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Pardah - to Safe Guard the Respect of the Women

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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.

ÐŽ§Say ÐŽ§oЎЁ 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 ÐŽ§a coverЎЁ,ЎЁprivacyЎЁand ÐŽ§modestyЎЁ. 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 ÐŽ§purdah rakhnaЎЁ, ÐŽ§purdah kholnaЎЁ, ÐŽ§purdah kernaЎЁ etc. an important form of purdah is ÐŽ§nazar our dil ka purdahЎЁ, which is associated with modesty, one who observe purdah is called ÐŽ§purdah darЎЁ. This concept of purdah is associated two other concepts.

ÐŽ§IzzatЎЁ, that is hounor, respect and dignity

ÐŽ§HayyaЎЁ, that is modesty.

Purdah has several forms in sub-continents for example, ÐŽ§duppattaЎЁ, ÐŽ§chadderЎЁ, ÐŽ§burqaЎЁ, ÐŽ§abayaЎЁ, ÐŽ§shuttle cock burqaЎЁetc, 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 ÐŽ§burqaЎЁ 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 womenÐŽ¦s body and face can be seen.



„« To discover the social status of women in and out of purdah

„« To identify the changing aspect of purdah in our society

„« To record the opinion of men about their concept regarding purdah

„« To document the impact of media and westernization about purdah.


The Quran commands the believe, both men and women to lower their gaze and keep modesty. However, the women have been obliged to fulfill certain additional responsibilities in the matter of dress, adornment etc. the relevant verses are,

ÐŽ§Tell the believers to lower their gaze and to safe guard their private parts, that will make for greater purity for them and tell the believing women to cast down their eyes and guard their private parts, and not to reveal their adornment save such as is to appearЎЁ(al Quran 24:30)

Further the Quran reads

ÐŽ§And let them (women) not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear their of and let them draw their garment over their bosoms and not display their beauty except in the presence of their husbands, fathers, husbandÐŽ¦s father or their own sons, brotherÐŽ¦s sons or their sisterÐŽ¦s sonÐŽKЎЁ(al Quran,24:31)


Ayesha (wife of prophet) reported that asma a daughter of abu-baker came to the messenger of Allah while there were thin clothes on her. He approached her and said: O Asma! ÐŽ§When a girl reaches the menstrual time, it is not proper that any thing on her shoulder remains exposed except this and thisЎЁ he hinted on face and palms.



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