Bismillahi Al-Rahmani Al-Rahim

Muslim Women With Non-Muslim Women (3)

What is the stance of the hanabilah on Muslims women covering in
front of other non-Muslim women?  Can you tell me the proofs and what
scholars from the hanabilah held which opinion.  Also if a woman is
to cover in front of non-Muslims women, does she cover just teh head
or the face as well?  Meaning are non-Muslim women just like men then?

al-salamu `alaykum

The basic issue of what Muslim women must cover when with non-Muslim women was mentioned back in January.

According to the madhhab, it is permissible for a women to show another woman--even a non-Muslim--anything other than the area between her navel and her knees.

A second opinion transmitted from Imam Ahmad (Allah be pleased with him) that Muslim women must cover in front of non-Muslim women just as they must cover in front of men. This is what they must cover, not what they should cover.

The reason for the difference of opinion goes back to understanding the phrase "nisa'ihinn" from Al-Nur (Qur'an 24:31):
And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms, and not to reveal their adornment save to their own husbands or fathers or husbands' fathers, or their sons or their husbands' sons, or women, or their slaves, or male attendants who lack vigour, or children who know naught of women's nakedness. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And turn unto Allah together, O believers, in order that ye may succeed." (Pickthall translation, p255)
T he phrase "nisa'ihinn" is composed of two words: the noun nisa' (women) and the pronoun hinn (their). Here there is a difference in understanding the scope of this pronoun: does it include women in general regardless of religion (which is the first opinion given), or is it restricted to Muslim women (the second opinion).

And Allah knows best.

[References: Nail Al-Ma'arib (2.511), Manar Al-Sabil (500), Al-Furu` (5.154)]

wa al-salamu `alaykum