Niqab: Muslim Women Can Expose One Eye Maybe Two

Niqab: Muslim Women Can Expose One Eye Maybe Two

There is igma (consensus) among Muslim scholars off all sects that hijab (covering) is wajib (mandatory). Non-compliance is considered a grave sin. Female Face Cover Mandatory

Colorado Imam Karim abu Zaid in 2020 clarified for two callers the ruling regarding the female face. Below are excerpts from his answers. Below that we learn a more progressive opinion from Canadian Imam Ahmed Kutty. That will be followed with Islamic rulings for the female face provided by Islam Q&A. All answers from Islam Q&A are based on evidence from religious texts and supervised by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid.

One eye is enough to see were you walk.

Sheikh in Abbas illustrated how the hijab should be done. Only exposing one eye. And the niqab is to be worn so that you can see not so that people can see you… When women show this area from the temple this is not permissible to show. Link

Females must stay incognito.

… this is total segregation. You cannot see the faces of the prophet wives…. Command your wives, your daughters, and the women of the Muslim’s… This is more befitting that they are not recognized so that they are not harassed…. The face of a woman, as they say, is her identity. If her identity is open to all, this is what includes features of beauty, this is when she smiles, or frowns. This is where expressions happen. And if this is exposed then those with illness in their heart will be tempted. It is safer for a woman to hide her identity, her beauty so she is not harassed. Link

Shaikh Ahmad Kutty issued a legal Ruling Permitting Female Face

Hijab in the sense of modest attire for woman that covers the whole body excluding face and hands is ordained by Allah in the Qur’an. This is the understanding of the Muslims from the time of the Companions (the first addressees of the Qur’an) down through the centuries. There is not a single scholar or mufassir (interpreter of the Qur’an) of the past that I know who has questioned this ordinance.

 Once it has been proven to be the order of Allah, no Muslim or Muslimah can reject it on the ground that I am an adult, and I can decide for myself. Allah says: “When Allah and His Messenger have decided on a matter that concerns them, it is not fitting for any believing man or woman to claim the freedom of choice in that matter: whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger is far astray.” (Qur’an: 33: 36). May Allah inspire us to see the truth as truth and follow it, and to see the error as error and shun it—aameen. Link

Islam Question & Answer about Mandatory Female Face Covering

It is permissible for a woman to show her eyes. That is so that she will be able to see. But it is not permissible for men to look at the eyes of a woman. 

If the burqa’ [a kind of face veil] covers the entire face, leaving only the eyes uncovered, there is nothing wrong with that. But if it does not cover the entire face, rather it covers the mouth and leaves the rest of the face uncovered, that is not permissible,

The entire face must be covered, but the eyes may be left uncovered so that the woman can see where she is going. Link

Women should keep themselves completely covered except the eyes or one eye to see the way. Link

Female Face Cover Mandatory

Can a Muslim Woman Show her face in Public?

Can a Muslim Woman Show her face in Public?

No. A Muslim woman cannot, according to Mainstream Islamic teaching, show her face in public. Some less senior scholars say it is optional. However, all scholars agree it is preferred a Muslim women cover her face. However, a prepubescents female that has not yet bled her first mensuration can show her face in public.

Face is completely covered Traditional bourka mesh allows for some vision
Traditional bourka mesh allows for some vision

When is it permissible for a woman to uncover her face?


We know that the most correct opinion among the scholars is that women should cover their faces, but there are many situations where women cannot cover their faces. Could you shed more light on this topic?


The most correct opinion, which is supported by evidence, is that it is obligatory to cover the face, therefore young women are forbidden to uncover their faces in public or in front of non-marham men.

Rules have exemptions for special situations

Small girl 5 years old. wears a pink Muslim head scarf covers her shoulders. her face is visible
Non Menstruating female Muslim exposing face Toronto 2008
  1. Proposal of marriage. It is permitted for a woman to uncover her face and hands in front of a man who wants to propose to her, so that he may see the face and hands, without being alone and without touching her. The face gives an indication of ugliness or beauty, and the hands whether the body is slender give an impression of fertility.


Is it permissible for a woman to uncover her eyes unnecessarily?

Women must wear niqab, but they can leave their eyes uncovered so that they can see where they are going. Is it obligatory for women to cover our eyes if we re not walking and there is no need to see where we are going?

Orthodox Muslim couple man wearing white gown woman wears complete black even gloves small slit for vision
Traditional Muslim couple Toronto Summer 2008


Scholars said that it is permissible for a woman to wear niqab [in stead of bourka], but that is on condition that she does not go to extremes in uncovering the eye socket or show too much of the cheeks.

There is nothing wrong with a woman wearing a niqab from which only her eyes appear through a narrow opening which does not uncover anything more than what is needed in order to see her surroundings even if it is not necessary for her to see her surroundings .

Can an Elderly woman uncover her face in public or before non-mahrams?

Allaah has permitted elderly women to uncover their faces before non-mahram men.

Designer orange bourka face is completely covered mesh covering the eyes
Fashion bourka new colour for summer 2018

Abu Bakr al-Jassaas (may Allaah have mercy on him) and [al-Noor 24:60], Ibn Mas’ood and Mujaahid said: With regard to the words of Allaah, “women past childbearing who do not expect wedlock and because they have grown old and are not desirable.

Then he said: There is no dispute that the hair of an elderly woman is ‘awrah and it is not permissible for a non-mahram to look at it, as is the case with the hair of a young woman. If she prays with her head uncovered, then like a young woman (in the same situation), her prayer is invalid.

To further you understanding of female face covering read the following.

Colorado Imam Karim abuZaid Endorses Taliban policy on Muslim women face covering policy

Muslim women face coverings

Toronto Imam: “Women that are covered & Recognized will Not be Molested”

Toronto Imam: “Women that are covered & Recognized will Not be Molested”

Shabbir Ally is a Toronto imam & president of The International Toronto Dawah Center. Imam Ally gave an interview that was uploaded on April 21 2017. This interview helps both Muslim & non-Muslim understand the misunderstood, “Problematic aHadith”, regarding men molesting women and how it can be deemed the woman fault if she is.

The other verse in question the 33rd chapter 59th verse which says, tell the believing women to draw a part of their outer garments around themselves, or close to themselves, so that they will be recognized and not molested… And yet, in some interpretations, scholars have said in fact, it’s very common to find in the classical exegesis of the Quran that scholars have said the woman must cover her face when she goes out of her house… There are other indications in the Hadith there’s a Hadith that says that when the woman reaches the age of puberty it is not lawful for her to expose except for this and this. And according to the Hadith the prophet pointed to his face and hands. view video

Islam Q&A is an academic, educational, da‘wah website which aims to offer advice and academic answers based on evidence from religious texts in an adequate and easy-to-understand manner. These answers are supervised by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid

“O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed  (molested). And Allaah is Ever Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful”
[al-Ahzaab 33:59]

Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “Allaah commanded the believing women, if they go out of their houses for some need, to cover their faces from the top of their heads with their jilbaabs, and to leave one eye showing.” 

The comment “and leave one eye showing” is a concession because of the need to see the way; if there is no need for that then the eye should not be uncovered.