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Hijab

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Sources for veiling

My View

Veiling

One of the most misunderstood concepts of Islam is the wearing of the veil, (In Islam, it is called Hijab.)  This concept was discussed under misconceptions, but I will discuss it here in more detail.

It is believed by many people who have no knowledge of Islam that women are required to veil (cover their face and hair).  Women are admonished in the Qur'an to wear Hijab (cover).  What is Hijab? It means that the woman should cover all of her body down to her wrists and ankles and wear opaque loose-fitting clothing.  She is also admonished to cover her hair.  Hijab is not only a way of dressing but it is also a way conducting oneself.   Covering the face as it is practiced  in some Islamic countries is cultural rather than religious.   

 

 

 

 

The parts of the dress should include Khimar (head cover), Jilbab (overgarment) and [Niqaab (veil) according to some scholars]

 

Clarification  July 21, 2000

I wish to make a clarification on the statement that covering the face is cultural rather than religious.  In the time of the Prophet (PBUH) it was advised that the when speaking to the wives (i.e. of the Prophet [PBUH}) it was to be done from behind a screen.  

In his book Islamic Dress Code For Women, Mahmoud Ridha Murad sets these as the conditions of veiling.

 

  1. The outer garment should be long, loose and opaque.

  2. It should hide the entire body of the woman starting from her head, hair, face, hands and bosom down to the toe of her feet.

  3. Her anklets and bracelets should not tinkle to allure men towards her.

  4. It must be plain and close in texture not to draw attention to the woman.  Also, it should not be decorated with ostentatious colors and designs.

  5. It must not be transparent that reveals the woman's shape or her inner clothes.

  6. It should not be designed to resemble the clothing of the disbelieving women.

  7. It should not be similar to men's outfits in color or design as the Prophet (PBUH) is reported as having said:

"Allah condemns those men who act in a womanlike manner, and those women who behave or act in a man like manner."

  1. It should not be perfumed at all as it not permissible for the Muslim woman to wear perfume while leaving home for an outing.  The Prophet (PBUH) has said:

     

    "Every eye is adulterous and when a woman perfumes herself and passes a company (of men) she is such and such (meaning adulterous)." (At-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud )

Although, there is some difference in opinion among scholars as to whether the woman should veil her face or not, it is agreed that the minimum that should be covered is her head (i.e. hair), neck, bosom, and her entire body to her wrists and to her ankles.  This is to be within Islamic standards of dress.  

 

In her book The Muslim Woman's Hand Book, Huda Khattab says this:

 

"There is a certain amount of debate among scholars as to the extent of the covering.  Some (mostly Shafi'i and Hanabali) favor covering the face and hands too.  The Malaki Madhhab considers the whole body - except the face and hands - to be 'Awrah [that which must be covered].  The Hanafis suggest likewise; later Hanafi scholars have allowed uncovering the feet too, but other scholars have suggested that this is an unfounded ruling."1

The extent of covering (i.e. the face) should be the woman's choice and should not be forced on her.  When a person is forced to do something, they will often resent it and will find ways of circumventing it.  We have only to look at the situation in Iran (Reader's Digest May 2000 article Rebels With A Veil).2  

 

 

A second point  that I wish to make is that the wearing of Hijab is a means by which a Muslimah (a Muslim woman) is identified.  It sets us apart, and any Muslim man who sees a woman wearing Hijab should immediately understand that this is a woman who should be treated with the utmost respect.  Now, you the reader, may ask why should it make any difference what a woman wears?  Unfortunately, in the society of man, it does.  Let me present you with an example of what I mean. 

A pretty woman is walking down the street.  She is wearing an outfit that brings attention to the fact that she is attractive.  It may be a short skirt or a form fitting suit.  The typical male reaction would be whistles, catcalls or leering looks etc.  For a time, this may make the woman feel special, but after awhile it becomes an annoyance because she is being looked at as an object not a person.

Now, let us consider the same situation but the pretty woman is now wearing  conservative clothing and she covers her hair with a scarf.  What would be the male response now? 

As much as we would like to think that we live in a society where everyone is equal, this is not the case.  Men as a rule will continue to think of women as objects of desire, servants, or baby factories. 

In Islam, this is not the case as set down in the Qur'an.  The wearing of Hijab is Allah's way of reminding men that women are people and should be treated accordingly.  An unfortunate circumstance but very much a fact of life

 

 

 

 

In these next two sections I have listed some verses from the Qur'an and Hadith dealing with covering.

 

Qur'an

"And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their Furuj (private parts),and disclose not their adornments except only that which is apparent, and that they should draw their head covers over their Juyub (bosoms), and that they disclose not their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, or the fathers of their husbands, or their sons, or the sons of their brothers, or the sons of their sisters, or their women, or what their hands posses, or such of male attendants who have no sexual desire or young children who have not attained the knowledge of women's private parts.  And that they should not stamp their feet lest what they hide of their ornaments be known.  And turn you to all together, O believers that you may be successful." (24:31)

 

"O Prophet!  Tell your wives and your daughters, and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies, that is more proper that they may be distinguished and not molested.  And Allah is Most Forgiving and Most Merciful." (33:59)

 

"And when you ask them for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen, that is purer for your hearts and their hearts." (33:53)

This is the verse that scholars will often use when explaining the veiling of the face.  It is interpreted as meaning that nothing should be visible.

