Mar 24, 2011

Understanding The Niqaabi Queen

By Khadeejah Islam

I’m not a niqaabi. Thus, this article was not born out of self defense and will have no hint of it, inshaAllah. It is also worth mentioning that this is solely intended for the Muslims (both brothers and sisters), especially those who have welcomed the hijab. My intention behind this is to stretch an amiable hand to a minority and achieve unity in this Ummah. I will also not touch upon the issue of whether the niqaab is obligatory or not inshaAllah. You can consult a scholar for that. Throughout this article, I will be talking about women who have chosen to wear the niqaab and have not been forced in any way. Although some people may frown at the title, I find it apt to call niqaabis as queens as an appreciation for their patience because more often than not, they have been scoffed at with hurtful labels like ’ghost’, ‘ninjas’, ‘jailed’, ‘tent’, etc. and the niqaabis have patiently endured it all. Such barbs coming from non-Muslims are understandable because perhaps they are ignorant about Islam, but most importantly, because they don’t believe. But when these same hurtful remarks come from Muslims, the effects are caustic and through this article, I wish to delineate just that.

The reason why I, being a hijabi, decided to write an article for this cause is: The believers are but brothers, so make settlement between your brothers. And fear Allah that you may receive mercy. [Qur’an 49:10]

And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you – when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers. [Qur’an 3:103].

Why are we, being believers, not willing to understand our sisters? We worship the same God and we believe in the same Quran. Despite our striking similarities, shall we allow a split among ourselves over a trifling scholarly difference of opinion? Some hide behind the debate on whether niqaab is obligatory or not to argue with niqaabis. As a matter of fact, many choose to wear the niqaab while believing it is not obligatory. Therefore, this is not always an issue of religious requirement. Perhaps, she is using it to save her life from a possible threat which we are not aware of. Perhaps, she is taking one harmless step further to improve her eemaan. Let’s not judge dear brothers and sisters because Allah knows her situation and Allah is the Judge. Moreover, we love modesty, so as long as they are enhancing their modesty with niqaab, we should not have any qualms about it. They are trying to emulate none other than the Mothers of believers (whom we wish to emulate) in an attempt to please none other than Allah (whom we serve). We should commend them for their eemaan and steadfastness. All of this should strike a harmonious chord between us and our niqaabi sisters. I have witnessed a few Muslims joining non-Muslims in their tirade against niqaabis; ignoring the fact that the difference we share with the non-Muslims far outweighs the difference we share with niqaabis (it’s just a matter of a face-veil!).

Let not believers take disbelievers as allies [i.e. supporters or protectors] rather than believers. [Qur’an 3:28]
A very common misconception is that niqaabis “shut themselves up from the world” and therefore remain uneducated, unsocial, lifeless, and threatening (if they venture out of their homes that is). Before I proceed to elaborate on each of these stances, I urge my brothers and sisters to reflect; do you not see that these are the same allegations non-Muslims often cast upon hijabis? So why are we even thinking of inflicting the same pain on our niqaabi sisters? By the Grace of Allah, I have had a glorious opportunity to interact with niqaabis and surprising as it may sound to some, they not only hold degrees of merit, but they also work diligently both at home and outside. They are also as feminine and bubbly as any woman would be. I can assure you that their warmth of amity can beat the winter blues! Before deeming them as threats, we should really bear in mind that these women are willing to cooperate with security checks. It is quite paradoxical if we begin to criticize everything that is being misused. For example, should we blame the knife which can be used for both slicing bread and injuring a person?

The most important statement that we should read again and again is this: O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. [Qur’an 49:11]

It is important to recognize that our speech and actions have an impact on ourselves as well as the entire community. In light of this, should we pose as tests of patience for our sisters?

And We have made some of you [people] as trial for others – will you have patience? And ever is your Lord, Seeing [Qur’an 25:20].
Remember that the trials of niqaabis are very similar to trials of hijabis; judgment based on looks instead of character and intelligence. So let’s take a stand against unfair treatment.

I'd love to hear your views on this article. Please tell me in the comments section below :)


As a Niqaabi myself, I have to say this was such a refreshing read!:) Jazaak Allah khair, sister, for trying to show what we share in common...your words are so true. I can understand Non Muslims bashing the niqab, but when Muslims, themselves, put us down, it hurts.
May Allah help us all to learn to stop judging others.

Thank you so much for this beautiful post! As a niqabbi I can truly relate to harsh comments made by both muslims and non-muslims. May Allah bless ALL the muslims to accept His deen fully...ameen.

as me being niqaabi i agree wth wht sistr anonymous said, yea realy it hurts whn muslims say to the kufaaar that niqaab is nt fardh and its nt islamcallt , subhanallah thn why dd the sahabiyat used to wear niqab, in several places we see tht aisha as saying whn the ithr men pass by we used to cover our face and drw our veils to our faces, and evn in anthr place rasool Allah told thm nt to enter the 7aram wth their face covrd ,, if am not wrng wallahu ya3lam bisiwa

i absolutely love it! mashallah!

As Salaamu alaykum wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakaatuhu ukhti! (smiles)...what a wonderful article, masha Allaah. At one time I wore niqab, in which I plan by the permission, mercy and will of Allaah to go back to wearing niqab.

Niqab, is one the most beautiful things a muslimah can adorn her self with , besides hijab of course. From my personal experience it definitly has a very beneficial impact on your Eemaan. I know of a few sisters personally who wear niqab and they are just as down to earth as a sister who may not wear niqaab.

To want to emulate the mothers of the believers is exactly what we as muslim women should want for ours selves...they are great examples for us, subhana Allaah!

I commend you sister for writing such an excellent article touching on some very important points, masha Allaah tabarakAllaah.

May Allaah make us of those who are rightly guided and rightly guiding. Allahumma Aameen.

As salaamu alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatu...I pray that Allaah ta'ala rewards you for this beautifully written article that embraces not only niqaabis but all Muslim women. I, too, am NBC-Niqaabi-By-Choice...

Umm Jihad Tonia Salahuddin

Subhanallah Sister you've hit exactly on the button!

let us all as practise the etiquette of Nabi(SAW) applicable to ALL Muslims / non Muslims: Politeness, Humility, tolerance; respect; propriety; refinement…in our manner, discourse & our speech.

Plz sisters also rmbr dawah to Muslims & non-Muslims about deen & deeni issues is only to INFORM the parties concerned to the best of one’s ability– one cannot ENFORCE deen or deeni opinion on another person. Our duty is simply to “give the message” – to forward knowledge we’ve gathered , along with the testimony/ explanation/ justification behind the information we forward. It is completely up to the listener to decide how he/she will act upon the knowledge forwarded. We can only increase our knowledge by sharing what we learn, & by being open to listen to fellow Muslims’ knowledge & who may hold different perceptions. Such inclination throws light from different angles on a subject which can assist us to gain deeper insight; a better understanding; or an opportunity to offer amendments in opinion due to alternative justification: BUT WE MUST B REFINED IN OUR COURSE TO GAIN KNOWLEDGE & in our discussions. Allah has gifted man with the powers to reflect, judge, comprehend, decide for himself/herself. Rmbr also, “Inni aa’malu bin niyah” – Allah judges / gives according to intention].”

In a As-Sahihin Hadith narrated by Umar al-Khattab(RA), Nabi(SAW) said, “ What is lawful is clear, & what is unlawful is clear. And there are issues inbetween which many people may not understand & which may seem doubtful to them. Those who steer clear from that which is doubtful, it would be good / better/ safer for them; whilst those who entertain in that which is doubtful end up / usually end up in sin. Therefore stay away from that which is doubtful. Everything has a sanctuary. Even the shepherd has a sanctuary wherein he grazes his sheep. Even kings have sancuaries. And the sanctuary of Allah is His prohibitions. There is a piece of flesh within man - which if found to be whole - the entire body remains whole; whilst if it is diseased the whole body is diseased. This piece of flesh is the heart.” Let us guard it & keep it pure...

