Niqabi who Needs a Little Boost

>> Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Asalamualaikum lil aunty :)
man .. it's so nice to see someone cheerful after so long.,mashaAllah, may Allah(swt) keep you that way. I've been trying to put that act on myself. but shaytan keeps poking at me. I started wearing niqab July 4th, so not too long ago. But, i did try to wear it before. . . BUT shaytan was, has been and will forever be poking at me! I and so, i had my phases of being "part-time" and even "not at all" niqabi and i did not like the feeling of regret that i had to go through and i definitely do not want to go thorugh it again! i don't know what to do! There are just so many things to think about. I'm going to grade 12 in September. I'm nervous about going with niqab. Alhumdulillah, I recently completed a course of the Qur'an and it's been the best thing in my life and will forever be! But i'm so pathetic that even after that i have so many excuses, i think it's all shaytan and my nafs. I start doing something good but then later i doubt wheteher i should have started to do it in the first place (niqab in this case) There's a lot of indirect pressure from my family and that is the worst kind! I'd rather have them speak their mind to me about what they want and how they want it rather than being secretive. Please Help!

Dear Niqabi who needs a little boost,

MashaAllah, I’m really impressed with you for thinking about wearing the nicaab. That’s not an easy decision to make! It takes a lot of guts especially in today’s world which is constantly telling us to flaunt more and to wear less. Hats off to you:D Also, that’s wonderful that you completed a Qur’an class! Ma’shaAllah!

Now, about your little question….you know me, though… I’m going to have to give it to you straight. It’s not going to be easy, especially since you wore it before but took it off. This time people aren’t just going to be a little rude; they’re going to be a little cynical. Does that mean I think you should just forget about it?! Of course, not. But I want you to be prepared. If you really want to do this, you need to think about what was it that made you take it off last time? And you’re going to have to ask yourself: Are you ready to handle these things this time? Is your faith deeper, this time? And is your personality stronger?

The next thing you have to do is to face the “pressure button pushers”. You said that your family indirectly tries to pressure you about your decision. Why don’t you take the initiative to bring out their concerns directly? I mean why should you guys keep skirting around the elephant in the room? It’s not going to get any smaller, now, is it? Tell your parents, for example, or whoever it is that’s pressuring you that you want to discuss the issue with them honesty and openly. (If they’re really busy people, don’t be afraid to schedule a time. It might seem a little weird but it gives them a chance to prepare themselves and that way you make sure you have their full attention… A dad who’s looking at his watch /mobile the whole time and a mom who keeps running into the kitchen to check on the oven isn’t exactly a very encouraging audience) Then, ask them what it is that really bothers them… While they’re talking, truly listen. Listen between the lines and then when they’ve finally explained all of their concerns, address them one by one in a polite way.

In order for this to work, there are a couple of really important things:

You need to be sure of yourself and you need to have a good answer as to why you chose to wear the nicaab. Telling your parents “I just feel like it” isn’t going to cut it. It has to be something deeper than that. Remember, however, that the issue of nicaab is controversial. One of the biggest problems women who want to wear nicaab face is the fact that whenever they discuss their choice with others, they focus on proving how the nicaab is obligatory. The reality, however, is that there is controversy over it. And what usually happens is that the other side spends the whole time trying to prove that it isn’t obligatory. Basically, it ends up becoming a boxing match and everyone walks away unhappy. The best thing for you to do is to admit that there is a controversy over it but that you believe either way (whether it’s fard or sunnah), you’ll be getting ajar and strengthening your relationship with Allah. You can remind them of this hadith:

Abu Huraira reported that the Prophet said, "Allah said: My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him.."

This way you show them that you have researched the issue carefully and know exactly what you’re getting into.

You’re also going to have to have some pre-rehearsed answers to their concerns because let’s face it…at “ The Moment”, most of us don’t sound that eloquent/ logical especially if we’re hurt or upset by what’s being said. You don’t want to sound like you’ve memorized your answers but you do want to sound like you’ve thought about their concerns seriously. So get out a paper and write down what you think bothers them about the nicaab and then think of good ways of answering those concerns…They’re probably worried about your career, chances of getting married, etc. Be prepared to reply- (Show that you’ve thought of a career that won’t be hindered by nicaab such as working as a teacher in an Islamic school/ working at home…. As for marriage: tell them that the kind of brother you want to be with is someone who will respect the nicaab)

You also need to make it clear that taking the niqab off didn’t make you feel ‘any better’. They might have assumed that when you took it off, that’s it, you were finally coming ‘back to your senses’. You need to explain that rather than making you feel good about yourself , you felt like you had made a big mistake and now you’re really sure about your decision.

