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Taking off Hijab to Keep Marriage: Allowed?

15 October, 2018
Q As-salamu `alaykum. I am a young woman. I met my husband when we were 17 years old. We got married at the age of 26. At that time I did not wear hijab. Two years ago I gave birth to a baby. Just after that I decided to wear hijab. My husband did not like my new look and my hijab is causing us enormous problems and I even asked for divorce. Could you, please, help me whether I can give up hijab in order to preserve my marriage and family?


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- In Islam, both the husband and wife should help each other attain the required religious commitment.

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2- The husband is supposed to help his wife follow the rules of Islam and he is not allowed to order her to refrain from wearing hijab which is a symbol of chastity and morality.

Responding to the question, Sheikh Muhammad Al-Mukhtar Ash-Shinqiti, Professor of Political Ethics and Religions History at Qatar University, states:

Both husband and wife are supposed to be conscious of Allah and help each other follow the rules of Islam.

One of the sayings of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is, “May Allah have mercy upon a husband who wakes up at night, offers Night Prayer, and then wakes his wife up and if she refuses he gently sprinkled water on her face. And may Allah have mercy upon a wife who wakes up at night, offers Night Prayer, and then wakes her husband up and if he refuses she gently sprinkled water on his face.” (Abu Dawud)

So your husband is supposed to help you follow all the rules of Islam, including hijab. He should never be a stumbling block against your commitment to your faith.

However, if he is not satisfied somehow with your hijab, then you should continue educating him about the religious obligation and your freedom to practice it.

If the problem is related to how the hijab looks or the colors you choose, then I would see no problem in choosing the colors your husband likes.

However, if after all possible means are taken, your husband is still insisting that you take off your hijab, then nobody can be obeyed at the expense of disobeying Allah.

You have to keep your hijab and never ask for divorce.

But if he divorces you, then Allah may grant you a better husband who respects your faith and personal freedom.

Allah Almighty knows best.

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