Bismillah Ar Rahman Ar Raheem
Assalaamu alaikum wa rahmathullah wa barakatuhu
It seems strange that there should be so much heated discussion amongst muntaqabāt as to whether it is fardh, mustahabb or totally unnecessary to cover one's eyes and hands in public or in the presence of na-mahram.
For me, this answer is simple; whenever possible 'in public' I do cover my eyes and hands for two reasons:
Firstly, I do this as I feel it pleases Allah (subhana wa ta’ala)
Secondly, because I feel that leaving eyes and hands exposed is contrary to the idea that all of a woman is awrah. This point is confirmed by many daleels, the two most evident being:
Tirmidhi with a Sahih chain reports... "Rasulullah (Sallallaahu “layhi Wasallam) said “All of a woman is “awrah.”
(Shaikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid quotes this hadith narrated by Tirmidhi with a sahih isnaad and says this is a direct hadith from Rasulullah (Sallallaahu “layhi Wasallam ) and has made it clear that a woman must cover everything including the face and hands!)
Shaikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid Quotes All of the woman is awrah based on the hadith of "Rasulullah (Sallallaahu “layhi Wasallam) said “All of a woman is “awrah.”
(Narrated by Tirmidhi with a sahih isnaad). (This is the correct view according to the madhhab of the Hanbalis, one of the two views of the Maalikis and one of the two views of the Shaafa”is. )
But even if I leave aside such daleels, as an ordinary muslimah I have to ask myself if leaving exposed such potent parts of a woman’s body as her eyes and hands can possibly be correct. If we feel we must cover our faces, is it not strange that we should leave the most attractive parts of our faces - our eyes - exposed?
There is an old proverb that says “The eyes are the windows to the soul”, and a glance at them, especially when framed between niqaab and head veil, can show the mood of the muslimah wearing niqaab. Eyes reveal laughter or sorrow without showing the rest of the face, and sadly they can and are used for seduction and causing fitnah. So it must be simple logic that they should be concealed in front of na-mahram if possible.
Also are not the hands always being used to convey messages? Anyone who lives in the Middle East will know that no conversation is carried on without a lot of hand movements to reinforce the speakers points. Watch an Indian dancer and you can see how hands can be used as tools of seduction. In addition our hands say a lot about us and can undermine our anonymity and even hint at our beauty - a young woman’s hands are normally smooth while her mother’s will show her age.
So to me it seems logical that in front of na-mahram and in public places I need to cover eyes and hands so as to ensure I do not cause fitnah. Obviously there are times when I have to uncover my eyes to a degree or totally, like when driving or reading something in small print. But walking in the street or in rooms where there are na-mahram, it is not any trouble or handicap to flip down an eye veil. Yet we often see muntaqabāt walking in the souks, or on buses, or where they are many men, with the eye veils attached to the niqaabs flipped back so as to expose their often highly made-up eyes. I have to ask why these sisters bother to wear niqaab at all when they are showing, even accentuating, the most expressive parts of the face
My own belief is that covering eyes and hands whenever possible is mustahab. However I do sincerely think that it is up to every sister to make up her own mind as to the answer to this question. The fact that someone wears niqaab and covers her hands and eyes does not necessarily means that she is good muslimah, but I do think we should all individually look at this problem with open minds and come to our own answers. Surely it is a small matter, specially when niqaab equipped with eye veils are so easily made or bought with very little more effort or expense than ones without them.
And to those muntaqabāt who wear theirs flipped back all the time, I would say that lowering your eye veils does not make you freaks or half blind people who are liable to walk into lampposts. What the simple act of pulling down a thin eye veil does do is to help prevent fitnah. It is something done in a second or two that may well have beneficial consequences out of all proportion to the VERY minor inconvenience caused to the individual muntaqabāh.
If you don't wear eyes veils of gloves, as I said earlier, it is your choice. But I hope you at least consider the points I have put forward in this short blog insha'Allah.