Where does it say in the Quran that women must do Hijab?

Question:

Aslamualikum…My Question is related to Hijab..I want to know the proper Defination of Hijab Because in different areas of the world Hijab is Defined in different way.some of women cover full body except their eyes and some cover their whole busy except their face. So i just need to know what is proper defination of Hijab in Qur’an.

If it is to cover all the body except eyes then why scholar like Zakir Naik who is firm believer of Qur’an is going on the Different track.(Cover the whole body except face).

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

Sister in Islam,

It is encouraging to note your zeal in seeking clarity regarding such an issue. Since the rulings of Hijāb are a very delicate matter, we feel that it is important to first provide some introductory points before answering your specific query.

The Purpose of Hijāb

First and foremost, it is of absolute importance that one understands the social structure Islam attempts to establish within a Muslim society in regards to the intermingling of men and women. Throughout the Quran we find many verses that point to this very fact. Allah Ta’ālā says in the Holy Quran:

وَلَا تَقْرَبُوا الزِّنَا إِنَّهُ كَانَ فَاحِشَةً وَسَاءَ سَبِيلًا

And do not even go near fornication. It is indeed a shame and an evil way to follow.[1]

He the Almighty says in another verse:

وَقُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ

And say to the believing women that they must lower their gazes and guard their private parts, and must not expose their adornment.[2]

Expounding on this message, the Holy Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:

كُتِبَ عَلَى ابْنِ آدَمَ نَصِيبُهُ مِنَ الزِّنَا، مُدْرِكٌ ذَلِكَ لَا مَحَالَةَ، فَالْعَيْنَانِ زِنَاهُمَا النَّظَرُ، وَالْأُذُنَانِ زِنَاهُمَا الِاسْتِمَاعُ، وَاللِّسَانُ زِنَاهُ الْكَلَامُ، وَالْيَدُ زِنَاهَا الْبَطْشُ، وَالرِّجْلُ زِنَاهَا الْخُطَا، وَالْقَلْبُ يَهْوَى وَيَتَمَنَّى، وَيُصَدِّقُ ذَلِكَ الْفَرْجُ وَيُكَذِّبُهُ

Allah has written for the children of Adam their share of zina which he commits inevitably. The zina of the eyes is the sight (to gaze at a forbidden thing), the zina of the ears is to hear, the zina of the tongue is the talk, the zina of the hands is to touch (that which is forbidden), the zina of the feet is to take steps (towards that which is forbidden) and the heart wishes and desires and the private parts testify all this or deny it.[3]

It is clear from the above that the overall purpose behind establishing laws pertaining to separation between men and women is simply to protect their chastity and to establish a society wherein all doors leading to immorality and indecency are closed off right from its roots. Similarly, the hijāb is also a mechanism used to further these ideals by becoming an instrument that hinders zinā and all of its malevolent forms.

Women and Today’s Society

In a society dictated by slogans of liberty and justice, a new generation has been born that thrives off of freedom of expression. This leads some to believe that the hijāb is anti-progressive, but such a notion is far from reality. Allah Ta’ālā has created women in this world with an alluring beauty that seizes the hearts of men and brings forth emotions of pure love and infatuation. It is for this reason that women continue to be exploited today through private and commercial means.

It is also no secret that societies today are brimming with news concerning cases of rape and sexual assault. In a society where social acceptance through superficial means of one’s outer beauty has become mainstream, it is of no surprise that such would be the end result. As a premonition to such an outcome, the Holy Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) warned us in the following words:

صِنْفَانِ مِنْ أَهْلِ النَّارِ لَمْ أَرَهُمَا، قَوْمٌ مَعَهُمْ سِيَاطٌ كَأَذْنَابِ الْبَقَرِ يَضْرِبُونَ بِهَا النَّاسَ، وَنِسَاءٌ كَاسِيَاتٌ عَارِيَاتٌ مُمِيلَاتٌ مَائِلَاتٌ…

Two are the types of the denizens of Hell whom I did not see: people having flogs like the tails of the ox with them and they would be beating people, and the women who would be dressed but appear to be naked, who would incline others (towards evil) and themselves would be inclined (towards it)…[4]

Through the tenets of Islam we form a stabilized society that protects women from all avenues that may lead to their mistreatment and exploitation. Only through practice can one see the respect a woman holds who is garbed from head to toe in clothes that protect her beauty and chastity. It is a sign of honor, dignity, and iman that brings to light the revered status of women in the eyes of Allah the Almighty.

Difference between Satr and Hijāb

When one hears the word hijāb, it is often assumed that the laws pertaining to it are the same as the laws of satr (the concealing of which is obligatory for everyone – legally, naturally and rationally). As a matter of fact, the laws of satr have remained an obligation from the very beginning, in all religious codes of the noble prophets and not only from the advent of Islam.[5] It is an injunction stemming from the natural disposition of insān that shows the intrinsic qualities of hayā (shame and modesty) that existed from the very inception of humankind. One can see the example of such qualities in the story Ādam and Hawā (alaihimas salam) as they hastened to cover themselves upon seeing their bare selves revealed[6]. Similarly, we find such an attribute in the story of Musā (‘alaihis salam) and the two girls who were fetching water from a well. Whilst one was walking towards Musā (alaihi salam), she treaded in a manner showing complete shame and modesty. Allah Ta’ālā revealed this quality in the following words:

فَجَاءَتْهُ إِحْدَاهُمَا تَمْشِي عَلَى اسْتِحْيَاءٍ

Then one of the two women came to him, walking in a manner showing hayā.[7]

On the other hand, the laws of hijāb came about much after during the latter half of the prophethood of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam).[8] As such, laws regarding covering oneself in private and public are different from the laws of hijāb that pertain more to rulings that require women to conceal themselves in the presence of non-mahram men[9].

Consider an example from the following hadīth:

عَنْ نَبْهَانَ، مَوْلَى أُمِّ سَلَمَةَ، أَنَّهُ حَدَّثَهُ أَنَّ أُمَّ سَلَمَةَ، حَدَّثَتْهُ أَنَّهَا كَانَتْ عِنْدَ رَسُولِ اللهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَمَيْمُونَةَ قَالَتْ: فَبَيْنَا نَحْنُ عِنْدَهُ أَقْبَلَ ابْنُ أُمِّ مَكْتُومٍ فَدَخَلَ عَلَيْهِ وَذَلِكَ بَعْدَ مَا أُمِرْنَا بِالحِجَابِ، فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: احْتَجِبَا مِنْهُ، فَقُلْتُ: يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ أَلَيْسَ هُوَ أَعْمَى لاَ يُبْصِرُنَا وَلاَ يَعْرِفُنَا؟ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: أَفَعَمْيَاوَانِ أَنْتُمَا أَلَسْتُمَا تُبْصِرَانِهِ.

It is narrated by Nabhān the freed slave of Umm Salamah(radiyallahu ‘anha) that Umm Salamah (radiyallahu ‘anha) narrated to him, that she and Maymunah (radiyallahu ‘anha) were with the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), she said: “So when we were with him, Ibn Umm Maktum (radiyallahu ‘anhu) came, and he entered upon him, and that was after veiling had been ordered for us. So the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: ‘Veil yourselves from him.’ So I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! Is he not blind such that he cannot see us or recognize us?’ So the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: ‘Are you two blind such that you cannot see him?'”

 

One point of consideration is the fact that the addressees of this command of the Holy Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) were none other than two of the Umm al-Mu’minīn (mother of the believers), Sayyidatuna Umm Salamah and Sayyidatuna Maymūnah (radiyallahu ‘anhuma). If the blessed wives of the Holy Prophet (salllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), who were at the pinnacle of piety and modesty were commanded to conceal themselves from men, then what can we say about the women of today who live in an era where people vie for social standing by sacrificing their modesty for the sake of public acceptance?

Now that we have understood that the laws of satr are not only different, but existed before the laws of hijāb, we will commence with the discussion of Quranic texts relating to the injunctions of hijāb.

The Degrees of Hijāb

When taking a look at the various verses dealing with the injunction of hijāb, one can divide these verses into three levels, or “degrees”, of hijāb.

-The First Degree-

Allah Ta’ālā says in Surah al-Ahzāb, verse 53:

وَإِذَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُنَّ مَتَاعًا فَاسْأَلُوهُنَّ مِنْ وَرَاءِ حِجَابٍ ذَلِكُمْ أَطْهَرُ لِقُلُوبِكُمْ وَقُلُوبِهِنَّ

And when you ask anything from them (the blessed wives of the Prophet), ask them from behind a curtain. That is better for the purity of your hearts and their hearts.

This verse deals with the first degree of hijāb which discusses concealment of women in their own homes. This can further be substantiated by the following verse:

وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الْأُولَى

And remain in your homes, and do not display (your) beauty as it used to be displayed in the days of earlier ignorance.[10]

This degree of hijāb encourages women to stay in their homes and conceal themselves and their beauty from the fitnah the lurks outside the four walls of her home. This means that they should not allow anyone outside of their homes to see any portion of their body, whether it be the face or any other part of the body.[11] Furthermore, this points to the fact that women should try their best to remain in their homes unless there is a need to go out as there is a danger to their chastity and is a means of fitnah for her.[12] The following hadīth points out to this fact:

عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، قَالَ: الْمَرْأَةُ عَوْرَةٌ، فَإِذَا خَرَجَتْ اسْتَشْرَفَهَا الشَّيْطَانُ.

It is narrated that the Holy Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “The woman is one who should be concealed, so when she goes out, the Shaitan seeks to tempt her.”[13]

Although the addressees of these verses are the blessed wives of the Holy Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), the injunctions related to them are common to all Muslim women as pointed out by many great muffassirūn (exegetes) such as Imam al-Qurtubi in his famous tafsīr, Al-Jāmi’ li Ahkām al-Qurān.[14]

-The Second Degree-

Allah Ta’ālā says in Surah al-Ahzāb, verse 53:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُلْ لِأَزْوَاجِكَ وَبَنَاتِكَ وَنِسَاءِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِنْ جَلَابِيبِهِنَّ

O prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers that they should draw down their jilbāb (shawls) over them.

Herein mentioned is the second degree of hijāb. This level of hijāb deals with how women should conceal themselves when they have a need to leave their house. The jilbāb here actually refers to a piece of clothing large enough that it covers the entire body from head to toe.[15] The method of dawning the jilbāb is a point of contention amongst the ‘ūlamā; Imam Qurtubi mentions in his tafsīr:

وَاخْتَلَفَ النَّاسُ فِي صُورَةِ إِرْخَائِهِ، فَقَالَ ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ وَعَبِيدَةُ السَّلْمَانِيُّ: ذَلِكَ أَنْ تَلْوِيَهُ الْمَرْأَةُ حَتَّى لَا يَظْهَرَ مِنْهَا إِلَّا عَيْنٌ وَاحِدَةٌ تُبْصِرُ بِهَا. وَقَالَ ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ أَيْضًا وَقَتَادَةُ: ذَلِكَ أَنْ تَلْوِيَهُ فَوْقَ الْجَبِينِ وَتَشُدَّهُ، ثُمَّ تَعْطِفُهُ عَلَى الْأَنْفِ، وَإِنْ ظَهَرَتْ عَيْنَاهَا لَكِنَّهُ يَسْتُرُ الصَّدْرَ وَمُعْظَمَ الْوَجْهِ. وَقَالَ الْحَسَنُ: تُغَطِّي نِصْفَ وَجْهِهَا.

People have differed in regards to the method of dawning it (the jilbāb). Ibn ‘Abbās (radiyallahu ‘anhuma) and ‘Abīdah as-Salmānī (rahimahullah) state: It means to wrap it up in such a way that everything is concealed except that (the area of) one eye is left open for her to see with. Ibn ‘Abbās (radiyallahu ‘anhuma) (in another narration) and Qatādah (rahimahullah) say: It means to wrap it up above the forehead and to fasten it, then to fold it till above the nose even if both eyes are left open; although, she will have to cover her chest and majority of her face. Hasan (rahimahullah) says: She will cover half of her face.[16]

Similar narrations have been mentioned in other books of tafāsīr as well.[17]

From this we can clearly see that the mufassirūn and great figures of the past such as Ibn ‘Abbās (radiyallahu ‘anhuma) consider that the dawning of the jilbāb for women includes the covering of the face. This is to the extent that there are narrations of leaving only one eye open as well. To substantiate this further, Imam Qurtubi also states under the tafsīr of this verse:

لَمَّا كَانَتْ عَادَةُ الْعَرَبِيَّاتِ التَّبَذُّلَ، وَكُنَّ يَكْشِفْنَ وُجُوهَهُنَّ كَمَا يَفْعَلُ الْإِمَاءُ، وَكَانَ ذَلِكَ دَاعِيَةً إِلَى نَظَرِ الرِّجَالِ إِلَيْهِنَّ، وَتَشَعُّبِ الْفِكْرَةِ فِيهِنَّ، أَمَرَ اللَّهُ رَسُولَهُ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَنْ يَأْمُرَهُنَّ بِإِرْخَاءِ الْجَلَابِيبِ عَلَيْهِنَّ إِذَا أَرَدْنَ الْخُرُوجَ إِلَى حَوَائِجِهِنَّ

Since it was the habit of the Arab women to display their beauty as they would reveal their faces like the female slaves, and since such an action would lead to other men looking at them and filling their minds with thoughts of those women, Allah Ta‘ālā commanded the Holy Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) to instruct the (Muslim) women to hang down their shawls over them whenever they would have a desire to go out for their needs.[18]

-The Third Degree-

Allah Ta’ālā says in Surah an-Nūr, verse 31:

وَقُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَى جُيُوبِهِنَّ

And say to the believing women that they must lower their gazes and guard their private parts, and must not expose their adornment (i.e. places of beauty), except that which appears thereof, and must wrap their bosoms with their shawls…

This verse discusses the third and final degree of hijāb, which deals with hijāb of the second degree along with an exception to reveal certain portions of the body.[19] The meaning of this verse is apparent; a women is not allowed to display her beauty and she should cover herself with her shawl. Although, scholars differ as to what the words “except that which appears thereof” refers to. Many mufassirūn such as Imam at-Tabarī[20], Imam al-Qurtubī[21], and Imam Ibn Kathīr[22] have discussed the different narrations and opinions regarding this issue in detail. Mufti Shafī ‘Uthmānī has provided a concise summary of the differences in his book Ahkām al-Qurān in the following words:

و حاصل الكلام في تفسير ما ظهر أنه مختلف فيه بين الصحابة والتابعين فعبد الله بن مسعود و من تابعه فسروه بالثياب و الجلباب، و علي ذلك فلا حجة فيه لمن استثني الوجه والكفين عن الحجاب…و عبد الله ابن عباس و عبد الله بن عمر و من تابعهما فسروا قوله تعالي: ولا يبدين زينتهن إلا ما ظهر منها، بقولهم: إنه الوجه والكفان. وهو محتمل المعنيين، الأول: أنه تفسير للزينة التي نهين عن إبدائها، فعلي هذا رجع هذا القول أيضا إلي معني قول ابن مسعود رضي الله عنه، فلم يكن الوجه والكفان من مستثنيات، والمعني الثاني: أنه تفسير لما ظهر، وعلي هذا الأحتمال كان الوجه والكفان مستثنيان من الحجاب

The summary of the differences regarding the tafsīr of “that which appears thereof” is that a difference of opinion exists between the Sahabah and Tābi’īn themselves. ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ūd (radiyallahu ‘anhu) and those who are of his opinion say that it refers to (their) clothes and the jilbāb. According to this opinion, there is no room for those who exempt the face and the hands from hijāb…’Abdullah bin ‘Abbās (radiyallahu ‘anhuma) and ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhuma) interpret the words “and must not expose their adornment, except that which appears thereof” as meaning the face and the hands. This tafsīr holds two possibilities. The first possibility: This (face and hands) is the tafsīr for the word “adornment” from which women have been forbidden to display. According to this tafsīr, in meaning it will be the same as the interpretation of Ibn Mas’ūd (radiyallahu ‘anhu); therefore, the hands and face will not be exempt (from the hijāb). The second possibility: This is the tafsīr for “that which appears thereof”. According to this possibility, the face and the hands will be exempt from the hijāb.[23]

In more simple terms, the verses according to each interpretation will mean:

(1) According to the tafsīr of Ibn Mas’ūd (radiyallahu ‘anhu): And (they) must not expose their adornment, except their outer garments (e.g. their jilbāb).

(2) According to the tafsīr of Ibn ‘Abbās (radiyallahu ‘anhuma): And (they) must not expose their adornment, except their hands and faces.

It is important to take note that this discussion only pertains to the interpretation of this verse and not the ruling for the hijāb itself.

 

 

Clarification on Women Exposing Their Face

One may conclude through this that there remains scope for women to expose their face as it is a valid tafsīr of this verse. In order clear this misconception, we will expound with the following points:

(1) After discussing the various opinions, Imam Qurtubī says in his tafsīr:

قَالَ ابْنُ عَطِيَّةَ: وَيَظْهَرُ لِي بِحُكْمِ أَلْفَاظِ الْآيَةِ أَنَّ الْمَرْأَةَ مَأْمُورَةٌ بِأَلَّا تُبْدِيَ وَأَنْ تَجْتَهِدَ فِي الْإِخْفَاءِ لِكُلِّ مَا هُوَ زِينَةٌ، وَوَقَعَ الِاسْتِثْنَاءُ فِيمَا يَظْهَرُ بِحُكْمِ ضَرُورَةِ حَرَكَةٍ فِيمَا لَا بُدَّ مِنْهُ، أَوْ إِصْلَاحِ شَأْنٍ وَنَحْوِ ذَلِكَ. فَ”- مَا ظَهَرَ” عَلَى هَذَا الْوَجْهِ مِمَّا تُؤَدِّي إِلَيْهِ الضَّرُورَةُ فِي النِّسَاءِ فَهُوَ الْمَعْفُوُّ عَنْهُ. قُلْتُ: هَذَا قَوْلٌ حَسَنٌ، إِلَّا أَنَّهُ لَمَّا كَانَ الْغَالِبُ مِنَ الْوَجْهِ وَالْكَفَّيْنِ ظُهُورُهُمَا عَادَةً وَعِبَادَة..فَيَصْلُحُ أَنْ يَكُونَ الِاسْتِثْنَاءُ رَاجِعًا إِلَيْهِمَا

Ibn ‘Atiyyah says: “What becomes apparent to me in regards to the ruling derived from the words of this verse is that women are commanded to not reveal themselves and that they try their best to conceal all that is considered to be adornment (beauty). The exception made here is due to certain movements that are absolutely necessary (for women to do) or in order to fix something, etc. As such, “that which appears thereof” in this context refers to revealing at times of necessity for women; therefore, it is amongst those things that are forgiven (due to a need).” According to me [referring to Imam al-Qurtubī himself], this is a better approach, except that since the face and hands become revealed habitually or at times of ībādah…it is better to say that the exception refers to those two times
(only).[24]

(2) There are some who mention that revealing the face is permissible for women if there is no fear of fitnah[25]. In regards to this, Imam Jalāluddīn al-Mahallī mentions in his Tafsīr al-Jalālayn:

{وَلَا يُبْدِينَ}…{زِينَتهنَّ إلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا} وَهُوَ الْوَجْه وَالْكَفَّانِ فَيَجُوز نَظَره لِأَجْنَبِيٍّ إنْ لَمْ يَخَفْ فِتْنَة فِي أَحَد وَجْهَيْنِ وَالثَّانِي يَحْرُم لِأَنَّهُ مَظِنَّة الْفِتْنَة وَرُجِّحَ حَسْمًا لِلْبَابِ

[The verse says] “And they must not expose…”their adornment, except that which appears thereof”. This refers to the face and the hands; therefore it should be permissible for one to look at a woman (i.e. her face) if he does not feel there will be fitnah. This is according to one opinion; the other opinion is that such an act is harām since there is a possibility of fitnah. This (second) opinion has been given preference in order to close the doors (leading to fitnah).[26]

Mufti Shafī’ comments on this as well in the following words:

و أنت خبير بأن هذا أمر يعز وجوده في القرون الأولي أيضا إلا ما شاء الله تعالي، ويشهد له قصة الفضل ابن عباس مع امرأة خثعمية بأن النبي صلي الله عليه و سلم حول وجه الفضل عنها، و قال: رأيت شابا و شابة فلم آمن عليهما الفتنة، كما رواه البخاري والترمذي، فما ظنك بزماننا الذي بدا فيه التساوي بين المحاسن والمساوي، وكادت القلوب أن تكون منكوسة فلاتعرف معروفا و لا تنكر منكرا، و عادت الفواحش فيه مفخرا، واتخذت المناهي متجرا؛ تجارت بهم الأهواء كما تتجار الكلب بصاحبه، و يخبط بهم الهوي في مذاهبه وغياهبه؟ فكيف يحصل الأمن واليقين علي أنه لا يحدث في نفسه الميلان إلي قربها بالنظر إليها؟

You already know that such a thing (not having fear of fitnah) was seldom found during the first era of Muslims as well (i.e. the time of the Holy Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam and his Sahabah radiyallahu ‘anhum) except that which Allah Ta’ālā wanted. The story of Fadl ibn ‘Abbās (radiyallahu ‘anhu) and the woman of Khath’amiyyah attests to this fact since the Holy Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) turned the face of Fadl away from her (when he saw them staring at each other) as he told them: “I saw a young man and a young woman and I did not feel secure from fitnah arising between them.” As narrated by Imam Bukhārī and Imam Tirmidhī. [Considering this] what do you think is the situation in our times where good and evil have been labeled as equal, the hearts (of people) have turned upside down to the extent that they cannot even differentiate between wrong from right, where indecency (i.e. adultery, prostitution, etc.) has returned as a means to boast one’s own ego, where forbidden acts have become a business? A time where selfish desires travel with people like a dog travels with his partner? Where wishes and fancies have plunged people into its depths and its darkness. So how can one feel secure and certain that one’s heart will not be inclined towards her (i.e. towards committing indecency with her) when one’s eyes are focused on her?[27]

(3) All four schools of thought (i.e. Mālikī, Hanbalī, Shafi’ī, and Hanafī) agree that it is impermissible for women to expose their face in front of non-mahram men[28].

After discussing the points above, the conclusion the we arrive at is that although there is a difference of opinion regarding the tafsīr of verse thirty one of Surah an-Nūr, there remains no discrepancy in regards to the ruling derived therefrom. That is to say that even though there are authentic narrations concerning the meaning of “except that which appears thereof”, there still remains no disagreement pertaining to the application of the verse according to the vast majority of the fuqahā, especially in reference to our time where fitnah lurks at every corner; therefore, it is not feasible for women to leave their homes with their faces uncovered in front of non-mahram men.

The core of this discussion boils down to the fact that the third degree of hijāb no longer remains an issue, whether it is because one opts for Ibn Masūd’s (radiyallahu ‘anhu) tafsīr of the verse which states that “except that which appears thereof” simply refers to women’s outer garments and ornaments, or because the revealing of one’s face in our times can lead to fitnah, and in order to close this door completely, the ruling of impermissibility was given preference.[29]

 

The Field of Ahkām

Before we conclude this discussion, we would like to make one final point. The saying goes “to each his own”, but does this apply to the laws of Shari’ah? Like any other field, Islamic sciences have also been divided into different categories each with their own specialists. The muhaddithūn are tasked with preserving the words and asānīd (chains of narration) of ahādīth for later generations, whereas the mufassirūn discuss the meanings, interpretations, and explanations of the verses in the Holy Qurān. Similarly, the fuqahā are those who spent a great portion of their lives deducing rulings from the Holy Qurān and the Ahādīth of the Holy Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam). One may say that each field is also linked to the other in one way or another.

The point of consideration is that simply because one is a master in one field it does not necessitate that he is a master in another. If one holds a PhD in mechanical engineering, it does not mean that he has the knowledge to perform a surgery on a patient requiring a bypass. This also goes for one who has studied immensely on his own but does not hold the credentials needed to assert his authority in front of those who hold valid credentials in that field. For example, if one studies hundreds of books on the subject of medicine, keeps up with WebMD every day, and further reads every article regarding medicine for fifteen years, he still does not hold the credentials that a student of medicine would hold that only studied for a mere seven to eight years. The reason being is that certain sciences require certain procedures and experience under direct supervision of an authority in order to be labelled as a master in that field.

To substantiate this point, consider the words of Imam Tirmidhī, a great and renowned muhaddith, regarding the status of the fuqaha:

وَهُمْ أَعْلَمُ بِمَعَانِي الحَدِيثِ

And they (the fuqahā) have more knowledge of the meanings of the ahādīth.[30]

To conclude, while there may be some who attempt to interpret the meanings of the Qurān and ahādīth in their own way, the rulings derived therefrom will not be taken into consideration unless uttered by the fuqahā themselves. The reason is very simple, the fuqahā are masters in the field of deduction and have written thousands and thousands of books on various subjects of ahkām. Furthermore, such a claim is not something new; rather, the chain of fuqahā and their mastery in this field can be traced back to the first century of Islam. Their words have always been accepted as the final judgment in all matters of fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence) for over one thousand years. Simply being god fearing and a firm believer of the Quran does not mean one cannot err, especially when one’s opinion is weighed against a thousand years of study backed by thousands of scholars from the four accepted schools of thought. Such an opinion in the end contradicts ijmā’ (consensus) and holds no weight in the sciences of fiqh and deduction.

The fact of the matter is that although one may have done great and outstanding work in a certain field and attained a high status in the eyes of the public, it does not necessitate that he has the credentials to make decisions regarding other fields of Islam.

May Allah Ta’ālā accept the efforts of all those who defend Islam and may He continue to take work from them. Ameen.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

 

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

[1] Al-Quran, Al-Isrā, 32
[2] Al-Quran, An-Nūr, 31
[3] Sahīh Muslim, Book of al-Qadr (Fate), vol. 4, pg. 2047, Dar Ihyā at-Turāth
[4] Sahih Muslim, 2128, The Book of Clothes and Adornment
[5] Ma’ariful Quran, ” The Difference Between the Injunctions of Satr-ul-‘Awrah and Veiling of Women (Hijab)”, Surah al-Ahzab:53
[6] فَلَمَّا ذَاقَا الشَّجَرَةَ بَدَتْ لَهُمَا سَوْآتُهُمَا وَطَفِقَا يَخْصِفَانِ عَلَيْهِمَا مِنْ وَرَقِ الْجَنَّةِ
(سورة الأعراف، ٢٢)
[7] Al-Quran, Surah al-Qasas:25
[8] Ibid.;
Ahkām al-Quran by Mufti Shafī’ ‘Uthmānī, vol. 3, pg. 404-406, Idarah al-Quran w’al-‘Ulūm al-Islamiyyah
[9] Ma’ariful Quran, “The Second Issue – the Hijab of Women”, Surah al-Ahzab:53;
Ahkām al-Qurān by Mufti Muhammad Shafī’ ‘Uthmanī, vol. 3, pg. 408, Idarah al-Quran w’al-‘Ulūm al-Islamiyyah
[10] Surah al-Ahzab:33
 
