Should She Take Off Her Hijab Because
Of The Harassment That She Is Faced With After The
Islamic Rulings - Living Shariah Verdicts
Islamic Questions & Answers
Following the bombings on July 7th, many Muslim
women in Britain were faced with harassment which may
lead to killing by extremists in some cases. Is it
permissible for a Muslim woman living there in those
circumstances to take off her hijab so as to avoid
Praise be to Allaah.
Before issuing a general fatwa in such cases it is
essential to have a complete picture of the situation
and find out whether or not it has reached the degree
of necessity which would make it permissible to do a
haraam deed on which there is consensus that it is
It seems that it has not reached this stage, rather
these are the actions of a few fools and extremists,
and it is not a general trend in that country. Rather
as some of them have said, it is just a few instances
of provocation and harassment which can be dealt with
without such a serious compromise. Based on that, the
Muslims have to ask for their rights to protection,
and they should not be blamed for the actions of
others, or compromise on practising their religion
which is the source of their pride and distinction.
We must remember that hijab is an obligation that
Allaah has enjoined on the Muslim woman, which is
proven in the Qur'aan and the saheeh Sunnah, and the
ummah is agreed upon it despite the differences in
their madhhabs and schools of thought. No madhhab has
deviated from this view, and no faqeeh has gone
against it, and this is what the practice of the ummah
has been throughout the centuries. 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"
"and to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i.e.
their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms) and not to
reveal their adornment"
It is the duty of every Muslim to adhere to the
obligations of his religion, and to strive to please
his Lord and obey His commands, and no one should
force him by any means to give that up.
You would be surprised to see people who advocate
freedom and the protection of human rights taking away
the freedom of others because of some actions that
they had nothing to do with.
With regard to a Muslim woman taking off her hijab
because of her being faced with harassment, we may sum
up this issue in the following points:
· It is not permissible for a Muslim woman to
stay in a land where she cannot practise her faith
openly. Based on that, every Muslim woman who lives
there and is not able to practise her faith openly
must migrate to a land where she can practice her
faith openly with complete freedom.
· If she is not able to migrate, then the
Muslim woman in such circumstances should stay home,
especially if she has a guardian who can look after
her and meet her needs, and she should not go out
except in cases of necessity, for fear of the fitnah
(turmoil) to which she may be exposed.
· It is not necessary for her to go out to work
and study if there is someone who can support her and
she can delay her study until the next semester or
take a leave of absence from work, until things calm
down, because this harassment only happens in the days
following an incident, then it soon calms down and
things go back to normal.
· But if she goes out for some necessary reason
and she is afraid that she may face harassment, then
she should look at what kind of harassment it is. If
it is something that can be put up with, such as
swearing or insults, or just hostile looks from some
people, this does not mean that it becomes permissible
for her to take off her hijab, because one can put up
with this kind of harassment. It is false to say to a
woman: give up your hijab because of some words that
you hear on the street; rather she should be patient
and put up with it. This comes under the heading of
testing the faith of the believing woman. Allaah says
(interpretation of the meaning):
"Do people think that they will be left alone because
they say: "We believe," and will not be tested.
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
So she should put up with any harassment or mockery
that comes for the sake of Allaah, and keep in mind
what Allaah has promised of reward to the one who
adheres to His religion, as the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Ahead of you
there is a time of patience when the one who adheres
to Islam will have the reward of fifty martyrs among
you." Narrated by al-Tabaraani from Ibn Mas'ood and
classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami'.
· Another means of warding off harassment is
not to go out alone, but only in the company of her
guardian (wali) or as part of a group, so that the
foolish will not harass her when she is alone.
· If she is going to be faced with unbearable
harassment, such as being beaten or killed or having
her honour tarnished, and she has to go out for some
necessary reason, then in this case it is permissible
for her to reduce her hijab to a lesser kind, such as
covering the head and neck only. She may give up only
as much of her hijab as will protect her from being
exposed to harm, because necessity should not be
exaggerated. Or she may cover herself without the kind
of hijab that people are used to, so that the Muslim
woman will not appear as a target for harassment in
the eyes of those people. Among the winter clothing
etc of non-Muslim women there are garments which cover
all or most of the parts that are required to be
covered by sharee'ah.
· If her hijab is taken from her by force, then
she is being put to trial and she will be rewarded,
but she must go back to her proper dress when the
problem comes to an end.
Such a fatwa must be issued with caution and in a
gradual fashion, according to the situation, so that
it will not lead to a loss of Islamic identity in
societies that are not conservative.