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The Niqaab (Veil)

The Niqaab (Veil) 

Al-Haadi Volume 1 Number 3

The laws of the Shariah are meant to protect the chastity and purity of the Muslims. Likewise the purpose of the niqaab is to protect the Muslim woman from the poisonous arrows of Shaitaan - the lustful gazes of all and sundry. Hence we find that in the pure and noble society of the Sahaaba (R.A.), the women regarded exposing their faces as being immodest .

Hazrath Qais bin Shammas (R.A.) reports that a woman came to Rasulullah (Sallallahu-Alaihi-Wasallam) to enquire about her son who had just been martyred in a battle. She had come wearing a veil over her face. Observing this a person exclaimed: "You have come to enquire about your martyred son, yet you are veiled?" (ie. despite your extreme grief, you have maintained your composure to such an extent that you have also kept your face covered as always). Hazrath Umme Khallad (R.A.) replied: "I have lost my son, but I have not lost my modesty" (ie. if I have been plunged into grief due to the loss of my son, must I also lose my shame and modesty and bring upon myself another calamity?). (Abu Dawood)

From the above one can clearly understand the importance accorded to the covering of the face by the women of that pure era. Umme Khallad (R.A.) actually equated the uncovering of her face with the loss of shame and modesty.

It was the constant practice of all the women of that era to wear veils. They had adopted this practice eversince the following verse regarding hijaab was revealed wherein Allah Ta'ala says:

"O Messenger, tell your wives and daughters as well as all the other believing women that they should cast over themselves their outer garments (when in public)...".

Hence in the state of Ihraam (when performing Haj or Umrah), the women had to be specifically told not to wear veils since any cloth or garment should not touch their faces while they are in the condition of Ihraam. Hazrath ibn Umar(R.A.) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallahu-Alaihi-Wasallam) used to prevent the women from wearing the niqaab (veil) or gloves in the state of Ihraam. (Abu Dawood) However, this prohibition does not mean that the face may be exposed to strangers in this state. This is understood from the narration of Aisha (R.A.) wherein she says: "Once we were in the state of Ihraam with Rasulullah (Sallallahu-Alaihi-Wasallam). Whenever any rider would pass by us, we would cover our faces by lowering our "garments" (referring to the head covering). After they had gone past us, we would once again uncover our faces." (Mishkaat)

Thus it is evident that the niqaab has its roots in the Quran and Hadith.It is likewise absolutely evident that the pure and chaste women of the time of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and the Sahaaba (R.A.) always donned the veil. It is only the plot of the enemies of Allah and His beloved Messenger (Sallallahu-Alaihi-Wasallam) who wish to tear down this veil in an attempt to eventually tear away the chastity of Muslim women. Indeed, those who wish to gratify their nafs by gazing at women would necessarily have to remove the veils of these women to achieve their purpose.

However, the following Hadith is food for thought, not only for men but for women as well. Rasulullah (Sallallahu-Alaihi-Wasallam) is reported to have said; "Allah Ta'ala has cursed the naazir (one who looks at ghair mahram women- those with whom Nikaah is permitted) as well as the manzoor ilayha (that woman who does not properly conceal and veil herself, thereby making it possible for others to see her). (Mishkaat).

May Allah Ta'ala remove the veil that has fallen upon our intellect so that we may realise the importance of the veil on the faces of women. Aameen.


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