Can I Remove My Hijab to Follow Employment Requirements?

01 April, 2019
Q Dear scholars, as-salamu `alaykum. I live in the Canada. My boss does not allow me to wear my hijab at work. Therefore, I wear it before my work and after I leave it. I have tried asking him but he is very narrow-minded. Please, suggest something.


Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. 

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

In this fatwa:

1- Hijab is mandatory for the Muslim woman. It also falls under the right of religious freedom stated in most world constitutions.

2- If your boss is preventing you from this right, he is then violating the law of his country. You should not surrender to that. Rather, you have to struggle for your right resorting to the local Islamic organizations to help you solve this problem.

In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

Wearing hijab (Islamic attire including head covering) is an important religious requirement mandated by the Quran.

As a Muslim woman, your first priority is to please your Creator. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “There is no obedience to anyone in disobedience to Allah.” (At-Tirmidhi)

In other words, you are not bound to obey your boss if he orders you to disobey Allah.

In Islam, we are not even allowed to obey our parents if they order us to disobey Allah. So, you don’t need to apologize for wearing hijab.

Since wearing hijab is a religious requirement in Islam, you are allowed to exercise this right in your work place. This right has been guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights.

Your boss is not allowed to discriminate against you on that ground or force you to take off your hijab. If he does so, he is violating the laws of the land.

As a Muslim woman, therefore, you should never compromise your principles. If you cannot handle this issue by yourself, you may do well to get a letter from the Council on American-Islamic Relations Canada (CAIR-Can). It should be enough to bring some sense to the mind of your boss.

May Allah grant you success in your struggle, ameen.

Almighty Allah knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.