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Arguments For and Against Niqab (2 of 3)

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There is no clear-cut Quranic verse or authentic hadith to the effect of making the face veil obligatory. The conclusions drawn by scholars are based upon their interpretations (human work) of practice by wives of Prophetﷺ (mothers of believers) and other women who followed them. The honourable wives of Prophetﷺ are not like ordinary women (Quran;33:32), their status is much higher. Some instructions are peculiar to them, i.e they were not allowed to remarry after death of Prophetﷺ. Other women may like to emulate them after death of their husbands but its does not become obligation for others. If the wives of Prophetﷺ covered their face, it would only become obligatory for all other women if it was commanded in Quran or by the Prophetﷺ otherwise it remains optional practice.


Read: Niqab Is NOT Required, Extract from "he Book "Jilbaab Al-Mar’ah Al-Muslimah" By Shaykh Naasiruddeen Al-Albaanee

The Hadith which clearly mentions the woman may not cover the face and hands:

Chapter: What A Woman May Show of Her Beauty
باب فِيمَا تُبْدِي الْمَرْأَةُ مِنْ زِينَتِهَا
باب: عورت اپنی زینت اور سنگار کس قدر ظاہم  کر سکتی ہے؟

حَدَّثَنَا يَعْقُوبُ بْنُ كَعْبٍ الأَنْطَاكِيُّ، وَمُؤَمَّلُ بْنُ الْفَضْلِ الْحَرَّانِيُّ، قَالاَ حَدَّثَنَا الْوَلِيدُ، عَنْ سَعِيدِ بْنِ بَشِيرٍ، عَنْ قَتَادَةَ، عَنْ خَالِدٍ، - قَالَ يَعْقُوبُ ابْنُ دُرَيْكٍ - عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، رضى الله عنها أَنَّ أَسْمَاءَ بِنْتَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ، دَخَلَتْ عَلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَعَلَيْهَا ثِيَابٌ رِقَاقٌ فَأَعْرَضَ عَنْهَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَقَالَ ‏ "‏ يَا أَسْمَاءُ إِنَّ الْمَرْأَةَ إِذَا بَلَغَتِ الْمَحِيضَ لَمْ تَصْلُحْ أَنْ يُرَى مِنْهَا إِلاَّ هَذَا وَهَذَا ‏"‏ ‏.‏ وَأَشَارَ إِلَى وَجْهِهِ وَكَفَّيْهِ ‏.‏ قَالَ أَبُو دَاوُدَ هَذَا مُرْسَلٌ خَالِدُ بْنُ دُرَيْكٍ لَمْ يُدْرِكْ عَائِشَةَ رضى الله عنها ‏.‏

ام المومنین عَائِشَةَ رضی اللہعنها فرماتی ہیں کہ اسماء بنت ابی بکر رضی اللہ عنہا رسول اللہ صلی اللہ علیہ و سلم کے پاس آییں . وہ باریک  کپڑے پہنے ہوے تھیں . آپ ﷺ نے ان سے منہ پھر لیا اور فرمایا :"اسماء جب عورت بالغ ہو جائے تو درست نہیں کہ اس کی کوئی چیز نظرآے سواے اس کہ اور اس کہ"، آپ ﷺ نے اپنے چہرہ اور ہتھیلیوں کی جانب  اشارہ کیا۔ ابو داوود کہتے ہیں : یہ روایت مرسل ہے خالد بن وریک نے ام المومنین َعَائِشَةَ رضى الله عنها کو نہیں پایا.
شیخ البانی نے اسی موضوع پر مزید  حدیثوں کے ساتھ ملا کر اس کو صحیح ثابت کیا جس کو آج تک علماء چلینج نہیں کر سکے بلکہ شیخ بن باز بھی درست مانتے ہیں. بحر حال شیخ البانی کہتے ہیں کہ نقاب بہتر ہے.<<<< .پڑھیں.. نقاب ، حجاب: قرآن , حدیث اور اجماع >>>

Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu'minin:
Asma, daughter of Abu Bakr, entered upon the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) wearing thin clothes. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) turned his attention from her. He said: O Asma', when a woman reaches the age of menstruation, it does not suit her that she displays her parts of body except this and this, and he pointed to his face and hands.
Abu Dawud said: This is a mursal tradition (i.e. the narrator who transmitted it from 'Aishah is missing) Khalid b. Duraik did not see 'Aishah.
Grade: Sahih (Al-Albani),  Reference  : Sunan Abi Dawud 4104
http://sunnah.com/abudawud/34/85

Quran 24:31

"And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof... (Al-Qur'an 24:31)
When Ibne Abbaas (RA), the leading commentator of the Qur'an was asked about the verse mentioned above as to what it meant, he replied, "it refers to the face and hands".
(Collected by Ibn Abee Shaybah in al-Musannaf, Vol. 3, p. 540 & 541, hadith no. 16997 & 17012 and al-Bayhaqi in Sunan al- Kubraa. Al-Albaanee ruled in Jilbaab al-Mar'ah al-Muslimah, pp 59-60, that the isnaad of this statement is saheeh.)

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُل لِّأَزْوَاجِكَ وَبَنَاتِكَ وَنِسَاءِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِن جَلَابِيبِهِنَّ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ أَدْنَىٰ أَن يُعْرَفْنَ فَلَا يُؤْذَيْنَ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّـهُ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا ﴿33:59﴾ 

Those scholars, who insist that covering the face is obligatory for Muslim women, interpret 'al-idnaa' in the verse of the jilbaab (Al-Qur'an: 33:59) to mean, "covering the face". This interpretation is erroneous because the basic meaning of the word in Arabic is "to come close", as the well-known scholar, ar-Raaghib al-Asbahaanee mentions in his authoritative dictionary 'al-Mufradaat'. Some people claim that jilbaab is "a garment which covers the face". This too is a misinterpretation as it is contrary to the interpretation of the leading scholars of past and present as well, who define jilbaab as a garment which women drape over their head scarves (khimaar).
Some people claim that the khimaar (headscarf) in Al-Qur'an 24:31 covers the head and the face, whereas linguistically the word only means a head covering. The Prophet ﷺ is reported to have said "Allah does not accept the prayer of a woman who has reached puberty unless she wears a khimaar". (Sunan Abu Dawood, vol. 1, hadith No. 641)

However, no scholar insists on covering the face in Salaah for women based on the hadith quoted above, which further substantiates that khimaar does not mean covering the face. Shaykh Naasiruddeen al-Albaanee, one of the foremost scholars of recent times has clarified in detail, the errors made by these scholars who insist on the obligatory nature of the face veil in his books ar-Radd al-Mufhim & Jilbaab al-Mar'ah al-Muslimah (3rd edition, 1996, al-Maktabah al-Islaamiyyah). Likewise, other scholars like Ibn Muflih al-Hambalee, an-Nawawee, al-Qaadee 'Iyaad are too of the opinion that covering the face is not obligatory.

One can find several ahadith which prove that covering the face is not compulsory in Islam but there is not a single authentic hadith that makes covering the face obligatory. 

For instance, once while the Prophetﷺ was admonishing and preaching to a group of women after having admonished the men on the Id day, "...a woman having a dark spot on her cheek stood up..." seeking clarification on the subject the prophet was discussing. (Sahih Muslim, Vol. 2, Hadith No. 1926)

Narrated Ata bin Abi Rabah (R.A.)
Ibn 'Abbas said to me, "Shall I show you a woman of the people of Paradise?" I said, "Yes." He said, "This black lady came to the Prophet and said..." (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 7, Hadith No. 555 - Dar Al Arabia- Beirut- Lebanon & Sahih Muslim Hadith No. 6571-Darusslam- Arabic)