[11] Ma’ariful Quran, “The First Degree of Hijab from People by Virtue of Staying Home”, Surah al-Ahzab:53;
 
الأولي من سورة الأحزاب هذه الآية أعني قوله تعالي: و إذا سألتموهن متاعا فاسألوهن من وراء حجاب، و هي أول آية نزلت في الحجاب…و هذه الآية تدل علي أن كيفية الحجاب الشرعي هو التستر بالبيوت والخدور بحيث لا ينكشف للرجال شيء من أبدانهن و زينتهن…
(أحكام القرآن للمفتي محمد شفيع، ج ٣، ص ٤٠٨، إذارة القرآن و العلوم الإسلامية)؛
 
الأولي: حجاب الأشخاص بالبيوت والجدر والخدور والهوادج و أمثالها، بحيث لا يري الرجال الأجانب شيئا من أشخاصهن و لا لباسهن و زينتهن الظاهرة و لا الباطنة، و لا شيئا من جسدهن من الوجه والكفين و سائر البدن
(أحكام القرآن للمفتي محمد شفيع، ج ٣، ص ٤٥٤، إذارة القرآن و العلوم الإسلامية)؛
 
(فَاسْأَلُوهُنَّ مِنْ وَرَاءِ حِجَابٍ) يقول: من وراء ستر بينكم وبينهن، ولا تدخلوا عليهن بيوتهن (ذَلِكُمْ أَطْهَرُ لِقُلُوبِكُمْ وَقُلُوبِهِنَّ) يقول تعالى ذكره: سؤالكم إياهن المتاع إذا سألتموهن ذلك من وراء حجاب أطهر لقلوبكم وقلوبهن من عوارض العين فيها التي تعرض في صدور الرجال من أمر النساء، وفي صدور النساء من أمر الرجال، وأحرى من أن لا يكون للشيطان عليكم وعليهن سبيل.
(جامع البيان للطبري، ج ١٢، ص ٣٩، دار الفكر)
 
[12] الثاني: أمرهن بملازمة البيوت. وهو أمر مطلوب من سائر النساء…و قد يحرم عليهن الخروج…وما يجوز من الخروج كالخروج للحج و زيارة الوالدين و عيادة المرضي و تعزية الأموات من الأقارب…وقال ابن كثير: و قرن في بيوتكن، أي الزمن بيوتكن فلا تخرجن بغير حاجة.
(أحكام القرآن للمفتي محمد شفيع، ج ٣، ص ٤٠٨، إذارة القرآن و العلوم الإسلامية)
 
[13] Sunan at-Tirmidhi, 1173, The Book of Suckling
 
[14] وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الْأُولَى وَأَقِمْنَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتِينَ الزَّكَاةَ وَأَطِعْنَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا.
مَعْنَى هَذِهِ الْآيَةِ الْأَمْرُ بِلُزُومِ الْبَيْتِ، وَإِنْ كَانَ الْخِطَابُ لِنِسَاءِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَدْ دَخَلَ غَيْرُهُنَّ فِيهِ بِالْمَعْنَى. هَذَا لَوْ لَمْ يَرِدْ دَلِيلٌ يَخُصُّ جَمِيعَ النِّسَاءِ، كَيْفَ وَالشَّرِيعَةُ طَافِحَةٌ بِلُزُومِ النِّسَاءِ بُيُوتَهَنَّ، وَالِانْكِفَافِ عَنِ الْخُرُوجِ مِنْهَا إِلَّا لِضَرُورَةٍ، عَلَى مَا تَقَدَّمَ فِي غَيْرِ مَوْضِعٍ
(الجامع لأحكام القرآن للقرطبي، ج ٧، ص ٤٨١، دار الحديث)
 
وَإِذَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُنَّ مَتَاعًا فَاسْأَلُوهُنَّ مِنْ وَرَاءِ حِجَابٍ ذَلِكُمْ أَطْهَرُ لِقُلُوبِكُمْ وَقُلُوبِهِنَّ
التَّاسِعَةُ- فِي هَذِهِ الْآيَةِ دَلِيلٌ عَلَى أَنَّ اللَّهَ تَعَالَى أَذِنَ فِي مَسْأَلَتِهِنَّ مِنْ وَرَاءِ حِجَابٍ، فِي حَاجَةٍ تَعْرِضُ، أَوْ مَسْأَلَةٍ يُسْتَفْتَيْنَ فِيهَا، وَيَدْخُلُ فِي ذَلِكَ جَمِيعُ النِّسَاءِ بِالْمَعْنَى، وَبِمَا تَضَمَّنَتْهُ أُصُولُ الشَّرِيعَةِ مِنْ أَنَّ الْمَرْأَةَ كُلُّهَا عَوْرَةٌ، بَدَنُهَا وَصَوْتُهَا، كَمَا تَقَدَّمَ، فَلَا يَجُوزُ كَشْفُ ذَلِكَ إِلَّا لِحَاجَةٍ كَالشَّهَادَةِ عَلَيْهَا، أَوْ دَاءٍ يَكُونُ بِبَدَنِهَا، أَوْ سُؤَالِهَا عَمَّا يَعْرِضُ وَتَعَيَّنَ عندها.
((الجامع لأحكام القرآن للقرطبي، ج ٧، ص ٥٢٠، دار الحديث)
 
