Originally Posted by amani
what I did: I examined how people lived in that time and to what the verses pertain. It is an innovation to claim that the verses claim what they do not. This is a modern notion.
In ancient times, one held off pride and jealousy of others by covering one's head and face the more power a person was displaying in public. Thus it is that Muhammad came to Khadija after the Angel spoke to him and commanded him to recite and he asked her to cover him with her garment.
So also did famous men cover their heads and their faces with the lithma
- the person who does this is al-mutalitthim(a)
- in ancient times. Men also could use the tails of the 3imama
or of the kufiyya
, and based on laws passed in the tenth century of the common era, women also wore 3imamāt
In fact, often slave or "client" men and women would be punished for covering up beyond the minimum coverage of the saw'āt
and (for women) of the jayb
. It is said that 3Umar ibn al-Khattāb, the second Khalîfa, saw a slave girl in qina'
(a facemask) and beat her, saying, "Are you trying to imitate a free woman?" (Abû 3Abd-al-Lāh al-3Abdarî ibn al-Hajj, Al-Madkhal
Poor but free people were also banned from covering the face because they were without power; in a pinch, they might use their al-manādil
"handkerchiefs" - the Druze maintain this custom for holy men and women, or 3Uqqālāt
were only those in Arab society who had power
. Their veiling of head and face was to ward off jealousy and danger from those who might recognise them, give them the evil eye.
Sahîh al-Bukharî, 5360 and Abû Dawûd 3561 speak of the Prophet as mutaqanni'an
"wearing the qina'
"; Bukharî also reports in 934 that the Prophet entered into 3A'isha's quarters while covering his face with his garment. In both cases, Abû Bakr was present.
Veiling shows social power - in ancient (and modern) Arabia, you veil to provide yourself with privacy from jealousy or even to hide one's face at the bazaar during a "ceasefire" so that others wouldn't be tempted to strike at a tempting target. Some men were called Dhu Khimār
"Veiled One", including Al-Aswas al-3Ansî (3Ablaha ibn Ka3b) and 3Awf ibn ar-Rabî' ibn dhî r-Ramahayn.
Consider what is said of 3A'isha bint Abî Bakr: that when she went to rally her people to fight 3Alî ibn Abî Tālib, she went to the masjid and covered herself before speaking. She was not veiled before, but only when she was going to speak, making her a public figure. It was not because she was a woman and men should not look at women, but because she was a person of power, and they covered themselves out of custom.