This surah speaks about the concept of modesty in Islam. Women and men are asked to have a degree of modesty and elegance of person. This can be a contentious subject and a source of cultural confusion because modesty is a cultural as well as religious subject.
For children who see a mixture of dress styles in their communities it is useful to explain that modesty is relative.
In Islam it is recommended that women as well as men have modesty but because there is no compulsion in Islam these degrees of modesty are a value of choice not force and we are asked not only to dress modestly but to not stare at others regardless of what they wear.
I recently heard a story which illustrates this point well. The Prophet (s) was once sitting with a man that was staring at a lady. The Prophet (s) had the man lower his gaze.
Whether or not we are ourselves modestly dressed we are also asked to lower our gaze rather than to stare at others in any state of dress.
Many of these points are often overlooked when modesty in Islam is discussed and the clothing of women is critisized. For the purposes of this lesson with children I think it is well worth thinking a little more deeply about it.
Discussion question: what is modesty? When should we lower our eyes and not stare? How are Muslim people supposed to dress? Why? Are all people supposed to dress the same way? Are both women and men supposed to dress modestly? Are both women and men supposed to lower our eyes and not stare?
This surah also mentions that the Prophet Muhammad (s) is the seal of prophets.
Discussion question: what does the seal of prophets mean? Who was the first prophet? Who was the last prophet? After the Prophet Muhammad passed away whom did Allah (s) leave to guide humanity?
Image: this image is of a lady who is covered while outside. Her degree of cover and her style of cover are not meant to be a standard of modesty but an example of modesty in some communities. There are many other ways to dress and express modesty that are good and sincere. I am not suggesting that only ladies need to be modest. This illustration from surah 62 is an example of male modesty: