As I’m sure you all have already noticed by now…i always cover my chin-like the underside and the sides of my cheeks when out and about, wearing hejab (the entire modest attire ensemble) and personally I’ve always felt that the chin must be part of the awrah because when we wear hejab we should cover as much as possible except for the hands and the face. Ofcourse I know many sisters who read my blog follow the rulings that state that the face is awrah and hence niqab is fard. I won’t argue with that as it boils down to which scholars one follows. According to the scholars I follow its a not fard, although can and should be done for extra barakah-if possible. Since its not necessary I prefer to just cover as best I can.
Anyway…this lead me on a quest recently to find out where in both Sunni and Shia sources it states that the underside of the chin is considered awrah and must be covered. As you can imagine its a contentious issue! Many Sunni Muslims think only Shia women cover their chin and so wearing ones hejab covering the chin automatically labels you as a Shia. Yet, many Shia women do not cover their chin and others say it’s not necessary and then what about all the North African and Turkish women I see who do cover their chin and who are either Hanafi or Maliki or Shaifi? What about the telekung, the SE Asian prayer dresses that usually come with a chin-cover?
This search for scholarly rulings about this lead me to a few sources which I found quite interesting.
For Sunnis…the Sunni madhabs that I could find in which the underside of the chin is considered awrah, part of the neck and should be covered is Hanafiyyah and Shafiyyah…but…not every Hanafi or Shaifi scholar says it is required. Some do and some do not. Most say its not exactly required as it would be considered a “hardship” while a handful say its required or should be done. I guess this explains why I sometimes see North African and Turkish sisters wearing their hejabs in such a fashion.
Here is one such link about this from the Hanafi perspective.
Then what about Shia sources? I kept going around and around when searching for scholarly rulings about this. I had always heard for the longest time that for women who are Shia that the chin is considered part of the neck and hence awrah and must be covered but now suiddently I read that no longer do most Shia Marja feel that covering the chin is necessary!
In a more recent ruling, Ayatollah Sistani states that the underside of the chin is considered part of the face and does not need to be covere, yet in another ruling also by Ayatollah Sistani…namely his Code of Ethics he states that it is important for a Muslim woman who observes hejab to cover the underside of the chin and that it is considered awrah! I can only speculate that maybe his views changed over time. I don’t know. I read elsewhere that the rulings from his “ethics” must be taken as supplemental.
Anyway, in conclusion…for Sunnis…its recommended to cover the chin if you are Hanafi or Shaifi. Although most likely in the other madhabs there are similar strains of thought but its not required by most, it would be more like a recommendable action. For Shia sisters it seems like its generally considered required but not mandatory, although again, each Shia scholar will have his own viewpoint so personally in that matter, one should follow the majority…right?
I’m not writing this to en’shallah upset anyone or to pretend to be a scholar or some wise educated person in the deen…I’m learning like everyone else. But I did want to share this as sometimes I get tired of explaining to sisters WHY I wear my hejab the way I do! Also I chose to include both references to Sunni AND Shia scholarly opinions because my blog is aimed at Muslim sisters in general…not Muslim sisters of one sole islamic viewpint and I have readers who are Sunni, Shia and Salafi along with non-Muslims…
I close with…ALLAH SUBHANA WA TA’ALA KNOWS BEST!