Shaking hands with female relatives

Question: Some men shake hands with female relatives who they are not mahrams for, rather because they are relatives or neighbours. What is the ruling for that? And is it sufficient for the women to place a piece of material on their hands intending to cover it?

Answer: It is not permissible for a man to shake hands with a woman (ajnabiyyah), even if she put a piece of material on her hand whilst shaking hands.

And with Allaah lies all success and may Allaah send prayers and salutations upon our Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) and his family and his companions.

[The Permanent Committee for Islaamic Research and Verdicts, Fataawa an-Nadthar wal-Khulwah wal-Ikhtilaat – Page 11]

Published: 26 April 2001

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

The hijaab of a young girl

Question: What is the ruling concerning the young girls who have not reached the age of puberty? Is it allowed for them to go out without covering themselves? Can they pray without wearing a head covering?

Answer: It is a must that their guardians bring them up and teach them the manners of Islaam. They should tell them not to go outside unless their bodies are covered. This is in order to avoid any temptation and to get them used to the virtuous manners so that they will not be a source of spreading evil. They should be ordered to pray with head coverings. If they pray without it, their prayers are sound. This is because the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) said:

«Allaah does not accept the prayer of a female who has reached the age of puberty except if she is wearing a head covering (khimaar).» This was recorded by at-Tirmidhee, Ahmad, Abu Daawood and Ibn Maajah.

And with Allaah lies all success and may Allaah send prayers and salutations upon our Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) and his family and his companions.

[The Permanent Committee for Islaamic Research and Verdicts, Fataawa al-Mar.ah]

Published: 6 February 2000

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

The Islaamic hijaab

Question: What is the Islaamic hijaab?

Answer: The Islaamic hijaab is for the women to cover everything that is forbidden for her to expose. That is, she covers everything that she must cover. The first of those bodily parts that she must cover is her face. It is the source of temptation and the source of people desiring her. Therefore, the woman must cover her face in front of those men that are not mahram. As for those of who claim that the Islaamic hijaab is to cover the head, shoulders, back, feet, shin and forearms while allowing her to uncover her face and hands, this is a very amazing claim. This is because it is well-known that the source of temptation and looking is the face. How can one say that the Sharee’ah does not allow the exposure of the foot of the woman while it allows her to uncover her face? It is not possible that there could be in the Esteemed, Wise and Noble Sharee’ah a contradiction. Yet everyone knows that the temptation from uncovering the face is much greater than the temptation that results from the uncovering of the feet. Everyone also knows that the most sought after aspect of the woman for men is the face. If you told a prospective groom that a woman’s face is ugly but her feet are beautiful, he would not propose to such a woman. However, if you told him that her face was beautiful but her hands, palms, or shins were less than beautiful, he would still propose to her. From this one can conclude that the face is the first thing that must be covered. There are also evidences from the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of our Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam). There are also statements from the Companions, the leading Imams and the great scholars of Islaam that indicate that it is obligatory for the woman to cover all of her body in the presence of non-mahram men. This obviously indicates that it is obligatory upon the woman to cover her face in front of such men. However, this is not the place to quote all those authorities.

And Allaah knows best.

[Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, Fataawa al-Mar.ah]

Published: 6 February 2000

Ruling on initiating the greeting of salaam with Jews and Christians, and how to push them to the narrowest part of the road

Question: According to a hadeeth narrated by Imaam Muslim in his Saheeh from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him), the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Do not initiate the greeting of salaam with the Jews and Christians, and if you meet one of them on the road then let him go to the narrowest part of it.” (Muslim, al-Salaam, 2167). Doesn’t doing this put people off entering Islam?

Answer: Praise be to Allaah.

