Burqa‘, Ḥijāb and Niqāb

Question:

What kind of cloth should ware a muslim women to cover her body, please let us know with refrence with quran and hadis. My wife read in Quran under sura noor that burqa is not required for a women to cover her body.

(Question Published as Received)

Answer:

In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

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

A person should not make his/her own deduction of the understanding of the Qur’ān. One should also be careful on his/her reading of the Tafsīr of the Qur’ān. There are many unreliable Tafāsīr of the Qur’ān in the market places.

The order of Ḥijāb (including Niqāb for covering) is clearly understood in the following verse.

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُلْ لأزْوَاجِكَ وَبَنَاتِكَ وَنِسَاءِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِنْ جَلابِيبِهِنَّ ذَلِكَ أَدْنَى أَنْ يُعْرَفْنَ فَلا يُؤْذَيْنَ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا

“O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.”

The greatest commentator of the Qur’ān Sayyiduna Ibn ‘Abbās Radhiyallāhu ‘anhu explains the meaning of the above verse as follows.

حدثني علي قال : ثنا أبو صالح قال ثني معاوية عن علي عن ابن عباس ، قوله (يا أيها النبي قل لأزواجك وبناتك ونساء المؤمنين يدنين عليهن من جلابيبهن) أمر الله نساء المؤمنين إذا خرجن من بيوتهن في حاجة أن يغطين وجوههن من فوق رءوسهن بالجلابيب ويبدين عينا واحدة

“Allah Ta‘ālā commanded the believing women that, when they go out of their homes to take care of some need, they hide their faces with the long sheet (hanging down) from over their heads leaving only one eye open (to see the way).” (Ibn Kathīr & Tafsīr al-Ṭabarī).

Imām Muḥammad Ibn Sīrīn says: ‘When I asked ‘Abidah al-Salmāni about the meaning of this verse and the nature of Ḥijāb, he demonstrated it by hiding his face with the long sheet pulled from the top of his head and left to hang in front of it – and thus, by keeping only his left eye open to see.

After explaining the above verse, Mufti Muḥammad Shafī Usmāni (Raḥmatullāhi alayh) concluded with the following:

This verse instructs free women to observe Ḥijāb in a particular manner, that is, they should hide their face by bringing the sheet from over the head to hang on, or in front of, the face so that they could be recognized as distinct from bondwomen in general, and thus could stay protected from the fitnah of wicked people.

The above mentioned rulings are in those circumstances when a woman has to leave her house to fulfil a need outside her home where she will face Ghair-Maḥārim/Strangers (marriagable kin).

And Allah Ta‘ālā Knows Best

Maulana Bilal Issak

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.


Important Footnote

Mufti Taqi Usmani Writes in Takmilah Fath al-Mulhim:

The default rule in the Ḥijāb of women is Ḥijāb of the first level which is that she is concealed in the house and does not emerge, except for a need, the explanation of which is to come. This is proven by the statement of Allah Most High, “and stay in your houses” (Qur’ān 33:33). It is apparent that this command is not specific to the purified wives because none of the preceding and succeeding rules in this verse are specific to the Mothers of the Believers (Allah be pleased with them) by consensus. Likewise [this is proven by] His statement Most High, “And when ye ask of them anything, ask it of them from behind a veil” (Qur’ān 33:53). This verse was revealed during the walīmah (wedding feast) of Zaynab (Allah be pleased with her), whereupon a veil was drawn between her and the men.

Furthermore, this is proven by the following Aḥādīth:

[1] It was narrated from ‘Abdullāh Ibn Mas’ūd (Allah be pleased with him) that Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “The woman is ‘awrah. When she emerges [from her house] Satan looks at her.” Al-Tirmithi transmitted it and said, “The Hadīth is Hasan Ṣaḥīḥ (sound and authentic), Gharīb (uncommon)”. Ibn Khuzaymah and Ibn Ḥibbān transmitted it in their Ṣaḥīḥ with this wording and added, “and the closest that she is to the Face of Her Lord is when she is in the depth of her home.” See al-Targhīb by al-Mundhiri (1:136).

[2] It was narrated from Jābir (Allah be pleased with him), he said: “Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “The woman advances in the shape of Satan and retires in the shape of Satan.” Muslim transmitted it (1:129).

[3] The Ḥadīth of the chapter transmitted by the compiler (Imām Muslim) as Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said therein, “permission has been granted to you that you may go out for your needs,” since this indicates that the permission to go out is restricted to [times] of need and in [times] other than need a woman stays in her house.

These Aḥādīth prove with clarity that the default rule for the woman is that she is hidden in her house, her person is concealed from foreign men and she does not leave her house except for a need.

However, a woman may need to emerge for her natural needs. It will then be permissible for her to emerge in these kinds of situations while concealed in a burqa’ and Jilbāb whereby no part of her body is shown. This is the second level of hijab, and indeed this level has been commanded in the Noble Qur’ān where Allah Most High said, “O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their Jilbāb over their [persons]” (33:59) and it is apparent that by casting the Jilbāb over the woman is meant concealing her entire body even her face.

