>> Friday, December 7, 2012
My question concerns the Niqab. I have read all of your other posts regarding the topic. For about a month now, I've been seriously considering wearing the niqaab( I've done it a few times except to school and work) and my main issue is not that I'm ready or I'm second guessing but it's more due to my family and other surroundings. I've also always had a issue with being "externally religious" so as not to make others feel uncomfortable, i.e, pausing a conversation to make salat or waking up a sibling/parent/friend to pray. I don't want them to feel as if I'm unrelate-able or on a different level than them, which I've seen happen to other people. I've been wearing the scarf for a couple of years now and that started the same way. I would wear it anywhere I didn't think I'd run into a family/community member but it got to stressful so I just did it all the time and it went well. Then last year, I did the same with my abaya. I wore it to school (I'm a senior in university) and work but now I wear it all the time. People are constantly telling my mum to watch out for who I'm hanging out with etc, etc, because I might become too extreme. She also kind of agrees and thinks that I should just wear "normal" clothes. A few weeks ago someone who knows my mom saw me in niqab(idk how they knew it was me) and told me mum. Who called me and gave me a mini lecture about not being too extreme. I'm very comfortable in my mode of dress but I begin to dread family functions because someone is bound to make a negative/sarcastic comment and I usually just smile in return but it still makes me sad. Part of the issue I guess is that my family and the majority of my community(especially since we're in America), while they might pray, fast, dhikr, etc, view aspects of the deen especially hijab as a cultural Arab/Desi thing and that's pretty much what I thought while growing up too. I've grown up in this community my entire life, most of the families were friends/relatives from back home so it's hard to just ignore them because even if I do, they still get to my mum. I'd really like to wear niqab because I feel like it makes sense. I mean, if I cover my body, why should I not also cover my face which is the place where most look to in regards of beauty. Besides the family thing, I don't want to be classified as the "extreme" or religious one. Though, I don't think those are bad, the way people say them, invoke negativity. I already get insulted/talked negatively about because of my opinions in regards to gender-interactions, parties, zabiha etc so part of me feels that by not wearing niqab people can still relate to me but once I put it on permanently...I'll always be "that girl" and my opinions will no longer matter because it will always be followed by "well, she wears niqab so she's obviously strict." I am also very involved in the community, i.e running the halaqas for the younger girls and I worry that parents might not let their children attend if they think I'm extreme. I'm actually the only person not married/under 30 at my masjid who wears any form of hijab and people are always quick to use this against me. I've pretty much resulted in not giving my opinion on any matters unless they directly ask me because they tend to twist it in a way that I look bad or uppity. Sorry for the super long message
And the reality is this: anything from Islam, and the commands of Allah, are NOT to be taken as cultural or traditional practices.
Islam is a way of life, and our duty as a servant of Allah is to worship Him with no partners, to obey His commands, and to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu aleyhi wasselam.)
Observing the five pillars of Islam is absolutely obligatory upon us and that is what distinguishes us apart from the non-Muslims. In addition, we are to obey Allah and observe His commands about modesty, carry good character and etiquette and to respect our parents. However, if our parents are discouraging us from practicing something that is obligatory in Islam, or to even abandon something obligatory, we should not obey them. Our love for our parents does not exceed the love we have for Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala. Nothing comes before Allah.
Does it matter then what the people around us think?
Or does it matter what Allah thinks?
I know it's hard sister, especially because you are not surrounded by sisters or family members who feel the same way about modesty. But the reality, is that you are at a true advantage dear sister. The only ‘trend’ that needs to be set in today’s society is the proper Islamic dress and that ‘trend’ can only start with those who fear Allah and obey His every command. You are a trend setter, a pioneer, an ambassador calling others to modesty and to what Allah wants. In fact, the fact that you are singled out because of the way you dress and your other opinions on zabiha and so forth is a true sign of iman, inshaAllah (May Allah keep your heart fastened onto His deen! Ameen) and that you are living your life truly for the sake of Allah.
Remember the true believer in this dunya will always feel out of place and like a stranger but there is nothing wrong with this, in fact, glad tidings are given to the stranger!
"In later (generations) of my ummah there will be women who will be dressed but naked. On top of their heads (what looks) like camel humps. They will not enter into paradise or (even) get a smell of it." (Muslim)
If the idea of Niqab overwhelms them and it will result in them kicking you out of the home or disowning you, then perhaps you should seek help through patience and prayer and ask Allah to make things easier for you. Also, to pray Istikharah if it is a good idea for you to adopt the Niqab due to the current situation you are in. Praying Istikharah (consistently) is always my best advice to sisters, mainly because we are human beings, and our knowledge and wisdom is so limited. Allah knows the answers that we do not, and I could give you my opinion and advice but what really matters is our Creator because He knows best. So my wonderful dear sister, I commend you again for your courage and your strong iman masha’Allah ( May Allah preserve it and keep you strong on His deen ) but if the Niqab will cause more problems for you in your current situation, then make Istikharah, asking Allah if it is good for your deen then to make wearing the niqab easier, and if not then He will show you either way.
As for the halaqah issue, will you be holding them with your niqab on? Or will be there be a women's only section? If there will be a women's only section, you don't actually have to wear your niqab in front of the children (unless you fear that non-mahram will see you). And even if you do have to for some reason, that doesn't mean that the parents will refuse to let their children attend with you. Just having friendly attitude is bound to win them over. Also, you can make a brochure with what you are hoping to cover in the halaqahs and invite the moms to see.
As much as possible, use this opportunity to your advantage for this will be a great chance for you to share the beauty of Islam through your akhlaq, and through the beautiful teaching of Rasulullah (sallalahu aleyhi wasselam), and to teach the younger children about modesty and why it is important in a society like today.
The future starts with our youth, and if you can set a good example for them in a gentle, well-mannered way, insha'Allah it will also make the elders understand as well the importance of modesty and the beauty of Islam! Continue to stay patient and make plenty of duaa and continue to lead by example through good manners and kind treatment towards your family and friends. Insha’Allah they will come through slowly and maybe they will even adopt the niqab one day!
Always stay positive and enthusiastic, and remember Allah does not burden us with more than we can bear! Allahu Akbar! If you ever want to give your opinion on a subject (to family, or friends etc) make sure you have proof from the Qur'an and Sunnah with you, so if anyone ever twists your words or puts words in your mouth, you will have proof to back up your claim. Nothing in Islam is forced upon anyone, and remember Islam is made to be easy for us and we should always be moderate with everything and never be too excessive as mentioned in this Hadith:
"O mankind, fear your Lord and fear a Day when no father will avail his son, nor will a son avail his father at all. Indeed, the promise of Allah is truth, so let not the worldly life delude you and be not deceived about Allah by the Deceiver." (31:33)
"And no burdened soul will carry another soul’s burden; and if a burdened soul calls another to share the burden, no one will carry any part of it, even if he is a close relative; O dear Prophet (Mohammed – peace and blessings be upon him), your warning only benefits those who fear their Lord without seeing and who keep the prayer established; and whoever cleansed himself, has cleansed for his own benefit; and towards Allah only is the return." [35:18]
"At last, when the deafening blast is sounded, that Day will man flee from his brother and his mother and his father and his wife and his children. Each one of them, on that Day, will have enough to occupy him so as to make him heedless of others. Some faces on that Day shall be shining, rejoicing and joyful. And some faces on that Day shall be dusty, and darkness shall be covering them. These will be the disbelievers and the sinners." (80: 33-42)