Hijab Obligatory For Beautiful Women Only Or For All
Islamic Rulings -
Living Shariah Verdicts
Islamic Questions & Answers
Is hijab obligatory or something extra? If it is
obligatory, is it obligatory for attractive and
beautiful women only or for all Muslim women?.
Praise be to Allaah.
Hijab is obligatory for all Muslim women who have
reached the age of puberty. In the answer to question
no. 12525 you will find an explanation that the face
is ‘awrah. We have already quoted the evidence that it
is obligatory to cover it in the answer to question
no. 21134 and 21536. In the answer to question no.
11774 you will find detailed evidence stating that
hijab is obligatory for all women. This general
obligation is indicated by the verse in which Allaah
says (interpretation of the meaning):
“O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the
women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils)
all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves
completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way).
That will be better, that they should be known (as
free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And
Allaah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful”
The women of the Muhaajireen and Ansaar obeyed that
‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “May
Allaah have mercy on the first Muhaajir women. When
Allaah revealed the words ‘and to draw their veils all
over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and
bosoms)’ [al-Noor 24:31] they tore their aprons and
covered their faces (akhtamarna) with them.”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4480; Abu Dawood, 4102
What is meant by akhtamarna is covering the face, as
al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar stated in al-Fath, 8/490.
It was narrated that Umm Salamah said: When the words
‘draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies’ were
revealed, the women of the Ansaar went out as if there
were crows on their heads because of the way they
Narrated by Abu Dawood, 4101; classed as saheeh by
Shaykh al-Albaani in Saheeh Abu Dawood.
Undoubtedly many of the women of the Muhaajireen and
Ansaar were known to be blessed with beauty, but no
one thought that this ruling applied only to them and
not to others.
These ahaadeeth show that the women of the Muhaajireen
and Ansaar obeyed the command to cover their faces and
they did not understand the command as applying only
to those who were beautiful.
The scholars have explained that this ruling is
general in meaning and applies to all women.
In his commentary on the verse ‘draw their cloaks
(veils) all over their bodies’, al-Jassaas al-Hanafi
(may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
This verse indicates that young women are commanded to
cover their faces in front of strangers (non-mahram
men) and to be modest when they go out lest people
with suspicious minds raise their hopes when they see
Ahkaam al-Qur’aan, 5/245.
Ibn Jazi’ al-Kalbi al-Maaliki (may Allaah have mercy
on him) said:
The Arab women used to uncover their faces as slave
women do, which was an invitation to men to look at
them. So Allaah commanded them to cover themselves
with their jilbaabs and cover their faces with them.
Al-Tas-heel li ‘Uloom al-Tanzeel, 3/144
Shaykh al-Islam ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on
him) said: It is not permissible for women to uncover
their faces where non-mahrams can see them. The people
in authority have to enjoin what is good and forbid
this evil and others. Whoever does not obey should be
punished for that in a way that will deter him (from
doing it again).
Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 24/382
Al-Suyooti (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
This is the verse of hijab which applies to all women
and shows that they are obliged to cover their heads
‘Awn al-Ma’bood, 11/106
See also the answer to question no. 13646
And Allaah knows best.