In response to your letter dated 27.11.2007, requesting an Islamic ruling in regards to the attire of a Muslim woman.

All praise is due to Allah alone. May Allah bestow peace and blessings upon His final Messenger, Muhammed (Peace be Upon Him) and upon the Family of Muhammed (Peace be Upon Him) and his Companions!

Islam is a religion that preaches morality and dignity. It educates both the men and women in regards to their dress codes. When addressing the dress code of women, Allah states  in the Holy Quran:

And tell the believing women that they must lower their gazes and guard their private parts, and must not expose their adornment, except that which appears thereof, and must wrap their bosoms with their shawls, and must not expose their adornment, except to their husbands or their fathers or the fathers of their husbands, or to their sons or the sons of their husbands, or to their brothers or the sons of their brothers or the sons of their sisters, or to their women, or to those owned by their right hands, or male attendants having no physical desire, or to the children who are not yet conscious of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet in a way that the adornment they conceal is made known. And repent to Allah O believers, all of you, so that you may achieve success.  [24:31] 

O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers that they should draw down their shawls over them. That will make it more likely that they are recognized, hence not teased. And Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very Merciful.  [33:59] 

It is very clear from the above Verses, that women should conceal their adornment. Thus, concealing the face, hands and the complete body is a necessity. This is the opinion of majority of the scholars. However, to expose sufficient amount of the body on certain occasions like: surgical operation, giving testimony, seeing the girl during marriage proposals, strict need of identification at security checkpoints, are permissible within the limits of the Shariah.

Some scholars are of the opinion that the face and wrists could be revealed, and the rest of the body should be covered.

However, in the context of the present situation, where immorality is widespread; and the fact that the face of woman is the main cause of attraction, it will be incumbent upon women to cover the whole body, including the face and the wrists.

Allah knows best.

Wassalamu Alaikum Wa Rahamthullaahi Wa Barakaathuhu!