Saturday, March 28, 2015


Why are those who choose to veil looked down upon but those naked, praised?

So who are these women covered from head to toe, are they oppressed and burdened as depicted in the morning paper or are they women who embody serenity? Are they enslaved under a patriarchal system or at peace- as free as they can be.

There are three main types of Islamic dress relating to women when in public:

  • Headscarf (Known as Hijab): This is the most common type where the woman is fully covered with only the hands and face visible. 
  • Niqab: This is normally a dull coloured gown that covers the whole body except the eyes. 
  • Burqa: This is like the Niqab but the eyes are covered too or sometimes thick netting is used in the eye area- just enough to see. 

They are worn in the presence of men who are classed as Non-Mahrams- You can read more on them here.

Less than 0.2% of Muslim women wear the face veil. The most common reason is to devote their efforts towards attaining the nearness to God. There are Islamic traditions where some women completely veiled themselves from social life; It is not simply covering up, it is a practise that entails embodiment of complete servitude. This means as an individual you adhere to Gods manner 110%- a life full of complete honesty, integrity, fairness, kindness, forbearance, humility, compassion, selflessness and forgiveness. However this is not the intention of some, for them it’s emulating the wives of the Prophet ﷺ (out of love) or veiling their beauty from strange men.

Top ten replies of a survey asked to 100 Muslims and 100 non-Muslims

Undoubtedly the Niqab has an Islamic basis, Islamic texts make it clear that the ‘hijab’ is compulsory for Muslim women to observe. However scholars have differed as to whether the Niqab is compulsory or an optional act of virtue.

“O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters, as well as all believing women, that they should draw over themselves some of their outer garments [when in public]: this will be more conducive to their being recognised as decent women and not molested, And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” 
Quran 33:59

To understand this difference further please see my additional post: What is the Niqaab?

Now, we are at a period of time where the Niqab is portrayed as something barbaric, oppressive and suppressive of female empowerment. Media campaigns have been launched, brainwashing the average Joe, and now many countries have banned the wearing of this garment, while others have considered banning or limiting its use.

Looking closer at the issue, why is it that we alienate those who choose to veil themselves and applaud those who wear the bare minimum. If having freedom of choice is female empowerment, surely the Niqabis should be respected too. As much as you may argue that men enforce the Niqab, it’s also men who use women for sexual objectification. Its a simple fact. Societies at large applauded Kim Kardashian for her recent bare nude pictures – but really, is this what we’ve come down too?

J.D. Unwin, a behaviourist of Cambridge University, studied 80 primitive tribes and 16 civilized nations in regarding sex and culture. He concluded ‘that the cultural behaviour of any human society depends first on the inherent nature of the human organism, and secondly, on the state of energy into which, as a result of its sexual regulations, the society has arrived.’ From his findings, low level culture was found in tribes insisting on sex without marriage and high level civilisation was found in tribes insisting on pre-marital chastity. Therefore limitation of sexual opportunity is key in reduced rates of rape, harassment, oppression and abuse of women.

This does not necessarily mean every woman should veil but looking at society around us, its difficult to deny the truth. And it certainly does not mean the veil will prevent all cases of rape and molestation but the idea of modesty- not only protects you but society too. G. A Parwez proposes that, ‘in both primitive and modern societies, it can be evaluated that observing modesty plays a key role in the development of a purer richer culture’.

A question of choice 

Furthermore, regardless of the many connotations the niqaab holds, should it mean that a woman’s freedom of choice should be taken away? Modern societies are based on the emphasis of democracy and human rights, from which, every person has the right to freely practise their religion. As the Niqab has a religious facet, it goes against this core human right.

“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion… either alone or in community with others and in public or private..” Article 9 ECHR

Therefore whilst claiming to protect Muslim women- a ban would make life intolerable for those who wear the Niqaab, by forcing them to choose between defying their beliefs and leave the house or not leaving the house at all.

It should be noted that even amongst Muslims there is disagreement on the veil but differences in opinion are respected. Its unanimous that the Niqaab does have a place in Islam, the Prophet’s ﷺ wives wore a Niqaab. As they are the Mothers of the Believers, they are also role models for Muslim women, so some Muslim women wish to emulate them in every respect. Let’s look at some common questions and issues raised:

Common Questions

It is oppressive – Muslim women who choose to wear the Niqaab do so out of their own free will, believing it is an act of worship and a form of liberation from the objectification of women in modern society. In fact, preventing Muslim women from practising their religion is what is truly oppressive. When it comes down to being oppressed, the problem is not the Niqaab but the man, it is him who is possessive.

