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Hijab: Mandatory or Not?


Question

In a website named www.submission.org they acclaimed that wearing hijab or any kind of veil to cover women's hair is not at all mandatory since it has not been expressed explicitly anywhere in the holy Quran or in the Shari'ah. Would you please help me regarding this with all the detail information. On the other hand I know that if the Imams of the present situation decides something to be halal or haram on the basis of Quran and ahadith then it will be mandatory for the people [muslim] of that time to follow that commands no matter whether that is explicitly defined in the holy books or not--- is the notion correct?



Question from Bangladesh
Answer

We do agree with the point you quoted from that website about Hijab, although the reasoning and the basis that our scholars have arrived on this point is not necessarily the same as those in the website you mentioned.

To understand this view, please read the following answers:

Must a Woman Wear a Jilbaab

The Etiquette of Interaction between Men & Women

Regarding Hijab

You asked about the Imams of present times deciding something to be halal or haram on the basis of Quran and ahadith, whether that is explicitly defined in the holy books or not. Firstly, the primary source of deriving Halal and Haram is not Hadith but is the Qur'an and the Sunnah. I therefore make a slight change to your inquiry:

"On the other hand I know that if the Imams of the present situation decides something to be halal or haram on the basis of Quran and Sunnah then it will be mandatory for the people [muslim] of that time to follow that commands no matter whether that is explicitly defined in the holy books/Sunnah or not--- is the notion correct?"

The above question consists of two conditions:

  1. Imams of the time deciding that something is Halal or Haram when its status in terms of Halal and Haram is explicitly given in the Qur'an and the Sunnah.

For this situation, I think most (if not all) the scholars agree that when something is made Halal or Haram by the Qur'an or the Sunnah in an explicit way then no one can change the ruling of the Qur'an and the Sunnah with this regard. The debates or discussions in this case can only revolve around the interpretation of the directive of the Qur'an, or that of the Sunnah.

  1. Imams of the time deciding that something is Halal or Haram when its status in terms of Halal and Haram is NOT explicitly given in the Qur'an and the Sunnah.

Firstly, I am not aware of any example of the above in our time or any other time of the past, unless by "Imams of the time" you mean "Some of the Imams of the time".  Second, if there are no explicit indications in the Qur'an and the Sunnah that something is Haram, then no one can make it Haram as a religious directive. It is, however, possible that for specific social or political or governmental issues scholars of a time or the government decides to temporary forbid doing something that is not a religious obligation and is not Haram either. Following this temporary rule, as far as it is not being seen as part of Shari'ah, is highly advisable for Muslims. However, even then individuals are allowed to decide not to follow this decision unless it is made as a law to be followed by citizens.

Abdullah Rahim
March 24, 2006




Answer published by Abdullah Rahim

Last Updated on Sunday, 19 June 2011 18:42