A small scarf instead hijab - is it permissible to cover only one part of a head?


It is known that there is a hadith which says (approximate sense), in the time before the end of the world will be enough to observe only one-tenth part of religion to get into heaven (jannah) (because at that time will be difficult to practice religion entirely). Based on these words, one well-known Russian religious leader recently said: because for Russian women it is difficult to wear the hijab, they can take a small scarf and cover only one-tenth part of a head (not the whole head) and it will be enough. Will be such interpretation of this hadith permissible?


Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakaatuh

The Hadith in question is recorded in famous compilation of Hadith by Imam Tirmizi (Rahimahullah) known as Sunan at-Tirmizi or Jami’ut Tirmizi. The Hadith is narrated by Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah (Radiyallahu Anhu) in which he quotes the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) saying:

إنكم في زمان من ترك منكم عشر ما أمر به هلك ثم يأتي زمان من عمل منهم بعشر ما أمر به نجا

“Indeed you (my companions) are in a blessed era. Whoever leaves out practicing on one tenth of the commandments of Islam, he is heading for destruction. Later on, there will come a time where if a person has to practice on even one tenth of the commandments of Islam, he will be saved (and go to paradise)”

(Tirmizi, Hadith #: 2267)

The above Hadith is explaining that the era of the Sahabah was the golden era where the laws of Islam reigned supreme over the lands and there was no type of oppression or restrictions from any tyrant ruler. It was easy to practice Islam and there was no excuse not to practice on any of the important, obligatory or Sunnah aspects of religion. So the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said with regards to practicing Islam in such an era that there is no excuse for you to leave out even one tenth of these aspects of religion.

The commentators of Hadith like Imam Munawi and Allamah Mubarakfuri (Rahimahumallah) mention that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was specifically referring to the actions of enjoining good and preventing evil (Amr bil Ma’roof and Nahi anil Munkar). Mulla Ali Qari and Allamah Teebi (Rahimahumallah) mention that he was also referring to Sunnah actions. He was not referring to obligatory and compulsory acts of Islam like Salaah, the observance of Hijab etc as it is obvious that these cannot be compromised in any way.

(ما أمر به) أي: من الأمر بالمعروف والنهي عن المنكر، إذ لا يجوز صرف هذا القول إلى عموم المأمورات لأنه عرف أن مسلما لا يعذر فيما يهمل من الفرض الذي تعلق بخاصة نفسه. هكذا قاله الشراح. قال الطيبي: ولعل هذا غير مناسب لباب التمسك بالكتاب والسنة، وفيه بحث لأن الأمر بالمعروف لا يعرف إلا منهما، ثم قال: بل لو حمل على ما مر في الحديث السابق، وهو من عمل في سنة على ما بيناه كان أنسب ويدخل فيه الأمر بالمعروف والنهي عن المنكر بالطريق الأولى  (هلك) : لأن الدين عزيز والحق ظاهر، وفي أنصاره كثرة فالترك يكون تقصيرا منكم فلا يعذر أحد منكم في التهاون (ثم يأتي زمان) : يضعف فيه الإسلام ويكثر الظلمة والفساق وقل أنصاره، فيعذر المسلمون في الترك إذ ذاك لعدم القدرة لا للتقصير (من عمل منهم بعشر ما أمر به نجا) : لانتفاء تلك المعاني المذكور

The Hadith then explains that another era will come where there will be restrictions against Islam due to the reign of tyrant or unjust rulers and overwhelming corruption. Now this is not only referring to times close to Qiyamah. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was foretelling that this Ummah will face difficult times at different periods and in some places, practicing Islam will be more difficult than others. In these difficult situations, practicing on just a tenth of the Sunnah actions or carrying out one tenth of enjoining good and forbidding evil will be sufficient for a person to enter paradise. (Mirqatul Mafatih, Vol: 1, Pg: 264, Faydhul Qadir, Vol: 2, Pg: 556, Tuhfatul Ahwazi, Vol: 6, Pg: 450)

As mentioned previously, this is not referring to Fardh actions for these cannot be compromised. It is a known fact that Hijab is Fardh, so the concession in the Hadith cannot be referring to Hijab.

The scholar’s interpretation mentioned in your question is blatantly wrong and contradicts the explanations of the classical experts of Hadith. I’m sad to say it, but honestly, I see such an interpretation to be a mockery of Islam and the laws of the Qur’an and Hadith. Hijab is Fardh and this demands that all the hair on the head of a female be concealed.

To the best of my knowledge, there is no official ban in Russia against the Hijab. The state has allowed for females to exercise their right of Hijab and Muslim females should appreciate the situation and take advantage of it. As long as there is no official ban of the Hijab in Russia or there is no fear of one’s life, there is nothing that justifies the abandonment of Hijab or the absurd suggestion of covering one tenth of the head.

Yes, where there is a fear of one’s life being at stake for wearing the Hijab, the ruling may be different and we will then analyze the situation on an individual basis and issue a ruling or advise accordingly.


And Allah Knows Best. 


Mufti Suhail Tarmahomed 

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