In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful…
I was asked about the issue of women wiping over their khimaars (head coverings) for wudhoo’. Seeking the Assistance of Allaah, I say:
The Messenger of Allaah (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) wiped over his footwear and headwear, as found in Saheeh Muslim and other source books of hadeeth. Some scholars said this is not for women and their khimaars, however, to consider a ruling in Islaam specific to one of the two genders requires evidence, as all rulings in Islaam are for men and women alike, unless there is evidence to show an intended distinction.
All rulings in Islaam are for men and women alike, unless evidence establishes an intended distinction.
This is a very important principle in Fiqh. Furthermore, it has been reported from Umm Salamah (may Allaah be pleased with her), that she used to wipe over her khimaar for wudhoo’. This is the short version of the answer. Stop reading here, unless you are interested in a more detailed discussion.
Some scholars said it is not allowed for women to wipe over their khimaars. This is due to either
- [A] Their rejection of the entire issue of wiping over headwear, because the evidence for it had not reached them,
- [B] Or because they affirmed the Sunnah of wiping over headwear in general, but no report from a female Companion reached them affirming their practice of it, so did not see any basis for it in the practical understanding of the female Companions. There are in fact many reports of women Companions reaching under their khimaars to wipe over their heads for wudhoo’. However, those who knew of the reports (of Umm Salamah, for example) are given priority over those did not have them.
Those who affirm the permissibility of women wiping over the khimaar either
- [A] Allow it unrestrictedly,
- [B] Or allow it only when there is difficulty in removing the khimaar.
The same is true for their understanding of men’s headwear.
This second and more plausible position means: If a man is wearing the likes of today’s “Sudani” turban, which is a very long cloth extensively wrapped around the head many times, he is the kind of person who takes this concession and wipes over his headwear without removing it. However, a man wearing a simple cap should just remove the cap and wipe without any difficulty, and thus he needs no concession. The word “concession” does not even logically apply to his situation.
Similarly, a woman who is wearing a khimaar that is easy to remove should simply remove it and wipe over her head for wudhoo’. However, if her khimaar is wrapped in a complex way that is inconvenient to unwrap, or she is in a public place or around men who are not from her immediate family, then she should take this Prophetic concession and wipe over her headwear.
This is the position which I believe to be correct. It is the choice of Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, and it is the published verdict of the Permanent Committee for Fatwaa, headed by Shaykh Ibn Baaz, and Allaah knows best.
Written by: Moosaa Richardson