CAIRO: The Egyptian ministry for religious endowments has weighed into the debate on whether a Muslim woman should wear a face veil with a book arguing that it is not Islamic, a newspaper reported on Thursday.
The independent daily Al-Masry al-Yom published extracts of the book, entitled â€œThe veil is a custom, not worshipâ€ by Religious Endowments Minister Mahmud Hamdi Zaqzuq, which the ministry will distribute to mosques.
â€œI will absolutely not allow the spread of the niqab (the face veil) culture in Egypt,â€ the newspaper quoted the minister as saying.
The face veil has always been a topic of debate between Sunni schools of jurisprudenceâ€”and even within individual schoolsâ€”with the majority saying the practice is unnecessary.
However, all schools agree that a woman must cover everything but her face and hands.
Zaqzuqâ€™s book cites rulings by the mufti of Egypt, the head of the Islamic Al-Azhar University and others in which they said the face veil has no basis in the Koran or hadithâ€”the traditions and sayings of Prophet Muhammad (s).
In modern day Egypt, the veil is often associated with followers of the Salafi school of thought, the dominant interpretation of Islam in Saudi Arabia.
The ministry had earlier announced it would publish books countering Salafism and distribute them to mosques.