Hadith

Abdullah, son of `Umar bin Khattab reported that Allah's Messenger (PBUH)said:

 

"On the Day of Resurrection,      will not look at the man who trails along his garment with pride."  There upon Umm Salamah asked, What should women do with their garments?"  The Prophet (PBUH) said:  "They should lower their garments a hand span," (half their shins down), Umm Salamah further said, "Women's feet would still be uncovered."  Allah's Messenger (PBUH) replied:  "Let them lower them a forearm's length, but no longer.

 

Asma said: "We used to cover our faces from men." (Al-Hakim)

 

The Prophet (PBUH) said:  "Allah, Most High is Ha'yeii (most Bashful), Sit'teer (provides means that shield against the uncovering of disobedient acts), He loves Haya, (Bashfulness) and Sitr (Shielding; Covering)."

Collected by Abu Dawoud, An-Nissa'ee, Al-Baihaqee, Ahmed, and in Saheeh An-Nissa'ee.

Sources in support of veiling of the face

The following sources were sent to me via e-mail and I have felt it appropriate to include these.  I leave it up to the reader to decide the issue.

 

Proof for covering the face, taken from this page: http://members.tripod.com/ibnfarooq/niqaab.htm
 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:
Just to make it clear the point of this page is NOT to say if a woman doesn't wear niqaab she will go to Jahunum, as we know there are two valid view points on the Hijab. One view held by the Ullima is that the niqaab (covering the face) is Wajib (compulsory) and other Ullima hold the view it is Mustahab (recommended and the best thing to do but not compulsory).  This page is to explain to those people who say things like "The niqaab is not in Islam or is not important" or is "bad for dawa" these people should understand that the Niqaab is from the Qur'an and Hadith and even if you hold the view of it not being Wajib it is still THE BEST thing and recommended and anyone who wears it is to be respected. And is anyone discourages the wearing of Niqaab or denies it being in Islam or makes fun of someone who wears it they should fear ALLAH and take their shahadah over.

And ALLAH (SWT) knows best. 
 

Shih Al-Bukhari Volume 6, Book 60, Hadith # 282
Narrated Safiya bint Shaiba (Radhiallaahu Ánha)  "Aisha (Radhiallaahu Ánha) used to say: "When (the Verse): "They should draw their veils over their necks and bosoms," was revealed, (the ladies) cut their waist sheets at the edges and covered their faces with the cut pieces.

Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 1, Book 8, Hadith # 368
Narrated 'Aisha (Radhiallaahu Ánha) Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) used to offer the Fajr prayer and some believing women covered with their veiling sheets used to attend the Fajr prayer with him and then they would return to their homes unrecognized .  Shaikh Ibn Uthaimin in tafseer of this Hadith explains "This Hadith makes it clear that the Islamic dress is concealing of the entire body as explained in this Hadith.  Only with the complete cover including the face and hands can a woman not be recognized.  This was the understanding and practice of the Sahaba and they were the best of group, the noblest in the sight of Allah (SWT) with the most complete Imaan and noblest of characters.  so if the practice of the women of the sahaba was to wear the complete veil then how can we deviate from their path? (Ibn Uthaimin in the book "Hijab" page # 12 and 13)

Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 1, Book 4, Hadith # 148
Narrated 'Aisha (Radhiallaahu Ánha): The wives of Rasulullah ( Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) used to go to Al-Manasi, a vast open place (near Baqia at Medina) to answer the call of nature at night. 'Umar used to say to the Prophet "Let your wives be veiled," but Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) did not do so. One night Sauda bint Zam'a the wife of the Prophet went out at 'Isha' time and she was a tall lady. 'Umar addressed her and said, "I have recognized you, O Sauda." He said so, as he desired eagerly that the verses of Al-Hijab (the observing of veils by the Muslim women) may be revealed. So Allah revealed the verses of "Al-Hijab" (A complete body cover excluding the eyes).

Tirmidhi with a SAHIH chain reports...
"Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said “All of a woman is ‘awrah.” (Shaikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid quotes this Hadith narrated by Tirmidhi with a Sahih isnaad and says this is a direct Hadith from Rasulullah(Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam ) and has made it clear that a woman must cover everything including the face and hands!)

Abu Dawood Book 14, Hadith # 2482
Narrated Thabit ibn Qays (Radhiallaahu Ánhu): A woman called Umm Khallad came to the Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) while she was veiled. She was searching for her son who had been killed (in the battle) Some of the Companions of the Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said to her: You have come here asking for your son while veiling your face? She said: If I am afflicted with the loss of my son, I shall not suffer the loss of my modesty.  Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said: You will get the reward of two martyrs for your son. She asked: Why is that so, oh Prophet of Allah? He replied: Because the people of the Book have killed him.

Abu Dawood Book 32, Hadith # 4090
Narrated Umm Salamah, Ummul Mu'minin (Radhiallaahu Ánha): When the verse "That they should cast their outer garments over their persons" was revealed, the women of Ansar came out as if they had crows over their heads by wearing outer garments.

Abu Dawood Book 32, Hadith # 4091
Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu'minin (Radhiallaahu Ánha)  "May Allah have mercy on the early immigrant women. When the verse "That they should draw their veils over their bosoms" was revealed, they tore their thick outer garments and made veils from them.  Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalanee, who is known as Ameer Al-Mu'mineen in the field of Hadith, said that the phrase, "covered themselves", in the above Hadith means that they "covered their faces". [Fath Al-Bari].

Imaam Malik's MUWATTA Book 20 Hadith # 20.5.16
Yahya related to me from Malik from Hisham ibn Urwa that Fatima bint al-Mundhir (Radhiallaahu Ánha) said, "We used to veil our faces when we were in Ihram in the company of Asma bint Abi Bakr As-Siddiq (Radhiallaahu Ánha). "This again proves that not only the wives of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) wore the Niqaab and that even though in Ihram women are not supposed to wear Niqaab but if men are there they still have to cover the face.

Abu Dawood Book 10, Hadith # 1829
Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu'minin:  (Radhiallaahu Ánha) who said, "The riders would pass us while we were with the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam).  When they got close to us, we would draw our outer cloak from our heads over our faces.  When they passed by, we would uncover our faces.
Recorded by Ahmad, Abu Dawood and Ibn Majah, Narrated 'Aisha. [In his work Jilbab al-Marah al-Muslimah, al-Albani states (p. 108) that it is hasan due to corroborating evidence.  Also, in a narration from Asma {who was not the wife of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam)}, Asma also covered her face at all times in front of men.]  Shaikh Ibn Uthaimin in his tafseer of this hadith explains "This hadith indicates the compulsion of the concealing of the faces as an order of Shariah, because during the Ihram it is "wajib" (compulsory) NOT to wear the Niqaab.  So if it was only mustahab (recommended) to cover the face then Aisha and Asma (Radhiallaahu Ánha) would have taken the wajib over the mustahab.  It is well known by the Ullima that a wajib can only be left because of something that is also wajib or fardh.  So Aisha and Asma (Radhiallaahu Ánha) covering the face even in Ihram in the presence of strange (ghairMahraam) men shows that they understood this to be an act that was wajib or fardh or they would not have covered the face in Ihraam.

Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 7, Book 72, Hadith # 715
Narrated 'Ikrima (Radhiallaahu Ánhu)narrates "Rifa'a divorced his wife whereupon 'AbdurRahman bin Az-Zubair Al-Qurazi married her. 'Aisha said that the lady (came), wearing a green veil." It is a very long hadith but the point is the women of Sahaba wore the full veil.

Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 1, Book 8, Hadith # 347
Narrated Um 'Atiya (Radhiallaahu Ánha) We were ordered (by Rasulullah '(Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) to bring out our menstruating women and veiled women in the religious gatherings and invocation of Muslims on the two 'Eid festivals. These menstruating women were to keep away from their Musalla. A woman asked, "O Allah's Apostle ' What about one who does not have a veil (the veil is the complete cover with only one eye or two eyes showing)?" He said, "Let her share the veil of her companion." Shaikh Ibn Uthaimin in tafseer of this hadith explained "This Hadith proves that the general norm amongst the women of the Sahaba (Radhiallaahu Ánhuma) was that no woman would go out of her home without a cloak, fully concealed and if she did not posses a veil, then it was not possible for her to go out.  it was for this reason that when Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) ordered them to go to the Place for Eid Salah, they mentioned this hindrance.  As a result Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said that someone should lend her a veil, but did not say they could go out without it.  If Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) did not allow women to go to a place like the Eid Salah, which has been ordered by Shariah for women and men alike, then how can people let women to out to market places and shopping centers without where there is open intermingling of the sexes, without a veil.  (by Shaikh Ibn Uthaimin in the book "Hijaab" page # 11)

Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 8, Book 76, Hadith # 572
In the end of this very long hadith it quotes Anas (Radhiallaahu Ánho) rates from Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) "and if one of the women of Paradise looked at the earth, she would fill the whole space between them (the earth and the heaven) with light, and would fill whatever is in between them, with perfume, and the veil of her face is better than the whole world and whatever is in it." This show that even the women of Junnah have veils and the word veil is what covers the face (niqaab).

Abu Dawood Book 33, Hadith # 4154, Agreed upon by Nasai
 Aisha(Radhiallaahu Ánha) narrates that on one occasion a female Muslim wanted to give a letter to the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam), the letter was delivered to the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) from behind a curtain.
Note: Quoted in the famous book Mishkaat. Here the Mufasereen of hadith have explained that the hadith where women came up to Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) face to face were before the ayah "And when you ask (his wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen, that is purer for your hearts and for their hearts." (Surah AlAhzâb ayah # 53)  And this hadith proves this order is for the whole Ummah not just for the wives of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam)!

Abu Dawood Book 2, Hadith # 0641
Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu'minin (Radhiallaahu Ánha) "Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said "Allah does not accept the prayer of a woman who has reached puberty unless she wears a veil."

Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 9, Book 89, Hadith # 293
Narrated 'Aisha (Radhiallaahu Ánha) Utba bin Abi Waqqas said to his brother Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas, "The son of the slave girl of Zam'a is from me, so take him into your custody." So in the year of Conquest of Mecca, Sa'd took him and said. (This is) my brother's son whom my brother has asked me to take into my custody." 'Abd bin Zam'a got up before him and said, (He is) my brother and the son of the slave girl of my father, and was born on my father's bed." So they both submitted their case before Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam). Sa'd said, "O Allah's Apostle! This boy is the son of my brother and he entrusted him to me." 'Abd bin Zam'a said, "This boy is my brother and the son of the slave girl of my father, and was born on the bed of my father." Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said, "The boy is for you, O 'Abd bin Zam'a!" Then Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) further said, "The child is for the owner of the bed, and the stone is for the adulterer," Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) then said to Sauda bint Zam'a, "Veil (screen) yourself before him," when he saw the child's resemblance to 'Utba. The boy did not see her again till he met Allah.  note: This hadith proves Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) did infact order the veil to be observed.

Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 7, Book 65, Hadith # 375
Narrated Anas (Radhiallaahu Ánhu) I know (about) the Hijab (the order of veiling of women) more than anybody else. Ubai bin Ka'b used to ask me about it. Allah's Apostle became the bridegroom of Zainab bint Jahsh whom he married at Medina. After the sun had risen high in the sky, the Prophet invited the people to a meal. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) remained sitting and some people remained sitting with him after the other guests had left. Then Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) got up and went away, and I too, followed him till he reached the door of 'Aisha's room. Then he thought that the people must have left the place by then, so he returned and I also returned with him. Behold, the people were still sitting at their places. So he went back again for the second time, and I went along with him too. When we reached the door of 'Aisha's room, he returned and I also returned with him to see that the people had left. Thereupon Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) hung a curtain between me and him and the Verse regarding the order for (veiling of women) Hijab was revealed.

Abu Dawood Book 32, hadith # 4100
Narrated Umm Salamah, Ummul Mu'minin (Radhiallaahu Ánha): I was with Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) while Maymunah was with him. Then Ibn Umm Maktum came. This happened when we were ordered to observe veil (purdah). Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said: Observe veil from him. We asked: oh Rasulullah! is he not blind? He can neither see us nor recognize us. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said: Are both of you blind? Do you not see him?
 

The opinions of the great scholars about the Niqaab...
 

 From the Sahaba (Radhiallaahu Ánhuma) .......

Ibn Ábbaas (Radhiallaahu Ánhu), who was one of the most knowledgeable companions of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam), Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) even made duwaa for him saying "O Allah, make him acquire a deep understanding of the religion of Islam and instruct him in the meaning and interpretation of things."
Ibn Jarir (Rahimahullah) with an authentic chain of narrators has quoted Ibn Abbaas' (Radhiallaahu Ánhu) opinion was "that the Muslim women are ordered to cover their head and faces with outer garments except for one eye." (This is quoted in the Ma'riful Qur'an in the tafseer of Surah Ahzaab ayah # 33, with reference of Ibn Jarir with a sahih chain of narrators).  The Tabiee Ali Bin Abu Talha explained that this was the last opinion of Ibn Abbas and the other opinions quoted from him were from before Surah Al-Ahzaab, Verse #59 and the order of  the "Jalabib".  Shaikh Ibn Uthaimin commented on this saying of Ibn Abbaas (Radhiallaahu Ánhu) by saying "This statement is "Marfoo" and in shariah that is the same category as a hadith which is narrated directly from Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam). The quote of Ibn Abbas is quoted by many tabi'een like Ali Ibn Abu Talha and Ibn Jarir in Ma'riful Qur'an by Mufti Muhammad Shafi vol.7 pg.217 and also in Tafseer Ibn Jarir, Vol. 22, pg.29 and also by Imaam Qurtabi all with SAHIH Chains and explained in the book "Hijaab" by Ibn Uthaimin, Page # 9 and authenticated in the book "Hijaab wa Safur"by Shaikh-ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (Rahimahullah) on page #11 and by Shaikh AbdulAziz bin Bazz  (Rahimahullah) on page # 55 and 60 )

Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud  (Radhiallaahu Ánhu) Who was known as the most knowledgeable Sahabi in matters of Shariah.  He became Muslim when he was a young kid  and ever since that he stayed with Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) and gained the understanding of Quran from him.  Umar Ibn Khattab (Radhiallaahu Ánhu) said about him "By Allah, I don't know of any person who is more qualified in the matters dealing with the Quran than Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud"
Explained, the word Jilbaab (as mentioned in the Quran Surah Ahzaab ayah # 59 ) means a cloak which covering the entire body including the head,  face and hands.  (Quoted from Ibn Taymiyyah (Rahimahullah) in his book on fatwaas Page# 110 Vol # 2 and By Shaikh Ibn Uthamin in the book Hijaab Page # 15)

Abu Ubaidah Salmani (Radhiallaahu Ánhu), an other well known Sahabi is quoted saying "Jilbaab should fully cover the women's body, so that nothing appears but one eye with which she can see." (Tafseer Al-Qurtubi) And In the time of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) "The women used to don their cloaks (Jilbaabs) over their heads in such a manner that only the eyes were revealed in order to see the road." (The Book "Hijaab" page # 9)

Ubaida bin Abu Sufyan bin al-Harith('Radhiallaahu Ánhu' An' Other well known and knowledgeable Companion of Rasulullah and the son of Abu Sufiyan Bin Harith )
Imam Muhammad bin Sirin (Rahimahullah) One of the most knowledgeable tabi'een)
"When I asked Ubaida bin Sufyan bin al-Harith('Radhiallaahu Ánhu' An')the meaning of this verse about "Alaihinna" and how the jalbaab was to be worn, he demonstrated it to me by pulling a sheet of cloth over his head to cover his entire body, leaving the left eye uncovered. This was also the explanation of the word 'Alaihinna in this verse"  (Commentary by Ibn Jarir and Ahkam-ul-Quran, Vol.III, p.457 also in "hijaab wa Safur" quoted by Shaikh AbdulAziz Bin Bazz under the chapter of his fatwaa on hijab on page #54)

From the Tabi 'een...

Ibn Jarir (Rahimahullah) Quotes the opinion of  Ibn Ábbaas (Radhiallaahu Ánhu)
"Allah has enjoined upon all Muslim Women that when they go out of their homes under necessity, they should cover their faces by drawing a part of their outer garments over their heads." (Tafseer Ibn Jarir, VOL 22, pg.29)

The Tabi'ee, Qatadah (Rahimahullah)
Stated that the Jilbab should be wrapped and fixed from above the forehead and made to cover the nose, (although the eyes are to show) and the chest and most of the face are to be covered.

The Tabi'ee Ali bin Abu Talha (Rahimahullah)
Quotes from Ibn Abbaas (Radhiallaahu Ánhu) that he used to say it was allowed to show the hands and face when Surah Nur ayah #31 was revealed but after Surah Al-Ahzaab, Verse #59 with the word "Jalabib" was revealed then after this  Ibn Abbaas (Radhiallaahu Ánhu) said that That the Muslim women are ordered to cover their head and faces with outer garments except for one eye."  And this was also the opinion of Ibn Mas'ud (Radhiallaahu Ánhu). (This is quoted by Ibn Taymiyyah (Rahimahullah) in his book of fatwaa and by Shaikh AbdulAziz Bin Bazz (Rahimahullah) in the book "Hijaab wa Safur" Page # 60)

Imam Muhammad bin Sirin (Rahimahullah) One of the most knowledgeable tabi'een)
"When I asked Ubaida bin Sufyan bin al-Harith ('Radhiallaahu Ánhu' Other well known and knowledgeable Companion of Rasulullah) the meaning of this verse about "Alaihinna" and how the jalbaab was to be worn, he demonstrated it to me by pulling a sheet of cloth over his head to cover his entire body, leaving the left eye uncovered. This was also the explanation of the word 'Alaihinna in this verse"(Commentary by Ibn Jarir and Ahkam-ul-Quran, Vol # 3, p.457 also in "hijaab wa Sufor" quoted by Shaikh AbdulAziz Bin Bazz under the chapter of his fatwaa on hijab on page #54)

From the Mufasireen of Quraan...

The Mufassir, Imaam Al-Qurtubi (Rahimahullah),
Cites in his Tafseer of the Ayah on Jilbaab (Al-Ahzab 33:59), that the Jilbaab is: "a cloth which covers the entire body... Ibn 'Abbaas (Radhiallaahu Ánhu) and 'Ubaidah As-Salmaani (Radhiallaahu Ánhu) said that it is to be fully wrapped around the women's body, so that nothing appears but one eye with which she can see." (Tafseer Al-Qurtubi Surah Al-Ahzab ayah # 59.  This was also agreed upon by Imam WahidiImam Neishapuri in the book of tafseer of Quran "Gharaib -ul-Quran" and "Ahkam-ul-Quran", Imam Razi, in his tafseer of Surah Azhab in the book "Tafsir-i-Kabir" Imam Baidavi in his tafseer of Quran "Tafsir-i-Baidavi" and by Abu Hayyan in "Al-Bahr-ul-Muhit" and by Ibn Sa'd Muhammad bin Ka'b Kuradhi and they have all descirbed the use of jalbaab more or less in the SAME way as the two described by Ibn Abbas (Radhiallaahu Ánhu).)

Also from Imaam Qurtubi (Rahimahullah)
in his Al-Jamia li Ahkaamul Qurãn states: "All women are in effect covered by the terms of the verse which embraces the Sharée principle that the whole of a woman is ‘Áwrah’ (to be concealed) – her face, body and voice, as mentioned previously. It is not permissible to expose those parts except in the case of need, such as the giving of evidence…" ("Al-Jamia li Ahkaamul Qurãn")

At-Tabari and Ibn Al-Mundhir
described the method of wearing the jalbaab according to Ibn Abbas (Radhiallaahu Ánhu) and Qatadah (Radhiallaahu Ánhu). The sheet should be wrapped around from the top, covering the forehead, then bringing one side of the sheet to cover the face below the eyes so that most of the face and the upper body is covered. This will leave both eyes uncovered (which is allowed in necessity).(Rul-ul-Ma'ani, Vol 22, p.89)

Ibn Kathir (Rahimahullah) said...
"Women must not display any part of their beauty and charms to strangers except what cannot possibly be concealed." (Quoted by Mufti Ibrahim Desi in his article on hijaab)

Maoulana Abul A'la Maududi (Rahimahullah) In his tafseer of Surah Azhab ayah #59
"In verse 59 the third step for social reform was taken. All the Muslim women were commanded that they should come out well covered with the outer garments and covering their faces whenever they came out of their houses for a genuine need." (From Tasfeer of Quran by Maoulana Abul A'la Maududi in tafseer of ayah # 59 of Surah Al-Ahzaab)

From the 4 Madhabib (4 madhabs).......

