Category Archives: Women’s Issues

Is it Sunnah to wear the Niqab?

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him).

Some people claim that it is not from the sunnah for women to wear the niqab and gloves. What should our response be to this?

Allah legislated the hijab to conceal women’s beauty and to prevent any type of temptation or fitnah taking place. It is sufficient for us that the Prophet ﷺ chose that the women of his household cover their faces on the Farewell Pilgrimage in spite of the fact that they were in ihram (pilgrim sanctity). Sayyidah `A’ishah said: “When men on horseback approached, we would lower our veils over our faces and when they went away, we would lift our veils.” This prophetic choice is sufficient as an instruction to the Ummah. However, we should not blindly stick to one opinion nor enter into argumentation. There is no way we can condemn a path which is more modest, nor can we condemn a woman who is deficient in covering herself.

On Dhikr to Strengthen Resolve to Wear the Hijab

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him).

What dhikr can a woman read to strengthen her resolve to wear the hijab?


Firstly she should remember that in wearing the hijab she is obeying the command of Allah. She should read the following ayah 70 times a day if possible, or at least ten times:

وَهُوَ اللَّهُ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَفِي الأَرْضِ يَعْلَمُ سِرَّكُمْ وَجَهرَكُمْ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا تَكْسِبُونَ

Wa huwa-llahu fi’ssamawati wa fi’l-ardi ya`lamu sirrakum wa jahrakum wa ya`lamu ma taksibun

And He is Allah in the heavens and on the earth. He knows what you hide and what you reveal and He knows what deeds you perform. (Al-An`am, 6:3)

Adhkar for Pregnancy and Labour


The Intention:

You should make the intention of Sayyidah Hanna – the mother of Mary, the mother of Jesus (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon all of them). Sayyidah Hanna dedicated the child in her womb to the service of Allah. Her intention is described in the Qur’an: “Lord,I have vowed to You, in dedication, what is in my womb for Your service. So accept this of me, for You hear and know all things} and {…I have named her Mary, and commend her to You with her seed, to protect them from the accursed Satan. Her Lord received the child with gracious favour, and caused her to grow up in goodly growth, and placed her in the care of Zakariya and: Behold! the angels said: “O Mary! Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of all nations.”

In a lecture entitled, Jesus and his Blessed Mother, Habib Ali al-Jifri attests to the sincerity and far-reaching consequences of Sayyidah Hanna’s intention: “The intention of Hanna made the one she bore be accepted by Allah. When she intended that in her offspring there would be someone who serves Allah, someone who would serve this religion – when she was truthful in her intention, Allah honoured her because of her intention. Look at the effect of that intention: the very deliverance this Community will take place at the hands of our Master Jesus, peace be upon him.”


Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz advises repeating the following verses during pregnancy (and during labour):


رَبِّ هَبْ لِي مِن لَّدُنكَ ذُرِّيَّةً طَيِّبَةً إِنَّكَ سَمِيعُ الدُّعَاء

Rabbi hab li milladunka dhurriyatan tayyibah innaka sami`u-du`a

“O my Lord, grant me a progeny that is pure, for You hear (our) prayers!” (3:38)


رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّاتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْيُنٍ وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا

Rabbana hab lana min azwajina wa dhurriyyatina qurrata `ayun wa’ja’lna lilmuttaqin imama

“Our Lord, grant us wives and offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and give us (the grace) to lead the righteous.” (25:74)

ثُمَّ السَّبِيلَ يَسَّرَهُ

Thumm ‘assabila yassarah

Then He made the path easy (80:20)

وَاللَّهُ أَخْرَجَكُم مِّن بُطُونِ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ

W’Allah akhrajakummin butuni ummahatikum

Allah brought you forth from your mothers’ wombs (16:78)

ثُمَّ يُخْرِجُكُمْ طِفْلاً

Thumma yukhrijukum tiflan

Then He brings you out as children (40:67)


Repeat Surat Quraysh


Repeat Allah’s name “al-Latif” 133 times a day along with the following. This can be repeated during labour:

يَالَطِيفًا بِخَلْقِهِ ، يَا عَلِيمًا بِخَلْقِهِ ، يَا خَبِيرًا بِخَلْقِهِ .. اُلْطُفْ بِنَا يَا لَطِيْفُ ، يَا عَلِيْمُ ، يَا خَبِيْرُ

Ya Latifan bi khalqihi ya `Aliman bi khalqihi ya Khabiran bi khalqihi ultuf bina ya Latifu ya `Alimu ya Khabiru (repeat 3 times)

O One Who is gentle with His creation, O One who has complete knowledge of His creation, O One who has complete awareness of His creation! Treat us with gentleness O Gentle, O All-Knowing, O All-Aware!

يَا لَطِيْفًا لَمْ يَزَلْ اُلْطُفْ بِنَا فِيْمَا نَزَلَ .. إِنّك لَطِيْفٌّ لَمْ تَزَلْ .. اُلْطُفْ بِنَا وَ المُسْلِمِيْن

Ya Latifan lam yazal ultuf bina fima nazal innaka Latifun lam tazal ultuf bina wa’l-muslimin (repeat 3 times)

O Gentle Who remains forever, be gentle to us in all that befalls us, You are constantly Gentle, treat us and the Muslims with gentleness!


Repeat the prayer that the Prophet ﷺ would recite at times of hardship:

لاَ إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللهُ العَظِيمُ الْحَلِيمُ، لاَ إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللهُ رَبُّ العَرشِ العَظِيم، لاَ إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللهُ رَبُّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَرَبُّ الأَرْضِ، وَرَبُّ العَرْشِ الكَرِيم

La ilaha ill’Allahu‘l-Azimu’l-Halim; la La ilaha ill’Allahu rabbu’l-`arshi’l-`azim; La ilaha ill’Allahu rabbu’ssamawati wa rabbu’l-ardi wa rabbu’l-`arshi’l-karim

‘There is no deity save Allah, the Almighty, the Forbearing. There is no deity save Allah, the Lord of the Mighty Throne. There is no deity save Allah the Lord of the heavens and the earth and the Noble Throne.’

On Overcoming Boredom in the Home

Answered by Sayyidi al-Ḥabīb `Umar bin Hafīẓ (may Allāh preserve him and benefit us by him).

There is a married woman who feels depressed when she stays at home too long. Should she go out and work?

It is better if she is able to go out to keep the company of pious women and serve the religion. She should strive to be present with Allāh when she remembers Him and recites the Qur’ān. She should read the following 100 times a day:


رَبِّ اشْرَحْ لي صَدْرِي و يَسِّرْ لي أَمْرِي


Rabbi-shraḥ li ṣadrī wa yassir lī amrī

My Lord bring tranquillity to my heart and give me ease in my affair’1

1Tā Hā, 20:25-26



On Overcoming Weak Aspiration During Menstruation

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him)

I feel spiritually weak during my menstrual cycle. How can I overcome this?

Remember that this is from Allah. Just as Allah has made things incumbent upon a woman who is pure, He has made other things prohibited for a woman who is on her cycle. Performing that which is incumbent on her when she is pure is an act of worship and abstaining from performing it when she is on her cycle is also an act of worship. Reciting your adhkar when you are on your cycle (except reciting the Qur’an) especially in the last part of the night is a means of drawing close to Allah. Remember that the best of women experienced this – the wives of the Prophets and women who were knowers of Allah – and they were able to reach the highest of stations, so there is no harm, weakness or lowliness in it.

On Women Reciting Adhkar during Menstruation

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him)

What adhkar should a woman recite when she is menstruating?

She can recite all the adhkar that she would normally recite. She should recite verses of the Qur’an with the intention of protection, not recitation of the Qur’an. It may be preferable for her not to recite longer surahs such as Ya Sin and al-Mulk but it is also permissible for her to do so with the intention of protection.

Even if she does not read the adhkar that come before and after the prayer, she will be considered to have read them, just as she is considered to have prayed. However, the best thing is for her to read the adhkar which she customarily reads at the prayer times as if she was praying.

All of this will be a means for her to attain more light and a higher rank in the sight of Allah, the Almighty, the All-Forgiving.

The Ruling on Women Working Outside the Home

Answered by Sayyidi al-Ḥabīb `Umar bin Hafīẓ (may Allāh preserve him and benefit us by him).

Should women go out to work?

