Shaykh Bin Baz was asked:
“There are some women, may Allah guide them, that wear the abayah at the shoulders in front of the men or at home where there are men. Please give us the ruling on wearing the abayah on the shoulders, may Allah reward you.
“What is obligatory is to wear it from the head, like the custom of the women. As for wearing it from the shoulders, then it is not allowed because it imitates the men and she appears like a man. This action is not allowed. It is upon her to wear her abayah from above her head…” End translation.
Faisal Ibn Abdul Qaadir Ibn Hassan
In regards to a woman wearing an abayah from the shoulders, then most of our scholars have mentioned that it is prohibited due to it displaying the woman’s figure. As for such an abayah intimating a man, then some of the scholars, like Shaikh Bin Baz (may Allah have mercy upon him), have mentioned that. Others however have mentioned that while it is not allowed for her to wear this outside the house, wearing abayas which start from the shoulder do not imitate men.
Shaikh Ibn ul-‘Uthaymeen (d. 1421 H.), may Allah have mercy upon him, said,
“There is no harm in a woman wearing an Abaya that starts from her shoulders in prayer because it is something common among women. It is not from the specific clothing of men such that we can say that it is imitating men” End translation. [al-Liqaa ash-Shahri (Tape no. 43) Side A]
For those reasons, the Shaikh permitted a woman praying with an abayah that starts from the shoulders. As well, the prohibition is only for wearing such clothing when going out and not when inside. The Permanent Committee said,
“It is not allowed for a woman to wear an Abayah on her shoulders when going out.” End translation. [Fatawa al-Lajnah ad-Daaimah (17/101)]
And Allah Knows Best
Faisal bin Abdul Qaadir bin Hassan