Arguments by those Who Legalize Exposing Muslim Woma..
Arguments by those Who Legalize Exposing Muslim Woman’s Face
Some Muslims have a dissenting opinion regarding the obligation of Hijab and they say they have some proofs from the Qur’an and the Sunnah to legalize exposing the woman’s face. Let us examine very carefully the following “proofs” as to their relevance and authenticity to make the issue of Hijab very clear to all Muslims especially those who are searching for the truth:
First Argument: Allah I stated in the Qur’an, which meaning of is translated as:
“And not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent.” (24:31). They (who legalize exposing Muslim woman’s face) say this verse is a proof that the woman can expose what is apparent from her, that is the face and the hands as ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas explained it by saying: “Except only that which is apparent means the face and hands”. The answer to this is as follows: They extract this saying of Ibn Abbas from what has been reported by Ibn Jareer At-Tabri he said, Ibn Abbas said about this verse “And not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent” means “Kohl (eyeliner) and ring.” This report of At-Tabri, has one person in the chain of the narrators who is weak, his name is Muslim bin Kisan Addabi Al-Kuffy. Ibn Hajar said “Muslim is weak narrator.” Also Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal said about him “His (Muslim) Hadith should not be written.” Imam Al-Bukahri commented also about Muslim bin Kisan Addabi Al-Kuffy: “They (the scholars of Hadith) talked about him (meaning the Ahadith he narrated are weak).” So with this narrator (Muslim) being in the chain of the narrators of the saying of Ibn Abbas, we see that this report is weak and it cannot be taken into as a sound proof. There is another narration of this saying of Ibn Abbas that was reported by Imam Al-Baihaqi, he said in his book “Assunnan Al-Ko’bra” Ibn Abbas said regarding this verse “And not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent” means ‘what is in the face and hands’. Also in this way of the reporting of the saying of Ibn Abbas, there are two weak narrators, the first one is Ahmed bin Abduljabar bin Mohammad Al-Ataradi, whom Ibn Hajar said about him “He is weak” and Imam Athahabi said about him “More than one scholar agreed he is weak.” Also no less than his son (Ahmed’s son), Abdurahman bin Ahmed Al-Ataradi, who said about his father: “I wrote from him but I stopped telling of what he said because of what people said about him (being weak).” The second man in this chain is Abdullah bin Muslim bin Harmooz Al-Makki, whom Ibn Hajar said about him “He is weak” and Imam Athahabi said about him “Ibn Ma’ain said he (Abdullah bin Muslim) is weak and Ibn Al-Madiny said he is weak twice.” So none of what has been reported in behave of Ibn Abass regarding this verse by saying “What should be apparent is the face and hands” is authentic. On the other hand, it has been reported that Abdullah Ibn Mas’aud said the meaning of “And not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent” is “the clothes”, this report is authentic as reported by Ibn Jareer, Ibn Shaibah and Al-Hakim and he said authentic on the conditions of Muslim; and Imam Athahabi agreed with him. Sheikh Mohammad bin Saleh Bin Uthaimeen said regarding this situation: “If we agree that what Ibn Abass said is the correct one when he said “The face and hands to be exposed”, this can only be taken as an accepted proof if there was no different opinion of another Companion that opposes to his opinion. But if another Companion opposes him, we must follow what other (authentic) proofs give preference over. So here in this case, the opinion of Ibn Abass (which was found not authentic) has been opposed by the opinion of Ibn Mas’aud (based on authentic report) so we must follow what other proofs say”.
Second Argument: What has been reported by Abu-Dawud, He said, Yaqoub bin Ka’ab Al-Antaki and Mua’amal bin Al-Faddil Al-Harrany informed me that Alwalead informed them, he reported from Sa’eid bin Basheer, he reported from Qatadah, he reported from Khalid bin Duraik he reported that Aisha said “That Asma bint Abu-Bakar walked into the Prophet r wearing soft(thin) clothes, then He r turned his face away (from her) and said which the meaning of is translated as: ‘O Asma, when the woman reaches the age of puberty it is not permissible to see any part of her body except this and this.’ He r pointed to his face and hands.” (Reported by Abu Dawud). They (who legalize exposing Muslim woman’s face) say this Hadith is a clear proof for permitting Muslim women to expose their faces and hands. Many Muslim women, including the pious among them, believe in them without knowing that the said Hadith is weak in two ways. First, there is a disconnection in the chain of narrations (this means one of the narrators of the Hadith did not meet the one he claimed he heard from him). In the chain of the narrators of this Hadith as it has been compiled by Abu-Dawud himself, he said “Khalid bin Duraik did not hear from Aishah ”. Second, in the chain of the narrators, there is Sa’eid bin Basheer whom Ibn Hajar, Ibn Ma’ain, An-Nassai, Ali bin Al-Madiny and Ibn Hiban said “He is weak.” Therefore, those who claim this Hadith as a proof for Muslim women to expose their faces and hands to their non-mahram must stop from propagating the idea as the said Hadith is weak and therefore to be disregarded as a proof.