During the day of Nahr (10th Dhul-Hijja), when Al-Fadl bin 'Abbas was riding behind the prophet on his she -camel, "...a beautiful woman from the tribe of Khath'am came, asking the verdict of Allah's Apostle. Al-Fadl started looking at her as her beauty attracted him. The Prophet looked behind while Al-Fadl was looking at her; so the Prophet held out his hand backwards and caught the chin of Al-Fadl and turned his face (to the other side) in order that he should not gaze at her..." (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 8, Hadith No. 6228)
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Three Articles on Hijab & Niqab:
  1. Sharia doesn’t ask women to cover face - Niqab (1 of 3)  
  2. Arguments For and Against Niqab (2 of 3)     
  3. Women Modesty & Piety in Islam - Niqab (3  of 3)
  4. <<<< .پڑھیں.. نقاب ، حجاب: قرآن , حدیث اور اجماع
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ٓArguments in favour of Niqab:
The claimed rationale of the niqab comes from Hadith. It was known that the wives of the Prophet Muhammad covered themselves around non-mahram men. However the Quran explicitly states that the wives of the Prophet are held to a different high standard.
يَا نِسَاءَ النَّبِيِّ لَسْتُنَّ كَأَحَدٍ مِّنَ النِّسَاءِ ۚ إِنِ اتَّقَيْتُنَّ فَلَا تَخْضَعْنَ بِالْقَوْلِ فَيَطْمَعَ الَّذِي فِي قَلْبِهِ مَرَضٌ وَقُلْنَ قَوْلًا مَّعْرُوفًا ﴿33:32﴾ 
"O, Wives of the Prophet, you are not like other women. If you have fear of God, do not be tender in your speech lest people whose hearts are sick may lust after you."(Quran;33:32)
It is claimed that under Islam the niqab is a requirement for the wives of Prophet Muhammadﷺ The following verse from the Qur'an is cited as support for this: 
"O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters, and the believing women, to draw their cloaks (veils) over their bodies. That will be better that they should be known (as respectable woman) so as not to be annoyed. And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."(Quran;33:59). 

