Hijab: Description of Veiling
Hijab and Satar (covering): Difference
The first thing to understand is that there are two separate aspects when it comes to hijab: Satar (covering) and Hijab.
There are several distinctions between these two, and it is essential to take note of them. Satar refers to concealing the body parts that need to be covered, whereas Hijab specifically pertains to veiling. For men and women, there are certain body parts that must be covered. For women, besides the hands and feet, the entire body is included in Satar. In front of non-mahram men (those who are not permissible to marry), a woman is required to cover only the head, hair, neck, ears, arms, hands, feet, and the upper portion of the chest connected to the neck. This permission is granted when there is no fear of fitnah (temptation). Therefore, except for the face and hands, all other body parts (such as arms, wrists, neck, and upper chest) should be covered, which is a precautionary measure in the present time. It is not permissible to look at the back and chest of a woman, even in front of mahram relatives. In the presence of non-mahram individuals, when a woman covers her face with a garment, veil, or scarf, it is referred to as Hijab. Hijab: Not obligatory in front of mahram relatives, while the command of Hijab or veiling is mentioned in the Noble Quran specifically in front of non-mahram men. Many people claim that the face and hands are not included in Satar, so it is not necessary to cover them. However, their claim is incorrect because Hijab implies that the face and hands should be concealed from non-mahram men. While covering in front of mahram relatives is obligatory, veiling (covering the face and hands) is not mandatory unless there is fear of fitnah. In that case, those body parts should be concealed even in the presence of mahram individuals. On the other hand, in front of non-mahram individuals, covering the head is obligatory, and it is obligatory to veil as well.
To summarize, Satar (covering) is obligatory for both men and women, while Hijab is specifically obligatory for women. Satar applies in situations of seclusion and privacy for both mahram and non-mahram individuals, while Hijab is mandatory in the presence of non-mahram men. These two matters are mentioned separately to avoid confusion and to prevent the emergence of doubts, issues, and misconceptions. After the command of Hijab was revealed during the Prophetic era, women did not openly show their faces. The command of Hijab included veiling the face. This is the reason why the veil became a part of women’s clothing. This was the practice of the Mothers of the Believers (the wives of the Prophet) and all Muslim women. Every Muslim woman is obligated to follow this practice. The command of Hijab was revealed after the marriage of the Prophet (peace be upon him) with Ummul Mu’mineen Hazrat Zainab bint Jahsh (may Allah be pleased with her) in the year 5 AH (after Hijrah). A few people who were invited to the wedding gathering ate food and started having conversations while sitting there. They engaged in lengthy discussions, which caused discomfort to the Prophet (peace be upon him). He remained silent due to his noble character, continuously entering and leaving the place. Hazrat Zainab was also present there, with her face towards the wall. Observing the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) movements, some individuals perceived the situation and left
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ لَا تَدْخُلُوا۟ بُيُوتَ ٱلنَّبِىِّ إِلَّآ أَن يُؤْذَنَ لَكُمْ إِلَىٰ طَعَامٍ غَيْرَ نَـٰظِرِينَ إِنَىٰهُ وَلَـٰكِنْ إِذَا دُعِيتُمْ فَٱدْخُلُوا۟ فَإِذَا طَعِمْتُمْ فَٱنتَشِرُوا۟ وَلَا مُسْتَـْٔنِسِينَ لِحَدِيثٍ ۚ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكُمْ كَانَ يُؤْذِى ٱلنَّبِىَّ فَيَسْتَحْىِۦ مِنكُمْ ۖ وَٱللَّهُ لَا يَسْتَحْىِۦ مِنَ ٱلْحَقِّ ۚ وَإِذَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُنَّ مَتَـٰعًۭا فَسْـَٔلُوهُنَّ مِن وَرَآءِ حِجَابٍۢ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ أَطْهَرُ لِقُلُوبِكُمْ وَقُلُوبِهِنَّ ۚ وَمَا كَانَ لَكُمْ أَن تُؤْذُوا۟ رَسُولَ ٱللَّهِ وَلَآ أَن تَنكِحُوٓا۟ أَزْوَٰجَهُۥ مِنۢ بَعْدِهِۦٓ أَبَدًا ۚ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكُمْ كَانَ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ عَظِيمًا
O you who believe, do not enter the houses of the Prophet, unless you are permitted for a meal, not (so early as) to wait for its preparation. But when you are invited, go inside. Then, once you have had the meal, just disperse, and (do) not (sit for long) being keen for a chat. This (conduct of yours) hurts the Prophet, but he feels shy of (telling) you (about it), but Allah is not shy of the truth. And when you ask any thing from them (the blessed wives of the Prophet), ask them from behind a curtain. That is better for the purity of your hearts and their hearts. It is not allowed for you that you hurt Allah’s Messenger, nor that you ever marry his wives after him. Indeed, it would be an enormity in the sight of Allah. (33:53)
There are further details regarding the three levels of veiling:
 Shariah Hijab for individuals, specifically concerning women. Firstly, it is recommended for women to primarily remain within their homes. The reason for this recommendation is as follows (وَقَرْنَ فِی بيوتكن) And stay in your homes, as mentioned in Surah Al-Ahzab.
