and become more capable of facing challenges.

We begin by the living conditions in Lebanon where things are getting worse, as the prices of foods, medication, fuel and power continue to rise.

Although the price of the dollar in the black market has decreased, no change in the prices has been witnessed as we used to see when the price of the dollar increased. This calls for more active supervision by the ministry of economy and the municipalities of the prices and a serious prosecution of those who tamper with the Lebanese bread and living.

 These measures should not be restricted to the small merchants as is the case. They should target the big merchants who control the food, medication and fuel markets. Nevertheless, the fundamental measure should be preserving the decrease in the price of the dollar, which can only be achieved by adopting an economic recovery plan.

 In this respect, the Lebanese have the right to ask: Since the Central Bank is able of interfering to stop the rise in the price of the dollar why did not it interfere before that? Or is it the political considerations that control the price of the dollar? 

The cold weather is another problem the Lebanese are suffering from. This calls for all external and domestic efforts to join hands to provide heating for those in need and they are many in these days. And we would like to appreciate all those who are providing help in this respect…

On the political level, we welcome the return of the government’s meeting which we were impatiently waiting for, for we know how big is the need for a government that runs the country and resolves the cries the Lebanese are suffering from. We hope that the government would play the role that is demanded of it, and consider it one of its priorities by decreeing the social and economic aids it promised the Lebanese with and make all efforts to open all available doors to rid the country from the state of corruption and collapse it has sunk in

 We all also call the political parties that are represented in the government to facilitate  its business and enhance the solidarity this stage requires , not to  use it (the government) as a  place for its their conflicts and differences or settling their accounts…

In Palestine, The Zionist enemy continues to practice its policies of aggression towards the Palestinian people as in the Sheikh Jarah neighborhood lately, which calls for a pressurizing Arab and Muslim stance to face this Zionist arrogance that benefits from the normalization  to turn more  oppressive on the Palestinian people that continue to face the aggression by all possible means…