Followers

I have always wanted to wear niqab since I became Muslim. I always saw niqab in new movies like Mummy (i know it's not real niqab now but then I didn't) and old movies where Spaniard Ladies would have their hair covered with a light veil (lace edged of course) and sometimes when the gentleman comes to serenade her she would delicately lift the edge of the veil to cover half her face..... thus he cannot see her blush nor her secretly pleased smile. There was always an aura of mystery about it. You don't know what a niqabi is really thinking. True wearing niqab islamic style has nothing really to do with just culture or just delicate laced modesty. Wearing the niqab for some is a big deal. I'm one of those people.


I feel it is the next natural step in the chain of proper modesty. Niqab can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. For some a way to further the idea that they don't need to be judged by their looks but by what they say and do. Others wear it solely for the reward of doing sunnah. Some hate it and don't see why anyone would want to wear something so suffocating. Some view it as mysterious and like to use it as a way to flirt discreetly. Some try it out for a while and leave it others fight hard to keep jobs and wear it. Some wonder if the woman covers her face for extreme beauty or extreme ugliness.

No matter how you view the niqab it IS a part of Islam and many do choose to wear it. I had the opportunity three months before I came to UAE to wear it in Lebanon. I decided khalas this is it! I'm putting it! Iwent to a shop and tried them on and it felt wonderful. A proper niqab. In AZ on a bus sometimes if i felt uncomfortable by the stares of the other passengers i'd flip my hijab's tails to cover my face and surprisingly got less stares and i felt less uncomfortable. So i bought two niqabs and later was given a third by my husband's paternal aunt who has two niqabi daughters. At this time I had newly become pregnant with my second and also my husband and I began having many fights at this time. I was relieved to cover my face when i was angry and didn't want him to see my looks. We grew even further apart though because he couldn't see my rare smiles. He didn't want me to wear niqab since he liked my face and wanted to see it while we were out and about. But he didn't stand in my way and forbid it.


All my Lebanese in-laws had to get used to me being in it and I had to get used to it. It was a little bit harder to get fresh air. It was a struggle to eat anything liquidy like soups or anything messy and not get it all over the inside of the niqab. I wore it beginning in Ramadan and so we had a lot of feast of course and so each meal was very difficult. Also I had to stop being so loud and laughing like a hyena at anything remotely funny. I learned to cast my eyes down more since that is all a man could see of me now. Because I wore glasses I attracted more than a second glance and then people saw the blue eyes behind the glasses and started wondering. Sometimes at the ramadan parties I was shown off a little bit -Oh masha'Allah look at this AMERICAN wearing niqab. Like they had received a better in-law because I wore niqab when many american's don't even wear hijab -in Lebanon.


My daughter got used to it easily. SHe only tried pulling it off a couple of times before she got the hang of it. But unfortionatly it couldn't last. I was getting nauseous from pregnancy and needed more air to breathe properly. SO I took it off with the excuse of the doctor's saying I needed to breath better for the sake of my baby so people wouldn't trash talk me behind my back with the family about me taking it off. Surprisingly my husband and my fights lessened because now he could see my smiles and since he liked looking at my face it calmed him down more. weird effect but ok. SO I was disappointed but still happy I got to try it.


The other day I was looking for a new hijab to wear and was rummaging my hijab bag and ran across my niqabs. I smiled fondly and tentatively held it up to my face. My daughter laughed and wanted to try it on too. I let her and she played with it in the mirror. "Can I wear this to the mall?" She asked. I imagined the looks I'd get for having my 3year old in niqab and laughed. "Maybe you can't wear it." I replied. "But you can?" she asked. I thought about that. True nothing was really stopping me from wearing it now. "Sure!" I told her and ironed a beautiful light blue flower print hijab and my black niqab.


Now some people believe you can't wear bright colored hijabs with niqab but i'm not one of those people. But I did want to test the reactions to it. SO I wore it to the mall. It felt nice and secure and I noticed a lot more people really outright ignored me. I even tried to nod/smile to the other niqabis but they ignored me too. The funniest situation was when i was checking out baby clothes at the BabyShop and this family was carefully avoiding me. I'd move nearer to them and they'd move away. The woman wasn't wearing hijab so I thought maybe she was just unomfortable about it but then I tried an emeratian family some who were wearing niqab and they avoided me too maybe because of my weird fashion sense? Later it was time to meet my husband for dinner and I was apprehensive on two counts, my husband's reaction seeing me in niqab again and eating in niqab again. SO I went to the restrrom and in the stall changed my kids clothes and took them potty and diaper tie and all that then took off the niqab. *GASP* yes i took it off. I didn't want to ruin my night by having a row with my husband. When i got into the elevator I think an emeratian lady recognised my hijab colors and the same two cute little kids that were previously with the niqabi and she began whispering furtively to her friend, obviously about me. I told my husband I wore it and he was like "WHAT? Well I'm glad you took it off." I was disappointed because I do love to wear niqab I just wish i could flip it up for eating and being around my husband.....


