in category Dress Codes

For a woman newly converted to Islam, what dress code is acceptable?

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I have recently converted to Islam. Before I had been submerged in the Catholic and Christian faiths while growing up. I do not live in a predominantly Muslim county. I live in Zimbabwe, Africa, where you hardly see Muslim woman dressed in their fully covered dress and hijab.
Have been researching and have found that it states that a woman must dress conservatively/modestly according to her culture. My culture is not Arabic. Therefore.... Am I able to still dress normally? Trousers/long skirt/dress and long sleeved to short sleeved top? No hijab? So most of the body besides the head and part of the arms are visible?
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In a Nutshell: Post-pubescent Muslim women are expected to cover everything apart from face and hands when in public or in the presence of those who are non-mahrams (legally permitted to marry). This applies to converts as well as those who have grown up in an Islamic tradition.

The rulings relating to dress codes are found in the Qur'an and include the following verses:

“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, and to draw their veils over their bosoms and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband’s fathers, or their sons, or their husband’s sons, or their brothers or their brother’s sons, or their sister’s sons, or their women (i.e. their sisters in Islam), or the (female) slaves whom their right hands possess, or old male servants who lack vigour, or small children. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment.” (Qur'an 24:31)

Women past childbearing refers to those who no longer menstruate.

“And as for women past childbearing who do not expect wedlock, it is no sin on them if they discard their (outer) clothing in such a way as not to show their adornment. But to refrain (i.e. not to discard their outer clothing) is better for them.” (Qur'an 24:60)

“O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks over their bodies. That will be better, that they should be known (as respectable women) so as not to be annoyed.” (Qur'an 33:59)

The jilbab and khimar are ordained as the dress for post-pubescent women to be worn in public or in front of non-mahrams, those they are legally permitted to marry. The jilbab is a cloak that covers the body from shoulders down to ankles, and the khimar is a headscarf that covers the hair, ears and neck. This is the general ruling that applies to Muslim women and was adopted across most regions of the Muslim world throughout its history.

A’isha, the Prophet’s wife narrated:

“I have not seen women better than those of al-Ansar (the inhabitants of Medina): when this verse was revealed, all of them got hold of their aprons, tore them apart, and used them to cover their heads...” (Bukhari)
"The wife of Rifa'a al-Qurazi came to Allah's Messenger while I was sitting...and she was showing the fringe of her jilbab." (Bukhari)

Umm Atiyya narrated:

"We were ordered to bring out our menstruating women and screened women to the religious gatherings and invocation of the Muslims on the two Eid festivals. These menstruating women were to keep away from the musalla. A woman asked, "O Messenger of Allah! What about one who does not have a jilbab?". He said, "Let her borrow the jilbab of her companion." (Bukhari)

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