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