[15]الثالثة- قوله تعالى: (مِنْ جَلَابِيبِهِنَّ) الْجَلَابِيبُ جَمْعُ جِلْبَابٍ، وَهُوَ ثَوْبٌ أَكْبَرُ مِنَ الْخِمَارِ. وَرُوِيَ عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ وَابْنِ مَسْعُودٍ أَنَّهُ الرِّدَاءُ. وَقَدْ قِيلَ: إِنَّهُ الْقِنَاعُ. وَالصَّحِيحُ أَنَّهُ الثَّوْبُ الَّذِي يَسْتُرُ جَمِيعَ الْبَدَنِ.
(الجامع لأحكام القرآن للقرطبي، ج ٧، ص ٣٥٢، دار الحديث)
[16] Ibid.
[17] ثم اختلف أهل التأويل في صفة الإدناء الذي أمرهن الله به فقال بعضهم: هو أن يغطين وجوههن ورءوسهن فلا يبدين منهن إلا عينا واحدة.
* ذكر من قال ذلك: حدثني عليّ، قال: ثنا أَبو صالح قال ثني معاوية عن علي عن ابن عباس، قوله (يَاأَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُلْ لأزْوَاجِكَ وَبَنَاتِكَ وَنِسَاءِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِنْ جَلابِيبِهِنَّ) أمر الله نساء المؤمنين إذا خرجن من بيوتهن في حاجة أن يغطين وجوههن من فوق رءوسهن بالجلابيب ويبدين عينا واحدة.
* ذكر من قال ذلك: حدثني محمد بن سعد قال ثني أَبي قال ثني عمي قال: ثني أَبي عن أبيه عن ابن عباس، قوله (يَاأَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُلْ لأزْوَاجِكَ وَبَنَاتِكَ وَنِسَاءِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِنْ جَلابِيبِهِنَّ … ) إلى قوله (وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا) قال: كانت الحرة تلبس لباس الأمة فأمر الله نساء المؤمنين أن يدنين عليهن من جلابيبهن. وإدناء الجلباب: أن تقنع وتشد على جبينها.
(جامع البيان للطبري، ج ١٢، ص ٤٦، دار الفكر)؛
الثانية: الحجاب بالبراقع والجلابيب بحيث لايبدو شيء من الوجه والكفين و سائر الجسد و لباس الزينة، فلايري إلا أشخاصهن مستورة من فوق الرأس إلي القدم
(أحكام القرآن للمفتي محمد شفيع، ج ٣، ص ٤٥٣، إذارة القرآن و العلوم الإسلامية)
 
[18] Al-Jāmi’ li Ahkām al-Qurān of Imam al-Qurtubī, vol. 7, pg. 532, Darul Hadīth
 
[19] الثالثة: الحجاب بالجلابيب وأمثالها مع كشف الوجه والكفين والقدمين
(أحكام القرآن للمفتي محمد شفيع، ج ٣، ص ٤٥٤، إذارة القرآن و العلوم الإسلامية)
 
[20] وقوله: (وَلا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ) يقول تعالى ذكره: ولا يُظهرن للناس الذين ليسوا لهن بمحرم زينتهنّ، وهما زينتان: إحداهما: ما خفي وذلك كالخلخال والسوارين والقرطين والقلائد،
والأخرى: ما ظهر منها، وذلك مختلف في المعنيّ منه بهذه الآية، فكان بعضهم يقول: زينة الثياب الظاهرة.
*ذكر من قال ذلك: حدثنا ابن حميد، قال: ثنا هارون بن المغيرة، عن الحجاج، عن أبي إسحاق، عن أبي الأحوص، عن ابن مسعود، قال: الزينة زينتان: فالظاهرة منها الثياب، وما خفي: الخَلْخَالان والقرطان والسواران…
وقال آخرون: الظاهر من الزينة التي أبيح لها أن تبديه: الكحل، والخاتم، والسواران، والوجه.
*ذكر من قال ذلك: حدثنا أبو كريب، قال: ثنا مروان، قال: ثنا مسلم الملائي، عن سعيد بن جُبير، عن ابن عباس: (وَلا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا) قال: الكحل والخاتم….
حدثنا ابن بشار، قال: ثنا أبو عاصم، قال: ثنا سفيان، عن عبد الله بن مسلم بن هرمز، عن سعيد بن جُبير، في قوله: (وَلا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا) قال: الوجه والكفّ….
وقال آخرون: عنى به الوجه والثياب.
*ذكر من قال ذلك: حدثنا ابن عبد الأعلى، قال: ثنا المعتمر، قال: قال يونس (وَلا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا) قال الحسن: الوجه والثياب.
(جامع البيان للطبري، ج ١٠، ١١٧-١١٩، دار الفكر)
 
