What do I have to Cover for My Salah to be Accepted?

Asalamu alaykum,

Suhaib! A number of sista’z is saying that we don’t have to cover ourselves for prayers? Waz up with dat?

The Answer:

What a women must cover for her prayers to be valid

The Prophet [صلى الله عليه وسلم] said,

“لَا يَقْبَلُ اللَّهُ صَلَاةَ حَائِضٍ إلَّا بِخِمَارٍ”

“Allah will not accept the prayers of a woman unless she is wearing a khimār [hijab].”

This hadith was related by Ahmed and the famous compilers of the Sunnan save al-Nasī.

A look at this hadith

Al-Tirmidhi said it was “a good hadith.” Imām al-Hākim said that it “Met the conditions of Muslim.” Imam al-Dhahabī concurred with al-Hākim. Ibn Khuzaimah and Ibn Hibān both considered this hadith to be sound.” See the footnotes of al-Talkhis al-Haibar fi Takhrij al-Rāfi al-Kabīr of Ibn Hajar vol. 1 pg. 665. Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyah print 1989. al-Shaikh al-Bāni considered it sound as well see hadith num. 596 in his Sahih of Sunna Abu Dawōd.

Not only should she wear khimār [hijab] but should also wear something that covers the rest of her body save her face and hands

When Um Salamah was apprised of the aforementioned hadith, she went to the Prophet [sa] and said:

أتصلي المرأة في درع وخمار وليس عليها إزار‏؟‏ فقال‏:‏ ‏”‏إذا كان الدرع سابغاً يغطي ظهور قدميها‏”‏

“Should a women prayer with a shirt, and khimār, with out an izār?” [a skirt that covers her from the waist down] The Prophet responded, “If her shirt is long covering the tops of her feet.”

A look at this hadith

This hadith was related by Abu Dawōd and al-Hakim the latter considering it sound according to al-Bukhari’s conditions with al-Dhahabī agreeing. See Jāmi al-Hadith of al-Suyutī vol. 3 pg. 452.

Imam Mālik
related it mawquf as noted by Abdul Haq, but Ibn Hajar said in Bulugh al-Marām that the hadith is raised to the Prophet [sa]. See Bidayat al-Mujtahid wa Nihāyatu al-Muqtasid of Ibn Rushd vol.1 pg. 273 Dar al-Sālam print 2006.

Statements of the Female Scholars from the Companions

Ibn Rushd said, “The majority of scholars held that a woman must wear a scarf and a long shirt [that covers the tops of her feet] for prayers.

He writes a few sentences later. “This was also the fatwa of the female scholars of fiqh from the companions: Umm Salama, Āisha, Maymōnah saying, “If a woman prays without the proper covering, she must repeat her prayers.” [Note: that Malik held that she should make it up if the time of that prayer was still in]

Other Scholars

Sheikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah

“It is incumbent upon a women to cover herself when she prayers alone.” (Majmō al-Fatawa vol. 22 pg. 109)

Dr. Attiyah Saqar al-Azharī

“It is agreed upon that a person is ordered to cover his/herself for his/her prayer to be valid even if alone.” (Fatwā Dār al-Iftā al-Masriyah vol. 2 pg. 28)

Dr. Wahba Zuhaylī

“A woman must cover her entire body for prayers, saver her face and hands.” (Al-Fiqh al-Islamiȳi wa adilatuh, vol. 1 pg. 665 Dār al-Fikir fourth edition)

And Allah knows best


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  1. Zubair Khan says:

    Shukran jazeelan ya ustaadh.

  2. realist says:


    Is the Hanafi view, that the feet do not need to be covered, valid?

  3. suhaib says:

    Asalamu alaykum:

    Br. Realist:

    Yes of course.


  4. Suhaib Webb says:

    Assalamu alaykum,

    Yes of course.


  5. JB says:

    “Should a women prayer with a shirt, and khimār, with out an izār?” [a skirt that covers her from the waist down] The Prophet responded, “If her shirt is long covering the tops of her feet.”

    I know you just answered the question on the Hanafi mathhab, but in the Maliki mathhab, is it necessary for all of the feet to be covered?

