Surah Nur Ayat 31

Surah Nur Ayat 31, Surah Noor Ayat 31, Surah An Nur 31

Download Surah An Nur PDF 109 KB

Surah Nur Ayat 31 In Arabic

وَقُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا ۖ وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَىٰ جُيُوبِهِنَّ ۖ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَائِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَائِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي أَخَوَاتِهِنَّ أَوْ نِسَائِهِنَّ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُنَّ أَوِ التَّابِعِينَ غَيْرِ أُولِي الْإِرْبَةِ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ أَوِ الطِّفْلِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يَظْهَرُوا عَلَىٰ عَوْرَاتِ النِّسَاءِ ۖ وَلَا يَضْرِبْنَ بِأَرْجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعْلَمَ مَا يُخْفِينَ مِنْ زِينَتِهِنَّ ۚ وَتُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ ﴿31﴾

Read Surah Noor Full In Arabic

Surah Nur Ayat 31 Transliteration

Bismillahir rahmanir raheem

Wa qul lilmu’minaati yaghdudna min absaarihinna wa yahfazna furoojahunna wa laa yubdeena zeenatahunna illaa maa zahara minhaa wala yadribanna bikhumurihinna ‘alaa juyoobihinna wa laa yubdeena zeenatahunna illaa libu’oolatihinna aw aabaaa’i hinna aw aabaaa’i bu’oolati hinna aw abnaaa’ihinnaa aw abnaaa’i bu’oolatihinnna aw ikhwaanihinnna aw baneee ikhwaanihinna aw banee akhawaatihinna aw nisaaa’i hinna aw maa malakat aimaanuhunna awit taabi’eena ghairi ilil irbati minar rijaali awit tiflillazeena lam yazharoo ‘alaa ‘awraatin nisaaa’i wala yadribnna bi arjulihinna liyu’lama maa yukhfeena min zeenatihinn; wa toobooo ilallaahi jammee’an aiyuhal mu’minoona la’allakum tuflihoon

Click To Read Full Transliteration Surah Noor

Surah Nur Ayat 31 Translation

And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms, and not to reveal their adornment save to their own husbands or fathers or husbands’ fathers, or their sons or their husbands’ sons, or their brothers or their brothers’ sons or sisters’ sons, or their women, or their slaves, or male attendants who lack vigour, or children who know naught of women’s nakedness. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And turn unto Allah together, O believers, in order that ye may succeed.

[From Holy Quran Translation by Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall ]

Read Full Translation Surah Noor


Surah Nur Ayat 31 Explanation

وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِ‌هِنَّ

And say to the believing women that they must lower their gazes – 24:31.

In the initial part of this long verse the injunction is the same which has been enjoined on men-folk in the preceding verse, that is, keep the eyes down or turn away the eyes. Women-folk are also included in the injunction along with men, but in the next verse there is a separate injunction for them for laying more emphasis. Hence, it is clear that for women it is forbidden to look at any man except their mahrams. Many scholars have declared that it is absolutely forbidden for women to see non-Mahram men, irrespective of looking with bad intent and passion or without any intent and passion; in either case it is forbidden. For this ruling the argument, put forward in support is the hadith of Sayyidah ‘Umm Salamah (رض) which relates that once ‘Umm Salamah and Maimunah (رض) both were with the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) when suddenly ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umm Maktum (رض) ، the companion of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) who was blind, came in, and the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) asked them to go inside.

This incident had happened after the injunction of hijab for women was revealed. On this ‘Umm Salamah (رض) pleaded ` O Holy Prophet      صلى الله عليه وسلم ! But he is only blind, he can’t see us’. Then the Holy Prophet           صلى الله عليه وسلم replied ` Is it that you are blind too?’ (Abu Dawtid and Tirmidhi – Tirmidhi declared this hadith as hasan Sahih). Other jurists have ruled that there is no harm if women look at strange males without any passion. They base their argument on the hadith of Sayyidah ` A’ishah (رض) in which it is related that on an Eid day some African youths were showing their military exercises in the courtyard of the Mosque of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) and the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) was watching this game, and so was Sayyidah ` A’ishah (رض) ، under the cover of the back of the Holy Prophet    صلى الله عليه وسلم . She kept on watching the game until she herself got tired of it, but the Holy Prophet    صلى الله عليه وسلم did not object to her watching. Scholars are all unanimous on the point that looking with lust is prohibited, but looking without lust is also not a preferred act.

To look at a woman’s satr (concealable) parts by another woman without any lawful reason is also prohibited in line with the wordings of this verse. It is for the reason that concealing of satr (concealable) from all, both by men and women, is obligatory by Shariah. Man’s satr (concealable) comprises all parts of the body from navel to knees, and that of women, the whole body, except face and palms. Neither can a man see another man’s satr nor can a woman see another woman’s satr. Looking by a man at a woman’s satr or of a woman at a man’s satr is highly prohibited, and amounts to contradiction of the injunction of the Qur’anic verse which enjoins for ` turning away the eyes’. As has been explained above in detail, it is enjoined in the verse to lower the eyes or to turn the eyes away from everything which is prohibited to be seen under Islamic injunctions. To look at a woman’s satr by another woman is included in that.

وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ‌ مِنْهَا ۖ وَلْيَضْرِ‌بْنَ بِخُمُرِ‌هِنَّ عَلَىٰ جُيُوبِهِنَّ ۖ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ

And must not expose their adornment, except that which appears thereof, and must wrap their bosoms with their shawls, and must not expose their adornment except to their husbands – 24:31.

The literal meaning of zinah (زينۃ) is that with which a woman adorns herself to appear attractive. It may be nice clothes or ornaments. There is an agreement of the scholars on the point that when the clothes and ornaments are not worn by women, and are only displayed in the market place, then they are allowed to be seen by men-folk. For this reason majority of scholars have taken the meaning of zinah as those parts of the body where the objects of zinah are worn. Hence, the meaning of the verse is that it is obligatory for women not to show the parts of the body where the objects of adornments are worn. (Ruh u1-Ma’ ani). Whereas it is prohibited for women in this verse to show their zinah, two exceptions have, however, been made. One is for that to be seen and the other for those who see.

Exception from the injunction of hijab

First exception is that of مَا ظَهَرَ‌ مِنْهَا (except that which appears thereof). It means that ` Women are not permitted to show their zinah زينۃ to men, except that which is revealed on its own’. The indication is that while women are working, some parts of the body get uncovered automatically, and their covering is difficult, hence, exception of such parts is permitted. There is no sin in their uncovering. (Ibn Kathir). Which parts do really fall under this exception? On this subject Sayyidna ‘Abdullah Ibn Masud and ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas (رض) have given different explanations. Sayyidna ‘Abdullah Ibn Masud (رض) has explained that what has been excepted in مَا ظَهَرَ‌ مِنْهَا is the outer covering, such as veil or the sheet used for hijab.

These over-clothings are used to cover up the normal garments of zinah زينۃ . Hence, the meaning of the verse would be that it is not permitted to show anything from the zinah زينۃ (garments), except the over-clothings like veil, whose hiding is not possible when going out for some work. On the other hand Sayyidna ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas (رض) has interpreted that it is purported for face and palms, because when a woman is forced to go out because of necessity, it is difficult to hide face and palms while engaged in her work. Therefore, according to the explanation of Sayyidna ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (رض) it is not permitted for women even to uncover – their faces and palms before non-Mahram men.

Only the over-clothings, like veil etc. are excepted under necessity. But in accordance with the explanation of Sayyidna ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas (رض) it is permitted to uncover the face and palms before the non-Mahrams. Thus, there is a difference of opinion among the religious scholars on the issue whether it is permissible to uncover the face and palms before non-Mahrams or not. But all agree on that if there is a risk of fitnah (i.e. stimulation of illicit desires) by looking at feminine face and palms, then its uncovering is not allowed, and women are not permitted to uncover their faces and palms in that situation. All scholars also agree on that in prayers women can uncover their faces and palms and in the uncovered position their prayers will be considered valid.

Qadi Baidawi and Khazin have said in the explanation of this verse that the object of the verse appears to be that women should not let anything of their zinah زينۃ be seen, except that which gets uncovered during the process of working. In this definition the veil and sheet, as well as face and palms are all included, because when a woman goes out for some necessary work, veil and sheet are open to be seen in any case, but sometimes face and palms also get uncovered during the movements of work. Hence, their uncovering is allowed and is not regarded a sin. But it does not mean that men are allowed to see faces and palms of women unnecessarily.

