Can I take off my niqab for securit...

Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta

Can I take off my niqab for security checks and other needed situations?


I started wearing niqab a few weeks ago. Alhamdulillah, where I live it is common for women to wear niqab and not wear niqab. I know it is permissible to cover my face, but I am wondering something. Is it wrong to uncover my face when there is a need? For example, I needed to go to a bank and I lifted my niqab because I feel covering the face in a bank is bad, given the constant risk that banks are in as far as robbery is concerned. Or what if a merchant wishes to verify my identity for a purchase? Or what if I am thirsty and wish to drink water? The thing is, many of the Muslims here who wear niqab or support wearing niqab are very strict, and I do not agree with them and their ideas that women should be silent in public and should never show their face and hands, even for a legitimate security check, unless a female officer and a private area are available. I am not so strict, and I know that the Shafi\'i view is that the hands and face are not part of nakedness so I don\'t understand what the big deal is if I show my face for a legitimate need in public. I just want to make sure that if I\'m doing this, I\'m correct as far as the Shari\'ah is concerned. I like wearing niqab because it makes me focus on my behaviour and keeps my nafs in check, but at the same time I feel strange associating myself by my clothing with people who have an extreme view compared to mine.


The legal attire of a Muslim woman - It is must not cling to the body. - It must not be transparent. - It must cover the entire body except for the face and hands. - There is no objection in wearing colorful garments on the condition that they are not eye-catching or arouse desire.

• Ruling on wearing Niqab [En. Face cover] and gloves - The majority of scholars maintain that it is not obligatory for a woman to wear niqab and gloves; it is permissible for a woman to uncover her face and hands. They base this permissibility on the words of Allah: …and not display their charms beyond what [it is acceptable] to reveal… [An-Nur, 31]. The majority of scholars from among the Companions and their successors interpreted the words "beyond what it is acceptable to reveal" [Ar. al-zina al-zahira] as uncovering the face and hands. This interpretation was reported from Ibn 'Abass, Anas and 'Aisha (may Allah be pleased with them all). -They further base this permissibility on another Qur`anic verse:

They (women) should let their headscarves [Ar.khimar] fall to cover their chests … [An-Nur, 31]. The khimar is a head cover while al-jayb is the front opening of a dress and the like. In this verse Allah commands Muslim women to cover their chests with their headscarves. If it were obligatory to cover the face, it would have been explicitly mentioned in the verse.

Evidence from Sunnah
'Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that Asmaa`, daughter of Abu Bakr, entered upon the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) wearing transparent clothes. He turned his face 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 his face and hands [Abu Dawud]. There are other clear evidences stating that it is not obligatory to cover the face and hands. To conclude, it is not obligatory for a Muslim woman to cover her face and hands. If she covers her face and hands, it is permissible and if she wears the legal attire without covering her face and hands, it is likewise permissible and fulfills the obligation. The obligatory hijab for the adult Muslim woman is that which covers her entire body except for her face and feet, though Hanafi scholars permit uncovering the feet. If these conditions are fulfilled, it is permissible for a woman to wear whatever she wishes and, in this case, Islam does not impose certain attire. Niqab is not obligatory according to the majority of scholars but Islam commands us to follow customs in lawful matters.

Removing niqab [face cover] is not a sin. A woman will be blameworthy when she is over strict in a matter which Allah has left open for her. Niqab is not obligatory nor is it recommended according to the opinion of some scholars. There is no objection to a woman removing it and she will not be blameworthy.


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