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Interesting comments from an alim Ahmed Kutty on face veil.


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Author Topic: Interesting comments from an alim Ahmed Kutty on face veil.  (Read 764 times)
zeenat
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« on: January 17, 2009, 10:07:18 pm »

Dealing with the niqaab (face veil), what do we say to the comments of Ibn Abaas and Abeedah Asalmaani in surat al-ahzaab, ayah 59, from the tafseer of ibn katheer that women should cover everything except one eye?
May Allah guide us to the truth, aamin.
Question number: 1202 Date posted: 2008-06-05
Answer:
         I must commend you for raising this issue; it is at once relevant, and an important question to ask. Let me therefore respond to it:
We see two conflicting views attributed to Ibn Abbas on the issue of face veil. The first one is what you have quoted above while commenting on the verse in surat al-ahzab, and the second one is what I have cited in my answers (see #941; #1192); the latter view has been reported from Ibn Abbas by a number of his most prominent disciples and scholars such as Ata, Sa’id b. Jubayr, Dhahhak and Ali. It is also the preferred view of Imam Hasan al-Basari, Awza’i, majority of imams and prominent commentators of the Qur’an, past and present.
Now we are left with one of two choices in face of these conflicting views. The first is to assume that Ibn Abbas is contradicting himself. This, in my humble opinion, is simply absurd, and, therefore, unacceptable: For it is inconceivable to think of this prominent scholar contradicting himself on such an important issue.
Therefore, we are left with the only reasonable explanation; it is possible to do so by situating the above mentioned verses in context. Let me explain: It is common knowledge that women in pagan times were wont of flaunting their beauty in public. It was in this context that they were ordered to cover themselves. Accordingly, in the fifth year of Hijra, Allah revealed the verse in surat al-ahzab (Qur’an: 33: 59), in which believing women, including both the wives and daughters of the Prophet, peace be upon him, as well as other believing women were ordered to draw their cloaks (when they go abroad). This verse, as illustrated by Ibn Abbas, was taken to mean that women should cover their entire body except their eyes.
However, following this in the sixth year of hijra, Allah revealed the verse in surat al-nnoor (Quran: 24: 31), in which a clear exception was made. Accordingly, women were allowed to expose their apparent beauty, which, according to Ibn Abbas, meant that they were allowed to show their faces, hands, kohl, bangles, and dye of hands, etc.
Thus Ibn Abbas explained the first verse as implying total covering, and the second verse as excluding face and hands as well as the visible garments.
The last mentioned is the preferred view of the vast majority of mufassirin (Qur’an commentators), past and present, including the doyen of them of all, namely Imam Ibn Ibn Jarir al-Tabari. It is perhaps pertinent for us in this context to quote him. After having cited various views about the zina al-zahira, he states:
“The most preferred interpretation of the verse (i.e. 24: 31), in my view, is that of those who state that women are allowed to expose their face and hands, which also may include kohl , rings, bangles and dye of their hands. We endorse this view because of the consensus of scholars that all worshippers must cover their awra in sala, and all (scholars) agree that a woman in sala can expose her face and hands and that she must cover everything else….. Thus once we accept this position as agreed upon, it becomes rather easy for us to know that a woman can expose that which is not considered awra even as men are allowed to do so; thus if a woman is allowed to expose the above mentioned, then we know for sure that that is what Allah has excluded from the required covering by His words, “what is apparent or visible.”

Furthermore, it is only reasonable for us to assert that if face veil had been obligatory then it would have been stated as such in no unclear terms by the Prophet, peace be upon him, himself. We know for a certain fact not only that he did not do so; rather he went a step further to exclude face and hands from the required covering explicitly as well as implicitly, as it has been reported in a number of traditions. This fact constitutes yet another evidence to prove that face veil is not prescribed in Islam. If despite such overwhelming evidences, one were to insist on it, then it is almost akin to stating that the Prophet, peace be upon him, withheld essential information that all Muslim women ought to have known.
In conclusion: Muslim women are not required to cover their face and hands. There is no need for us to be rigid on this matter, when Allah and His beloved Messenger did not do so. Let me conclude by stating the explicit words of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, “Verily, this religion (of ours) is simple and easy to follow; whoever makes it hard will only be overwhelmed by it.”

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