Article 118: It is not permitted for a woman to be alone with a non-Mahram. It is not permitted for her to reveal the adornments (Tabarruj) and the ‘Awrah in front of foreign men.
This article explains three issues:
Firstly – the prohibition of Khulwah (to be alone in a private space with a non-Mahram). The evidence is the words of the Messenger
«وَلاَ يَخْلُوَنَّ رَجُلٌ بِامْرَأَةٍ، فَإِنَّ ثَالِثَهُمَا الشَّـيْطَانُ»
“A man should not be in khulwah with a woman, since the third of them is the devil”, reported by Ahmad with an authentic chain from Umar (ra). And his words
«لاَ يَخْلُوَنَّ رَجُلٌ بِامْرَأَةٍ إِلاَّ وَمَعَهَا ذُو مَحْرَمٍ»
“A man is not alone with a woman but the third of them is Ash-Shaitan” (reported by Muslim).
Secondly – prohibition of open display of adornments (Tabarruj), or anything which attracts attention. The evidences are His (swt) words
((غَيْرَ مُتَبَرِّجَاتٍ بِزِينَةٍ}
“[but] not displaying adornment.” (TMQ 24:60) and His (swt) words
((وَلَا يَضْرِبْنَ بِأَرْجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعْلَمَ مَا يُخْفِينَ مِنْ زِينَتِهِنَّ}
“And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment.” (TMQ 24:31). This is a prohibition of one of the actions of Tabbaruj, and Tabarruj linguistically means to reveal the beautification. It is mentioned in Al-Muhit dictionary “she did Tabarruj – she displayed her beauty to the men”, which is also the Shari’ah meaning for it. So Tabarruj is different from beautification, because beautification is one thing whereas revealing that beautification is something else; it is possible for her to be beautified and not doing Tabarruj if her beautification was normal and not of the type to attract attention. Therefore, the meaning of prohibiting Tabarruj is not the absolute prohibition of beautification, since Tabarruj is the revealing of the beauty and charms to the foreign men; it is said the woman did Tabarruj, she revealed her beauty and charms to foreign men. Also supporting these texts that prohibited the actions of Tabarruj, is that with investigation it becomes apparent that they only prohibit the revealing of beautification and charms, and the prohibition of beautification generally is not something which is understood from them. So the words of Allah (swt)
((وَلَا يَضْرِبْنَ بِأَرْجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعْلَمَ مَا يُخْفِينَ مِنْ زِينَتِهِنَّ}
“And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment(TMQ 24:31) is plainly prohibiting the revealing of the beautification, since He (swt) said
((لِيُعْلَمَ مَا يُخْفِينَ مِنْ زِينَتِهِنَّ}
“To make known what they conceal of their adornment.”. It is narrated from Abu Musa Al-Ash‘ari who said
«أَيُّمَا امْرَأَةٍ اسْـتَعْطَرَتْ فَمَرَّتْ عَلَى قَوْمٍ لِيَجِدُوا مِنْ رِيحِهَا فَهِيَ زَانِيَةٌ»
“The Messenger of Allah said “Any woman who puts on perfume then passes by people so that they can smell her fragrance then she is an adulteress”, in other words, is like a fornicator, reported by Al-Nasa’i and Al-Hakim who authenticated it. This narration is also prohibiting an action of Tabarruj, and it is clear from his words
«اسْـتَعْطَرَتْ فَمَرَّتْ عَلَى قَوْمٍ لِيَجِدُوا مِنْ رِيحِهَا»
“who puts on perfume then passes by people so that they can smell her fragrance” that it is a prohibition of revealing the beautification, in other words, the putting on of perfume so that men could smell her. It is narrated by Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah said,
«صِنْفَانِ مِنْ أَهْلِ النَّارِ لَمْ أَرَهُمَا: قَوْمٌ مَعَهُمْ سِيَاطٌ كَأَذْنَابِ الْبَقَرِ يَضْرِبُونَ بِهَا النَّاسَ، وَنِسَاءٌ كَاسِيَاتٌ عَارِيَاتٌ مُمِيلاَتٌ مَائِلاتٌ رُءُوسُهُنَّ كَأَسْنِمَةِ الْبُخْتِ الْمَائِلَةِ، لاَ يَدْخُلْنَ الْجَنَّةَ وَلا يَجِدْنَ رِيحَهَا، وَإِنَّ رِيحَهَا لَـيُوجَدُ مِنْ مَسِيرَةِ كَذَا وَكَذَا»
