be to Allaah.
Hijaab in Arabic means covering
or concealing. Hijaab is the name of something that is used to cover. Everything
that comes between two things is hijaab.
Hijaab means everything that is
used to cover something and prevent anyone from reaching it, such as curtains,
door keepers and garments, etc.
Khimaar comes from the word khamr,
the root meaning of which is to cover. For example, the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Khammiru aaniyatakum
(cover your vessels).” Everything that covers something else is called
But in common usage khimaar has
come to be used as a name for the garment with which a woman covers her head;
in some cases this does not go against the linguistic meaning of khimaar.
Some of the fuqahaa’ have
defined it as that which covers the head, the temples and the neck.
The difference between the hijaab
and the khimaar is that the hijaab is something which covers all of a woman’s
body, whilst the khimaar in general is something with which a woman covers her
is that with which a woman veils her face (tantaqib)…
The difference between hijaab and
niqaab is that the hijaab is that which covers all the body, whilst niqaab is
that which covers a woman’s face only.
The woman’s dress as prescribed
in sharee’ah (“Islamic dress”) is that which covers her head,
face and all of her body.
But the niqaab or burqa’
– which shows the eyes of the woman – has become widespread among
women, and some of them do not wear it properly.
Some scholars have forbidden wearing it on the grounds that it is not
Islamic in origin, and because it is used improperly and people treat it as
something insignificant, demonstrating negligent attitudes towards it and using
new forms of niqaab which are not prescribed in Islam, widening the opening
for the eyes so that the cheeks, nose and part of the forehead are also visible.
Therefore, if the woman’s
niqaab or burqa’ does not show anything but the eyes, and the opening
is only as big as the left eye, as was narrated from some of the salaf, then
that is permissible, otherwise she should wear something which covers her face
Shaykh Muhammad al-Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen
(may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
The hijaab prescribed in sharee’ah
means that a woman should cover everything that it is haraam for her to show,
i.e., she should cover that which it is obligatory for her to cover, first and
foremost of which is the face, because it is the focus of temptation and desire.
A woman is obliged to cover her face
in front of anyone who is not her mahram (blood relative to whom marriage is
forbidden). From this we learn that the face is the most essential thing to
be covered. There is evidence from the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and the views of the Sahaabah and
the imams and scholars of Islam, which indicates that women are obliged to cover
all of their bodies in front of those who are not their mahrams.
1/ 391, 392)
Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan (may Allaah
preserve him) said:
The correct view as indicated by
the evidence is that the woman’s face is ‘awrah which must be covered.
It is the most tempting part of her body, because what people look at most is
the face, so the face is the greatest ‘awrah of a woman. This is in addition
to the shar’i evidence which states that it is obligatory to cover the
For example, Allaah says (interpretation
of the meaning):
“And tell the believing women to lower their
gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from
illegal sexual acts) and not to show off their adornment except only that which
is apparent (like both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer palms of
hands or one eye or dress like veil, gloves, headcover, apron), and to draw
their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms)…”
the veil all over the juyoob implies covering the face.
When Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) was
asked about the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):
Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to
draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies”
he covered his face, leaving only
one eye showing. This indicates that what was meant by the aayah was covering
the face. This was the interpretation of Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased
with him) of this aayah, as narrated from him by ‘Ubaydah al-Salmaani
when he asked him about it.
the Sunnah there are many ahaadeeth, such as: the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The woman in ihraam
is forbidden to veil her face (wear niqaab) or to wear the burqa’.”
This indicates that when women were not in ihraam, women used to cover their
This does not mean that if a woman
takes off her niqaab or burqa’ in the state of ihraam that she should
leave her face uncovered in the presence of non-mahram men. Rather she is obliged
to cover it with something other than the niqaab or burqa’, on the evidence
of the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) who
said: “We were with the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in ihraam, and when men passed by
us, we would lower the khimaar on our heads over our faces, and when they moved
on we would lift it again.”
Women in ihraam and otherwise are
obliged to cover their faces in front of non-mahram men, because the face is
the center of beauty and it is the place that men look at… and Allaah
He also said:
It is OK to cover the face with
the niqaab or burqa’ which has two openings for the eyes only, because
this was known at the time of the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and because of necessity. If nothing
but the eyes show, this is fine, especially if this is customarily worn by women
in her society.
Allaah knows best.