Question: regarding the last issue of the majlis there is a hadith regarding a woman not taking off her burqa in any place that is not the home of her husband.
what should we take from this hadith?
does it mean that when a woman goes out with her husband and the husband is with the men in one room and the ladies are in another room the wife should still sit in burqa?
does it mean that women that work in hospitals or schools where there is purdah, they still have to wear their burqas while teaching etc.?
what should we understand from the hadith?
Answer: The fact that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) cursed the woman who removes her jilbaab in a place other than her home indicates the emphasis of maintaining hijaab. If a woman visits friends and relatives, there is the possibility of ghair mahram male relatives or her friend’s husband accidentally coming within view. This happens often in homes, especially small houses. The ghair mahram’s gaze is sure to fall on her gaudy or adorned dress which she wears under her jilbaab. The Fuqaha have explicitly ruled that it is not permissible for a man to look at any garment of a woman. Gaudy feminine garments also excite passion in man. For this reason it is Makrooh for a man to drink water from a glass if he is aware that a woman has drunk from it, and vice versa.
A man whose eyes accidentally fall on the beautiful dress of a woman even from behind, is sure to be passionately excited. Most men who lack Taqwa, instead of reciting Ta-awwuz and Wa La Houla, will begin fantasizing about the woman. As it is, his own wife is ‘stale’ for him. Even if he did not see the face of the woman, her dress is likely to influence his heart. It is therefore not permissible for a woman to be careless by removing her jilbaab when she visits other homes. She can remove her Niqaab, but she should not strut about in the homes of other people without her jilbaab. Rasulullah (sallallahu layhi wasallam) said: “A woman advances (comes forward) in the form of shaitaan, and retreats in the form of shaitaan.” In other words, whether a man sees a woman from the front or from behind, shaitaan is eveready to excite his nafsaani passion. Hence, as far as possible, a woman should not unnecessarily remove her outer-cloak when she is visiting relatives and friends.
In the first place, there is no hijaab in the hospitals and schools of today. It is not permissible for women to work in surroundings where they are unable to observe proper Shar’i hijaab. In a truly Islamic state, the authorities will make proper arrangements for correct observance of hijaab in such places where it is essential to have female staff, e.g. females-only hospitals. Furthermore, every law has exceptions. An exception cannot be cited to undermine the general law.