The Niqab, Fact V Fiction

The following is a guest article submitted by sister Fatima Barkatulla: London-based blogger, and regular columnist for SISTERS magazine.

How much do you really know about the niqab? An insider guide to common misconceptions.

1. The niqab is a symbol of female subjugation.

None of the niqab-wearing women who I know, wear it because they have been forced to. They see it as an act of devotion to their Creator: the culmination of a spiritual journey. In fact most of them are women who were born and brought up in the UK; many are White or Afro-Caribbean Muslim converts to Islam who have chosen to observe it. The hijab, niqab and abaya are outer garments and are worn only when outdoors or in the presence of men who are not close relatives and so, contrary to popular belief, underneath their robes, in family and female-only settings Muslim women are often very fashion conscious and outgoing. They dress in everyday clothing; they get their hair done, go on holiday and even buy lingerie!

2. Women who wear the niqab cannot possibly contribute to society

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People are surprised to hear that niqab-wearers come from varied vocational backgrounds. They include doctors, teachers, dentists, authors, social workers, university graduates, lecturers and more. They usually prefer to work in a female environment and so would not wear the face-veil all the time. Other women say that wearing the niqab actually makes them feel more comfortable when they are working with men. It is ironic that the very women who are the subject of debate are far from being a burden on society: they don’t get drunk and disorderly, don’t smoke and are likely to be very good citizens. Many of them are full-time mothers who take pride in raising well-educated children who will be an asset to British society.

3. The niqab isn’t in the Qur’an

The Qur’anic worldview presents a complete system of living, which permeates the daily lives of observant Muslims. This includes everything from rituals of personal hygiene, advice on neighbourly behaviour and animal rights to regulations for dress. Some women see the niqab as a religious obligation, others, as an act of worship following in the footsteps of notable Muslim women of the past. Numerous verses in the Qur’an contain directives for Muslim women’s dress, amongst them:

“O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the Believers to draw their outer garments all over their bodies. That will be better, so that they may be known and so as not to be annoyed, and God is Ever-forgiving, Most Merciful.” (33:59)

The Qur’an was interpreted by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his disciples and their teachings form the basis of Islamic law. There are two orthodox schools of thought with regards to the interpretation of this verse. One orthodox interpretation is that it means covering the whole body including the face. The other school of thought is that, though not obligatory, covering the face is a virtue.

4. Wearing the niqab implies that all men are predatory

Just as locking our doors at night doesn’t imply that all members of society are burglars, wearing the niqab doesn’t imply that all men are predatory.

The Islamic worldview recognises that attraction between men and women exists and, if left unharnessed, has the potential to break down the moral fabric of society. It also acknowledges the physiological and physical differences between men and women and therefore Islamic legislation for dress and behaviour reflect these differences and aid adherents to avoid situations that could lead to extra-marital sexual relations. Hence both men and women have been commanded to lower their gazes and given directives on dress.

5. The niqab poses a security risk at banks and airports

By simply going to the side and showing their faces and ID to female members of staff, Muslim women who wear the niqab, have been, for decades, passing through airport security in major airports all over the world without cause for security concern. The same sort of arrangement can be made for any situation where ID needs to be checked.

6.Niqab wearers can’t possibly be teachers.

There are many highly qualified and experienced Muslim teachers. A Muslim teacher, who wears the niqab, would not need to do so if men were not present, therefore many female Muslim teachers choose to teach women or children and uncover their faces whilst teaching.

7. Banning the niqab will free those Muslim women who are coerced into wearing it.

Banning the face-veil would be totally counter-productive: it would cause many Muslim women to feel targeted and persecuted and is likely to cause many talented women to withdraw from society. The majority of niqab-wearing women in Europe, wear it out of personal choice, so if, for the sake of a suspected minority, the niqab was to be banned, this would be clear discrimination against the majority. If we want to empower women from any community who are oppressed or abused, effective public services where such abuse can be reported need to be made more available and accessible to the women involved.

Article originally published in the Times Online; republished with permission from the author.

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147 responses to “The Niqab, Fact V Fiction”

  1. Avatar Huddi says:

    Allahu Akbar

  2. Avatar Holly Garza says:

    Salaam alaykum Thanks for sharing!

    I have a few Niqabi sister friends and I still learned something new i didn’t know from this post.

    I am going to share it on my myspace so that everyone can read it.

  3. Avatar PD says:

    Excellent article… jazakiAllahu khairan. As a Munqabba sometimes the misconceptions i come across about women who cover their faces are hillarious, whilst at the same time worrying at the lack of information people have about Niqabis.

  4. Avatar Iman says:

    I just find it very hard living in the West and wearing niqaab. I agree with many things you said but some of the things you mentioned I have to disagree, for example I wear hijab and I’ve been attacked before for my hijab so I believe the niqaab poses more danger for many. Also when you are making dawah to non Muslims it’s harder for them to relate to you, you want them to say “yes I can look like that if I end up becoming a Muslim” many times they can’t see themselves wearing a niqaab.

    It’s much easier for those that live in a Muslim country than those that don’t.

    This is my opinion, also I have a family member who was attacked and almost killed because of her niqaab. One thing I like about the niqaab though is that I feel invisible when I wear it, which is cool because even those that know you won’t bother you….

    • Avatar Amatullah says:

      I know many sisters who have never been attacked because of Niqaab…In fact, every single niqaabi sister I know (more than 10) has never been attacked, walhamdulillah.

      It’s all relative…It may happen to some and not to others.

      If safety was an issue, then we wouldn’t be doing a lot of things in our deen.

      A lot of non-Muslims have actually told sisters in niqaab that they respect them and they wish more people would cover themselves up.

      I respect your opinion though. Allah knows best.

      Great article, baarak Allahu feeki!

    • Avatar Leila says:

      Some women also wear the niqab as a way to escape from life and feel invisible instead of facing to it. Never came across a non Muslims advocating for covering the face, most of the time they either stare or are curious. Let us be honest, it is not easy striking a conversation with someone you cant see their face.

      • Avatar Amatullah says:

        I just told you I came across many Non-Muslims :) If you don’t believe then that’s up to you.

        Some women wear niqaab to follow the legacy of the righteous women of the past and our mothers. I’ve met niqaabi nurses, doctors, sisters who work at NASA, lawyers, social workers….I don’t know where you live, but this is certainly not a big deal in my area.

        At least Leila, if you are a Muslim, support your sisters. Muslims in general get enough hate from everyone else, we don’t need our own brothers and sisters hatin on us.

        • Avatar Leila says:

          I dont need to support it because my aim is not to attack but state what i believe. It’s not that i dont believe you, your postive stories about niqaab seems far fetched or it could be you are confined to your area and you only know niqabis from your circle of friends. You know of niqabis who are doctors and nurses, i know niqabis who cant get a job. Its difficult being a niqabi in Muslim countries let alone in a country where you are viewed as strange.

          • Avatar Amatullah says:

            They strive to please Allah according to the Qur’an and Sunnah and whoever strives for the pleasure of Allah will receive it.

            وَأَن لَّيْسَ لِلْإِنسَانِ إِلَّا مَا سَعَىٰ
            وَأَنَّ سَعْيَهُ سَوْفَ يُرَىٰ
            ثُمَّ يُجْزَاهُ الْجَزَاءَ الْأَوْفَىٰ

            “That man can have nothing but what he strives for; That (the fruit of) his striving will soon come in sight: Then will he be rewarded with a reward complete.” (53:39-41)

            So, to each his own striving.

      • Do you have empirical evidence that shows significant numbers of women do this? Or is this your experience with a few sisters? And if so, how many? “Some” is such a relative number without proper quantification.

        Siraaj

  5. Avatar Anisa says:

    Asalaamu Alaaikaum,

    Niqaabi sisters: stay strong!!!:D I really love you all for your courage and dedication, masha’Allah. Insha’Allah one day, for the sake of Allah, I will wear Niqaab too. For now, I’m ‘Hijabi’ but I am going to defend any Niqaabi sister that gets insulted by Muslims or non-Muslims!:) Keep it up insha’Allah, jazaakAllah Khair for article.

  6. Avatar ibnkhalil says:

    Assalam o alaykum wa rahmatullah i wabarakatuhu, mashAllah nice post. I support the Niqaab 100% percent. People dont realize how men objectify women when they see them dressed unislamically. Thats just the way the brain of a man is wired. Allah(SWT) out of His Mercy and giving us guidance has given us this blessing so women can protect themselves from this objectification. And this is a part of haya as well. May Allah make it easy for all those sisters who wear niqaab here in the West and reward you immensely for making this struggle!

  7. Avatar Iman says:

    I also know some sisters that wear the niqaab to find husband. Many brothers are looking for wives that cover their face so instead of standing up for what they believe many of these sisters are covering their faces to find a man to marry which is sad ( didn’t say all niqaabis so please refrain from attacking me :)) It’s something I know for sure.

    Also I have to agree with Laila it’s really for a niqaabi to find a corporate job, sometimes you can’t even find a regular job unless you work for a Muslim. I am sure there are some that find jobs but majority can’t and that’s a fact. I am only speaking for those that live in my area. It’s easier for you to cover your face when you live in a Muslim country or you’ll be a housewife that doesn’t have to work or even a student, but it’s difficult for those that want to lead a normal life like working in the US.

    • Avatar Abu Rumaisa says:

      One has to decide at some point what’s more important to them, pleasing Allah (swt) or their career. Some choose the prior while some choose the latter…

      • Avatar F says:

        Lets try and avoid making simplistic statements like that.

        There are many ways to please Allah(swt).

      • Avatar Priya says:

        Are you saying the only way to please Allah is niqaab?

        I wear jilbab and hijab and I hope that I am pleasing Allah.

        • Avatar F says:

          I think Abu Rumaisa was saying that it is a way, not the only way, to please Allah(swt). I believe it just came across wrong.

          • Avatar ummaasiyah says:

            I believe that what he was trying to say is that between choosing their career and choosing nikaab, Allah(swt) would probably be most likely to be pleased with a career-focused woman choosing to please Allah by wearing nikaab and possibly being dismissed for that reason. But obviously, the situation is always relative, in that sisters shouldn’t put their lives in danger, but then we, as Muslims, should never settle for second best for the sake of conformity or dunya-related things.

          • Avatar F says:

            ummaasiyah,

            If a person believes niqab is fard, then definitely it is worth getting fired over.

            A sister wearing a niqab and getting fired will get rewarded by Allah insha Allah. Would the reward be more than a sister who wears hijab/jilbab, does good dawah directly and indirectly at work, uses her money for charity and spending on her family, etc.? Only Allah(swt) knows.

            I made assumptions in the above paragraph but I was just showing it is not black and white. So a sister choosing to keep her job and not wear the niqab can gain more rewards (or not depending on her actions).

          • Avatar ummaasiyah says:

            ‘A sister wearing a niqab and getting fired will get rewarded by Allah insha Allah. Would the reward be more than a sister who wears hijab/jilbab, does good dawah directly and indirectly at work, uses her money for charity and spending on her family, etc.? Only Allah(swt) knows.’

            I agree with you. You’re right. I was merely pointing out what Abu Rumaisa may have been trying to get at. Of course non-nikaabis can gain a lot of reward doing things other than just nikaab. But it’s just an example, because nikaabis are made out to be like they’re doing something wrong. Whether they’re getting more reward than other sisters or not is not something that we can calculate or judge. Like I’ve said in my other comments posted on here, live and let live. Just don’t judge or feel inferior/superior next to someone else. Everyone’s situations are different and thus, their choices are different at different stages in their lives.