Many argue on other corresponding points / issues of women covering themselves in modesty...With reference to the heart & a Muslim’s intention, it would not be considered wrong in my humble opinion, to follow a directive mentioned in another madhab which would strengthen one’s action & not deplete it or cause it harm, or harm to one’s imaan; eg. the issue of covering of a woman’s beauty. If Shaf’ee madhab doesn’t condemn the baring of a woman’s feet, & another advises to do so; then there can be only good if the woman following the Sha’fee madhab decides on covering her feet as well…Her action would be guided by heart & intention to further preserve her beauty, & to take precaution to protect /guard herself from possible male attraction…And Allah will recognise her intention & reward her accordingly…Likewise I cannot condemn her if she does not choose to do so, since only Allah knws best what lies hidden within hearts…May Allah grant us hidayah, & guide us to the best decisions, & strengthen our imaan, & grant sincerity in our intention & conviction to be obedient to Him & to act upon Sunnah, & choose actions that would surely please Him.-ameen... wslm.
May Allah reward u sister for highlighting this scourge! ...

JazakaaLllahi Khairan Kaseera Sister!!
really well written!!

JazakAllah khayr sisters for appreciating! :)

Well-written mashaallah! May Allah reward you for your efforts sister.

Support our niqabi Sisters! Did you know 1Sep is INTERNATIONAL NIQAB DAY?!? Can you wear niqab next Sep to show solidarity with our niqabi Sisters?! Please do, insha'alLah! What might be banned next if we don't stand up?

Beautiful! I find that it is dishonorable to shame out niqaabi sisters. Respect them for they are taking that extra step to please Allah.

 Thank you for your comment! :)

Assalmo Alaikum , excellent article sis, Jazakillah Khair :)

Jazzakum Alalhu Khiran, couldn't have written it better myself MaShaAllah. We are all Muslims, but I often see this divide.  Non-Muslins are bound to make comments about how we dress, but it is much more hurtful when a Muslim makes a comment meant to belittle. I often forget to ask what their intention is in making the comments.

Walaykum assalam! Wa iyyaki!

Please share it with others.

 Wa iyyaki! Please share this article with others to activate empathy in the community inshaaAllah. :)

Jazakallahu khayr for this article! It's a trend nowadays to see Muslim sisters putting down there other muslim sisters with niqab and i;m glad to see that you wrote an article about it! 

jazakallah ukti. I am a Nicaabi and my husbands sister tells me it is haram and all sisters in nicaab are bad, its hurts me so much. Her and her friends constantly try to make me lift my nicaab where I know it is not permissable to do so. They are of the opinion that it is to hide behind, they have no idea how much it frees my soul to worship Allah by taking away the distraction of the outer form. For me it was a natural progression to take nicaab, something i discussed with my husband(who is in full agreement) and of course I asked of Allah before my decision.  Al HamduAllah because I have taken personal responsibility for my modesty I find i get no bother from brothers now. The only bother i get is from my sisters who do not take this responsibility. I think no less of them I have no friends in nicaab, I never pass judgement on my sisters whatever they wear as is not for me to judge, Allah is the best of judges. A great article thankyou Allah Yekhaleeky. ur sister Suraya.

i'm a muslim revert... before reverting... i thought niqab and hijab was mere oppression and had my fair share of criticism.... but now that i finally understand Islam... i see the beauty of niqab... and even more watching a niqabi walk past makes me feel peaceful all the same... the matter lies in understanding sis... in understanding Islam and and the intention behind why some choose to wear niqab... and not all are able to comprehend that well...and that is why it is up to us to explain... where i live, there are very few niqabis...hence wearing niqab can be another way of dakwah, to approach others who are intrigued enough to criticize .. :)

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