Burqa – Purdah - Veil
It has been the custom of all True Muslim woman who follow Islam to cover themselves with a Purdah, or Burqa, and Islam strictly imposes this Veil on all mature women till they reach old age and cross the child bearing time; for such women who have become old Islam permits them to decently clad themselves and Islam does not impose the Purdah or Burqa on them.
Such elderly women as are past the prospect of marriage and child bearing there is no blame on them if they cast aside their (outer) garments (burqa) provided they make not a wanton display of their beauty: but it is best for them to be modest: and Allah is One Who sees and knows all things.
So it is not a sin for elderly women to cast aside their purdah, as long as they are decently clad they can move about inside and outside their houses freely without burqa; but as far as younger women and mature girls are concerned, Islam strictly advises them to wear a Burqa when they leave their houses, recently the Salafi sect and the Tabliqi groups advocate to women who wear burqa or purdah to cover their entire face revealing only their eyes, - giving them a totally masked feature or look, – this we should clearly understand is totally unislamic and unwarranted, as Allah and His Prophet have advocated the other way round, like cladding the entire body and revealing only their face and hand upto their wrist. The Quran clearly states that the person who wear purdah or Burqa should be recognized and everyone of you would agree with me that closing the face defeats this purpose and makes them totally unrecognizable – face is the one we use for common recognition and when this is completely covered we cannot recognize the person:
O Prophet! Tell thy wives and thy daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them (when they go out). That will be better, so that they may be recognized and not annoyed. Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.
Simultaneously we should also understand that the Prophet of Allah Mohammed(saw) has also said that the face should be revealed in the following Saheeh Hadith:
Asma, daughter of AbuBakr, entered upon the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) wearing thin clothes. The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) turned his attention from her. He said: O Asma',when a woman reaches the age of menstruation (matures), it does not suit her that she displays her parts of the body except this and this, and he (Mohammed(saw) pointed to her face and hands.
Sunan of Abu-Dawood
Hadith 4092 Narrated by
Aisha, Ummul Mu'minin
It is very clear that the Prophet of Allah clearly pointed to the face and specifically said that the face could be kept revealed as to the hand till the wrist and Also there is another Saheeh hadees in the Bukhari where :
Al-Fadl bin 'Abbas rode behind the Prophet as his companion rider on
the back portion of his she camel on the Day of Nahr and Al-Fadl was a handsome man. The Prophet
stopped to give the people verdicts. In the meantime, a beautiful woman from
the tribe of Khath'am came, asking the verdict of Allah's Apostle. Al-Fadl
started looking at her as her beauty attracted him. The Prophet looked behind
while Al-Fadl was looking at her; so the Prophet held out his hand backwards
and caught the chin of Al-Fadl and turned his face (to the other side) in
order that he should not gaze at her. She said, "O Allah's Apostle! The
obligation of Performing Hajj enjoined by Allah on His worshipers, has become
due (compulsory) on my father who is an old man and who cannot sit firmly on
the riding animal. Will it be sufficient that I perform Hajj on his
behalf?" He said, "Yes."
Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith
Hadith 8.247 Narrated by
Abdullah bin Abbas
Bukhari and Ahmad have
reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "A pilgrim woman must
neither cover her face nor wear gloves."
We should understand that when Al-Fadl (ra) was admiring the beauty of the face of the beautiful women – Rasool (saw) did not ask the women to cover her face or turn her face – on the other hand he just turned the face of Al-Fadl(ra) to the other side and we know that in haj and in prayer the women are strictly forbidden to cover the face and we know that the haj is an international gathering and if the face aught to be covered Rasool(saw) would have certainly said so; also in prayer at the time of Rasool(saw) the mosque was a gathering of men and women and we find that Rasool (saw) never at any instances ordered or requested the women to cover the face – on the other hand Allah and His Prophet have both stated that the face should be revealed; in lieu of these statements of Allah and His Prophet no one has the authority to change this:
It is not fitting for a Believer man or woman when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Apostle to have any option about their decision: if anyone disobeys Allah and His Apostle he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path.
The groups which instigates this practice of covering the face takes their decision based on a Hadees where Aisha(ra) accompanied the Prophet and during the journey Aisha(ra) lost her necklace and while she was searching for the necklace the party which brought her left and she was stranded:
I (Aisha) came to their camping place to
find no call maker of them, nor one who would respond to the call. So I
intended to go to the place where I used to stay, thinking that they would miss
me and come back to me (in my search). While I was sitting in my resting place,
I was overwhelmed by sleep and slept. Safwan bin Al-Muattal As-Sulami
Adh-Dhakwani was behind the army. When he reached my place in the morning, he
saw the figure of a sleeping person and he recognized me on seeing me as he had
seen me before the order of compulsory veiling (was prescribed). So I woke up
when he recited Istirja' (i.e. "Inna lillahi wa inna llaihi raji'un")
as soon as he recognized me. I veiled my face with my head cover at once,
and by Allah, we did not speak a single word, and I did not hear him saying any
word besides his Istirja'. He dismounted from his camel and made it kneel down,
putting his leg on its front legs and then I got up and rode on it. Then he set
out leading the camel that was carrying me till we overtook the army in the
extreme heat of midday while they were at a halt (taking a rest). (Because of
the event) some people brought destruction upon themselves and the one who
spread the Ifk (i.e. slander) more, was 'Abdullah bin Ubai Ibn
Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith
Hadith 5.462 Narrated by
This action of covering her face we should understand is a spontaneous act in the spur of the moment to hide from the man and this by no way stipulates or gives authority to overrule the law of Allah and His Prophet . No one including Aisha(ra) have the authority to overrule Allah and His Prophet, and instigating such acts of covering the whole face is an act which encourages criminals to misuse the law, in certain countries prostitutes arrested wear such a dress to cover themselves up and avoid publicity and in many crimes the thieves dress themselves up in this fashion – we should understand that when we misuse Islamic law or rule, it gives scope for satan to vulgarize the pure Islamic acts. And also any innovation in Islam is a major sin and we should understand that Allah(swt) not only curses the innovaters but also Islam rejects all their virtuous acts of a innovater (Biddath) book Sunan Ibnu Maja: Narrated by Hudaifa (ra) & Books Muslim, Nisaee narrated by Ali (ra); and this complete covering of the face is certainly an innovation beyond doubt.
May Allah guide us to follow His Religion with clear understanding and help us to adhere to his laws with complete ease and comfort with utmost love and gratitude for HIM. (ameen) (ameen) (amen)
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Love & Regards,