It is backwards – The Niqaab is not part of a short-lived fashion trend. It is a religious garment and act of worship which is not subject to time and therefore, does not become outdated. In fact, the Niqaab is gaining much popularity in modern societies, especially amongst Western convert women.

It is intimidating – While the Niqaab may appear intimidating to some people, it is not worn with the intention of being threatening or frightening. People are often intimidated by what they have no knowledge of, and the Niqaab is a piece of clothing which should not warrant fearful reaction. Underneath the Niqaab is a person simply trying to practise their religion. It is interesting to note that other forms of dress and appearance are no longer considered intimidating, as they have become accepted by the wider community. Tattoos, extremely short dresses, revealing clothes, body piercing and outlandish hairstyles are all examples of this phenomena.

Form of male domination – Wearing the Niqaab does not in any way suggest that women are inferior to men. Claiming that the Niqaab is a symbol of male domination goes against the fact that many women voluntarily wear the Niqaab, some even wear it against their husbands wishes.

Barlas 2003 said Female inferiority was not an ideology in Muslim societies, but Muslims had family laws that were based on male authority. The purpose was to lead the family in to a rich and respectable family. Islam does not disallow women to work or take charge, but emphasis on men was placed to show there is a duty.

Anti-social – There is nothing in the Niqaab that prevents a woman from interacting with other members of society, or from participating in the community. In fact, neither the Hijab nor the Niqaab are required when among women only. Every woman who wears a Niqaab is a unique individual, and it is unfair and inaccurate to make a sweeping judgement about all such women based on one item of clothing they have in common. Community values necessitate that people should not be judged by what they wear, nor discriminated against or mistreated, based on their choice of clothing or appearance.

It stops women from contributing to society – Wearing a Niqaab does not stop a woman from contributing to society or from pursuing higher education. Many women who wear the Niqaab are very highly educated, or lead very successful careers. From the very advent of Islam, Aisha, the wife of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), was and still is renowned as one of the greatest Islamic scholars to have ever lived. The fact that she wore the Niqaab did not, in any way, hinder her from becoming such a prominent scholar or from teaching the men and women of her society.

It is a security risk – Niqaab are no more of a security risk than a motorcycle helmet, big fashion sunglasses, or a big beanie, and can be removed when identification is required for security reasons. Of course, the request for removal should be done by another woman and not in the presence of men (where possible).

So to conclude, when you come across a woman in a Niqaab, always remember that she is an individual, she has her own interests and personality. The moment you paint her with the same brush as Fox News, all you do is distant yourself from interacting with another human. In the modern world we are all striving to be ourselves and live amongst each other, its important to understand that religious belief is not mere opinion, it is very dear to some people. So if a woman chooses to wear a veil as part of her religion, then honour and respect that. But if you suspect that a woman is wearing a veil out of oppression, then be there, and support her. It helps no one in pointing the finger. Many women who practise the Niqaab are in serenity, no one should have that taken away from them. To finish this post I have shared some snippets of thought from a few Niqaabis. Enjoy!

Some Snippets

The niqab is a religious symbol and wearing it is considered by many Muslim women as an act of worship. Certainly the niqab is a spiritual journey that not many will take or understand, but those women who choose to wear it, believe that it brings them closer to God, their Creator.

Personally, Muslim women wear the niqab to build a stronger and closer connection with the Almighty. It provides you with a sense of safety and protection. Not only that, it lets others know about your religion, and that is where the pride comes from. Alhamdulillah we are blessed to be Muslims and I love embracing that through wearing the Niqab. Also, due to the huge amount of fitna nowadays, I feel safeguarded and modest in my Niqab.

See me for me, not my beauty.

Because its her choice. :) Muslim or not, a woman has the right to choose what she wishes to let others see, and if she wishes to guard her modesty entirely by not allowing others to see her face then that is perfectly acceptable.

Because personally, I felt that the Hijab wasn’t enough. Its like covering the ring but flaunting off the diamond.

Being an active student of knowledge for the past few years, my ‘image’ became less important and the person inside became more prominent, something I really needed to focus on. I simply understood the beauty of modesty. In actions, in words and in physical covering. My beauty should be for my husband only, I refuse to be looked upon like I’m some prey, and even hijab wasn’t enough to keep perverted eyes away. Sacrifices were definitely worth this feeling, and I have never felt more at peace in my life.

You look at me and call me oppressed,
Simply because of the way I’m dressed,You know me not for what is inside,You judge the clothing I wear with pride,

My body is not for your eyes to hold,
You must speak to my mind, not my feminine mould,I’m an individual. I’m no man’s slave,It’s Allah’s pleasure that I only crave,

I have a voice so I will be heard,
For in my heart I carry His word,“O ye women, wrap close your cloak,So you won’t be bothered by ignorant folk”.

