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Covering Hands

A woman should cover her hands you know. If she does not then the very sight of a well turned thumb or manicured cuticle could drive the likes of me into a rapological frenzy…

So what does the good Shayk Muhammeds al-Munajjid of the ever useful Islam Q&A prescribe against this terrible evil…

What should I do if my wife refuses to cover her hands, even though I asked her to do that from the beginning, then I commanded her to, but she refuses? What do you say if I threaten her with divorce?.

Praise be to Allaah.

We have explained in the answer to questions no. 11774 and 21536 the ruling on women covering their faces and hands, and that it is obligatory for them to cover them in front of non-mahram men.

Allaah has enjoined woman to be obedient to her husband, and has made men qawwaamoon (protectors and maintainers) of women. They are supposed to direct and look after women as a leader directs and looks after his people, because of the physical and mental characteristics with which Allaah has distinguished them, as well as the financial duties that He has enjoined upon them. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allaah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means”

[al-Nisa’ 4:34]

Ibn Katheer said:

‘Ali ibn Abi Talhah said, narrating from Ibn ‘Abbaas: “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women” means: they are in charge of them and the woman should obey her husband in the matters in which Allaah has enjoined obedience. Obeying him means treating his family well and looking after his wealth.

Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 1/492.

If the wife goes against his wishes and refuses to obey him, the husband has to take a gradual approach in handling the matter. First he should admonish her and remind her of the punishment for disobeying his command. If that does not succeed, then he moves on to forsaking her in bed. If that does not work, then he may hit her, but in a manner that is not severe, and there is nothing wrong with also threatening her with divorce.

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“As to those women on whose part you see ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next) refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful)”

[al-Nisa 4:34]

Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmaan al-Sa’di said:

“those women on whose part you see ill-conduct” means, those who refuse to obey their husbands and disobey them in word or deed; they should be disciplined gradually. “Admonish them (first)” means, explain the ruling of Allaah concerning obedience to one’s husband, encouraging obedience and warning against disobedience. If the wife stops, then that is what is wanted. Otherwise the husband should forsake her in her bed, by not sleeping with her or having intercourse with her, until the desired result is achieved. Otherwise he may hit her, in a manner that is not severe. If one of these methods achieves the desired result and the wife obeys, then “seek not against them means (of annoyance)” i.e., you have got what you wanted, so do not keep rebuking them for things that are in the past, or draw attention to faults that will cause trouble if you mention them.

Tafseer al-Sa’di, p. 142.

You can seek help in admonishing her and advising her by means of useful tapes and books which speak of the obligation of hijab for the Muslim woman, and explain the seriousness of disobedience and its consequences in this world and in the Hereafter.

You have to be gentle and kind with her. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allah is kind and He loves kindness and confers upon kindness that which he does not confer upon harshness and does not confer upon anything else besides it (kindness).” Narrated by Muslim, 2593.

And he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There is never any kindness in a thing but it adorns it, and kindness is never lacking from a thing but that makes it ugly.” Narrated by Muslim, 2594.

And Allaah knows best.

Islam. Over a thousand years of sexist OCD with added violence. But do be kind when you threaten to beat her. Do do that. It is Allaah’s way. And Allaah of course knows best.

Does it ever occur to the beards that all of this is not just nasty but also utter gibberish? Do they ever think, “This is mad but if it’s the will of Allaah…”


  1. Rob Farrington says:

    What about feet? I like giving my fiance a foot massage, and – horror of horrors – her feet are completely bare whenever I do that.

    How do I ritually cleanse myself after being exposed to the Evil Of The Toenail? Is strapping semtex to my body and exploding myself in the presence of infidels enough, or do I have to say a special prayer and then rinse my hands with water first?

  2. NickM says:


    You have seen a woman’s feet!

    (I caught a glimpse of an ankle once and had to flay myself with a bull’s pizzle for forty days and forty nights – the bull was not happy – but I’m OK now.)

    You have even touched that which cannot be mentioned (apart from above).

    Just email me your address and I’ll be down with a bunch of bearded lunatics and chop your head off.

    Then it shall be OK.

    Either that or just shag a nine-year old girl. That’s OK too. Just make sure you have a beard you could lose a medium sized mammal in first.

  3. Anonymous says:

    If you read the Torah, you’ll be able to answer the question of Jewish “morality”. Murder, infanticide, rape, slavery, genocide in the Promised Land — all are perfectly fine according to the Torah, indeed commanded — so long as they are perpetrated against non-Israelites.

    According to the Torah if you beat your slave and they die instantly you’re to be punished (but doesn’t specify how). But if they don’t die straight away, you’re not to be punished as you’ve already suffered enough – you lost a slave.

    Israelite morality.

    The passage with the Medianites is particularly good – it shows how Moses was an evil man EVEN BY THE STANDARDS OF HIS OWN TIME. His men killed all the adult males – standard practice of the time – but moses told them to kill all the boys and non-virgin women too.

  4. El Draque says:

    I think I’ll just follow the advice of the Bible about a good woman.
    The Old Testament says that a good woman should be trusted to manage a household, to run her own business on the side, and do her own dealings in the market place when her husband is off helping to make decisions with the elders.
    (I think it’s in Proverbs, and that it’s the biblical version of “having it all”.)

    And yes, I know neither Jews nor Christians have an exemplary record of following this advice.

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