Monday, November 20, 2017 - 1 Rabi' al-Awwal 1439

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A father forcing his daughter to wear the hijab

Should a Muslim father force his daughter to wear the hijab and threaten her to withdraw financial support if she does not?

Answer

Hijab is fard ‘ayn (individual obligation) upon every adult Muslim female. God the Almighty says, “And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms” [An-Nur, 31]. ‘A`isha (may God be pleased with her) reported that when Asmaa` Bint Abu Bakr approached the Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him) wearing thin garments, he looked away from her and said, ‘O Asmaa`! When a woman reaches menarche, nothing should be seen [of her body] except this and this,’ and he pointed to her face and hands” [recorded by Abu Dawud, Al-Bayhaqi, and Al-Tabarani].

It is the duty of a father whose daughter does not wear the hijab to order her to wear it and to continue to give her advice without harming her and without using force or violence by way of enjoining right and forbidding evil. God the Almighty says, “Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong: they are the ones to attain felicity” [Al-‘Imran, 104]. Tamim Ibn Aws Al-Dary narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Religion is sincerity.” He repeated it three times. So we asked, “To whom O Messenger of God?” He said, “To God, His Book, His Messenger, leaders of Muslim imams, and the common people” [recorded by Muslim]. A father must, to the best of his ability, persuade his daughter to wear the hijab and he must refrain from beating or harming her. He must not withdraw his financial support, force her to leave her work, or make leading a normal life contingent upon her wearing the hijab as this would only repel her from religion and its rulings. Any compulsion will lead her to be hypocritical of religion and insincere, a matter which is not conducive to being mindful of God. Worshipping God as if one could see Him is one of the three integrals of Islam. Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (may God be pleased with him) narrated that Jibril asked the Messenger of God (peace and blessings upon him) to inform him about ihsan (excellence). He replied, “[Ihsan is] to worship God as though you could see Him, for though you cannot see Him, yet He sees you” [recorded by Bukhari and Muslim].

Based on this, a father must advise his daughter to wear the hijab and he is not to force or beat her into wearing it. And because a father is responsible for providing financial support to his daughter, he is not to refuse to do so as long as she is in his care and does not have money of her own, whether or not she wears the hijab. One of the aspects of mercy in Islam, is that it does not waive the right of a person who neglects religious obligations to financial support. Even in in such a case, a father is duty-bound to support his daughter.
And God the Almighty knows best.

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