I want to wear niqab like only half the time but I know that isn't a good thing to do especially when a lot of people know me at AL-Ain Mall. One day they'd see me in niqab and the other day not....yeah it would be confusing. By the way I do know it's best to wear it only for the sake of Allah. I just hope one day i can wear it all the time. The funniest part though was my son's reaction to it hehehe. He kept lookig into my eyes to make sure it was really me there.

19 intelligent thoughts:

youngMuslimah said...

as-salamu'alaikum

subhanAllah, this is EXACTLY what i'm going thru..i wear the niqab b'c i feel a lot more modest in it, and i get stared at a lot by men and women alike. ok, i can understand why men stare lol not justifying them, but what's with women? *shakes head*
anyway alhamdulillah i wear it most of the time. if i'm at a mall at a food court, it depends really..if there are men around i might or might not lift my niqab..depends on the situation..if everyone's engrossed in their own worlds then i might lift it up..our religion is easy, and i dont think its wajib to put the niqab on.
oh and i love covering my eyes:) i do that a lot of the times and men definitely respect u more, it's women who are mean, sadly even muslim hijabified women. but who cares, it makes me love my niqab more, you dont have to look good in other people's eyes as long as you look good in the eyes of Allah azza wajal, sah? :)

sorry for the rambling, its 1 am here..

ma-assalam:)

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you feel so beautiful in niqab. I've told you since the day I met you that you are, and I'm glad Allah made you feel it. While I'm not Muslim and don't really understand the wearing it all the time or not thing, why would it be a problem to only wear it half time? It is so that people judge you by your brain and spirit, and not by looks right? Well, your family and close friends don't judge you like that.....so why not just add it to your "out in publick" garments and save the beautiful smile for those who deserve it and miss it so much when it is gone?

Miss ya,
Amanda

Umm Ibrahim said...

salaam... I just wanted to say how beautiful that comment is from your friend Amanda! Such a sweet thing for someone to say!

American Muslima Writer said...

Young Muslimah: Welcome and thanks for your ramblings i love it. Yeah sometimes I think about just flipping it up too for eating but then i get nervous it will attract more attention esp. in non-muslim countries because they are more curious to see why you were hiding your face (ie extreme beauty or ugliness). Yeah it's definily not fard though it is reccommended but still I'm glad you love to wear it too :)

American Muslima Writer said...

Amanda darling, i do miss you to. It's funny that you were the only one of my friends to even try hijab even though you weren't muslim. But then you felt strange with Jen seeing you in it at the movies lol so you ripped it off in public *ACK!!!* lmao. But yes, you've been one of my close friends that have alway supported my weird tendancies. I'm glad youre supporting me with this one too. I miss smiling with you though. It's been a long time since we had too much coffee and too much time ;)
I'm glad to have a frind like you that has accepted each stage I went through...heheh esp the vampire stage and gothic stage hahaha do you remember that dark green metallic liptick I had in 9th grade and you and I used to wear it or black OMG! What fashion drama. Yeah I'll be wearing that color ONLY under a niqab now hehehe.

American Muslima Writer said...

Umm Ibrahim, yes she's soo sweet! We met in 8th grade and have been friends ever since! (Even through those drama years of high school lol) Even though our religions W_I_D_E_L_Y differ, we still have lots of fun tgether.

American Muslima Writer said...

Another thing Amanda: OH MY GOD, can you beleive we've been friends for a decade now? 1997-2008. I just realized it! Here's to another decade!

American Muslima Writer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Of course I'd wear hijab for you. I want to experience the world from everyones perspective....
And yes, I loved the green lipstick. Whatever happened to that? I still have the shiny "gun bolt metal" nail polish too.
I still have a picture of you with the red spikes.....they were awsome. And remember when you went and got like 12 peircings in one night and your ears almost fell off? :)

~Amanda

Yasmine said...

boy you go to mall alot... do women in the middle east do so alot? I certainly don't... guess I am not much of a shopper...

