Fatwa: # 28573
Category: Jurisprudence and Rulings...
Country: United States
Date: 20th March 2014

Title

The obligation of Niqab in the West.

Question

 

 Some one told me that wearing niqab is not wajib in America.
 She read your fatwa about niqab. And told me that every Mufti gives their fatwa according to the people around them, and In South Africa the Muslims are very strong, so wearing it is wajib for the people there.
 
> I was also told that many scholars said it is recommended to NOT wear niqab in the west.(Such as Mufti Abdullah Nana).
 
 
> 1. If someone asks me about niqab, do I tell them it is wajib? 
> 2. Can you please tell me the ruling of covering the eyes.
 

     I was also told that covering the eyes isn't Sunna or even Musthahab.

I was a little confused about fatwa# 28504. It stated that, "2) The awrah of a Muslim woman in front of a non Muslim woman is like that of a non-Mahram man, i.e. the whole body must be covered besides the hands, face and the feet"

 
but in fatwa#27750 it said,"As for the ruling on Niqāb, it is Wājib for a woman to cover her face in front of Ghair Mahrams (men with whom Nikah is permissible

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

1)     Shari’ah seeks to mould our lives in total conformity with the commandments of Allāh, whilst allowing us to indulge in worldly activities to a certain limit. By assuming that all rulings change according to the Deenī condition of the people, we will defeat the purpose of Shari’ah. With such a mind-set, one will focus on moulding his/her life according to his/her desires and follow Deen only when he/she feels like the obligation applies to her.

The commandments of Sharī’ah apply in general to Muslims of all walks, regardless of the Deenī strength of the people of different regions, except in issues that the Fuqahā’ have explicitly specified. Whilst there are matters where the conditions of the people of a certain area are taken into consideration when issuing fatāwā, such matters are very limited. It is incorrect to make a blanket statement that ‘every Mufti gives their fatwa according to the people around them’.[1]

A Mufti does not outline his own regulations and commandments, rather, he informs the people of the rulings of Shari’ah on particular issues. Hence, where Shar’iah stipulates that different factors be considered, such as the norm of the time, Deenī condition of people, etc., the Mufti shall do so in issuing a fatwa. However, where there is no such indication from Shari’ah, the rulings of Shari’ah narrated by the Mufti shall apply unconditionally.[2] The greater portion of the obligations of Shari’ah are of such a nature.

The obligation of Hijāb and Niqāb is not one that is constricted to any regional or academic boundaries in the Hanafī Mazhab. It is wajib in general for women of all walks of life to don the Niqāb.[3]

Whilst we understand that, a few scholars are of the opinion that Niqāb is not wājib in the west, it is important to know that, the most reliable view according to all four Mazāhib is that of the obligation of Niqāb without defining any regions or conditions. Further, in contrast to what you have been advised, the need of niqāb would be greater in places where moral corruption is high and the Deenī condition of people is low.

With regards to the attribution of such a baseless opinion to Mufti ‘Abdullāh Nana, we have directly contacted him and sought clarity on his stance on the obligation of Niqāb. His response is as follows: “The niqab is wajib as the traditional Hanafi scholars have stated. My stance is the same as them.”

Therefore, the ruling of Hijāb in the west is of wājib just as anywhere else in the world.

 

2)     It is permissible to leave the eyes uncovered in order to facilitate clear vision when a woman leaves her home.[4]

 

3)     It seems you have confused ‘Awrah (Satr) with Niqāb. The ‘Awrah (Satr) is an injunction stemming from the natural disposition of insān that shows the intrinsic qualities of hayā (shame and modesty) that existed from the very inception of humankind. The ruling and boundaries of the ‘Awrah change in relation to the man/woman in whose company and sight a woman is at any particular time, whereas the boundaries of Niqāb remain the same. The ‘Awrah in front of a Muslim woman is different compared to that in front of a non-Muslim woman and non-Mahram.

In the first statement:The awrah of a Muslim woman in front of a non Muslim woman is like that of a non-Mahram man, i.e. the whole body must be covered besides the hands, face and the feet”, we mean that the boundaries of a woman’s ‘Awrah in front of a non-Muslim woman will be the same as the boundaries of her ‘Awrah in front of a non-Mahram man.

Whilst in the second statement: “As for the ruling on Niqāb, it is Wājib for a woman to cover her face in front of Ghair Mahrams”, we refer to the ruling of Niqāb and not to that of the ‘Awrah.

 

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Nabeel Valli

Student Darul Iftaa
Lusaka, Zambia

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

www.daruliftaa.net



[1]   أصول الإفتاء وآدابه – المفتي محمد تقي العثماني، ص 164 [مكتبة معارف القرآن]

والأمر الخامس: أن الفتوى قد تختلف باختلاف الأشخاص نظراٍ إلى خصوص أحوالهم وباختلاف العرف وأحوال الزمان حسب تحقيق المناط

 

[2]   أصول الإفتاء وآدابه – المفتي محمد تقي العثماني، ص 240 [مكتبة معارف القرآن]

قد عرف في عبارات الفقهاء أن الأحكام تتغير بتغير الزمان. وليس هذا الأصل كلّياًّ بأن يتغير جميع الأحكام الشرعية كما زعم بعض الإباحيين في عصرنا. وإنما المراد بهذا الأصل أن بعض الأحكام تتغير بتغير الزمان، وإنما يقع هذا التغير بأحد الوجوه الأربعة الآتية:

الأول: أن يكون الحكم معلولاً بعلّة. فإن فاتت العلّة بتغير الزمان، تغيّر الحكم بفواتها.

الثاني: أن يكون الحكم مبنيّا على العرف والعادة، فلو تغير العرف تغير الحكم. وهذا في الحقيقة يرجع إلى الوجه الأول لأن تغير العرف إنما يغير الحكم إن كان الحكم السابق معلولاً بالعرف.

والثالث: أن يتغير الحكم لضرورة شديدة أو لعموم البلوى. ويقع التغير بقدر الضرورة.

والرابع: أن يتغير الحكم لسدّ الذرائع.

 

[3]   الدر المختار وحاشية ابن عابدين (رد المحتار) (2/ 528) [ايج ايم سعيد]

وَعَبَّرَ فِي الْفَتْحِ بِالِاسْتِحْبَابِ، لَكِنْ صَرَّحَ فِي النِّهَايَةِ بِالْوُجُوبِ وَفِي الْمُحِيطِ: وَدَلَّتْ الْمَسْأَلَةُ عَلَى أَنَّ الْمَرْأَةَ مَنْهِيَّةٌ عَنْ إظْهَارِ وَجْهِهَا لِلْأَجَانِبِ بِلَا ضَرُورَةٍ لِأَنَّهَا مَنْهِيَّةٌ عَنْ تَغْطِيَتِهِ لِحَقِّ النُّسُكِ لَوْلَا ذَلِكَ، وَإِلَّا لَمْ يَكُنْ لِهَذَا الْإِرْخَاءِ فَائِدَةٌ اهـ وَنَحْوُهُ فِي الْخَانِيَّةِ.

وَفَّقَ فِي الْبَحْرِ بِمَا حَاصِلُهُ أَنَّ مَحْمَلَ الِاسْتِحْبَابِ عِنْدَ عَدَمِ الْأَجَانِبِ. وَأَمَّا عِنْدَ وُجُودِهِمْ فَالْإِرْخَاءُ وَاجِبٌ عَلَيْهَا عِنْدَ الْإِمْكَانِ، وَعِنْدَ عَدَمِهِ يَجِبُ عَلَى الْأَجَانِبِ غَضُّ الْبَصَرِ

 

مجمع الأنهر في شرح ملتقى الأبحر (1/ 81) [مؤسسة التاريخ العربي]

وَفِي الْمُنْتَقَى تُمْنَعُ الشَّابَّةُ عَنْ كَشْفِ وَجْهِهَا لِئَلَّا يُؤَدِّيَ إلَى الْفِتْنَةِ وَفِي زَمَانِنَا الْمَنْعُ وَاجِبٌ بَلْ فَرْضٌ لِغَلَبَةِ الْفَسَادِ.

 

غنية الناسك في بغية المناسك ص94 [إدارة القرآن]

في النهاية والمحيط أنه واجب.  والتوفيق أن الاستحباب عند عدم الأجانب، وأما عند وجودهم فالإرخاء واجب عليها عند الإمكان، وعند عدمه يجب على الأجانب غض البصر

[4]   الجامع لأحكام القرآن للقرطبي، ج ٧، ص ٣٥٢ [دار الحديث]

وَاخْتَلَفَ النَّاسُ فِي صُورَةِ إِرْخَائِهِ، فَقَالَ ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ وَعَبِيدَةُ السَّلْمَانِيُّ: ذَلِكَ أَنْ تَلْوِيَهُ الْمَرْأَةُ حَتَّى لَا يَظْهَرَ مِنْهَا إِلَّا عَيْنٌ وَاحِدَةٌ تُبْصِرُ بِهَا. وَقَالَ ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ أَيْضًا وَقَتَادَةُ: ذَلِكَ أَنْ تَلْوِيَهُ فَوْقَ الْجَبِينِ وَتَشُدَّهُ، ثُمَّ تَعْطِفُهُ عَلَى الْأَنْفِ، وَإِنْ ظَهَرَتْ عَيْنَاهَا لَكِنَّهُ يَسْتُرُ الصَّدْرَ وَمُعْظَمَ الْوَجْهِ.

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