Benefit: The Jilbāb Is Worn from the Head and the Impermissibility of the Shoulder Abāyah
In the Name of Allāh, the Ever Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy
[Q]: Is it permissible for a woman to disobey her parents if they command her not to wear the abāya?
[A]: It seems to be apparent that you, O my daughter, from the khalīj (the Gulf States), if in fact you are not from Saudi al-ʿArabīa. It is obligatory upon the Muslim woman to wear the jilbāb. The jilbāb is an outer covering that conceals the beauty of a woman and her clothing; it covers her body from head to toe. This means that it covers the entire body.
As for the 'abaaya that is most popular in the Gulf States, then it has taken the place of the jilbāb.
I say that if in your area the jilbāb is predominately worn by the people, then do not wear the 'abaaya. However, if in your area or country the people predominately wear the 'abaaya then do not obey your parents (i.e. wear the jilbāb not the 'abayaa) as there is no obedience to the creation when it involves disobedience to the creator.
At this point, I would like to clarify that the 'abaaya of the woman is be worn upon the head, and for her to wear it upon the shoulders is an error, even if some of the people of knowledge have given verdicts that the 'abaaya can be worn on the shoulders.
Verily, those who have given the verdict (stating) that a woman can wear the 'abayaa on the shoulders have only done so because they were unaware that the 'abayaa has taken the place of the jilbāb; and the jilbāb is worn from the head.
Understand this, may Allāh bless you.
Translated by Anwar Wright