Mufti Anwar Ali Adam Al Mazahiri (Mufti A'azam (Head Mufti) of Madrasa Madinatil Uloom Trinidad & Tobago.)
"Imam Shafi, Malik and Hanbal hold the view that niqaab ( covering the face
and the hands completely with only a small area for the eyes to see) as
being compulsory (fard).  Imam Abu Hanifa says that niqaab is Wajib and the face and hands can be exposed provided that there is not fear of desire if one looks at the female face, otherwise if there is the slightest chance of desire developing in the looker(the meaning of desire is that the looker would see the female face and think that she is beautiful, sexual thaught is not what is meant) then exposing the face and hands is Haraam.
(This is from the fatwaa issued by  Mufti Anwar Ali Adam Al Mazahiri on 13/9/99.  He derived the opnions of the 4 Imaams  from these sources Tafseer Ibn Katheer, Tafseer Ma'rifatul Qur'aan, Durre Muhtaar, Fatawa Shami, Al Mabsoot, Fathul Qadeer. And the opinion of Imaam Abu hanifah is a directly derived from his statements in the Famous book of hanafi Fiqh Fatwaa Shami)

Shaikh AbdulAziz Bin Bazz (One of the greatest scholars of our times. He passed away 26th of Muharram 1420 Hijrah. (12th of May 1999) Rahimahullah.  He belonged to the Hanbali School of jurisprudence.)"It is compulsory for a woman to cover her face in front of non mahram men"(This has been quoted in Shaikh Bin Bazz's pamphlet on Hijab and in the book 'Islamic Fatwas regarding Women' and in the Arabic version of the book "hijaab Wa Safur" page #51)

Shaikh-ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (Rahimahullah)
Relates that the correct opinion for the Hanbali and Malki madhaib is that is is wajib to cover everything except one or two eyes to see the way.
(from the Arabic book "Hijaab wa Safur" under the fatwaa of Ibn Taymiyyah on hijaab, page # 10)

Shaikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
Quotes All of the woman is awrah based on the hadith of "Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said “All of a woman is ‘awrah.” (Narrated by Tirmidhi with a sahih isnaad).This is the correct view according to the madhhab of the Hanbalis, one of the two views of the Maalikis and one of the two views of the Shaafa’is. (Quoted in his book of fatwaa and on his web site)

Jamiatul Ulama Junbi Africa sate that the proper opinion for the Hanafi madhab is that  "A woman must be properly and thoroughly covered in a loose outer cloak which totally conceals her entire body including her face!"
(This from the book Islamic Hijab by Jamiatul Ulama P.12)

Mufti-e-Azam Rasheed Ahmad Ludhyanvi (Rahimahullah, one of the head Muftis of the  hanafi Madhab of his time This opinion is taken to be the correct opinion of the hanafi madhab today)
Explained in his tafseer of Surah Al-Ahzaab, Verse #59.
"Allah Ta'ala is telling them that whenever out of necessity they have togo out, they should cover themselves with a large cloak and draw a corner of it over their faces so that they may not be recognised.
(From his article "A Detailed, analytical review on the Shar'ee hijab")

Shaikh Abul A'la Maududi (Who was the founder of "Jamat-ul-Islami" also a known and respect scholar of  the Hanafi madhab)
“It is enjoined on the women to cover their face with a veil in public” (In the book "Purda" by Shaikh Abul A'la Maududi)

From the known and respect authentic Ullima.......

Ibn Al-Hazam (Rahimahullah)
"In arabic language, the language of the Prophet (saw), the word jilbaab (as mentioned in the Quran Surah Ahzaab ayah # 59) means the outer sheet which covers the entire body. A sheet smaller than that which would cover the entire body, cannot be catagrized as jilbaab. (Al-Muhallah, Vol 3. Pg 217)

Ibn Al-Mandhur (Rahimahullah)
"Jalabib is plural for Jilbaab. Jalbaab is actually the outer sheet/coverlet which a woman wraps around, on top of her garments to cover herself from head to toe. This covers the body entirely." (Lisan ul-Arab, VOL 1. Pg.273)

Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalanee (Rahimahullah)
A tradition reported on the authority of Aisha (Radhiallaahu Ánha) says: "A woman in a state of Ihram (during Hajj and Umrah) should stretch her head cloth over to her face to hide it." (In Fathul Bari, chapter on Hajj)

