Ibn Uthaimīn on Women Wearing Their Outer Covering on Their Shoulders
Shaykh Muḥammad ibn Ṣāliḥ al-ʿUthaimīn
Categorized under: Clothing and Dress, Fatāwá and Rulings
What is the ruling regarding a woman’s prayer when she is draping the ‘abā’ah [a wide, loose gown worn over normal clothes] on her shoulders? Indeed, it has come to me from your esteemed self [a fatwá considering] the prayer in this [given] situation to be invalid because it resembles men’s clothing.
Allāh is the one from whom help is to be sought! This woman [that was described in this question at hand] is upon the opposite of what women spread around of my [supposedly] saying [that] there is no harm in wearing the ‘abā’ah on the shoulder, even if that were at the market and in shops.
And both matters [that have been attributed to me] are wrong. We say: there is no problem with draping the ‘abā’ah on the shoulder during the prayer because this is something normal for women. It is not from those things that are specific to men alone so that we would say [that] this comes under the issue of imitating men.
As for her wearing the ‘abā’ah on the shoulder in marketplaces and among people, then no, since her wearing the ‘abā’ah on her shoulders in marketplaces leads to revealing the size of her shoulders and neck, and whether it is long or short–I mean the neck–so there will be putting [people] to trial in that.
Then who is it that feels secure, if he were to make allowances for women in [this matter of] wearing the ‘abā’ah on the shoulders, from the issue evolving [into something even worse]? After some time, women will start going out to the markets in [word unclear here]–meaning, in a qamīṣ [a sleeved garment, waist length or longer] without an ‘abā’ah–because women, for the most part, if a small door were to be opened for them, it would become a big door, and they can often rip off the door [from its hinges] entirely and go in without any door.
Due to that, we say there is no wrongdoing upon them [in] draping the ‘abā’ah on the shoulders, and it does not make the prayer invalid. As for walking with it [like that] in the marketplaces, then no, since it leads to putting [people] to trial, and it something that leads to women widening the range of what can be worn.