You should note that the best of those who call people to Allaah is the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and that the best of those who guide people to Allaah is the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). If we know that, then we should be skeptical about any interpretation of the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) that does not make sense or does not seem to be wise. We should realize that our understanding of the Prophet’s words may be wrong. That does not mean that we should judge the ahaadeeth of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) on the basis of our personal reasoning, because our reasoning and understanding may be lacking. But there are general guidelines in sharee’ah to which we may refer with regard to individual matters.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Do not initiate the greeting of salaam with the Jews and Christians, and if you meet one of them on the road then let him go to the narrowest part of it.” What this means is: do not give way to them if you meet them, so that the way is open for them and you cause restriction to yourself. Rather, continue on your way and leave the narrow gap – if there is a narrow gap – for them. It is known that the teaching of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), when he saw a kaafir, was not to go and crowd him out of the way so that he would end up against the wall. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not do this to the Jews of Madeenah and his Companions did not do that after their conquests of other regions.

What it means is that just as you do not initiate the greeting of salaam, you should not make room for them. If they meet a group of you, do not split up to let them pass, rather continue on your way and leave them the narrow space if there is a narrow part of the road. This hadeeth is not meant to put people off Islam, rather it is a manifestation of the Muslim’s pride and a sign that he does not humiliate himself for anyone except his Lord.

[Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Rasaa’il al-Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthyameen, part 3, p. 38]

Ruling on women plucking or trimming their eyebrows

Question: Some women go to beauticians who style their eyebrows by shaving or trimming their edges. What is the ruling on this?

Answer: Praise be to Allaah.

Shaping the eyebrows by trimming, shaving or plucking their edges in order to appear beautiful, as is done by some women nowadays, is haraam because it involves changing the creation of Allaah and following the Shaytaan in his tempting of mankind to change the creation of Allaah. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Verily! Allaah forgives not (the sin of) setting up partners in worship with Him, but He forgives whom He pleases sins other than that, and whoever sets up partners in worship with Allaah, has indeed strayed far away.

They (all those who worship others than Allaah) invoke nothing but female deities besides Him, and they invoke nothing but Shaytaan, a persistent rebel!

Allaah cursed him. And he [Shaytaan] said: ‘I will take an appointed portion of Your slaves;

Verily, I will mislead them, and surely, I will arouse in them false desires; and certainly, I will order them to slit the ears of cattle, and indeed I will order them to change the nature created by Allaah.’ And whoever takes Shaytaan as a wali (protector or helper) instead of Allaah, has surely suffered a manifest loss.”

[Al-Nisa’ 4:116-119]

In al-Saheeh, it was reported that Ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “Allaah has cursed the women who do tattoos and those who have this done, the women who pluck eyebrows and those who have this done, and the women who file their teeth and change the creation of Allaah.” Then he said: “Should I not curse those whom the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) cursed, when it says in the Qur’aan (interpretation of the meaning): ‘… And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatever he forbids you, abstain (from it)…’ [al-Hashr 59:7]”

[Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 5/179]

What is the ruling on girls corresponding with boys?

Question: Many young girls correspond with boys, and they write in their letters things that I would not dare to write or mention to you. This phenomenon is widespread in this society. Hence we earnestly hope that you can do us the favour of writing to us a letter in which you tell us the answer to this problem, with evidence (daleel) and proof. I have told many of them about how serious this matter is, but I cannot do much and I do not have deep knowledge, so I failed to convince them despite my repeated attempts.

Answer: Praise be to Allaah.

One of the essential aims of sharee’ah is to protect people’s lineage and honour. For this reason, Allaah has forbidden zinaa and ordered that it be punished by whipping or stoning. And He has forbidden the means that may lead to zinaa, such as a man being alone with a non-mahram woman, sinful looks, and women travelling without a mahram or going out of their homes wearing perfume and make-up, clothed yet naked, seeking thus to attract young men and provoke their desires and tempt them away from their religious commitment. This also includes a man speaking to a woman in a deceitful manner, and her speaking to him in a soft voice so as to tempt him and provoke his desire, so that he will fall in her trap – whether this is done in person, over the phone, via correspondence or in some other manner. For this reason, Allaah forbade the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), even though they were good and pure, to make a display of themselves in the manner of the first Jaahiliyyah, or to speak in soft voices so as to provoke the desire of those in whose hearts was a disease; and He commanded them to speak in a manner that was honourable. Allaah said (interpretation of the meaning):

“O wives of the Prophet! You are not like any other women. If you keep your duty (to Allâh), then be not soft in speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease (of hypocrisy, or evil desire for adultery) should be moved with desire, but speak in an honourable manner.

