Monday, June 2, 2014

Horoscopes - Separating Myth from Reality

It is no secret that horoscopes and astrology have made their mark in popular culture, to the extent that almost every reputable newspaper today carries a daily section on horoscopes. Same is the case for magazines, online web portals and morning shows on television. If you were to visit an average bookstore, there too you would find dozens of books, readily available on the subject, predicting the lives of people one day at a time. However, despite their immense popularity, how authentic are horoscopes? What in fact, is their origin? And how are they affecting the lives of people in the 21st Century?


According to Chambers dictionary, the word “horoscope” finds its origins in the Greek words hora, meaning “hour” and skopos, meaning “observer”. In terms of its definition, a horoscope is described as “an astrologer’s prediction of someone’s future, based on the position of the stars and planets at the time of their birth” or alternatively, “a map or diagram showing the positions of the stars and planets at a particular moment in time”. So in essence, a horoscope is the observation of the hour of birth of an individual, using it to make predictions about his future.


Historians have traced the origins of astrology back to Babylon, approximately around 2000 BC. It is believed that this ancient civilization had great respect for the sun, as it was clearly essential for their needs. Similarly, they also concluded that other heavenly bodies must also be equally important for the human beings in the way with which they impact them on a daily basis. The importance of the heavenly bodies was usually given to them by their size, the sun being the largest and the moon second. Therefore they named the sun, moon, and planets after their main gods and the stars after lesser deities.

Having established the significance of the heavenly bodies, they developed a belief system where the movements of the stars and planets were considered to represent actions or activities of the gods. Thus by carefully studying the movements of these bodies, they hoped to determine the “will of the gods” and thereby predict the future. Whenever the stars moved a particular way, they observed the events that followed. They then assumed that the next time these heavenly bodies moved in similar way, that similar results were to be expected. This is what led to the foundational principles of astrology and its later formulization into the study of horoscopes.

In 525 BC, when Egypt was conquered by the Persians, there was an influence of the Babylonians on what was later known as Egyptian astrology. As an example, the famous historian Tamsyn Barton gives an example of two signs; the Balance and the Scorpion, both of which were surprisingly common between these two distant civilizations.

When Alexander the Great began his conquest of Asia, he exposed the Greeks to the cultures and cosmological ideas of Babylon, Persia and central Asia. Around 280 BC, the Greeks with their newfound attraction for astrology, researched the heavenly bodies mathematically and "scientifically" and defined the signs of the Zodiac. The names of Greek and Roman gods were then assigned to the planets.

So all essence, it is clear from the pages of history that astrology finds its roots in pagan idolatry.


After the conquest of Alexandria by the Muslims in the 7th century, and the founding of the Abbasid empire in the 8th century, the second Abbasid caliph, Al Mansur established the city of Baghdad as a centre of learning, which became a major impetus for Arabic-Persian translations of Hellenistic astrological texts.

Scholars such as Masha'Allah ibn Athari (c. 740–815 CE), Sahl ibn Bishr al-Israili (c. 786–845 CE) and Abu Ma’shar al-Balkhi (c. 787–886 CE) were some of those at the forefront of translating ancient texts, taking up astrology as their preferred field of study and attempting to make it compatible with the principles of Islam.

However, they were heavily refuted on theological grounds by renowned astronomers such as Al-Farabi (c. 872–950 CE), Ibn al-Haitham (c. 965 –1040 CE) and Ibn Sina (c. 980–1037 CE). It was determined that the methods used by the astrologers were conjectural (speculative) rather than empirical (based on experimental evidence). It was also established that the views put forth by the astrologers conflicted with the well known and accepted Islamic principles, in particular the assumption that the Will of God can be precisely known and predicted in advance.

Looking now at our present times, we find the horoscopes and astrology has taken firm roots in the lives of vast number of people. Below are just some of the reasons why people are attracted to such beliefs:

  1. Predicting the future: The future often intrigues people, especially when times are tough. Whenever there is an air of economic recession, warfare, societal problems etc. people wish to see a ray of hope, even if it be through an unsubstantiated means.
  2. Knowing one’s personality traits: People are generally pleased to know what others have to say about them. Similarly with horoscopes, it makes them feel good to find out what character traits they possess based on their star sign.
  3. Taking advice from the stars: Quite often, people will seek solutions to their problems, be they related to business, marriage, financial matters or career issues by relying on the stars and which months, dates or times are most favourable for them.
  4. Explaining life’s meaning: Astrology makes a claim to mysteriously determine the forces behind occurrences and events, and why things happen the way they do. People are fascinated by this and wish to discover their own life’s meaning.
  5. Making one feel special: Horoscopes make it seem as if a particular individual is the only person with that specific star sign, thereby all of the predictions are made to seem tailored for that person, thereby making them feel special. However, the truth is that the same predictions are simultaneously made applicable to millions of other people around the world (with the same star sign), which when examined logically and rationally, cannot be true by any standards.


Those who try to offer a scientific explanation to how heavenly bodies affect our behaviour, need to realize that we are living, intelligent beings and our character is formed by living, intelligent beings. This includes, inheritance from our ancestors, influence of family and friends, social setup and upbringing. The sun, moon, and planets are all lifeless and unintelligent, with no evidence to show that they form our characters.

Having said that, it must be acknowledged that heavenly bodies do have some physical influence e.g. the sun gives light and produces energy, all other bodies can be seen giving light, the moon's gravity causes tides in the oceans etc. But all these influences affect everyone in a given area equally, regardless of what time of year they were born.


The Islamic view on horoscopes and astrology is very clear. Allah says in the Qur’an:
“Say, ‘None in the heavens and the earth knows the Ghaib (Unseen) except Allah’”
[an-Naml 27:65]

The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Whoever learns anything of astrology has learned a branch of witchcraft…”
[Abu Dawood. Classed as sahih.]

He (SAW) also said: “He is not one of us who practises augury or has it done for him, who tells fortunes or has his fortune told, or who practises witchcraft or has that done for him.”

Likewise all matters pertaining to fortune telling, regardless of the method used, all fall under one of the branches of shirk (associating partners with Allah). The Prophet (SAW) said: “Whoever goes to a fortune-teller and asks him about something, his prayer will not be accepted for forty nights.”
[Muslim 2230]

In another narration, he (SAW) said: “Whoever...goes to a fortune teller and believes what he says, has disbelieved in that which Allah revealed to Muhammad (SAW).”
[Abu Dawood 3904, at-Tirmidhi 3904, Ibn Majaah 936; classed as sahih.]

Based on the above, we can safely say that Islam not only disassociates itself from practices such as astrology and horoscopes but considers them to be sins that can take a person to the biggest sin, which is associating partners with Allah, the Almighty.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Why an Islam-hater became Muslim?

In the early days of Islam, Omar ibn al-Khattab, who would later become a caliph, was in a frenzied rage and set out to assassinate Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). As he passed the house of his sister, he heard her recite passages from the glorious Qur'an. After rebuking her, something made him pause and contemplate the meaning of the verses. He had previously dismissed this new religion and listened to the hate-filled propaganda doing the rounds in the streets and valleys of Makkah. Convinced by the truth and beauty of the message, he immediately resolved to embrace Islam. The rest is glorious history.

History repeats itself in the most remarkable of ways. The city remains Makkah, but over 1,400 years later, and in the midst of all the new development, a man arrived who had a similar experience to that of the second caliph of Islam. 

Just a few years ago, Arnoud van Doorn, a prominent Dutch politician from an educated and privileged family, was the vice president of the far right Partij voor de Vrijheid (Party for Freedom) in the Netherlands, an unashamedly anti-immigration and anti-Islamic party led by the infamous Geert Wilders. The party had produced hate-filled rhetoric not seen in Europe since World War II. Van Doorn’s former party was responsible for producing the film Fitna, which defamed Islam, resulting in widespread protests throughout the world.

And then came his change. “My story of how I came to Islam is not remarkable,” he says very humbly. When he saw the outrage caused by the film, he made a concerted effort to study the Qur’an, Hadith collections and the biography of the Prophet (peace be upon him). After some time, he realized that Islam was the total opposite of what he had thought it was, and it then became easy to embrace the faith. Van Doorn acknowledges that his views on Islam were formed 10 to 15 years ago based solely on negative stereotypes and prejudices spread by the media. 

“For me, Islam was a violent religion that oppressed women and was no good for society,” he says. After embracing Islam and assisted by the Toronto-based Canadian Da’wah Association, Van Doorn visited the Kingdom this week to perform Umrah. He also visited the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah. 

Van Doorn met Sheikh Abdul-Rahman Al-Sudais, imam of the Grand Mosque and head of the Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques. Al-Sudais said he was delighted that Allah had selected Van Doorn to become a Muslim. Van Doorn expressed his sorrow and regret for helping to distribute Fitna, although he had no part in its production, to which Al-Sudais quoted the Qur’anic verse stating that good deeds wipe out bad ones. Van Doorn intends to do good by making a film about the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), to present a true picture of Islam. Van Doorn’s impression of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has also been transformed. “Before I came here, people asked me why on earth I was coming here!” He has been surprised by the wonderful culture and friendly, hospitable people.

He thanked Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah for all the developments taking place in Makkah and the holy sites. Van Doorn remains a member of the Dutch Parliament and a member of the Hague City Council. In his view, the rise and success of the far right in Europe is due to the continent's economic problems. This will only get worse, in his view, because Europe has a history of turning on its minorities when things get tough.

His advice to Muslims living in Europe is to be patient, steadfast and adhere to the standards of good conduct and fine character required by Islam. “Like it or not, we all represent Islam,” he says. “Any mistake we make could be attributed to our religion.” Van Doorn came to the Kingdom courtesy of the Canadian Da’wah Association's celebrity relations program, which is inspired by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who sent out invitations to regional leaders inviting them to embrace Islam, according to its president, Shazaad Mohammed, who is an Ambassador for Peace with the Universal Peace Federation (UPF), which operates under the United Nations. He is also an adviser to many celebrities. Former guests of the celebrity program include comedian David Chappelle, former rap stars Napoleon, Philadelphia Freeway, LOON and Jack Frost, and former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson. The CDA plans many such high-profile trips in future.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Sheikh Uthaymeen & his sense of humour

Presented below are some humorous tidbits from the Fatwas of Sheikh Muhammad Bin Saleh Al-Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him), while answering questions.

Q – Sheikh, my question is: what is the ruling about a young lady who has not reached adulthood with regards to the following three situations: covering the face outside the house? And wearing pants in any form, situation, or reason? And the khimar in the Salah?
A – This man is intelligent. He combined three questions in one, may Allah forgive us and him….
(Baab Al-Maftooh, 139)

Q – Is it allowed for a man to be with his female servant, and what can he see of her?
A – If he marries her, then she can uncover her face in front of him, and this is the solution….
...But I am afraid that if she becomes his wife, she will demand a female servant, and then this will be a problem!
(Al-Liqaa Al-Shahri, 3)

Q – Is it allowed for me to buy a rooster so that when it crows, I ask Allah of His bounty?
A – I don’t know about this. It’s ordained for a person that when he hears the crowing of a rooster he asks Allah of His bounty, but I am afraid that your rooster will be silent! Alhamdulillah, you ask Allah for His bounty if you hear the rooster or not. Ask of His bounty always.
(Al-Baab Al-Maftooh, 200)

Q – Sheikh, may Allah reward you with Paradise, I see in my dreams as if I’m sitting in your class. I have certain questions, so I ask you and you give me the answers. So what’s the ruling with regards to those answers? (Questioner laughs)
A – I don’t remember this. I don’t remember this. I don’t notice in my sleep that you are asking me anything! (Sheikh laughs) Don’t depend on this. If you listen to a tape, that’s fine, but we don’t give lessons to those who are sleeping!
(Al-Baab Al-Maftooh, 200)

Q – With reference to the Hadith: “There is no competition except in shooting arrows, foot-racing, or horse-racing,” what is your opinion if someone engages in rooster-racing or pigeon-racing?
A – Look, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “There is no competition except in shooting arrows, foot-racing, or horse-racing,” because these things are to be used for war. If your rooster is used in war so that you ride on it, then it’s allowed! Otherwise no….
(Al-Baab Al-Maftooh, 200)

Q – What is your opinion about these du’as which are played in the car, like the du’a for riding, the du’a for traveling, etc. What’s the response to those who say they are amulets?
A – Amulets! I say that whoever says they are amulets are telling the truth, if (in case) the car is sick!
The du’as are attached to the car, not the rider, and to play them in the car is fine since they remind travelers of the du’a for riding or traveling. Everything that helps to do good is good. There is no problem, and they are not amulets!

Unless if someone said to you: If the car is sick, attaching the du’as to it will cure it by the will of Allah!
(Liqaa Al-Shahree)

Veil for men
A narrator mentions in an Arabic forum:
I asked the Sheikh about the ruling about a woman looking at a man. (His view was that it is allowed if there is no Fitna). I debated with him for a long time on the issue, and afterwards when I wanted to leave he said: “Where are you going?” The question seemed a little strange to me, so I laughed and said, “I’m going out.”

He said: “Wear a khimar so the women don’t see you!”

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Destroyed Nations

It was a loud crack of thunder. A deafening shout sufficient to burst the eardrums. An endless rattling of the earth. Violent commotion. Fire, ash and lava from all directions. The last breath of man. And then silence. Absolute utter silence. Not even the sound of a heartbeat. As if nothing ever lived.

It is said that history repeats itself. How often have the nations of old been destroyed; those who made the life of this world their top concern and forgot all about Allah? They were given numerous chances to abandon their evil ways, turn back to Allah with sincere repentance and become obedient to Him. But each time they rejected the warnings and refused to pay attention, preferring worldly life over the life of the Hereafter.

The People of ‘Ad

Let us travel back in time, hundreds of years ago when the nation of ‘Ad was still thriving.  A civilization of people who were powerful not just in wealth and authority but also in their physical build and stature. They constructed monuments on mountains after spending excessively on themselves and misused their power to attack and threaten neighbouring tribes. And though it might seem that such abundance of wealth, resources and luxuries would make one soft, it did not, in the case of the people of ‘Ad.

It was indeed Allah who gave them all the strength and power that they possessed but instead of being grateful, they rejected Allah. Prophet Hud (a.s.) was sent as a warner to them but they belied him. He promised them that if they do not mend their ways, they will be struck by a severe punishment. Even so, they refused to listen, rather asked to see a punishment that was strong enough to destroy their colossal empire.

So it was, and they were seized by a long drought. But this was just the beginning. The real punishment from Allah came in the form of violent hurricane winds that pounded them nonstop for eight days and seven nights! Sharp and bitter cold winds together with sand storms that left nothing in their path by the time it was over. All was lost. From a land of lofty pillars, it became a land of mere sand dunes. Off with the people of ‘Ad!

The People of Thamud

The people of Thamud came a few generations after the people of ‘Ad, but sadly enough they did not learn from the mistakes of their forefathers. They were a corrupt people who instead of fixing their own character and being obedient to Allah, started building palaces inside of mountains, thinking that the punishment of Allah will never be able to reach them there. After all, who had ever heard of winds destroying mountains?

Prophet Saleh (a.s.) asked them to fear Allah and made them aware of the fact that they will be held accountable for their actions on the Day of Judgement. They asked to see proofs and clear signs, so by the permission of Allah, Saleh (a.s.) miraculously produced a female camel out of a rock! Everyone was shocked to see this fascinating wonder. They were given clear instructions that the camel was not to be hurt or harmed in any way, nor was it to be stopped from feeding or drinking. But the people wanted to get rid of this miracle of Allah as soon as possible. As long as the camel remained alive, everyone would know that Saleh (a.s.) had been speaking the truth all along. A group of them began to plot and so one night, they finally managed to kill the camel while everyone was still asleep. Upon hearing the news, they were warned of the punishment of Allah but they laughed and joked and instead began to plot another killing; this time of Saleh (a.s.) and his family. 

Before they could ever reach the culmination of their evil plots, the punishment of Allah enveloped them from all sides. A single blast, a shout, that killed them while they were still in their dwellings. They thought their palaces were strong inside mountains but all it took was a sound wave to finish them where they lay. For them it was difficult, near impossible to imagine, but for Allah it was easy. Off with the people of Thamud!

Fir’aun and his armies

In all Abrahamic faiths, the story of Musa (a.s.) and Fir’aun (Pharoah) is well known. Although there is a huge “charge sheet” against Fir’aun for all the wrong that he did i.e. from killing young boys to the severe torturing and dismemberment of slaves, however when Allah commands Musa (a.s.) to go to Fir’aun, He mentions only one major problem with Fir’aun.

 “Go to Fir'aun (Pharaoh), verily, he has transgressed all bounds.” [an-Naziaat 79:17]

Meaning that the reason why Fir’aun was such a tyrant and oppressive ruler was because he had crossed all bounds in disobedience to Allah. He has no respect for the laws laid down by Allah and thought of himself as above and beyond all of them.

Although we might not be as bad as Fir’aun but sometimes we too can develop the habit of knowing the commands of Allah but not obeying them. When we know that Allah has ordered something for us but we would rather do something else. This type of attitude can lead to a “Fir’aunic” state of mind. Remember, Fir’aun was not born a tyrant – for all we know he could have been a very cute baby; but he had to lead his whole life in rebellion against Allah to reach the level he had attained.

His sorry end came when he drowned at sea along with his massive armies which he was so proud of. Such is the end of the arrogant transgressors. Off with the Fir’aun and his armies!

Important Lessons

Often people tend to busy themselves with “how” it all happened. Was it an earthquake? Was it a volcanic eruption? Was it a shift of the earth’s crust? What if they had better construction material? What if they had an early warning system? Strangely enough the Qur’an does not answer these questions nor addresses them in any way. Instead it shifts our focus towards “why” it all happened. That is, why did Allah punish these people? And for us, this is a great place to start our questioning.

What were the crimes of the destroyed nations of the past? Here is a brief list:

•    They were proud and arrogant of their wealth, power and lavish lifestyle.
•    They thought this life would never end and that they will never be held accountable for what they are doing.
•    They forgot all about Allah and did not give thanks to Him for all the blessings that they had been given.
•    They didn’t find anything wrong with what they were doing, thinking that “might is right”. Thus, they refused to do istighfar i.e. to repent for this sins and transgressions.

Know that these nations had the best of everything that this world can offer yet by the time it was over nothing remained. Today we think that we have the best of everything, the question is, will we follow in the footsteps of the destroyed nations or are we better than that?

 “O mankind! Your rebellion (disobedience to Allah) is only against your ownselves, - a brief enjoyment of this worldly life, then to Us is your return, and We shall inform you that which you used to do. [Yunus 10:23]

Monday, December 17, 2012

2012 - Is this The End?

In November 2009, Hollywood came out with a blockbuster movie with the title: “2012”. The catchy tagline read: “We were warned…”, designed to stir all sorts of curious emotions in the heart of the avid movie-goer.

What was this movie all about? Unless you have been completely disconnected from the media recently, it was a depiction of what it would be like when the world comes to a devastating end in the year 2012.

You might wonder where they got this idea from. The idea was not something new, in fact it stemmed from ancient Mayan calculations and those predictions made by 16th Century French fortune-teller, Nostradamus.

The real question however is that; is any of this true? Is the world really going to end in 2012? What is Islam’s view on the subject?

Going straight to the Qur’an, we find that Allah, the Almighty, tells us:

“They ask you about the Hour (Day of Resurrection): ‘When will be its appointed time?’ Say: ‘The knowledge thereof is with my Lord (Alone). None can reveal its time but He. Heavy is its burden through the heavens and the earth. It shall not come upon you except all of a sudden.’ They ask you as if you have a good knowledge of it. Say: ‘The knowledge thereof is with Allah (Alone), but most of mankind know not’”.
[al-‘Araaf 7:187]

We find three main points from the above ayah:

I.    The knowledge of the final Hour i.e. the Day of Judgment is only with Allah. No one else has been given this knowledge; not a civilization, not a tribe and not an individual.

II.    Secondly, we know that the hour will come upon mankind “all of a sudden”. Meaning that it will come when people least expect it or when they are least prepared for it. In various ahadith of the Prophet (ﷺ) we learn that people on that day will be engaged in their usual routines. A man will be plastering his basin, another two will be trading in cloth but will not even get the chance to wrap it up, while a third man will take the milk from his camel, without getting the opportunity to drink it.

III.    In the final part of the above ayah, Allah for a second time reaffirms that the knowledge of this is with Allah alone, yet most of mankind do not know that it is only Allah who has this knowledge. Instead, they put their trust in the false tales and guess work of soothsayers and fortune-tellers.

So a good Muslim understands that no one knows when the Day of Judgment will be and that whenever that Day comes, it will come as a complete surprise.

After having knowledge of the above, what if a person still insists on listening to the stories of the fortune-tellers? This, you see, would be extremely problematic as the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) warned us by saying, “Whoever visits a fortune-teller and asks him about something (even out of curiosity), his prayer (salah) will not be accepted for forty nights”. [Muslim, 2230]

In another narration he (ﷺ) said “Whoever visits a fortune-teller and believes in what he says, he has disbelieved in what Allah revealed to Muhammad (i.e. he has disbelieved in the Qur’an)”. [Abu Dawood, 3904]

Surely, no Muslim would like to be put in this grave situation. So imagine if this is the case for someone who visits a fortune-teller or believes in one, what about one who himself is a fortune-teller?

The Prophet (ﷺ) mentioned about the one who learns the art of numbers in astrology, horoscopes etc. saying, "Whoever learns anything of astrology/numerology has learned a branch of witchcraft!". [Abu Dawood]

And it goes without saying that in Islam, witchcraft (practice of black magic) is considered to be a form of disbelief (kuffar). May Allah protect us.

Once a man came to the Prophet (ﷺ) asking, “When will the Hour be?” The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) replied by saying, “The Hour will come. What have you prepared for it?”

This is indeed a very important question; a question that we need to ask ourselves. Without doubt, one day we will have to face Allah but what have we prepared for that day? Do we have lots of prayers, fasts and good deeds in our bag? Do we have kindness, love and mercy in our bags? Do we have obedience to Allah and the sunnah of the Prophet (ﷺ) in our bag?

If the answer is yes, Alhamdulillah, our preparation is going great and definitely in the right direction! But if the answer is no, then instead of focusing on when the hour will be, we need to worry more about collecting as many good deeds as we possibly can while we are still here on this planet and while we still have time.

After all, what lies ahead is truly the home that will last forever, better than anything that this world has to offer.

We ask Allah to protect us from the evils of fortune-telling and pray that may He allow us to put our trust in Him, and Him alone.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

LAUGHTER & PLAY: From the life of the Prophet ﷺ

You can sometimes notice the different ways in which people deal with children. When a person enters a public gathering with his son, he shakes everyone's hands one by one, while his son follows suit. Among the people are those who would completely ignore the child, others would barely shake his hand, and others would warmly shake it saying, "Welcome, young man! How are you today?" It is the love of that person that will be engraved in the heart of the child, as well as in the hearts of his parents.

The Prophet () would display the best form of treatment with children. Anas bin Malik - may Allah be pleased with him - had a younger brother; and the Prophet () would play with him and nickname him Abu 'Umayr. The child had a small bird that he played with. Whenever the Prophet () would meet him, he would joke with him saying, "O Abu 'Umayr, what happened to al-Nughayr?" meaning, the bird.

He would be kind and playful with children. Whenever he would meet Zaynab bint Umm Salamah, he would playfully say to her, "O Zuwaynib! O Zuwaynib!" Whenever he passed by children playing, he would greet them. Whenever he visited the Ansaar, he would greet their children and place his hand on their heads out of compassion. Upon the return of the Muslim army from Mu'tah, the Prophet () along with the rest of the Muslims and their children met them on their way back to Madinah. When the Prophet () saw the children he said, "Take the children and carry them, and please pass me Ibn Ja'far." They passed 'Abdullah Ibn Ja'far on to him and he held him in his arms.

One day as the Prophet () was performing ablution, there came to him Muhammad bin al-Rabi' who was only five years old. The Prophet () took some water in his mouth and jokingly blew it out in his face. (al-Bukhari)

Generally, the Prophet () was lively and merry with everyone. He would always try to make people happy. He would always be easygoing with everyone so that people would not become bored in his company.

A man came to the Prophet () wanting a camel to ride on for a journey or expedition. The Prophet () said to him jokingly, "I will give you an offspring of a camel." The man became surprised and thought of how he could possibly ride a camel's offspring that could not carry his weight. He said, "O Messenger of Allah! What would I do with a camel's offspring?" The Prophet () said, "Does a camel give birth to anything but an offspring?" Meaning; I will give you a grown camel, however, no doubt, it is still another camel's offspring!

Once he jokingly said to Anas, "O you, the possessor of two ears!"

A woman once came to the Prophet () complaining about her husband, so he said to her, "Is your husband the one whose eyes are white?" The woman became worried and thought that her husband had become blind, in light of what Allah said about Jacob, "His eyes whitened from grieving so much..." meaning, he became blind. She went back to her husband terrified and began to look into his eyes carefully. He asked her what the problem was. She said, "The Prophet () said that there is whiteness in your eyes!" The man said, "O woman! Did he not tell you that the whiteness in my eyes is more than the blackness?" meaning; everyone has whiteness and blackness in his eyes.

The Prophet () would react positively to whoever joked or bantered with him and he would smile. Once 'Umar bin al-Khattab came to the Prophet () who was at that time angry with his wives, due to their demanding of more allowance. 'Umar - may Allah be pleased with him - said, "O Messenger of Allah! If you recall us when we were men of Quraysh, we always controlled our women. If any of our women were to ask for more allowance, we would have jumped up and grabbed her neck! But when we came to Madinah we found the women controlling their men, so our women began to learn these tricks from their women!" Thereupon the Prophet () smiled. 'Umar continued to speak and the Prophet () continued to smile.

We read in various ahadith that often the Prophet () would smile till his molar teeth would show. He was indeed an extremely kind and friendly companion. If we were to train ourselves to embrace such skills, we would surely taste the sweetness of life.

[Taken from the book "Enjoy Your Life" by Dr. Muhammad Al-'Arifi] 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

And he said: “The niqab is not from Islam!”

It just so happens that I recently came across a comment similar to what you just read above as the title to this blog: “The niqab is not from Islam”. This is obviously not the first time that I’ve heard such a claim, in fact, one can hear it being quoted every now and then, among one group of friends or another. I thought why not do some research and see if there was any truth to this claim.

Presented below is just that. A detailed analysis of the niqab and its place in Islam.

Before I formally begin, let me state four basic points that must be kept in mind if we truly wish to do a thorough research.


Islam is not interpreted purely on our own opinions i.e. whatever seems rational to us we take and whatever conflicts with our way of thinking we reject. Remember this is divine text and deserves the utmost care lest we fall into error.


We also need to consider all authentic references from ahadith of the Prophet (). As Allah (SWT) says in the Qur’an:

“And whatever the Messenger () gives you, take it; And whatever he forbids you, leave it. And fear Allah, truly Allah is severe in punishment.”
[al Hashr 59:7]

“Whoever obeys the Messenger (), he indeed obeys Allah…”
[an-Nisa 4:80]

For further details, here is an article I wrote a while back, in response to those who reject authentic ahadith of the Prophet ():


Further, we must consider the understanding of the sahaba (companions of the Prophet ) of the verses of the Qur’an. Allah (SWT) says:

And the foremost to embrace Islam of the Muhajirun and the Ansar (i.e. the companions) and also those who followed them exactly (in Faith). Allah is well-pleased with them as they are well-pleased with Him. He has prepared for them Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise), to dwell therein forever. That is the supreme success.” [At-Taubah 9:100]

The Prophet () said:
“The best of the people are my generation (the sahaba), then those after them (tabi’een), then those after them (taba tabi’een)...”
[Bukhari/Muslim/Abu Dawood/Tirmidhi/An-Nasai]


In addition, a true student of knowledge examines the opinion of the earliest muffasirs (exegesists) of the Qur’an and the view of the jamaah (consensus amongst the earliest scholars). This is based upon what Allah (SWT) revealed:

“O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger (), and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger (), if you believe in Allah and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination.” [an Nisa 4:59]


As for the women to cover themselves, there are two main opinions that are there amongst the scholars (and there is no third):
  1. That women’s hijab means covering up completely (head to toe), except the face & hands
  2. That women’s hijab should consist of the full covering (head to toe), including the face (i.e. the niqab)
Those scholars who hold the view that face-veil (niqab) is not an obligation, still categorize the face-veil as mustahab (i.e. highly recommended).

So we respect both opinions (whether is it just hijab OR hijab plus niqab); But for a person to claim that “niqab is not from Islam”, this would be a serious inaccuracy.


From The Qur'an

Surah Al-Ahzaab, Verse #59
‘O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks ("Jalabib") veils all over their bodies (screen themselves completely) that is most convenient that they should be known (as such) and not molested: and Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful."

Surah An-Nur, Verses #30 and #31
‘And Say to 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 the eyes or hands for necessity), and to draw their veils all over Juyubihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms)

From Ahadith

Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 6, Book 60, Hadith # 282
Narrated Safiya bint Shaiba (Radhiallaahu Anha) "Aisha (Radhiallaahu Anha) used to say: "When (the Verse): "They should draw their veils over their necks and bosoms," was revealed, (the ladies) cut their waist sheets at the edges and covered their faces with the cut pieces.

Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 1, Book 8, Hadith # 368
Narrated 'Aisha (Radhiallaahu Anha) Rasulullah () used to offer the Fajr prayer and some believing women covered with their veiling sheets used to attend the Fajr prayer with him and then they would return to their homes unrecognized.

Shaikh Ibn Uthaimin in tafseer of this hadith explains "This hadith makes it clear that the Islamic dress is concealing of the entire body as explained in this hadith. Only with the complete cover including the face and hands can a woman not be recognized. This was the understanding and practice of the Sahaba and they were the best of group, the noblest in the sight of Allah (swt) with the most complete Imaan and noblest of characters. so if the practice of the women of the sahaba was to wear the complete veil then how can we deviate from their path? (Ibn Uthaimin in the book "Hijaab" page # 12 and 13)

Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 1, Book 4, Hadith # 148
Narrated 'Aisha (Radhiallaahu Anha): The wives of Rasulullah () used to go to Al-Manasi, a vast open place (near Baqia at Medina) to answer the call of nature at night. 'Umar used to say to the Prophet "Let your wives be veiled," but Rasulullah () did not do so. One night Sauda bint Zam'a the wife of the Prophet went out at 'Isha' time and she was a tall lady. 'Umar addressed her and said, "I have recognized you, O Sauda." He said so, as he desired eagerly that the verses of Al-Hijab (the observing of veils by the Muslim women) may be revealed. So Allah revealed the verses of "Al-Hijab" (A complete body cover excluding the eyes).

Tirmidhi with a sahih chain reports:
"Rasulullah () said “All of a woman is ‘awrah.” (Shaikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid quotes this hadith narrated by Tirmidhi with a sahih isnaad and says this is a direct hadith from Rasulullah ( ) and has made it clear that a woman must cover everything.)

Abu Dawood Book 14, Hadith # 2482
Narrated Thabit ibn Qays (Radhiallaahu Anhu): A woman called Umm Khallad came to the Prophet () while she was veiled. She was searching for her son who had been killed (in the battle) Some of the Companions of the Prophet () said to her: You have come here asking for your son while veiling your face? She said: If I am afflicted with the loss of my son, I shall not suffer the loss of my modesty. Rasulullah () said: You will get the reward of two martyrs for your son. She asked: Why is that so, oh Prophet of Allah? He replied: Because the people of the Book have killed him.

Abu Dawood Book 32, Hadith # 4090
Narrated Umm Salamah, Ummul Mu'minin (Radhiallaahu Anha): When the verse "That they should cast their outer garments over their persons" was revealed, the women of Ansar came out as if they had crows over their heads by wearing outer garments.

Abu Dawood Book 32, Hadith # 4091
Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu'minin (Radhiallaahu Anha) "May Allah have mercy on the early immigrant women. When the verse "That they should draw their veils over their bosoms" was revealed, they tore their thick outer garments and made veils from them. Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalanee, who is known as Ameer Al-Mu'mineen in the field of Hadith, said that the phrase, "covered themselves", in the above Hadith means that they "covered their faces". [Fath Al-Bari].

Imaam Malik's Muwatta Book 20 Hadith # 20.5.16
Yahya related to me from Malik from Hisham ibn Urwa that Fatima bint al-Mundhir (Radhiallaahu Anha) said, "We used to veil our faces when we were in Ihram in the company of Asma bint Abi Bakr As-Siddiq (Radhiallaahu Anha). "This again proves that not only the wives of Rasulullah () wore the Niqab and that even though in Ihram women are not supposed to wear Niqab but if men are there they still have to cover the face.

Abu Dawood Book 10, Hadith # 1829
Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu'minin: (Radhiallaahu Anha) who said, "The riders would pass us while we were with the Messenger of Allah (). When they got close to us, we would draw our outer cloak from our heads over our faces. When they passed by, we would uncover our faces.

Recorded by Ahmad, Abu Dawood and Ibn Majah, Narrated 'Aisha. [In his work Jilbab al-Marah al-Muslimah, al-Albani states (p. 108) that it is hasan due to corroborating evidence. Also, in a narration from Asma {who was not the wife of Rasulullah ()}, Asma also covered her face at all times in front of men.] Shaikh Ibn Uthaimin in his tafseer of this hadith explains "This hadith indicates the compulsion of the concealing of the faces as an order of Shariah, because during the Ihram it is "wajib" (compulsory) NOT to wear the Niqab. So if it was only mustahab (recommended) to cover the face then Aisha and Asma (Radhiallaahu Anha) would have taken the wajib over the mustahab. It is well known by the Ullema that a wajib can only be left because of something that is also wajib or fardh. So Aisha and Asma (Radhiallaahu Anha) covering the face even in Ihram in the presence of strange (ghairMahraam) men shows that they understood this to be an act that was wajib or fardh or they would not have covered the face in Ihraam.

Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 7, Book 72, Hadith # 715
Narrated 'Ikrima (Radhiallaahu Anhu) narrates "Rifa'a divorced his wife whereupon 'AbdurRahman bin Az-Zubair Al-Qurazi married her. 'Aisha said that the lady (came), wearing a green veil." It is a very long hadith but the point is the women of Sahaba wore the full veil.

Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 1, Book 8, Hadith # 347
Narrated Um 'Atiya (Radhiallaahu Anha) We were ordered (by Rasulullah () to bring out our menstruating women and veiled women in the religious gatherings and invocation of Muslims on the two 'Eid festivals. These menstruating women were to keep away from their Musalla. A woman asked, "O Allah's Apostle ' What about one who does not have a veil (the veil is the complete cover with only one eye or two eyes showing)?" He said, "Let her share the veil of her companion." Shaikh Ibn Uthaimin in tafseer of this hadith explained "This hadith proves that the general norm amongst the women of the Sahaba (Radhiallaahu Anhuma) was that no woman would go out of her home without a cloak, fully concealed and if she did not possess a veil, then it was not possible for her to go out. It was for this reason that when Rasulullah () ordered them to go to the Place for Eid Salah, they mentioned this hindrance. As a result Rasulullah () said that someone should lend her a veil, but did not say they could go out without it. If Rasulullah () did not allow women to go to a place like the Eid Salah, which has been ordered by Shariah for women and men alike, then how can people let women to out to market places and shopping centers without where there is open intermingling of the sexes, without a veil. (by Shaikh Ibn Uthaimin in the book "Hijaab" page # 11)

Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 8, Book 76, Hadith # 572
In the end of this very long hadith it quotes Anas (Radhiallaahu Anho) rates from Rasulullah () "and if one of the women of Paradise looked at the earth, she would fill the whole space between them (the earth and the heaven) with light, and would fill whatever is in between them, with perfume, and the veil of her face is better than the whole world and whatever is in it." This show that even the women of Junnah have veils and the word veil is what covers the face (niqab).

Abu Dawood Book 33, Hadith # 4154, Agreed upon by Nasai
Aisha(Radhiallaahu Anha) narrates that on one occasion a female Muslim wanted to give a letter to the Holy Prophet (), the letter was delivered to the Holy Prophet () from behind a curtain.

Note: Quoted in the famous book Mishkaat. Here the Mufasereen of hadith have explained that the hadith where women came up to Rasulullah () face to face were before the ayah "And when you ask (his wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen, that is purer for your hearts and for their hearts." (Surah Al Ahzâb ayah # 53) And this hadith proves this order is for the whole Ummah not just for the wives of Rasulullah ()!

Abu Dawood Book 2, Hadith # 0641
Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu'minin (Radhiallaahu Anha) "Rasulullah () said "Allah does not accept the prayer of a woman who has reached puberty unless she wears a veil."

Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 9, Book 89, Hadith # 293
Narrated 'Aisha (Radhiallaahu Anha) Utba bin Abi Waqqas said to his brother Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas, "The son of the slave girl of Zam'a is from me, so take him into your custody." So in the year of Conquest of Mecca, Sa'd took him and said. (This is) my brother's son whom my brother has asked me to take into my custody." 'Abd bin Zam'a got up before him and said, (He is) my brother and the son of the slave girl of my father, and was born on my father's bed." So they both submitted their case before Rasulullah (). Sa'd said, "O Allah's Apostle! This boy is the son of my brother and he entrusted him to me." 'Abd bin Zam'a said, "This boy is my brother and the son of the slave girl of my father, and was born on the bed of my father." Rasulullah () said, "The boy is for you, O 'Abd bin Zam'a!" Then Rasulullah () further said, "The child is for the owner of the bed, and the stone is for the adulterer," Rasulullah () then said to Sauda bint Zam'a, "Veil (screen) yourself before him," when he saw the child's resemblance to 'Utba. The boy did not see her again till he met Allah. Note: This hadith proves Rasulullah () did infact order the veil to be observed.

Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 7, Book 65, Hadith # 375
Narrated Anas (Radhiallaahu Anhu) I know (about) the Hijab (the order of veiling of women) more than anybody else. Ubai bin Ka'b used to ask me about it. Allah's Apostle became the bridegroom of Zainab bint Jahsh whom he married at Medina. After the sun had risen high in the sky, the Prophet invited the people to a meal. Rasulullah () remained sitting and some people remained sitting with him after the other guests had left. Then Rasulullah () got up and went away, and I too, followed him till he reached the door of 'Aisha's room. Then he thought that the people must have left the place by then, so he returned and I also returned with him. Behold, the people were still sitting at their places. So he went back again for the second time, and I went along with him too. When we reached the door of 'Aisha's room, he returned and I also returned with him to see that the people had left. Thereupon Rasulullah () hung a curtain between me and him and the Verse regarding the order for (veiling of women) Hijab was revealed.

Abu Dawood Book 32, hadith # 4100
Narrated Umm Salamah, Ummul Mu'minin (Radhiallaahu Anha): I was with Rasulullah () while Maymunah was with him. Then Ibn Umm Maktum came. This happened when we were ordered to observe veil. Rasulullah () said: Observe veil from him. We asked: Oh Rasulullah! Is he not blind? He can neither see us nor recognize us. Rasulullah () said: Are both of you blind? Do you not see him?

From the Sahaba (Radhiallaahu Anhum)

Ibn Abbaas (Radhiallaahu Anhu), who was one of the most knowledgeable companions of Rasulullah (), Rasulullah () even made duwaa for him saying "O Allah, make him acquire a deep understanding of the religion of Islam and instruct him in the meaning and interpretation of things."

Ibn Jarir (Rahimahullah) with an authentic chain of narrators has quoted Ibn Abbaas' (Radhiallaahu An) opinion was "that the Muslim women are ordered to cover their head and faces with outer garments except for one eye." (This is quoted in the Ma'riful Qur'an in the tafseer of Surah Ahzaab ayah # 33, with reference of Ibn Jarir with a sahih chain of narrators). The Tabiee Ali Bin Abu Talha explained that this was the last opinion of Ibn Abbas and the other opinions quoted from him were from before Surah Al-Ahzaab, Verse #59 and the order of the "Jalabib". Shaikh Ibn Uthaimin commented on this saying of Ibn Abbaas (Radhiallaahu Anhu) by saying "This statement is "Marfoo" and in shariah that is the same category as a hadith which is narrated directly from Rasulullah (). The quote of Ibn Abbas is quoted by many tabi'een like Ali Ibn Abu Talha and Ibn Jarir in Ma'riful Quran by Mufti Muhammad Shafi vol.7 pg.217 and also in Tafseer Ibn Jarir, Vol. 22, pg.29 and also by Imaam Qurtabi all with SAHIH Chains and explained in the book "Hijaab" by Ibn Uthaimin, Page # 9 and authenticated in the book "Hijaab wa Safur"by Shaikh-ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (Rahimahullah) on page #11 and by Shaikh AbdulAziz bin Bazz (Rahimahullah) on page # 55 and 60 )

Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud (Radhiallaahu Anhu) Who was known as the most knowledgeable Sahabi in matters of Shariah. He became Muslim when he was a young kid and ever since that he stayed with Rasulullah () and gained the understanding of Quran from him. Umar Ibn Khattab (Radhiallaahu Anhu) said about him "By Allah, I don't know of any person who is more qualified in the matters dealing with the Quran than Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud"

Explained, the word Jilbaab (as mentioned in the Quran Surah Ahzaab ayah # 59) means a cloak which covering the entire body including the head, face and hands. (Quoted from Ibn Taymiyyah (Rahimahullah) in his book on fatwaas Page# 110 Vol # 2 and By Shaikh Ibn Uthamin in the book Hijaab Page # 15)

Aisha (Radhiallaahu Anha)
Stated that in verse 30 and 31 of Surah An Nur "What has been allowed to be shown is the hands, bangles and rings but the face must be covered.
(Quoted by Shaikh Abdul A'la Maududi in the book Purdah P# 195 and in his Tafseer of Quran under the tafseer of Surah An Nur)

Abu Ubaidah Salmani (Radhiallaahu Anhu), another well known Sahabi is quoted saying "Jilbaab should fully cover the women's body, so that nothing appears but one eye with which she can see." (Tafseer Al-Qurtubi) And In the time of Rasulullah () "The women used to don their cloaks (Jilbaabs) over their heads in such a manner that only the eyes were revealed in order to see the road." (The Book "Hijaab" page # 9)

Ubaida bin Abu Sufyan bin al-Harith('Radhiallaahu Anhu' An' Other well known and knowledgeable Companion of Rasulullah ) Imam Muhammad bin Sirin (Rahimahullah) One of the most knowledgeable tabi'een) said "When I asked Ubaida bin Sufyan bin al-Harith ('Radhiallaahu An') how the jalbaab was to be worn, he demonstrated it to me by pulling a sheet of cloth over his head to cover his entire body, leaving the left eye uncovered. This was also the explanation of the word 'Alaihinna in this verse" (Commentary by Ibn Jarir and Ahkam-ul-Quran, Vol.3, p.457 also in "hijaab wa Safur" quoted by Shaikh AbdulAziz Bin Bazz under the chapter of his fatwaa on hijab on page #54)

From the Tabi'een

Hassan Al Basri (Rahimahullah)
States in his tafseer of the Surah An-Nur, "What a woman is allowed to show in this Ayah implies to those outer garments (not the face or hands) which the woman puts on to cover her internal decoration (her beauty).
(Quoted in the book "Purdah" P#194 )

Ibn Jarir (Rahimahullah) Quotes the opinion of Ibn Abbaas (Radhiallaahu Anhu)
"Allah has enjoined upon all Muslim Women that when they go out of their homes under necessity, they should cover their faces by drawing a part of their outer garments over their heads." (Tafseer Ibn Jarir, VOL 22, pg.29)

The Tabi'ee, Qatadah (Rahimahullah)
Stated that the Jilbab should be wrapped and fixed from above the forehead and made to cover the nose, (although the eyes are to show) and the chest and most of the face are to be covered.

The Tabi'ee Ali bin Abu Talha (Rahimahullah)
Quotes from Ibn Abbaas (Radhiallaahu Anhu) that he used to say it was allowed to show the hands and face when Surah Nur ayah #31 was revealed but after Surah Al-Ahzaab, Verse #59 with the word "Jalabib" was revealed then after this Ibn Abbaas (Radhiallaahu Anhu) said that That the Muslim women are ordered to cover their head and faces with outer garments except for one eye." And this was also the opinion of Ibn Mas'ud (Radhiallaahu Anhu). (This is quoted by Ibn Taymiyyah (Rahimahullah) in his book of fatwaa and by Shaikh AbdulAziz Bin Bazz (Rahimahullah) in the book "Hijaab wa Safur" Page # 60)

Imam Muhammad bin Sirin (Rahimahullah) One of the most knowledgeable tabi'een)
"When I asked Ubaida bin Sufyan bin al-Harith ('Radhiallaahu Anhu' Other well known and knowledgeable Companion of Rasulullah) the meaning of this verse about "Alaihinna" and how the jalbaab was to be worn, he demonstrated it to me by pulling a sheet of cloth over his head to cover his entire body, leaving the left eye uncovered. This was also the explanation of the word 'Alaihinna in this verse"(Commentary by Ibn Jarir and Ahkam-ul-Quran, Vol # 3, p.457 also in "hijaab wa Sufor" quoted by Shaikh AbdulAziz Bin Bazz under the chapter of his fatwaa on hijab on page #54)

From the Mufasireen of Qur’an

The Mufassir, Imaam Al-Qurtubi (Rahimahullah),
Cites in his Tafseer of the Ayah on Jilbaab (Al-Ahzab 33:59), that the Jilbaab is: "a cloth which covers the entire body... Ibn 'Abbaas (Radhiallaahu Anhu) and 'Ubaidah As-Salmaani (Radhiallaahu Anhu) said that it is to be fully wrapped around the women's body, so that nothing appears but one eye with which she can see." (Tafseer Al-Qurtubi Surah Al-Ahzab ayah # 59. This was also agreed upon by Imam WahidiImam Neishapuri in the book of tafseer of Quran "Gharaib -ul-Quran" and "Ahkam-ul-Quran", Imam Razi, in his tafseer of Surah Azhab in the book "Tafsir-i-Kabir" Imam Baidavi in his tafseer of Quran "Tafsir-i-Baidavi" and by Abu Hayyan in "Al-Bahr-ul-Muhit" and by Ibn Sa'd Muhammad bin Ka'b Kuradhi and they have all descirbed the use of jalbaab more or less in the SAME way as the two described by Ibn Abbas (Radhiallaahu Anhu).)