At the end of your discussion, you should know your parents’ stand clearly. If they make it obvious that they’re really upset about this and absolutely don’t want you to wear it (or for example: tell you they want you to wait until after you graduate), you need to realize that some scholars have said that making your parents happy is more important than wearing the nicaab since there is CONTROVERSY over the nicaab. I capitalized that so no one misunderstands what I’m saying. At the end of the day, many scholars think the nicaab is sunnah but not a single scholar thinks that following our parents isn’t obligatory. Everyone agrees that bir al waladeen is obligatory; thus, we prioritize the obligatory action over what might not be. Now, if your parents are more relaxed about it and kinda have the attitude “Hey, we’re not so happy about this but it’s up to you”, then you should stand up to your decision.

There are going to be some other inconveniences, though….

Be prepared to deal with people who may not be so ‘willing to cooperate’ with you. Like who? Well, maybe the school administration. You might have to bring up the matter with them. They may say things like “How we will we know that it’s really you taking the test”, “etc.” and you’re going to have to work out some system with them. Remember, they may talk to you in a way that will really hurt your feelings- realize that it most likely isn’t a personal attack against you but a way for them to express their ‘fears’ about something they don’t understand (and also, don’t want spreading, lol).

What about driving? I wore niqab before I started driving, but for some reason, many people (including my driving instructor) would warn me about the dangers of driving with niqab. I never really understood that (since my glasses were actually hanging out of the eye slit which I thought showed that I could see everything), but if you haven’t gotten your license yet (and plan to), realize that you might find some difficulty there. Remember, with the issue of driving, people are concerned not only about your safety but about other people’s safety, so make sure to acknowledge that you are fully aware of the responsibility of driving.

What about ‘day to day’ difficulties you might have to deal with? Well, have you ever eaten in a restaurant with niqab? Now that, my friend, is an achievement! Do you have to keep your niqab on the whole time you’re eating? That goes back to your own ‘understanding’ of whether it is obligatory to wear or sunnah, right, but in terms of awkwardness, you might feel a little weird to enter a restaurant, uncover your face to eat, and walk back out again, covered. My advice for you is to 1) avoid ice cream cones, soup, and spaghetti (It’s isn’t a very pretty picture!). Haha, no, seriously, is to practice eating with the niqab at home and see how it goes. Also, you can always order take-out, etc. (but for me, because I didn’t want my family to feel that they would have to deal with the consequences of my decision, I continue to eat at restaurants …oh and my niqab eats with me :P)

Sneezing while wearing a niqab is also a nice challenge. Take it from me. I have allergies, LOL, so this was something ‘unexpected’ I had to deal with.

Since you already wear hijab, you might have noticed the ‘I’ll-talk- very-slowly”, phenomenon strangers tend have around hijabis…..with niqabis, though, the phenonmenon changes to “I- cannot- understand-what –you are-saying-because your mouth is covered-could you lift it up, please”? Yeah, all of a sudden, you’re going to find that you are the one who has to talk slowly and a little more clearly. Do I think that this really makes sense? Of course not. We all talk on the telephone and listen to the radio…we have telecommunications where we don’t see each other and we use them daily but this is something that you most likely will have to deal with.

Also, be prepared to become the “photographer”. If your friends like taking pictures, you might be a little surprised/ offended, but very often, niqabis are expected to be the ones who volunteer to take the shots- ALL the time.

You’re also probably going to encounter some very rude people. Do not stoop down to their level. The niqab isn’t about you and people. It’s about you and Allah. Don’t forget that. Comments like “Go back home”, “Say hi to Osama”, and “Can’t you just wear that at home?” are going to be shot at you. It helps to remember this : (Surahata Al Mutafafeen)

“Surely they who are guilty used to laugh at those who believe. (29) And when they passed by them, they winked at one another. (30) And when they returned to their own followers they returned exulting. (31) And when they saw them, they said: Most surely these are in error; (32) And they were not sent to be keepers over them. (33) So today those who believe shall laugh at the unbelievers; (33)

Finally, it can get very hot! Be sure to pick a nice cloth- one that’s not too light/ too heavy. Avoid going out in really hot weather. And remember that any every single drop of sweat is going to be rewarded on the Day of Judgment.