  6. Sayed Islam says:

    Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullah.

    jazakallah khayr yaa shk.

    can you please clarify on position on the following.

    sister wears a hijaab and a regular top covering down to middle of thighs, lower garment a semi-loose trouser/pants and socks covering ankle and feet

    1. While standing feet are not covered by garment from ankle down but covered with socks.
    2. In state of juloos, individual thighs are cleary identifiable, due to the pulling of the pants. (Just like men when praying their salah)

    Will prayers be accepted, right now we just workin on the sisters to get their prayers done in an acceptable manner. May allah guide us to that which best in his eyes swt.

    jzk allah lhair

  7. Suhaib Webb says:

    Asalamu alaykum,

    The Maliki's hold that a woman must keep her feet covered.


  8. Suhaib Webb says:

    Asalamu alaykum,

    As al-Sheikh al-Dardir mentions in Aqrab al-Maslik,a woman must cover everything save “Her face and hands.” Thus, the position of the school is that she's to cover her feet. As I understand, the position of showing the feet is strictly a Hanafi enterprise :).


  9. bint Muhammad says:

    Walakum Salaam WaRahmatullah,

    Shukran for the post – may Allah swt reward you.

    Suhaib you wrote in the post:

    “Allah will not accept the prayers of a menstruating woman unless she is wearing a khimār [hijab].”

    …but aren't the menstruating women exempt from praying during that time?

    Confused :-S

  10. Umer says:

    Assalamu alaikum,

    Sisters from the Indo-Pak subcontinent (who may otherwise wear a khimar with a jilbab over their clothes when out) often pray with a traditional shalwar kameez, which covers everything, yet the shirt is not extending all the way to their feet. Putting aside the issue of whether the feet should be covered (obviously many of them follow the hanafi opinion), is it acceptable to pray like this, when the shirt is only long enough to come down the knees? And how far does the khimar need to come down?

    JazakAllahu khairan.


  11. OK says:

    Assalamu Alaikum,

    The term “menstruating women” (or in Arabic حائض) refers to a woman who has reached the age of menstruation, i.e. the age of puberty. So the meaning is that for a woman above the age of puberty, she must cover herself for prayer to be accepted.

    WAllahu a3lam.

  12. F says:

    InshaAllah Imam Suhaib will answer in detail, but I heard Dr. Talat Affifi, Shaikh in Azhar school of dawah, say that the looseness requirement does not apply in Salat if the woman is by herself. Allah knows best.

  13. Aischa says:

    So they had socks back in the day? I've always wondered about that…. Did they wear cottony socks (sans elastic of course) or those kuffs? How easy was it to cover one's feet in the time of the prophet (s)? I just figured just sandals or just bare feet would be the most practical….
    Any Islamic archeologist out there?

    • Camilla says:

      Slm that’s interesting , did the wear socks at the time of the prophet?

    • Foxymardy says:

      I don’t think they wore socks. But the women used to walk with their dresses long enough to touch the ground.

      An ex slave of Ibraheem ibn Abdur Rahman ibn Awf asked Umm Salama (the Prophet SAW’s wife) “I am a woman who lets her dress drag and I walk in filthy places (so what should I do)?” Umm Salamah said that the Prophet SAW replied “What comes after it, purifies it”

      This hadith talks about purifying the bottom of a woman’s dress and how no matter where the woman walks on, her dress will be purified and fit to be prayed with once she walks away from the filthy area (as in, the dirt that comes after it, will purify it). It is interesting to note that this hadith mentions how women back in the Prophet SAW’s time used to wear their dresses, it was long enough that it dragged on the floor and covers the feet. So they didn’t wear socks but the y still covered their feet.

      For the hadith, see Nasir ad-Deen al-Albani, Sahih Ibn Majah no 430. Recorded by Malik, Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah.

      And Allah knows Best

  14. bint Muhammad says:

    JazakAllahu khayran for the clarification!

  15. Wasim says:

    AsSalamualaikum, can a women pray with veil??? If she prays with veil is it valid?? In some public area where there is no option to pray in public can she veil her face ?? Is this valid?

    JazakumAllah Khair.

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