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Ibn Kathir on Hijab: 
The majority of scholars say women do not need to cover their faces and hands

By Abu Amina Elias for FaithinAllah.org

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Ibn Kathir writes in his commentary of Surat An-Nur:

Allah the Exalted said:
وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا
Tell the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their chastity and not expose their beauty except that which is apparent…
Surah An-Nur 24:31

Ibn Abbas said regarding the verse, “Except that which is apparent…” that this means her face, her hands, and her rings. Similar narrations were reported from Ibn Umar, Ata’, Ikramah, Sa’eed ibn Jubair, Abu Ash-Sha’tha, Ad-Dahhak, and Ibrahim An-Nakha’i.

Malik reported from Az-Zuhri that, “Except that which is apparent…” means her rings and her anklets.

It is possible that Ibn Abbas and those who followed him intended by the explanation of the verse, “Except for what is apparent…” to mean the face and the hands, and this is the well-known opinion among the majority, as mentioned in the tradition narrated by Abu Dawud.

Aisha reported: Asma bint Abu Bakr entered upon the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, while she was wearing a thin garment which she presented to him. He said:

يَا أَسْمَاءُ إِنَّ الْمَرْأَةَ إِذَا بَلَغَتْ الْمَحِيضَ لَمْ تَصْلُحْ أَنْ يُرَى مِنْهَا إِلَّا هَذَا وَهَذَا وَأَشَارَ إِلَى وَجْهِهِ وَكَفَّيْهِ
O Asma, when a woman reaches the age of maturity it is not proper for her to show anything except her face and hands.
Source: Sunan Abu Dawud 4104 Grade: Hasan

However, Abu Dawud and Abu Hatim Ar-Razi said the chain of narration is disconnected (mursal), as Khalid ibn Durayk never heard directly from Aisha, and Allah knows best.

قال ابن كثير قال الله تعالى وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا

عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا قَالَ وَجْهُهَا وَكَفَّيْهَا وَالْخَاتَمُ وَرُوِيَ عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ وَعَطَاءٍ وَعِكْرِمَةَ وَسَعِيدِ بْنِ جُبَيْرٍ وَأَبِي الشَّعْثَاءِ وَالضَّحَّاكِ وَإِبْرَاهِيمَ النَّخَعِيِّ وَغَيْرِهِمْ نَحْوُ ذَلِكَ

وَقَالَ مَالِكٌ عَنِ الزُّهْرِيِّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا الْخَاتَمُ وَالْخَلْخَالُ

وَيُحْتَمَلُ أَنَّ ابْنَ عَبَّاسٍ وَمَنْ تَابَعَهُ أَرَادُوا تَفْسِيرَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا بِالْوَجْهِ وَالْكَفَّيْنِ وَهَذَا هُوَ الْمَشْهُورُ عِنْدَ الْجُمْهُورِ وَيُسْتَأْنَسُ لَهُ بِالْحَدِيثِ الَّذِي رَوَاهُ أَبُو دَاوُدَ فِي سُنَنِهِ

عَنْ عَائِشَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهَا أَنَّ أَسْمَاءَ بِنْتَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ دَخَلَتْ عَلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَعَلَيْهَا ثِيَابٌ رِقَاقٌ فَأَعْرَضَ عَنْهَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَقَالَ يَا أَسْمَاءُ إِنَّ الْمَرْأَةَ إِذَا بَلَغَتْ الْمَحِيضَ لَمْ تَصْلُحْ أَنْ يُرَى مِنْهَا إِلَّا هَذَا وَهَذَا وَأَشَارَ إِلَى وَجْهِهِ وَكَفَّيْهِ

لَكِنْ قَالَ أَبُو دَاوُدَ وَأَبُو حَاتِمٍ الرَّازِيُّ هَذَا مُرْسَلٌ خَالِدُ بْنُ دُرَيْكٍ لَمْ يَسْمَعْ مِنْ عَائِشَةَ فَاللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ

تفسير القرآن العظيم تفسير سورة النور تفسير قوله تعالى وقل للمؤمنات يغضضن من أبصارهن ويحفظن فروجهن

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.

Edited from:
http://www.faithinallah.org/ibn-kathir-on-hijab-the-majority-of-scholars-say-women-do-not-need-to-cover-their-faces-and-hands/
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