Sunday, April 08, 2007
The view that the veil (Hijab or face cover) has been made ompulsory for women in Islam, by which their faces, excluding the eyes, should be covered, is an Islamic opinion. Some Mujtahid-Imams from the mazahib have taken this view. Another Islamic opinion is that veil has not been made compulsory for women in Islam and that their faces do not have to be covered under any circumstance. This view has also been held by some Mujtahid-Imams from amongst the Mazahib. This is one of the serious social problems as the adoption of either of these two opinions, will effect the style of the Islamic life. A comprehensive exposition of the Shari'ah evidences relating to this problem, by its study, pursuance and application to the problem is imperative so as Muslims can only adopt the strongest opinion in terms of the evidence and in order that the Islamic State adopts the strongest opinion according to the preponderance of the evidence.
Indeed, for nearly half a century discussions concerning women have taken place. These discussions were generated by the disbelieving colonialists in the minds of those infatuated by the West, and smitten by its culture and viewpoint about life. They attempted to insert un-Islamic opinions into Islam and corrupt the Muslims Aqeedah. The colonialists inserted the notion of veiling (Hijab) or unveiling of women. The intellectuals amongst the Ulama did not challenge these people. It was authors, men of letters and narrow minded educated people who confronted them and led to the strengthening of the views of those smitten by the western culture. This made their thoughts the subject of study and discussion despite the fact that they were western thoughts, which were initiated to attack Islam, corrupt the Muslims and cause doubt concerning their Deen. Indeed, these discussions did take place and their remnants and effects are still present today. However, they do not merit study or reach the status of a legislative and societal discussion. The correct discussion only concerns the Shari'ah ules derived by the Mujtahidin in which they relied on a Daleel or a semblance of a daleel (Shubhat Daleel) and not the study of the views of writers, esignations of agents, the sophistry of the deceived, and the lies of the ones enamoured by the western culture. As for what the Mujtahidin have stated by way of derivation from the Shari'ah evidences, this what should be made the subject of study and discussion from the legislative point of view.
In addition to the views of Mujtahidin, the views of certain Fuqaha, sheikhs and those partisan to Hijab will be studied in order to eliminate any doubt from their minds. The views of the Mujtahidin and their evidences will be examined until the strongest view is apparent and whoever considers this view preponderant is required to act according to it and work to apply it.
Those who advocated the veil took the opinion that the 'Awrah of the woman includes the whole body except the hands and face, a matter which only applies in prayer. Whilst not praying, they said that her whole body is 'Awrah, including the hands and face. This opinion is based on their view of the Kitab and Sunnah.
As for the Kitab, Allah _ says:
"And when you ask (his wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen (Hijab)". [Al- Ahzab: 53]
The verse is clear in terms of its imposition of the screen (veil) on them.
Allah _ says:
"Oh Prophet ! Tell your wives and your daughters and the woman of the believers to draw their cloaks all over their bodies. That will be better, that they should be known so as not to be annoyed." [Al- Ahzab: 59]
They maintained that the meaning of 'to draw their cloaks all over their bodies' is that they should cast it over their persons and conceal their faces and figures with them. They thought that women in the early period of Islam followed the custom in Jahiliyya, thus indecently wearing a chemise and a Khimar (head cover), with no difference between a free woman and a slave girl. The devious amongst the youth (of Madinah) used to molest the slave girls when they used to go out through the palm trees in the fields to answer the call of nature. Sometimes they would molest free women and claim that they were slave girls, they would say we thought that so and so is a slave girl. Free women were thus ordered to differ in their attire from the clothing of slave girls i.e. by wearing a loose outer garment (Ardiya) and cover (Malahif), and by covering their heads and faces in order to look modest and walk briskly so that the wishful do not desire anything of them. This was considered more appropriate so that they are recognised and not molested. Some amongst them say (with respect to the part of the verse); that they should be known that there is an elision of the la (of negation). In other words it is more appropriate that attractive and non-attractive women should
not be recognised so that they are not antagonised.
Allah _ also says:
"And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves as in the times of ignorance". [Al- Ahzab: 33]
They said that Allah's command to women to stay in their houses is an evidence for the veil.
As for the Sunnah, they base their opinion on the narration that the Prophet
_ said: “The woman (herself ) is ‘Awrah”, and because of the Prophets
saying: “If anyone of you (the women) has a (male) slave who wants to free himself (by buying himself) and he possessed the price, you should seclude yourself from him”. And due to what has been narrated from Umm Salama who said: Hafsa and I were sitting with the Prophet _when Ibn Umm Maktum asked permission to enter.
So the Prophet said: “seclude yourselves from him”. So I said “Oh Messenger of Allah. He is blind, he cannot see.” He _ said: “Are you both also blind. Can you not see him?”. Abu Dawood narrated that: Al-Fadhl b. Abbas was the Prophet's
riding partner when a woman from Banu Khath'am came seeking a Hukm. Al-Fadhl began looking at her and she at him, so the Messenger of Allah made al- Fadhl turn his face away from her. Jarir b. Abdullah narrates: “I asked the Messenger of Allah about the sudden glance (Nazrat al-Fuja'a), so he instructed me to look the other way.” It has been narrated from Ali (ra) that he said: “The Messenger of Allah _ told me: “Do not follow up the (first) glance with a second look. The first is permitted for you but not the second.”
These are the evidences of those who advocate Hijab and say that a woman's entire body is 'Awrah. However, they are evidences, which do not apply to the issue they are quoted for, because none of them relates to the subject at hand. As for the Ayah of Hijab and the verse "stay in your houses", there is absolutely no connection between them and the wives of the Muslims. Both are specific to the wives of the Messenger _ as the verse explicitly indicates when it is read in full. It constitutes a single verse
interlinked by words and meaning. The (full) text of the Ayah is:
"Oh you who believe! Enter not the Prophet's houses, except when permission is given to you for a meal, (and then) not (so early as) to wait for its preparation. But when you are invited, enter, and when you have taken your meal, disperse, without staying for a conversation. Verily, such (behaviour) annoys the Prophet, and he is shy of (asking) you (to go), but Allah is not shy of telling you the truth. And when you ask (his wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen (Hijab) that is purer for your hearts and for their hearts. And it is not (right) for you that you should annoy the Messenger of Allah, nor that you should ever marry his wives after him. Verily! With Allah that shall be an enormity". [Al- Ahzab: 53]
So the verse is a text concerning the wives of the Prophet _ and is specific only to them. It has no connection to the wives of the Muslims or to any woman other than the wives of the Messenger _. Supporting the fact that this verse is specific to the wives of the Messenger _ is the narration from 'Aisha(ra) who said: “I was eating food (Hais) with the Prophet _ in a dish. Umar passed by, so the Prophet _ invited him in and he ate. My finger touched his, Umar said: ‘Had my view about you (the Prophets wives) been taken, no one should have seen you. Then the seclusion (Hijab verse) was revealed’”. This is also supported by the narration that Umar said: “O Messenger of Allah, the righteous person and the Fajir one are admitted to you. Have you not secluded the mothers of the believers?” Then Allah revealed the verse of al-Hijab. Also it was narrated that Umar passed by the Prophet's wives while they were with the women in the Mosque, he said: “If you secluded yourselves you would have status over the women as your husband has the status over the men.” Zainab (may Allah be pleased with her) said “O son of al-Khattab! Indeed you're more concerned about us while the Wahy comes down in our houses.” It was not
long after that, that the Ayah of Hijab was revealed. Therefore, the text of the Ayah and these Ahadith are definite in meaning that they were revealed regarding the wives of the Prophet _ and for none other. As for the verse: “And stay in your houses”, it is also specific to the wives of the Messenger _. The following is the complete text: "Oh wives of the Prophet! You are not like any other women. If you keep your duty (to Allah), be not soft of speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease should be moved with desire, but speak in a fitting manner. And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves as in the days of ignorance (Jahiliyya), and perform As-Salat, and give Zakat and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah wishes only to remove Ar-Rijs from you, Oh members of the household (of the Prophet) and to purify you with a thorough purification". [Al- Ahzab: 32-33]
Thus, it is explicit that the verse was specifically revealed concerning the Prophets wives because the speech is addressed to them and is specific to them; "Oh wives of the Prophet! You are not like any other women". There cannot be a text more informative and indicative than the fact that this verse was revealed concerning the Prophet's wives and that it is particular to them.
This understanding is confirmed in the last part of the speech of Allah at the end of the verse itself; "Allah wishes only to remove Ar-Rijs from you, Oh members of the household (of the Prophet) and to purify you with a thorough purification" [ Al- Ahzab: 33]
It is clear that this description is specific to the wives of the Prophet and that He has instructed them with the foregoing in order to remove from them the rijs and purify them because they belong to the household of the Prophet. This has also been confirmed by the verse that directly follows it. After His _ saying: "to purify you with a thorough purification", Allah _ says: "And remember (Oh you members of the Prophets household, that which is recited in your houses of the Verses of Allah and Al-Hikmah. Verily, Allah is Ever Most
Courteous, Well-Acquainted with all things" [Al- Ahzab: 34]
Thus, Allah _ reminds them that their houses are the cradle of revelation (Wahy) and He has commanded them not to forget what is recited in them from the Qur'an.
These two verses are clear in that they concern the Prophet's wives and that they are specific to them. There is no indication in any of the two verses that the command is intended for Muslim women other than the Prophet's wives.