          • Avatar F says:

            Well said sister.

          • Avatar Abu Rumaisa says:

            ummaasiyah clarified what i meant…

  8. Avatar hijabi says:

    It’s funny, I love this website for everything but on how it handles women’s issues. Always conservative, never in touch with the world at large. The articles always seem to be presented to be rather patronising – I think it’s not always a matter of “fact” and “misconception”, but often simply a difference of opinion or perspective.

    I don’t think niqaab is practical at all in western society and those I know who do are usually housewives with fobby or overbearing husbands. Now in the comments, if I disagree, the poster makes it seem like I committed a sin. As if disagreement didn’t happen even in the prophet’s time.

    Could maybe the next post for women discuss how muslim women have contributed to society– whether niqaabi, hajabi or not?

    • Avatar Iman says:

      I will have to disagree with the fobby part, but you are 100 percent correct. I’ve never met a niqaabi that was a doctor, public school teacher (Islamic school not included) or works at regular job in the US at least. Mostly they’re housewives or students with their own home cooking business or other type of business.

      If you go to the airport you get frisked more than a hijabi and everyone stares at you, so why make it difficult for yourself when niqaab is not even fard?

      I also remember a while back Sh. YQ saying it’s better not to wear niqaab in the west if you’ll be giving dawah.

      • Avatar quote_who says:

        Why are you concerned about wearing niqaab and giving da’wah?? How much da’wah do you give that will be in jeopardy by wearing niqaab? It seems to me you are using this as some sort of scapegoat. Men might as well shave their beards and start wearing GQ-esque clothing all the time, bcs da’wah will be in jeopardy.

        • Avatar Iman says:

          Because most of the niqaabis I’ve come across say they wear for dawah purpose, you have no idea what’s in my mind so you need to chill. Many non Muslims get scared when they see someone wearing hijab let alone niqaab.

          Sisters that give their opinions are attacked by other Muslims, well done.

      • Avatar Hidaya says:

        I highly doubt if Sheikh YQ would make such a weak comment regarding Niqab.

        I am not a Niqabi (May Allah swt guide me to it sooner rather then later) however I have alot of Niqabi friends (2 chemical engineers, 1 doctor, others in college mostly doing pre-med) and believe it or not every time I go out with them. Somebody always stops them and asks about ”why are you wearing this”…In NY , people have gotten accustomed to Hijab so nobody asks, but Niqabis, they do inquire the reasons.

        What I am trying to say is that Niqabis certainly get many more opportunities to do Dawah then Hijabs, especially in states where Hijab is pretty much common to see in streets.

        • Avatar Leila says:

          Just because people come up to you to ask about niqab doesnt equate to giving dawah. Sometimes the person asking is judgemental and rude and they want to convince you to take it off, it can be intimidating for a niqabi to deal with such behavior esepcially when the person they are speaking to cannot see their body language.

          • Avatar Hidaya says:

            Rest assured, sisters who voluntarily observe Niqab are well-prepared to deal with such inquiries. Both of the sisters I was with, answered these questions starting with Tawheed and how its a form of worship.

            If one’s passion for Niqab is combined with right amount of knowledge, then I don’t see how such an inquiry can be intimidating? It all depends on how you handle it, and alhamdulillah, most sisters who voluntarily choose to observe Niqab as their commitment to Allah swt, can handle such inquiries gracefully.

        • Avatar Iman says:

          Are you calling me a liar? You should check yourself before you call others liars.

          • Avatar Hidaya says:

            *ouch* SubhanAllah, I didn’t mean to call u a liar and my sincere apologies if it came across like that.

            I meant , u could have misunderstood his point.

            Sheikh Muhammad Alshareef mentioned in one of his CDs, how Niqab is a great form of Dawah ;)

    • Avatar ummaasiyah says:

      I don’t see how MM posts ‘conservative’ articles on women’s issues. To be perfectly honest, this article was, I think (MM editors, please correct me on this if I’m wrong), originally written for the Times newspaper. If anything, the majority of women’s issues that are tackled on here are far from conservative in my experience.

      With respect to niqaab, despite the difference of opinion and the fact that I, myself, don’t wear it, I still fully support those that do. They are well within their rights and reasons to wear it and when comments about its practicality are made…well, it just doesn’t make sense. How is it practical to wear a tight pencil skirt and 6-inch heels to the workplace?? Compare that to nice, comfortable flats and a loose jilbaab/abaya, and a niqaab…men are more agreeable when they’re not distracted. I have had first hand experience being in the workplace in hijaab and jilbaab and my colleague who would wear skirts and heels…in my time at work I NEVER received a comment, while my colleague received far too many inappropriate comments.

      The whole point of niqaab is to hide your apparent beauty from non-mahram men. If society in itself had gender-segregation wherever possible, then there wouldn’t be a need for jilbaab, let alone niqaab! Maybe even hijaab (or khimaar) depending on the situation.

      The whole thing boils down to segregation, which, I feel, is there to make life easier. How many times have we observed the behaviour of men (or women) when the opposite sex is in the same room?

      As for niqaabis (I hate that term!) being housewives or having ‘fobby husbands’, that is such a GROSS misconception!! I dare you to pop into the home of your typical Indian/Pakistani family, and you will find a wife from back home who walks out in nothing but shalwar kameez and has a difficult husband. Now, that’s true for most families, NOT ALL, so don’t hate on me. But you do get that here…and you won’t find that in a religiously motivated home.

      In the UK, most women wearing niqaab are HIGHLY educated, not just to school-level, but have Masters and PhDs. They may be housewives out of choice, or it might just look like that. They might be running business from home. The niqaabis that I know are doctors, mechanical engineers, dentists, pharmacists and so much more! And yes, I do agree with a point in the article, they take pride in raising well-educated children, because they themselves are well-educated and so want the same for their children, if not better.

      So for those Muslims and non-Muslims out there hating niqaab…open your mind. There are far more dangerous forms of dress on the catwalks of London Fashion Week than what has been prescribed by Allah(swt).

      • Avatar Iman says:

        No one said they’re uneducated. I am sure they are smart and beautiful sisters just hijabis but the fact is there aren’t that many niqaabis that are doctors in the US at least. I’ve never met one or even heard of one that is a doctor. Forget about being a doctor, I haven’t even heard of one being a teacher in America.

        Also being a housewife out of choice is a beautiful thing but many time these sisters stay home because they know in reality they won’t get far with niqaab in the US, so being a housewife is practical thing to do. In many cases these sisters stay home for the most part.

        InshaAllah let’s agree to disagree sisters and let’s not attack one another.

        • Avatar ummaasiyah says:

          I agree with the disagreeing part :)

          But I just want to point out that there are practising Muslim women in the US, niqaabi or not, who are fulfilling their careers. My sister wears hijaab and jilbaab and is a board-certified practising doctor there.

          My sister in law, who also lives in the US, and wears niqaab is a practising dentist.
          They may be few and far between, but they are there. I just don’t think niqaabis should be painted with such a broad brush.

          The other thing that many people have to understand is that the new generation of niqaabi women are highly educated partly due to their involvement in the Islamic Societies or MSAs at university. Some of them become inspired by the Islamic environment they experience and this is what causes them to delve deeper into Islam and do their research. These women put on niqaab after a LOT of soul-searching and thinking and bringing their imaan upto another level.

          This is not to say the previous generation are uneducated. It’s just that I’m 23 and hence have made this observation of those around my age group :)

          As far as being a housewife goes…it’s a nice thing. But some of these women look like housewives on the outside…they may not choose to work because they feel that their efforts after university education should be concentrated on gaining a high level of Islamic education. It could be a possible number of things, but that’s one of them, I believe.

        • Avatar Nadia says:

          I don’t know of any Niqaabi doctors, I’m sure there are some though. But I do know of a few niqaabis who are instructors and teach in U of Houston, so I’m sure there are more around the country.

        • Avatar shahgul says:

          Our hospital (on Texas’ Gulf Coast) sent out a memo today. The memo stated that from a certain date in October, all employees, including Doctors and Nurses who refuse the Flu shot WILL BE REQUIRED TO WEAR MASKS AT ALL TIMES.
          Go figure!

      • Avatar Leila says:

        Why does it have to be between a tight skirt, 6 inch heels and niqab? You didnt wear niqab to work, so you would not have known what treatment you would have received. You can dress modestly and still hide your beauty from non mahrem men, i think niqabis attract unnecessary attention.

        • Avatar ummaasiyah says:

          True about me not wearing niqaab. But I chose 6-inch heels and tight skirt, because that is what I saw at work. Also, your comment about niqaabis attracting unnecessary attention doesn’t make sense…yes, they do attract attention, but not for the same reasons that a woman wearing a skirt and heels would. Do you think a niqaabi would receive the same inappropriate comments as the girl in a skirt? I think not. And therefore, I rest my case. Niqaab performs its purpose…that is, to hide the beauty and sexual attractiveness of a woman so that, and I quote straight from a verse out of the Qur’an, ‘they will be known as free women and not be molested’ (Surah Al-Ahzab, v.59).

          And Allah(swt) knows best.

          • Avatar Leila says:

            can you explain the meaning of “free women”? Again most women are not in 6 inch heels or niqabs, most of us find modesty in moderation.

          • Avatar ummaasiyah says:

            By free women, I mean, they are free from being harassed or molested or being checked out or receiving catcalls from other men passing by.

            And as you speak of most women not being in 6 inch heels, then maybe you need to endure your average working day in Central London…the fitnah is rife. most women wear high heels, tight trousers, short skirts, tight shirts, etc…this includes muslim women. I don’t mean slightly loose when i say tight or slightly form-fitting, i actually mean TIGHT. So while modesty in moderation is true, there is no need for an attack on nikaab when it really does free women from the oppression of becoming sex objects.

            I’m not guilt-tripping or forcing anyone to wear nikaab, mainly because I myself don’t wear it, but I would like to state that our own Muslims attacking Muslim sisters who do wear it should really not do that. It’s not nice. In fact, it’s childish and almost reminiscent of playground bullying whereby a child who wore Nike shoes would attack one who didn’t. Why? Because the Nike-less child wasn’t ‘cool’ enough. Seems like that’s what some of our own Muslims are doing…nikaab apparently isn’t cool, therefore attacking those who wear it is the only solution.
            People, esp. Muslims, please grow up.

          • Avatar Leila says:

            The word “free” is not used in verse 59 surah Al Ahzab. “O Prophet! Tell Thy wives And daughters, and the Believing women, that They should cast their Outer garments over Their Persons (when outside): That they should be known (As such) and not Molested.”

          • Avatar ummaasiyah says:

            It’s all relative and dependent on the translation you use. I used a different translation to yours and Quránic Arabic is very different and very complicated to modern Arabic. In fact, even Old English translations cannot do justice to Quranic Arabic mainly because some words in Arabic require TEN words in English to explain that one word.

            So if you read the tafseer of this verse and I quote straight from my book of Tafsir Ibn Kathir, the part “That they should be known (As such) and not Molested.” means that if they do niqaab, jilbaab, hijaab, “then it will be known that they are free, and that they are not servants or whores.”

            So they are free from being molested and free from being made sex objects. Although the above may seem controversial, and although every woman who does not cover is not a ‘servant or whore’, it is because that is what used to happen to those women who did not cover in those days. The Jahili Arabs used to objectify their women and used them as playthings, hence covering became necessary.

            This is not to say that the verse is outdated and therefore does not apply to this day and age. Of course it does apply! What is a woman who appears on the cover of a Playboy magazine or FHM or any other men’s magazine? The modern term would be a ‘glamour model’, but the sad reality is that she really is a servant…a servant to men’s desire and fantasies. She is objectified in the same way that the Jahili Arabs used to objectify their women. In essence, she is a plaything and therefore a woman who covers and practices modesty and protects her chastity is free from becoming a plaything. She is free from being objectified and ultimately, she is free from becoming every man’s fantasy (except ONLY for her husband) and therefore has a very high status in the sight of Allah(swt) according to the following hadith:

            “If a woman prays her five (daily prayers), fasts her month (Ramadaan), guards her chastity and obeys her husband, it will be said to her: Enter Paradise by whichever of the gates of Paradise you wish.” Narrated by Ahmad (1664) and others; classed as hasan by al-Albaani because of another report in Saheeh al-Targheeb, as stated by al-Arna’oot in Takhreej al-Musnad.

            No wonder women are donning the nikaab left, right and centre!! Ultimately, they are not looking at the difficulties of nikaab in the West like you, me and many others are, what they are looking at are the rewards for submitting to their Lord, because by wearing nikaab, they are protecting and guarding their chastity. They don’t care what others think, for all they see are the gates of Jannah, therefore, what is the point of arguing about all this? None whatsoever. Live and let live. If somebody wants to wear nikaab, don’t prevent them and don’t put them off. This is their right and their choice.

    • Avatar Amatullah says:

      hijabi…None of the authors on MM wrote this, this article was actually written for the TIMES Online, a major newspaper and website in the UK….Yes, non Muslim newspaper.

      :)

      As for us posting about women contributing to society…I don’t think you’re a regular on MM because our first two Positively Muslim Recognitions went both to women:

      http://muslimmatters.org/2009/08/31/positively-muslim-in-the-west-ramadan-special/
      http://muslimmatters.org/2009/07/13/positively-muslim-in-the-west-july-2009-mona-minkara/

      and of course our obvious support for Dalia Mogahed:
      http://muslimmatters.org/2008/10/23/irshad-manjis-shrill-responses-obilerated-by-a-calm-dalia-mogahed/

      • Avatar hijabi says:

        i knew where this was posted, thanks. it’s okay though, i expected these sort of responses from this very conservative site.

    • Avatar mohammed says:

      Salam Alaikum,

      As you said, niqab sounds strange right? Prophet (peace be upon him) said that Islam started as somthing strange and will end as something strange, GIVE GLAD TIDINGS TO THE STRANGERS (Sahih Bukhari). I am not trying to give you fatwas nor trying to impose something but am just trying to educate you about the opinions of the sahaba and the tafsir of great scholars like Ibn Katheer….Here it goes..

      “O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allaah is Ever Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful”
      [al-Ahzaab 33:59]

      Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “Allaah commanded the believing women, if they go out of their houses for some need, to cover their faces from the top of their heads with their jilbaabs, and to leave one eye showing.”

      This is how the sahabiyaat use to be….

      Just putting a towel or cloth on your head ( anything you like to call it) you are not really doing proper hijab….the ones we have at colleges and especially in our communities is a JOKE…you cannot call it a hijab….

      The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When any one of you proposes marriage to a woman, there is no sin on him if he looks at her, rather he should look at her for the purpose of proposing marriage even if she is unaware.” Narrated by Ahmad. The author of Majma’ al-Zawaa’id said: its men are the men of saheeh.

      The evidence here is the fact that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said there is no sin on the man who is proposing marriage, subject to the condition that his looking be for the purpose of proposing marriage. This indicates that the one who is not proposing marriage is sinning if he looks at a non-mahram woman in ordinary circumstances, as is the one who is proposing marriage if he looks for any purpose other than proposing marriage, such as for the purpose of enjoyment etc.

      It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah said: The riders used to pass by us when we were with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in ihraam. When they came near us we would lower our jilbaabs from our heads over our faces, and when they had passed by we would uncover our faces. Narrated by Abu Dawood, 1562.

      Are we not suppose to follow the best generation? Are the women not suppose to follow Umm al Mumineen….? or you are all satisfied with TANTAWI TRASH…..

      Read this so you know why I call him TRASH….He has no respect for diffence of opinions…He forced a girl to take her niqab out and told her He knows more about Islam than her parents when she refused to take it….

      Egypt’s top trash (aka cleric) plans face veil ban in schools

      http://www.gulfnews.com/region/Egypt/10355100.html

  9. Avatar watch_this says:

    – Coming down to the fiqh of issue I think Shaykh Haitham Al-Haddaad gives a fantastic overview of the niqaab.
    – I request all non-niqaabi’s (brothers too) to watch this series.
    You really need to open your eyes to the truth behind the niqaab. Really, listen with an open heart/mind.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9-q8GJrj7I
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IqusVq8tHY
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-lW7Qb3mQM

  10. Haytham Haytham says:

    to niqaab or not to niqaab….

    That is a very interesting question if you ask me. What I find even more interesting is the difference of opinion between the scholars on this issue. A difference that is practically equal in their strength (unlike other issues like Music ..etc). Thus, if you want to niqaab yourself… by all means… more power to you. If you dont, then alhamdulillah, make sure your hijab is on tho :)

    modern day look, sistas off the hook?
    Can one deny that there are sisters, hijabis, who are not really hijabis? I cant deny that… i see them all around us every where. Are they considered modern? No. Are they looked at as an individual rather than a subject of attention? As a dude…I am telling you.. no.

    modern day look, sistas off the hook?
    Can one deny that there are sisters, hijabis, who are not really hijabis? I cant deny that… i see them all around us every where. Are they considered modern? No. Are they looked at as an individual rather than a subject of attention? As a dude…I am telling you.. no.

    The point is… so long that a girl shows her mafaten (beauty) she will be looked at by weak hearted men.. bearded men and non bearded men… Muslims and non Muslims… young.. and relatively old lol :)

    Im deen-ing.. stop with the screen-ing
    I hate it when the following conversation takes place:

    Some random dude, who is Muslim: duuuuude… whats up with the beard? youre going all terrorist on us here man

    Me: haha… naa dont worry, there are no explosives in the beard.. you can check for yourself

    Some random dude, who is Muslim: but man.. the fbi is gona pick you up like this… just shave it.. besides.. its just for show…i know what you did last night.. wink wink..

    Me: LOL the fbi are really cool dude.. (just in case if they are reading this LOL) they give you free soda when you visit them.. so let them pick me up if they wish..

    Some random dude, who is Muslim:but man.. it looks really ugly on you.. at least trim it down?

    Me: looks ugly? hahaha… if you only know how many times random chicks come ask if they can touch it haha..

    Point that i m trying to make here is… it hurts when muslim people come to me complaining about the beard… i am sure it feels the same for the niqaabis

    Finally…
    Let the people be…. if they want to put their niqaab on… so be it… and for all the niqaabis… please leave the non-niqabees alone… they arent less of a muslima for not wearing it

    • Avatar .. says:

      “Me: looks ugly? hahaha… if you only know how many times random chicks come ask if they can touch it haha.. ”
      Mr. Me needs to put himself in check. Not a good comment to make if you want to show the beard as what is right and for the sake of Allah. if trying to appeal to the ‘muslim’ brother, that isn’t the way to do so, we don’t have to appeal to anyone, just to Allah.

      • Haytham Haytham says:

        hahaha… astaghfur Allah.. are you publicly doubting my intentions? :)

        Allah knows whats in the heart… it was a funny comment to share….

        • Avatar .. says:

          not doubting intention or what’s in the heart.

          it’s not an appropriate comment.

          • sure it’s an appropriate comment. It succinctly refuted the random Muslim dude’s attempts to say the beard is ugly. :)

            The beard is for the sake of Allah, and if girls can’t help but want to touch it… well, then maybe they should marry bearded men :) . We can’t help it if the sunnah just happens to look soooo goood :) walhamdulillah.

      • Avatar Daughter of Adam (AS) says:

        I agree with the parallel between the beards and niqabs- I wish more emphasis was put on beards though! More brothers need to focus on looking like muslims in my opinion- we SHOULD stand out from the rest of the people and look a little alike amongst ourselves!
        -I also think that the guys, however polite they think they are, make an extra effort to do nice things for niqabi or hijabi wives/sisters/mothers etc… show extra courtesy, smile, hold the door open, help her, etc.. all these little things make a HUGE difference in the end.

  11. Avatar Mombeam says:

    as-salaamu `alaykum

    The problem I see with wearing niqab in modern contexts is the degree to which niqab, when combined with modern lifestyles, prevents a woman from being physically active and from having adequate access to sunlight and fresh air. In the old days when women wore niqab, they lived in situations where women could still access the outdoors away from the presence of men, exercise freely and have adequate exposure to sunlight and fresh air, possibly through outdoor work such as farming, herding, etc., in a rural area or in urban areas they had the traditional houses with the large courtyards and private gardens where this would be possible. Now you see niqab (and all the restrictions on activity that go with it) being philosophically pressed upon women who live in little tiny urban apartments with no private outdoor access, who have to drive a car long distances to get to an open area big enough for some degree of privacy (although some would argue that the presence of security cameras in many places would still disqualify this).

    I have friends in the medical profession who live in the Gulf states who say that vitamin D deficiency, lack of exercise, depression, obesity, chronic fatigue, and other issues are common among women there. Some of them are non-Muslims and as I am a general supporter of niqab for those who choose it (I myself used to wear it in the US and I still do abroad) I make a point to emphasize to them that the problem is not the niqab/burqah/abaya per se but the combination of those with the poorly-designed inhumane lifestyles we live. I have counseled non-Muslim health counselors in these countries to emphasize to those women that they need to find ways to access the outdoors in private environments, but I don’t know if that is possible considering the short-sightedness of urban planning where parks and nature areas are being paved over for apartment complexes! (To say nothing of living in the West where this is already the case.)

    We as Muslims need to realize the very real problems encountered by women who are told by their community imams/shuyukh that niqab is “required” and yet they live in urban darkness and limitation and can’t make niqab work without grave sacrfices for their health and, subsequently, the health of their children (inactive women will probably not have active children, vitamin D deficiency is dangerous for pregnancy and nursing, etc.).

    • Avatar Amatullah says:

      wa alaykum salam

      um..vitamins?

      You can say the same thing about abayah and hijaab since 90% of your body is covered.

    • Avatar Maha says:

      There is no problem of vitamin D defiencency in the Middle east; the sun there is much hotter there so a little exposure is enough. most ppl live in houses with yards and even those living in apartments get enough sunlight through windows. I personally lived in Middle east for many years and had no problem with vitamin d deficiency. Not to mention the fact that milk & oil there has vitamin D added to it, which may even be problematic as a person (especially children who don’t have all their bodies covered and spend time outdoors) may be getting too much vitamin D (and A) from milk & oil.

