Confused About Women Covering Their Faces (Using The
Veil): Hijab Even If To Be Harmed Because Of That
Islamic Rulings -
Living Shariah Verdicts
Islamic Questions & Answers
First of all I must make clear that I have read
your articles related to this topic. Although I have
heard other evidences to suggest that the FACE veil is
optional, due to the following:
(1)When the ayah was revealed commanding the believing
women to cover (24:31) only the wives of the prophet
covered themselves with a facial veil. The other
Muslim women did not take steps to veil their faces.
(2)When some of the sahabah intended to propose to a
women they would go and look at her without her
knowledge. And of course if she had worn a facial veil
they would not have been able to see her?
This topic is causing me much confusion please clarify
the importance of the niqaab, I only want to do the
correct thing for the sake of Allah.
Praise be to Allaah.
We appreciate your keenness to find out the truth and
follow it, and we ask Allaah to show us the truth as
truth and enable us to follow it, and to show us
falsehood as false and enable us to avoid it. The
correct view regarding this matter is that it is
obligatory for women to cover all of their bodies in
front of men. See question no. 21134.
Your saying that "the rest of the Muslim women did not
cover their faces" is not correct. Rather the command
to observe full hijab applied to the wives of the
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
and his daughters and the believing women. The
evidence for that is 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" [al-Ahzaab
And Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
"And tell the believing women to lower their gaze
(from looking at forbidden things), and protect their
private parts (from illegal sexual acts) and not to
show off their adornment except only that which is
apparent (like both eyes for necessity to see the way,
or outer palms of hands or one eye or dress like veil,
gloves, headcover, apron), and to draw their veils all
over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and
bosoms)" [al-Noor 24:31]
The command in these two verses is general and applies
to all believing women.
Al- Bukhaari narrated that ‘Aa'ishah 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)' they tore their aprons and covered their
faces with them." See also question no. 6991.
Abu Dawood (4101) narrated that Umm Salamah said:
"When the words ‘to draw their cloaks (veils) all over
their bodies' [al-Ahzaab 33:59] were revealed, the
women of the Ansaar went out looking as if there were
crows on their heads because of the covering." Classed
as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.
The Muhaajir and Ansaari women obeyed this command and
covered their faces.
With regard to a man looking at the woman to whom he
wishes to propose marriage, this is part of the Sunnah.
Abu Dawood (1783) narrated that Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah
said: "The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him) said: ‘When any one of you wants
to propose marriage to a woman, if he can look at that
which will motivate him to go ahead and marry her,
then let him do so.' I proposed marriage to a girl and
I used to hide myself until I saw that which motivated
me to go ahead and marry her, then I married her."
Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood,
no. 1832. In the report narrated by Ibn Maajah it says
that he hid in her garden to see her.
This hadeeth indicates that the women of the Sahaabah
used to cover their faces, because if it had been the
custom for women to uncover their faces, there would
have been no need to hide, because he would have been
able to see her in any place if she had been
uncovering her face.
But because it was the custom for women to cover their
faces, he needed to hide. It is well known that if
there are no non-mahram men around, a woman does not
cover her face, such as when she is in her house or in
her garden, as in this hadeeth.
And Allaah knows best.
Should she wear hijab even though
her family will be harmed because of that?
What is the ruling on a woman who wears hijab in
an Arab country which forbids hijab by force and by
harming the woman's religious commitment and social
interests? Should she remain steadfast even though
some of her family members may be harmed indirectly?
Please advise me.
Praise be to Allaah.
It is a serious crime and a reprehensible action to
prevent a Muslim woman from wearing hijab as enjoined
by Allaah and forcing her by law to uncover her head
and face and go out unveiled among people.
The Muslim has to adhere to the rulings of sharee'ah
and "there is no obedience to any created being if it
involves disobedience towards the Creator." The Muslim
woman's hijab is one of the duties that she is obliged
to fulfil. The harm that a woman imagines will befall
her or her family may be baseless, or it may not be
extreme, and it may be something that can be put up
with. So she has to continue to adhere to correct
If the harm is extreme and certain, or it is most
likely that it will happen, then the woman can take
off her hijab in order to protect her honour and
religious commitment, but she has to remain as covered
and as modest as she possibly can. In this case it is
not permissible for her to go out of the house except
when absolutely necessary, and there is no concession
allowing her to go out to study or to buy things that
someone else can bring to her. What we mean is that
she should only go out for essential needs that cannot
easily be dealt with at home, or for some shar'i
action that she cannot forsake, and so on.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him)
In some countries Muslim women may be forced to take
off their hijab and leave their heads uncovered. Is it
permissible for them to do that, knowing that whoever
refuses to do that is faced with consequences such as
losing their jobs or being expelled from school?
The Shaykh replied:
This calamity which is happening in some countries is
one of the things by means of which a person may be
tested. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
[These letters are one of the miracles of the Qur'aan,
and none but Allaah (Alone) knows their meanings.]
2. Do people think that they will be left alone
because they say: "We believe," and will not be
3. And We indeed tested those who were before them.
And Allaah will certainly make (it) known (the truth
of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it)
known (the falsehood of) those who are liars,
(although Allaah knows all that before putting them to
What I think is that Muslim women in these countries
should refuse to obey people in charge (the rulers) in
this evil action, because obeying those in authority
in doing something that is wrong is not allowed.
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
"O you who believe! Obey Allaah and obey the Messenger
(Muhammad), and those of you (Muslims) who are in
If you think about the meaning of this verse, you will
note that Allaah says "Obey Allaah and obey the
Messenger (Muhammad), and those of you (Muslims) who
are in authority" – but the verb (obey) is not
repeated in the third case with regard to those who
are in authority. This indicates that obedience to
those in authority is secondary to obedience to Allaah
and obedience to His Messenger. If their command is
contrary to obeying Allaah and His Messenger, then
they should not be listened to or obeyed in that which
goes against obedience to Allaah and His Messenger.
"There is no obedience to any created being if it
involves disobedience to the Creator."
The persecution that a woman may face in this regard
is something that has to be borne with patience, and
she should seek the help of Allaah in being patient.
We ask Allaah to guide those in authority to the
truth. I do not think that this forcing her not to
wear hijab can take place unless the woman leaves her
home, but if she stays at home no one can force her,
so she can stay in her house so that she will be safe
from this thing. With regard to studies that will lead
to her committing sin, this is not permissible, rather
she should study whatever she needs for her religious
and worldly interests. This is sufficient, and this
can usually be done at home.
As'ilat al-Usrah al-Muslimah, p. 22, 23
And Allaah knows best