What is the ruling on hijab?
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
No nation or religion has ever permitted or allowed its followers to indulge in acts of immorality and immodesty. Islam has also laid down rules which act as precautions against Muslims falling into this path of immorality and immodesty. For this reason, Islam orders Muslim women to observe the Hijab in order to safeguard a woman’s modesty as well as safeguarding the gaze of men.
Hijab is fardh upon every woman who is close to the age of puberty or has reached it. Hijab means a screen or a curtain. In Shariah, it means to completely cover one’s self from the view of the non-mahram (those with whom marriage is permissible).
In the Holy Quran Allah has said:
“They should draw their veils over their bosoms”
The word “Khummr” means veil. And the veil means a piece of cloth, which covers the face. (Al-Mawrid)
In another verse Allah has stated:
“O’Nabi say to your wives, your daughters and the believing women that they should suspend over themselves the “Jilbaabs”.
“Jilbaab” is the outer sheet or cloak. At the time of the Prophet (saw) this sheet was so large that two women would easily be covered by it. The women used to wear it in such a way that it would not reveal their shape.
Ibn-Abbas (ra) has said that the word jilbaab means a woman should be wrapped, from her head to her feet and that her face, nose should be hidden-leaving only the eye uncovered to see the way.
There are also some Hadeeths, which tells us that women should observe pardah and conceal themselves from strange men. One of them is:
“A woman is an object of concealment, thus when she emerges, Satan uses her a means of spreading evil.”
To sum up, the whole body of a Muslim woman, including the face, must be covered in front of a non-mahram. Her dress should be tailored in such a way that it conceals all her body in a modest manner not exposing her body shape.
As for the objection raised that Hijab restricts many women from doing some activities, then it should be understood that Allah (SWT) is Hakeem (wise) and all his orders and commands comprise of benefits, although one may be unaware of it. Taking children out on activities could be done with the observance of Hijab. Removal of the Hijab could possibly lead access to many activities, but at the same time, this could lead to someone becoming a victim of sexual harassment. This negative aspects will definitely outweigh the benefits of the job or activity. To believe that this is too strict or restrictive is wrong.
It should be noted that women are recommended to stay in their homes. Allah has said in the Holy Qur’an:
“And remain in your homes.”
Also, there are other hadeeth, which support the fact that women during the Holy Prophet (saw) time remained in their homes.
In another hadith, the Holy Prophet (saw) has said that women should stay indoors, because when they come out, Satan makes her a means of spreading evil among Muslims.
Ibn-Khuzaymah and Ibn-Hibban have also reported the following hadith.
“A woman is closer to her Lord when she is (hidden) in the midmost of her house.”
Imam Tabrani relates another hadith:
“For women, there is no share in going out except if it is necessary.”
It is best for women to stay at home and leave outside jobs for the males who could earn and support them.
However, if for some reason if this is not possible, then Islam being a comprehensive religion takes into consideration all human needs and has given women permission to leave the house under certain circumstances that include adhering to the order of Hijab.
Now if you are only dealing with children who have not reached the age of puberty yet, it will be permissible to uncover the face. However, if you have to deal with male teachers etc then you have to cover your face in their presence.
This can be derived from the following Hadith:
Hazrat Aaisha (ra) narrates that during the occasion of Hajj-atul–wida when people passed along the side of us, we would draw hijabs over our heads and faces, when they had moved on we would open our faces
Ma’ariful-Quran (Mufti- Shafee P.203-229), Ahkamul-Quran.
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