Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Question: If a person denies that wearing hijab is obligatory for women, are they considered a disbeliever? If not, what is their status?
Answer: Assalamu alaikum,
I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits. The obligation of covering applies to both men and women, and the limits of what men and women must cover are clearly affirmed in the Qur’an and Sunna of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him).
From this obligation is an adult woman’s obligation to cover all but face, hands, and feet in front of unrelated men. There is clear and decisive scholarly consensus (ijma`) on this, and it is not a ruling subject to change.
However, given the troubled times we live in, the scholars do not declare people who deny this obligation disbelievers. Rather, our duty is to call people to sound understanding of Islam and the Sacred Law. If people understand the big picture, and the wisdom and mercy the Sacred Law is based on, they will understand and accept its rulings.
Allah Most High said in the Qur’an, “Call unto the way of thy Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation, and reason with them in the better way. Lo! Your Lord is Best Aware of those who stray from His way, and He is Best Aware of those who go aright.” [Qur’an, 16.125]
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Call people with good tidings, and do not turn people away.” [Muslim]
And Allah alone gives success.