As can be seen from all the detailed analysis above, under the influence of specious statements and forced accounts from various commentators, verse 31 of Surat an-Nur is used as supposed evidence for the idea of the head-covering, which has literally turned into a taboo. It is amazing how a verse that says nothing about head covering, provides no information about the head and yet explicitly describes the covering up of the bosom can be interpreted in such a very different manner.
Something else which is quite astounding is that many people who regard the head-covering, which is never mentioned in the Qur’an, as the sole obligation in the faith never speak of verse 59 of Surat al-Ahzab, which does speak of outer garments. They have turned the head-covering, which does not appear in the Qur’an, into a commandment and yet totally ignore the commandment regarding the outer covering which does appear in the Qur'an. Let us now look at how the outer covering does indeed appear in Surat al-Ahzab and why the proponents of the head-covering choose to ignore it:
Surat al-Ahzab Verse 59
The meaning of the Arabic word in the verse, “jilbab,” is a sheet or garment that covers the body from top to bottom. This verse from Surat al-Ahzab is therefore very clearly describing a garment that covers the head and the entire body. There is one reason cited for the wearing of such a garment, and that is for Muslim women to be recognized as free and chaste.
This means that some environments are not suitable for women to be able to move round in or dress freely. The structure of a society and the moral level of the people within it may sometimes lag behind that of the civilization. Some communities condemn women who walk around not completely covered and may even go so far as to inflict verbal or physical abuse on them. Under normal conditions, Muslim women will not go to such places unless they have no choice. Yet when they have to, it is essential for Muslim women to show that they are Muslims and chaste if they are to avoid unwelcome consequences. The jilbab worn by Muslim women in such environments is just such a measure.
This is of course something a woman will decide on for herself. The democratic and modern societies we generally live in do not meet this description of unsafe places. Therefore, women in Western societies do not generally feel the need to cover themselves up; that being said, there may also be people in such societies that do indeed pose a threat to women. So if a woman does not think she is safe she may well choose to cover herself up, even in a free Western society. The essential condition mentioned in the verse is to prevent Muslim women from being misjudged according to the way she dresses and oppressed.