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Salamun Alaikum (Peace be upon you

A DEEPER LOOK AT THE WORD 'KHIMAR'

!opyright " #$$% &oseph A 'slam: Article last modified %th (ebruary #$)*

+erse #*:,) is usually cited as -uranic support for the use of head coverings or the .hi/aab.. 0et us note the relevant part of the verse: 024:031 (Pa !" 1And to draw (#al$a% &'(a" their coverings ()&*+h,m, &h&((a" over (ala" their chests (Ja$,'&h&("2

'llustration 3 &oseph 'slam

4hat most non3Arabic speakers incline to do is to ask the common Arabic speaking person what a -uranic word may mean today. 5f course6 a modern day Arabic speaker will most likely give a response based on the #)st century popular rendering of the term if the term is known to them. This is also the case with popular translations which often incorporate popular uses of Arabic terms. (or academics and students of the -uran who study classical languages6 this is of little use. (or a student of the -uran6 one needs to understand what is meant by a word in its classical 7 -uranic usage to obtain the best meaning given the conte8t. 4ords often develop in languages and the best meaning of a word needs to be understood in the conte8t that is being studied. !onversely6 it is also

futile to obtain a classical rendering of a term to understand what a word means in its modern usage. The Arabic word 9:humur; does (o! simply imply a head3covering for women as commonly understood in its modern day usage. 't is formed from the root word 9:ha3<iim3=a; which primarily means to -.o(.eal o !o .o/e *. A veil is an e8ample of such a covering but it is (o! es! &.!e% !o &!.

Source: >dward 0anes 0e8icon 011

The same root word :ha3<iim3=a also forms words such as 9:hamr; which means something which into8icates (e.g. wine as it clouds6 obscures6 covers and conceals the intellect. Again6 the core meaning is derived from the understanding 9to conceal; 002:030 25 you who believe? Strong drink 7 wine (A a'&.: Kham ," and games of chance and idols and divining arrows are only an abomination of Satan.s handiwork. 0eave it aside in order that you may succeed2

Source: >dward 0anes 0e8icon 021

>ven though the 9:himar; has now become more commonly known in its restrictive sense as a 9head covering; for women the original meaning of a 9:himar; (plural: :humur is a($!h&(4 '$ #h&.h a !h&(4 &s /e&le% o .o/e e%. This is (o! restricted to a head covering or a covering of the hair. (or a man;s turban is also known as a 9:humur; as it 9covers; a man;s head.

Source: >dward 0anes 0e8icon 031

Source: A @ictionary and Alossary of the :oran by &ohn Penrice 041

Please note the primary rendering of the word .:himar. in &ohn Penrice.s )BC, dictionary as 'a .o/e &(4'. The le8icographer is also correct to note the most popular usage of the word as a veil of the head and face. Dowever this is (o! the 'p &ma $' meaning. 'nformation regarding what women wore at the time of &ahliyya (Period of 'gnorance or what their :himar;s consisted of6 are only known to us by traditions and folklore often centuries removed from source and not the -uran. <any of these narratives are well known to be aggressive interpretations against women. The -uran is and undoubtedly remains the primary source of any interpretation of -uranic words. The word 9:himar; or 9:humur; comes from the root 9:h3<im;=a; which means something which veils or conceals.

The last point to note is the Arabic word: '$a% &'(a' which is formed from the root word 9@a3=a3Ea; which in this conte8t means to draw or draw over (as in to cover . This term does not necessarily or e8clusively imply that it is to be drawn from a particular location such as the head. Therefore6 a better rendering of the specific part of the verse in question is as follows: 5666A(% !o % a# !he& .o/e &(4s o/e !he& .hes!s7 (24:31" The focus is simply on the chest. 'f one is to remain true to the classical Arabic and the -uran itself6 there is also no implication of 9hair covering; by virtue of the word 9bi;khumurihinna; which simply means 9a covering; in its primary sense. The 9head3covering; is /ust one e8ample which has also become a popular e8ample and often used to interpret the -uran.

8I9AL THO:;HT<
This article e8plores the term .khimar. in a little more depth and argues it to mean .a($!h&(4 '$ #h&.h a !h&(4 &s /e&le% o .o/e e%'6 This can be a head veil or a similar item6 but is not restricted to it. 'n the article regarding .Di/ab. below 0116 and in the particular matter of .hair covering. it was also argued that the term .hi/aab. was never used by the -uran to imply .head covering. either. Dowever6 it was admitted that one could argue that 'e%e.+&(4 !he ha& in public (beautifying oneself to an e8tent which can become a cause of attraction needs to be carefully considered under the broad Arabic term '=ee(a!'> a term which the article briefly e8plored. <any may feel that such bedecking would fall under the scope of .Feenat.. 'f so6 the directive is (o! to display !h&s beauty and adornment to those other than the people listed in verse #*:,). Rela!e% A !&.les: (1" Di/aab (2" Thobe G &ilbab

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011 LA9E6 E6W> E%#a % La(es Le@&.o(> W&ll&ams a(% 9o 4a!e 1AB3C L&' a& &e %, L&'a( )e& ,!DLe'a(o( 13BA> Eol,me 2> Pa4e A0FDA0A 021 I'&%6> Pa4e A0A Dighlights marked in red on the le8icon e8cerpt are my own insertions. They have no bearing on the original te8t other than they emphasise relevance to the topic at hand. These are merely illustrations and have solely been utilised for educational and e8planatory purposes. 031 I'&%6> Pa4e A03 041 PE9RI?E> J> A D&.!&o(a $ a(% ;lossa $ oG !he Ko a( 1AF3C Rep &(! 1331 A%am P,'l&she s H D&s! &',!o s> Delh&> Pa4e 42

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