Praise be to Allaah.
The Standing Committee for Academic Research
and Issuing Fatwas issued a statement on this matter, which reads as follows:
Praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the Worlds,
and blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad, and upon all his family and companions.
The believing women at the beginning of Islam
were extremely pure, chaste, and modest, which was the blessing of belief in Allaah and His Messenger and following the Qur’aan and Sunnah. Women
at that time used to wear concealing garments, and it is not known that they used to uncover themselves when they met one another or when they met
their mahrams. The women of this ummah followed this mode of behaviour – praise be to Allaah – generation after generation until recently, when
corruption and impropriety entered the way women dress and behave for many reasons, which we do not have room to discuss here.
Because of the large number of questions that
have been sent to the Standing Committee for Academic Research and Issuing Fatwas about women looking at women, and what women should wear, the
Committee is telling all Muslim women that women are obliged to have an attitude of modesty, which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah
be upon him) described as being part of faith and one of the branches of faith. One aspect of the modesty which is enjoined by Islam and by custom
is that women should cover themselves, be modest and adopt an attitude and conduct that will keep her far away from falling into fitnah
(temptation) and doubtful situations.
The Qur’aan clearly indicates that a woman
should not show to other women anything other than that which she shows to her mahrams, that which she customarily uncovers in her own home and
when doing housework, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“…and not to reveal their adornment
except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband’s fathers, or their sons, or their husband’s sons, or their brothers or their
brother’s sons, or their sister’s sons, or their (Muslim) women (i.e. their sisters in Islam)…”
If this is the text of the Qur’aan and this is what is indicated by the Sunnah, then this is
what the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and the womenfolk of the Sahaabah used to do, and the women of the
ummah who followed them in truth until the present day. What was usually uncovered in front of
the people mentioned in this verse is what women usually uncover when they are at home and when doing housework, which is difficult to avoid, such
as uncovering the head, hands, neck and feet.
With regard to going to extremes in uncovering, there is no evidence in the Qur’aan and Sunnah
that this is permissible. This is also the way that leads to a woman tempting or being tempted by other women, which happens among them. It also
sets a bad example to other women, as well as being an imitation of kaafir women, prostitutes and immoral women in the way they dress. It was
proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” Narrated by Imam Ahmad
and Abu Dawood. In Saheeh Muslim (2077) it is narrated from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be
upon him) saw him wearing two garments dyed with safflower, and he said, “These are from the clothing of the kuffaar – do not wear them.”
It is also narrated in Saheeh Muslim
(2128) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There are two types of the people of Hell whom I have not seen:
people with whips like the tails of cattle, with which they beat the people, and women who are clothed yet naked, misguided and leading others
astray, with their heads like the humps of camels, leaning to one side. They will not enter Paradise or even smell its fragrance, although its
fragrance may be detected from such and such a distance.”
The meaning of the phrase “clothed yet naked”
is that the woman is wearing clothes that do not cover her, so she is clothed, but in fact she is naked, such as when she wears a thin dress that
shows the colour of her skin, or a dress that shows the outline of her body, or a short dress that does not cover part of her limbs.
So what Muslim women have to do is to adhere
to the guidance followed by the Mothers of the Believers (the Prophet’s wives) and the womenfolk of the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with
them), and the women of this ummah who followed them in truth, and strive to cover themselves and be modest. This is farthest removed from the
causes of fitnah and will protect them from the things that lead to provocation of desires and falling into immorality.
Muslim women must also beware of falling into
that which Allaah and His Messenger have forbidden of imitating kaafir women and prostitutes, in obedience to Allaah and His Messenger, and in the
hope of attaining the reward of Allaah, and for fear of His punishment.
Every Muslim must also fear Allaah with
regard to the women who are under his care, and not let them wear things that Allaah and His Messenger have forbidden, such as provocative
clothes, or clothes that are revealing or tempting. He should remember that he is a shepherd and will be responsible for his flock on the Day of
We ask Allaah to set the Muslims’ affairs
straight, and to guide us all to the straight path, for He is All-Hearing, Ever-Near and Ever Responsive. May Allaah send blessings and peace upon
our Prophet Muhammad and upon his family and companions.
Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah,
It also says in Fataawa al-Lajnah
What a woman is permitted to uncover in front of her children is that which is customarily
uncovered, such as the face, hands, forearms, feet and so on.
And Allaah knows best.