Espousing the head-covering but never mentioning the “jilbab”
To move on to the subject of the head-covering, a woman can say, “The head-covering appears in the Qur’an and I see it in verse 59 of Surat al-Ahzab,” and wear one if she wishes. By doing this, she prefers the head-covering to a full covering and interprets covering up in that sense. Yet someone who says, “The head-covering appears in the Qur’an and I see it in verse 31 of Surat al-Nur,” is not telling the truth. This is a danger, because our Lord refers to those who regard lawful things as unlawful and distort the verses of the Qur’an. It may be a grave offense in the Sight of God to claim that a commandment that does not appear in the Qur’an is actually in it, even though one is well aware of the truth.
The surprising thing is that some people who regard the head-covering as a literal symbol of the faith and defend it in no uncertain terms almost never mention the reference to the full covering in the Qur’an.
Indeed, some people who measure religious devotion in terms of head covering and who measure superiority in terms of head covering - even though God says superiority lies in piety - never mention the real commandment about the jilbab in the Qur’an. Although the Qur’an says nothing about the head-covering but contains an explicit commandment about the jilbab, they prefer to espouse something which is not in the Qur’an. It is quite astonishing how the head-covering can mean so much in people’s eyes while nothing is said about the jilbab.
If she so wishes, a woman can say, “The practice of head-covering does appear in the Qur'an and I can see it in verse 59 of Surat al- Ahzab,” and choose to cover her head. She may prefer the headscarf to covering the whole body and interpret covering up in that way. However, it is untrue to say that this is what verse 31 of Surat al-Ahzab commands because the Qur'an says nothing about the headscarf. The reference to wearing “jilbab” in verse 59 of Surat al-Ahzab is entirely at the discretion of the Muslim woman. Since women feel safe in democratic and civilized societies, they do not generally feel the need to wear the jilbab and cover up entirely.