There are yet other verses which are specific to the wives of the Messenger _ such as the saying of Allah _: "And nor that you should ever marry his wives after him". So it is not permitted for the Prophet's wives to marry after him contrary to the example of Muslim women who can get married after the death of their husbands. Both verses of Hijab are specific to the Prophet's wives just as the verse, which prohibits their marriage after the Prophet _. It is not correct to say in this context that what matters is that the expression is general and that it matters little that the cause is specific. And that the cause (Sabab) of the revelation of the verses is the Prophet’s wives but these verses are general (Aam) to the Prophet's wives and others. This is not true, because the cause (Sabab) of revelation is an event that has happened. Thus, the event is the cause (Sabab) of revelation. With regards to the situation here, the wives of the Messenger _ do not constitute an event that has happened, rather it is a case of a specific text that has been revealed concerning specific persons whose identity has been stated. Thus, Allah _ said: “Oh wives of the Prophet! You are not like any other women.” He _ also said: “And when you ask them for anything you want.” The personal pronoun they (Hunna) refers to the Prophet's wives and designates them to the exclusion of others. And that is followed by Allah's saying: “And it is not (right) for you that you should annoy Allah's Messenger”, which informs us of the reason (Illa) for their veil (Hijab). All of this indicates that the two verses are texts that have come concerning the wives of the Messenger _. Therefore, the principle:What matters is the generality of expression and not the specificity of the cause (Al-'ibra bi 'umum al'lafz la bi khusus as-sabab) does not apply to these two verses.
Similarly, it should not be said that the speech (Khitab) to the wives of the Messenger is an address to Muslim women because the fact that a specific address for a specific person is a speech for the believers only pertains to the Messenger Muhammad _. It does not include his wives. Therefore, the speech (Khitab) to the Messenger _ is speech to the believers. As for the address to his wives, it is specific to them because only the Messenger _ is the object of emulation in each address, action or silence, as long as it does not include those things that are particular to him. As for the wives of the Messenger they are not the object of emulation because Allah _ says: "Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have a good example" [Al- Ahzab: 21]
It is not right that the Prophet's wives should be emulated, in the sense that an action is done because they did it, or an attribute should be possessed because they have been characterised with it. This only pertains to the Messenger _ because he _ doesn't follow anything but the revelation. Likewise, it should not be said that since they are the wives of the Messenger and they are pure, and since the revelation has been recited in their houses and they have been required to seclude (Hijab) themselves, then other Muslim women by greater reason (Bab-awla) should be required to stay in seclusion (Hijab). This cannot be claimed for two reasons:
Firstly: this judgement is not by way of greater reason because the (principle) of greater reason (Al-awla) is that Allah forbids a small issue
which then becomes prohibition of a large issue by greater reason (Min babawla), such as the saying of Allah _:
"Say not to them a word of disrespect (uff)" [Al- Isra: 23]
Thus, by greater reason a person should not beat his parents. The principle of greater reason is understood from the context of the statement such as the saying of Allah:_ "Among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) is he who, if entrusted with a qintar (of wealth), will readily pay it back; and among them there is he who, if entrusted with a single silver coin, will not repay it". [Al- Imran: 75]
The payment of less than a qintar is by greater reason and the non-payment of more than a silver coin (Dinar) is by greater reason. The verse of Hijab is not of this type because the sequence of the verse does not indicate anything other than the Prophet's wives nor does it indicate any other understanding. The expression 'wives of the Prophet' is a defective noun which cannot have any other understanding (particularly an opposite understanding). The statement is thus specific to the thing for which the text has come and does not extend to anyone else or have any other meaning. There is absolutely no issue arising in the verse by way of greater reason, whether in terms of the wording of the verse or its sequence. Secondly: those two verses are an instruction to specific persons who have been identified by their particular attributes. The instruction, therefore, can be at no time for people other than them, nor for people superior or inferior to them, because it is a specific description. It is an instruction to the wives of the Messenger _, as they are not like any other women and because this action annoys the Messenger. The application of the principle: ‘What matters is the generality of expression and not the specificity of the cause' has been disproved as well as the question of emulating the wives of the Messenger _. Additionally the consideration of people other than the Prophet's wives by greater reason has also been refuted, and it has been established that the text is definite in its reference to the wives of the Messenger _.It follows therefore that those two verses are specific to the wives of the Messenger _ and they definitely do not include Muslim women in any way whatsoever. From this, it can be determined that Hijab is specific to the wives of the Messenger _ and the order to remain in the house is also specific to them. As for the second verse which is the saying of Allah _: “to draw their cloaks (Jalabeeb) all over their bodies”, it does not indicate veiling the face at all. Neither in terms of its wording (Mantuq) nor in terms of its understanding (Mafhum). Nor is there a word, which indicates this whether on its own, or as part of a sentence, assuming that the cause (Sabab) of revelation is correct. The verse says: "to draw their cloaks (Jalabeeb) all over their bodies". Its meaning is that women should cast from (Min) their cloaks over their persons and the preposition (Min) here is not used partatively but only to explain (Lil-bayan) that they should cast it over their persons. To lower the covering means to let it drape down. To lower the clothing means to let the clothing drape down, and they lowered their clothing means they let it drape down. The Jilbab is a cover (Milhafa), used to conceal a dress and other items of clothing. It can also be clothing which covers the entire body. It is stated in the al-Qamus (dictionary of) al-Muhit: that the Jilbab, is in the form of the Sirdab or the Sinmar, which is the gown or a large garment for women under the cover (Milhafa), which is that which conceals her clothing like a cover (Milhafa). Al-Jawhari has stated in al-Sihah (another dictionary) that: The Jilbab is the cover (Milhafa) and some say it is a sheet (Mulaah). Jilbab has been mentioned in the Hadith with the meaning of Mulaah (sheet) which the woman wrapped over her clothes. It has been narrated on the authority of Umm Atiyya (ra.): “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 prayer, witnessing the blessing and call to the Muslims. I asked, “O Messenger of Allah! What if one of us does not have a Jilbab?” He said, ‘Let her wear the Jilbab of her sister.’” Which means that she did not have a garment to wear over her clothes to go out in. So, the Prophet ordered her to borrow one from her sister, which she could wear over her dress. The verse makes it clear that Allah _ has requested the Prophet _ to tell his wives and the wives and daughters of the Muslims to wear garments over their clothes which reach right down to the feet as evidenced by the narration of Ibn Abbas: “The Jilbab is the Rida (large sheet of cloth) which covers from top to bottom.” So the verse indicates that the Jilbab, which is a large garment should be draped down to the bottom (feet), and does not indicate anything other than this. If this is the case, how is it possible to understand that to cast their outer garments (Jalabeeb) over their persons means to cast their garments over their faces? No matter how much the word Yudnina (to drape down) or the word Jilbab is interpreted within the limits of the linguistic (Ma'na loghawi) and juristic meaning, the verse stipulates the draping down of the garment. Draping can only mean draping it down to the bottom (feet) and not raising it to the head. Therefore, there is no evidence in this verse to prove Hijab. Nor is there even a semblance of an evidence, by any stretch of the imagination. The words and sentences of the Qur'an are interpreted according to their linguistic and jurisprudence meanings, it is incorrect to
interpret them in any other way. The linguistic meaning clearly indicates that women have been ordered to caste their outer garments (Jalabeeb) over their persons, to let them lower their garment over their clothes to the floor until the feet are covered. This meaning, in terms of letting the Jilbab drape down, is found in the noble Hadith. It is narrated on the authority of Ibn Umar that the Messenger of Allah _ said: “On the day of judgement, Allah will not look with mercy towards the one who trails his garment behind him in haughty pride”. Umm Salama asked: “what are the women to do with the hems of their dresses?” He _ answered: “Let them increase their hems the length of a hand span”. She rejoined: “Then their feet will be uncovered! He then replied: “Let them increase a fore arm’s length and no more.” [Tirmidhi]
This is with respect to the verses that are used as evidence by those who claim that Hijab for Muslim women has been decreed by Allah. As for the Ahadith which are used to prove Hijab they do not indicate this.
The Prophet _ said: “If anyone of you (the women) has a (male) slave who wants to free himself (by buying himself) and he possessed the price, you should seclude yourself from him”. And due to what was narrated from Umm Salama who said: Hafsa and I
were sitting with the Prophet _ when Ibn Umm Maktum asked permission to enter. So the Prophet said: “seclude yourselves from him”. So I said “O Messenger of Allah. He is blind, he cannot see.” He _ said: “Are you both also blind. Can you both not see him?”. Abu Dawood narrated that: Al- Fadhl b. Abbas at the time was the Prophet's riding partner when a woman from Banu Khath'am came seeking a hukm. al-Fadhl began to look at her and she at him so the Messenger of Allah made al-Fadhl turn his face away from her. Jarir b. Abdullah narrated: I asked the Messenger of Allah about the sudden look, so he instructed me to look the other way. It has been narrated from Ali that he said: The Messenger of Allah _ told me: “Do not follow up the (first) glance with a second look. The first is permitted for you but not the second.” There is no indication in these Ahadith that the Muslim women should seclude themselves. In particular, the Hadith of Umm Salama and the Prophet's requesting of Hafsa and her to seclude themselves, is daif (weak) and cannot be advanced as an evidence. In any case, the Hadith is specific to the wives of the Prophet as it is a text concerning Umm Salama and Hafsa. As for what has been narrated that Aisha said: “The horseman used to pass by us while we were with the Prophet _ wearing ihram clothes (of Hajj). If he came near one of us, we would draw our jilbabs from our head down to our face. Once he walked past, we would uncover our (face).” This conflicts with what has been narrated by Bukhari on the authority of Ibn Umar that the Prophet _ said: “The Muhrima (a woman in the state of Ihram) should not cover her face, or wear gloves.” Ibn Hajar in the Fath al-Bari has stated: “The veil (Niqab) or Khimar is fastened from the nose or below the eyes.” So the Hadith of 'Aisha (ra) states that women in the state of Ihram had covered their faces when a group of horsemen passed them. The Hadith
of Ibn Umar indicates the prohibition of wearing a Niqab which only conceals the lower half of the face. How can this be reconciled with respect to completely covering the face by lowering the garment over the face. With respect to the two Ahadith it becomes clear that the Hadith of 'Aisha is defective in that the narration is of Mujahid from Aisha. Yahya b. Said al- Qattan has mentioned that Mujahid did not directly hear from Aisha. As for the Hadith of Ibn Umar which has been narrated by Bukhari it is Sahih. Aisha's Hadith, therefore, is turned down because it is weak and conflicts with an authentic (Sahih) Hadith. Hence it is not used as an evidence. As for the Hadith in which al-Fadhl b. al Abbas is present, there is no indication in it to make Hijab compulsory. On the contrary, it is an evidence that Hijab is not an obligation because the Khath'ami woman was asking the Prophet about a matter whilst her face was unveiled. This is evidenced by the fact that al- Fadhl was looking at her. Another variant of this Hadith states: “Thus, the Prophet took hold of al-Fadhls (beard) and turned his face away from the other side.” This story has been narrated by Ali b. Abuy Talib who adds: “al-Abbas said to the Prophet: ‘O Messenger of Allah, why did you turn your cousins neck?’ He _ replied: ‘I saw a young man and a young woman in such a situation that I feared what effect Shaytan might have upon them’”. The Hadith of the Khath'ami woman is an evidence for the absence of Hijab not an evidence for it. This is because the Prophet _ was looking at her whilst her face was uncovered. As for the Prophets turning of al-Fadhl's gaze away, this is because he noticed that he was looking at her, and she at him, with desire as evidenced by the narration of Ali: “I feared what effect Shaytan might have upon them”. Therefore, he _ diverted al-Fadhl's sight because he was looking at her with desire and not merely looking. The desirous look, even if it is at the face and hands, is Haram. As for the sudden look (Nazrat al-faja'a) the Prophet ordered Jarir to turn his gaze or lower it. This is the type of lowering of the gaze which is mentioned in the Qur'an: "Tell the believing men to lower from their gaze" [An -Nur: 30] What is intended here is the sudden look at other than the hands and face which constitutes the 'Awrah and not looking at the hands and face. This is because looking at the hands and face is permitted irrespective of whether it is sudden or not, as evidenced by the permissibility of looking at a woman in the aforementioned Hadith of al-Khath'amiyya. This is also proven by the fact that the Prophet _ used to look at the faces of women when they gave Bay’a to him and when he preached to them. All of which indicates that what one needs to be careful about is the sudden look at other than the hands and face. As for the Hadith of Ali: “Do not follow up the (first) glance with a second look.” This is a prohibition from looking repeatedly and not from the mere look.
Thus, no evidence can be found to oblige Hijab (face covering) in the Ahadith which have been quoted by those who claim Allah _ has legislated Hijab. Therefore, it becomes clear that there is no evidence to say Allah _ has made Hijab obligatory for Muslim women or that the hands and the face should be considered as 'Awrah, whether inside or outside prayer. The evidences which they quote have no strong reason for concluding that Hijab is compulsory. They are weak in narration and weak in reasoning. As for the hands and face not being part of the 'Awrah and the permission for women to go out to any marketplace and roadway with her hands and face uncovered, this is proven from the Qur'an and Hadith. As for the Qur'an Allah _ says: "And they do not show off their charm (Zeena) except only that which is apparent and let them draw their head coverings (khumur) over their necks and bosoms (juyub)" [An- Nur: 31]
Allah _forbade believing women from displaying their charms (Zeena) i.e. forbade them from showing the place of their charm (Zeena) since this is what the prohibition is from. He excluded from the place of their charms that which is apparent from it, and this is an explicit exception. This means that there is a part of the woman's charm which is shown, and does not come under the (general) prohibition of women displaying the places of their charms. Nothing more remains to be said about this. So, Allah has forbidden women from displaying their Zeena except that which is apparent from it. As for which parts are intended by: "except only that which is apparent from it" [An- Nur: 31] its interpretation must be referred to two matters. First, to the transmitted tafseer (Tafseer Manqul) and secondly to what was understood from the expression: "that which is apparent from it"; and its application to what the Muslim women used to display in the presence of the Prophet _, in his time and in the time of the revelation of this verse.
