How is it that some people say wearing purdah is waajib when Islam was completed in the time of the Prophet (saw) and there is evidence that shows that there were women whose faces were exposed? When someone doesn’t do a waajib act, are they considered a sinner? And if so, how can scholars depict people as sinners for neglecting an act that the Prophet (saw) didn’t make fardh or waajib.
The issue of wearing the Purdah has been mentioned in the Holy Qur’an where Muslim women are told to cover themselves. However while outlining this law, Allah has given women an allowance to reveal ‘that which appears thereof’. According to the majority of the jurists and in accordance with the teachings of the Prophet (S.A.S.) the phrase ‘that which appears thereof’ refers to the both hands up to the wrist and the face. Hence it is permissible for women to allow both these areas to be visible while they cover all the other parts of their body.
Based on this, the understanding of this issue is that a woman is encouraged to cover herself properly as the holy Qur’an has highlighted, however she is also allowed to practice upon the allowance which the holy Qur’an has also given, that is, allowing the face and hands to be exposed. Both were practiced by women at the time of the Prophet (S.A.S.).
As such a woman is encouraged to wear the Purdah since it is closer to taqwa and piety and it is hoped that she will receive more blessings based on her intentions. However, she is also allowed to cover the rest of her body while exposing the face and both hands up to the wrist. If a woman chooses to practice upon the allowance, than she cannot be called a sinner and it cannot be said that she is violating a law of the shariah.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan