IS THERE A VALID DIFFERENCE OF OPINION ON THE NIQAAB???
RESPONSE TO JAMIATKZN & MUFTI EBRAHIM DESAI
QUESTION – Some people argue that a woman does not have to conceal her face from the gazes of Ghair Mahram men. They cite the following view of the JamiatKZN:
It is compulsory for her to cover her entire body from head to toe with the exception of her hands, feet and face in front of strange (non-Mahram) men. This is irrespective if strange men are present on one’s property/house/yard or strange men have a ‘view’ into one’s property/house/yard. (Maraaqil Falaah 1/91)
Is there a valid difference of opinion on the issue of women covering the face? If this is true then why do Muslims go through so much effort and difficulty to cover their faces if it is not a Sharia requirement?
(Ghair Mahaareem: All males except those with whom nikaah is not permissible.)
Allah Ta’ala commands: “O Nabi! Say to your wives, your daughters and the women of the Believers that they draw over them their Jilbaabs (outer-cloaks). That (i.e. covering themselves with Jilbaabs) is the least (minimum requirement which they should adopt) so that they be recognized (as respectable and honourable ladies) and not be molested (by evil men)”. – (Surah 33, Aayat 59)
Commenting on this Aayat, Allamah Abu Bakr Jassaas says: “In this verse is the indication that young women have been commanded to conceal their faces from strange males when they emerge (from their homes).” [Ahkaamul Qur’aan]
Innumerable Fuqaha, Mufassireen, etc. have stated that this Aayat refers to women covering the face. According to all four Math-habs, women must conceal their faces from Ghair-Mahram men. Here are a few quotes from the four Mathaahib:
- Hanafi Math-hab: “It is mentioned in Al-Muntaqaa that women will be prohibited from exposing their faces so that it does not lead to Fitnah. And in our era, it is Waajib to prohibit them (from exposing their faces) – in fact it is Fardh due to the preponderance of Fasaad.” [Majma’ul Anhur] The Honourable Faqeeh was speaking about 400 years ago. Today, it is much worse! The Wujoob of females covering their faces appears in innumerable Kutub.
- Maaliki Math-hab: “And verily the two (i.e. face and palms) are not Aurah, even though it is Waajib to conceal them (i.e. the face and palms) due to the fear of Fitnah.” [Jawaaahirul Ikleel – Haashiyaa Saawi & other Maaliki Kutub]
- Shaafi Math-hab: “Yes, that woman who is certain of the gaze of a strange man falling on her, it is incumbent upon her to cover her face from him (i.e. the Ghair-Mahram man). Otherwise (if she does not conceal her face), then she will be assisting him towards Haraam. Thus, she will be committing a sin.” [Tuhfatul Muhtaaj] The Wujoob of females covering their faces is mentioned in Nihaayatul Muhtaaj and many other Shaafi Kutub as well.
- Hambali Math-hab: “And the face is Aurah outside Salaah as far as gazes (of ghair-Mahram men) are concerned just like the rest of the body.” [Al-Iqnaa’ and other Hambali Kutub] In fact, Imaam Ahmed Bin Hambal has mentioned that even the finger-nail of a woman is Aurah (i.e. it is Waajib to conceal). What then should be deduced regarding the face???
The scope of this article precludes us from presenting all the Qur’aanic Aayaat, Ahaadeeth, names and quotes of the authorities of the Shariah which prove that women should cover their faces. The Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen, Fuqaha of the four Math-habs, Muhadditheen, Mufassireen, etc. have mentioned that it is Waajib upon women to conceal their faces from ghair-Mahram men. Their consensus is sufficient for the sincere seeker of the truth.
HIGHEST DEGREE OF HIJAAB
A Mu’min strives for the highest degree of Hijaab. When speaking about modesty, then the highest degree of Hijaab should be expounded on. Allah Ta’ala commands: ‘And (O Women!) Remain firmly in your homes.’ (Surah 33 – Aayat 33)
Women must remain at home. They may not emerge from their homes unnecessarily. It is known as Hijaabul Ash-Khaas Bil Buyoot which means that a strange man (Ghair Mahram man) will not see the woman at all to the extent that he does not see her even with her clothes on. Since he does not see her at all, her face, palms and her entire body is automatically concealed from him.
This is the highest level of Qur’anic Hijaab (Purdah) commanded in at least two Aayaat and proven by several Ahaadeeth. There are at least 24 Ahaadeeth which substantiate the Shar’i Law that women must remain glued to their homes and they may only emerge from their homes for necessities deemed imperative by the Shariah – not so-called necessities which human minds fabricate.
The command is for women to be glued to their homes – not an exposed yard or the outside of one’s home which exposes a woman to passing traffic. It is not permissible for the man’s wife and/or daughter to emerge from their homes into their exposed yards even for the sake of relaxation. This is because they are exposing themselves to Ghair Mahareem for no valid reason which is shameless.
A woman may not emerge from her home without valid Shar’i reason even if she is covered from head to toe. The Burqah, Niqaab, Jilbaab, etc. are not a license to emerge from the home without valid Shar’i reason.
2. When a woman emerges from her home for a reason deemed imperative by the Shariah, the Jilbaab is a requirement. This vital Qur’aanic injunction may not be omitted. The masses should be given Ta’leem pertaining to the Jilbaab.
Women wearing pyjamas, exposing their hair, the bodily shape and/or also exposing their faces to Ghair Mahrams, are indeed shameless. Part of modesty is for a woman to cover her face as well. Read carefully the following articles:
MARAAQIL FALAAH – THE MISUNDERSTOOD TEXT
In regards to a woman, it is compulsory for her to cover her entire body from head to toe including the face with the exception of her hands and feet in front of strange (non-Mahram) men. JamiatKZN quoted “(Maraaqil Falaah 1/91)” as a reference that it is not compulsory for her to cover her face in front of strange (non-Mahram) men.
Since the text is misleading, it is necessary to elaborate. The text of Maraaqil Falaah is as follows:
“وجميع بدن الحرة عورة إلا وجهها وكفيها” باطنهما وظاهرهما في الأصح وهو المختار
Translation: “And the entire body of a free woman is AURAH except her face and palms – the front and back (of the face and hands) according to the most authentic view and this is the chosen opinion.” [Emphasis ours]
The Mas’alah mentioned in Maraaqil Falaah pertains to Aurah – not Hijaab. Even the Qur’aan explains the Mas’alah pertaining to Aurah (Satr). This is not disputed. We agree that the face is not included in the Aurah (Satr) of a woman. However, as far as Hijaab is concerned, a woman must cover her face. The references to prove that women MUST cover their faces in front of Ghair Mahrams are innumerable.
Why did they omit the Sharah (commentary) on this Mas’alah mentioned by Allamah Tahtaawi Rahimahullah on the issue of a woman exposing her face?
قوله: “إلا وجهها” ومنع الشابة من كشفه لخوف الفتنة لا لأنه عورة
Translation: “And the young woman is prohibited from exposing her face due to the fear of Fitnah – not because it is Aurah.”
There is a need to ask the JamiatKZN and Mufti Ebrahim Desai: Is there Fitnah when women expose their faces to Ghair Mahrams?
Since there is Fitnah, why does the JamiatKZN claim that there is a difference of opinion when it is acknowledged that unveiling is a cause of temptation for men and women?
In the article they sent to the brother, the following is what Mufti Ebrahim Desai mentioned:
“Unveiling has a number of disadvantages. Some of them are as follows:
1. It is a violation of the Quran and Hadith;
2. It shows woman’s weakness in belief;
3. It is a cause of temptation for men and women;
4. It strips off her modesty that is an integral part of Faith;
5. It subjects her to adultery and sexual harassment (especially now in Egypt with the vaginal kit, adultery has become so easy. Had all the women been veiled, the government would not have so much difficulty in trying to outlaw this kit);
6. It hurts her dignity and feelings and it stains her chastity;
7. It prompts woman to take part in commercial advertisements and films as a showpiece and a source of enjoyment for the viewers.”
DIFFERENCE OF OPINION
Firstly, there is a difference between Hijaab and Aurah. We are discussing Hijaab here – not Aurah. Secondly, there is a difference of opinion amongst the Fuqaha whether the face of a woman is included in her Aurah or not. Thirdly, whilst we agree that a woman’s face is not Aurah; her face has to be concealed from Ghair Mahrams due to Hijaab. Fourthly, there is no valid difference of opinion as far as Hijaab is concerned. Those who claim that there is a difference of opinion amongst the Fuqaha, should send their dalaa-il for scrutiny. When a person requires a Shar’i Masalah, then the Masalah is obtained from the Kutub of the Fuqaha. Referring directly to Qur’aan and Hadeeth for deriving Masaail, is the function solely of the Mujtahideen.
It seems as if the JamiatKZN realized that they committed a huge blunder in their newsletter. The following statement of Imaam Shaafi’ (Rahmatullahi Alaih) should be salutary: “Whenever I put forward Shari’ Hujjat (Evidence from the Shariah) in regard to any mas-alah to someone and he accepted it, honour for him in my heart grew.”