The Purpose of  the Women's Veil in the Quran and Bible


Bassam Zawadi

The command to wear the veil is in both the Quran and the Bible. 

However, the reason for the command is different when you compare the two books. 

Let's see what the Quran says:

Surah 33:59

Prophet! Tell thy wives and thy daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them (when they go abroad). That will be better, so that they may be recognized and not annoyed. Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.

So the Quran says that women should wear the veil so that they can be recognized (as pious Muslim women), and then no one would bother flirting or annoying them. Dr. Zakir Naik illustrates this nicely in an example:

Example of twin sisters

Suppose two sisters who are twins, and who are equally beautiful, walk down the street. One of them is attired in the Islamic hijaab i.e. the complete body is covered, except for the face and the hands up to the wrists. The other sister is wearing western clothes, a mini skirt or shorts. Just around the corner there is a hooligan or ruffian who is waiting for a catch, to tease a girl. Whom will he tease? The girl wearing the Islamic Hijaab or the girl wearing the skirt or the mini? Naturally he will tease the girl wearing the skirt or the mini. Such dresses are an indirect invitation to the opposite sex for teasing and molestation. The Qur'an rightly says that hijaab prevents women from being molested. (

Let's compare this with the Bible:

1 Corinthians 11:3-12

3Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. 4Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. 5And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head-it is just as though her head were shaved. 6If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head. 7A man ought not to cover his head,[a] since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. 8For man did not come from woman, but woman from man;  9neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10For this reason, and because of the angels the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head.

So we see that since the man is the glory of God and the woman is the glory of man, she has to wear the veil as a sign of authority. Her wearing the veil shows that she is subjected to authority by the man. 

  power authority, i.e. the sign of the husband's authority. (Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition), Commentary on 1     Corinthians 11:10, Source

Also, notice what verse 10 says, "and because of the angels." A woman has to wear the veil because of the angels. What does this mean? Some commentators don't know:

What this means, I do not yet understand. (The 1599 Geneva Study Bible, Commentary on 1 Corinthians 11:10, Source

Because of the angels. This clause has puzzled the critics. The idea probably is: "There should be no violation of decorum, such as a bareheaded woman in a public assembly would be, lest it offend the ministering angels which are always present, though unseen. (People's New Testament, Commentary on 1 Corinthians 11:10, Source)

However, others have given some explanations:

because of the angels, that is, say some, because of the evil angels. (Matthew Henry Complete Commentary
on the Whole Bible, Commentary on 1 Corinthians 11, Source)

Who are these evil angels? The next commentary elaborates more:

De Veland. Virg. c. 7. understands them of evil angels, and that a woman should cover her head in time of worship, lest they should lust after her; though much rather the reason should be, lest they should irritate and provoke lust in others: (John Gill's Exposition of the Bible, Commentary on 1 Corinthians 11:10, Source)

As we see, there is an opinion that the woman should wear the veil so that the angels won't come down and have sex with them! 

Therefore, women should cover their heads in order not to tempt the angels to come down and take them as wives, and this is supported by:

Genesis 6: 1-4

When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. 3 Then the LORD said, "My Spirit will not contend with [a] man forever, for he is mortal [b] ; his days will be a hundred and twenty years." 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days-and also afterward-when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown. 

This Christian thinks that the 'sons of God' being referred to in this verse are the angels. Some Christians try to refute this; however, they have been refuted back, as can be seen here

You also have:

2 Peter 2:4

4For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell,[a] putting them into gloomy dungeons[b] to be held for judgment;

The commentary of this verse states:

 and of Aza and Azael, angels, who, they say, sinned by lusting after the daughters of men, they frequently affirm, that God cast them down from their holiness (John Gill's Exposition of the Bible, Commentary on 2 Peter 2:4, Source) 

Jude 1:6

And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home-these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.

Here is the commentary of this verse:

The sinning of angels can be thought of in two main ways: in the original rebellion of some angels against God, and in the sin of the "sons of God" described in Genesis 6:1-2

i. Genesis 6:1-2: Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose.
c. This describes some type of sexual union between these sinning angels (spirit beings) and willing humans

d. It is useless to speculate on the nature of this union. Whether it was brought about by something like demon possession, or whether angels have power permanently to assume the form of men is not revealed.

e. How can we know there was something sexual here? Jude tells us in verse 7: in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh - as in Sodom and Gomorrah, there was an unnatural sexual union

i. Understand that the occult is filled with sexual associations with the demonic, and there are those today who actively pursue such associations

ii. It goes without saying that the blood of Christ can free anyone from such terrible experiences, and that a child of God has a unique protection in such matters

f. God judged these wicked angels, setting them in everlasting chains; apparently some fallen angels are in bondage while others are unbound and active among mankind as demons.
i. By not keeping their proper place, they are now kept in chains - their sinful pursuit of freedom has put them in bondage

ii. Those who insist on freedom to do whatever they want are like these angels - so free that they are bound with everlasting chains! True freedom comes from obedience.

iii. Their sin has separated them from the presence of God; so will your sin! And, if angels cannot break the chains sin has brought upon them, what make you think you can? You need Christ to set you free!

g. The warning: your spiritual status doesn't matter; you must still continue to the end
i. Angels who once enjoyed marvelous intimacy in God's immediate presence are now banished from Him; their high spiritual status wasn't enough

ii. There will be many in hell of "high spiritual status;" all of that will be of no help on judgment day  (David Guzik, Study Guide for Jude Chapter 1, Source)


So the Quran tells women to wear the veil for purposes of recognition, safety, and honor, and the Bible tells women to wear the veil so that it can show that they are subjected to man in authority and so that they should not tempt the angels to lust after them. Which book degrades the woman by ordering her to wear the veil?

Return to Women in the Bible

Return to Homepage

HomeWhat's new?ChristianityRefutations Contact Me