And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance…” [al-Ahzaab 33:31-32]

So Muslim youths must fear Allaah, protect their chastity and lower their gaze. They should refrain from speaking or writing any obscene words of immoral romance or deceit. Muslim girls are obliged to do likewise, to remain chaste and not to go out wearing make-up, clothed yet naked.

It was reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There are two types of the people of Hell that I have not seen yet: men with whips like the tails of cattle, with which they strike the people, and women who are clothed yet naked, walking with an enticing gait, with something on their heads that looks like the humps of camels, leaning to one side. They will never enter Paradise or even smell its fragrance, although its fragrance can be detected from such and such a distance.” (Narrated by Ahmad and by Muslim in al-Saheeh).

If young men and women obey Allaah and His Messenger, and rise above worldly matters, keeping away from fitnah and sources of suspicion, that will be better for them, purer for their hearts and better for their reputations and their societies. And Allaah is the Source of strength.

[From Fataawaa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 12/381-381]

The ruling on mixing with women with the claim of having a blameless intention

Question: We have a bad custom, which is the mixing of men with women. The reason is that we work with them in many occupations and look at them, and they do their work without their faces being veiled. We say that our intention is blameless, so someone of us will look at the face of his full brother’s wife and he considers her to be like his full sister, whom he is unable to marry, and he considers the wives of his neighbours to be in the same position as women he cannot marry. A man in our society lives with his full brother and his uncle’s son, and other members of his family with the men and women eating and drinking together. What is the ruling?

Answer: These matters belong to the customs of the first Jahiliyyah (the days of ignorance, prior to the start of the mission of Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) and it is an obligation, according to Islamic Law, for the woman not to uncover her face except to those who are Mahrams for her. Similarly, it is an obligation upon a woman not to mix with men who are unrelated to her when she is unveiled, and it is also incumbent upon her not to be secluded in any place with a man to whom she is unrelated – that is, one who is not a Mahram for her. There is no doubt that mixing of men and women in the manner which you have described is in contradiction to the Islamic Law, because it causes an infinite amount of corruption. And Allaah is the Granter of success.

[Shaykh `Abdul-`Azeez Bin Baz – Fatawa Islamiyah, Darussalam, volume 5, page 137]

Does the prohibition on isbaal include women too?

Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz said:

The point is that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) explained all that is good and called us to all that is good, and he warned us against all that is evil. He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whatever of the lower garment hangs down below the ankles is in the Fire.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari in his Saheeh. The izar (lower garment), trousers, thobe (dishdasha) and abaya (cloak) should not come down below the ankles; whatever comes below the ankles is subject to the warning mentioned in the hadeeth, with regard to men. With regard to women, they have to make their clothes long enough to cover their feet, because the feet are ‘awrah. It is not permissible for a man to imitate women by dragging his garment or in any other way.

[Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz, 5/28]

And he said:

There are many similar ahaadeeth, which indicate that isbaal is forbidden in general terms, even if the one who does it claims that he is not doing it for the sake of pride and showing off, because that is a means that leads to pride, and because it is a kind of extravagance and exposing clothing to dirt and impurities. But if a person does that with the intention of pride then the matter is more serious and the sin is greater, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever allows his garment to drag out of pride, Allaah will not look at him on the Day of Resurrection.” The defining point here is the ankles. The Muslim male is not allowed to let his garments come down below the ankles, because of the ahaadeeth mentioned.

But in the case of females, they may make their clothes longer so as to cover the feet.

[Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz, 5/380]