Both men and women should busy themselves with that which is most beneficial and fitting for them. Women are generally better than men at performing many of the duties within the household so it is best that they perform them. If men go out to work they must do so in obedience to the Sacred Law. For their work to be lawful, their income must come from a lawful source, they must not be a cause of harm to anyone and they must avoid mixing with strange women. Likewise if women go out to work they must fulfill the same duties and be especially careful of mixing with strange men and exposing any of their beauty to them. It is permissible for women to go out to work and it may be required if there is a need. This is illustrated in the Qur’an when the daughters of Sayyidunā Shu`ayb say: “We cannot water (our flocks) until the shepherds take back (their flocks), and our father is an elderly man.” (Al-Qaṣaṣ, 28:23-28) They mentioned two things: that they only went out because they needed to (due to their father being old) and in doing so they did not contravene the Sacred Law by mixing with strange men. 

The Ruling on a Woman Travelling Without a Mahram

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him)

 Is it permissible for a woman to travel with her mother but without a mahram (a male relative whom she cannot marry)? She has a mahram who will see her off at the airport and another mahram who will pick her up at the other end.

Some contemporary scholars take the view that this is permissible but if there is no dire need then this should be avoided, especially if the journey takes three days, due to the explicit statement of the Prophet ﷺ in the sound hadith: “It is not permissible for a woman who believes in Allah and the Last Day to travel for a distance that it takes three days to cover without her husband or a mahram.”

The Ruling on Women Travelling in a Group

Answered by Sayyidi al-Ḥabīb `Umar bin Hafīẓ (may Allāh preserve him and benefit us by him).

What is the ruling on women traveling in a group without a male relative?

The Prophet (may Allāh bless him and grant him peace) said in the sound ḥadīth: “It is not permissible for a woman who believes in Allāh and the Last Day to travel for a distance that it takes three days to cover without her husband or a maḥram (a male relative who she cannot marry).” Another ḥadīth states that the distance is that which it takes a day and a night to cover.

The relied upon opinion in the Shafi`ī school is that it is permissible for a woman to travel with a group of trustworthy women only in order to perform a compulsory ḥajj. If she is travelling for any other purpose, she must travel with her husband or a maḥram. There are, however, other opinions in the Shafi`ī school and other schools that permit a woman to travel with a group of trustworthy women for a purpose other than ḥajj with the condition that she is safe from harm. She should also have a maḥram to see her off and a maḥram to meet her at her destination. In the Ḥanafī school, it is permissible for a woman to travel without her husband or a maḥram unless the distance to her extended destination exceeds 77km / 48miles.

So the scholars differ on the issue, but it is better for a woman to be cautious and to only travel with her husband or a maḥram unless she has no other option. We should return to the principle behind the ruling. By instructing women to travel with their husbands or male relatives, Allāh honours them and shows them special care, more than he does for men. In general, ordinary people travel alone, but someone important always has a few people accompanying them. In the same way, Allāh says: ‘These women are a trust and they must be honoured, so do not leave them to travel alone.’ The role of a male relative is to serve the women he is travelling with.

A man was once sitting waiting in an airport in an Arab country. He saw a non-Muslim woman who has travelling alone. She was immodestly dressed and struggling to carry her suitcases. She needed to go to the toilet so she came up to him and asked him in her own language to look after her suitcases. He agreed and she went into the toilet. While he was waiting for her, a Muslim woman wearing ḥijāb passed by. She was with her husband, who was carrying her suitcase and their child. She was walking behind him with great modesty and dignity. He said to the man next to him, “Look at the state of the woman who wants freedom and decided to travel alone! If I did not have any conscience, any humanity or any religion I would have taken her bags and gone off while she was in the toilet. The other woman, however, is honoured and protected by the Sacred Law such that her husband is carrying her suitcase and their child and she is walking behind him with modesty and dignity.” Look at the difference between adhering to the Sacred Law and following the reasoning of people who have no knowledge of reality!

On Appropriate Clothing for Women on the Spiritual Path

Answered by Sayyidi al-Ḥabīb `Umar bin Hafīẓ (may Allāh preserve him and benefit us by him).

What is the most appropriate clothing for women who have taken this spiritual path to wear?

The most appropriate clothing is that which is most modest, concealing and closest to the clothing of Sayyidah Fāṭimah al-Zahrā’, the daughters of the Prophet and the wives of the Prophet, the Mothers of the Believers (may Allāh be pleased with them all).