Women Covering Feet

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: When do women have to cover their feet?

Answer: In the name of Allah, Most Merciful,

The legal ruling (fatwa) in the Hanafi school is that a woman’s feet are not parts of the body which must be covered with clothing (`awra). As such, it is not legally obligatory to cover them in the prayer or outside the prayer. [As mentioned in Radd al-Muhtar and elsewhere]

However:

1. Caution and scrupulousness would entail covering the feet, because it is obligatory according to other Sunni schools (such as the Shafi`is), and it is a strong position within the Hanafi school that they are parts of the body which must be covered with clothing (`awra). This is especially true for prayer, but it is best even outside the prayer when in the presence of those one must cover in front of.

2. It is only allowed to uncover the feet up to the ankles. Anything above the ankles is from one’s part of the body which must be covered with clothing (`awra). Many women wear skirts or dresses (such as jilbabs) that normally cover the ankles, but reveal the leg area above this while walking (especially in the wind, etc).

There is nothing like safety.

In general, the scholars remind us that one should not apply Islamic religious law (Shariah) as a dry list of do’s and don’ts. Rather, we should have the intention that we are following Allah’s commands and the guidance of His Messenger (Allah bless him & give him peace), out of love and thanks.

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,
Faraz Rabbani