Man doesn’t tell me to dress this way,
It’s law from God that I obey,

Oppressed is something I’m truly not, For liberation is what I’ve got, It was given to me many years ago,With the right to prosper, the right to grow,

I can climb mountains or cross the seas, Expand my mind in all degrees,For God Himself gave us liberty,When He sent Islam, to you and me!

A re-post from

Saturday, March 7, 2015


I received this story via email on how a sister started her journey of wearing the Niqab and how much it has changed her, even beyond what she expected. SubhanAllah, it's absolutely inspiring, particularly for those sisters who want that extra push to wear the Hijab or Niqab. So here it is:


“In the name of Allah the most gracious the most merciful”

Assalaam alaykum to all my sisters,

I have been asked by someone to write an article on how I come to wearing a niqaab. So here goes!

I am a 28 year old practising Muslimah and most of my family are practising. We have had an Islamic upbringing and I wore a scarf from a young age all throughout high school, which was never an issue because everyone would wear one. Between the ages of 20-27 I would have days where I didn’t feel like wearing the head scarf so I would go out with friends uncovered... the tight jeans, high heels straightened hair, perfume and makeup you name it. I would go out with friends and have a so called “good time.” I never went clubbing or drinking- that was pushing it too far I knew my limits. You could say I was weak on the deen. I’d pray the odd salaah here and there but still that did not change me.

After 6-7 years of that, one day I sat down and thought to myself is this it? Is this my life? For how long am I going to be like this? Surely Allah can’t be happy with me! These men chase me but don’t marry me, they want a haram relationship with me, is that all I’m good for? At this time I felt so low and depressed, stressed and ashamed of myself of the life that was so easy to live because when it’s wrong it’s always easy.

Being around the company of friends I had at the time did not help either, so I distanced myself from almost all of my friends. I felt this at the time because my relationship with Allah was non-existent. But the best cure and the best medicine for depression and stress was the one Allah gave Muhammad s.a.w and gave to the entire ummah and he says: 

So exalt [ Allah ] with praise of your Lord and be of those who prostrate [to Him]. (15:98)

And worship your Lord until there comes to you the certainty (death). (15:99)

This is the cure, this is the medicine. I knew what I had to from then on.

I got a job 2 years ago so that took up most of my time even on my days off I was too tired to go out so that saved me from doing the wrong things. A couple of months after Ramadhan started, it was a good starting point for me; I’d make the effort to pray and fast and stay away from the haram. In Ramadhan, I’d make dua and repent for the things that I had done, I wanted Allah to forgive me so bad. I just wanted to start again and forget that life I lived, I wanted to be happy and the only way I would find true happiness and contentment was going to be through pleasing Allah. I started covering more and praying often, I’d miss Isha sometimes if I finished work late but I got there eventually. 

Anyway my cousin was planning his big day to get married and it was exciting, I wanted to get married as well lol! So now you know what my duas included, from then on for Allah to bless me with a righteous god fearing husband who will help me along the way to Jannah because that was my goal. So this next part people might judge me but hey we’ve all been there and done that so here goes.

June last year I met my husband who is a revert. He has been practising for 10 years SubhaAllah, may Allah continue to guide him and make him even stronger and protect him from the evils of the dunya Ameen. So we got to talking and got along like a house on fire. He was looking for marriage and so was I. He taught me and shared a lot of knowledge with me in the time we spoke to each other, I was actually ashamed of myself because Allah blessed me with Islam from the day I was born and I abused it to my advantage and on the other hand there was this man that came to Islam 10 years ago and he was so passionate about the deen, it was a way of life for him he studied so much to get to where he is today SubhanAllah... may Allah increase him in knowledge Ameen.

Everything I learnt and all the information gathered from this man, I went away and acted upon most of the things but other things took time. He would talk to me about covering and give me advice that was going to benefit me in the hereafter. Funny thing is though most of the women in my family cover up and wear niqaab and I thought it was a beautiful thing and always said when I get married I’m going to wear it for my husband, but that’s all nice but my intention had to be for the sake of Allah not for the sake of my husband. I made dua to Allah to guide me in that matter of taking the step to wearing the niqaab. I thought about everything at that time like when I go out now all these men look at me like I’m a piece of meat, come ask for my number and so on and I thought why should I sin for all them men that look at me and that my beauty should be hidden away and guarded for the man that I will one day get married to.

