Prayers: Women covering head during prayer

Q499 :Why do women have to cover their heads during prayer, recitation of the Qur'an or listening to it?

A499 : It is important to understand that there is a part of the body of every human being which must be covered so that it may not be seen by others. That part of the body of a man extends, according to most scholars, from waist line down to his knees. Some scholars are of the view that this part, which we call in Islamic terminology "Awrah" is limited to a man's private parts. The supporting evidence of the scholars of this view is certainly strong. All scholars agree that Awrah of a woman includes all her body with the exception of her face and the lower parts of her arms, from the wrists downwards. When they offer their prayers, both men and women must cover all their Awrah. When a woman is with other women only, her Awrah is the same as of a man with other men, i.e. from the waist line to the knees. With her close relatives whom she may not marry, such as her brother, father or nephew, a woman may wear a normal dress which reveals her head, her neck and her arms. If a woman wants to read the Qur'an and she is alone or with other women, it is not obligatory for her to cover her head.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )