Q: I have a question regarding hijab. I am a student in college and because of the commute to and from my college, I live on campus. However, I can’t afford the cost of living in a single room, and so I share a room with another person. This year, I was able to find a Muslim girl to live with, but I wasn’t so lucky with my roommate for next year. I wanted to get a suite with 5 of my other Muslim friends, but we weren’t able to get one because there weren’t enough 6-person suites, so we had to break up. This left me to decide between rooming with a friend who is a non practicing Muslim and a non Muslim friend. For this, I thought the living situation would be the same with both of them. They’re great people, so I thought about who I would feel most comfortable with as a person and a Muslim. Thus I decided to choose my non Muslim friend as my roommate for next year.
My concern now is with hijab. I know that it’s obligatory and I love it’s meaning and it’s significance and I love educating other people about it. What I’m not really clear on however, is whether or not I can take it off in the presence of all women. My mom used to tell me that you can take it off only in a room full of girls. This is also common knowledge among majority of the Muslimah. But for quite some time, my mom has been telling me that you can only take it off when with other Muslim girls or women. Not in front of non Muslim girls or women. I even researched for myself and found this too. But I also found that it doesn’t really matter when thinking logically. A corrupt/non practicing Muslim is just the same as a non Muslim. Thus, if and only if you trust the person can you not wear hijab in front of these types of women.
Considering that I’ll be living with a non Muslim young woman for 8 months (each semester is 4 months), I wanted to directly ask a scholar so that I can be clear on this concept for the sake of my own knowledge and doing the right thing.
A: What your mother says is correct.
And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.
Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)