The Face Veil (Niqaab)

Necessity of Face Veil from the Holy Quran:
Surah Al-Ahzaab, Verse #59
‘O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (“Jalabib”) veils all over their bodies (screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way Tafseer Al-Qurtabi) that is most convenient that they should be known (as such) and not molested: and Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful.”

(Surah An-Nur, Verses #30 and #31)
‘And Say to the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts) and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent (like both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer palms of hands or one eye or dress like veil, gloves, head cover, apron), and to draw their veils all over Juyubihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms)

Necessity of Face Veil from Ahadith (Sayings of Prophet PBUH)
Narrated Safiya bint Shaiba (Radhiallaahu Ánha) “Aisha (Radhiallaahu Ánha) used to say: “When (the Verse): “They should draw their veils over their necks and bosoms,” was revealed, (the ladies) cut their waist sheets at the edges and covered their faces with the cut pieces.

(Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 6, Book 60, Hadith # 282)

Narrated ‘Aisha (Radhiallaahu Ánha) Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) used to offer the Fajr prayer and some believing women covered with their veiling sheets used to attend the Fajr prayer with him and then they would return to their homes unrecognized .

(Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 1, Book 8, Hadith # 368)

Shaikh Ibn Uthaimin in tafseer of this hadith explains “This hadith makes it clear that the Islamic dress is concealing of the entire body as explained in this hadith. Only with the complete cover including the face and hands can a woman not be recognized.

This was the understanding and practice of the Sahaba and they were the best of group, the noblest in the sight of Allah (swt) with the most complete Imaan and noblest of characters. So if the practice of the women of the sahaba was to wear the complete veil then how can we deviate from their path? (Ibn Uthaimin in the book “Hijaab” page # 12 and 13)

Narrated ‘Aisha (Radhiallaahu Ánha): The wives of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) used to go to Al-Manasi, a vast open place (near Baqia at Medina) to answer the call of nature at night. ‘Umar used to say to the Prophet “Let your wives be veiled,” but Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) did not do so. One night Sauda bint Zam’a the wife of the Prophet went out at ‘Isha’ time and she was a tall lady. ‘Umar addressed her and said, “I have recognized you, O Sauda.” He said so, as he desired eagerly that the verses of Al-Hijab (the observing of veils by the Muslim women) may be revealed. So Allah revealed the verses of “Al-Hijab” (A complete body cover excluding the eyes).

(Sahih Bukhari Volume 1, Book 4, Hadith # 148)

“Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said “All of a woman is ‘awrah.” (Shaikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid quotes this hadith narrated by Tirmidhi with a sahih isnaad and says this is a direct hadith from Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam ) and has made it clear that a woman must cover everything including the face and hands!)

(Tirmidhi with a SAHIH chain)

Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu’minin: (Radhiallaahu Ánha) who said, “The riders would pass us while we were with the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam). When they got close to us, we would draw our outer cloak from our heads over our faces. When they passed by, we would uncover our faces.
Recorded by Ahmad, Abu Dawood and Ibn Majah, Narrated ‘Aisha. [In his work Jilbab al-Marah al-Muslimah, al-Albani states (p. 108) that it is hasan due to corroborating evidence.

Also, in a narration from Asma {who was not the wife of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam)}, Asma also covered her face at all times in front of men.] Shaikh Ibn Uthaimin in his tafseer of this hadith explains “This hadith indicates the compulsion of the concealing of the faces as an order of Shariah, because during the Ihram it is “wajib” (compulsory) NOT to wear the Niqaab. So if it was only mustahab (recommended) to cover the face then Aisha and Asma (Radhiallaahu Ánha) would have taken the wajib over the mustahab. It is well known by the Ulema thatt a wajib can only be left because of something that is also wajib or fardh. So Hazrat Aisha and Hazrat Asma (Radhiallaahu Ánha) covering the face even in Ihram in the presence of strange (ghairMahraam) men shows that they understood this to be an act that was wajib or fardh or they would not have covered the face in Ihraam.
Necessity of face veil in the eyes of Great Companions of the Prophet (RA)
Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (Radhiallaahu Ánhu) Who was known as the most knowledgeable Sahabi in matters of Shariah. Umar Ibn Khattab (Radhiallaahu Ánhu) said about him “By Allah, I don’t know of any person who is more qualified in the matters dealing with the Quran than Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud”
Explained, the word Jilbaab (as mentioned in the Quran Surah Ahzaab ayah # 59) means a cloak which covering the entire body including the head, face and hands.
Hazrat Aisha (Radhiallaahu Ánha) Stated that in verse 30 & 31 of Surah An-Nur “What has been allowed to be shown is the hands, bangles & rings but face must be covered.”

Necessity of Face Veil in the Eyes of Four Imams
“Imam Shafi, Malik and Hanbal hold the view that niqaab (covering the face and the hands completely with only a small area for the eyes to see) as being compulsory (fard). Imam Abu Hanifa says that niqaab is Wajib and the face and hands can be exposed provided that there is no fear of desire if one looks at the female face, otherwise if there is the slightest chance of desire developing in the looker (the meaning of desire is that the looker would see the female face and think that she is beautiful, sexual thought is not what is meant) then exposing the face and hands is Haraam.
The best collection of such references is found in the following PDF file: http://www.sultan.org/books/hijab.pdf

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Logical/Psychological Necessity
The face is the most impressive part of the human body. It is the index of natural human charms, the most attractive part and the one possessing greatest sex appeal for others. That is why if one has to marry a girl, one desires to see her face, if nothing else. If one is shown the whole figure but not the face, one is not satisfied.
Wa Ma alaina illal balaghul Mubeen (And our duty is just to spread the message)

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