Hijab and Christianity

Table of Content:

Old Testament

A) Uncovering the head of suspested Adulterous women

Reference: Numbers 5:18King James Version (KJV)

Read Online: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers+5%3A18&version=KJV

Original Text: And the priest shall set the woman before the Lord, and uncover the woman’s head, and put the offering of memorial in her hands, which is the jealousy offering: and the priest shall have in his hand the bitter water that causeth the curse

Exegesis/Tafsir/ Commentary on this verse by Christian Scholars

a)      W.Jones’s commentry

Read Online: http://biblehub.com/sermons/auth/jones/the_trial_of_the_suspected_wife.htm

Original Text: The Trial of the Suspected Wife

Numbers 5:11-31

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,…… In like manner the “uncovering of the woman’s head” was indicative of the loss of woman’s best ornament, chastity and fidelity in the marriage relation.

b)      Clarke’s Commentary

Read Online: http://biblehub.com/commentaries/clarke/numbers/5.htm

Original Text: Uncover the woman’s head – To take off a woman’s veil, and expose her to the sight of men, would be considered a very great degradation in the East. To this St. Paul appears to allude, 1 Corinthians 11:5, 1 Corinthians 11:6,1 Corinthians 11:10.

B)     Rebekah’s veil:

Reference: Genesis 24:64-67New International Version (NIV)

Read Online: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=GEN+24%3A64-67&version=NIV;

Original Text: 64 Rebekah also looked up and saw Isaac. She got down from her camel 65 and asked the servant, “Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?”

“He is my master,” the servant answered. So she took her veil and covered herself

66 Then the servant told Isaac all he had done. 67 Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.

2)    New Testament:

Reference: 1 Corinthians 11:3-10 King James Version (KJV)

Online Read: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+11%3A3-10&version=KJV

Original Text: 3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. 7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.8 For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. 9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. 10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.

3)    St Tertullian’s “on the veiling of virgins”

Tertullian lived in the ancient city of Carthage in what is now Tunisia, sometime around 200AD. Tertullian was the first Christian writer to write in Latin and was described three centuries later as writing ‘first, and best, and incomparably’, of all the writers to do so. (by the unknown author of ‘Praedestinatus’). (from http://www.tertullian.org/readfirst.htm )

He wrote his  treatise “De virginibus velandis (On the veiling of virgins)” which is included in “The Ante-Nicene Fathers”, subtitled “The Writings of the Fathers Down to A.D. 325“, is a collection of books in 10 volumes (one volume is indexes) containing English translations of the majority of Early Christian writings.

The theme of this treatise was “Unmarried women must wear the same headdress as other adult women in church.” (from http://www.tertullian.org/works/de_virginibus_velandis.htm#summary )

In chapter 1 verse 1


Original Text: Having already undergone the trouble peculiar to my opinion, I will show in Latin also that it behoves our virgins to be veiled from the time that they have passed the turning-point of their age: that this observance is exacted by truth, on which no one can impose prescription—-no space of times, no influence of persons, no privilege of regions.

In Chapter 17 Verse 6 he records that an angel has recently appeared to a woman, and rebuked her for being unveiled.


“For a certain sister of ours was thus addressed by an angel, beating her neck, as if in applause: “Elegant neck, and deservedly bare! it is well for thee to unveil thyself from the head right down to the loins, lest withal this freedom of thy neck profit thee not!” And, of course, what you have said to one you have said to all.”


Every public exposure of an honourable virgin is (to her) a suffering of rape: and yet the suffering of carnal violence is the less (evil), because it comes of natural office. But when the very spirit itself is violated in a virgin by the abstraction of her covering, she has learnt to lose what she used to keep.


If on account of men45 they adopt a false garb, let them carry out that garb fully even for that end;46 and as they veil their head in presence of heathens, let them at all events in the church conceal their virginity, which they do veil outside the church. They fear strangers: let them stand in awe of the brethren too; or else let them have the consistent hardihood to appear as virgins in the streets as well, as they have the hardihood to do in the churches. I will praise their vigour, if they succeed in selling aught of virginity among the heathens withal


Arabia’s heathen females will be your judges, who cover not only the head, but the face also, so entirely, that they are content, with one eye free, to enjoy rather half the light than to prostitute the entire face. A female would rather see than be seen. [5] And for this reason a certain Roman queen said that they were most unhappy, in that they could more easily fall in love than be fallen in love with; whereas they are rather happy, in their immunity from that second (and indeed more frequent) infelicity, that females are more apt to be fallen in love with than to fall in love. [6] And the modesty of heathen discipline, indeed, is more simple, and, so to say, more barbaric.


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