Previously Asked Questions
Clothing and Hygiene Questions:

You will find that the Explanatory Notes for Song 36 answer most of your questions about this topis.

> There is a question rleated to Hidjab agin. There is trend here
> in Europe among muslim women who cover only their hair i.e. they
> show their neck. This is a common practice in some regions in north
> africa also. Is there any fatwa for 'laywomen'? (NB: i have been
> asked about this issue)

Basically, the issue of hijab is not an all-or-nothing issue.  Rather
a woman gets credit for covering every part of her body when out in
public.  If she misses a wajib part on purpose, then that counts against
her - but she still gets credit for the parts she covers properly.

Figure 13-1 of the Guiding Helper shows that the chin and *upper* neck
of a woman is not part of her nakedness according to the Maliki
School.  But, the lower neck is part of her nakedness.

Now, there is not one way to cover in hijab, but there are many.

One need not wear the Arab-type scarf but can, for instance, wear
a bonnet-type long hat along with either a scarf/handkerchief for the neck
or raised wrap-around collars.  Another alternative is to wear a hood which
covers the hair and ears well along with some material that covers the lower

Now, if the woman does not cover her lower neck (or ears) but covers
properly otherwise (covering her head and other parts of her body), then
she is fulfilling 95% of the requirement which will count in her favor.

The 5% she is missing will count against her.

Depending on the nature of the society, the amir may either ignore this
5% or inscribe a lesser penalty for her incomplete hijab.

In any case, we should realize that people become misguided step-by-step
and not all of the sudden.  If we state today that the lower neck of a
woman is not part of her nakedness.  It will not be long before some
pseudo-scholar comes along and states that the upper chest is not part
of her nakedness.  And soon enough, practicing Muslim women will be
dressed the same as non-practicing women (who are the kaasiyaat
`aariyaat (dressed but naked) foretold by the Prophet (May Allah bless
him and give him peace) in hadith #3971, Sahih Muslim, Libaas, al-Nisa'
al-Kasiyaat al-`Ariyaat:

    The Prophet (May Allah bless him and give him peace said), "There
    are two types of people who will enter the Hellfire whom I have not
    seen yet:  (1) a people who have whips like the tails of cattle with
    which they beat people and (2) women who are dressed but are naked,
    who turn away [from Allah's obedience] and turn others away. 
    Their [hair on their] head looks like the soft hump of camel.  These
    women will not enter Paradise nor will they find its fragrance - even
    though its fragrance is found for much a distance."

Thus, in conclusion, there is no dispensation to allow the ears or
lower neck to remain uncovered for a freewoman in either the Hanafi,
Shafi`i, Maliki, Hanbali, Dhahiri, Thawri, Ja`fari, nor other authentic
mujtahid imam system of Jurisprudence.

But at the same time, one should again realize that something is better
than nothing.  And that a woman covered the way you describe is getting
more credit for her hijab than the one who walks around in a mini-skirt
and tank-top.

   [QF: volume 1: page(s) 51-52 : {Book 2, Chapter 6, Ruling on Libaas}]
   Notes of Sources for line 455 of the Guiding Helper.

> What is the ruling for Muslim women covering in front of non muslim
> women?  What about mothers?  Is there a rukhsa for not having to
> cover in the other madhahib?

The popular opinion in the Maliki school is that the Muslim woman
in front of the non-Muslim woman (regardless of blood relationship)
should cover as much as she does for her male relatives.  Please
see figure 37-2 in the Guiding Helper Explanatory Notes.  Thus,
she does not need to cover her hair, face, shoulders, biceps,
forearms, hands, and feet.  However, she should cover the
rest of her body (e.g., chest, stomach, thighs, and shanks) in front
of non-Muslim women.

However as mentioned in the Notes of Sources for the
Bare Main Text, we are narrating an easier Maliki opinion (in view of
the great number of Western women with non-Muslim family members
currently), which states that religion does not affect the laws
of looking and covering up.

  al-Khurashi's explanation of Mukhtasar Khalil: volume 1: page 246:
  external commentary, line 38

As for opinions about this subject in other madhahib, you
will find that they are much stricter than what we have
mentioned above.

Sidi , You wrote:

> What is the ruling for Niqab (face veil for women)
> in the Maliki School?
> I have been informed that Ibn Rushd (in Introduction
> and Explanations of material which needed to be clarified
> in al-Mudawwanah, vol.1, p.109) and al-Sharh al-Kabir (with
> the commentary of al-Dasuqi, vol.1, p.215) permit a woman
> to reveal her face and hands before strangers.

The popular opinion in the Maliki school states that it
is *not* wajib for a woman to wear niqab. Rather, her
hands and face may remain bare according to the
popular opinion in the school.

You will find minority opinions in the Maliki school
which state that covering the face is wajib for

    Line 13:464 of the Guiding Helper Main Text and associated
    entries in the Notes of Sources.

      Everything besides the hands and the face of a free woman is part of her nakedness.
      [QF: volume 1: page 51: line(s) 17: {book 2; chapter 6; first fourth}]

      Sheikh Khalil means that that the nakedness of the free-
      woman with an unrelated man [who is not her husband]
      consists of her entire body including her head hair all except
      her face and hands (the back and the palms). Thus,
      the unrelated man may look at the face and hands.
      [KH: volume 1: page 247: line(s) I16-17: {book of prayer;
      covering one's nakedness;
      explanation of Sidi Khalil's statement "And with the unrelated man
      [everything] except the face and palms" }]

> However, someone recently claimed that Mayyara's
> commentary on Ibn 'Ashir and Dardir's al-Sharh al-Saghir
> (apparently the mu'tamad text for Malikis in the East)
> states that it is 'wajib' for a woman to cover her face
> and hands because of 'fitna', despite the fact that these
> are not considered to be awrah.

Just a comment here that Dardir's text (which is reliable;
that is the meaning of mu`tamad) still contains digressions
from the popular opinions (due to his being extremely
qualified in the views of the Jurists of Egypt.  Thus,
Dardir was not simply narrating the opinions of the school,
but adding some of own research to the issues mentioned).

As for the Mayyarah (written in Fez), we are aware that
it states that if a woman is young and attractive it is
wajib for her to cover her face.  We are narrating the
opinion it is simply recommended (and not wajib)
for her to cover her face.

  See excerpts above which state that the face and hands
  of a free woman are lawful for her to display without

> If men wear trousers below their ankles out of
> pride is it haram?

Pride (kibr) is an unlawful state of the heart as agreed
upon by the scholars.  One way such pride was exhibited
in Pre-Islamic Arabia was by letting one's lower garment
(which did *not* consist of trousers but consisted of
an izar (a wrap around garment)) hang on the ground while
one walked.  The Prophet prohibited this arrogant stance.
The Prophet did not prohibit that an article of clothing
could not stretch beyond one's ankles (unless of course
one interprets some isolated hadith literally).  The proof
for this is the hadith of Bukhari:

  Ibn `Umar narrated that the Prophet (May Allah bless him
  and give him peace) said, "Whoever drags his lower garment
  out of pride, Allah does not look at him on the Day of
  Abu Bakr then said, "My lower wrap around garment becomes
  loose [and drags on the floor] except if I take due care."
  The Prophet (May Allah bless him and give him peace) replied,
  "You are not among those that do so out of pride [and it is
   only those against whom I issued the warning.]"

  [DR: volume 1: page 431: hadith 792: {Bukhari, al-Manaqib,
   The Prophet's statement "law kuntu", hadith #3392}]

  [Sharh Bukhari, hadith #5338, by `Asqalani in which he mentions
   that Ibn `Umar disliking dragging the lower garment [even
   without pride] to be among his own strict interpretations.]

We have traveled much of the Muslim world (including
Saudi Arabia, India, and Pakistan) and know how the din
is being practiced all around.  Nevertheless, in Morocco,
learned scholars do not consider it bad for people to pray
with trousers that stretch beyond their ankles.

> the book mentions just mubah, is it not even
> mukruh even without pride (hanafi, and shafi opinion)?

If you are looking for a Maliki ruling for this then
you will find past Maliki scholars (e.g., `Ali al-`Adawi)
who have issued the ruling of mandub (sunnah) for wearing
a thawb/izar which is cut above the ankles.

   `Adawi's Introduction to al-Khurashi in describing
    Imam al-Khurashi's dress as being above the

You will find other scholars (e.g., some Hanafis)
who have given stricter opinions about having
one's thawb/izar stretch beyond the ankles.

   Maraqi al-Falah, Chapter on Prayer

> Where does the beard that is wajib to grow - start's and
> end's? I am so confused, i do not wish to shave any hair that is
> part of the chin. Please give me some illustration, picture or a
> simple and clear way to show me where the hairs start and end.
> (this is every important)

First of all, please note that this is our standard response to
this question:

Please refer to footnote #866 of the *Notes of Sources* for the
Main Text of the Guiding Helper.
The reference for these opinions are taken from the accepted
Maliki Book al-Qawanin al-Fiqhiyyah [QF:V1:167:3-4].

We are narrating the opinion that it is permissible to remove
the cheek hair or shape the beard with a razor.

Another valid opinion in the Maliki School is that keeping
a beard is not wajib at all - but is a sunnah.  Thus, you will see
that many contemporary and qualified (and pious) imams and
scholars in Morocco do not have a beard at all.

We summarize the opinions that we are narrating about the beard in the
*Notes of Sources* for the Main Text of the Guiding Helper, entry 1071.

   Footnote 2157 of the Explanatory Notes and associated entries in the Notes
   of Sources.

As for where it starts and ends in the Maliki School, we do not feel
that giving limits to the nanometer is proper.  Rather according to
the opinion we are narrating (which is based on the definition of the lihyah
in Arabic which is the hair on the two bones that hold the teeth
[Ref: al-Qamus al-Wajiz]):

  a) It is permissible to shave the cheek hair (and neck hair) and unlawful
     to shave the hair above and below the mouth
     (one may trim this hair though -as we are narrating the opinion
      that ihfa' al-lihyah (letting the beard grow) is only mandub
      and this is in conformity with the popular opinion in the school
      which labels all acts of fitrah as mandub and not wajib).

> I would be grateful if u could answer this also. many
> layman and some scholars of the hanafi school have said that
> shaving the beard is haram in the malaki school and growing
> the beard is fard, to a fistful.The 2 books from an indo/pak
> scholar and a salafi book mentin quotes from malaki scholars
> and books. Which i will produce below:

This scholar is probably just trying to back up his arguments
and claims.  Many scholars state things like "this is agreed
upon by all four schools" as an instructive tool.

The real meaning of this is that "major scholars in all
four schools have stated this".

If you really want to know what is agreed upon by all
major scholars of our din you should refer to
Ibn Qudamah al-Maqdasi's book "Al-Mughni".

Anyone with deep knowledge of Jurisprudence knows that
differences of opinion exist within each school of knowledge.
And the way these differences are resolved is by coming up
with a "popular" and "trusted" opinion which is taught
to the masses and calling the other opinions
"minority" opinions which also have validity within the

We would recommend books such as Bidayah al-Mujtahid
wa Niyahah al-Muqtasid  (Averroes) and al-Qawanin al-Fiqhiyyah
(Ibn Juzayy al-Kalbi) for people interested in learning how many
valid opinions issued by authentic scholars in our din can exist
for any one subject.

[As a side note, having popular views in a madh-hab along
with acceptable minority views ensures that the teachers of the school
will not become dogmatic or "sect-minded" [e.g., like some unqualified
people who label any one who does not hold their particular views to be
part of a misguided sect.]

> Can woman pluck their eyebrows? i could not find the
> ruling in the book? this is a major issue for woman, why was it
> left out? please provide evidence

It is not possible to cover all such issues in a short text such
as the Guiding Helper.  We have added and continue to add detailed
non-essential issues such as this one to the footnotes of the
Notes of Sources.  Please also note that when dealing with a detailed
issue such as this, there is often disagreement within the school.

As for the ruling, we are narrating the opinion that women may remove
facial hair (e.g., moustache, chin, and cheek hair).  As for the
eyebrows, the woman may shape them (e.g., with a thread/tweezer or
other means) but it is *unlawful* for her to completely remove them
[or come close to completely removing them].

This opinion is taken from interpreting the Prophet's (May Allah
bless him and give him peace) command not to remove eyebrow hair as
only applying to *completely* removing the entire eyebrow hair as
opposed to shaping or trimming the hair.  This is because removing
the entire eyebrow will change the natural "khalq" with which Allah
created the face and this is what is prohibited in the hadith.

[As a side note, practically speaking, most women will actually
hurt their facial beauty in the long run by practicing such
removal even though they may practice it for beautification

Here are the references for this opinion:

The hadith in question is in Muslim and Bukhari (among
other collections):  Ibn `Umar cursed the female
tattoo taker, the female tattoo giver, the female who has
facial [eyebrow] hair removed [namisaat], the female that
removes facial [eyebrow] hair, the female that causes gaps
between her teeth for "beautification" purposes changing
the creation of Allah.

