What is the Islamic Hijab?

What is the Islamic Hijab?

This question asked to the noble Sheikh Ibn Uthaimeen رحيمه الله. Here is his response:


The Islamic Hijab is for the women to cover everything that is forbidden for her to expose. That is, she covers everything that she must cover.

The first of those bodily parts that she must cover is her face. It is the source of temptation and the source of people desiring her. Therefore, the woman must cover her face in front of those men that are not Mahram (those that she is forbidden to marry).

As for those who claim that the Islamic Hijab is to cover the head, shoulders, back, feet, sin and forearms whilst allowing her to uncover her face and hands, this is a very amazing claim. This is because it is well known that the source of temptation and looking is the face. How can one say that the Shari’ah does not allow the exposure of the foot of the woman while it allows her to uncover her face? It is not possible that there could be in the esteemed, wise and noble Shari’ah a contradiction.

Yet everyone knows that the temptation from uncovering the face is much greater than the temptation that results from uncovering of the feet. Everyone also knows that the most sought-after aspect of the woman for men is the face. If you told a prospective groom that a woman’s face is ugly but her feet are beautiful, he would not propose to such a woman. However, if you told him that her face was beautiful but her hands, palms, or shins were less than beautiful, her would still propose to her. From this, one can conclude that the face is the first thing that must be covered.

There are also evidences from the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of our Prophet صل الله عليه و سلم. There are also statements from the Companions, the leading Imams and the great scholars of Islam that indicate that it is obligatory for the woman to cover all of her body in the presence of non-Mahram men. This obviously indicates that it is obligatory upon the woman to cover her face in front of such men. Hover, this is not the best place to quote all those authorities. And Allah knows best.

Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen رحيمه الله

Translation taken from the book “Islamic Dress Code for Women” by Mahmoud Ridha Murad, Darussalam

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