A woman who wears the niqaab uncovering her face in ihraam
Fatwa No: 300796

Question

I am in great dilemma regarding the face veil of woman during Ihram at Hajj. I know that covering the face is not permissible during ihram but that one can use a cap or some thing else that helps veil the face of a woman in front of non-mahram (permanently unmarriageable) people at Hajj. My question is: Is it mandatory (fard) for the woman to use a face veil in front of non-mahram during ihram for whom she should maintain proper hijab? My wife wears the niqab in everyday life but she does not agree to use the face veil during ihram and also at the time of staying for the Hajj, about 40 days. If she does not use a face veil (not niqab) during ihram, does it hamper the Hajj or is it permissible for her to uncover her face in front of non-mahram during ihram? Please do not refer another fatwa (I already read but failed to understand the rulings of permissibility of not using a face veil). And what about wearing gloves or socks?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger. 

The scholarly view adopted by Islamweb is that it is obligatory on the woman to cover her whole body including the face and hands before non-mahram men. Hence, it is obligatory on your wife to cover her face with other than the niqaab (face veil) while in a state of ihraam during Hajj. If she does not cover her face during Hajj, then this does not affect the validity of her Hajj as covering the face is not among the pillars of Hajj and is not a condition for its validity; however, she bears a sin for uncovering her face. It is impermissible for the woman to wear gloves or the face veil as long as she is in the state of ihraam. The Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, said, “A woman in ihraam does not wear the niqaab or gloves...” [Al-Bukhari and others]

The question arises whether the woman in ihraam is prohibited from wearing the niqaab in particular because it is specially prepared to cover the face and she may cover her face with something else or whether she is prohibited from covering the face at all while in a state of ihraam? Scholars held two different views in this regard. The opinion adopted in Islamweb is that the woman is prohibited from covering her face at all in the state of ihraam except in the presence of non-mahram men. It has been narrated that ʻAa’ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her said, “Riders used to pass by us while we were with the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, in the state of ihraam. When they were parallel to us, each of us would let her jilbaab (gown) down from her head over her face. When they passed by us, we would uncover it (our face) again.” [Abu Dawood and Ahmad]

Other scholars, on the other hand, such as Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Al-Qayyim  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them held that the woman in the state of ihraam is not entirely prohibited from covering her face; rather, she is prohibited from wearing the burqu' and niqaab because they are particularly made for covering the face. She is entitled, though, to cover her face with anything else other than a face veil (she can let her head cover hang down on her face). Moreover, she is allowed to cover her hands with other than gloves because they are prepared in particular for the hands only. Ibn ʻUthaymeen  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him preferred this scholarly opinion.

Ibn Taymiyyah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote:

The Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, said, ‘The woman in the state of ihraam must not wear the niqaab or gloves.’ However, he, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, did not forbid her from covering her face at all. Whoever claims that the prohibition in this regard is for covering the woman’s face at all in this case is required to bring forth supportive evidence. In fact, specifying the prohibition with wearing niqaab indicates that the woman is prohibited to wear the face covering that is made particularly for the covering of the face only, just like gloves which are prepared specially to cover the hands only and the shirt that is made specially to cover the body only (not the act covering of itself). Hence, it is permissible for the woman in ihraam to cover her face with her dress from below or from above, provided that the clothing is not made specially to cover the face only and she can cover the face with her gown during sleep...” [Sharh ʻUmdat Al-Ahkaam]

Ibn Al-Qayyim  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote:

It is prohibited for her to use any face covering that is prepared to cover the face only such as the burquʻ or niqaab; however, it is not prohibited for her to cover her face with any other clothing, a part of her head cover, or her gown and the like. This is the more correct view of the two positions in this regard; the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, forbade the pilgrim woman from wearing both the face veil and gloves while in a state of ihraam. It is known that the woman is not forbidden from covering her hands and that they are like the body of the male pilgrim in that they should not be covered with something tailored particularly for them. The same applies to the face; it is prohibited for the pilgrim woman to cover her face with the face veil and the like of the face coverings prepared for the covering of the face only. It has not been narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, stated an obligation of uncovering the pilgrim woman’s face during ihraam other than the prohibition regarding wearing the niqaab. The same applies to the prohibition of wearing gloves. This point is quite clear; praise be to Allaah.” This scholarly view is strong; and there is no harm upon the one who acts according to it.

As for covering the feet by wearing socks or the like, there is no harm in that. This is not among the prohibitions during the ihraam as far as the woman is concerned, just as she may cover her hands with other than gloves, such as her sleeves, for instance, or the like.

Allaah knows best.

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