Shaikh-ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (Rahimahullah) relates:
"Women used to room about without Cloaks (Jilbaabs) and men used to see their faces and hands, but when the verse stating 'O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks over themselves.' (Surah Al-Ahzaab,Verse #59)was reveled, then this was prohibited and women were ordered to wear the Jilbaab.  Then Ibn Tayimiyyah goes on to say "The word Jilbaab means a sheet which Ibn Mas'ud (Radhiallaahu Ánhu) explained as a cloak covering the entire body including the head,  face and hands.  Therefore, it is not permissible for the women to reveal the face and hands in public. (Ibn Taymiyyah's book on fatwaas Page# 110 Vol # 2 also in the book Hijaab Page # 15)

Shaikh AbdulAziz Bin Bazz (Rahimahullah)
"According to the understanding of the best generations (the "Salaf") after the ayah of hijaab was revealed than Muslims women must cover everything including the face and hands.  they can show one eye or two eyes to see the way.  this was the opnion held by many of the sahaba like Ibn Abbaas, Ibn Masud, Aisha (Radhiallaahu Ánhuma) and others and this opnion was upheald by the Tab'ieen who followed than as Ali bin Abi Talha and Muhammad bin Sirin (Rahimahullah) and by the ritious ullima who followed them as Ibn Taymiyyah and Imaam Ahmed bin Hanbal (Rahimahullah)"  (Quoted from the book "hijaab wa Sufor")

Shaikh Abubakar Jassas (Rahimahullah)
states "This verse of Surah Ahzab shows that the young women when going out of their homes are ordered to cover their faces from strangers (non-mahram men), and cover herself up in such a manner that may express modesty and chastity, so that people with evil intentions might not cherish hopes from her". (Ahkum Al-Quran, VOL. III, p.48)

Imaam Ghazaali (Rahimahullah) "Woman emerged (during the time of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) with NIQAABS on their Faces" (From his famous book of Fiqh "Ihyaal Uloom")

Qazi Al-Baidavi (Rahimahullah)
"to let down over them a part of their outer garments" means that they should draw a part of their outer garment in front of their face and cover themselves" (Tafsir-I-Baidavi, Vol 4, p.168)

Jamia Binoria Pakistan (This is a Question and Answer from a Mufti at one the highly respected hanafi Islamic Universites of Pakistan)
Ques: Under which conditions are women allowed to leave the home?
Ans: The principle command for women is that they should remain in their home and should not go out without any extreme need because mischief is feared in their going out.  However if they have to go out in extreme necessity then they should go with a Mahram and duly covered in Burqa' (a "Burqa" covers the whole body including the hands and face) or large overlay so that their body including their cloths should not be visible and after buying the required article they should come back at once. In this condition there is no Haraam.

It is also stated in the Famous books of Fiqh Durrul Mukhtar...
"Young women are prohibited from revealing their faces in the presence of men."

Hakimul Ummah Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Rahimahullah) states in his famous book of Hanafi Fiqh "Bahishti Zewar."
"It is not permissible for a young woman to expose her face in the presence of ghayr mahrams, nor should she stand in a place where she could be observed. We learn from this, that the custom of exposing the bride's face in public where all the men can observe her is also not permissible. To do so is a major sin." (Bahishti Zewar)

Shaikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid (One of the great scholars of out time.
click here for the full fatwaa on covering the face and who can you uncover the face infront of-->Fatwaa on niqaab
"The most correct opinion, which is supported by evidence, is that it is obligatory to cover the face, therefore young women are forbidden to uncover their faces in front of non-mahram men in order to avoid any mischief"
An other fatwaa when he was asked about is it preferred for sisters to wear the niqab, he said....
"The fact is that it is obligatory for women to cover their faces" as to how to wear the niqaab the Shaikh said "A woman may uncover her left eye in order to see where she is going, and if necessary she may uncover both eyes. The opening should only be wide enough for the eyes."
Yet in an other Fatwaa he explained what was the Awrah of a woman with..."Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said “All of a woman is ‘awrah.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi with a saheeh isnaad).This is the correct view according to the madhhab of the Hanbalis, one of the two views of the Maalikis and one of the two views of the Shaafa’is.
 

Shaikh ibn Uthaimin
( In the book 'Islamic Fatwas regarding Women' Page # 289)
Question: What is the Islamic hijab?
Response: The Islamic hijab is for the women to cover everything that is forbidden for her to expose. That is, she covers everything that she must cover. The first of those bodily parts that she must cover is her face. It is the source of temptation and the source of people desiring her. Therefore, the woman must cover her face in front of those men that are not mahram. As for those of who claim that the Islamic hijab is to cover the head, shoulders, back, feet, shin and forearms while allowing her to uncover her face and hands, this is a very amazing claim. This is because it is well known that the source of temptation and looking is the face. How can one say that the Shariah does not allow the exposure of the foot of the woman while it allows her to uncover her face? It is not possible that there could be in the Esteemed, Wise and Noble Shariah a contradiction.