      As for obesity problem, it is due to increased food in-take as opposed to lack of exercise. A person may go to the gym and have plenty of exercise but if they don’t watch what they eat, they will be fat while on the other hand if a person doesn’t overeat they won’t be obese even if they didn’t exercise much. So if a woman does only normal housework and control her eating, she will not be overweight. And i personally know many such women in Dubai who aren’t overweight. in fact most Arab women are model-thin because they watch what they eat!

      As for lifestyles such as living in tiny apartments, that needs to be addressed as it is not only unhealthy for women but for children as well who don’t have much space to play in (& have to be taken to parks to get some exercise which is burdensome for parents and can’t be done on a daily basis).

      • Avatar Hayyah says:

        “There is no problem of vitamin D defiencency in the Middle east; the sun there is much hotter there so a little exposure is enough. most ppl live in houses with yards and even those living in apartments get enough sunlight through windows. I personally lived in Middle east for many years and had no problem with vitamin d deficiency. Not to mention the fact that milk & oil there has vitamin D added to it, which may even be problematic as a person (especially children who don’t have all their bodies covered and spend time outdoors) may be getting too much vitamin D (and A) from milk & oil.”

        I live in Jordan and know of many women, including myself, who have severe vitamin D deficiencies. I have it due to wearing hijab — i didn’t have this problem before I wore it. It’s so bad that I’ve deveoped resultant autoimmune and food allergy problems. It’s a pretty blanket statement to claim that ‘there is no problem’ in a huge region… sounds like more effort isbeing put into being defensive rather than logical. Yes, there are many who do have this problem. In my near family alone, four women are taking prescriptions for it. And that added to milk is almost always not enough — just enough to avoid rickets, and too many people are lactose intolerant and avoid milk (and which oil are you talking about? Cod liver oil? It’s not something people normally consume).

        There needs to be more thoughtful urban planning so women can go outside with their arms and some leg showing. This is why more women need to enter urban planning, esp. in Muslim countries. Thankfully we have a roof I can go on, but I have to hunker down in a 4×4 space which is the only corner where neighbors can’t see me. Most roofs are visible to neighbors — at least in a hilly region like Jordan.

        I came from the States and honestly was very surprised there weren’t designated ‘ladies’ only’ spaces.

        Wa salaam

    • Avatar Maha says:

      There is no problem of vitamin D defiencency in the Middle east; the sun there is much hotter there so a little exposure is enough. most ppl live in houses with yards and even those living in apartments get enough sunlight through windows. I personally lived in Middle east for many years and had no problem with vitamin d deficiency. Not to mention the fact that milk & oil there has vitamin D added to it, which may even be problematic as a person (especially children who don’t have all their bodies covered and spend time outdoors) may be getting too much vitamin D (and A) from milk & oil.

      As for obesity problem, it is due to increased food in-take as opposed to lack of exercise. A person may go to the gym and have plenty of exercise but if they don’t watch what they eat, they will be fat while on the other hand if a person doesn’t overeat they won’t be obese even if they didn’t exercise much. So if a woman does only normal housework and control her eating, she will not be overweight. And i personally know many such women in Dubai who aren’t overweight. in fact most Arab women are model-thin because they watch what they eat!

      As for lifestyles such as living in tiny apartments, that needs to be addressed as it is not only unhealthy for women but for children as well who don’t have much space to play in (& ha

      • Avatar Umm Musa says:

        Vitamin D deficiency is a very big problem amongst women and children in Gulf states. This is one thing that my family was warned about after moving to Saudi Arabia. Rickets (which develops due to vitamin D deficiency) is quite common in children there.

        I don’t think it’s correct to blame the niqaab for this problem, but to say that it’s not a problem is also incorrect.

    • Avatar mohammed says:

      Salam Sister,

      Are these your opinions or they are from Quran and Hadith? Please keep what you “think” is right to yourselve and try to get educated about your deen from proper sources and educate others…

      It is not fitting for a Believer man or woman when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) to have any option about their decision: if anyone disobeys Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path.
      Al Quran – 33 : 36

      Hope that was not rude…May Allah guide us all…

      • Avatar Anusha says:

        Salam,

        I can see where you are coming from, and yes you are right, one should have the proper knowledge before they speak, but it could’ve been said with a bit more ikhlaq.

        Hope that wasn’t rude, May Allah indeed guide us all…

        • Avatar Anusha says:

          Please don’t get me wrong brother… I’ve read your other posts even on the article by Yasir Qadhi, and I always agree with your concept and the points you try to make. And I love the passion and sensitivity you have about the issues, but you can be sharp sometimes =)….

          We’re all brothers and sisters right, we can explain things to eachother with love and support and that’s the the only way we can stay united, or else we’ll just repel eachother.

          I hope you understand what I mean, nevertheless, I’ve learnt a lot from you so JazakAllahu Khayr for all the knowledge and refrences you have shared.

          Do forgive me if I seemed unpleasant.

          Wassalam u alaikum

  12. Avatar abuyahya says:

    After being a quiet browser of this website for a number of months, I have finally decided to take the plunge and make my own contribution!

    Can I start off by saying that I think it is highly important to clearly define the islamic ‘jargon’ that we are using. I really do feel that the word ‘hijaab’ is used in the wrong context by many people. By clearly defining hijaab and the nomenclature associated with it, we may be able to understand the differences of opinion a little better.

    Many words are used to describe women’s attire: Hijab, Jilbab, Khimaar, Burkha, Niqaab.

    When most people use the term ‘hijaab, they are actually referring the headscarf. However, I feel this is an innappropriate use of the word. The word hijaab, from my understanding, refers to the person who’s dress and behaviour in front of non-mahrams is compliant with the rules set out by the Shariah. Thus, a ‘hijaabi’ should really be used to describe someone who dresses and behaves in accordance to the Shariah.

    This then takes us to the next question, what is dress in accordance to the Shariah?

    I think there is no difference in opinion on the fact the woman must wear a ‘khimaar’, or headscarf.

    I also think there is no difference in opinion that a woman’s outer garments must be loose such as not to reveal her bodily form. Many women wear the Jilbab to conform to this principle.

    The next question then comes as to whether Niqaab is compulsory or not. A few points of this issue.

    1. Many people state that the Quran does not mention anywhere about covering of the face. However, the verse in Surah Ahzaab (Verse 59) mentions the word Jalabib. In Tafsir at Tabari, Ibn Abbas said this this verse implied covering of the face, and thus all scholars are in agreement that in fact the Quran does make reference to the issue of covering the face.

    2. Surah Nuh (Verse 31) commands women to cover everything except that which is apparent. Some of the mufasireen therefore said that it was not necessary to cover the face.

    3. Therefore, all classical scholars either said it was obligatory to cover the face, or highly recommended. Nobody said that it was merely ‘permissible’ to cover the face.

    Shaikh Haitham al Haddad has actually put a challenge on anyone who can find a scholar who has said the niqaab is merely permissible

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9-q8GJrj7I

    So the use of the word Hijaab or Hijaabi should refer to ‘Shariah Compliant’ dress, which could either be:

    Khimaar + Jilbaab + (Niqaab) = if Niqaab is Highly Recommended

    or

    Khimaar + Jilbaab + Niqaab = If Niqaab is Fard.

    I know the issue of dress is a sensitive issue, however I have just tried to write what my understanding of hijaab is, as I do feel the word is used a little loosely. In addition, I think that some people have put the concept of Niqaab down, and if the scholars are in unanimous agreement that the niqaab is at least highly recommended, then we should all be supporting the concept and the sisters who wear it, despite whether one chooses to wear it or not.

    Ultimately, should we really ridicule something that Allah has said is either compulsory or highly recommended?

    And Allah Knows Best.

  13. Avatar abuyahya says:

    And one final point. Vitamin D defficiency is something which is quite prevalent in asian communities. This is independant of the fact that they wear jilbab/niqaab.

    There isn’t any hard medical evidence to suggest that wearing niqaab is associated with vitamin D defficiency. The likelihood of a genuine metabolic anomaly prevalent in asian communities is far greater.

    If you know of any medical studies which have proved an association of Niqaab with Vitmain D defficiency, then I would be most interested to see them.

    • Avatar Mombeam says:

      I didn’t say that there were any studies or any “medical evidence”. I don’t expect there to be, as women’s health is so greatly underinvestigated in the first place. The greater point, which you are either missing or conveniently ignoring, is that unless society is prepared to make the overall health and well-being of women a priority, niqab can have consequences. If there are no private places for outdoor activity, then women will necessarily be restricted. I hope you’re not planning to argue that is is normal, natural, healthy, or even beneficial for a person to spend most of their time indoors and to never expose their skin to the sun and to never exercise. Most people who wear niqab also necessarily wear wide jilbabs and necessarily will also not go jogging or play basketball or ride a horse in public either. So if a community is prepared to force niqab down women’s throats, (and I count guilt-tripping as “forcing”), then they should also be prepared to make accommodations to provide for the health and well-being of women who would be thus restricted. I would like to know what communities/societies are doing this.

      And yes, these are my feelings from my own experience. You’ll notice that I said I used to wear niqab in the US. I stopped for a reason and I feel similarly restricted when I wear niqab abroad.

      • Avatar ummaasiyah says:

        Women’s health underinvestigated??!! We already know that breast cancer is the biggest killer of women in the UK!

        I believe that what you’re saying is partly correct, and what we really need to do is change our lifestyles. Everything you have written indicates that we, as Muslims, need to go back and evaluate how much we’re eating, drinking and exercising, for even the Prophet (saw) said (and I paraphrase): 1/3 food, 1/3 water and 1/3 air.

        So when you spoke of increased obesity in the Gulf, this is why…we’ve overindulged here.

        Exercise is not a problem, if you’re speaking of the Gulf, because it’s not difficult to own a mini-gym in your home or a whole gym if you’re rich!
        Even I, sitting in a small town in the UK (although originally from London :D), have found a ladies gym which offers an outdoor area. I also exercise at home. So the problems that you speak of wouldn’t really exist if you look hard enough for options…and believe me, there ARE options out there. We just have to use our eyes and common sense, insha’Allah.

        • Avatar ummaasiyah says:

          Ooooh, and I also know a niqaabi that used to go jogging in her niqaab in the REALLY early hours of the morning when she knew no-one would be around…I think around after Fajr time. She doesn’t anymore, because she has a child now.

          Trust me, if you really WANT to keep fit and look after yourself, you find ways of doing it. By coming up with the excuse that niqaab is restrictive is just a cop out…a lame excuse.

          I wear jilbaab and hijaab and anyone could easily say that that is just as restrictive as niqaab. Just because my face is getting the sun, it doesn’t really make much of a difference (although to be honest, I wouldn’t want my face to get too much sun anyway otherwise I’d get an awful tan mark where my face stops and my scarf begins! :))

          But at the end of the day, to say niqaab prevents health benefits is quite a sweeping statement. Just because it happens in the Gulf, it’s not representative of the rest of the world.

          • Avatar Iman says:

            OK I think you should warn the niqaabi that’s going to jogging wearing niqaab in the early hours, she’s asking for trouble. If I wasn’t Muslim and I see a niqaabi jogging I sure as heck would run away, be honest, niqaab is a beautiful thing for us Muslims but non muslims it’s a scary thing.

  14. Avatar Amatullah says:

    It’s really funny how these arguments against niqaab are weak and generalized.

    • Avatar hijabi says:

      i think its funnier how people like you constantly are patting themselves on the back for also using very weak and general observations.

  15. Avatar Mercy says:

    Assalama ‘Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,

    Subhana’Allah, indeed some of these comments are huge generalizations…there is a lot of ” i think’ kind of situations and not necessarily near to real (hard-core data analysis) takes on niqaabis. Subhana’Allah, sisters who post your opinions please ask yourself if what you are stating is actually something you yourself have experienced or have some hard core proofs..

    All in all a sister who is against wearing niqaab because of these reasons should ask a sister who does uphold the niqaab and just frankly ask ..sister ” is the niqaab a road block in obtaining your education? does your husband (fobby or not) make you wear it?” , “do you feel its keeping the rays off your faces and thus your health suffering?”

    In all honesty, misconceptions and fears keep others at bay, and may even deter sisters who actually want to wear the niqaab, and I see that the intention of the article was to clear that, and for those sisters who see the beauty, tranquility, and appeal of the niqaab for its preservation of modesty and all other positive aspects, more kuddos to you!

    Wa’alaykuma Salam Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu

    • Avatar Amatullah says:

      you rock Mercy. baarak Allahu feeki. wa alaykum salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.

    • Avatar Leila says:

      No one has provided hard core data analysis whether postive or negative, we can only speak from our experiences as niqabis or those who know niqabis. A relative of mine has taken her niqab off recently because she stood out in her neighbourhood and she was being harassed by some kids, her children did not like their mum referred to as the “ninja” or having to deal with questions. I know of another niqabi who finished training as a teaching assistant in a Muslim majority primary school here in the UK, the school refused to employ her because it would hinder the children’s learning. The experience left her feeling down, she is still unemployed.

      • Avatar Mariam says:

        I am not kidding…just substitute the word”niqabi” with “hijabi” or “bearded man” or a “Muslim”, and you will have stories of hundreds of real people. In fact, I can give you some.

  16. Avatar Ryan says:

    As a Muslim, convert and Westerner I feel it’s very easy to write such a perspective from a Western women’s viewpoint. The idea of wearing niqab in the West may come with it’s own sets of problems from non-Muslims, but can this same article be written by a women in say Saudi who doesn’t have the option? I feel as if this applies to also the hijab. The view seems generally to be from Western women that it’s something of choice and a sense of empowerment of who they are as Muslim women, that’s great. Again though, we in the West tend to forget that just because we have the freedoms we do that the rest of the world has the same options, sadly it is very very far from the truth.

    Just something to think about.

    • Avatar Amatullah says:

      Niqaab in a place like Saudi is cultural, most of the time has absolutely nothing to do with deen. I’ve been there and I have family there, most women purely wear it because it’s the norm and custom.

      Also, in a place like Saudi, a sister NEEDS niqaab. SubhanAllah, the amount of men that stare, harass, and follow you is nothing like it is here in the West. Niqaab there will, for the most part, keep these creeps away from you and away from staring at you. To them, seeing a women’s face is not normal.

      Allah knows best, but you do bring up a good point. Jazaak Allahu khayran.

      • Avatar ummaasiyah says:

        I 100% agree with you!! I’ve experience near molestation at the age of 10 in Saudi…and worst of all, in Makkah!! It’s absolutely necessary out there!

        • Avatar Leila says:

          Maybe if women were not taught that their faces are a tempatation that needs to be hidden and men not raised to believe that they are sexual predators who cannot control their urges, there would be no need for niqab. Telling women wearing niqab is necessary for their protection is partly blaming them without holding men accountable.

          • Avatar Amatullah says:

            Leila, this is really easy for you to say coming from the West. Have you ever stepped foot in Saudi or any gulf countries?

            Please do not generalize and make a sweeping argument about a whole culture. I can also say that maybe men in the west should be taught not to use a women’s body to sell products. The reason a woman’s face is temptation over there (a very strong word to use btw, not all men will gawk at you) because they are not desensitized to seeing women at all. Alhamdulillah I think that’s a rather good thing! A 5 yr old boy here knows the complete anatomy of a woman, while over there, you will not see women plastered on billboards, in the shopping malls, or in commercials. Some men may be creeps but alhamdulillah going there means you will not see fitnah like we see here.

            No one is telling women to wear niqaab there, it is the NORM. Please realize that. Just as it’s American to have BBQs on fourth of july, to wear green on St Patricks day and to drink alcohol, niqaab for women and thobe for men is their culture. Don’t stereotype a people just because you don’t like their culture.

          • Avatar Johnny says:

            Dear ones,

            I find your dialogue most intriguing for the opportunity to learn of others outside my faith.
            I have found, as a man, temptation comes from the inner heart first and not the outward beauty of another.
            Also, I find humility and modesty ornaments of grace preferred above physical beauty.
            Likewise, I have seen fear in the eyes of my covered Muslim sisters as well as a beautiful warmth of compassion in the eyes of the same. The latter being too virtuous to even think of taking her to advantage.
            I having experienced many liberalities of which King James scripture forewarned to avoid I have learned the futility of violating.
            Honor follows honor, sin follows sin
            My choice of sin is not in the power of the tempter or even mine own eye gate but in my heart, my will. I trust the power of God to grant me the escape unto Him as my refuge. To escape from my own sin, my own self and self-serving ambitions.
            I may look upon my Muslim sisters with a virtuous heart covered or uncovered, with honor or dishonor. The choice is in mine own heart and not as they appear to my eye. However any measure to protect virtue is highly commendable and appreciated I say as a sinful man. Our scripture speaks much on the modesty of clothing and the separation of dress for the sexes. To adorn ourselves wtih the grace and beautry of Christ is the goal and to shun the calling of atttention to ourselves in outward adorning. As I look from my heart to the heavens the worldly lures lose their power.
            For a man to blame a women’s dress as an excuse for his lust is irresponsible, I served many in the health field of both sexes, young and old. Discovering their nakedness as a craftsmanship of our Creator and a testament to His beauty and workmanship kept my sinful desires at bay. Purposed to serve in honor. Prayer, oh what a wonderful refuge. That most intimate cry to cleave to our Maker for the inner clothing of my soul whether I am naked in the alley of poverty or in the luxurious robe of riches. I wear common clothing to worship as many where their suits. I am there to honor and find honor. My heart thirsts for God with the knees of my soul bent whether my body bows but always I remember my shame the shame of my rebellion against Him and His ways my days of dishonor and foolishness. So then I know righteousness is only in HIm and freely bestowed upon me not by my actions nor my pleading but by HIs freewil for He is the only Righteous One. So, then I trust not mine own righteousness but in the Giver of Righteousness.

    • Avatar Maha says:

      I suppose in the West women would be pressured to wear revealing clothes just to fit in, because if they didn’t they probably wouldn’t have many friends, would be laughed at, etc. so basically women in the West also don’t have an option. They also pretty much don’t have the freedom to dress as they like.

  17. Avatar Omar says:

    Sisters, the niqab is no doubt hard to practice in the west, and may be an obstacle to that nice job, or socially. But if the sister does it for the sake of Allah, then it is all worth it.

    The Hijab would have been considered an obstacle 20 years ago, but today people are used to it.

    May Allah strengthen all our sisters.

  18. Avatar Aurora says:

    I wish Muslims would stop scrutinizing their own in an already hostile society.

    Here’s my eye-witness testimony about the the niqaabis I know personally: They are quite intelligent, strong willed individuals, who are solely covering for the sake of Allah while the rest of their household are non-practicing. Covering a sign of Iman for them, a yearning to get closer to Allah. and wanting to please Him alone. It serves as a protection or shield to them from the evils and the fitnah (temptation) surrounding them.

    Our body belongs to Allah, not you, so you have no right to judge or dictate HOW it should dress, walk or talk like.

  19. Avatar Ameera says:

    A short comment from a Muslim girl in a Muslim country who wears Hijab but not Jilbab or Niqaab… yet. :)

    The general tone that comes across in the comments section here is that “niqaab isn’t possible…” or “it could do this and that to you…” and so… “let’s just not wear it anymore”.

    Hey hey! Pessimism and giving up too easily are apparent here anyway, let’s not forget the totally important consideration of what Allah(swt) loves to see in a Muslim woman. Honestly, when you read in the Quran and authentic Hadith, you realize that even though there’s the opinion that “niqaab is an option and an added virtue, not obligatory”, you can’t get past the strong recommendation for niqaab.

    Even I who didn’t like to cover my face have actually begun to see the good in it and on busy traffic lights for example, I instinctively drape a portion of my dupatta across the lower half of my face because I know someone could find it a fitna (especially when I’ve got light makeup on, for a party). Now, you might not agree with a woman taking such steps to curb fitna in society but hey, I’m doing it for Allah(swt) wouldn’t stop for the pish-posh male domination theories that people throw around in the name of women’s lib.

    And y’know what? I hope that one day I’d have the courage to take the niqaab properly. Sure it will come with its share of trials! Sure it will be difficult! Yep, so I might be a tad low on Vit D (but I’m a med student, I’ll keep a check… do’t worry ;))… but it will be EASY, DO-ABLE and totally OKAY if Allah(swt) puts ease into it!

    The problem here starts in the mind or the heart and its solutions lie there as well. After all, we wouldn’t be having all these Niqaab-wearing ladies around right? As a recent example, I met a Muslim lady doctor, double specialization working as a consultant in a major hospital in Karachi, PK. I didn’t see her face even once in the two weeks I was with her but she met and treated dozens of patients while I was there… men and women. The niqaab is on our minds… we need to get it off asap and start thinking with open minds! :)

  20. Avatar Smeagle says:

    Here is a another non-commenter but regular reader coming out of the woodwork.

    I live in the UK. I have worn niqab for approximately 4 years. I have no ‘fobby’ husband and am in my early-mid 20’s. Until recently I was the only one to cover in my household, in any form. I am a qualified engineer. Among numerous other things, I can think for myself and have opinions. All of the above is just to allay any misconceptions you may have of me while reading my comments.

    1) to some of the commenters: although i respect that you have your own opinions/worries, I am wondering why you are so stingy when it comes to supporting fellow sisters working hard to get coser to Allah?

    2)Niqab has it’s benefits, but it also has its disadvantages. This does not change the correct islamic stance on the issue. But this also does not mean that any problems faced by niqabis need to be brushed under the carpet by negating real issues.

  21. Avatar Iman says:

    I personally know at least 20 niqaabis and they’re all going through problem after problem because of their niqaab, many and I say many of these niqaabis think they are better than the non niqaabi sisters because they cover their face. I know many sisters around the country and they’re facing the same problem. I wouldn’t make up these things and I believe these sisters wouldn’t either.

    Anyway all these sisters attacking one another and mentioning all the educated niqaabis, as if I said niqaabis were jaahil. They are educated but they don’t get far with their education covering their face wearing all black. I am sure there are very few niqaabi professionals in the US, I am sure there are plenty niqaabi professionals in Muslim countries. I am sure the majority of the niqaabis are housewives with home based business because they know they’ll not get a job at the local mall let alone hospitals and big tech companies.

    No matter what anyone says I’ll stick to my original post that wearing niqaab in the US is big trouble since out religion is already in trouble. Wearing hijab and jilbab is more than enough because you are 100 percent covered. Why add to the face since out religion is seen as a negative thing in the US. Now don’t go and say hijaab and jilbab are not enough. Alhemdelilah I wear hijab and jilbab and my iman is very high. Niqaab wouldn’t change anything.