[21] الثَّالِثَةُ- أَمَرَ اللَّهُ سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى النِّسَاءَ بِأَلَّا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ لِلنَّاظِرِينَ، إِلَّا مَا اسْتَثْنَاهُ مِنَ النَّاظِرِينَ فِي بَاقِي الْآيَةِ حِذَارًا مِنْ الِافْتِتَانِ، ثُمَّ اسْتَثْنَى، مَا يَظْهَرُ مِنَ الزِّينَةِ، وَاخْتَلَفَ النَّاسُ فِي قَدْرِ ذَلِكَ، فَقَالَ ابْنُ مَسْعُودٍ: ظَاهِرُ الزِّينَةِ هُوَ الثِّيَابُ. وَزَادَ ابْنُ جُبَيْرٍ الْوَجْهُ. وَقَالَ سَعِيدُ بْنُ جُبَيْرٍ أَيْضًا وَعَطَاءٌ وَالْأَوْزَاعِيُّ: الْوَجْهُ وَالْكَفَّانِ وَالثِّيَابُ. وَقَالَ ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ وَقَتَادَةُ وَالْمِسْوَرُ بْنُ مَخْرَمَةَ: ظَاهِرُ الزِّينَةِ هُوَ الْكُحْلُ وَالسِّوَارُ وَالْخِضَابُ إِلَى نِصْفِ الذِّرَاعِ «1» وَالْقِرَطَةُ وَالْفَتَخُ «2»، وَنَحْوُ هَذَا فَمُبَاحٌ أَنْ تُبْدِيَهُ الْمَرْأَةُ لِكُلِّ مَنْ دَخَلَ عَلَيْهَا مِنَ النَّاسِ.
(الجامع لأحكام القرآن للقرطبي، ج ٦، ص ٥١٨، دار الحديث)
 
[22] وَقَالَ (4) : {وَلا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا} أَيْ: لَا يُظهرْنَ شَيْئًا مِنَ الزِّينَةِ لِلْأَجَانِبِ، إِلَّا مَا لَا يُمْكِنُ إِخْفَاؤُهُ.
وَقَالَ ابْنُ مَسْعُودٍ: كَالرِّدَاءِ وَالثِّيَابِ. يَعْنِي: عَلَى مَا كَانَ يَتَعَانَاهُ نِسَاءُ الْعَرَبِ، مِنَ المِقْنعة الَّتِي تُجَلِّل ثِيَابَهَا، وَمَا يَبْدُو مِنْ أَسَافِلِ الثِّيَابِ فَلَا حَرَجَ عَلَيْهَا فِيهِ؛ لِأَنَّ هَذَا لَا يُمْكِنُ إِخْفَاؤُهُ. [وَنَظِيرُهُ فِي زِيِّ النِّسَاءِ مَا يَظْهَرُ مِنْ إِزَارِهَا، وَمَا لَا يُمْكِنُ إِخْفَاؤُهُ. وَقَالَ] (5) بِقَوْلِ ابْنِ مَسْعُودٍ: الْحَسَنُ، وَابْنُ سِيرِينَ، وَأَبُو الْجَوْزَاءِ، وَإِبْرَاهِيمُ النَّخَعي، وَغَيْرُهُمْ. وَقَالَ الْأَعْمَشِ، عَنْ سَعِيدِ بْنِ جُبَير، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ: {وَلا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا} قَالَ: وَجْهُهَا وَكَفَّيْهَا وَالْخَاتَمُ
(تفسير ابن كثير، ج ٣، ص ٣٤٨، دار الحديث)
[23] Ahkām al-Qurān by Mufti Muhammad Shafī’ ‘Uthmanī, vol. 3, pg. 426, Idarah al-Quran w’al-‘Ulūm al-Islamiyyah
[24] Al-Jāmi’ li Ahkām al-Qurān of Imam al-Qurtubī, vol. 7, pg. 519, Darul Hadīth
 
[25] وأما الدرجة الثالثة: اأني خروجهن مستورة الأبدان من الرأس إلي القدم مع كشف الوجه والكفين بشرط الأمن من الفتنة…فاختلف فيه كلمات القوم، منهم من رخص فيها بشرط الأمن من الفتنة، و منهم من لم يرخص فيها إلا عند الاضطرار
(أحكام القرآن للمفتي محمد شفيع، ج ٣، ص ٤٦٠، إذارة القرآن و العلوم الإسلامية)
[26] Tafsīr al-Jalālayn, Surah an-Nūr, verse 31
[27] Ahkām al-Qurān by Mufti Muhammad Shafī’ ‘Uthmanī, vol. 3, pg. 467, Idarah al-Quran w’al-‘Ulūm al-Islamiyyah
 
[28] Although the Hanafī position seems to have some room for discussion, in our times the final position holds to be the same as the other three schools of thought.
 
For a detailed discussion on this matter, refer to the following link:
http://www.deoband.org/2009/04/fiqh/miscellaneous/the-niqab-and-its-obligation-in-the-hanafi-madhhab/
 
For information regarding the position of the other three madhāhib, refer to:
Ahkām al-Qurān by Mufti Muhammad Shafī’ ‘Uthmanī, vol. 3, pg. 460-467, Idarah al-Quran w’al-‘Ulūm al-Islamiyyah
 
Also see:
Ma’ariful Quran, ” The Third Degree of Islamic Legal Hijab About Which Jurists Differ “, Surah al-Ahzab:53
 
[29] Ahkām al-Qurān by Mufti Muhammad Shafī’ ‘Uthmanī, vol. 3, pg. 469, Idarah al-Quran w’al-‘Ulūm al-Islamiyyah
[30] Sunan at-Tirmidhī, 990, The Book Janāiz (Funerals)