What are the minimum requirements for purdah?
What is the minimum a woman is required to do who wants to observe purdah?
Islam has prescribed a set of rules for interaction between men and women. In my opinion all these rules combined together constitute what is commonly known as 'purdah', and therefore I will elaborate on all these rules:
1. Muslim men and women are not to gaze at each other in suggestive ways in mixed gatherings.
2. Contact with the members of the opposite sex should be minimal and it should take place only when necessary.
3. Muslim men and women must not attract each others towards themselves. As a result of this arrangement, women are further required to not display their beauty and ornaments, except that which is normally visible. In addition, they should cover their bodies, especially the chests, and should also cover their heads in order to comply with the spirit of the prescribed behavior. A woman's dress should be such that her body's skin and shape do not show. Similarly Muslim men should also dress appropriately in order to comply with these rules.
It needs to be said that these directives are laid down so men and women do not view each other as objects of sexual pleasure, and in order to purify their intentions towards the opposite sex and to cleanse their souls.
This response was prepared by Muhammad Omer Iqbal.