This verse was in response to harassment on the part of the "hypocrites", although it does not clearly refer to covering the face itself. It is also argued by some Muslims that the reasons for the niqab are to keep Muslim women from worrying about their appearances and to conceal their looks. 
There are many Hadiths refered to prove that women used Niqab to cover face, but no direct commandment, which could make it obligatory. Hence it remains an optional, recommended practice. The Arabic word jilbāb is used in the following traditions:
  • Narrated Aisha: The woman is to bring down her Jilbāb from over her head and [then place it] upon her face. Bukhari:6:60:282, Sunnan Abu Dawud 32:4091
  • Narrated Aisha: The riders used to pass by us when we were with the Messenger of Allaah in ihrām When they came near, each of us would lower her Jilbāb from her head over her face, and when they passed by we would uncover our faces. 
  • Narrated Aisha: Safwaan ibn al-Mu'attal al-Sulami al Dhakwaani was lagging behind the army. She said, "He came to where I had stopped and saw the black shape of a person sleeping. He recognized me when he saw me, because he had seen me before Hijāb was enjoined. I woke up when I heard him saying 'Inna Lillaahi wa inna ilayhi raaji'oon (verily to Allaah we belong and unto Him is our return),' and I covered my face with my Jilbāb Sahih Muslim.
  • Narrated 'Aasim al-Ahwal: We used to enter upon Hafsah bint Sirīn who had put her Jilbāb thus and covered her face with it, and we would say to her: May Allah have mercy on you. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): "And as for women past childbearing who do not expect wedlock, it is no sin on them if they discard their (outer) clothing in such a way as not to show their adornment" [al-Noor 24:60]. And she would say to us: What comes after that (of the āyah)? We would say: "But to refrain (i.e. not to discard their outer clothing) is better for them." And so she said: [Referring to, 'But to refrain is better for them'], "It is to keep the Jilbāb." Sahih al-Bukhari.
  • Narrated Ibn 'Abbās: Allah commanded the believing women, when going out of their homes for some need, to cover their faces from above their heads with their Jilbābs, leaving one eye(or both) to see the path.
  • From Asmā' bint Abi Bakr, that she said, "We are used to cover our faces from the men, and cut our hair before that in Ihrām (for Hajj)."
  • From Asmā' bint Abi Bakr, We would cover our faces while we were Muhrim, and while doing that we would be with Asmā' bint Abi Bakr As-Siddeeq.
  • From Ibn Abi Khaythamah, We entered upon Umm Al-Mu'minīn on Yawm At-Tarwayah and we said to her, 'O Mother of the Believers! Here is a woman who refuses to cover her face and she is a Muhrimah (in ihrām). So 'Aa'ishah lifted her Khimār from her chest, and covered the woman's face with it.
  • Narrated Aisha: "When (the Verse): "They should draw their veils over their Juyubihinna," was revealed, (the ladies) cut their waist sheets at the edges and covered their faces with the cut pieces. Sahih al-Bukhari.
  • Narrated 'Aisha: The Apostle of Allah used to offer the Fajr prayer and some believing women covered with their veiling sheets used to attend the Fajr prayer with him and then they would return to their homes unrecognized Sahih al-Bukhari.
  • Narrated Um 'Atiya: We were ordered to bring out our menstruating women and veiled women in the religious gatherings and invocation of Muslims on the two 'Eid festivals. These menstruating women were to keep away from their Musalla. A woman asked, "O Allah's Apostle ' What about one who does not have a niqab?" He said, "Let her share the veil of her companion." Sahih al-Bukhari.
  • From Anas that the Muhammad said: "And if one of the women of Paradise looked at the earth, she would fill the whole space between them the earth and the heaven with light, and would fill whatever is in between them, with perfume, and the veil of her face is better than the whole world and whatever is in it."Sahih al-Bukhari.
  • Narrated Thabit ibn Qays : "A woman called Umm Khallad came to the Prophet while she was veiled. She was searching for her son who had been killed in the battle. Some of the Companions of the Prophet said to her: You have come here asking for your son while veiling your face? She said: If I am afflicted with the loss of my son, I shall not suffer the loss of my modesty. The Apostle of Allah said: You will get the reward of two martyrs for your son. She asked: Why is that so, O Prophet of Allah? He replied: Because the people of the Book have killed him."Sahih al-Bukhari
  • All of a woman is awrah. Whenever she leaves her home Satan reaches by her.
The opinions of the main traditional schools of jurisprudence are as follows:
  • Maliki: In the Maliki madhhab, the face and the hands of a woman are not awrah; therefore covering the face is not obligatory. However, Maliki scholars have stated that it is highly recommended (mustahab) for women to cover their faces.
  • Hanafi: The Hanafi school does not consider a woman's face to be awrah; however it is still obligatory (wajib) for a woman to cover her face. While the Hanafi school has not completely forbidden a male’s gaze towards a female’s face when there exists absolutely no fear of attraction, the woman has no way of knowing whether the gazes directed towards her are free of desire or not, especially when she is out in public. The Hanafi school has thus obliged women to cover their faces in front of strangers.
  • Shafi'i: The Shafi'i school has had two well-known positions on this issue. The first view is that covering the face is obligatory at all times when in presence of non-mahram men. The second view is that covering the face is preferred in general, but obligatory only in a time of fitnah (where men do not lower their gaze; or when a woman is very attractive).
  • Hanbali: According to the Hanbali school, there are two differing views on whether a woman's whole body is awrah or not. Mālik, Awzāʿī, and Shafiʿī suggest that the awrah of a woman is her entire body excluding her face and her hands. Hence, covering the face would not be obligatory (fard) in this madhhab. According to scholars like Tirmidhī and Ḥārith b. Hishām, however, all of a woman's body is awrah, including her face, hands, and even fingernails. There is a dispensation though that allows a woman to expose her face and hands, e.g. when asking for her hand in marriage, because it is the centre of beauty. 
  • The modern Salafi movement (with the only exception of Muhammad Nasiruddin al-Albani) state that it is obligatory for a woman to cover her entire body when in public or in presence of non-mahram men. Some interpretations say that a veil is not compulsory in front of blind, asexual or gay men. Salafi women in several countries, including Saudi Arabia, veil their faces because they believe the face of a woman is considered awrah. Wearing the niqab, however, is not exclusive to the Salafi movement, and other Sunni Muslims may regard niqab either as mubah (permitted), mustahab (recommended, an additional act of worship) or fard (obligatory). 