As for what has been transmitted, it is narrated that Ibn Abbas in the tafseer of this verse took (the expression) "that which is apparent from it" to mean the hands and face. This opinion became commonly held by the mufassireen. Imam Ibn Jarir at-Tabari says: “The most correct of these views is that which states that the intended meaning is the hands and face”, and Qurtubi said: “Since the face and hands are, by custom and during worship such as in Hajj and Salat, most ordinarily displayed then the exception must refer to them.” Imam al-Zamakhshri said: “A woman has no choice but to do things with her hands and by uncovering her face especially when she has to testify, is being tried, is getting married, or when she is forced to walk in the streets displaying her feet, especially those amongst them who are poor.” This is the meaning of: "except that which is apparent from it".
As for what is understood from the expression "that which is apparent from it", it is clear that what used to be apparent in the time of the revelation of this verse is the hands and face. Women used to show their face and hands in his _ presence and he did not object to their doing so. They used to uncover their face and hands in the market or on the road. Such incidents are innumerable. Here are a few examples:
1. Jabir b. Abd Allah said: “I attended prayer on Eid day with the Messenger of Allah _. He commenced with the prayer, before the Khutbah, without any Adhan or Iqamah. Then he rose, leaning on Bilal and addressing those present before him, commanded them to fear Allah and exhorted them to obey Him. He further admonished and warned them. Then he moved on until he came to the women whom he addressed saying: “Give charity, for verily most of you are fuel for the hellfire”, whereupon there arose from among the middle ladies congregation, a dark-cheeked woman who said: “Why is that, Oh Messenger of Allah”? He replied: “Because you women make too many complaints, and you refuse to acknowledge your husband’s good treatment”. Upon hearing this the women began tossing their jewellery in charity upon Bilal's (outspread) cloth.”
2. Narrated by 'Ata'a b. Rabah who said: “Ibn Abbas said to me; Shall I show you a woman who will go to Paradise (Jannah)”? I said: “Yes.” He said: “This black woman came to Prophet _ and said: 'I have epilepsy and I get uncovered, so make dua to Allah for me'. So he _ said to her: “If you will be patient the Paradise (Jannah) shall be yours. And if you want I will make dua to Allah to cure you”. So she said: 'I will be patient'. She said: 'I get uncovered so make dua to Allah that I don't uncover myself'. So he _ made dua for her.”
3. Narrated by Fatimah b. Qays that Abu Amr b. Hafs divorced her irrevocably (by three pronouncements) when he was away from home. She went to the Messenger of Allah _ and mentioned that to him. So he commanded her to spend the Iddah (waiting period) in the house of Umm Shareek, but then said: “That is a woman whom my companions visit. So you had better spend this period in the house of Ibn Umm Maktum, for he is a blind man, so you can take off your garments and he will not see you”. Thus the Prophet _ accepted the daughter of Qays to be seen by men when he ordered her to spend the Iddah in the house of Umm Shareek. But he did not accept her to take of her garments in the house of Umm Shareek while this is visited by men, otherwise what is prohibited might appear from her, so he ordered her to move and spend her iddah in the house of Ibn Umm Maktum.
4. Abu Bakr narrated on the authority of Ibn Jurayj who said that 'Aisha said: “My cousin came while she was wearing her ornaments. The Prophet _ came in and turned away from her (when he saw her). So I said: “Oh Messenger of Allah! She is only my cousin, a mere maiden.” He said: “Oh Aisha, when a woman reaches puberty then it is not permitted that any part of her body should be seen (by non-mahrams) except her face and what is below this”. So he clenched his arm just above the joint of the hand leaving a space in-between for another fist to be clenched.”
5. What indicates that the hand is not part of the 'Awrah is the Prophet's handshaking of women in the Bay’a. Umm 'Atiyya said: “We gave our Bay’a to the Messenger of Allah _, so he _ recited to us they should associate none with Allah and he forbade us from wailing (for the dead). A woman amongst us withdrew her hand saying: ‘so and so woman has made me happy and I want to reward her’, he _ said nothing, the woman went, then came back”. This Hadith indicates that women used to give Bay’a by hand because this woman withdrew her hand after extending it for the Bay’a. The fact the Hadith states that the woman withdrew her hand when she heard the terms of the pledge (Bay’a), demonstrates clearly that the Bay’a used to take place by hand and that the Prophet _ used to take the pledge by his noble hand. As for what has been narrated about 'Aisha (ra) that she said: “The hand of the Messenger of Allah _ did not touch the (hand of) any woman other than his own wives.” This is an opinion of Aisha and an expression of the limit of her knowledge. If we compare 'Aisha's statement with this Hadith of Umm 'Atiyya then the latter's Hadith is preferred. This is because it specifies an action which happened in the presence of the Messenger _ and indicates an action of the Messenger _, thus it is preferable to a mere opinion of 'Aisha.