Now in these hadith, the Prophet's exact words are not narrated,
but Ibn `Umar states that the Prophet cursed such people.

In Sharh al-Nawawi for Sahih Muslim Hadith #3966:

   Our opinion about this is if a woman has a moustache or
   beard, it is not unlawful for her to remove it; rather,
   it is mandub. ... the prohibition is only for [completely
   or coming close to completely] removing the eyebrow

This is in conformity to the Maliki opinion we are narrating
which states that what is prohibited is removing the entire
eyebrow or coming close to removing the entire eyebrow:

  [QF: volume 1: page 384: line(s) 5-6: {book 21, chapter
   17, issue 4}]

> why is it that when the issue of the way the muslim dress there is some
> compromising even some western dress are favored over classical maliki fiqh
> such al-Mudawanaa al-kubr rislatitle by ahmad Zurruq!the turban the izar or
> pants khuffs etc and the baseball cap t-shirt wearing muslim men because
> muslim women have to be identified in garb and most if not all do not
> comprise their dress and brother s wear full sunnah they/ we look marvelous!

As is mentioned in footnote 2174 of the Guiding Helper Explanatory
Notes (section b), it is a commendable act worthy of reward from
Allah that a man or a woman wear clothing that resembles the clothing
of the Prophet and his Companions.

However, since our din was sent for every time and place (with
flexibility in mind), it is not unlawful to wear new types of
clothing as long as it covers one's light and coarse nakedness
completely and it fulfills the three preconditions given in footnote
759 of the Guiding Helper Explanatory Notes.

    Associated entries in the Notes of Sources.
    [QF: volume 1: page 377: line(s) 12-20: {book 21, chapter 11,
     section 1, types of dress}]

> Can a woman wear 'trousers' openly with other women, and covertly
> when in public, under, for example, a jilbab? (Context: some people fear
> that this article of clothing may resemble the clothing of men, and is thus
> blameworthy.)
> If 'trousers' are prohibited, then what would be the ruling for traditional
> Pakistani dress, which consists of a long shirt (khamiz) and loose
> 'trouser'-type bottoms (Shalwar)?

Trousers are not forbidden for women as long as they fulfill the
three preconditions for clothing mentioned in footnote 759 of the
Explanatory Notes.

However, women who wear trousers are recommended to also wear
a top shirt that reaches down to the knees at least.

If the trousers/pants are tight or semi-tight (and no clothing is
worn above them), then wearing them is defined as makruh in
the Maliki school.

As for the argument that trousers are forbidden for women
since they resemble the clothes of the man, it does not
hold much weight since the jilbaab of the woman in basic
structure is also similar to the long thawb of the man.  And one
has to examine the culture and which dress is exclusively
assigned to a certain gender before making such a claim.

   Footnote 759 of the Explanatory Notes of the Guiding Helper
   and associated entries in the Notes of sources.
   Footnote 2174 (section (d)) of the Explanatory Notes of the Guiding Helper
   and associated entries in the Notes of sources.

> Please elucidate on how Muslims in the West
> should deal with non-Mahram Muslim family members
> of the opposite sex.
> Can we have mixed dinners and functions with them?
> Can we look at them? If they are women and we are
> men, do the rulings change?

Basically all of the guidelines in the Explanatory
Notes for Song 37 have to be followed with
non-Mahram family members of the opposite
sex (e.g., cousins). Thus:

a) One may not look at the light or coarse
nakedness of the person. However, one may
look at their face (e.g., when conversing
with them). This entails that one dress
modestly as if one were in public.
b) One may not casually touch, hug, or kiss
the person (except its o.k. to touch in
cases of need and in cases where the
age difference between the two people is
so great that "flirting" is inconceivable
(such as a very old woman holding hands with
a seven-year-old child),
c) One may not be alone with that person
in a closed room without another discerning
human being.

As for mixed-gender functions, it has been the practice
of the rightly guided people of this nation
for fourteen hundred years that men and women
sit separately when invited to the same
social function at someone's house or a
banquet hall. We do not say that it is unlawful
for related non-mahram men and women to
sit together or eat together, but in many
cases it may be disliked (since it will cause
them to lose the reward for being more modest -
especially when the two people are both young
and single).

Now if one practices the extended family
system (as some cultures do), then there
is more leniency allowed but the three
restrictions mentioned above (a, b, an c)
must still be followed according to the
best of one's ability.

Explanatory Notes for Song 37 and related entries
in the Notes of Sources.-

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