Here are some extracts form book "Jilbaab Al-Mar’ah Al-Muslimah" against Niqab:

Read: Niqab Is NOT Required, Extract from "he Book "Jilbaab Al-Mar’ah Al-Muslimah" By Shaykh Naasiruddeen Al-Albaanee 

The frequent use of inauthentic hadith  and unreliable narrations.

For example, the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Abbaas about exposing only one eye is commonly used by those who insist that women are obliged to cover their faces in spite of their knowledge of its inauthenticity. In fact, one among them also declared it inauthentic. Perhaps the most important of these unreliable hadeeth commonly used as evidence is the one in which the Prophet is reported to have said, “Are you both blind?” They blindly followed at-Tuwaijree and the others in claiming that this inauthentic narration was strengthened by other supportive narrations and that it was evidence for the prohibition of women from looking at men, even if they are blind.

The classification of some authentic hadeeths and confirmed narrations from the Companions as inauthentic.

The extremists have declared well-established reliable narrations as unreliable and feigned ignorance of strengthening narrations. They have further declared some narrations extremely inauthentic, like the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah concerning the woman who reaches puberty, “Nothing should be seen of her besides her face and hands.” They have persistently declared it inauthentic – the ignorant among them blindly following others devoid of knowledge.
Other strengthening factors may be added to the above.
(a) The hadeeth has been narrated by Qataadah from ‘Aa’ishah.
(b) It has been narrated in another chain from Asmaa.
(c) All three narrators of the hadeeth ruled according to it.

Placing unreasonable conditions

Among the amazing practices of some latter day blind following hanafite scholars and others is that on one hand they agree with us regarding the permissibility of women exposing their faces, because that was the position of their Imaams, but on the other hand they agree with the extremists in opposition to their Imaams. They make ijtihaad (while claiming taqleed) by adding the condition that the society be safe from fitnah to the position of the Imaams. This refers to the fitnah caused by women to men. Then one of the ignorant contemporary blind followers went to the extreme of actually attributing this “condition” to the Imaams themselves. Among some of those having no knowledge, this resulted in their concluding that there is essentially no difference between the position of the Imaams and the extremists.

Conclusion:

Thus, it can be concluded that covering the face is not obligatory for women. However, covering the face was obligatory for the Ummul Mu'mineen, the wives of the Prophet (pbuh) as was Tahajjud obligatory for the Prophet (pbuh). Although Muslims are exempted from its obligation, it is still a highly recommended Sunnah for the Muslims. The scholars unanimously agree that it is preferable for Muslim women to cover their faces. Thus it is not compulsory for Muslim Women to cover their faces but those women who cover their faces may continue to do so if they wish. [Allah knows the best].

Read full  details here:
  1. Face Veil Obligatory or Mustahab? : http://goo.gl/oNvUfq
  2. Niqab Is NOT Required, Extract from "he Book "Jilbaab Al-Mar’ah Al-Muslimah" By Shaykh Naasiruddeen Al-Albaanee  
  3. Sharia doesn’t ask women to cover face - Niqab (1 of 3)   
  4. Arguments For and Against Niqab (2 of 3)     
  5. Women Modesty & Piety in Islam - Niqab (3  of 3) 
  6. http://womenfolks.blogspot.com/2015/10/women-not-required-to-cover-faces-under.html  
  7. پ<<<< .پڑھیں.. نقاب ، حجاب: قرآن , حدیث اور اجماع