    If I was in the Middle East then I would cover my face because I would come under attack and I won’t be discriminated against.

    I am open for debate but not lies because I believe many of you are only talking about your own experience rather than the many niqaabis across the globe in non Muslim countries.

    • Avatar abuyahya says:

      The discussion on this forum has been quite interesting, mashAllah.

      I think this discussion has highlighted the need that we as an ummah need to address the difficulties faced by the mothers of our generations.

      Any form of worship comes with some difficulty. Sacrificing your warm bed in the morning for Fajr is difficult, performing Hajj is difficult, travelling for the sake of furthering one’s Islamic knowledge is also difficult. In the same way, Niqaab also comes with its difficulties. Some may say that being a male, I am not in a place to understand these difficulties, which is true, but I too get the occasional wierd look from non-muslims when Im walking through the hospital wards with a beard on my face. Yes, for a split second it does make me feel conscious, but then I remember why i’m doing it.

      I do feel that saying ‘Niqaab in the US is big trouble’ is a dangerous comment. In my earlier post I did say that all scholars are in agreement that covering of the face is referred to in the Glorious Quran, and that all scholars agree that Niqaab is highly recommended, if not fard. Are we therefore saying that, what is at least a reccomendation from Allah, is ‘Big Trouble’?

      If one chooses to wear the Niqaab, then it should be purely for the sake of Allah, for it is an act of worship. It shouldn’t be to conform with what society dictates, for wearing Niqaab in Saudi for the sake of preventing discrimination can be likened to wearing western clothes, to avoid discrimination.

      Whilst I agree that wearing Niqaab is associated with its trials, that does not come close to the trials our pious predecessors faced in established the deen that we follow today. People used to throw stones at our Prophet, Bilal (RA) was tortured whilst proclaiming belief in one God. The examples are endless.

      Finally, I dont know how things are in the US, but in the UK it is deemed a ‘status symbol’ if a woman chooses to stay at home as a housewife. If a highly educated non-muslim woman, makes a conscious decision to stay at home and focus on bringing her children up, then why do we not complain about that? Perhaps the reason why the niqaab-wearing sister chooses not to excel in her career is so that she can focus on her family too. However, we choose to blame the Niqaab for her staying at home, as opposed to the fact that she chooses to give her full attention to her children.

    • Avatar Umm Salma says:

      I respect your opinion, and I understand your concern.

      I just think that you aren’t really giving these sisters who wear the niqaab a chance. If they choose to wear the niqaab, then let them be. Maybe it is true that we are less likely to get a job, or that it is very dangerous to wear it in the US. But I think it is up to the person who wears the niqaab to make that decision for herself. Putting oneself in danger does sound stupid for any reason, but if someone wants to do something (wearing the niqaab or something else), if they feel that it is from Allah, then let us hope that they do it for the sake of Allah, and may Allah protect them.

      Also, we should not let society change our beliefs. That is how we end up corrupting Islam, because we are trying so hard to look or be a certain way to non-Muslims, so that we can give them da’wah and not scare them away from Islam. But there’s nothing wrong with Islam, and we should not compromise our beliefs just to “humanize” ourselves for the non-Muslims. Only Allah can guide the misguided.

      And as you believe that the niqaab won’t add to or affect your iman in any way, there are sisters who believe that it DOES affect their iman, and that it increases their iman. And as others have spoken about their own experiences in their own countries, you also have spoken of your own experience and you don’t speak on behalf of all Muslim women who wear or don’t wear niqaab. So we shouldn’t be quick to judge anyone, and just let the women judge for themselves what they feel is right.

      I wear the niqaab and I am from Seattle. I don’t get too much trouble here because there are a lot of other women who wear niqaab and also a lot of women who wear the hijaab. I can understand if women choose not to wear it if they feel it is dangerous or otherwise, especially in places less diverse than Seattle.

      • Avatar Iman says:

        I am not speaking for all niqaabis. I speak for those that I know and have spoken with. Don’t feel attacked because that’s not my intention, I am only trying to state the facts and we tend to stay away from that often. So many ignorant people around.

        • Avatar Umm Salma says:

          I don’t feel attacked by your comments. But I think you are mistaking facts with personal opinions. What you state is your own opinion, and if you were actually stating facts, you would be able to confirm everything you have said with every woman who wears niqaab, not just the ones you know and have told you these statements themselves.

          I’m actually really saddened by the things you have said. It sounds like these sisters that you know, are wearing the niqaab for the wrong reasons. But when it comes down to it, it’s not about changing their actions, but changing their intentions. There’s nothing wrong with wearing the niqaab, and if they are complaining about wearing it, then maybe they should check their intentions. As long you keep your intentions pure, and do things for the sake of Allah, then you have no reason to complain.

        • Avatar ummaasiyah says:

          Just a point I wanted to bring up in my earlier post about the niqaabi going for an early morning run…I was merely pointing out the lengths that some people will go to just to keep fit. What I am trying to say is that just because a woman may wear niqaab, she shouldn’t feel restricted in anyway possible. It is as they say…the sky’s the limit. So if she feels that an early morning run will keep her fit, then it’s her choice. In the same way, if she truly believes that she can get a particular job, then all she really has to do is write a fantastic job application, do istikhaara, and follow the process of job interviews, etc. If it is in her qadr to work, then she will get a job regardless of her niqaab. It is, after all, qadr Allah. Not due to niqaab restriction. By blaming niqaab, not getting a job is just a self-fulfilling prophecy.

        • Avatar abuyahya says:

          Whilst I its important to relay our experiences to one another, it seems as if you are basing your arguments solely on experiences.

          I would be very interested to know what your theological stance is on Niqaab. For ultimately, even if it is the most difficult thing a woman can do, if Allah says its is at least highly recommended, then we should try our utmost to be of those who hear and obey.

  22. Avatar Talha says:

    To expect these generalizations (oppression, supposed forced wearing of the niqab, niqab ‘dehumanization’) from Muslim bashers is one thing, but to see them coming from Muslims is quite disappointing.

    Whatever your opinion on whether Niqab is fardh or not (my wife follows the opinion it is not Fardh), know that it is at least Mustahabb, so do not hinder and discourage those brave Muslim sisters struggling and striving to do this Mustahabb act.

    • Avatar Mohsin says:

      Is at least Mustahabb though? Is there an actual, verifiable, agreement on this?

      • yes there is. Not a single scholar of Sunni Islam has ever said it is simply mubah. Every single scholar of Sunni Islam from any madhhab, without exception, has said it is either mustahabb or fardh. Scholars have even gone beyond that to say that ridiculing it is ridiculing something in the shari’ah and therefore constitutes major kufr (disbelief)!

        The opinion that it is “merely permissible but not recommended” is a post-20th-century phenomenon found only amongst some modernists.

  23. Avatar Nasiba says:

    Bismillah
    Allah (SWT) tells us:
    وَتَعَاوَنُواْ عَلَى ٱلۡبِرِّ وَٱلتَّقۡوَىٰ‌ۖ وَلَا تَعَاوَنُواْ عَلَى ٱلۡإِثۡمِ وَٱلۡعُدۡوَٲنِ‌ۚ
    ..And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression…[5:2]

    Judging by some of the comments, you would think wearing a niqab would fall under ‘sin and agression.’

    May Allah make us among those who encourage others to do that which pleases Him (SWT), whether we ourselves have the tawfiq to do it or not. Ameen.

  24. Avatar Dawud Israel says:

    We could settle this with a cat fight–HIJABIS VS. NIQABIS ! :P

    Its incomplete dawah to just put on some clothing- you gotta have a whole mindset for it. Me and my friend were walking and he wore his thowb outside and he didn’t want to, but I told him not to worry. A Native guy (First Nations people) just called us from far and said, “Hey bro!” And then we stopped and he came and said, “I just wanted to congratulate you- keep it up!” And then he walked away…

    And I didn’t say anything cuz I wasn’t the dude who was in a thowb and it would detract from anything my friend would say and he didn’t say anything cuz he was caught off guard (even though this has happened before). And we talked as to what would’ve been the best response to that sorta remark.

    So you gotta be prepared to give people a response or move it into a dawah conversation…

    IF YOU ARE A SISTER WEARING A HIJAB/ NIQAB AND GET ASKED “ARE YOU HOT IN THAT?” THEN CHECK THIS OUT: http://forums.almaghrib.org/showthread.php?t=35337

    :D

    -Dawud

  25. Avatar Amatullah says:

    Any comments that endorse violence, name calling and anything derogatory will be deleted with no question.

  26. AsSalaamu Alaikum,
    The most important part of this article was the verse of Qur’an revealing the hijab of the female believers. Since there are two interpretations of this then Alhamdulillah, not one muslim should dare look down upon another for wearing or not wearing a niqab. Rather we should fear Allah and observe our haya in all matters best we can inshaAllah and pray that our deeds to be modest and chaste is accepted by Allah inshaAllah.

    AsSalaamu Alaikum

  27. Avatar UmmTayyab says:

    Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatoh,

    (www.niqaabis.com)

    I am a niqaabi, have been almost the entire time I’ve been a Muslim, (I took shahadah in 1994, Alhamdulillah). Besides being a housewife, as a niqaabi, I have been a student in a computer school, a teacher in a computer school, an assistant manager in a halal restaurant, and a school bus driver for a public bus company serving public and Catholic schools (I’m in Canada).

    I have testified in Municipal Court and in Provincial Court, neither of which asked me to remove my veil, not even to verify identification.

    I have used banks regularly, most of the time they don’t ask me to lift my veil for id purposes (only once when I forgot my bank card and had to use my driver’s licence).

    I have visited a maximum security correctional facility, and other than confirming my identity at the window wicket, have never been asked to remove my veil for security reasons, even after walking through a metal detector and having to remove my shoes!

    I love this article and have even posted it to our website in a blog section for other authors (we post the internet link to the original).

    Niqaab is our right. Please respect our right and support us in our deen. If enough mu’minah wear it, it will become normal and no longer a difficult practice for us.

    It was once very difficult to wear hijab in the West, only about 20 years ago. Now it’s easier.

    It was once difficult to build a mosque in the West. Now we have thousands.

    Would you have complained about mosques and hijabs making dawa difficult or causing problems for Muslims?

  28. Avatar Wanna-be-Niqabi says:

    I’ll be honest I stopped reading the comments when I got to the comment that said

    “I don’t think niqaab is practical at all in western society and those I know who do are usually housewives with fobby or overbearing husbands”

    I found that comment to not only be disrespectful but also close minded and ignorant.

    Alot of things about our deen sometimes dont mesh well with the “real world”…so are we to abandon those as well??

    And women who aren’t “modern” enough must be “fobby” or have “overbearing husbands”????

    I find women who do Niqaab to be inspirational and strong. It takes strength to make that level of sacrifice in this world.
    I dont do niqaab myself, and I freely admit it is because my Iman is not strong enough.

    If you dont do it yourself thats fine, no one is judging you. But dont sit there and try to act like you have these great reasons for not doing it.

