A Muslim woman does not wear hijaab in front of non-Muslim women

Question: We have non-Muslim female servants in our house. Is it obligatory upon us to wear hijaab in front of them? Is it allowed for me to give them my clothes to wash and then I pray in them? Is it allowed for me to explain the falsehood of their religion to them and to explain the distinguishing features of our pure religion?

Answer: First, it is not obligatory to wear hijaab in front of them. They are like any other women according to the strongest of the two opinions among the scholars. There is no harm in them washing your clothing or utensils. However, it is obligatory to put an end to their contract because they have not embraced Islaam. This is because in the Arabian Peninsula it is not allowed to have anyone except Muslims. Only Muslims may be hired in this Peninsula, regardless if it be workers, servants or whatever, regardless if they be men or women. This is because the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) ordered that the polytheists be expelled from this Peninsula and that there not be left two religions herein. This is because it was the cradle of Islaam and the place of the rise of the Message. It is not allowed except for the religion of truth, the religion of Islaam, to be left in this Peninsula. May Allaah grant Muslims the following of truth and steadfastness in it. May Allaah also guide the others to enter into Islaam and leave what goes against it.

Second, it is sanctioned for you to call them to Islaam and to explain to them its excellence. You may also show them what is wrong with their religion and how it opposes the truth. Also explain to them that the Law of Islaam abrogates all previous laws. Tell them that Islaam is the religion of truth that Allaah sent all of His messengers with and by which were revealed the Books. Allaah has said:

{Truly, the Religion in the sight of Allaah is Islaam}, [Soorah Aal-‘lmraan, Aayah 19].

Allaah also says:

{And whoever seeks a religion other than Islaam, it will never be accepted of him and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers}, {Soorah Aal-‘Imraan, Aayah 85].

However, you have no right to speak about that except on the basis of knowledge and understanding. Speaking about Allaah’s religion without knowledge is a great evil. Allaah has stated:

{Say: The things that my Lord has forbidden are illicit acts, whether committed openly or secretly, sins [of all kinds], un-righteous oppression, joining partners [in worship] with Allaah for which He has given no authority, and saying things about Allaah of which you have no knowledge}, [Soorah al-A’raaf, Aayah 33].

Allaah has put the gravity of speaking about Him without knowledge above all of the acts mentioned in the verse. This indicates how greatly forbidden it is and what a great sin it is. Allaah also says:

{Say: This is my way, I invite unto Allaah with sure knowledge, I and whosoever follows me [must also invite with sure knowledge]. Glorified be Allaah. And I am not one of the idolaters}, [Soorah Yoosuf, Aayah 108].

In Soorah al-Baqarah, Allaah states that speaking about Allaah without knowledge is one of the actions that is ordered by Satan:

{O mankind! Eat of that which is lawful and good on the Earth, and follow not the footsteps of Satan. Verily, he is to you an open enemy. (Satan) commands you only what is evil and sinful, and that you should say against Allaah what you know not}, [Soorah al-Baqarah, Aayah 168-169].

I ask Allaah for me and you support, guidance and goodness.

[Shaykh Ibn Baaz, Fataawa al-Mar.ah]

Published: 6 February 2000