Muslim women covering their hair in front of non Muslim women.

Q. Please tell me with proof from hadith why do we have to cover our hair in front of non Muslim females?

A. There is a difference of opinion among the jurists with respect to a Muslim woman covering her hair in front of a non Muslim woman.

On this topic, the late grand Mufti of Pakistan, Mufti Muhammad Shafi (RA) has written in his book Ma’ariful Quran (vol. 6 pg. 415). Ibn Kathir has quoted the explanation given by Mujahid (RA) for this verse (that is Sura Nur verse 31) that it is not permissible for a Muslim woman to uncover herself before non-Muslim women. But there are Sahih Ahadith available which prove that non-Muslim women used to visit wives of the Holy Prophet (SAS), hence, there is a difference of opinion among the jurists on the subject. Some have declared non-Muslim women like men for the application of this injunction, while others have placed both Muslim and non-Muslim women under one category that is covering before them is not necessary. Imam Razi (RA) has opined that the word “their women” encompasses both Muslim and non-Muslim women, and the practice of virtuous elders of making Muslim women covered before non-Muslim women was because it was desirable (but not obligatory). Mufti of Baghdad, ‘Allamah ‘Alusi (RA) has adopted this explanation in his Tafseer, Rul ul-Ma’ani, and has remarked “this explanation is more suited to present time because it has become almost impossible for Muslim women to cover themselves before non-Muslim women. (Ruh ul-Ma’ani)”.

And Allah knows best.

Mufti Waseem Khan