“The Messenger of Allah said “Two are the types of the the people of Hell whom I did not see: people having flogs like the tails of the ox with them and they would be beating people, and the women who would be dressed but appear to be naked, who would be inclined (to evil) and make their husbands incline towards it. Their heads would be like the humps of the bukht camel inclined to one side. They will not enter Paradise and they would not smell its odour whereas its odour would be smelt from such and such distance.” (reported by Muslim); so this is also from the actions of Tabarruj. It is clear from his words “dressed but appear to be naked” that it means the revealing of adornments. His words “inclined (to evil) and make men incline towards it” is talking about movements that attract men’s attention. And the words “Their heads would be like the humps of the bukht camel inclined to one side” is talking about revealing the beautification done to their hair, in other words, treating and heaping it around a turban or headscarf or anything similar until it became like the hump of a camel. And the “Bukht” is the Afghani camel, in other words, they arranged their hair to look like the hump of an Afghani camel. This is clearly prohibiting the revealing of beautification to men. And similar to this are all the texts which are related to the prohibition of any action of Tabarruj, all of which make it clear that the prohibition is regarding revealing the beautification in order to provoke men’s inclination towards the woman. And this is supported by the linguistic meaning of Tabarruj which is to reveal the beautification, which is different from beautification itself. Therefore, what is forbidden is the Tabarruj with its linguistic indication, and by the indications of the narrations which prohibit any of its actions, whereas beautification without tabaruuj is not forbidden.
Thirdly, the prohibition of uncovering the ‘Awrah in front of foreign men (men they are able to marry). It is mandatory upon the woman to conceal all of her body apart from her face and hands, according to the evidence
((وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا}
“And tell the believing women not to expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof.” (TMQ 24:31); Ibn ‘Abbas said this means the face and hands as reported by Al-Bayhaqi in Al-Sunan Al-Kubra, Ibn‘Abd Al-Barr in Al-Tamhid and Ibn Kathir in Al-Tafsir. And the Messenger said
«إِنَّ الْجَارِيَةَ إِذَا حَاضَتْ لَمْ يَصْلُحْ أَنْ يُرَى مِنْهَا إِلاَّ وَجْهُهَا وَيَدَاهَا إِلَى المِفْصَلِ»
“If a girl reaches puberty (indicated by starting menstrual cycle), it is not right that any part of her be seen other than her face and the two hands up to the wrists” (Mursal narration reported by Abu Dawud),at which point he grasped his arm, and there was the distance of a grasp between his hand and where he grasped his arm. Therefore, the whole of the woman’s body apart from her face and hands are Awrah, and so it is obligatory for her to conceal it.
The Legislator (swt) made it a condition of the clothing that it covers the skin, in other words, obligated covering the skin by what covers its colour, or in other words, the skin and its colour whether white, red, dark, black or anything else. In other words, the cover should cover the skin and its colour such that the colours of the skin underneath are not known, otherwise it would not be considered as a cover for the ‘Awrah and rather the ‘Awrah would be considered visible and not covered, since the Shari’ah cover is that which conceals the colour. The evidence that the Legislator (swt) obligated covering of the body by covering the skin such that its colour is not known is from his words
«لَمْ يَصْلُحْ أَنْ يُرَى مِنْهَا»
“it is not correct that any part of her be seen”. This narration is a clear proof that the Legislator (swt) made it a condition of covering the ‘Awrah that nothing should be seen from it, or in other words, the skin should be covered by something that does not reveal what is behind it, and so it is obligatory for the woman to cover her ‘Awrah by a dress which is not delicate, in other words, does not convey what lies behind it and does not disclose what is under it.