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Ruling On Taking Off Hijaab When Travelling Abroad: Uncovering For The Identity When Travelling

Islamic Rulings - Living Shariah Verdicts

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What is the ruling on taking off hijaab and uncovering the face when traveling abroad in obedience to my mother's demands, on the grounds that I attract unwelcome attention?

Praise be to Allaah.

It is not permissible for you or for any other woman to take off your hijaab in the kaafir countries, just as that is not permissible in any Muslim country. It is obligatory to observe hijaab in front of non-mahram males whether they are Muslims or kaafirs; indeed it is more obligatory in the case of kaafirs, because they have no faith to keep them from doing that which Allaah has forbidden.

It is not permissible for you or any other woman to obey parents or anyone else in doing that which Allaah and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) have forbidden. Allaah says in Soorat al-Ahzaab (interpretation of the meaning):

"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"

[al-Ahzaab 33:53]

In this aayah Allaah explains that for women to observe hijaab and be screened from non-mahram men is purer for the hearts of everyone. And Allaah says in Soorat al-Noor (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) and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband's fathers…"

[al-Noor 24:31]

And the face is the greatest part of beauty or adornment.

Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him)from Al-Hisbah magazine, issue no. 39, p. 14

Uncovering the face in order to establish the identity of a woman when travelling

I am convinced about this that it is obligatory to cover the face and hands though there is ikhtilaf about this, but brother now i have a problem, currently i am doing my Alevels in a non coeducation college,but when i will be going for my exams in British council inshaAllah i have to show my face in order for them to recognise me.i didnt know before that i will be sinful to show my face, but what do i do now that i have done the registration, and what even about when i go to saudi or any other country i have to show my face in case they should be knowing me.

Praise be to Allaah.

A woman is obliged to cover her face in front of non-mahram men according to the more correct of the two scholarly opinions, because of evidence which has been explained in the answer to question no. 11774.

It is permissible to uncover the face in some situations where it is required by necessity or need or interest, such as establishing identity, medical treatment, testimony before a judge, and so on. Please see the answer to question no. 2198.

But you should understand that necessity should be properly estimated and not exaggerated and you should limit it only to that which will meet the need. So if you have to uncover your face in order to prove your identity, then that should be limited to the face only, and you should also avoid adornment and makeup. If it is possible for a woman to establish your identity, then it is not permissible to uncover it in front of a man. You should ask for that at the British Council and in the airport, before you uncover your face.

If a woman cannot do that, then it is permissible to uncover your face in front of a man, and there is no sin on you in sha Allaah.

We ask Allaah to help and guide you.

And Allaah knows best.


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