The Hadith about a woman displaying her charms in front of other than her Mahrams
Q 1: What is the meaning of the following Hadith:
The similitude of the one who displays her charms to other than her family is that of darkness on the Day of Judgment that has no light
There are many evidences in the Qur'an and Sunnah to the effect of prohibiting
a woman from showing her charms in front of anyone other than Mahrams (spouse or unmarriageable relatives) and for the necessity of decency and keeping away from all sources of seduction and drawing marriageable men's attention either through dress, (Part No. 17; Page No. 298) words or acts. Allah (Blessed and Exalted be He) said:
And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts) and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent (like both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer palms of hands or one eye or dress like veil, gloves, head-cover, apron, etc.), and to draw their veils all over Juyûbihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms) and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands
He (Glorified and Exalted be He) also said:
...then be not soft in speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease (of hypocrisy, or evil desire for adultery) should be moved with desire, but speak in an honourable manner.
And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance
Moreover, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
Every eye will be adulteress (referring to the man derived by sexual desire looking at a foreign woman) and if a woman wears perfume and passes by a group of men then she is to be so and so.
(i.e. An adulteress).
Al-Tirmidhy in his wording, who judged it to be Hadith Hasan [a Hadith whose chain of narration contains a narrator with weak exactitude, but is free from eccentricity or blemish] and Sahih [authentic])
Abu Dawud and
Al-Nasa'y related a Hadith with the same meaning.
It is authentically narrated in the
that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
Two are the types amongst the denizens of Hell I have not seen, the one possessing whips like the tail of an ox and they flog people with their help. (The second one) the women who would be naked in spite of their being dressed, who are seduced (to wrong paths) and seduce others with their hair (Part No. 17; Page No. 299) high like humps. These women will not get into Paradise and they will not perceive the odor of Paradise, although its fragrance can be perceived from such and such distance (from a great distance).
Actually, there are many well-known Hadiths to the same effect. As for the Hadith quoted in the question, it is
Al-Tirmidhy in his Sunan
through his own chain of narrators on the authority of
Maymunah bint Sa`d the slave-girl of the Prophet (peace be upon him) which stated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:
The similitude of she who displays her charms to other than her family is that of a darkness on the Day of Judgment that has no light.
After quoting it, Al-Tirmidhy commented, "We know the Hadith only through the chain of narrators containing
Musa ibn `Ubaydah who is Da`if (weak) in narration.
It is also related by
as beginning with
The one who displays her charms
... The Hadith.
It is also related by
Abu Al-Shaykh ibn Hayyan in his book Al-Amthal, no. (265)
and Al-Khattaby in Gharibul-Hadith. However, the core narrator according to both is
Musa ibn `Ubaydah who is judged to be Da`if in Al-Taqrib by
Ibn Hajar. Thus, the Hadith (Part No. 17; Page No. 300) is, accordingly, Da`if (a Hadith that fails to reach the status of Hasan, due to a weakness in the chain of narration or one of the narrators).
Moreover, it is quoted by
Ibn Kathir in his book Al-Tarikh, vol. 5, p. 330, while listing the slaves of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Some others related it traceable back only to
Musa ibn `Ubaydah and not to the Prophet. The Hadith deals with the woman who displays her charms to other than her husband as explained by
Al-Khattaby. Others are of the opinion that it deals with the woman who displays her charms to marriageable men who are prohibited to gaze at her, as stated in Faydul-Qadir. It is therefore quoted by
Al-Suyuty in Al-Dur Al-Manthur on commenting on the Ayah (Qur'anic verse) that reads:
...and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands
May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.