 “And when women need to go out of their homes, they should cover themselves with a shawl or a long cloak, which should be drawn over them from head to toe” (Quranic verse) (يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِنْ جَلَابِيبِهِنَّ) It is mentioned in Surah Al-Ahzab that it means a woman should be covered from head to toe, and her face and nose should also be covered, with only one eye exposed for vision.
 The entire body should be covered, except for the face and hands. The three Imams, Imam Shafi’i, Imam Malik, and Imam Ahmad, did not grant absolute permission to uncover the face and hands, whether there is fear of fitnah or not. However, Imam Abu Hanifa stated that if there is fear of fitnah, then uncovering is prohibited. However, during that time, the probability of fitnah was rare and negligible, and it does not fall under the ruling of necessity. Therefore, the later Hanafi jurists also issued the same fatwa as the three Imams, stating that it is impermissible to uncover the face or hands of a young woman and veiling is necessary.
Maulana Muhammad Idris Kandhlawi, may Allah have mercy on him, (وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ) It is required for a woman to only uncover her face and both hands in front of her Mahrams (close male relatives). It is not permissible to uncover them in front of non-Mahrams. Women are strictly prohibited from openly displaying their beauty, such as uncovering their faces while going to the market and exhibiting their beauty and charm. The true beauty and dignity lie in the face, and modesty is preserved by covering it. Therefore, the sacred Shari’ah has declared it impermissible for a woman to uncover her face in front of non-Mahrams, as it serves as a gateway to temptation.
Regarding the issue of Mahrams, Imam Shafi’i, Imam Malik, and Imam Ahmad did not grant absolute permission to uncover the face and hands. Even if there is no fear of temptation, it is impermissible to do so. However, Imam Abu Hanifa stated that if there is a fear of temptation, then it is forbidden to uncover them. Nonetheless, in the present time, the probability of no fear of temptation is rare, and this ruling is subject to specific circumstances. Therefore, contemporary Hanafi scholars have also issued the same fatwa as the three Imams, emphasizing that it is impermissible for a young woman to uncover her face or hands and that observing the veil is obligatory.
In situations where it becomes difficult to observe the veil at all times due to space constraints in the house, a woman is allowed to uncover her face and both hands from the wrists to the fingertips and from the ankles to the toes. However, no other part of the body should be exposed. In such a compelling situation, it is necessary for a woman to properly cover her head, not open her hair, wear loose and modest clothing, loose sleeves, and avoid uncovering the ankles. If there is no compulsion, one should not even indicate it.
Apart from implementing the above matters, it is also essential to refrain from laughing, joking, and engaging in conversations against modesty in the presence of non-Mahrams. Unnecessary conversations with non-Mahrams should be avoided, and if it is necessary to speak, it should be brief. The utmost care should be taken to avoid seclusion with non-Mahrams. In the presence of non-Mahrams, one should not engage in laughter or jokes with Mahrams. Likewise, when non-Mahrams enter the house, they should knock on the door before entering, so that women can observe the aforementioned veil.
Islamic hijab is the dignity of a woman. The tradition of wearing a burqa (face veil) among women is derived from the practice of the pure and virtuous wives of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and their adherence to Islamic teachings. The burqa is also a form of jilbab (outer garment) mentioned in the Noble Quran. However, in earlier times, burqas were loose and covered the entire body, expressing the dignity of a woman. But in the present era, a significant problem is that burqas are available in the market that undermines the purpose of the veil. The fabric is so thin that the inner clothing is visible, the size is so tight that it reveals the body’s shape, and they are adorned with various threads, designs, colors, glitter, and beads. Such burqas are available in the market today. Wearing loose, simple, and unattractive burqas is the ideal way for women to go out. Remember that burqas are meant to conceal the expression of adornment. May Allah grant us the ability to follow the commands of Shariah.”