As Salaamu Alaikum,
I would like to ask something regrading women awrat. Is there any difference between women awrat in different Madhhab or Sunni schools of jurisprudence? Can you explain the differences between those Madhhab?
Wa Alaikum As Salaam,
The awrah (concealable part of the body) of a woman in front of a non-blood relative male according to the Madhhab of Imam Abu Hanifa is her entire body (including her descending hair), besides her face, palms (the hands up to the wrist) and her feet (beneath the ankles).
It is further mentioned that a young woman is prohibited from revealing her face in front of non-blood relatives (male). This is not because of it being awrah, but it is due to the fear of fitnah (temptation) that may arise.
According to the Madhhab of Imam Malik (A.R), the awrah of a woman in front of a non-blood relative male is her entire body besides her face and palms (the hands up to the wrists). Both of these parts are not awrah, however, it is essential for a woman to cover these when there is a fear of fitna by revealing them.
According to the Madhhab of Imam Shafi, there are two opinions that are mentioned. One opinion states that the awrah of a woman in front of a non-blood relative male is her entire body, including her palms and face. The other opinion states that the awrah of a woman is her entire body excluding her palms and face.
According to the expert jurists of the Shafi Madhhab, the second opinion is the most correct one, and it is the official position of the Madhhab. In this regard, Imam An Nawawi writes, As for the awrah of a free woman, it is her entire body except her face and palms. (Al Majmoo’ Sharh Al Muhazzab Vol. 4 Pages 190,191).
With respect to the Madhhab of Imam Ahmad, there are also two opinions (narrations) which have been mentioned. One opinion states that the awrah of the woman is her entire body except her palms and face. This has been mentioned as one opinion from Imam Ahmad by Imam Nawawi in Al Majmoo’ (Vol. 4 page 192), and has also been mentioned by Dr. Wahba Az-Zuhaili in his renowned ‘Fiqh Al Islami’. In this regard, he states,’ (According to the Hanbalis), the awrah of a mature free woman is her entire body excluding her face and palms, based upon the preferred opinion according to a group of scholars from the two narrations’ (Fiqh Al Islami Wa Adlilatihi Vol. 1 page 753 Maktaba Rasheediya Queta Pakistan).
The other narration from the Hanbalis states that the awrah of a woman is her entire body. In this respect, the great Hanbali scholar, Ibn Qudamah writes in his famous ‘Al Mughni’, ‘some of our companions say that the entire body of a woman is her qwrah since the Prophet (S.A.S) said, ‘A woman (herself) is awrah’ – recorded by Imam Tirmidhi who says the hadith is good and sound. However, she is allowed to uncover her face and palms since there can be difficulties for her (at times) in covering it. It is also permissible for one who is proposing marriage to her, to look at her face.’ This is the opinion of Abu Bakr bin Harith bin Hisham’ (Al Mughni Vol. 1 page 601).
(Radd Al Muhtar Vol 1 pg 405 H.M Saeed Karachi).
(Al Mughni Vol 1 pg 601 Maktaba Jumhoor Cairo Al Arabiya).
(Al Majmoo’ Sharh Al Muhazzab Vol 4 pg 190 Dar Al Kitab Al Ilmiya Beirut 2007).
(Al Fiqh Al Islami Wa Adilatihi Vol 1 pgs 743-753 Maktaba Rasheediya Queta Pakistan).
(Al Fiqh Alislami wa Adilatihi Vol 4 pgs 2651-2655)
And Allah Knows best
Mufti Waseem Khan
This answer was collected from DarulUloomTT.net, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Waseem Khan from Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago.