I know that so many people have so many doubts if the Niqab is Fardh or not. To start with, I sincerely ask Allah to enlighten everyone about the Niqab and show us its truth in the light of the Quran and Hadith. First, let us start with these Quranic verses:
“And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; That they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what is apparent of it and that they should draw their veils over their bosoms.” (Surah Noor 24:31)
''O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks ("Jalabib") veils all over their bodies (screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way Tafseer Al-Qurtabi) that is most convenient that they should be known (as such) and not molested: and Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful." (Surah Al-Ahzab: 59)
Now, read that 3 times to understand what it really means.
This verse tells us that our beauty and ornaments should not be displayed-except that which is apparent. Some people are of the opinion that this implies to the hands and face, but you tell me honestly. When you look at a woman, what is the first thing you would notice-what is the most apparent thing to be seen in her? Isn’t it her face? Her face is what attracts the attention of men, because the first thing men are naturally attracted to is the face of the woman. What is ‘apparent of it’ in this verse refers to the height of the woman and the way she carries herself. This is something that cannot be hidden. In Sha Allah, I hope this verse makes you’ll understand that the Niqab is Fardh (obligatory). If you are still not convinced, just read further.
If you say the Niqab is not Fardh, I’m sure you would all agree that it is Mustahab (highly recommended). If you don’t even agree that it’s Mustahab, answer this question. No one can dispute the fact that the wives, daughters and Sahabi women covered their faces. If you don’t believe in that too, read these Sahih Hadith:
Narrated Safiya bint Shaiba:
‘Aisha used to say: “When (the Verse): “They should draw their veils over their necks and bosoms,” was revealed, (the ladies) cut their waist sheets at the edges and covered their faces with the cut pieces.”
Volume 6, Book 60, Number 282: (Sahih Bukhari)
It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah said: “The riders used to pass by us when we were with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in ihraam.When they came near, each of us would lower her jilbaab from her head over her face, and when they passed by we would uncover (our faces).” [Narrated by Abu Dawood, 1833; Ahmad, 24067]
Allah’s Apostle used to offer the Fajr prayer and some believing women covered with their veiling sheets used to attend the Fajr prayer with him and then they would return to their homes UNRECOGNIZED.
Volume 1, Book 8, Number 368: (Sahih Bukhari)
Aisha (RA) mentioned the women of Ansar, praised them and said good words about them. She then said: “When
an-Nur came down, they
took the curtains, tore them and made veils from them.” [Sunann Abi Dawud Hadith No. 3577] Surat
These Hadith will clarify the fact that Sahabi women and the Ummahtul Mu’mineen covered their faces. Now tell me, if the wives and daughters of Prophet Muhammad (SAL), whom we have to follow in order to be true believing women, covered their faces, isn’t that something highly recommended? And if it’s highly recommended, shouldn’t we all be following it?
Now, you’ll have either agreed that the Niqab is Fardh or Mustahab. Either way, wouldn’t that fact alone make the Niqab something that should be practised strictly? All of us yearn to earn closeness to our Beloved Creator and the best way to attain His Pleasure and Nearness is by doing Mustahab (superegatory) acts.
Abu Huraira reported that the Prophet Muhammad (SAL) said, "Allah said: My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him" (Sahih Bukhari)
Now, think of the Day when you stand before Allah (SWT) and He questions you about each and every deed and action. What if He asks you why you didn’t practise something that was ‘Mustahab’? What will you tell him? Are you going to tell Him that the pleasures and demands of the world stopped you from wearing the Niqab? Stop for a while and think about how you are going to answer Allah, the Lord of the Worlds!
We are supposed to earn as much good deeds as possible in this world so that we get its rewards in the Hereafter and that itself would raise our status in Jannah! Tell me my dear sisters, what is it to sacrifice in this world that is only 2 days in comparison to the eternal Akhira? What are the clothes and pleasures of this world when a single shawl on the head of a woman in Jannah is better than the world and all it contains! Subhanallah, what honour and delights Allah has prepared for us and the only way we can attain this is by following the orders of Allah and collect as much deeds in this world as we possibly can In Sha Allah.
Although there are a few differences in opinion as to whether the Niqab is Fardh or not among the Ulama (Islamic scholars), even those Ulama who have said it isn’t Fardh have ensured that their wives and daughters wear the Niqab because it is a huge shield for women when corruption in this world is continuing to run rampant at an unimaginable rate!
There are some people who say that the Niqab is just a custom that was brought about by people in the Arab countries. But tell me, do you think that Allah revealed the Quran as Guidance only for a certain period of time and only for a certain group of people? Do you think that the Ummahaathul Mu’mineen are only role models for the women in the Arab countries and not for us? The Quran is our Guide and will remain until the Day of Qiyamah! It’s our duty as Muslims to obey Allah’s Commands or stand before Him in front of the entire mankind. What are the answers you are going to give to Him?
In conclusion, these are not my personal opinions. It’s the Fatwa of a prominent Mufti Saab in our country. I pray to Allah that He enlightens each and every Muslim about the importance of the Niqab in the current times and I’m sure Allah will put its reality into your hearts!