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Al-Qaradawi: Niqab is Neither an Obligation Nor an Innovation

In short: The majority of scholars believe that women are allowed to show their faces.

"I wish to begin by emphasising a fact that does not really need emphasis as it is eminently and undeniably well-known among the people of knowledge. It is that the view that wearing the niqāb is not an obligation, and that it is permissible for a Muslim woman to uncover her face in front of unrelated men, is the view of the majority of the legal scholars (jumhūr al-fuqahāʾ), since the time of the Companions (Ṣaḥāba).

So there is no justification for this contrived clamour, this artificial storm, that some sincere people, who are not scholars, and some zealous students of knowledge, have created against what the illustrious dāʿiya, Shaykh Muḥammad al-Ghazālī has said in some of his books and articles. They give the impression that he has invented new and unprecedented opinions, while they are in fact no more than the statements of respected imams and jurists, as we shall demonstrate.  We will show that this is the position that is best supported by the evidence and traditions (āthār). It is backed up by [scholarly] reflection and contemplation, and is corroborated by the reality on the ground in the best times [i.e. the times of the best generations]."