Topics: Female, Gender, Hijab Pages: 17 (5008 words) Published: March 8, 2006

The holy prophet (peace be upon him) had expressed his concern for the basic rights and respectable place for women in society 1400 years ago. In this regard, however certain restrictions particularly observance of purdha by women deemed extremely necessary, which was ordered by almighty Allah. ¡§Say ¡§o¡¨ Muhammad, to believing men that they should observe modesty of the eyes and hidden parts. This is purer for them but god knows what they do and say to believe women that they should observe modesty of eyes and guard their hidden parts. Let them not display their attraction (zeenat) except those naturally exposed. Purdah in Islam is sacred institution that involves a range of measures but the overall objective underlying all these measures is to safe guard the respect of the women, the home and the family life. If this purpose remains unachieved, the spirit of purdah cannot be fulfilled even if the women are kept behind unbreakable walls. Purdah is important pillar in social system of Islam. Veil is simple one item of the entire institution of purdah and purdah itself is an aspect of the entire social system of Islam. The origin of purdah, its real forms and is relation with Islam is very debatable issue. Now the question rises in the mind is that what is meant by the word purdah.
The word purdah is form of Persian language that means ¡§a cover¡¨,¡¨privacy¡¨and ¡§modesty¡¨. In literature this word is used for protection, shelter and isolation of women from public domains. In Urdu this word is used in many ways such as ¡§purdah rakhna¡¨, ¡§purdah kholna¡¨, ¡§purdah kerna¡¨ etc. an important form of purdah is ¡§nazar our dil ka purdah¡¨, which is associated with modesty, one who observe purdah is called ¡§purdah dar¡¨. This concept of purdah is associated two other concepts. ¡§Izzat¡¨, that is hounor, respect and dignity

¡§Hayya¡¨, that is modesty.
Purdah has several forms in sub-continents for example, ¡§duppatta¡¨, ¡§chadder¡¨, ¡§burqa¡¨, ¡§abaya¡¨, ¡§shuttle cock burqa¡¨etc, which change from culture to culture. Culture is habitual behavior pattern that person has learned from his society. This behavior is also transmitted to the next generation as norms. Members of society have to follow these norms, which is code of behavior. Purdah is an important part of sub-continent behavior, as well as of other cultures. With the passage of time our norms and values have changed and so the concept of purdah as well. Some forms of purdah are prevailing among all areas of Pakistan. Type and strictness is purdah is changed from area to area. It is not necessary that purdah in form of ¡§burqa¡¨ is meant to presenting any area. Usually people define purdah according toothier context and changes the definition and form of purdah according to their need, time anyplace.

Definition of purdah is very controversial issue. Every person defines purdah with his own thinking and view point. Some define purdah as by heart and eyes. They believe that women heart should be pure and there should be no derangement in her intention. Some defines purdah as to hide hair. They believe that main attraction in women is in her hair and they should be hidden from every male. It is code of behavior not to be attractive to men. So they believe that proper Islamic purdah is to hide hair. There is another group of people who believe that purdah is not completely only to cover the hair. It is completely by covering the body properly and it not necessary to cover the face There is also group of people who define purdah as to hide the face proper covering the whole body. They believe proper Islamic purdah is that in which no part of women¡¦s body...
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