Clearly the Niqaab (Face Veil)
is From the Practice of the Female Companions and Not Simply Arabian

Bismillah wa salaatu wa salaamu 'ala nabiyyinaa Muhammad, wa 'ala
aalihi wa sahbihi wa sallam, wa ash hadu an laa ilaha illa Allah
wahdahu laa shareeka lahu wa ash hadu ana Muhammadan 'abduhu wa
rasooluhu, salla Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam, wa ba'd:

Below you will find some proofs that the Niqaab is not simply a
practice of the Arab people, but rather, it is a practice of the
female companions of the Prophet (SAAWS).

This article is not meant to establish whether or not the wearing of
Niqaab is Waajib or Mustahab (i.e. obligatory or highly recommended),
for that is an issue which the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaa'ah
still debate about. Instead, the focus of this article is to
establish that the Niqaab is indeed a practice of the Sahabiyaat and
it should serve as a refutation of those modernists who claim that
the Niqaab is an statement of Arabian culture and that it is not
from Islam and that it is a hinderence to the our Da'wah efforts in
Western nations (i.e. they claim that Niqaab wearing women work
against Da'wah as their "strict" dress scares away potential
interested non-Muslims!).

After reading this information, Insha-Allah you will have to conclude
that the Niqaab is a beautiful aspect of the Muslim woman's dress and
it is in no way a hinderence to the true Da'wah of Islam.

The Mufassireen, such as Al-Qurtubi, site in their Tafseer of the
Ayah on Jilbaab (Al-Ahzab 33:59), that the Jilbaab is: "a cloth which
covers the entire body... Ibn 'Abbaas and 'Ubaidah As-Salmaani (RU)
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-

However, aside from this Tafseer, we do in fact have an authentic
Hadeeth mentioning Niqaab. The Prophet (SAW) commanded: "A woman
(pilgrim) does not cover her face with a Niqaab (i.e. does not tie or
affix) nor should she wear gloves." [Al-Bukharee; Muslim; Saheeh Abi
Dawood #1600; authenticated by Al-Albaanee].

Thus, from this authentic Hadeeth, we can clearly see that the
Sahabiyat (RA) were accustomed to covering their faces with Niqaab
otherwise, there would not have been any need for the Prophet (SAW)
to specifically forbid it during the state of Ihram. Likewise, during
Ihram, men are forbidden to cover their heads which shows that
outside of being in the state of Ihram they were accustomed to
covering their heads, and Allah knows best.

The above Hadeeth should not be used to say that Muslim women should
uncover their faces during Hajj. The Hadeeth is warning against
affixing a Niqaab, however the 'Ulama allow for a woman to cover her
face with non-affixed material. Our mother 'Aisha (RA)
said: "Pilgrims were passing by us while we were with the Prophet of
Allah (SAW). When they came close to us we would draw our garments
from the head to cover the face." [Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah. Ad-
Daraqutni reports a similar Hadeeth on the authority of Umm Salamah
(RA)]. Thus, we see that covering the face was a priority of the
Sahabiyat and it is certainly a characteristic of the women who opt
to follow their righteous path.

When the Ayah in Surah An-Noor (24:31) was revealed, 'Aisha (RA)
narrated: "May Allah bestow His Mercy on the first Muhajirat
(emigrants). When Allah revealed, '...and draw their Khumur over
their Juyubihinna...', they (i.e. the women) tore their material and
covered themselves with it." [Saheeh Al-Bukharee].  Ibn Hajar Al-
Asqalanee, who is known as Ameer Al-Mu'mineen in the field of
Hadeeth, said that the phrase, "covered themselves", in the above
Hadeeth means that they "covered their faces". [Fath Al-Bari].

Clearly many of our contemporary 'Ulama, such as Shaikh 'Abdul-
'Azeez 'Abdullah bin Baaz, Shaikh Muhammad ibn Saalih Al-'Uthaimeen,
may Allah give them both life (Ameen), feel that the Niqaab is indeed
Waajib upon the believing women and their argument is strong and
convincing, in my humble opinion. Others from amongst our 'Ulama,
such as the Muhaddith of our time, Shaikh Muhammad Naasiru-Deen Al-
Albaanee, may Allah give him life (Ameen), clearly feel that the
Niqaab is not Waajib but rather Mustahab (highly recommended). Refer
to his book, "Jilbaabul Mar'atul Muslimah". This argument is also
strong and convincing.

Regardless of which opinion one follows, I would say that there is no
doubt concerning the benefits of Niqaab, and the scholars do not
differ in this regard. In fact, today we hear many cries against the
Niqaab for many reasons which do not make much sense.

For example, the argument that Niqaab is counterproductive to Da'wah
in non-Muslim lands. After having established that the Niqaab is
indeed an authentic part of Islam, we must then conclude that to hide
it is what is counterproductive to Da'wah. No one would dare think
that the Sahabah spread Islam throughout the lands of the earth by
concealing the practices they learned from the Messenger of Allah
(SAW); thus, as 'Umar ibn Al-Khattab (RA) declared: "LET THE SUNNAH
claim that the Niqaab is in fact Makruh or disliked! How strange!
They stand upon their own 'Aql (intellect) which is weak in light of
the authenticated reports we have above.

Subhanaka Allahummah wa bihamdika, ash hadu an laa ilaha illa anta,
astaghfiruka wa atoobu ilayk. Wa Salaamu 'Alaikum wa Rahmatu Allahi
wa Barakaatuhu.

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