That is why transmitters preferred Umm 'Atiyyaa's Hadith. They adopted it and permitted a man to shake the hand of a woman. These five incidents are well established in the Ahadith which unambiguously indicate that what was shown of women is the hands and face. The fourth Hadith indicates that the Messenger _ diverted his view away from the adorned woman because she was displaying more than what is apparent from it. Then he explained to her that it is not permitted for her to display her Zeena except her hands and face. This shows that the hands and face are not part of the 'Awrah whether in or outside prayer because the verse is of general import (Aam): "And they do not show off their harms (Zeena) except only that which is apparent of it" [An- Nur: 31]
As for the verse which comes after, its understanding also indicates that the hands and face are not part of the 'Awrah'. Allah _ says: "And to draw their head-coverings (khumur) over their necks and v-neck (juyub)".[An- Nur: 31]
Khumur is the plural of Khimar and it is used to cover the head. Juyub is the plural of Jayb. It is the v-neck. Thus, Allah _ has ordered that the Khimar should be worn round the neck and chest. This indicates the obligation to cover both areas. But He did not order that the Khimar should be worn over the face, thereby indicating the face is not part of the 'Awrah. Jayb does not mean the chest as some would assume. Rather it is the v-neck, the opening which is around the neck and the upper portion of the chest. Wearing the Khimar over the Jayb means wearing it around the shirt collar from the neck and chest. So, by ordering the covering of the head, which includes the neck and chest, this excludes the face, indicating that it is not part of the 'Awrah. Consequently, Hijab (face covering) is non existent and Allah _ did not legislate the Hijab.
This is in terms of the evidences from the Qur'an. In addition these are evidences from the Hadith which show Allah _ has not legislated Hijab and that the hands and face are not part of the 'Awrah. Abu Dawood narrates on the authority of 'Aishah (ra), that Asmaa bint Abi Bakr entered the quarters of Allah's Messenger wearing thin clothes. The Messenger _ turned his face away and said: “O Asmaa, if the woman reaches puberty, it is not allowed to be seen from her except this and this, and he pointed to his face and hands”. Abu Dawood narrates on the authority of Qatada that the Prophet _ said: “When a young lady begins to menstruate, it is not correct that anything should be seen of her except her face and hands excluding the wrist.” Al-Bayhaqi narrates on the authority of Asma' bint 'Umays that she said: “The Messenger of Allah entered the house of 'Aisha bint Abu Bakr while her sister, Asmaa bint Abu Bakr, was with her. She was
wearing a Shammi (Syrian) dress with wide sleeves. When the Messenger of Allah _ saw her he got up and went out.” 'Aisha said: “leave the room for the Messenger of Allah has seen something he does not like.” So she withdrew. Then the Messenger of Allah _ entered and 'Aisha (ra) inquired as to why he stood to leave? He _ said: “Did you not see what she was wearing? It is not permitted for anything to be seen of a Muslim woman except this and this.” He took his sleeves and covered the upper part of his hands until nothing could be seen of his hands except his fingers. Then he lifted his hands to his temples until only the face could be seen.”
These Ahadith are clear that the hands and face are not part of the 'Awrah. They are also explicit that Allah _ has not legislated the covering of the hands and face, and He has not legislated Hijab. If anything like that was legislated then it would have contradicted the text of these Ahadith which are not open to any other explanation (Tafseer) or interpretation (Taweel.) On the contrary, they clearly and unambiguously show that the Muslim woman used to go out to the market with her face and hands uncovered, and conversed with non-mahram men whilst her face and hands were revealed. And she made all lawful transactions with people such as buying, selling, renting, leasing, right of pre-emption, representation, whilst her hands and face were uncovered. They also show that Allah _ has not legislated Hijab except for the wives of the Messenger _. Even though the view concerning Hijab is an Islamic opinion because it has a semblance of an evidence (Shubhat al-Daleel)and Mujtahid-Imams amongst the madhahib have taken this view, the semblance of a daleel which they use is untenable with hardly any credible reasoning apparent in it. What remains is an issue which some Mujtahidin have subscribed to, namely, that Hijab has been legislated for women due to the fear of temptation (Fitna.) Thus, they say that the woman has been forbidden from revealing her face not because it is 'Awrah but due to the fear of causing temptation Fitna.
