Friday, February 26, 2010

Niqab: Fard' or Sunnah?

[Source: Courtesy of Islamic Media]

Hejab = [a] khimar + [b] niqab

[a] khimar = cover the head, neck and bossom
- Fard upon baligh of a woman
- No disagreement between the scholars on this matter

[b] niqab = covers the face with or without the eyes
- it is never a habit or a customary act
- minority of the scholars said it is fard (with no clear cut dalil)
- majority of the scholars said it is sunnah

What is jelbab?
- minority of the scholars defined it as covering from top to bottom
- majority of the scholars defined it as dress, as in the arabic language, it is a normal dress

“And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms, and not to reveal their adornment save to their own husbands or fathers or husbands' fathers, or their sons or their husbands' sons, or their brothers or their brothers' sons or sisters' sons, or their women, or their slaves, or male attendants who lack vigour, or children who know naught of women's nakedness. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And turn unto Allah together, O believers, in order that ye may succeed.” [Surah An-Nur: 31]

Abu Dawood narrates that `Aishah RA said: "Asmaa' the daughter of Abu Bakr RA came to see the Messenger of Allah SAW wearing a thin dress; so Allah's Messenger SAW turned away from her and said: O Asmaa', once a woman reaches the age of menstruation, no part of her body should be seen but this (he pointed to his face) and that (he pointed to his hands).

O Prophet! Say to your wives and your daughters and the women of the faithful to draw their outer garments (jilbabs) close around them; that is better that they will be recognized and not annoyed. And God is ever Forgiving, Gentle.” [Surah al-Ahzab: 59]

Aishah RA narrated in a hadeeth that women in ihram do not wear the niqab and gloves. In another hadeeth: Our beloved Prophet SAW provided the dalil that women in ihram during hajj do not wear niqab and gloves, indicating that the face is not aurat.

Subhan Allah, I was just enquiring from Ramzan if niqab is fard’ or sunnah and coincidentally, my cousin shared this video with me. It is very clear to me now, alhamdulilLah :)

What I like about the approach in the video is that Syeikh Shady al-Suleiman provides an overview of both schools of thought and leaves it to the Ummah to adopt what is comfortable for her. Truly, there is no compulsion in Islam.

More importantly, the Ummah is fully aware of the dire implications of labeling something that is not fard’ fard’… The key takeaway is that to speak with wisdom, we must have ilm’ and adab.

The conclusion based on personal opinion is to go with majority of the scholars (jumhur ulama’) without denying the opinions of the minority of scholars i.e. accept that some of our Muslim sisters practice wearing the niqab for the pleasure of Allah SWT.

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