Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
My Muslim friend posts pictures of his wife on Instagram. Although she wears a hijab, she also wears make-up, and her hijab isn’t very modest.
My friend has 90%+ male followers, so is this permissible? Aren’t men supposed to lower their gaze, and looking at her can cause fitna (corruption)? But in the real world, people don’t lower their gaze on the street, so is it the same? Isn’t it worse if she is wearing make-up in the pictures? I want to be sure of the ruling before I advise him.
Thank you for your question. May Allah reward you for being such a good friend who is concerned about the religion of his friend. May Allah always send you friends who rightly guide you.
Let’s break it down. First, posting pictures in and of itself is permissible according to many scholars, and prohibited according to others. Your friend does have a right to take the lenient ruling; see those rulings here:
Hijab & Make-Up
Hijab is obligatory, and I am pleased to hear that she is covering her hair, but you are correct that simply wearing a head covering is not enough. Hijab means concealment and modesty overall, and one’s decisions, speech, and behavior should reflect that meaning.
Wearing make-up in a way that enhances the features is not permissible, and it doesn’t help matters that she is wearing make-up in the photos. It is certainly not in line with the meaning of the hijab. Please see more details here:
Lowering the Gaze
It is obligatory for Muslims to lower their gazes from the opposite gender, as we know from the Quran, and what people do in the streets is not our standard. Our standard has been divinely ordained, and we should strive to uphold it. Although your friend is not facilitating the matter by posting pictures of his wife, you might want to think it through before you advise him.
Commanding the Right and Forbidding the Wrong
Commanding the right and forbidding the wrong means that you advise someone to stay away from the haram in a way that he will listen, not rebel and that it engenders taqwa (God-fearingness) in his heart. I have seen some friends who attack their friend’s actions and don’t end up with the desired result, but rather with one less friend. I urge you to read these in their entirety to make sure that you take the right approach if needed at all:
May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.