    • Avatar mohammed says:

      Mashallah…May Allah reward you for this stance…

      “And the servants of (Allah) Most Gracious are those who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say, ‘Peace!’ ” [Sûrah al-Furqân: 63]

      Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

      ‘Not a word does he (or she) utter but there is a watcher by him ready (to record it)’

      [Qaaf 50:18]

      So brothers and sisters, think twice before passing comments or giving your personal opinion on something that Allah has already made it clear…

  29. Avatar F says:

    I think it’s best to take the middle path. Niqab has advantages and disadvantages depending on where you live. For some, advantages outweigh the disadvantages while for others it is the opposite.

    Lets not look down upon each other and cause further division.

  30. Avatar fais says:

    nikkab = awesomeness ^ infinity …its been mathematically proven! I will not go into the detail of proving it because i dont remember my greek alphabets but trust me… i’m a computer scientist.

    • Avatar Silly_girl_who_doesn't_wear_niqab_but_wears_a_scarf_at_least says:

      Then prove it right here & right now,,, I guess if you’re a computer scientist u shouldn’t have a brain the size of an amoeba!!! =P

      • Avatar fais says:

        it requires a surface integral over covered portions with awesomeness being a fuction of the sunnah and sawaab…a simplified version of this proof involves modeling the number of exposed body parts using the dirac delta function

  31. Avatar itsme says:

    Well as a Muslim woman who intends on wearing niqab eventually (I already cover every other part of my body) …I must admit it was disturbing and a bit ridiculing to read how it seemed to be such a positive thing that some niqabis wear “lingerie!”, especially since it was also in the introduction. Seriously and honestly–that did not feel necessary to mention at all. It’s something private and not a nice thought to have when you see a woman who veils her face. We can understand that niqabis can be into fashion when it was mentioned they do their hair, etc, but lingerie?…….Lets have some limits on what we expose to the public. Not to mention, who knows if this will give Brothers who are not married yet improper thoughts about what to expect from their wives when they do wed. This puts Sisters in an uncomfortable position.

  32. Avatar Priya says:

    As a Muslim woman living in the US, I’ll have to agree with the sisters saying niqab in the work force is not very common, for example I know 5 niqabis that have college degrees, but non of them could get a job with their degrees after college. Many of you might say it’s not the niqaab. It actually is. Someone told one of the girls you’ll never work for corporate America wearing niqab it’s sad but she did decide to open a baking business at home, it’s not doing well and she’ struggling. Poor girl thought she would work with her PHD after she was done with school but boy was she wrong.

    So to those sisters that say yes niqabis are professionals and have jobs with “NASA” which I highly highly doubt, it’s 1 in a million case.

    I wear hijab and jilbab and I believe a sister that covers her face isn’t getting more deeds than I just because she’s covering her face, she’ll get more deeds for being a better Muslim that’s it. Niqabis are educated, they just can’t get their dream job wearing niqab.

    It’s very funny how many niqabi sisters thing just because they wear niqab they have better spot in jannah than non niqabis. It’s sad and unfortunate. Also those sisters that wear hijab are not better than those that wear niqab, so I hope we’ll check ourselves. We are all equal in Allahs eyes whether we are niqabis or non niqabis.

    In conclusion, niqab is not possible in the West if you want to work with your degree, plus it’s dangerous in certain places. Allah didn’t ask you to put yourselves in danger. By all means wear it if you live in a Muslim country or are a housewife, but if you think you’ll be able to work with hospitals or NASA think again because it just got harder for you because of your niqab.

    • Avatar ummaasiyah says:

      Negativity never got anyone far. If that were the case, then Islam wouldn’t still exist and be so strong. We need to be positive. If we don’t support our sisters in Islam, then who will? I don’t think a passer-by would!

    • Avatar fais says:

      at the expense of sounding like a jack***, rosa parks never gave up her seat on the bus, why should our sisters give up niqab in the workplace?

    • Avatar Maha says:

      One of my friends worked for a major computer corporation as software engineer wearing niqaab although she wore colored jilbab, scarf & niqaab and not black. So it’s possible to get work in corporations wearing niqaab (unless one wants to works in customer services or human resources which may be more difficult).

  33. Avatar Fatima Barkatulla says:

    Assalamu Alaikum all.

    I was surprised to see this article here…since it has been some time since it was in the Times. However I hope you can bear the following in mind:

    – This was written with a UK non-Muslim readership in mind.
    – It was written after there was a lot of talk about the Niqab in the media in the UK due to the comments made by President Sarkozy of France about banning niqab.
    – The specific ‘myths’ that I tried to address were the most common comments I heard in the media having been interviewed by BBC TV and Radio…I got a good idea of the main questions that people were asking or misconceptions they had.
    – The myth about women teachers was one that a UK politician mentioned so I needed to include that.

    Here in the UK, the scholars have supported sisters who choose to wear the niqab. Of course in extreme circumstances they have had to tell sisters not to insist on making institutions accept it if it will cause a much greater harm. The number of niqab-wearers in UK and France is increasing and often politicians use the niqab and issues that whip up media attention towards Muslims as a way to draw attention away from scandals or pressure that they are facing. In the words of George Galloway “You’re picking on a minority within a minority within a minority”….it is unreasonable attention really…but an opportunity for us to make our voices heard.

    So we want to increase people’s understanding of why we do what we do, and increase peoples understanding of Islam in general. We want people to accomodate sisters who wear the niqab and not feel threatened by them.

    Of course as Muslims we should support this choice of our Sisters. We want to increase the moral standards of society. We should be careful, not to say something against the concept of covering the face as it is undoubtedly a part of our religion, highly recommended or obligatory…nothing less. Our mothers (Ummuhatil Mu’mineen’) covered their faces, that alone should make us respect it. Yes, observing niqab can and does affect the way women may contribute to society, but nobody said those women who choose to wear it have to be able to become Firefighters or Olympic runners…our job description or career is not the purpose of our lives. The main point is that women who wear the niqab can and do contribute positively to society. (Contrary to a comment made by Tony Blair when he was PM, that he couldn’t see how a woman who covered her face could contribute to society). So I hope you can see that it was very much written to address certain misconcenceptions that kept being repeated in the media.

    Jazakumullahu Khairan.

    FB

  34. Avatar Holly Garza says:

    subhanaAllah !!! wow I just came back here and the comments blew up!

    Our understanding of things is NOT Allah’s and mine may not be you’rs.

    We don’t have to agree or like what someone is saying we can agree to disagree; but giving someone negative points on a comment they made which was just as valid as ours is wrong!

    InshaAllah we can stop being childish and remember the topic at hand which was to answer questions about Niqaab. Weather or not we agree with it can be our own blog thats for sure!

    There are pros and cons to everything please don’t knock the sisters who wear it and remember don’t knock the ones who don’t

  35. Avatar Mariam says:

    As a niqabi, I have never felt that a sister wearing a proper hijab/jilbab is of any lesser faith than I am. Most of my friends don’t wear niqaab, but we still love each other and never put each other down.

    However, when I read comments (by Muslims) being “critical” to niqaab, I am left to think: why in the world are these people choosing to be frustrated over the issue? Supporting niqab doesn’t automatically mean that one’s putting hijab/jilbab down. I seriously sense some inferiority complex.

    When I began wearing headscarf, it was definitely full of tests. Wearing jilbab wasn’t easy either, so I don’t know why there is this fuss about niqab. To be honest, in my journey of wearing niqab, the most painful part is dealing with Muslims. I have faced more troubles with Muslims than non-Muslims. I have studied at a western univesity and worked with non-Muslims. During past 7 years that I have worn niqab, I can only point to three incidences with non-Muslims in which they have put me down because of my niqab. However, I have uncountable encounters with Muslims who questioned and bashed me for wearing niqab, and that’s one of my biggest fitnahs.

    This is my (personal) experience. This is neither an assumption about niqabis nor an empirical data.

  36. Avatar Bilal says:

    I don’t understand why there is a -2 next to Iman’s post earlier on in the comments close to top. A Muslim sister was attacked for wearing hijab. All she is saying is that wearing hijab caused her to be the victim of an assault. She didn’t say she doesn’t support hijab or it’s values. And yet some of us are so shallow that we cannot even sympathize with one of our own. Good going MMers.

    • Avatar Amad says:

      Readers are free to vote whichever way they like. Can’t control it. I agree that sometimes good comments get unfortunately whacked.

      Hopefully we can get a better system one day when the ability to give negative points is a privilege not given to anyone and has consequences (like Dailykos for instance has)

  37. Avatar QasYm says:

    I understand MM encourages debate/disagreements for the sake of higher ratings. But some of these last comments are absurd, and contain very offensive language. I suggest you either delete them or shut this conversation down completely as it has definitely served its purpose.

    No matter what anyone says, you’re not going to change someone’s stance on the issue.

    To the Niqaab-attackers, if the person who ACTUALLY wears a niqaab is telling you it’s not a problem wearing it, then what other proof do you need? Are they lying?

    To Niqaab-wearers, as if wearing a Niqaab isn’t tough enough, you have an even tougher task of all your other actions (incl how you reply here) being observed very closely. And people will actually judge the issue of Niqaab based on how you’re coming across in these posts. I understand it’s tough being constantly attacked, but your hijab isn’t just a physical covering, it extends to conversations online as well. Please explain your stance with hikmah instead of just assuming the other person is attacking you. They might just be ignorant about the whole topic and need it to be explained to them (over and over even).

  38. Avatar ayesha says:

    Lets all get real now. as great as it may be for everyone to wear niqaab, its not always practical. May allah reward those who do…but at the same time I do not believe that niqaab is fard (because in my humble opinion, under the ruling of hijab, “that which is apparent” includes the face, and therefore, can be shown). All of us like talking about this, but we arent even the ones doing it. We have no idea what our sisters go through, we cannot even comprehend, but we do see the effects on the muslim society living in the west as a whole. Im not saying it is necessarily negative, but it definitely doesn’t scream hey look at me, i love the world, and i strive for world peace.

    • Avatar ayesha says:

      well that’s not me commenting(my name is jus a lil common )……i do blog often but dont comment much ……and my opinion on covering the face is that its’s fard and i jus love to and enjoy wearing the hijaab(who wouldn’t coz apart from the rewards the proper hijaabis(ones who wear an abaya to cover themselves and not to beautify themselves ) are highly respected in a muslim country-not sure about all but atleast where i live walhamdulillah) ….wallahu a’ala wa a’alam!!

    • Avatar F says:

      The problem is people see it as a black and white issue.

      One side claims it is the greatest thing since sliced bread, ignoring the sacrifices and disadvantage of wearing niqab in the west.

      While the other side thinks it has no place in modern society and should be gotten rid of outright.

      The reality is somewhere in the middle.

  39. Avatar mohammed says:

    salam sister,

    May Allah reward you for this…good work…

  40. […] The Times Online clears up fact vs. fiction when it comes to the niqab. Via MuslimMatters. […]

  41. […] may succeed. where does it say to cover your face? More Perspectives on Why Niqab Is Not Fard The Niqab, Fact V Fiction | MuslimMatters.org (look at number 3) […]

  42. Avatar Ukthi says:

    Subhan’Allah, that was an amazing article!!

    To all those that wear the niqab, I say Mash’Allah. I really admire your strength and devotion. I personally don’t wear a niqab, but want to in the near future insh’Allah. May Allah S.W.T make it easy for all the sisters who wear the niqab and reward you for your devotion. May Allah guide us all!

