Although long seen as the most distinctive emblem of Islam, the veil was surprisingly the tradition of veiling and seclusion (known together as Hijab) which was introduced into Arabia long before Mohammed and Islam, primarily through Arab contacts with Syria and Iran, where the hijab was a sign of social status. In the society of that period of time, there was no tradition of veiling until around 627 C.E., when the "verse of hijab" suddenly descended upon the messenger, Mohammed: "Believers, do not enter the Prophet's house... unless asked. And if you are invited... do not linger. And when you ask something from the Prophet's wives, do so from behind a hijab. This will assure the purity of your hearts as well as theirs," (33:53).
Covering is a form of defence, preservation of chastity, and support in the avoidance of negative temptations in society for women and men alike. When women cover, they provide dimensions of moral character and dignity, not only for themselves, but also for the society.