Third Argument: Narrated Jabir bin Abdullah : “I attended the prayer with Allah’s Messenger r on the Eid-el-Fitr Day, He r commenced with the prayer before Khutba (sermon) without Athan or Iqamah. He r then stood up leaning on Bilal and He r commanded them to be pious to Allah. He r exhorted them on obedience to Him and preached to the people and admonished them. Then He r proceeded to the women. He r preached to them and reminded them and asked them to give alms, for most of them are the fuel of Hell. A woman sitting in the middle of the women, with black spot on the cheek stood up and said: “Why is it so, Messenger of Allah?” He r said: “For you grumble often and show ingratitude to your spouse. And then they began to give alms out of their ornaments, such as their earrings and rings which they threw on the cloth of Bilal.” (Reported by Al-Bukahri and Muslim). They (who legalize exposing Muslim woman’s face) say when Jabir said in this Hadith “A woman with black spot on the cheek” it is a proof that she was exposing her face, and if she was covering her face he would not have seen her face. There are two possibe answers to this. First, there is no proof in the Hadith that indicates that the Prophet r saw the woman without Hijab and he r approved it, but only Jabir saw her face and that is because, maybe her Hijab fall off her face, or because she was in the middle of the women, she took off her Hijab or another possibility that she was an old woman who is permitted to expose her face as stated in the Qur’an, which meaning of is translated as: “And as for women past childbearing who do not expect wed-lock, it is no sin on them if they discard their (outer) clothing in such away as not to show their adornment. But to refrain (i.e. not to discard their outer clothing) is better for them. And Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower” (24:60). It must be noted further that this story was reported by many companions other than Jabir, and neither one of them had mentioned this woman exposing her face except Jabir. Also Imam Muslim in his Authentic Book, reported those who narrated this story beside Jabir, they are Abi Sa’eid Al-Kuhdri , Abdullah Ibn Abass , and Abdullah Ibn Umar . Neither one of them reported that he saw the woman’s face. Also this story was narrated by Abu-Hurairah and Abdullah bin Mas’ud without mentioning the woman’s face. So here five companions reported this story and they all said what Jabir said but neither one of them mentioned a woman exposing her face, which makes it very clear that only Jabir saw her face. We must note that for Jabir to see her face does not make a profound argument for those who legalize exposing the woman’s face, because it was not proven that the Prophet r saw the woman exposing her face and He approved her action. Besides, if indeed Jabir saw her face, it must be noted that he only mentioned one woman’s face, not majority of the women. This means that women (in general, with the exception of the woman that Jabir saw) in those days wear Hijab.
Fourth Argument: Narrated Sahel bin Sa’ad said: “A lady came to Allah’s Messenger r and said : “O Allah’s Messenger! I have come to you to offer myself to you (to marry her). He r raised his eyes and looked at her and then lowered his head. When the lady saw that he did not make any decision, she sat down…etc.” (Reported by Al-Bukahri and Muslim). They (who legalize exposing Muslim woman’s face)say that the Prophet r looked at the woman and was not interested in marrying her and if she was not exposing her face, He r would not looked at her and then turned away from her. There are three logical and sound answers to these: First, there is nothing in this Hadith that states the woman was exposing her face, and for the Prophet r to look up and down at the woman does not necessary mean she was exposing her face and he r was looking at her body. Second, this story could be before the obligation of Hijab. Third, it is from the Sunnah for the man when he is interested in marrying a woman, to look at her face, so if this woman did expose her face in front of the Prophet r then it could be for this reason (i.e., to show her face to the Prophet r hoping that he would marry her).
Fifth Argument: Narrated Abdullah Ibn Abass : ‘Al-Fadl bin Abbas rode behind Allah’s Messenger r as his companion rider on the back portion of his she-camel on the Day of Nahr (slaughtering of sacrifice, 10th day of the month of Dhul-Hijjah) and Al-Fadl was a handsome man. The Prophet r stopped to give the people verdicts (answers their question regarding Hajj). In the meantime, a beautiful woman from the tribe of Khath’am came to ask the Prophet r a question. Al-Fadl started looking at her as her beauty attracted him. The Prophet r looked behind while Al-Fadl was looking at her so the Prophet r held his hands 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 Messenger! The obligation of performing Hajj enjoined by Allah on His worshippers 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 r said “Yes”. (Reported by Al-Bukhari). They (who legalize exposing Muslim woman’s face) say that the woman in this Hadith was exposing her face at the presence of the Prophet r and He did not command her to cover her face. There are three sensible answers to this argumentation: First, there is no proof in this Hadith that states it is legal for men to look at women’s face (women who are non-mahram) because the Prophet r did not approve the action of Al-Fadl when he was looking at the woman but instead He r turned Al-Fadl’s face to the other side so he will not be able to look at her. Imam An-Nawawi said: “One thing to be concluded from this Hadith is the forbiddance of looking at women”. If someone would ask why did not the Prophet r command the woman to cover her face?. The answer is, he r might have ordered the woman to cover her face but the narrator of this Hadith did not report it. Or he r did not tell it to her because not reporting something does not mean it did not happen. Second, this Hadith was narrated by Abdullah bin Abass who was not present with the Prophet r when this story occurred, because Abdullah bin Abass left for Muzdalifah (a place in Makkah) at night and the Prophet r left at the morning as it has been reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim and he was informed of this story by his brother Al-Fadl but his brother never told him the woman was exposing her face. Also when he said she was beautiful, does not necessary mean he saw her face, it could be because of her body or he could have seen a part of her skin. Note that granting that he really did see her beautiful face, it could be that by accident her veil fall down from her face since women on Ihram are forbidden to wear niqab (as previously discussed) that can safely cover their faces. However, we must remember that women as evident on the Hadith narrated by Aishah that they would cover their faces with their gowns whenever men who were non-mahram passed by and then uncover them again. From this, we can infer that Muslim women who follow Allah’s commandment of Hijab must always find ways to cover their faces whenever non-mahram men are around. Having no niqab as in the case while in the state of Ihram is not an excuse to display their faces. Third, this Hadith was also narrated by Ali bin Abi-Talib and Jabir bin Abdullah and was compiled by Imam Muslim but neither one of them mentioned anything about the beauty of the woman or that she was exposing her face.