The Almighty requires of a Muslim woman to not display her make-up or other embellishments such as jewellery before unknown men except what she has adorned her hands, feet and face with. The Qur'an has made it mandatory upon Muslim women to follow this directive. It is for this very reason that the tradition of wearing the head-scarf or head covering while going out of the house was established, and now has become a part of Islamic culture. Even if women have not embellished themselves and have not put on make-up, they have continued to be very vigilant in wearing some sort of head covering. This attitude has also sprung forth from the insinuations of the Qur'an: the Almighty has specified that the directive of covering the chest and neckline with a covering is not related to old women who have passed their marriageable age on the condition that their intention is not to show off their ornaments. The Qur'an says that they can take off this covering before men and that there is no harm in this; however, it has simultaneously stated that what is more desirable in the sight of the Almighty is that they should be careful in this matter too and not take their coverings off their chests. It is evident from this that regarding the head too it is desirable in the sight of the Almighty that even if women have not adorned it in any way, even then they should not take off their head coverings. Although covering the head is not mandatory yet when Muslim women live with a concern for religiosity and try to draw near God, they necessarily take this precaution, and never like to come before unknown men bare-headed.
(Translated by Dr Shehzad Saleem)