The definition of 'Jilbaab'
Fatwa No: 296476

Question

Assalamu Alaikum, I request you to present a reply to me personally instead of directing me to different fatwas for this curious question of mine, with regard to the 'jilbab'. From the Hadith of Bukhari Book 8 #347, we observe the Prophet (peace be upon him) commanded Muslimahs to venture outdoors wearing the jilbab, even if it meant borrowing one from a sister. My question is: is the jilbab in question a specific type of garment which Muslimahs MUST wear when going out? Or does the command refer to women to generally dress appropriately, covering themselves with an outergarment when the clothes they are wearing do not sufficiently and properly cover the Awrah? If a modern Muslimah woman wore loose, opaque clothing in any style but which fulfils the conditions of Hijab perfectly, is her Hijab complete and correct? Kindly and personally clarify. Jazak Allahu Khairan and Wasalam

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

Al-Qurtubi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him defined the Jilbaab as follows: “It is a garment larger than a Khimaar (large head cover).” More correctly, the Jilbaab is the outer garment that covers the whole body. We quoted this statement of Al-Qurtubi in the previous Fatwa 270067, which suffices in defining the term.

Thus, the Jilbaab is not associated with any specific type of clothing or particular color. Rather, a Muslim woman may wear any clothes that meet the required criteria of the Islamic dress code, be it a Milhafah (wrap), an ‘Abaayah (cloak) or a Mulaa'ah (a loose wrap-around) or anything else. The main consideration is that the clothes cover the whole body and meet the requirements of the Islamic Hijab that have been specified by scholars as explained in Fatwa 83702, to which we referred you previously.

A Muslim woman in the present day may wear any type of clothing as long as it is loose fitting (not defining the contours of the body) and non-transparent, and it meets all the requirements of the Islamic Hijab.

Allaah Knows best.

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