What do the words “normally shown” in 24:31 mean?


We read in 24:31,

And say to the believing women to lower their gaze and to guard their private parts and not to show their beauty spots (adornments) except that of it which is normally shown.

What exactly are women’s adornments? Is a woman’s hair not an adornment?
Which adornments are normally shown?
Do these words instruct women to cover their hair?


The word Zinat in 24:31 means adornment, and adornment is anything that adds beauty.
Indeed the hair is one of the adornments on a woman’s body, so are other parts of the body including the woman’s eyes and lips!
So, should women cover all their body including the face?

When we read the words in 24:31 we find that this is not what God is saying.
God said that women can show what is "normally shown" of their adornments.
To determine which adornments would fall under the category of "normally shown" for a woman, it is necessary to understand why the human being (man or woman) covers any part of their body in the first place.

1- The prime reason is simply to keep warm.
2- The second reason is for covering the private parts since the human being has an instinctive tendency to shy from showing the private parts.
3- The third reason for covering is in compliance with God’s words that righteousness is the best garment (7:26). A righteous woman will want to cover any parts of her body that cause sexual arousal in the opposite sex.

Any part of the body that does not relate to any of the above three reasons would therefore be permissible to show as it would fall under what is
"normally shown".

When we come to the woman's hair, we can say that hair that is styled in a decent non vulgar manner does not cause sexual arousal in men. If any man says other than that then he is a total pervert and his input must be treated accordingly. In fact, it can be argued that there can be much more sexual arousal in a woman’s eyes and lips than her hair.
It follows that the words in 24:31 do not instruct women to cover their hair.
It is worthy to remember that there is not one verse in all the Quran which contains a clear command from God for women to cover their hair.