Q: I am a nineteen-year-old girl wearing Niqab (face veil). I am studying at the Faculty of Medicine and I will finish my studies after three and a half years.
Men and women are intermingling especially
at the laboratories in the faculty. A woman may be surrounded by men everywhere. Recently, the government has issued a decree banning Niqab in all faculties. Any girl who enters the faculty wearing Niqab is subject to an investigation by the university guards and she might be dismissed. The police officials register her name as well as her father's, mother's, brothers' and sisters' names and threaten to arrest and brutally torture her in the same way women are tortured in prisons, according to police officers. (Part No. 17; Page No. 264) Due to these circumstances, I see that it is better for me to leave my studies and stay at home so as to avoid intermingling with the opposite sex, removing the Niqab, and the threats of the university guards. I informed my mother of my wish to be transferred and affiliated to a Theoretical Faculty so I do not have to attend regularly. She and my relatives were angry and said that I have to complete my studies so that I would be able to earn my living and look after my children if I encounter any calamities such as, divorce, death of the husband, or husband abuse. They also believe that I cannot waste the three years which I spent in this faculty and transfer to a Theoretical Faculty whose graduates have lesser positions, job opportunities, and salaries than those of doctors. My mother threatens that if I leave my studies at the Faculty of Medicine, she will quit her job and harm my sibling's future. She accuses me of (Part No. 17; Page No. 265) destroying the family as well as the future of my siblings. It is worth mentioning that my father has passed away and my mother is our breadwinner. They ask me to take off the Niqab urging me that uncovering my face is better than being arrested and tortured. My mother promised to transfer me to another Faculty of Medicine where there is no mixed education in our country. However, according to the regulations, this can only be done at the beginning of the new academic year, so I have to complete my study this year in my faculty and I may take off the Niqab to be allowed to take the exam and to transfer to another faculty. It is also important to mention that I may take off the Niqab at the gates of that faculty, for there is an officer standing. Would you please reply to my following questions? 1- Is it permissible for me to take off the Niqab although I cannot bear anyone looking at me and it is Fitnah (temptation) for me? Is taking it off considered failing short to Tawakkul (Trust) in Allah (Exalted be He) or is being arrested and tortured more than taking it off? (Part No. 17; Page No. 266) 2- Is it permissible for me to complete this year in this faculty and try not to attend regularly until I am able to transfer to another Faculty of Medicine where males and females do not intermingle? 3- Am I considered undutiful to my mother as she is very tired and worries about me because I am wearing the Niqab? 4- Am I practicing Ijtihad (juristic effort to infer expert legal rulings) as my relatives say and I should not do so except after reaching a level of perfection? 5- Is it permissible for a woman not to go out of her house except when necessary if she feels Fitnah (temptation) by going out of her house or walking in the streets where males and females intermingle? What should she do? 6- What should I do if I am not able to transfer to another Faculty of Medicine where males and females are not mixed?
You should not continue studying at a faculty where males and females intermingle in order to avoid evil and block the way of Fitnah. You should transfer to another faculty where there is no intermingling or Fitnah.
You are practicing Ijtihad and this is closer to the right. This is a way of protecting your honor, avoiding Fitnah and preserving your religion. (Part No. 17; Page No. 267) Therefore, you are not considered undutiful to your mother as she is also excused for she worries that you may be arrested, imprisoned, and your study may be stopped.
If the case is as you have described, it is better for this woman to stay at home and not to go out of her house except when necessary. She should go out wearing Hijab (veil). If she is traveling, she should be accompanied by a Mahram (spouse or permanently unmarriageable relative). May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.