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 :)
Mar 24, 2011
11:18 AM Habibi Halaqas 21 comments