The hijaab of an elderly woman

Question: Is it allowed for a woman advanced in age, say 70 or 90 years old, to uncover her face in front of relatives who are not mahram?

Answer: Allaah says:

{And as for women past child-bearing who do not expect marriage, it is no sin upon them if they discard their (outer) clothing in such a way as not to show their adornment. But to refrain is better for them. And Allaah is All-Hearer, All-Knower}, [Soorah an-Noor, Aayah 60].

So there is no harm if the menopausal women who are not seeking marriage and are not displaying their adornments uncover their faces in front of non-related men. However, for them to remain covered is still better for Allaah has said in the verse:

{But to refrain is better for them}.

This is because some of them, when they are seen, may be a source of temptation due to their beautiful faces even though they are elderly and not displaying their adornments. However, if she is going to be having adornments [such as make-up and jewellery], she may not take off her outer covering. Having adornments includes beautifying the face with kohl and so forth.

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

Published: 6 February 2000