A Narrative about the Prophet’s Directive regarding the Appropriate Clothing for Women

A Narrative about the Prophet’s Directive regarding the Appropriate Clothing for Women


Hadīth

(This write-up is prepared by the Hadith Cell of Javed Ahmad Ghamidi)

روي أن أسماء بنت أبي بكر دخلت على رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وعليها ثياب رقاق فأعرض عنها رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وقال يا أسماء إن المرأة إذا بلغت المحيض لم تصلح أن يري منها إلا هذا وهذا وأشار إلى وجهه وكفيه

It is narrated that once Asmā' the daughter of Abū Bakr entered upon the Prophet (sws) clad in a dress made of a thin cloth. Observing this, the Prophet (sws) turned away his face from her and said: "Asma', when a woman reaches the age of menstruation, it is not appropriate that anything besides this and this is visible of her." He said this while pointing towards his face and his hands.

A similar incident has also been reported in Bayhaqī's Nos. 3034, 13274 and 13275, al-Mu'jam al-awsat, Nos. 8394, Al-Mu'jam al-kabīr, 24, 142 and Musnad al-Shāmiyyīn, No. 2739.

Comment on the Narrative

Of the seven narratives of this incident, Abū Dā'ūd's No. 4104, Bayhaqī's No. 3034, Bayhaqī's No. 13274 and the report of Musnad al-Shāmiyyīn (No. 2739) are reported through Sa'īd ibn Bashi#r, who has been considered a weak narrator[1]. Besides Sa'īd ibn Bashi#r, the chain of these narratives is also broken, as it is reported through Khālid ibn Durayk, who is reporting on the authority of 'Ā'ishah (rta). However, scholars of the field agree that Khālid ibn Durayk did not meet Ayesha (rta), and therefore could not have heard anything from the Umm al-Mu'minīn. Thus, after noting this narrative inAbū Dā'ūd (No. 3034), the following words are added:

قال أبو داود هذا مرسل خالد بن دريك لم يدرك عائشة

Abū Dā'ūd has said: "This is a mursal[2] narrative of Khālid ibn Durayk, as he did not meet 'Ā'ishah."

As for the remaining narratives, all of these are reported on the authority of 'Ayād ibn 'Abdullāh al-Fihrī and 'Abdullāh ibn Lahī'ah. Experts on the information regarding the reliability of narrators have mixed opinions regarding these two narrators[3]. And they – especially 'Abdullāh ibn Lahī'ah – have generally been considered as weak and unreliable in reporting narratives of the Prophet (sws).

Conclusion

In view of the fact that from among the various chains of narrators reporting this incident, not even a single chain can be considered as fully reliable, we do not consider it prudent to accept the incident as correctly reported.




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