Shaikh Jamaal Zarabozo

In Surah Al-Ahzab, verse 59, Allah has ordered the believing women to wear a jilbab. A jilbab as defined in all the books of tafseer is a cloak that covers the woman's body from the top of her head to her feet. It is also described in those books, form the scholars of the earliest generation that after that verse was revealed, the women would completely cover themselves, leaving, for example, just one eye exposed so they can see the road. Hence, this is the outer garment of the woman that she must wear when she is in front of men she is not related to.

Shaikh Ibn Jibreen
( Taken from the book "Islamic Fatwas regarding Women")
Question: I am married to a woman who wears, praise to Allah, hijab. However, as is the custom in my country, she does not wear hijab in front of her sister's husband and her sister does not wear hijab in my presence. This is the custom. Furthermore, my wife does not wear hijab in the presence of my brother or her cousins. Does this go against the Shariah and religion? What can I do while it has become the custom in my country not to wear hijab in the presence of those people that I mentioned. If I tell my wife to wear hijab in front of those people, she will accuse me of not trusting her and being suspicious about her and so forth.
Response: All of those groups of men that you mentioned in the question are not mahram for her. It is not allowed for her to uncover her face and beauty in front of them. Allah has only allowed her to uncover in front of the mahram men mentioned in the verse in surah al-Nur,
"[Tell the believing women] not to reveal their adornments except to their husbands, their fathers ......" (al-Nur 31).
First, you should convince your wife that it is forbidden to uncover her face in front of non-mahram men. Make her abide by that even if it goes against the customs of your people and even if she makes accusations against you. You should also make this point clear to your close relatives that you mentioned, that is, the brethren of the husband, the husband of the sister, the cousins and so forth. All of them are non-mahram and they all may marry her if she gets divorced.

 

Refutations from Shaikh Ibn Uthaimin
This is taken from the book "Hijaab" by Shaikh Ibn Uthaimin from Saudi Arabia.  Printed by Madrasah Arabia Islamia Azaadville-South Africa.
Translated by Hafedh Zaheer Essack, Rajab 1416 (December 1995)

The Ullima who are of the opinion that it is permissible to look at the face and hands of a strange woman (who is not mahrrum) say so mainly for the following reasons.

The hadith of Aisha (Radhiallaahu Ánha) when Asmaa (Radhiallaahu Ánha) the daughter of Abu Bakr came to the Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) while wearing thin clothing. He approached her and said: 'O Asmaa! When a girl reaches the menstrual age, it is not proper that anything should remain exposed except this and this. He pointed to the face and hands. But this hadith is WEAK because of 2 main weaknesses.
1. There is no link between Aisha (Radhiallaahu Ánha) and Khalid bin Dareek, who narrated the hadith from her. And  in every chain of narrators Khalid bin Dareek is mentioned.
2.  In the chain os narrators Sa'eed bin Basheer appears, who is known by most of the Muhaditheen as being a weak narrator.  This has been mentioned by Imaam Ahmad bin Hanbal (Rahimahullah), An-Nasai (Rahimahullah), Ibn Madeeni (Rahimahullah) and Ibn Ma'een (Rahimahullah).  This is also why Imaam Bukhari (Rahimahullah) and Muslim (Rahimahullah) did not except this hadith to be in their books.
(From Shaikh Ibn Uthaimin in the book "Hijaab" pages # 17 and 18.)

We also have to see that the Muhadith Abu Dawood when he quoted this hadith put with it that it is Musal (with a broken chain that does not lead up to the Sahaba).
(From The Book "Hijaab wa Safur" under tha fatwaa of Shaikh AbulAziz Bin Bazz on Page #61. Also stated as being weak by Shaikh Nasirudden Al-Albaani in his Daeef Sunan Abu Dawud in Kitab-ul-Libas under hadeeth number 4092 (which is the original hadeeth number.) It has also been mentioned in the magazine called "Al Hijrah" that Ullima agree this hadith is weak.)

An other thing that shows the weakness of this hadith is that after the ayah for hijab (Surah Al-Ahzaab – Verse #59) was revealed then the women of Sahaba wore a complete veil and covered the faces and hands.  This includes Asmaa (Radhiallaahu Ánha) the daughter of Abu Bakr, who is supposed to have narrated this hadith.  Asmaa (Radhiallaahu Ánha)covered herself completely including tha face, this has been narrated in authentic hadith in Imaam maliks "MUWATTA Book 20 Hadith # 20.5.16."
 

My View

I have tried to cover this issue as objectively as possible and here I would like to present my point of view.  I believe very strongly that all Muslimahs should wear Hijab at least to very minimum accepted by Islam.  The covering of the face (Niqaab) is I believe an issue that a Muslimah must decide on her own.  I feel that the women whom voluntarily wear Niqaab have made a statement to the depth of their belief.  Although scholars have different views on this, in the west a woman who wears Niqaab will draw unnecessary attention to herself and this also could be argued not appropriate.  I admire and applaud any Muslimah who is willing to follow the rules of Islam in western society even to the point of wearing Niqaab.  All Muslimahs whether new or not, should seriously consider what their answer will be on the Day of Judgment when they are asked why they did not cover. 

 

  1. The Muslim Woman's Hand Book, by Huda Khattab Page 17

  2. Rebels With A Veil by Azar Nafisi from The New Republic Reader's Digest Page176

 

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