Short Answer: It is not obligatory, only recommended. When a Muslim woman hears the Quran being recited out loud, it is recommended for her to cover her head with a scarf out of respect. I have noticed that Muslims nowadays focus on covering their heads during the recitation of Quran and the call to prayer, even though this is not obligatory. Yet, they tend to neglect something that is much more important i.e. remaining quiet.
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- When she is performing her salah i.e. daily prayers
- When she appears before, or can be seen by, adult males who are not her mahrams (closely related family members).
Besides the above two times, a Muslim adult female is not obligated to cover her head, at any time.
However, when she hears the Quran being recited out loud, it is recommended for her to cover her head with a scarf or stole, out of respect.
This is because the recitation of the Quran is a symbol of Islam, about which Allah says in the Quran:
Whosoever venerates the symbols of Allah, then it is truly from the piety of the hearts. (Quran 22:32)
Some have said the same is true of hearing the adhan, but there is no direct daleel for this.
Listen To Quran Recitation in Silence
At this point, I would like to point out one thing, though: I have noticed that Muslims tend to neglect or disregard a more important etiquette related to hearing the Qur’an being recited aloud.
I am speaking about the requirement of remaining silent, i.e. not talking to anyone.
It is more highly prescribed for any Muslim–male or female–who has passed puberty to remain quiet when they hear the Quran being recited out loud.
They should listen to it intently, even if they do not understand Arabic. This is a command of Allah in the Quran.
So when the Quran is recited, then listen to it and pay attention that you may receive mercy. (Quran 7:204)
When The Adhan Is Called
Similarly, when they can hear the call to prayer being pronounced, Muslim males and females should remain quiet and should also stop talking, even if a conversation was already going on.
I wanted to point this out because I have noticed that Muslims nowadays focus on covering their heads during the recitation of Quran and the call to prayer, even though this is not obligatory. Yet, they tend to neglect something that is much more important i.e. remaining quiet.
Nevertheless, please keep in mind that it is also not obligatory to stop talking during the adhan and respond to it; rather, it is preferable and reward-worthy to do so.
And Allah knows best.
I hope this helps.
Salam and please keep in touch.
(From Ask About Islam archives)
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