For a woman to wear hijab in front of non-mahram men is an obligation that is indicated in the Qur’aan and Sunnah and by scholarly consensus. It is not permissible for anyone to enjoin otherwise or to prevent those who want to follow this command, otherwise he is going against the command and laws of Allaah. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allaah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allaah and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed into a plain error”
“And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers’ way, We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell — what an evil destination!”
“But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission”
It is not permissible for a woman to be careless about this obligation or to go out of her house with any part of her body uncovered, unless she is forced to do so in a case of necessity that makes that which is haraam permissible, such as if she is summoned to a police-station, and she cannot avoid going there because that would result in harm to herself or her property.
As for going out to work, if she does not have to do that because what she is given by her husband or father or other relative who is obliged to support her is sufficient for her, then it is not permissible for her to go out to work if that will result in her taking off her hijab.
The Muslims have to cooperate with regard to this matter and ensure that Muslim women are independent of means so that they are not compelled to go out in ways that involve sin. That may be achieved by calling on fathers and relatives to spend generously on them and to provide some useful work that women can do in their homes, so that they will have no need to go out for any reason that may lead to them taking off their hijab and exposing them to harm because of wearing it.
This depends on convincing the men that hijaab is obligatory, because many of them do not care about that, and some of them are keen for their wives and daughters to go out and work, and some of them will not agree to marry a woman who does not work, even if her work means that she has to take off the hijaab. This ignorance and shortcoming on the part of the men is one of the greatest causes of this problem, and one of the reasons why the matter is not being resolved. We should strive to spread this knowledge, remind people of it and train them to follow it, so that every man will be keen to protect his family and dependents, and will realize that he will be questioned tomorrow about this trust – did he take care of it or not? The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There is no person to whom Allaah entrusts the care of others and he does not take care of them sincerely, but he will not even smell the fragrance of Paradise.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (7150) and Muslim (142).
In fact, Muslims are individually obliged to strive to remove this evil, and to adopt all the necessary means of achieving that, through organizations and associations etc., so as to relieve their women of hardship and enable every Muslim woman to wear her hijab. They should not despair and give up on doing this duty. How many rights have been restored to people by means of patience, effort and striving.
If a woman is in dire straits and cannot find any alternative to going out to work because she has no one to support her, and she is also forced to take off the hijab, then if she is able to migrate to a land where she will be able to practise her religion openly and obey the commands of her Lord, she is obliged to do so.
Ibn al-‘Arabi said in Ahkaam al-Qur’aan (1/612):
Migration (hijrah) from dar al-kufr (kaafir lands) to dar al-Islam (Muslim lands) is obligatory.
And from a land where innovation is widespread. Imam Maalik (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: It is not permissible for anyone to settle in a land in which the salaf are reviled.
And from a land in which haraam things are prevalent, for seeking halaal is an obligation for every Muslim.
But not everyone may be able to migrate, and it cannot be regarded as a solution for all Muslim women.
If a women really needs to go out of her house to work or do some errands etc, and the matter is limited to uncovering the face only, then we hope that there is nothing wrong with her doing that.
But we must strive to solve this problem completely, as stated above, by advising those who are in positions of responsibility and asking them for this religious and personal right. The daa’iyahs who call people to Allaah and the scholars have to explain to the people that hijab is an obligation that Allaah has enjoined upon the Muslim women.
It is very strange that we see this intense war against hijab, the symbol of chastity and purity, and at the same time we see that the door is wide open for immoral and promiscuous women.
Be patient, O believing women, for the reward of Allaah is precious and there will come a day in which the religion of Allaah will prevail over all other religions.
“It is He Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam), to make it superior over all religions even though the Mushrikoon (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allaah) hate (it)”
“And Allaah has full power and control over His Affairs, but most of men know not” [Yoosuf 12:21
We ask Allaah to guide this ummah so that people of obedience will be honoured and people of disobedience will be humiliated, , and to help you and all the Muslim women to adhere to hijab and give up wanton display and unveiling.
And Allaah knows best.