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The majority of scholarly opinions state that the niqab is optional at most, though even here there are disagreements as to when it becomes forbidden even for those who choose to wear it of their own accord.A minority of scholarly opinions, on the other hand, state it is outright obligatory (fard) to wear niqab at all times (when in the presence of non-mahram males), while other minority scholarly opinions state it is outright prohibited and against Islam to wear niqab at any time (whether in the presence of non-mahram or not).It is also argued by some Muslims that the reasons for the niqab are to keep Muslim women from worrying about their appearances and to conceal their looks. In France specifically, although the niqab is not individually targeted, it falls within the scope of legislation which bans the wearing of any religious items (Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or other) in certain public areas.

The majority opinion, however, of most Islamic scholar is that a niqab wearer (niqabi) is required only to refrain from criticizing other women (including hijabis) who cover all their body except for their face, with the niqabi also required to refrain from forcing her niqab wearing practice upon others against their will.In exchange, a niqabi who wears the niqab because she thought it was obligatory or because she had been taught it was obligatory shall also not be criticized for wearing the niqab.That will be better that they should be known (as respectable woman) so as not to be annoyed.And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." although it does not clearly refer to covering the face itself.For example, Ayatollah Abu al-Qasim al-Khoei was among the learned who, based upon the Quran and the hadith, believed that women should wear the niqab as per "obligatory precaution (Ihtiyat wujubi).

The claimed rationale of the niqab comes from Hadith.

It is also worn in Somalia, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh as well as some parts of the Palestinian territories, Southern Iran and other areas with sizeable Muslim populations.

Because of the wide variety of hijab worn in the Muslim world, it can be difficult to definitively distinguish between one type of veil and another.

A renowned scholar and head of the Islamic world's preeminent religious institute, Tantawy has stated that "the niqab is a cultural tradition and has nothing to do with Islam." His comments followed an incident in which he forced a school girl to remove her niqab during a visit to an Al-Azhar school, when Tantawy reportedly said that he would call for an official ban for the face veil in Islamic schools.

Tantawy's decision stems from his views that younger Muslims have lost touch with traditional Islamic scholarship and have come under the influence of imams from the Salafi (Wahhabi) branch in Saudi Arabia.

The opinions of the four traditional mainstream Sunni schools of jurisprudence are as follows: According to scholars like Tirmidhī and Ḥārith b.