Shaykh Yusuf Qaradawi (HA) on Niqab and "Interaction" of men and women

26th May 2013

Disclaimer:  The blogger doesn’t necessarily agree  with all the views of Shaykh Yusuf Qaradawi (HA) merely informing readers of his position which is different to what is being claimed and most importantly, what is being practised in his name!

Shaykh (HA) is possibly one of the most liberal Islamic Scholars of our time and we request the readers to consult their local Scholars for further information, we certainly don’t endorse the views and Fatwaas of Shaykh Yusuf Qaradawi (HA) although we honour and respect him as an Islamic Scholar as it is his right and stature.

Asslamo Allaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh,

Over the past few days many of our brothers and sisters have mentioned our honourable and respected Shaykh Yusuf Qaradawi (HA) and claimed that he backs some sort of free for all free-mixing between men and women. Although we disagree with certain aspects of noble Shaykh Yusuf Qaradawi (HA)’s it is important to actually read what he says on some of these issues. Here is noble Shaykh (HA)’s in his own words:

Is Niqab a Pre-Islamic cultural practise with no basis?

OI: The issue of banning the niqab in France and other European countries is likely to escalate following the recent approval by the French Parliament of the ban on wearing the niqab in public places. What is the way out of this crisis facing Muslims, in your opinion? Is there a clear fiqhi solution to it within the framework of the fiqh of Muslim minorities?

Sheikh Al-Qaradawi: My opinion about the niqab is well-known, which is that the niqab is not obligatory; however, I respect the opinion saying it is. And I do not agree with some sheikhs who regard it as an innovation or tradition that has no basis in Islam. This talk is both groundless and inaccurate. It is true that the majority of scholars agree that the face is not `awrah (something to be veiled in the presence of members of the other sex). But there is a school of fiqh holding the view that it is `awrah and that niqab is obligatory, a view espoused in some Muslim countries, such as in the Gulf region, especially those among them who follow the Hanbali School of fiqh. Moreover, Muslims in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan also adopt this opinion, even though they follow the Hanafi School. There is a book by Abul A`la Al-Maududi titled "the Hijab" in which he says that niqab is mandatory. So, I certainly do not agree with those who say it is only a tradition or not part of Islam. Tackling matters in such a shallow and simplistic approach leads us away from the truth.

Necessities make what is forbidden permissible. The need can be regarded as a necessity

If a Muslim woman is convinced that wearing the niqab is obligatory and the face is `awrah, we have to respect her choice and avoid being an obstacle to her religious commitment. We should not force her into a situation contrary to her conviction. I call on European countries to respect the personal and religious freedoms of people, of which they are advocates. These freedoms are regarded as sacred in the West. Ironically, they restrict the freedom of Muslim women who choose to wear the niqab or hijab, whereas they allow other women to freely dress in a revealing and provocative manner!

Conditions around meeting of men and women:

Shaykh Yusuf Qaradawi (HA) says, I would like to state that the word 'mixing' in the area of the relationship between men and women is a new word that has entered into our Muslim dictionary. It was never known to our long heritage for the past centuries, and was not known except in this period. Perhaps it was a translation of a 'foreign' word that carries this meaning. Its implication is not a comfortable one to the senses of a Muslim person.

It would have been better to use the words meeting, gathering, or women's participation with men or something of the sort.

In any case, Islam does not issue a general ruling on this matter. Islam looks at it in the light of the objectives behind it or the benefits gained as well as possible harms and in what form it takes place and the conditions that should be met, etc.

The meeting of men and women is not 'haraam' but is acceptable or required if the objective was participation in a noble cause, related to useful knowledge or good deeds, or a beneficial project or a necessary 'jihaad', or otherwise of the activities that need combining the efforts of the two sexes and cooperation between them in the planning, direction and execution.

