“His statement “their women” refers to the Muslim women (1). The polytheist women, such as the disbelievers and their types are exempt from this. It is not permissible for a believing woman to uncover any part of her body in the presence of a disbelieving woman, unless she is her slave/servant.
Some scholars considered it detestable for a Muslim woman to host a Christian woman or have her ‘awrah looked at by her.
‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab once wrote a letter to Aboo ‘Ubaydah Ibn Al-Jarraah saying:
‘It has reached me that the Muslim women enter the public wash areas along with the disbelieving women. So prevent this and do not allow it, for indeed it is not permissible for a disbelieving woman to see a Muslim woman uncovered.’
So Aboo ‘Ubaydah stood up at that and called out saying:
‘Whichever woman enters the public bath areas without an excuse, not wanting except to purify her face, then may Allaah darken her face on the day when the faces will be whitened (purified).’ “
[Tafseer Al-Qurtubee, 12/233]
(1) This is based on the saying of Allaah: “…And (tell them) not to reveal their zeenah (adornment) except to their husbands, their fathers… their women…” [Soorah Noor: 30-31]
“It is upon the woman who fears Allaah and the hereafter to stay away from what many of the women are doing today such as being lackadaisical with the hijaab and easy-going with wearing decorative garments when going outside and being lax with using perfume when going out of the house and intermingling with men and joking with them.
Allaah, the Most High, said to His Prophet’s wives:
“Then do not be soft in speech, lest he in whose heart there is a disease (of fornication) should be moved with desire. But rather speak in an honorable manner.” [Ahzaab: 32]
If a woman has a need to speak to a man that is not one of her mahaarim, she may speak to him, but with a casual tone that has no softness or gentleness in it, and not in a joking or laughing manner.
Rather her speech must be ordinary and in accordance with what necessity dictates – i.e. a question and an answer – as per the need only.
She must not speak in a tone that appears friendly, laughing or teasing, or in a mellow or beautiful voice, thus stirring the desire of the one who has a disease in his heart. This is based on Allaah’s saying:
“But rather speak in an honorable manner.” [Ahzaab: 32]
So the Muslim women of today must fear Allaah with respect to themselves and their societies.”
[Taken from “Four Essays On The Obligation Of Veiling”. Chapter: “Advice To Muslim Women” by Shaykh Saalih Al-Fawzaan, p. 72]
“Whoever trails his garment out of pride, Allaah will not look at him on the day of judgement.“ So Umm Salamah (ra) asked: “Then what should the women do with the hems of their dresses?“ The Prophet (saw) said: “Let them extend their hems the length of a hand span.“ She said: “But their feet would still be exposed.“ So he replied: “Then let them extend it a forearm’s length and no more.” [Aboo Daawood]
Ibn ‘Uthaymeen comments:
“There is evidence in this hadeeth that a woman is obligated to cover her feet. This was a well known matter amongst the female companions. Without a doubt, the foot is less a place of fitnah than the face and hands.
Thus, warning against something that is a lesser danger also consists of a warning against what is greater and superior than it, based on the wisdom of the Last Revelation.
Would it obligate the covering of an area that is less a place of fitnah, and allow the exposure of that which is a greater area of fitnah? Indeed this is a clear contradiction that is not possible for the wisdom of Allaah and His Legislation.”
[Taken From “The Four Essays On The Obligation Of Veiling”, Ch. 2: “An Essay On Hijaab” By Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, p.39]
Some scholars claim that the niqaab (face veil) is not an obligation, using as evidence the following narration:
“Asmaa Bint Abee Bakr entered in the presence of Allaah’s Messenger whilst wearing a thin, transparent garment. So the Messenger of Allaah turned away from her saying: “O Asmaa Indeed when a woman reaches the age of puberty, it is not allowed that any of her be seen except for this and this.” And he pointed to his face and hands.” [Aboo Daawood]
Ibn ‘Uthaymeen refutes this claim and says about this hadeeth:
“As for the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah, then it is da’eef (weak) based on two aspects:
1) The break in the chain between ‘Aa’ishah and Khaalid Bin Duraik, which was reported by Aboo Daawood, who noted the deficiency himself when he stated that Khaalid Bin Duraik never heard from ‘Aa’ishah. Aboo Haatim Ar-Raazee, may Allaah have mercy upon him, also mentioned this weakness.
2) One of the narrators in its chain is Sa’eed Bin Basheer An-Nasree, a settler in damascus, who was renounced by Ibn Mahdee and declared weak by Imaam Ahmad, Ibn Ma’een, Ibn Madeenee, and An-Nisaa’ee. Due to this, the hadeeth is da’eef and cannot be used as an argument against the authentic hadeeths mentioned previously, which prove the obligation of veiling (of the face and hands).
“The way in which to tell what is for men (i.e, their dress code) and what is for women is by the custom and what is suitable and what befits the two sexes and that which the religion has stipulated for them both with regards to their dress code.
Women’s beauty should be concealed from men at all times and they should not expose themselves to strange men. They are forbidden from wearing trousers, hooded cloaks, short dresses and so forth.
Women are also ordered to not raise their voices due to the fact that their voices affect other male’s hearts in public and this is one of the reasons why women are not allowed to raise their voices in the call to prayer. They should not make du’aa (supplications) or thikr (words of remembrance prescribed in the sunnah) out loud in the presence of non mahrams, nor do they climb Safa or Marwa (two smal mountains in Makkah). So the women are advised to cover their faces and hands from non-mahrams.
It is related in An’ni’hiya that men should have certain clothes which distinguish them from women and vice-versa: women should have clothes that distinguish them as women.”
“The khimaar is that which covers the head, the face and the neck. And the jilbaab is that which is made to fall from the top of the head downwards, such that oohing from her dress is apparent except forger two eyes.” [As is reported on him by Al-Albaanee in his book “Hijaab” p.71]
Imaam Ibn Khuzaymah said in his saheeh:
“The khimaar: that which a woman covers her face with.”
And this is what the female companions understood regarding khimaar when the ayah obligating it was revealed.
“May Allaah have mercy on the first emigrant women (muhaajiraat). When Allaah revealed “And (tell them) to draw their khimaars over their bosoms (juyoob)”, they tore off the bottom parts of their dresses and used them as khimaars (and covered their faces with them).” [Bukhaaree]
Ibn Hajr said:
“Her saying ‘used them as khimaars’ means we covered our faces with them.” [Taken from the book ‘Awdatul Hijaab 3/287-288]
Imaam Muhammad Al-Ameen Ash-Shinqeetee said (when commenting on the above hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah):
“This authentic hadeeth is clear proof that the female companions mentioned in it understood that the meaning of Allaah’s saying, “And (tell them) to draw their khimaars all over their juyoob (bosoms)” required the veiling of their faces. That is why they tore off part of their dresses and “used them as khimaars” meaning they covered their faces with them, obeying Allaah’s command in (24:31), which mandates the veiling of their faces.
So a woman’s wearing of the hijaab in front of men and the veiling of her face before them is established in the authentic sunnah, which provides an explanation for the Quraan… It is well known that they could not have gotten their understanding that Allaah’s saying “And (tell them) to draw their khimaars all over their juyoob (bosoms)” meant to veil the face except from the Prophet (saw), since he was present at that time. They would ask him about things that they found difficult with in their religion… So it is not possible that they could come up with an understanding of this ayah by themselves.” [Adwaa Al-Bayaan, 6/595]