Wife Does Not Think That Niqaab Is Obligatory; Should He
Force Her To Wear It?
Islamic Rulings -
Living Shariah Verdicts
Islamic Questions & Answers
I read many fatwas regarding niqab, and that it
is obligatory according to the better opinion of the
scholars. My wife is convinced that it is preferable,
taking other scholars' opinions. She says that she
might wear it in the future if Allah wills. My wife is
religiously committed Alhamdulillah. My question is:
Do I have to force her to wear it now or shall I let
her choose and just keep advising her?.
Praise be to Allaah.
Women have to cover their faces in front of non-mahram
men according to the more correct of the two scholarly
opinions, because of evidence that has been explained
in the answer to question no. 11774.
Many of the fuqaha' who do not think that the face is
‘awrah are of the view that it must be covered if
there is the fear of fitnah, and when there is a great
deal of corruption.
The husband is enjoined to protect his family and warn
them against haraam things. Hence he should strive to
convince his wife to cover her face, and if she
refuses he should force her to do so and she is
required to obey him, because he is telling her to do
something that is permissible in her view, and it has
to do with his right to protect his honour and she
does not think it is haraam.
In the answer to question no. 97125, we explained how
couples should deal with issues concerning which there
is a difference of scholarly opinion. Among the things
that we said there was: With regard to everything that
is permissible for her, he has the right to prevent
her from doing it or make her follow his opinion if he
thinks it is haraam, and she must accept that if her
doing it will cause harm to her husband and expose him
to humiliation or disrespect. For example, covering
the face is an issue concerning which the scholars
differed, but there is no one who says that it is
haraam to cover the face. If she thinks that it is
acceptable to uncover the face, he has the right to
prevent her from showing it before non-mahrams, and he
has the right to make her follow his opinion, which is
that it is obligatory to cover the face – which is the
more correct view – and she does not have the right to
go against him. She will be rewarded for doing that if
she seeks reward for obeying her Lord by obeying her
husband and does that which is more concealing.
Moreover we say: what is preventing the wife from
covering her face and protecting herself from the gaze
of those who would stare at her? It is well known that
the face is the focus of beauty and the source of
fitnah, and the first thing that attracts the gaze. If
she thinks that it is mustahabb and not obligatory,
there is nothing wrong with doing what is mustahabb
and brings one closer to one's Lord and pleases the
husband, and makes her more like the believing women
such as the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings
of Allaah be upon him) and the wives of the Sahaabah.
Every believing woman should be keen to cover in this
manner, and should hasten to do it, and to praise
Allaah for having caused her husband to tell her and
encourage her to do it.
We ask Allaah to enable us all to do that which He
loves and is pleased with.
And Allaah knows best.
About Women Covering Their Faces (Using The Veil)
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.