“O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allaah is Ever Oft Forgiving, Most Merciful” [Al-Ahzaab 33:59]

Beginning of July I woke up one morning and felt this strong feeling that it’s my time to wear it I want to wear it and it’s the right thing to do so I got in my car, went to an Islamic shop and bought a niqaab. I cried all the way home because the feeling was unreal. I came home, prayed 2 rakaat nafil and made my intention and put it on. The feeling and the adrenalin rush that rushed through me was unreal. I was overwhelmed by this feeling Allah had blessed me and guided me. May Allah guide me on the right path and give me the strength and the blessings to continue on this path Ameen.

I remember that day I rang my husband who I wasn't married to at the time and said I’m coming to see you I have something to tell you. He was at work at the time so I was just going to a drive by and stop for a couple minutes so when I got there, I saw him standing on the edge of the road. A million and one things went through me, like what will he think what’s he going to say, so I pulled up and opened the window to the passenger and he smiled at me and said to me "You look beautiful mashaAllah."

Couple of weeks passed and I was getting used to wearing the niqaab. I never felt so much peace and contentment in my life. I wasn’t depressed or stressed. I was happy for once SubhanAllah. My family were very supportive and I had a proud mother, to see her daughter change her life around I can only begin to imagine how she must of felt. I would go out to work, go shopping, do everything normal but the difference- I was just covered up. I would get different reactions off people. Some people would stare and others would utter nasty racist words. Why not come and talk to me and ask me about what I’m doing? I will make you understand. Why should I have to compromise my religious beliefs to please other people, when it’s not harming them in any way? The funny thing was a lot of these ignorant people were Muslims. It would hurt but each time I contained myself and carried on and just think it’s not their fault. There are just ignorant and under educated about Islam. However never once did I regret my decision that I made. I was pleasing Allah and that’s all that mattered.

"And We created you in pairs" (78:8)

And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought. (QURAN 30:21)

And Allah has made for you from yourselves mates and has made for you from your mates sons and grandchildren and has provided for you from the good things. Then in falsehood do they believe and in the favor of Allah they disbelieve?
(QURAN 16:72)

Friday 25th of October after Jummah Salaah, me and my husband prayed our nikaah in my local masjid. A;l my family were present and supportive and happy that I found somebody that will look after and protect me and help me in the deen. 

11 months on and I am still married Alhamdulillah. I’ve seen big changes in my life. I’ve gone through trials and tribulations and I’ve stayed firm on my beliefs, Alhamdulillah. I am where I am today through patience. 

Life is not easy but none of us will get away without being tested. I ask Allah to test me in dunya and not in my deen. Allah says in the Quran in Surah Baqarah:

“We will test you with something of fear, and hunger and loss of wealth, and souls and vegetation. And give glad tidings to those who have patience. Those who if in any difficulty or trial, or tribulation occurs to them or happens to them, they say: ‘Verily We are from Allah and to Allah we return.’ They are those who will receive prayers from their Lord and Mercy and it is those who are guided.”

I give all my sisters sincere advice. P
lease try and change your ways and follow the Quran and Sunnah. The dunya is the lowest place, a prison for the believers and paradise for the non-believers. That’s why you will see it’s so easy and exciting and thrilling to get caught up in the worldly life because Shaytaan's promise is that he will lead you astray. He will lead you to the path of destruction, because Shaytaan knows Allah has promised him the hellfire, so he wants to take as many people with him as he can and most of the people in hellfire will be women. The Prophet s.a.w says 

“I was shown the hellfire and the most of its dwellers were women” (Hadith Bukhari) 

Who says you can’t be a covering, believing Muslimah in this society and wear a niqaab? Let me tell you I still feel beautiful everyday. Even more so with a niqaab on. I integrate fully into British society, I go to work and do the things that every normal person does so if people would just have that perspective and not judge me based on my exterior, my niqaab should not be a barrier. See me for the person I am beyond the niqaab. I am a practicing Muslimah striving to seek the mercy and blessings of Allah; He has bestowed blessings upon blessings upon me and has always helped me when I have been in dire need.

My Sisters in Islam don’t let the shroud in your grave be the first time you cover up. It will be too lateto ask Allah for forgiveness and guidance. May Allah protect us and guide in this world forgive us and accept our efforts and may Allah accept this message I deliver. Forgive me if I offended anyone. Strive to be the best you can. We are all Amanah from Allah so guard yourselves. We're all precious so aspire to be like the wives of the Prophet. Take them as your role models and In sha Allah, He will shower endless blessings onto you.  

You are all in my duas and I love you all for the sake of Allah!

Note: If you would like to share your Hijab or Niqab stories or experiences, send us an email on and share your story to inspire Muslimahs all over!