I recently received a mail from a sister asking if wearing the Niqab could be a barrier for giving Dawah. Before answering her question, I ran a quick Google search to see what people had to say about it, and astoundingly, a website on the very first page had an answer I'm sure most Muslims would not agree with. This is what the page had to say:
Question: I feel that the niqab forms a barrier to giving da`wah in the west. Is it better to take off niqab in these western countries if one believes it's Sunnah?
Answer: As salamu `alaykum. I an not a supporter of niqab and find it a complete turn off in terms of communicating with people. To me it says 'Stay Away' - I do not wish to acknowledge or have dialogue with you - please do not invade my space'.
My feeling is that when I awake every day I think to myself what can I do today to address the misunderstandings about Islam - How can I make someone more aware about Islam - what can my presence in this world on this day do to influence someone positively about Islam and I go about my work with the help of Allah. Niqab will not allow me to do this"
It's appalling how this statement can be justified at a time where people interact so much online, and that too particularly over social media. We all know how effective Dawah has been online and how many people have reverted to Islam as a result. Is it always face-to-face interaction online? Of course not. You don't need to look at someone for their words to reach you. Our words, actions, behaviour and attitude are the best Dawah.
As for Niqab and Dawah, I don't agree that it is bad for Dawah. There are a lot of sites online that say it is, but I am firmly against this view. True Dawah is on our attitude and manners and the Niqab is in no way a hindrance for Dawah.
I'm pretty sure that a lot of sisters thinking of wearing the Niqab but would love to engage in Dawah would search on this topic, and if they do, there is hardly any website that say that the Niqab is not a barrier for Dawah. In fact, I had to go as deep as the 4 page on Google until I found something.
This is what I found:
It is claimed that Niqab wearing women work against Da'wah as their "strict" dress scares away potential interested non-Muslims
My own limited experience has actually revealed the opposite to be the case. Whereas once most of my non-Muslim friends had no interest in Islam, at least now they wish to know more about our Glorious Faith, and a longtime acquaintances who was once extremely sceptical about all religions, is now preparing for her to take her Shahadah.
I also trust that, Insh'Allah, you will have to conclude - as I have done - that the Niqab is a vital and spiritually beautiful aspect of the Muslim woman's dress, and that it is in no way a hindrance to the true Da'wah of Islam.
Subhanallah, I couldn't agree more!
Another very important fact people overlook on the matter of Dawah is that changing the hearts of people are not in our hands. Changing the hearts of people is in the Hands of Allah. Our duty is to convey the message and Allah will do the rest. All the the talk of Niqab being a barrier for Dawah is just an excuse people bring forward to discourage Muslim women from wearing the Niqab.
If anything, when you wear the Niqab, non-Muslims would naturally be curious to know why you wear it. Some of them might even approach you and ask you. This is such an amazing opportunity to teach them about Islam, the rights of women, how precious women are in Islam and how modesty is a branch of our faith. So you see, Niqab is not a barrier for Dawah. It only opens up opportunities for more Dawah.
Here's the thing: We might attempt to give Dawah, but it's Allah who changes the hearts of people. We wear the Niqab for the Sake of Allah and He will use us to bring the hearts of people towards Islam. The Niqab in itself is a form of Dawah and through our wearing the Niqab, we might even inspire non-Niqabi/Hijabi Muslimahs to wear the Niqab/Hijab, In Sha Allah. Subhanallah, how amazing that would be!
Alhamdulillah, I know quite a lot of Muslimah bloggers (and yes- Niqabis) who do some amazingly impressive Dawah, MashaAllah. Is their Niqab a barrier? Of course not!
"Is the Niqab a barrier for Dawah or a means for better Dawah?" Let me know what you think in the comments section below.