Q 6: Intermingling between men and women is a custom in our village. It takes place at home for example, unrelated males mix with women who do not wear the face veil. These men may be from the same village or from outside it.
Women display their beauty uncovering their faces, hands, or hair and when meeting strange men.
Sometimes a woman wears a dress that does not cover all her body. It reveals her face, hands, upper part of the chest, arms and legs. I work in another village and I order my wife to wear the face veil, is it permissible for her to remove it when she returns to our village? (Part No. 17; Page No. 213) In our village many women refuse to wear it and say that all women in their family do not wear face veils and hence they will never wear it. When a woman wears the face veil, other women in the same family scorn her and criticize her for abandoning the custom followed by the rest of women in the village. Also, men scorn women's wearing face veils and consider it a strange custom. They tell her husband who orders her to wear the face veil it is against their customs. Often those people are the husband's relatives, like his brothers or brothers-in-law or the wife's brothers-in-law. These relatives feel offended when a female relative covers her face in front of them. They say they are relatives and a woman who is related should not wear the face veil in front of them. They are offended when a male relative orders his wife to wear the face veil in front of other male relatives as it goes against their customs. They even eat at the same table as if they are Mahrams (spouse or unmarriageable relative). Is the custom we mentioned permissible or must it be fought? If a wife refuses to wear the veil, should the husband continue to live with her or divorce her? We need your advice on this matter. This is an important issue. I hope you and all Muslims will focus their attention on this village. I do not think that you would even expect that all this goes on in
the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
It should be noted that there is no (Part No. 17; Page No. 214) Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (CPVPV) in this village. There is no one to stand against this sinful custom except a few students of religious knowledge. There is only one student of religious knowledge who warns people against this shameful custom, but the people of the village insist on following it. They say it is the custom of their fathers and forefathers and like their ancestors they can never abandon it. We hope you will clarify this for us. May Allah reward you. Thank you.
It is unlawful for a woman to uncover her face in the presence of unrelated men according to the scholars' most sound view on this issue. It is also unlawful for a woman to uncover her hair, her chest, her neck, her arms or legs, or the like, in the presence of unrelated men according to Ijma` (consensus of scholars). It is also unlawful for a woman to sit in Khulwah (being alone with a member of the opposite sex) with men who are non Mahrams (not a spouse or an unmarriageable relative). Likewise, it is unlawful for a woman to intermingle with men who are non Mahrams in a way that leads to temptation. Evidence from the Qur'an and Sunnah proves without the slightest doubt that Khulwah is unlawful. It is the duty of all those who live in villages where this practice exists to do their personal best and to cooperate towards eliminating its evil. By doing this they will be guarding their honor and cooperating in righteousness and piety. They should be keen on enjoining the good and forbidding evil and should not feel ashamed of defending the truth and defeating falsehood. They should not let (Part No. 17; Page No. 215) the scorn or criticism of others deter them from defending the Truth. Perhaps Allah will purify their village from all evil and immorality through them. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.