Q: I would like to know is niqaab something that is really mandatory for Muslim women to wear. As an example doing three rakaats at fajr instead of two is not allowed just because you want to be more religious, same way isn’t wearing more than hijab not allowed, because Allah said in the Qur’an, cover everything except your face and hands, so niqaab doesn’t fall into that category. Because the whole point of hijab as well is not to get any attention, but the place I live niqaab would give you so much attention, people are scared of it and not only European countries, even most Muslim countries think that, like Lebanon and Turkey etc. that niqaab is something that is seen as extremists would wear. It’s dark and overall isn’t black color something that Islam disliked wearing? Like all the gothic, witches, emo style satanic people wear. And also Nowdays it’s important for people to see each others faces, it’s the obvious part of you that identifies you and if people can’t see you, it makes them scared. So many Hadith have been changed nowadays, and I honestly believe that hijab with proper jilbab and all is enough and more could be not accepted just as three rakaats at fajr isn’t accepted.
A: Yes, it is mandatory. The sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum) understood the Qur’aan better than the entire ummat and they covered themselves and their faces. The example you have explained is incorrect. Covering the face is a shar`ee requirement. Hence, it will not amount to doing something additional and in the salaah it is a shar`ee requirement that you do just that amount of rakaats. For further details refer to http://muftionline.co.za/node/1705.
And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.
Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)