Instead, it is enjoined upon men to keep their eyes lower, and if a woman is constrained to uncover her face or palms, the men should turn their eyes away, unless required to see in the performance of some lawful act. In this explanation both the traditions and interpretations are reconciled. Imam Malik (رح) has also ruled that it is not allowed to see the face and palms of a non-Maliram woman without a lawful need. Ibn Hajar Makki Shafi` i (رح) has quoted in his zawajir that Imam Shafi` i’s view is also the same that although women’s face and palms are not part of their satr, and they are allowed to pray while these parts are uncovered, yet non-Mahrams are not allowed to see them without a lawful need. However, this has already been stated above that even those scholars who have ruled it permissible to see women’s face and palms, also agree that if there is a risk of mischief, then looking at their faces is not permissible. It is well known that the center of beauty and .attraction is the face of a person, and the present age is full of temptation, mischief and lasciviousness, and people are lost in remissness. Therefore, in the present circumstances it is impermissible to uncover the face before the non-Mahram men, except for medical treatment or in emergency. Similarly, it is not allowed for the men-folk as well to look at women intentionally, unless it is required by a genuine need.

After granting exception to the opened Zinah, it is enjoined in the verse under reference وَلْيَضْرِ‌بْنَ بِخُمُرِ‌هِنَّ عَلَىٰ جُيُوبِهِنَّ (24:31) that is, ` must wrap their bosoms with their shawls’. خُمُرِ‌) Khomor is the plural of (خِمار) Khimar. It is the piece of cloth which women use to cover their head, and it also covers up the neck and bosom. جيوب (juyub) is the plural of جَيب (jayb) which means upper part of the shirt just below the neck. Since the time immemorial this part of the garment is placed over the chest of a person, hence the covering of juyub means covering of the chest or bosom. In the beginning of the verse showing of zinah زينۃ was prohibited, while in this sentence hiding of zinah زينۃ is emphasized and a specific situation is also described, the purpose of which is to eliminate an old custom of pre-Islamic days. In the pre-Islamic time women used to place the sheet on their head and let its two sides hang on their back, with the result that their neck, ears and bosom were left uncovered. Therefore, Muslim women were enjoined not to follow this, and instead were advised to place the two sides of the sheet one over the other, so that all these parts are covered. (Ibn Abi Haim from Ibn Jubair – Ruh)

The second exception in the verse relates to the men before whom no hijab is to be observed by women. There are two reasons for this exception. First, those men who are exempt from this injunction are the mahrams, hence, no risk of any trouble is expected from them. Allah Ta’ ala has put in their hearts deep respect and honour of their close female relatives, hence, there is no possibility of any mischief from them. Secondly, since the close relatives normally live all together, for the sake of convenience it is required that they do not hide from each other. But this should also be kept in mind that this exception from hiding from mahrams is exclusive to hijab, and not from the satr of women, where the exception is allowed only to husbands. Those parts o: the body of women which are included in satr, and which are not allowed to be uncovered in the prayers, are not permitted to be seen by any mahram.

Eight types of mahram men and four other types with whom no hijab is necessary are listed in this verse. In another verse of Surah Ahzab, which was revealed before this verse, only seven types of mahram are mentioned. Hence, five more types were added in the above referred verse of Surah an-Nur, which is a later revelation.


It should be noted that the word mahram is used here in its general sense, which includes husband also. In the connotation used by the scholars for this word it means the person with whom marriage is not allowed. That meaning of the word is not intended here. Let us now take up the details of the twelve exceptions mentioned in the verse under consideration: The first exception is that of husband with whom hiding of any part of the wife’s body is not required. But, looking at the private parts of wife without need is not a preferable act. Sayyidah ` A’ishah (رض) has said مَا رأي منّي ولا رأيت منہ ` Neither he saw my private parts nor did I see his’.

Second, exception is of fathers, in which category apart from father, grandfather, great grandfather are all included. Third, is the father-in-law, and husband’s grandfather and great grandfather. Fourth, are the sons. Fifth, are the husband’s sons, who may be from his other wives. Sixth, are the brothers, in which category all step-brothers whether from real-mother or from real-father are included. But cousin brothers are not part of this category. They are all non-Mahrams. Seventh, are the sons of brothers. Here also sons of step-brothers are included, but sons of cousins are not included. Eighth, are the sons of sisters, and here again sons of step-sisters are included but not those of the cousins. These are the eight categories of mahrams.

Ninth category

أَوْ نِسَائِهِنَّ (31) (or to their women). These words are used for Muslim women, before whom all such parts can be uncovered which are allowed to be uncovered before father or sons. It has already been clarified earlier that this exception relates to hijab alone and not the satr. It is for the simple reason that, what is not allowed to be uncovered before mahram men is also not permitted to be uncovered before any Muslim woman, except for medical treatment or under dire need.