This does not mean that the barriers between them should melt and the legislative barriers related to meetings between two parties are forgotten. People should not claim that they are pure angels that nobody should fear for or from. They want to transfer the Western society to us. The duty is to participate in good deeds and cooperate in what is charitable and pious within the framework that was drawn by Islam, which includes:

  1. Keeping the eyes lowered politely between the two parties. They should not look at each other's private parts of the body 'al-3awrah', nor look with passion, nor look for longer than necessary. (Surat An-Nuur 1) (Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do. 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 (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; ....)
  2. Women should stick to respectable Islamic attire that covers the body except for the face and palms, which is not transparent. (Surat An-Nuur 31). (... and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! turn ye all together towards Allah, that ye may attain Bliss). A number of companions of the prophet had stated that the ornaments mentioned in the verse refers to the face and the palms. Allah Almighty explained why women should dress discreetly: "Surat Al-A7zaab:59". (O Prophet! tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) In other words this attire differentiates between the serious decent woman from the playful careless one. Hence, nobody would harm the decent woman because her attire and her behavior will force all those who see her to treat her with respect.
  3. Abiding by Muslim behavior, especially when women deal with men.
    1. In talking: women should not talk seductively (Al-A7zaab 32) (O Consorts of the Prophet! ye are not like any of the (other) women: if ye do fear (Allah), be not too complaisant of speech, lest one in whose heart is a disease should be moved with desire: but speak ye a speech (that is) just.
    2. In walking: (An-Nuur: 31) God Almighty said: (and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments.) Muslim women should be as described here: (Al-Qasas: 25) (Afterwards one of the (damsels) came (back) to him, walking bashfully. She said: "My father invites thee that he may reward thee for having watered (our flocks) for us." So when he came to him and narrated the story, he said: "Fear thou not: (well) hast thou escaped from unjust people.")
    3. In movement: she should not bend and twist like the ones mentioned in the Noble Hadith as ((the bending benders)). She should not like the women of the jahilliya period who were over adorned.
    4. Women have to avoid all what can be seductive of perfume or make up that ought to be used at home, not on the streets nor when meeting with men.
    5. There should be caution in having a man sit alone with a woman without a 'mi7rim'. The A7aadiith Ash-Shariifah forbade this and said: "The third is the devil". Fire and firewood should not come together. Women, should not be alone with a man, especially with male relatives of the husband. A 7adiith went: ("Do not enter on a woman". They said: "God's messenger. What about the relatives of the husband?" He said: "The relatives of the husband are death.") That is, the cause of destruction because a man may sit for long and there is danger in this.
    6. The meeting should be limited to what the needs dictate and what the joint work necessitates without the exaggeration that could lead the woman to ignore her duties or make her susceptible to people's evil talk or keeps her from the holy role of taking care of the house and bringing up generations.

Jazakullah Khairun

posted by Muadh_Khan on 26th May 2013 - 2 comments


Oam wrote on 2 Jun 2013
JazakAllahu khairan for the article.

I am not a scholar, and so cannot comment on Shaykh Qaradawi's article in that manner. However, as a layman who has been to many gatherings in which a female (with Hijab) is speaking to a male audience, and board meetings in which males and females sit and talk around a table, the Shaykh's requirement that the "eyes lowered politely between the two parties" simply doesn't happen.

If anyone can tell me even one instance of an inter-gender board meeting or lecture in which the gazes were lowered by both parties in the entire United States, please tell me, because I am confident it has never happened.
Blogger's Reply:
W-Salam, I am from United States as well and yes it doesn't happen at all in ISNA and related gatherings at all. Jazakullah Khairun and please note that I have put a disclaimer that I disagree with the opinion of Shaykh Yusuf Qaradawi but EVEN he doesn't go as far as some in USA and other countries (that's the point of the blog).
Saad wrote on 1 Oct 2016
I would please like to know the views of the blogger on this issue or which view he endorses as he made a disclaimer on this opinion of Al Qaradawi would love to learn his and why?
Blogger's Reply:
Not important. Jzk
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