I want to try using niqab when going to the mosque and ramadan inshallah... For some reason Muslim men intimidate me. which is quite weird even to myself. maybe its the fact that I feel "naked" in their presence. not only that but the fact that a hijab is so normal to them.

PM said...

What I can't believe is that you were in 8th grade a decade ago! My daughter is older than that! :-((( Can you hear my bones creaking all the way over there in Al Ain? LOL!

I hate the superficial wearing of niqaab or social pressure to do so which is really prevalent in the Gulf but I'm a big supporter of choice. I even wear an abaya out of laziness some days and almost broke down and wore a shayla these past few weeks when I have been teaching 3 classes -- each meeting 3 hours per day, 5 days per week. I just don't have time to wash and properly style my hair some days. Yikes!

Salaam,
PM

My Thotz.... said...

I read this from a newspaper some years ago, when a terrorist group in Kashmir, India, made it obligatory for every Muslim women to cover from her head to toes. The author( a college going girl in her late teens, I dont remember her name) wrote:
At first, I was really very angry with the -gruop, for making the niqab a must for all of us. Why don't they leave us alone? But the law was the law, and not obeying it may cost our life. My mom was the happiest person on earth for their new law in the land, for she always wanted me to cover my face whenever I went outside. So I had no choice but to obey them, and my mother. It felt so difficult at first, especially to breath and take food. Slowly I started to understand it had some advantages too. I could go to cinema theaters, ice cream parlors, beauty parlors, shopping malls and anywhere I like with out the fear of being recognized by someone from my family. I felt more secure in it, as stares from men became lesser. I found myself staring back at persons who stared at me, 'coz they can't see me staring at them, so that I could understand their faces, and warn my friends about them. I wish, instead of making the niqab an obligatory - which is against Islam, if they had taught the people about its benefits, it would have been a great success!

Miss Muslimah said...

please stop writing so much!I need a chance to catch up....jeeez..lol... :P

mappp said...

As Salaam Alaikum,

Some hate it and don't see why anyone would want to wear something so suffocating.

That's Me. But I only hate it when people believe that it is a part of Islam. I don't hate it when Arab women or othe women, who are in those lands, wear it because that cultural stuff and I don't mind. I don't believe that Islam requires this or even suggest this. To me this is made up, and a way for poeple to force their culture on other people--- through religion.

salaam

UmmLayla said...

I too have a love affair with niqab... I would wear it for sure if my DH wasn't so totally and completely opposed to the idea. My ideal would be jilbab and niqab... I have a few and I used to wear them sometimes to the masjid before I was married because I was so tired of feeling like people were sizing me up, but then I started working at the Islamic school and everyone pretty much knew what I looked like anyway.

The hard thing about wearing it part time is the reaction of people who recognise you when you take it off. DH has a story about a neighbor lady growing up who wore niqab and no one knew her face. When she took it off for a short time because of a medical condition which made it difficult for her to wear it in the heat and breathe well everyone in the building was falling over themselves to see what she looked like!LOL

Another thought, I think sometimes you can wear it in certain countries and then not in others... I have thought about wearing it in Egypt (if DH agreed) because it would be a step up to into a don't look at me status and I think I would feel more comfortable. Modesty is relative to a certain extent.

Anyway, good topic;)

American Muslima Writer said...

Amanda, hehe yes I still feel the scars on my ears from the piercings and sometimes wish I still had them and they hadn't gotten infected so fast. Oh well. the WIll of ALlah as I know my husband would not have liked that HAHAHA.

American Muslima Writer said...

Yasmine: It is good to wear niqab around arab men because as you say they are used to hair covering and look closer at the face. I'm glad you do this in ramadan. May ALlah make it easy for you.

youngMuslimah said...

yeah true I agree w/ yasmine. I mean I wouldnt wear niqab back in my home country or in the west. the only reason why I put it is a) I feel a lot more modest in it (at least in the middle east or let's say at least in a few countries in the middle east) and b) it was the sunnah of the ummahatul mu'mineen.
but that doesntmean I'm like gonna wear it forever, depends on where and w/ whom I settle down with ;)

Anonymous said...

I'm not Muslim myself, but I do think that the world can learn so much from Islam, especially the wearing of hijab and niqab. The increasing popularity of the niqab, despite the banning in some countries, is cause for optimism. I hope you have been able to continue with your niqab-wearing. Take care, and thanks for the article.

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