    AND REMEMBER:
    Muhammed Ali: ” Valuable Things Are Covered and Hard to Get ”

    Just wanted to share a beautiful story with everyone:
    The following incident took place when Muhammed Ali’s daughters arrived at his home wearing clothes that are not modest. Here is the story as told in detail by one of his daughters:

    When we finally arrived, the chauffer escorted my youngest sister, Laila, and me to my father’s suite. As usual, he was hiding behind the door waiting to scare us. We exchanged hugs and kisses as we could possibly give in one day.

    My father took a good look at us. Then he sent me down in his lap and said something I will never forget.

    He looked me straight in the eyes and said,

    “Hana, everything that God made valuable in the world covered and hard to get to. Where do you find diamonds?

    Deep down in the ground, covered and protected.

    Where do you find pearls?

    Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell.

    Where do you find gold?

    Way down and in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You’ve got to work hard to get them.”

    He looked at me with serious eyes.

    “Your body is sacred.
    You’re far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too.”

    source: http://abdurrahman.org/

  43. Avatar Siggy says:

    Ukhti JazakAllahukhair for posting your Mohammed Ali story :) It is true most things of true worth are protected by many coverings Alhamdulillah. May Allah unite our Ummah and increase the sisterhood amoung our sisters.

    Healthy debate is all ll and good but I have to agree with the posters above regarding personal experiences being discussed as fact. Its all about what you focus on, we each have trillions of experiences in a lifetime and what you remember and latch on to is what your focusing on…looking for that passer by giving you a strange look you”ll find it. Looking for admiration in another woman’s eyes you’ll find it!

    I love wearing hijab, and being a walking ayah and I intend to wear the niqaab as well one day inshaAllah. I see it as just another step in becoming closer to Allah and safegaurding my haya…Who doesn’t want to compared to a diamond or pearl? I feel like a treasure already with the hijab.

    My personal experience before putting on the hijab and after (put on in my final year of highschool), the guys I had know since elementry school started treating me with more respect Alhamdulillah. As the years have gone by through university and now in the workforce my negative experiences have been a drop in the bucket compared to the countless postive ones. They are the ones I choose to focus on Alhamdulillah…

    • Avatar Ukhti says:

      Please feel free to share the knowledge and earn the rewards insha’Allaah.

      I also experienced something similar to you Siggy when I first started wearing my hijab. I noticed that people around me respected me for my decision to wear the hijab. Guys lower their gaze around me. It feels really nice to be respected in that way. Even in university as well as in the workforce people seem to have a positive attitude around me. I do get curious people (non-muslims) here and there that ask me questions about my hijab, but they never make any negative comments Alhamdulillah.

      I fully support the sisters who wear the hijab and the niqab. Its just a way of getting closer to Allah (s.w.t). And what could be possibly better than that?

  44. Avatar coolred38 says:

    Whatever happened to Islam being the Middle Path? Middle signifying that we are not extreme in either direction. We are not showing off our bodies…nor are we shrouded to the extent our humanity/femininiy is lost under a billowing black cloth. We are still meant to be seen as women even while we are Muslims. To believe that God requires women to hide all traces of their womaness is such a harsh and ungrateful concept to thrust upon God. Heaven is at our feet…treat us better 3 times before your fathers…dote on us in our old age etc etc…but we are supposed to hide all traces of that very thing that God created in us to make us stand out from men. Where is the logic in that belief?

    Having said that…women should be free to wear hijab/niqab or not…without fellow Muslims coming down on them and questioning their level of devotion etc to the deen. We all have our own burdens to bear…some shown and some secret…who are we to judge. ALL Muslim women are well aware of the concept of hijab in Islam…some have a broader definition while others have a more narrow restrictive definition…but in the end it should be left in the hands of women to decide on…after all…it will be women that are held accountable (or not) for the level of hijab they observed.

    Women do not generally comment on mens “obligations” towards beard…modesty…prayer….responsibilities etc as Muslim men…but Muslim men certainly feel it is their right to comment on a womans “responsibility” to observe hijab/niqab…and to question her level of piety etc based merely on a scrap of cloth. To give such power to a mere piece of cloth takes it away from God in my opinion….women do good (or not) because of who they are…not because of what they wear. They should likewise be “judged” for their actions…not by what they wear…as rarely are men judged so harshly for failure to comply with Islams modesty rule. (just look at any middle easterns football team…shorts over the knees…does anyone comment on that ever?)

    I, for one, sincerely pray that God is as All Merciful and All Forgiving as He tells us…because if it were up to Muslims themselves…there would be little forgiveness and almost no mercy…we are such a black and white group in general with little room for flexibility.

    • Avatar jaja says:

      I agree with most of what you said. Why is it that it is always women that are being judged by men in islam and rarely do we read an article about women juding men in islam? Why is there any need for judging in the first place?

  45. Avatar recesskids says:

    When someone sincerely does something for the sake of Allah they need to have a high expectations from Allah and trust in Allah. If a sister decides to wear a niqab she needs to be confident about why she is doing it. If she is confident, then she will achieve whatever she wants to achieve. A lot of what you achieve in life comes from how you carry yourself and what is your mindset. A sister who wears a niqab and is confident and goes for a job interview will most likely get a job, but if a sister goes to an interview thinking she will not get the job because of her niqab she will not get it. Its all in how you carry yourself and how confident you are, and how strongly you believe in the power of Allah.

    Here is a story that always lift up my iman. This is about having high expectations from Allah. If you do something for Allah, he will never disgrace you. My sister who wears niqab, is a very confident and strong willed individual. She went to a job interview, the guy who was interviewing her didn’t want to give her a job, he made some lame excuses. My sister left, and got a job at another place. She did well and start climbing the ladder company’s ladder (oh btw it was NOT a muslim company), they respected her as an individual, as a Muslimah (she never compromised her principles) and her work. She became the Operations Manager. One of her responsibility was to hire and interview people. So one day she was sitting, interviewing people, like usual and then lo and behold the person that came in her room was the same guy who denied her the job couple of years ago. My sister hired the guy and he worked under my sister. When ever I think about, it just lifts up my Iman. Who would have thought that Allah Subhanuwat3laa will bring that guy in front of my sister couple of years down the road and she will be in the position of authority! Truly only Allah Subhanuwat3laa has all the power! Always have high expectations from Allah, do things sincerely for Him, and surely we will witness many miracles and see the support that Allah gives to his believers.

    I also want to say, May Allah reward those sisters tremendously who started wearing hijab at the time when almost no one did and they made it easier for the other Muslimahs; had they not stuck by their decision, we might just be debating today about how unpractical it is to wear hijab in the west. May Allah Subhanuwat3laa reward all the muslimahs who chose to obey His command by wearing hijab/jilbab/niqaab for his sake alone and may He protect all of them. May we all support each other for any action we take to come closer to Allah Subhanuwat3laa.

  46. Avatar Amanullah says:

    Assalamualaikum

    Those who dont want to wear niqab & those who want to wear niqab, you all have to reply allah for what you have done on your understanding, therefore be prepared to answer allah without anyone’s assistance,

  47. […] Tell me any Anti-Islamic words used by non muslims? heres a link for the niqab refutation The Niqab, Fact V Fiction | MuslimMatters.org __________________ اللهم لاعيش إلا عيش الآخرة اللهم اغفر […]

  48. Avatar Beeeebo says:

    I find the niqaab a wonderful virtue and would not condemn it for any reason. And a lot of women who wear hijab and even niqab are talented, I agree. Unfortunately, that is not seen a lot where I live, in NYC. However, I would like to point out that sadly, many niqabis cannot find jobs wearing niqab and of course, some stay at home by choice. May I also point out that in UK and USA, where niqabis do not work, and the husband tends to be lazy and not hard working for his family will just loot welfare money. This just shows a lack of production in society for Muslim women and it shows a lot of hatred towards Muslims by non-Muslims.

    And already, I have forwarded my question to IslamQA, and it was confirmed that Muslims should never rely on welfare or any type of support by unknown sources or with the help of non-Muslims, Jews, Christians, etc. Again, this is not everybody, but if society were to just accept niqab for what it is, it would not be an issue, probably more Muslim women would be working by choice and be talented. But, since it is not like that, a lot of women are at home (sometimes by choice, and sometimes with the lack of work), and we could somewhat blame this to the ones who degrade niqab and Islam.

  49. Avatar Mohammad says:

    Salaam, all praise be to Allah and may His Peace and Blessings be upon the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alaihi wassalam.

    I think there is far far too much of “i think” and “this means to me”. Islam has not come down for you to generalise your own opinions about it. We go the quran, sunnah, the understanding of the scholars etc. Most of the people who have objected to the niqab have mentioned very very weak points based on their own opinions/desires. The niqab is fard according to a huge number of scholars and sahaba(I can provide evidence if anyone needs it).

    What I have found very difficult to swallow are sisters saying that they know sisters who wear niqaab and they have difficulties etc etc. Ok so now the west are clamping down on hijabs, beards etc should we stop practicing these things too? subhanaAllah. And what is some hardship for the sake of Allah.

    No-one is saying it’s the best thing since sliced bread(this is a very silly way of looking at such a serious issue), but it seems the most correct opinion ISLAMICALLY (not what I think or what YOU think) is that it is FARD!

    Sisters saying I don’t think a sister covering her face will get more rewards as oopposed to one who does not cover?? If we say it is fard, she is most certainly getting alot of reward inshaAllah and the one who is leaving it is sinful(unless you genuinely belive, BASED ON EVIDENCE, that it is sunnah and I know of no classical scholar who says it has less status than sunnah)

    Please research issues based on islamic evidence, NOT on our whims and desires, our weak opinions etc. Go to the understanding of the scholars.

    • Avatar Tawheed Awalan says:

      Just as there are sisters who may dismiss niqab completly based on desires, there are also brothers who may claim niqab is fard based on desires coming from not wanting men to see their wife and as such take the opinion that it’s fard to make a stronger case for themselves.

      The way i see it, the evidence point to niqab being non-obligatory and those who claim it’s obligatory use far-stretched interpretations of the Quran and the hadith as well as inserting their own personal logic about how the face is the most temptating part of the body as if Islam is based on whatever appears to be logical to people, not to forget the usage of weak hadith.

      Shaykh Al-albaani wrote a book where he refuted pretty much all of the claims and arguements and so called proof used to portray the face veil as obligatory and he offered counter-proof as well.

      Niqab is excellent even though i don’t hold the opinion that it’s obligatory. But it’s not excellent for everyone in every situation. Some may go through unneccassary hardship in their daily life and while living under their parents for an act that there is strong proof to indicate that its not obligatory. Such a person can rather wear the jilbab and headcover and instead earn good deeds in other areas. Unless a sister is fully convinced that niqab is obligatory after hearing both sides arguements then it’s a different story. Or if she believes it’s not obligatory but feels strongly inclined towards niqab and can stand the hardship then good for her.

      But sisters should know that there is an alternative to look into if niqab will bring her hardship that she can’t handle or don’t want to handle. No sister should be bullied into niqab by making her think there is a ijma’ on it being fard or that she is simply following her desires for not wearing it.

      Google “The face veil albaani pdf” to find a translation of many of shaykh al-albaanis refutations of the arguements claiming niqab is fard. I can’t post the link here but you should be able to easily find it. It was translated by Dr Bilal Philips.

  50. […] Please also visit: http://muslimmatters.org/2009/09/24/the-niqab-fact-v-fiction/ […]

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