Jilbāb according to what was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbās (Allah be pleased with them both) is that which covers from top to bottom. Ibn Ḥazm said in al-Muḥallā (3:217), “Jilbāb in the language of the Arabs, in which Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) spoke, is that which covers the entire body, not a part of it.” Ibn Jarīr, Ibn al-Mundhir and others transmitted from Muḥammad ibn Sīrīn, he said: “I asked ‘Abīdah al-Salmāni about this verse ‘they should cast their Jilbāb over their [persons]’ so he lifted the blanket [draped] around him, concealed his face with it and covered his entire head until it reached the eyebrows and covered his face, then he took out his left eye from the left side of his face”. This was [mentioned] in Rūh al-Ma’āni (22:89).

It is clear that when the female Companions left for their needs they would go out concealed in Jilbāb and hidden in shrouds and would not uncover their faces before foreign men. From the [narrations] that prove this are the following Aḥādīth:

[1] Abu Dawūd transmitted in Kitab al-Jihād, Bab Fadl Qitāl al-Rum from Qays ibn Shammās (Allah be pleased with him), he said: “A woman called Umm Khallād came to the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) while she was veiled (wearing a Niqāb) enquiring about her son who was killed. One of the Companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said to her, ‘You have come to ask about your son while you are veiled?’ She said, ‘If I am afflicted with the loss of my son I will never suffer the loss of my modesty.’ Then Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, ‘He has the reward of two martyrs.’ She asked, ‘And why is that O Messenger of Allah?’ He said, ‘Because he was killed by the people of the book.’”

[2] It was narrated from Umm ‘Atiyyah that Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) would bring out the unmarried women, old women, the women in the private quarters and the menstruating women in the two ‘Ids. As for menstruating women they would keep back from the place of prayer and would witness the supplication of the Muslims. One of them said, “O Messenger of Allah! If one does not have a Jilbāb?” He said, “Let her sister cover her with her Jilbāb.” This hadith was transmitted by a number of collectors of authentic [narrations], and this is the wording of al-Tirmithi (no. 539), Bab Khurūj al-Nisā’ fi l-‘Idayn, and al-Tirmithi said, “this hadith is Ḥasan Ṣaḥīḥ.”

[3] Al-Bukhāri transmitted [something] similar to it (no. 980 in Kitāb al-‘Idayn) from Ḥafsah bint Sīrīn and its wording is: “so she said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, is there harm for any of us when she does not have Jilbāb that she not come out?’ He said, ‘Her companion should cover her with her Jilbāb.’”

Takmilah Fath al-Mulhim, vol. 4, pp. 225-234 – Translated by Mufti Zameelur Rahman.

Excerpt from: https://www.deoband.org/2010/06/hadith/hadith-commentary/the-hijab-of-women-and-its-boundaries/


تفسير الزمخشري = الكشاف عن حقائق غوامض التنزيل 3/ 560

ومعنى يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِنْ جَلَابِيبِهِنَّ يرخينها عليهنّ، ويغطين بها وجوههنّ وأعطافهنّ. يقال

إذا زل الثوب عن وجه المرأة: أدنى ثوبك على وجهك، وذلك أن النساء كنّ في أول الإسلام على هجيراهنّ في الجاهلية متبذلات، تبرز المرأة في درع وخمار فصل بين الحرّة والأمة، وكان الفتيان وأهل الشطارة يتعرّضون إذا خرجن بالليل إلى مقاضى حوائجهنّ في النخيل والغيطان للإماء، وربما تعرّضوا للحرّه بعلة الأمة، يقولون: حسبناها أمة، فأمرن أن يخالفن بزيهنّ عن زى الإماء بلبس الأردية والملاحف وستر الرؤوس والوجوه، ليحتشمن ويهين فلا يطمع فيهن طامع، وذلك قوله ذلِكَ أَدْنى أَنْ يُعْرَفْنَ أى أولى وأجدر بأن يعرفن فلا يتعرّض لهن ولا يلقين ما يكرهن. فإن قلت: ما معنى مِنْ في مِنْ جَلَابِيبِهِنَّ؟ قلت: هو للتبعيض، إلا أن معنى التبعيض محتمل وجهين، أحدهما: أن يتجلببن ببعض مالهنّ من الجلابيب، والمراد أن لا تكون الحرة متبذلة في درع وخمار، كالأمة والماهنة ولها جلبابان فصاعدا في بيتها

والثاني: أن ترخى المرأة بعض جلبابها وفضله على وجهها تتقنع حتى تتميز من الأمة. وعن ابن سيرين: سألت عبيدة السلماني عن ذلك فقال: أن تضع رداءها فوق الحاجب ثم تديره حتى تضعه على أنفها. وعن السدى: أن تغطى إحدى عينيها وجبهتها، والشق الآخر إلا العين

روح البيان 7/ 240

والادناء: نزديك كردن من الدنو وهو القرب. والجلباب ثوب أوسع من الخمار دون الرداء تلويه المرأة على رأسها وتبقى منه ما ترسله الى صدرها بالفارسية [چار] ومن للتبعيض لان المرأة ترخى بعض جلبابها وتتلفع ببعض [والتلفع: جامه بسر تا پاى درگرفتن] والمعنى يغطين بها وجوههن وأبدانهن وقت خروجهن من بيوتهن لحاجة ولا يخرجن مكشوفات الوجوه والأبدان كالاماء حتى لا يتعرض لهن السفهاء ظنا بانهن إماء

Ma’ārif al-Qur’ān V 7 page 238-240.


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