By the exception made only for Muslim women it becomes obvious that it is necessary for Muslim women to cover themselves before non-Muslim women as well. Non-Muslim women are thus in the same category as that of non-Mahram men. Ibn Kathir has quoted the. explanation given by Mujchid (رح) for this verse that it is not permissible for a Muslim woman to uncover herself before non-Muslim women. But there are Sahih ahadith available which prove that non-Muslim women used to visit wives of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) ، hence, there is a difference of opinion among the jurists on the subject.

Some have declared non-Muslim women like men for the application of this injunction, while others have placed both Muslim and non-Muslim women under one category – that is covering before them is not necessary. Imam Razi (رح) has opined that the word نِسَائِهِنَّ (their women) encompasses both Muslim and non-Muslim women, and the practice of virtuous elders of making Muslim women covered before non-Muslim women was because it was desirable (but not obligatory). Mufti of Baghdad, ` Allamah ` Alusi (رح) has adopted this explanation in the Ruh ul-Ma` ani, and has remarked ھٰذا القول اوفق بالنّاس اليوم فانّہ لا يکاد يمکن احتجاب المسلمات عن الذميات (روح المعاني) This explanation is more suited to present time because it has become almost impossible for Muslim women to cover themselves before non-Muslim women. (Ruh ul-Ma` ani)

Tenth category

أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُنَّ (24:31). (or to those owned by their right hands). The general sense of the wording includes both male and female slaves and servants, but many a scholars and jurists consider that it applies only to female slaves, and not to the male slaves. Therefore, it is obligatory to be in cover before them, like other non-Mahrams. Said Ibn al-Mussayab (رح) has said expressing his final view ` Do not be under the misconception that the wordings أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُنَّ are general, and include male slaves as well. It is not so. This verse refers to only female slaves, male slaves are not included in it’. Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn Mas` ud (رض) ، Hasan al-Basri and Ibn Sirin رحمۃ اللہ عليہما have said that it is not permissible for a male slave to see his female owner’s hair (Ruh ul-Ma ani).

Now the question is that if by the wordings    أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُنَّ only female slaves were meant, then they were already included in the word    نِسَائِهِنَّ (or to their women). What was the point in describing them separately? Jassas (رح)             has answered this question by explaining that the word in its apparent sense is meant for Muslim women only, and in case there are non-Muslims also among the female slaves, they need to be separated from the rest, hence the use of this word.

Eleventh category

أَوِ التَّابِعِينَ غَيْرِ‌ أُولِي الْإِرْ‌بَةِ مِنَ الرِّ‌جَالِ (or male attendants having no { sexual} urge). Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas (رض) has explained that, here those confused and deranged type of persons are meant who have no liking and inclination toward women (Ibn Kathir). The same explanation has been put forward by Ibn Jarir quoting Abu ` Abdullah Ibn Jubair, Ibn ` Atiyyah رحمۃ اللہ عليہم etc. Therefore, those men are referred to here who do not have any lust or inclination towards women, nor are they interested in the beauty and charm of women, which they could describe before others. As against this, eunuchs do take interest in women’s special attributes; hence women should keep covered before them. There is a hadith of Sayyidah A` ishah (رض) on the subject, that an eunuch used to visit the wives of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) ، and they regarded him to be included in the category of غَيْرِ‌ أُولِي الْإِرْ‌بَةِ مِنَ الرِّ‌جَالِ (31) hence they allowed him to come in their homes. When the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) saw him and listened his conversation, he stopped him from coming inside the homes. (Ruh uI-Ma ani).

For this very reason Ibn Hajar Makki (رح) has commented in Sharah al-Minhaj that no matter a man be impotent or devoid of genital organs or be very old, he is not included in the expression غَيْرِ‌ أُولِي الْإِرْ‌بَةِ and women are required to cover themselves before all of them. However, addition of the word التَّابِعِينَ with the expression غَيْرِ‌ أُولِي الْإِرْ‌بَةِ is meant to indicate those who are confused and deranged, and enter the houses with the purpose of eating and drinking as an attendant of some guests. Such men are excluded and it is not necessary to observe hijab before them. They have been mentioned here because in fact there were some such men at that time, and they used to go inside the homes, only with the intention of eating and drinking, but the real cause of their being excepted from the rules of hijab is their being of unsound mind and having no sexual urge and not being attendants of someone.