Also from Imaam Qurtubi (Rahimahullah)
in his Al-Jamia li Ahkaamul Qurãn states: "All women are in effect covered by the terms of the verse which embraces the Sharée principle that the whole of a woman is ‘Awrah’ (to be concealed) – her face, body and voice, as mentioned previously. It is not permissible to expose those parts except in the case of need, such as the giving of evidence…" ("Al-Jamia li Ahkaamul Qurãn")

At-Tabari and Ibn Al-Mundhir
described the method of wearing the jalbaab according to Ibn Abbas (Radhiallaahu Anhu) and Qatadah (Radhiallaahu Anhu). The sheet should be wrapped around from the top, covering the forehead, then bringing one side of the sheet to cover the face below the eyes so that most of the face and the upper body is covered. This will leave both eyes uncovered (which is allowed in necessity).(Rul-ul-Ma'ani, Vol 22, p.89)

Ibn Kathir (Rahimahullah) said
"Women must not display any part of their beauty and charms to strangers except what cannot possibly be concealed." (Quoted by Mufti Ibrahim Desi in his article on hijaab)

Maoulana Abul A'la Maududi (Rahimahullah) In his tafseer of Surah Azhab ayah #59
"In verse 59 the third step for social reform was taken. All the Muslim women were commanded that they should come out well covered with the outer garments and covering their faces whenever they came out of their houses for a genuine need." (From Tasfeer of Quran by Maoulana Abul A'la Maududi in tafseer of ayah # 59 of Surah Al-Ahzaab)

From the 4 Madhabs (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanbali)

Mufti Anwar Ali Adam Al Mazahiri (Mufti A'azam (Head Mufti) of Madrasa Madinatil Uloom Trinidad & Tobago.)
"Imam Shafi, Malik and Hanbal hold the view that niqab (covering the face and the hands completely with only a small area for the eyes to see) as being compulsory (fard). Imam Abu Hanifa says that niqab is Wajib and the face and hands can be exposed provided that there is not fear of desire if one looks at the female face, otherwise if there is the slightest chance of desire developing in the looker (the meaning of desire is that the looker would see the female face and think that she is beautiful, sexual thaught is not what is meant) then exposing the face and hands is Haraam.
(This is from the fatwaa issued by Mufti Anwar Ali Adam Al Mazahiri on 13/9/99. He derived the opnions of the 4 Imaams from these sources Tafseer Ibn Katheer, Tafseer Ma'rifatul Qur'aan, Durre Muhtaar, Fatawa Shami, Al Mabsoot, Fathul Qadeer. And the opinion of Imaam Abu hanifah is a directly derived from his statements in the Famous book of hanafi Fiqh Fatwaa Shami)

Shaikh AbdulAziz Bin Bazz (One of the greatest scholars of our times. He passed away 26th of Muharram 1420 Hijrah. (12th of May 1999) Rahimahullah. He belonged to the Hanbali School of jurisprudence.)"It is compulsory for a woman to cover her face in front of non mahram men"(This has been quoted in Shaikh Bin Bazz's pamphlet on Hijab and in the book 'Islamic Fatwas regarding Women' and in the Arabic version of the book "hijaab Wa Safur" page #51)

Shaikh-ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (Rahimahullah)
Relates that the correct opinion for the Hanbali and Malki madhaib is that is is wajib to cover everything except one or two eyes to see the way.
(from the Arabic book "Hijaab wa Safur" under the fatwaa of Ibn Taymiyyah on hijaab, page # 10)

Shaikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
Quotes All of the woman is awrah based on the hadith of "Rasulullah () said “All of a woman is ‘awrah.” (Narrated by Tirmidhi with a sahih isnaad).This is the correct view according to the madhhab of the Hanbalis, one of the two views of the Maalikis and one of the two views of the Shaafa’is. (Quoted in his book of fatwaa and on his web site)
Jamiatul Ulama Junbi Africa sated that the proper opinion for the Hanafi madhab is that "A woman must be properly and thoroughly covered in a loose outer cloak which totally conceals her entire body including her face!"
(This from the book Islamic Hijab by Jamiatul Ulama P.12)

Mufti Rasheed Ahmad Ludhyanvi (Rahimahullah, one of the head Muftis of the hanafi Madhab of his time. This opinion is taken to be the correct opinion of the hanafi madhab today) Explained in his tafseer of Surah Al-Ahzaab, Verse #59. "Allah Ta'ala is telling them that whenever out of necessity they have to go out, they should cover themselves with a large cloak and draw a corner of it over their faces so that they may not be recognised.
(From his article "A Detailed, analytical review on the Shar'ee hijab")

From the known and respected Ullema

Ibn Al-Hazam (Rahimahullah)
"In arabic language, the language of the Prophet (saw), the word jilbaab (as mentioned in the Quran Surah Ahzaab ayah # 59) means the outer sheet which covers the entire body. A sheet smaller than that which would cover the entire body, cannot be catagrized as jilbaab. (Al-Muhallah, Vol 3. Pg 217)

Ibn Al-Mandhur (Rahimahullah)
"Jalabib is plural for Jilbaab. Jalbaab is actually the outer sheet/coverlet which a woman wraps around, on top of her garments to cover herself from head to toe. This covers the body entirely." (Lisan ul-Arab, VOL 1. Pg.273)

Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalanee (Rahimahullah)
A tradition reported on the authority of Aisha (Radhiallaahu Anha) says: "A woman in a state of Ihram (during Hajj and Umrah) should stretch her head cloth over to her face to hide it." (In Fathul Bari, chapter on Hajj)

Shaikh-ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (Rahimahullah) relates:
"Women used to room about without Cloaks (Jilbaabs) and men used to see their faces and hands, but when the verse stating 'O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks over themselves.' (Surah Al-Ahzaab,Verse #59) was revealed, then this was prohibited and women were ordered to wear the Jilbaab. Then Ibn Tayimiyyah goes on to say "The word Jilbaab means a sheet which Ibn Mas'ud (Radhiallaahu Anhu) explained as a cloak covering the entire body including the head, face and hands. Therefore, it is not permissible for the women to reveal the face and hands in public. (Ibn Taymiyyah's book on fatwaas Page# 110 Vol # 2 also in the book Hijaab Page # 15)

Shaikh AbdulAziz Bin Bazz (Rahimahullah)
"According to the understanding of the best generations (the "Salaf") after the ayah of hijaab was revealed than Muslims women must cover everything including the face and hands. they can show one eye or two eyes to see the way. this was the opnion held by many of the sahaba like Ibn Abbaas, Ibn Masud, Aisha (Radhiallaahu Anhuma) and others and this opnion was upheald by the Tab'ieen who followed than as Ali bin Abi Talha and Muhammad bin Sirin (Rahimahullah) and by the ritious Ullema who followed them as Ibn Taymiyyah and Imaam Ahmed bin Hanbal (Rahimahullah)" (Quoted from the book "hijaab wa Sufor")

Shaikh Abubakar Jassas (Rahimahullah)
States "This verse of Surah Ahzab shows that the young women when going out of their homes are ordered to cover their faces from strangers (non-mahram men), and cover herself up in such a manner that may express modesty and chastity, so that people with evil intentions might not cherish hopes from her". (Ahkum Al-Quran, VOL. III, p.48)
Imaam Ghazaali (Rahimahullah) "Woman emerged (during the time of Rasulullah () with NIQABS on their Faces" (From his famous book of Fiqh "Ihyaal Uloom")

Qazi Al-Baidavi (Rahimahullah)
"to let down over them a part of their outer garments" means that they should draw a part of their outer garment in front of their face and cover themselves" (Tafsir-I-Baidavi, Vol 4, p.168)
Jamia Binoria Pakistan (This is a Question and Answer from a Mufti at one the highly respected hanafi Islamic Universites of Pakistan)

Ques: Under which conditions are women allowed to leave the home?
Ans: The principle command for women is that they should remain in their home and should not go out without any extreme need because mischief is feared in their going out. However if they have to go out in extreme necessity then they should go with a Mahram and duly covered in Burqa' (a "Burqa" covers the whole body including the hands and face) or large overlay so that their body including their cloths should not be visible and after buying the required article they should come back at once. In this condition there is no Haraam.
It is also stated in the Famous books of Fiqh Durrul Mukhtar...
"Young women are prohibited from revealing their faces in the presence of men."

Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Rahimahullah) states in his famous book of Hanafi Fiqh "Bahishti Zewar."
"It is not permissible for a young woman to expose her face in the presence of ghayr mahrams, nor should she stand in a place where she could be observed. We learn from this, that the custom of exposing the bride's face in public where all the men can observe her is also not permissible. To do so is a major sin." (Bahishti Zewar)

Shaikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
"The most correct opinion, which is supported by evidence, is that it is obligatory to cover the face, therefore young women are forbidden to uncover their faces in front of non-mahram men in order to avoid any mischief"

An other fatwaa when he was asked about is it preferred for sisters to wear the niqab, he said....
"The fact is that it is obligatory for women to cover their faces" as to how to wear the niqab the Shaikh said "A woman may uncover her left eye in order to see where she is going, and if necessary she may uncover both eyes. The opening should only be wide enough for the eyes."

Yet in another Fatwaa he explained what was the Awrah of a woman with..."Rasulullah () said “All of a woman is ‘awrah.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi with a saheeh isnaad).This is the correct view according to the madhhab of the Hanbalis, one of the two views of the Maalikis and one of the two views of the Shaafa’is.

Shaikh ibn Uthaimin
Question: What is the Islamic hijab?
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. As for those of who claim that the Islamic hijab is to cover the head, shoulders, back, feet, shin and forearms while 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 Shariah 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 Shariah a contradiction.( 'Islamic Fatwas regarding Women' Page # 289)

Shaikh Jamaal Zarabozo
In Surah Al-Ahzab, verse 59, Allah has ordered the believing women to wear a jilbab. A jilbab as defined in all the books of tafseer is a cloak that covers the woman's body from the top of her head to her feet. It is also described in those books, form the scholars of the earliest generation that after that verse was revealed, the women would completely cover themselves, leaving, for example, just one eye exposed so they can see the road. Hence, this is the outer garment of the woman that she must wear when she is in front of men she is not related to.

Shaikh Ibn Jibreen
Question: I am married to a woman who wears, praise to Allah, hijab. However, as is the custom in my country, she does not wear hijab in front of her sister's husband and her sister does not wear hijab in my presence. This is the custom. Furthermore, my wife does not wear hijab in the presence of my brother or her cousins. Does this go against the Shariah and religion? What can I do while it has become the custom in my country not to wear hijab in the presence of those people that I mentioned. If I tell my wife to wear hijab in front of those people, she will accuse me of not trusting her and being suspicious about her and so forth.

Response: All of those groups of men that you mentioned in the question are not mahram for her. It is not allowed for her to uncover her face and beauty in front of them. Allah has only allowed her to uncover in front of the mahram men mentioned in the verse in surah al-Nur, "[Tell the believing women] not to reveal their adornments except to their husbands, their fathers ......" (al-Nur 31).
First, you should convince your wife that it is forbidden to uncover her face in front of non-mahram men. Make her abide by that even if it goes against the customs of your people and even if she makes accusations against you. You should also make this point clear to your close relatives that you mentioned, that is, the brethren of the husband, the husband of the sister, the cousins and so forth. All of them are non-mahram and they all may marry her if she gets divorced. ("Islamic Fatwas regarding Women")

Shaikh Abul A'la Maududi (Who was the founder of "Jamat-ul-Islami" also a known and respected scholar) “A person who considers carefully the wordings of the Qur’anic verses, their well-known and generally accepted meaning and the practice during the time of the Holy Prophet () cannot dare deny the fact that the Islamic Shari'ah enjoins on the woman to hide her face from the other people and this has been the practice of the Muslim women ever since the time of the Holy Prophet () himself” (In the book "Purda" by Shaikh Abul A'la Maududi P# 199 )

Arabic words explained by Sahaba and Ullema

Shaikh Ibn Al Hazam (Rahimahullah) writes: "In the Arabic language of the Prophet, Jalbab is the outer sheet which covers the entire body. A piece of cloth which is too small to cover the entire body could not be called Jalbab." (Al Muhalla, vol. 3, p.217.)

The Tabi'ee, Qatadah (Rahimahullah), stated that the Jilbab should be wrapped and fixed from above the forehead and made to cover the nose, (although the eyes are to show) and the chest and most of the face are to be covered.

Jalabib, which is used in the verse is the plural of Jalbab. "Jalbab, is actually the outer sheet or coverlet which a woman wraps around on top of her garments to cover herself from head to toe. It hides her body completely." Lisan ul Arab vol 1 p. 273. (The best explanation is that it is what we would today call a burqa or an abiya.)

Ibn Masood (Radhiallaahu Anhu) explained Jilbab to be a cloak covering the entire body including the face and hands. (fatwaa Ibn Taymiyyah Page #110 Vol. #2)

What does Hijab really mean?

"The root word of hijab is hajaba and that means: (hajb) to veil, cover, screen, shelter, seclude (from), to hide, obscure (from sight), to make imperceptible, invisible, to conceal, to make or form a separation (a woman), to disguise, masked, to conceal, hide, to flee from sight, veil, to veil, conceal, to cover up, become hidden, to be obscured, to vanish, to become invisible, disappear from sight, to veil, to conceal, to withdraw, to elude perception.

Hajb: seclusion, screening off, keeping away, keeping off,
Hujub (plural of hijab): cover, wrap, drape, a curtain, a woman's veil, screen, partition, folding screen, barrier,
Ihtijab: Concealment, hiddenness, seclusion, veildness, veiling, purdah.
Hijab: Concealing, screening, protecting,
Mahjub: Concealed, hidden, veiled

These definitions of the hijab were taken from the: Arabic-English Dictionary, The Hans Wehr dictionary of modern written arabic, edited by JM Cowan.


The above case has been built NOT to say that if a woman doesn't wear niqab she will be thrown into the Fire, since we know that there are two valid view points on the hijab. One view held by the Ullema, as mentioned earlier, is that the niqab (covering the face) is Wajib (compulsory) and the other view is that it is Mustahab (recommended and the best thing to do, but not compulsory).

The purpose here is to explain to those people who criticize the niqab, saing that "it is not in Islam” or “it is not important" or "it is bad for da’wah purposes". Such people should understand that the niqab is from the Qur’an and authentic Ahadith - even if one holds the view that it is not wajib, still they should know that it is the better option and highly recommended.

Needless to say that those who wear the niqab are to be honoured and respected. Anyone who discourages the wearing of niqab or denies it being in Islam or makes fun of someone who wears it, should fear Allah & fear standing before Him on the Last Day.

And Allah knows best.

May Allah grant us the correct understanding of Islam and may He guide us to sirat al mustaqeem; the path of the Prophets, the truthful, the martyrs and the righteous. Ameen!