Paradise is the abode of bliss and not the abode of responsibilities. Allaah has created in it delights that no eye has seen, no ear has heard and it has not crossed the mind of man. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do” [al-Sajdah 32:17].
The Muslim should not ask too many questions about what is in Paradise, with regard to matters that he may think of as restrictions or hardships. Paradise is a different world that has nothing in common with this world except names only; the realities of things are completely different. We should not go out of our way to compare things in Paradise with their counterparts in this world.
The main thing mentioned with regard to the relationship between men and non-mahram women is lowering the gaze and not looking at the share that others have of the delights of Paradise. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Wherein both will be Qaasiraat‑ut‑Tarf [chaste females (wives) restraining their glances, desiring none except their husbands], whom no man or jinni has touched before them” [al-Rahmaan 55:56]. This refers to al-hoor al-‘iyn; does it indicate that this applies to other women too? This is a matter that is subject to further examination.
Al-Haafiz Ibn Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
“restraining their glances” means that they lower their gaze and avoid looking at men other than their husbands, so they do not think that there is anything in Paradise that is more handsome than their husbands. This was stated by Ibn ‘Abbaas, Qataadah, ‘Ata’ al-Khuraasaani and Ibn Zayd. And it was narrated that one of them will say to her husband: By Allaah I do not think that there is anything in Paradise finer than you, or that there is anything in Paradise dearer to me than you; praise be to Allaah Who has made you for me and made me for you. End quote.
Tafseer al-Qur’aan al-‘Azeem (7/504).
With regard to wearing the khimaar or head cover, we have not come across any report which speaks of that in detail, rather there is a reference to it in a hadeeth narrated by Anas ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “To go out and come back (in jihad) for the sake of Allaah is better than this world and everything in it. The space of the bow of one of you in Paradise or the space of his whip is better than this world and everything in it. If a woman from among the people of Paradise were to look out over the people of this world, everything between them would be illuminated and filled with fragrance, and her kerchief on her head is better than this world and everything in it.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (hadeeth no. 2796).
Abu ‘Ubayd al-Qaasim ibn Salaam (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
Kerchief means the khimar (head cover). End quote.
Ghareeb al-Hadeeth (1/166).
But that is not sufficient to be certain that the women of Paradise will be obliged to cover their heads, for three reasons:
Some scholars interpret the word naseef (translated above as kerchief) as referring to the band that a woman wraps around her head, which does not cover the head, rather women wear it for adornment.
The context of the hadeeth does not reflect that meaning, because what is meant in the hadeeth is to emphasise the extreme beauty of the womenfolk of the people of Paradise and the hoor al-‘iyn, such that the smallest thing worn by them is better than this world and everything in it. The focus is not the kerchief itself. There is another report in which it says: “and her crown on her head…”
Moreover this casual mention of the kerchief does not mean that all the women wear it or at all times and in all places, and in front of all people. To understand it in such general terms requires special evidence, which we cannot find.
Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
The words “her kerchief” in the hadeeth are understood to refer to the khimaar. This interpretation comes from Qutaybah and was narrated by al-Ismaa’eeli in another isnaad from Ismaa’eel ibn Ja’far.
In the report of al-Tabaraani it says, “her crown on her head.”
Abu ‘Ubayd al-Harawi narrated that the naseef (kerchief) is the wrapper that a woman wears on her head.
Al-Azhari said: It is like the band that a woman wraps around her head. End quote.
Fath al-Baari (11/442).
And Allaah knows best.