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Common Questions about Hijab and Related Issues

Being the most obvious symbol of Islam’s presence, it is also the easiest target for harassment against Muslims. Whenever a racist politician or the media or any hate group attacks Islam, the very first target is the Muslim woman’s hijab.

1. Meaning of Casting Down

  1. What “casting down the glances” mean?

It means that a person should not look at the member of the opposite sex except for those parts that may be uncovered.

So, for instance, a man is allowed to look at the face and hands of a non-mahram lady who is not related to him provided it is not done in with a lustful intention. (“Mahram” means person in whose presence hijab is not required. See the list at end of this section.)

2. Shaking hands

  1. Is it permissible to shake hands with a person of opposite sex?

If the person is mahram, then it is permissible. But if the person is non-mahram, then it is forbidden.

3. Beautification of Women

  1. Is a woman allowed to line eyes with kohl, to put mascara on her eyelashes, and to wear rings in both hands?

A woman is allowed to put kohl or similar cosmetics on her eyelashes and also to wear rings provided it is not done with the intention of drawing lustful attention of men towards herself.

4. Exposing the Chin

  1. A vast majority of Muslim women who observe hijab are used to keeping their chins and a small part of the under chin exposed while they cover the neck. Is this permissible? And how big an area of the face can women expose; are the ears included in that?

The ears are not part of the face, therefore it is obligatory to cover them. As for the part of the chin and the under chin that is seen when putting on the common head scarf, it is to be considered as part of the face and, therefore, can be exposed.

5. Facial Hair

  1. Is it permissible for a woman who observes hijab to get rid of her facial hair, to straighten her eyebrows, and to wear natural and light make up?

Getting rid of facial hair, straightening of eyebrows, and wearing of light make up do not prevent her from keeping her face uncovered provided it is not done with the intention of drawing attention.

6. Wig as a Replacement

  1. Can a woman put on a wig as replacement of the head-covering (hijab)?

Since the wig is an item of beauty (zinat), it must be covered in presence of non-mahram men.

7. High heeled Shoes

  1. A Muslim woman wears high heeled shoes that hit the ground in such a way that they draw attention. Is she allowed to wear them?

If it is intended to draw the attention of non-mahram men to herself, or if it generally causes temptation for committing sin, then it is not permissible.

8. Tight Fitting Shirt

  1. If a woman puts on a scarf and wears a tight-fitting shirt and tight-fitting jeans or trousers or a tight-fitting qamees and shalwar – is that considered an acceptable hijab in the presence of non-mahram men?

Any dress that reveals the contours of her body or that would normally arouse temptation is not permissible and does not fulfill the requirements of hijab. It is a pointless hijab!

9. Men and Unisex Swimming

  1. Is it permissible for a Muslim man to go to unisex swimming pools and other similar places where people go about half-naked?

It is not permissible for a Muslim man to go to unisex swimming pools and other similar places if it entails a haram act. Based on obligatory precaution, according to Ayatullah Sistani, he must refrain from going to such places even if it does not entail a haram act.

10. Defining those who are mahram

  1. Is the brother-in-law or a cousin included among the list of the people in whose presence a lady does not have to observe hijab? Is she allowed to shake their hands or hug them?

The brother-in-law or a male cousin is not included in that list and, therefore, it is obligatory upon a Muslim lady to observe hijab in their presence, and also it is not permissible for her to shake their hands or hug them. The reverse will apply to a Muslim man in relation to his sister-in-law or a female cousin.

The Mahram

The selection taken from “Hijab, The Muslim Womens Dress,Islamic or Cultural?” by Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi.

About Ali Teymoori

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