Islamic dress code for women

Q: I have received your letter which is registered on the twenty fourth of Rabi` Al-Akhir 1408 A.H. Many thanks to you for sending me that letter. However, my question was about wearing the short loose garment which is only one handspan above the foot along with very thick socks so that the legs and their color can not be seen. I do not think that this part of the leg is included in `Awrah (parts of the body that must be covered in public) because it is invisible. To be more specific, according to Imam Al-Shafi`y, exposing this part of the leg is permissible. This evidence is mentioned amongst rulings on loose garments in the part of jurisprudence of worship in the book of Fiqh according to the four schools of jurisprudence. Your answer was related to women's Hijab (veil) as a whole, may Allah reward you with all the best. I would like to have a one word definite answer (permissible or impermissible)? It may be worth mentioning that a big percentage of Muslim wet nurses put on the concerned loose garment with the Niqab (face veil) that covers the face as well. All praise be to Allah Alone, they offer worships in the best way. They also do very well regarding memorization of the Qur'an, continuous Tasbih (saying: "Subhan Allah [Glory be to Allah]") and voluntary Salahs (Prayers). Nevertheless, by Allah, O brother, we became confused regarding Hijab though these are nominal matters while contents are of more importance. (Part No. 17; Page No. 97) When we listen to the proofs of scholars who are of the view that short loose garments i.e. which is only one handspan above the foot and does not show any part of the leg should be put on, we feel that this is a perfect adherence to the Din (religion). Nevertheless, when we come to know the proofs of those who hold the view that long loose garments have to be put on; we feel the same. We are really confused! Provide us with your beneficial answer please. May Allah benefit you.By the way, you sent us the book of Veiling and Unveiling The Face and Shighar Marriage, which contains the Hadith which reads: O Asmaa, when a girl reaches puberty, nothing should be seen of her but this and this. Meaning the face and the two palms of the hands. You are of the view that the foregoing Hadith is Da`if (weak), how can it be, while following this Hadith is tantamount to following Qur'an and Sunnah (whatever is reported from the Prophet)?

A: Firstly: It is Wajib (obligatory) on women to wear long loose garments that hide their feet. Proof of this is a Hadith that is related by Abu Dawud, Al-Tirmidhy, and Al-Nasa'y on the authority of `Abdullah ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them both) that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: 'Allah will not look on the Day of Judgment at him who drags his robe (behind him) out of pride.' Whereupon Um Salamah said: 'What should women do with the trains of their gowns?' He said: 'They should loosen their garments one handspan.' Um Salamah then said: 'What should they do in case that their feet are exposed?' He said: 'They should loosen their garments for a cubit and do not exceed.' and in a narration that is related by Abu Dawud (Part No. 17; Page No. 98) Ibn `Umar said: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) allowed his wives to loosen their trains of gowns for one handspan. Then they asked him to increase it, and he increased one handspan for them. They would send (their garments) to us and we would measure it one cubit for them. Moreover, it is related in Al-Muwatta' and Sunan (Books of Hadith compilations classified by jurisprudential themes) of Abu Dawud and Al-Nasa'y on the authority of Um Salamah (may Allah be pleased with her) that she said when the Prophet (peace be upon him) mentioned the Izar (garment worn below the waist): 'What about women O Messenger of Allah?' He said: 'They should loosen their garments for one handspan.' Um Salamah then said: 'What should a woman do if her garment exposes her legs? He said: 'She should loosen her garment for a cubit but not more.' Secondly: According to the proper opinion, it is Wajib that Muslim women cover their faces and palms of their hands in the presence of non-Mahrams (not spouses or unmarriageable relatives). May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.