Female section

What does Islam say about the face veil for women?

Question: What is the verdict of the Islamic scholars on this matter that if a woman who is young or old goes to a scholar of Islam, conditioned with all sense of Islamic spirituality to pledge allegiance [bayt], and to get blessings from her spiritual guide [pir] with an Islamic veil, which means that the whole body is covered except for the face, but it is not a cultural [urfi] veil, is it permissible or not to pledge allegiance and obtain blessings in this manner?
Sender: Muhammad Ahmad Saheb, from Jalandhar in India

In the matters of the spiritual guide, and so on, it is similar to any judgment of a stranger. It is also prohibited for a young woman to appear with the face unveiled. It says in Durr al-Mukhtar:


تمنع المرأۃ الشابۃ من کشف الوجہ بین رجال لخوف الفتنۃ

“Because of the fear of schism [fitna] the woman is stopped from appearing in the presence of men with an unveiled face.”1

It is also stated: But in our era, a young lady is prohibited to unveil the niqab.2
And there is no harm for an older woman who has no probability of a schism. The same book states that there is no harm in shaking hands or rubbing hands with such an elderly woman for whom there are no sexual desires, provided there is an assurance of repose.3
But she should not belong to such a family, so that even the appearance of such disgraces their pious ancestors [awliya], or even pointed out with contempt due to her [being unveiled].  Therefore, we are ordained that we should deal with the people according to their state, just as it is marfu’an stated in one of the hadith of Umm al-Muminin al-Siddiqa (Allah be pleased with her):
اياك وما يسوء الاذن
“Refrain from things that your ears think are wrong.”4
Especially when it is likely to cause a disorder in the family.
فان الفتنۃ اکبر من القتل 
For schism is a bigger crime than killing.
And Allah knows best.
al-Imam Ahmad Raza Khan al-Qadiri al-Barelvi
28-Dhu al-Hijjah-1313 || ≈ 10-Jun-1896
al-‘Ataya al-Nabawiyyah fi’l-Fatawa al-Ridawiyyah: vol. 22, p. 205, #61
Click for more fatawa’s of Ala Hazrat
  1. Durr al-Mukhtar: 1/66 کتاب الصلوٰۃ باب شروط الصلوٰۃ
  2. Durr al-Mukhtar: 2/42-241کتاب الحظروالاباحۃ فصل فی النظر
  3. Durr al-Mukhtar: 2/42-241 کتاب الحظروالاباحۃ فصل فی النظر
  4. Sunan Abi Dawud: 2/309 كتاب الأدب باب للناس لهدم بيوتهم || Musnad Ahmad b. Hanbal: 4/76 بقيه حديث أبي الغادية رضي الله عنه
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