Awrah of the Muslim Woman Around Other Muslim Women

This is a translation of a fatwa by the Permanent Committee which was comprised of  the following scholars: Shaikh Abdul Aziz aalush Shaikh (the current Grand Mufti), Shaikh Saalih Fawzaan, Shaikh Ghudyaan (who passed away recently) and Shaikh Bakr Aboo Zaid.  The fatwa is on the website www.alifta.com (on the Arabic site – it hasn’t been translated onto the English part of that website yet).  This fatwa was also posted on http://www.albaidha.net/vb/index.php

http://www.albaidha.net/vb/showthread.php?t=5923  (it’s about half-way down the page)

“Indeed the Believing women in the beginning of Islam reached the highest level of purity, chastity, shyness, and modesty because of the blessing of Imaan in Allah and His Messenger and following the Qur’an and Sunnah. And the women in that time would wear concealing clothes and it is not know from them that they exposed themselves in the gatherings of some of them or in the presence of their mahrams.  And the women of this ummah traversed this correct sunnah – and all the praise is due to Allah – generation after generation until recent times when there entered upon many of the women what entered upon them from corruption in dressing and manners, this being due to numerous causes and this is not the topic to go into them.

“And with regards to the majority of the fatwas that are found by the Permanent Committee about the limits of what a woman can see of another woman and what is obligatory for her from clothing (in front of other women), then the Permanent Committee clarified to all the Muslim women: that it is obligatory for the woman to adorn herself with the good manners of shyness which the Prophet (sallallahu alayhe wa sallam) mentioned was a branch from the branches of Iman. And the shyness that has been commanded in the legislation and what is customary is her covering and modesty and adorning herself with good manners that distance her from situations of fitnah and doubtful situations.

“And indeed the Qur’an clearly indicates that the woman doesn’t show to another woman except what she shows to her mahrams from what (the things that) she normally uncovers in her house or at work, as Allah, The Most High, said (translated):

‘and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent (like palms of hands or one eye or both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer dress like veil, gloves, head-cover, apron, etc.), and to draw their veils all over Juyubihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms, etc.) and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husband’s sons, their brothers or their brother’s sons, or their sister’s sons, or their (Muslim) women (i.e. their sisters in Islâm)…’ 24:31

“And this is the text of theQur’an and this is what the Sunnah indicates. So it is the path that the wives of the Messenger (sallallahu alayhe wa sallam) and the Sahabiyyat were upon and those who followed them exactly (in beliefs, statements, and actions) from the women of this ummah until this time of ours. And what is normally taken off for those mentioned in the noble verse (24:31) is: what is apparent from the woman normally in the house or the workplace (among other women)and what’s difficult to avoid uncovering like the head, the hands, the neck, and the feet.

“As for expanding the uncovering to something in addition to that, then there is no proof from the Qur’an or Sunnah indicating the permissibility of that. Also, it is the path to fitnah (trial/temptation) for the woman and subjecting the girls of her gender to fitnah through her – and this is found among them. There is also in this (uncovering body parts which should not be uncovered) a bad example that they set for other women. There is also in this the resembling of the shameless kaafir women and prostitutes in their way of dress. And it has been estahlished from the Prophet (sallallahu alayhe wa sallam) that he said (translated): ‘Whoever resembles a people, then he is from them’ [collected by Imam Ahmad and Abu Dawood]…”

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