In the name of Allāh, Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy.
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All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation; may Allah extol the mention of our noble Prophet Muhammad in the highest company of Angels, bless him and give him peace and security―and his family, his Companions and all those who follow him correctly until the establishment of the Hour.
Shaikh Ibn Bāz’s (rahimahullāh) answer: “There is no harm in a woman going out in clothes that conceal her body, garments that are free from temptation (fitnah), even if there is not over them a jilbāb. However, the presence of the jilbāb and ʿabā’ah (ʿabāyah)1A loose and flowing outer garment that covers whatever else the woman is wearing. is better and more complete. That is because other types of clothing may expose some of the size and proportions of her body. So, if the garments are ample, wide and sufficient, cover the head, face and entire body, then there is no problem. However, the presence of the jilbāb is better and more complete. Allah, the Most High, said:
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّبِىُّ قُل لِّأَزْوَٰجِكَ وَبَنَاتِكَ وَنِسَآءِ ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِن جَلَـٰبِيبِهِنَّ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ أَدْنَىٰٓ أَن يُعْرَفْنَ فَلَا يُؤْذَيْنَ ۗ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ غَفُورًۭا رَّحِيمًۭا ٥٩
“O Prophet, tell your wives, your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their jilbābs (outer garments) over their entire body. That is better, so they should be known as free respectable women, so as not to be harassed. And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Al-Ahzāb: 59) So her going out wearing the jilbāb is better, more complete and further from fitnah (falling in tribulation), and it conceals the women more, and the same is true for the ʿabāyah.
Therefore, wearing the ʿabāyah or the jilbāb is a better covering for her, but if she wears garments that are ample, abundant, concealing, falling upon her head and covering it, as well as the rest of her body, then the intent [of the command of Allah] is achieved. The goal is the concealment of the body and being far away from the causes that incite temptation, as much as one is able. So wearing the jilbāb, ʿabāyah and whatever is like them over the clothes is better and more complete in terms of covering [the body].” (End)
Listen to the audio (Arabic):
For women when in public among unrelated (non-mahram) men:
- Clothing must cover the entire body except for the face and hands when in the company of non-related males.
- Clothing must be loose, so the shape of the body is not seen.
- Thick enough so that it is not see-through.
- Should not resemble the clothing of men.
- Should not be ostentatious.
- Should not be perfumed when around unrelated men (non-mahrams).
Read: Understanding the Muslim Dress Code.
Read: Al-Albāni on the Niqāb of the Muslim woman, whether it is wājib or not, the permissibility of uncovering her face and hands―and the danger of displaying her beautifications in public.
- 1A loose and flowing outer garment that covers whatever else the woman is wearing.