Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi on Hijab and Niqab
Making mountains out of molehills has a become a favorite pastime of many Muslims today. One such example is the issue of niqab (The face veil), and whether or not it is an innovation, obligatory, recommended, or just permissible.
Imam Suhaib Webb is an American scholar who is currently studying at al-Azhar university in Cairo. He is a very active member of the Muslim community in America and in other parts of the world, and does not shy away from tackling and discussing issues which affect the youth of today.
He recently published on his facebook account a link to an article by the great Egyptian scholar Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi stating the evidence for niqab, it is currently only available in Arabic: http://www.qaradawi.net/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=7291&version=1&template_id=130&parent_id=17
There is a shorter article he wrote on the same topic which is available in English and can be taken as a summary of the Arabic article: http://believersbeehive.blogspot.com/2009/10/very-fair-scholarly-statement-on-niqab.html
Then to compliment these works he has written an article on defence of the Hijab (Headscarf), and the evidence that it is sufficient and the minimum obligatory requirement: http://www.suhaibwebb.com/blog/islam-studies/is-wearing-the-niqab-obligatory-for-women-part-1-of-2-by-yusuf-al-qara%E1%B8%8Dawi-translated-by-u-%CA%BFabdulla
To summarise the Sheikh informs us that a woman has the right to wear niqab and if individuals want to hold the opinion that it is obligatory then it is an acceptable opinion and there is sufficient evidence to support it, but people should also respect the opinion that Hijab is sufficient, and people who hold both opinions are correct and either can be followed.