Q&A Home » Women


Last updated: 30th November 2006
Question ID: #3170
Short URL:
Printer Friendly Version Email this page

Asaaamu alaikum,

i would like to know where exactly has it been mentioned in the quran or hadith that it is compulsary for women to observe niqab? from what i have gathered that the scolars have recently decided for it be compulsary on a woman.


Waalaikumussalam warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.
Bismillahir Rahmaanir Rahim.

Allah Taala has mentioned in the Holy Quran :

"Oh Prophet SAW! Say to your wives, your daughters and the believing women that they should lower their jilbaabs (a sheet/cloak cast over them, covering them from head to toe which includes the face) unto them... (Surah Al-Ahzaab, verse 59)

Ibn Abbas RA said : Allah has commanded the believing women that when they come out of their houses due to a necessity, they should cover their faces from top of their heads using their jilbaabs and only expose one eye.

Muhammad ibn Seereen RA said : ‘Ubaidah As-Salmaani RA asked regarding the commentary of this verse, thus he covered his face and head but exposed his left eye.

This clearly shows that the mufassireen (commentators of the Quran) were unanimous on the covering of the face since the time of Nabi SAW and it was not just recently made obligatory by the ulamaa.

In another verse Allah Taala mentions :

"Say (Oh Prophet SAW)! To the believing women that they should lower their gazes (from na mahram men) and they should protect their private parts (from committing indecency) and they should not expose their beauty except that which is evident (impossible to conceal like their cloaks, jilbaabs, gloves etc.) and they should draw their veils over their chest/bosom... (Surah An-Nur, verse 31)

It is also stated in the Holy Quran :

…And when you (the Sahabah RA) ask something from them (Nabi SAW’s wives RA) thus ask them from behind a screen/curtain. That is purer for your hearts and their hearts… (Surah Al-Ahzaab, verse 53)

It was reported in a hadith by Umme Salmah RA that she and Hadhrat Maimunah RA were by Rasulullah SAW. She said : While we were by Nabi SAW, Ibn Maktum RA came to Nabi SAW and this incident occurred after we were commanded with observing hijaab. Thus, Nabi SAW said : Make hijaab from him. Therefore I said : Oh Rasulullah! Is he not blind whereby he cannot see us and does not recognize us? Nabi SAW said : Are the two of you blind as well? Are you not able to see him? (Abu Daud, Tirmidhi)

From this hadith, it is noted and can be understood that a sound believing woman (not blind) should observe purdah as best as possible even in the presence of a blind person!

In the Holy Quran, this is mentioned :

Thus, one of them two (daughters of the old man) came to him (Musa AS) in such a manner that she was walking with modesty… (Surah Al-Qosas, verse 25)

The manner she walked was referred to as the manner a free/noble person’s walk, meaning she came while covering her face with the sleeve of her clothes.

Hadhrat Umar RA said : She came while raising her clothes to cover her face not like of those women who are sly and nosy.

Even during the time of Musa AS the women used to cover their faces from na mahram men and the women who expose their faces were regarded as sly and nosy women.

And Allah knows best.


Answer last updated on:
10th August 2008
Answered by:
Ulamaa ID 10
Location: Malaysia