The Matter that concerns women is that of physical exposure of their bodies. It is a very sensitive issue as most of people are quite emotional about this subject. The Muslim clergy feels that women should stay inside (the walls of the house); and if they go out, then they should look like walking tents! This has been taken for granted so much so that the clergy does not even feel that it has to quote any authority in this regard! Allah, when talking about Jews and Christians, had described that they have made their priests and mystics God short of the real God. Exactly the same situation has prevailed in our society for generations. Whatever the Clergy says, becomes the word of God. Allah had asked Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him in the verse (66:1) : Why have you forbidden for yourself what is made permissible by Allah Almighty.
But, most of the Muslim priests and mystics consider themselves as if they have the license to declare whatever they think is permissible, even though it may not be allowed by Allah, and forbid what He may have allowed. In this regard their first target is the woman. They want to tie her down and confiscate her God given freedom. The VEIL is one of the most drastic of these restrictions. The veil and the associated restrictions put on the women on this pretext, restrains them from participating fully in all walks of life; whereas Allah Almighty has not made any such restrictions. To understand the background for Quranic Rules, it is important to see the social and civil level of the society which Rasool-Allah (Messenger) addressed at the time of the revelation of the Holy Quran. The Holy Quran tells us that they had to be told:
To subdue the voice (not to shout) when talking - (31:19)
And do not treat people with contempt - (31:18)
In a gathering one should sit in a way to make room for others and when (gathering is& & & finished) one should move away.
When entering any one`s house, one must take permission - (24:27)
If you want to take anything from others, you must ask for it from outside - (33:53)
If Rasool-Allah invites you for a meal, do not go to His house while the food is still& & & & being prepared nor keep sitting talking after eating for long periods.This embarrasses& & & & the host - (33:53)
Such statements indicate the social and cultural crudeness of the society. This was the society that had to be educated and trained, elevating it to a civilized level. On the other hand, in Medina, there was a big population of non-Muslims. These were trouble makers and used to tease women. When questioned they used to claim that had they known that these were Muslim women, they would not have teased them. Therefore, in Soora Al-Ahzab (Surah 33 Verse 59) Allah asked Rasool-Allah to tell your wives, daughters and other Momin women to wear their Jalbab (over-all, apron upon a loose cloth over your clothes),& so that they could be recognized& and not be disturbed& The next verse says that if they still continue to tease the women, treat them like criminals (33:60). It is clear, therefore, that the reason of wearing Jalbab is so that they could be recognized and nothing more. The explicit nature of the verse (33:59) indicates that the injunctions of the Holy Quran regarding the precautions required of Muslim women while they go out were only applicable in those peculiar circumstances of that society. They were not forever nor unchangeable. The prime importance should be given to the spirit of the Quranic Injunctions. They are not changeable, but how to apply them will vary from time to time, place to place. For example, the reasons for going to war, in principle, are permanent and unchangeable, but how will it be fought including methods, tools, etc. will change from time to time. Once this concept is understood, the need for these apparent restrictions can be understood. In other words, the Jalbab is more of a uniform for identification rather the anything else. In a predominantly Muslim Society, this will not be necessary as most of the women will be Muslim and everyone would know that. The Holy Quran has not required anyone to cover the face nor the head/ hair. However, it has required decent clothing and the covering of the bosoms (Surah Al-Noor, 24:31) and has asked the women not to show themselves off (33:33). Similarly, confining women to their homes is only allowed as a punishment for obscenity and abomination (4:15). Thus, to expect half of the humanity to be punished by confining them to their homes for no crime is an injustice which has no parallel.