These are just a few points to keep in mind. Don’t let them discourage you! You can do this but you want to do it the smart way. Remember, we are cheering for you and making dua that Allah keeps you steadfast. Keep in touch and let us know how it goes :)


10 wonderful sprinkely thoughts:

qistina July 27, 2010 at 8:12 AM  

i love these advices! its like i'm goin thru a niqabi's mind, its sooo interesting..for all the troubles u took to write these advices and the previous post (marriage), may Allah send you down lots n lots n lots of blessings. ameen :)

Rene´s Bare Essentials July 27, 2010 at 11:01 PM  

salaam alaikum,

MashaAllah such great advice you give! Love the blog, btw, keep up the good work! I wanted to add that wearing niqab makes it easier to avoid mixed gatherings which are common at restaurants and cafes and with family members. Take-away food is great because you can grab your food and if you are with your friends, spouse etc take it somewhere quiet and secluded and remove your niqab and eat in peace without having men around you or music playing, etc.

Little Auntie July 28, 2010 at 12:44 AM  

Qistina: :) You're entering a scary place....LOL! A lot of people don't realize that nicaabis also go through a lot of self doubt and worry. Ameen to your beautiful dua and may He encompass all of us in His Mercy. :D

Rene: that is so true about 'avoiding mixed gatherings'. I found that more people realized without me having to tell them that I didn't want to be invited to mixed gatherings. Also, I didn't think about it but definitely take away food would be good to avoid the 'annoying music in the background', thing. Jazaki Allah for sharing :)

Saima,  July 28, 2010 at 8:45 PM  

LOL, Little aunty you're right about the niqaabi's mind thing. and Ameen to the du'a :)

it's true about the mixed gatherings as well. But, sometimes it's hard to deny them especially when you're living with your family and the event is a family gathering lol. So if you must go to it, just keep the niqab on no biggy i suppose.

aisha,  July 29, 2010 at 4:12 AM  

I just want to say how good the advice was,
keep it up

S July 29, 2010 at 6:15 AM  


I am a newbie to your blog and I love it! I especially love the hadith you mentioned above. May Allah (swt) reward you for your effort.

Little Auntie July 29, 2010 at 12:47 PM  

Saima, that's true! The family can really be all 'why don't you just take it off? he's just your cousin? BLEH..." Very irritating!

Aisha, Jazaki Alah koli khair!

Saba, when I read your name, I am sure I have seen her blog before. I checked it out and I did. I was reading your notes on surat Al Kahf (tafseer) Ma'shaAllah. Very happy to have you here <3

Anonymous,  January 20, 2011 at 10:41 AM  

Assalam alaik dear aunties,

Can I tell you how much I love your blog? You have just given the best advice about wearing niqaab! Really! Al-hamdulillah! I've given niqaab serious consideration but those queries and doubts are causing me to have second thoughts about it. Jazakallah Khayr sisters! Much appreciated <3

Unknown February 14, 2011 at 6:51 AM  

Lol, at the risk of sounding repetitive, may I say that I totally ADORE your blog?! :D

I'm a newbie here too and you guys are awesome! What I like most is that the advice you give are so "real", you know? And love the humor! :D

I too am seriously considering niqaab and have been wrecking my brain on how to break it to my family (the whole flustered thing happens when they shine the spotlight on me!), so what you advised is really good.

Also, as per your other niqaab article, I'm giving myself a deadline of six months to get my eeman in gear so that I'll be more prepared to face the explosion that's gonna come! :P

Jazaki Allah Khair you fabulous sisters! May Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala reward you immensely and grant you Jannah! :D :D

Little Auntie February 15, 2011 at 3:08 AM  

x@hu, jazakillah for your totally sweet and kind words. LOOOOOOOOOL @ the explosion to come. Haha, you sound prepared. I think the important thing to remember is that our parents love us and want what they perceive is bes for us. They don't want us to 'unnecessarily jeopardize' ourselves... Remembering that they 'explode at us' because they love us might help :)

May Allah make things easier for you and make the best decision for your deen, dunya, and akhirah! :)

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