Assalamo Alaykom Brothers and Sisters in Islam,
I have noticed several times, in several blogs, apparent effidence to suggest that the woman's face must be covered as part of her hijab. That is, the woman's face is awra and supposed to be covered.
I had never previously heard such an explanation in Islam and to my understanding, the covering of the face for a woman is actually called niqab and is sunna, not a fard.
After much research and reading the opinion of not just one scholar but many reputable scholars, the verdict seems to be that the woman's face is not awra, and the woman in that case is under no Islamic obligation to cover it.
Here is the explation given by the late sheikh Al Albaanee, allahoma yerhamuhu wal muslimeen ajma'een.
Although there is no disagreement between the Muslim scholars that the face veil is recommended for the Muslim woman. Yet the issue is still controversial whether it is obligatory or optional for her. In fact the majority of Imams and scholars are on the opinion that it is not obligatory. Among those scholars is late shaykh Naasiruddeen al-Albaanee may Allah's Mercy be on him. He said:
The main errors of those who make the face veil obligatory:
1. The interpretation of al-idnaa' in the verse of the Jilbaab to mean "covering the face". This misinterpretation is contrary to the basic meaning of the word in Arabic which is "to come close", as is mentioned in authoritative dictionaries like al-Mufradaat by the well-known scholar, ar-Raaghib al-Asbahaanee.
However, there is sufficient evidence in the interpretation of the leading commentator on the Quran, Ibn 'Abbaas, who explained the verse saying, "She should bring the jilbaab close to her face without covering it." It should be noted that none of the narrations used as evidence to contradict this interpretation are authentic.
2. The interpretation of jilbaab as "a garment which covers the face."Like the previous misinterpretation, this interpretation has no basis linguistically. It is contrary to the interpretation of the leading scholars, past and present, who define the jilbaab as a garment which women drape over their head scarves (khimaar). Even Shaykh at-Tuwaijree himself narrated this interpretation from Ibn Mas'ood and other Salafee scholars.
Al-Baghawee mentioned it as the correct interpretation in his Tafseer (vol. 3, p. 518) saying, "It is the garment which a woman covers herself with worn above the dress (dir ') and the headscarf." Ibn Hazm also said, "The jilbaab in the Arabic language in which the Messenger of Allaah (pbuh) spoke to us is what covers the whole body and not just a part of it." (vol. 3, p. 217). Al-Qurtubee declared this correct in his Tafseer and Ibn Katheer said, "It is the cloak worn above the headscarf." (vol. 3, p. 518)
3. The claim that the khimaar (headscarf) covers the head and the face. In doing so "the face" has been arbitrarily added to its meaning in order to make the verse: "Let them drape their headscarves over their bosoms" appear to be in their favor, when, in fact it is not.
The word khimaar linguistically means only a head covering. Whenever it is mentioned in general terms, this is what is intended. For example in the hadeeths on wiping (mas-h) on the khimaar and the prophetic statement, "The salaah of a woman past puberty will not be accepted without a khimaar." This hadeeth confirms the invalidity of their misinterpretation, because not even the extremists themselves - much less the scholars - use it as evidence that the covering of a woman's face in salaah is a condition for its validity. They only use it as proof for covering the head.
Furthermore, their interpretation of the verse of the Qawaa'id "? to remove their clothing" to mean "jilbaab" further confirms it. They hold that it is permissible for old women to appear before marriagealbe males in her headscarf with her face exposed. One of their noteable scholars openly stated that. As for Shaykh at-Tuwaijree, he implied it without actually saying it.
After checking the opinions of the early and later scholars in all the specializations, I found that they unanimously hold that the khimaar is a head covering. I have mentioned the names of more than twenty scholars, among them some of the great Imaams and hadeeth scholars. For example, Abul-Waleed al-Baajee (d. 474 AH) who further added in his explanation, "Nothing should be seen of her besides the circle of her face."
4. The claim of a consensus (Ijmaa') on the face being considered 'awrah. Shaykh at-Tuwaijree claimed that scholars unanimously held that the woman's face was 'awrah and many who have no knowledge, including some Ph.D. holders, have blindly followed him. In fact, it is a false claim, which no one before him has claimed. The books of Hambalite scholars which he learned from, not to mention those of others, contain sufficient proof of its falsehood.
I have mentioned many of their statements in Ar-Radd. For example, Ibn Hubayrah al-Hambalee stated in his book, al-Ifsaah, that the face is not considered
'awrah in the three main schools of Islaamic law and he added, "It is also a narrated position of Imaam Ahmad." Many Hambalite scholars preferred this narration in their books, like Ibn Qudaamah and others.
Ibn Qudaamah in al-Mughnee explained the reason for his preference saying, "Because necessity demands that the face be uncovered for buying and selling, and the hands be uncovered for taking and giving."Among the Hambalite scholars, is the great Ibn Muflih al-Hambalee about whom Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah said, "There is no one under the dome of the sky more knowledgeable about the school of Imaam Ahmad than Ibn Muflih." And his teacher, Ibn Taymiyyah, once told him, "You aren't Ibn Muflih, you are Muflih!""
[The text is a translation of a summary of his ar-Radd al-Mufhim found in pages 5-20 of the introduction of his book "Hijaab al-Mar'ah al-Muslimah", 3rd edition, 1996, al-Maktab al-Islaamy.]
Wassalamo alykom wa rahmat allah wa barakato.
at scholar Al Albany. I have just done a copy and paste as follows: