Can I Pray in Public While Wearing a Niqab?
Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch
I’m wearing a Niqab and frequently have to pray in public. As a result, I wanted to know if and under what conditions it was permissible to pray while wearing a niqab.
Is it also permissible to remove it in public places (restaurants, for example) while sitting in the back in such a way that you are not visible while eating?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.
The Ruling of Wearing a Niqab
Even though wearing a face veil (niqab) was the practice of the women of the Prophet’s family (may Allah bless him and give him peace), there is a difference of opinion amongst the scholars regarding it. [al-Mawsua’a al-Fiqhiyya al-Kuwaitiyya]
Most scholars did not deem it as an obligation, unless there was actual or a fear of harm, such as accosting or being stared at with lust by men. Despite this many scholars encouraged the wearing of the niqab. [Ibid.]
If one chooses to wear the niqab, then the following rulings apply:
Praying With Niqab
It is prohibitively disliked to pray with a face covering, unless there is a necessity. Praying in the presence of unrelated men would be considered a necessity, if there is no where else she can pray. [Ibid.]
Eating in Public
If she is eating in public, she can carefully lift the niqab away from her mouth with her left hand while eating with the right hand. This is in the case that she must eat where other men are present. [Ibid.]
Additionally, she can choose her seat facing the wall and turn towards it to minimize the possibility of anyone seeing her face.
If she is sitting in a place where no men would see her, she is allowed to take off her niqab; however, she should be cautious that men do not walk by.
Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Yusuf Weltch teaches Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York, where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences.
He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he studied for three years in Dar al-Mustafa under some of the most outstanding scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib.
In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Quran and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Quranic exegesis, Islamic history, and several texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.