Is Niqab – Covering of the face included in Hijab

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by ShariahBoard.org

Assalam u Alaikum,

I would like to know what the definition of hijab is in the light of Quran and Hadith. Whether the wearing of niqab-covering of the face is merely a practice associated with certain ethnic cultures or does it hold any significance or importance at all in Islam. If it does hold any significance at all then is it Fardh, Sunnah, or optional? 

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And to what extent is communication permitted with non mehram?

Please provide me an answer in the light of Quran and Hadith.

 

Jazakallah Khair

 

الجواب وباللہ التوفیق

1) The face is included in the Hijab.

2) Hijab is not the culture of any particular areas rather it is the Islamic culture, Qur’aanic instructions, and the practical pictures of the Sahaabiyaat.

3) The Shara’i position of the Hijab is this that it is Fard, i.e. it is compulsory that except her palms and feet, one should hide her full body including the face and the hair from the Non-Mehram, however, upon necessity to the limit needed there is flexibility to open the face.

The Fardiyat (to be Fard) of Hijab is confirmed by several Aayaat and Ahadith. It is mentioned in the Qur’aan:

یَا أَیُّہَا النَّبِیُّ قُلْ لِأَزْوَاجِکَ وَبَنَاتِکَ وَنِسَاءِ الْمُؤْمِنِینَ یُدْنِینَ عَلَیْہِنَّ مِنْ جَلَابِیبِہِنَّ  (الاحزاب :۵۹)

O Messenger! Say to your wives, and your daughters, and also to other Muslim women that they stretch and hang their (Chaadar) sheets (over their faces). In this Aayat the mentioning is of Jalaabeeb (plural of Jalbaab) which is the name for a special long (Chaadar) sheet. Hazrat Ibn e Mas’ood R.A. has said about the ہیئت (shape) of this sheet that it is that sheet which is worn above the دوپٹہ (scarf).

(تفسیر ابن کثیر [الأحزاب: ۵۹] ۳؍۶۸۴ مکتبۃ دار السلام ریاض)

And Hazrat Ibn e ‘Abbaas R.A. has narrated this ہیئت (shape) of this sheet:

عن ابن عباس رضي اللّٰہ عنہ أمر اللّٰہ نساء المؤمنین إذا خرجن من بیوتہن في حاجۃ أن یغطین وجوہہن من فوق رؤوسہن بالجلابیب۔ (تفسیر ابن کثیر ۳؍۵۱۸)

Allaah T’aalaa has ordered the women of the Muslims that when they come out of the houses for any necessity then they stretch and hang their sheets from above their heads and cover their faces and keep only one eye open (to see the way). (معارف القرآن: ۷/ ۲۳۳)

Similarly the order of the Qur’aan Majeed is:

وَاِذَا سَأَلْتُمُوْھُنَّ مَتَاعاً  فَسْئَلُوْھُنَّ مِنْ وَّرَائِ حِجَابٍ ( الاحزاب آیت:  ٥٣)

When you are to ask for something form these wives of Nabiصلی اللہ علیہ و سلم, then ask from behind the curtain, that is better for the purity of your hearts and their hearts.  

Hazrat ‘Aaeshah R.A. states:

کان الرکبان یمرون بنا ونحن محر مات مع رسول اﷲ ﷺفاذا حاذوا بنا سدلت احدانا جلبا بھا من رأسھا علی وجھھا فاذا جاوزنا کشفناہ (سنن ابوداؤد: کتاب المناسک،۱۸۳۵)

We were with Nabi SAW, the riders would pass by, when any rider would pass in front of us then every one of us would put their sheet from above the head on her face. When that rider would pass by then we used to open our face.

We come to know from this that in front of the stranger men, the پردہ (purdah: covering, hiding) of the face too will be done. In addition to the above-mentioned there are several other Ahadith, but for the explanation of the issue this much is enough.

4) Speaking to the stranger men too has flexibility to talk but as per needed only, there is no room for laughter, joking, merry making, etc. and the Qur’aanic guideline for the speech as per needed is:

فَلَا تَخْضَعْنَ بِالْقَوْلِ فَيَطْمَعَ الَّذِي فِي قَلْبِهِ مَرَضٌ (الاحزاب : ۳۲)

The women while speaking should not develop softness in their voice, and should not address men with affectation o in attractive tone, rather they should speak in harsh and rigid tone, so the men in whose heart there is disease do not develop aspiration towards those women.

لاتعارض بین جواز کشف الوجہ،والنظر ووجوب الإحتجاب؛ لأن جواز کشف الوجوہ، والنظر مبنی علی الضرورۃ، ودفع الحرج، وحکم الإحتجاب مبنی علی خوف الفتنۃ، وسدبا بہا ولاتعارض بین الحکمین عند أختلاف الجہتین فافہم۔ (إعلاء السنن، کراچي ۱۷/۳۷۸، دار الکتب العلمیۃ بیروت۱۷/۴۰۸)

ینظر من الأجنبیۃ…وجہہا، وکفیہا فقط للضرورۃ قیل: والقدم۔ (شامي، کراچي ۶/۳۶۹، زکریا ۹/۳۱)الضرورات تتقدر بقدرہا۔ (قواعد الفقۃ، اشرفي دیوبند ۸۹، رقم:۱۷۱)

لاتعارض بین جواز کشف الوجہ،والنظر ووجوب الإحتجاب؛ لأن جواز کشف الوجوہ، والنظر مبنی علی الضرورۃ، ودفع الحرج، وحکم الإحتجاب مبنی علی خوف الفتنۃ، وسدبا بہا ولاتعارض بین الحکمین عند أختلاف الجہتین فافہم۔ (إعلاء السنن، کراچي ۱۷/۳۷۸، دار الکتب العلمیۃ بیروت۱۷/۴۰۸)

ینظر من الأجنبیۃ…وجہہا، وکفیہا فقط للضرورۃ قیل: والقدم۔ (شامي، کراچي ۶/۳۶۹، زکریا ۹/۳۱)الضرورات تتقدر بقدرہا۔ (قواعد الفقۃ، اشرفي دیوبند ۸۹، رقم:۱۷۱)

                واللہ اعلم بالصواب

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