This view is not valid from a number of angles: Firstly for the prohibition of unveiling the face due to the fear of Fitna, there is no Shari'ah provision whether in the Kitab, Sunnah, Ijma’a of the Sahabah and nor is there a Shar’a provision from a Shari'ah reason (Illa Shariyya) according to which an analogy is made. Consequently, this opinion has no Shari'ah value nor is it considered a Shari'ah rule (Hukm Shar'i), because a Shari'ah rule is the speech of the legislator, but the prohibition of unveiling the face is not included in the speech of the legislator. It is also known that the Shari'ah evidences have come in complete contradiction to it, and that the Ayah and Ahadith unconditionally permit the uncovering of the face and hands without being restricted by something nor being specified by a particular circumstance. Thus, the opinion that showing the face is forbidden and it is obligatory to conceal it, is an opinion which prohibits that which Allah permitted. It is an obligation that Allah _ the Lord of the Worlds has not decreed. Thus, this opinion beyond not being considered as a Shari'ah rule, it invalidates the Shari'ah rules that are established by clear text. Secondly, making the fear of Fitna a reason (Illa) for prohibiting the unveiling of the face and for the obligation to conceal it is an opinion for which there is no Shari'ah text whether explicitly (Sarahatan), by indication (Dalalatan), extraction (Istanbatan) or by analogy (Qiyas). Therefore, under no circumstances is it a Shari'ah reason (Illa shariyya). Rather it is a rational reason (Illa Aqliyya) which is of no consideration with regards to the Shari'ah rules. However, what is considered is the Shari'ah reason (Illa Shariyya) and none other. Accordingly, no weight is given to the fear of Fitna in legislating the prohibition of showing the face or obligating the concealment of it because it is not present in the Shari'ah.
Thirdly the principle of: 'the means to a Haram is (itself) prohibited' (Alwasila il al-Haram muharrama), does not apply to prohibiting the showing of the face due to fear of temptation (Fitna). This is because this principle requires that two conditions are met; first, the means (Wasila) must lead to a Haram by the least amount of doubt (Bi ghalabat al-zann), and that it must be the cause of the Haram such that it definitely produces the effect and does not deflect from it. Second, there must be a text prohibiting what the means (Wasila) leads to, and it is not to be prohibited by the mind. This is not present with regards to showing the face in fear of temptation. For they say the face should be veiled in fear of temptation and not because of the occurrence of a temptation. Consequently, showing the face due to the fear of temptation does not apply to the principle of forbidding the cause of a Haram; assuming that the temptation is prohibited by the Shari'ah for the one tempted by it, because it does not definitely lead to it. And, there is no text making the fear of temptation Haram. On the contrary, the Shar’a did not make the temptation itself Haram for the one who is the object of temptation of people. Rather, the Shar’a prohibited the one who looks from watching with temptation, and it did not prohibit it for the one who is looked at. Abu Dawood narrates that Al-Fadhl b. Abbas was the Prophet’s riding partner at the time when a woman from Banu Khath’am came seeking a hukm (opinion), and al-Fadhl began to look at her and she at him so the Messenger of Allah made him turn his face from her. i.e. he turned the face of al-Fadhl away from her, as evidenced by another variant of this Hadith: Thus, the Prophet took hold of al-Fadhl’s beard and turned his face away from the other side. This story has been narrated by Ali b. Aby Talib to which he adds: “Abbas said to the Prophet: ‘O Messenger of Allah, why did you turn your cousins neck?’ He _ replied: ‘I saw a young man and a young woman in such a situation that I feared what effect Shaytan might have upon them.’” It is clear from this that the Messenger _ turned the face of al-Fadhl away from the Khath'ami woman. He did not order her to cover her face. Her face was visible to him. If temptation was Haram for the one who was the object of temptation then the Messenger _ would have ordered the Khath'ami woman to veil her face after it had transpired that al-Fadhl had looked at her, with the look of desire. However, he did not order her to do this but he turned the neck of al-Fadhl, which indicates that the prohibition is for the one who is looking and not for the one who is looked at. Therefore, regarding the prohibition of people's desire for the woman, there is no text which prohibits it upon the woman, by whom people are tempted. Rather the text says it is not prohibited for her. Therefore, the matter which it leads to is not Haram even if it had definitely led to it. However, it is permitted for the state which is working to look after the affairs of the people to move specific individuals away from the view of those who are infatuated by them, in order to make the one who temptsothers inaccessible to people, if the infatuation for that person is widespread. As Umar b. al-Khattab did with regards to Nasr b. Hajjaj when he exiled him to Basra, because women used to be tempted by his good looks. This is general to men and women. So it should not be said that women must be forbidden from unveiling their faces due to the fear of temptation, even due to the occurrence of temptation. This cannot be said by using the principle of 'the means to a Haram is itself Haram'.
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