A hijab is a covering for the head and shoulders that is worn by Muslim women. While the hijab is common attire among female followers of Islam, there are few mentions of a hijab in the Quran. Many Islamic scholars interpret the verses that are in the Quran to mean a woman must cover her head, while other scholars argue against the interpretation. Other books, such as the Hadith of Sahih Bukhari, do mention that a woman must cover her head, but these books are not part of the Quran.
One specific verse in the Quran, when taken literally in translation, says that women must cover their ornaments, such as jewelry, and cover their bosoms. It also gives several rules for how men and women should interact so as not to betray the modesty of the women or provoke desire in the men. While mentioning covering the bosom, it does not specifically say that a woman must cover her head.
What the passage does say is that a woman must not display her beauty any more than what is ordinary. This is the phrase about wearing a hijab in the Quran that is often interpreted to mean a woman must cover her head or face. Some scholars argue that this is intended to mean the beauty of a woman’s face must be covered. Others say it means only that a woman should not go out wearing makeup, jewelry and other items that might make her appear less modest or that might make men desire her.
Another verse about wearing a hijab in the Quran speaks about how men should interact with the wives of the prophet. It talks about how, when guests in the house of the prophet must ask for something from one of his wives, they should do so from behind a screen, which some interpret to mean a hijab. There are at least two sides to interpreting this passage. The first side believes the passage actually applies to all wives and that the screen is a hijab. Others believe the screen mentioned is either an actual standing screen or that the screen is a metaphorical divide between men and women more akin to respect.
Of the three passages said to be about wearing a hijab in the Quran, all are debated by scholars. Although the meaning of whether they indicate the wearing of a hijab in public is unresolved, there is agreement that they do mean that unmarried men and women should avert their eyes from each other and show respect. Whether the passages about restraint in appearance mean for Muslim women to cover their head remains a point that is debated in the early 21st century.