Twelfth category

أَوِ الطِّفْلِ الَّذِينَ (or to the children who are not yet conscious of the shames of women – 31). This refers to those young children who have not yet attained puberty, and are totally ignorant of ladies special attributes, gestures and postures. Any boy who takes interest in ladies company for their special attributes is nearing his puberty, and covering before him becomes obligatory. (Ibn Kathir). Imam Jassas (رح) has explained that the word طِّفْلِ Tifl (children) refers here to those children who do not differentiate between men and women in special attributes. (Jassas has narrated this from Mujahid).

وَلَا يَضْرِ‌بْنَ بِأَرْ‌جُلِهِنَّ لِيُعْلَمَ مَا يُخْفِينَ مِن زِينَتِهِنَّ

And let them not stamp their feet in a way that the adornment they conceal is known – 24:31.

It is incumbent upon women to step so gently that no sound is made of their ornaments and none of their zinah is exposed to men.

To cause hearing of jewellery’s sound to non-Mahrams is prohibited

In the beginning of the verse it was prohibited for women to show their zinah (ornaments or garments) to non-Mahram men. At the end of it, it is reemphasized that covering of head and bosom etc. was in any way obligatory as part of hiding of zinah زينۃ ، rather any exposure of hidden zinah زينۃ by any means is also prohibited. Putting in something in the ornaments so that they produce sound, or making of sound by the touch of ornaments with each other, or putting the feet on the ground in such a manner that ornaments make sound, and the non-Mahrams listen to these sounds; they are all prohibited under the provision of this verse. In the light of this explanation many jurists have drawn the conclusion that when causing to hear the ornament’s sound is prohibited, then to cause hearing of women’s own voice would be prohibited even more strongly. Therefore, they have ruled that the voice of women is also included in their satr. For this reason it is declared in Nawazil that women should learn Qur’an from women only, as far as possible. Learning of Qur’an from men should be as a last resort only.

Sahihs of Bukhari and Muslim have quoted a hadith which says that while offering prayers if someone passes in front, he should be warned with a loud voice by saying Subhan Allah by men, but the women should not make any sound, and instead hit the back of the palm with the other for warning.

The issue of women’s voice

Is women’s voice included in their satr per se, and it’s causing to hear by non-Mahrams is prohibited? The jurists differ on this issue. In the books of Imam Shafi` i (رح) the voice of women is not included in their satr. In the case of Hanafi there are different views. Ibn Humam (رح) has included the voice in satr on the basis of statements in Nawazil. Because of this the call for prayer اذان by women is regarded makruh by Hanafi School. However, it is established by hadtth that the wives of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) used to talk to non-Mahrams from behind the curtain even after the revelation of injunction of hijab. Keeping in view all the material on this point, what seems to be the correct position is that hearing the voice of a woman is impermissible only when and where it may create a fitnah, but where there is no such apprehension, it is allowed. (Jassas). However, the prudent way for women is to take care and avoid talking to non-Mahrams, even from behind the curtains, unless necessary. (Only Allah knows best)

To go out wearing perfume

It is also included in this injunction that when women go out of the house for some need, they should not wear any perfume, because that is also their hidden zinah, and it is impermissible to cause it to reach non-Mahrams. In a Oath reported by Tirmidhi from Abu Musa al-Ash` ari (رض) those women are declared bad who go out wearing perfume.

Going out wearing decorated veil is also prohibited

Imam Jassas (رح) has commented that when Qur’an has included even the sound of ornaments as the exposure of zinah زينۃ and declared it unlawful, then going out wearing decorated veil would be unlawful more strongly. By inference it is also clear that although the face of women is not included in her satr, but it is the pivotal point of zinah زينۃ ، hence, its hiding from the non-Mahrams is essential, except in cases of need. (Jassas)

. وَتُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّـهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ

And repent to Allah 0 believers, all of you – 24:31.

In this verse first the men have been enjoined to keep their eyes low, then the women are enjoined the same. After that women are directed to cover themselves before non-Mahrams. After enjoining these injunctions separately to men and women, now a combined instruction is given that the sexual desire is a delicate thing, and it remains concealed from others. But everything, concealed or open, is completely known to Allah. Therefore, if someone has erred in following the foregoing injunctions, he should beg Allah’s pardon, feel repentant on his past deeds and make a firm resolve not to indulge in them again.

[From Ma’ariful Quran English by Mufti Taqi Uthmani]

Read Full Explanation Surah An Nur

Download Surah An Nur PDF 109 KB

Join our list

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Leave a Reply