Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu,
I'm really excited for this post because of a wonderful new announcement... Well, I'll get to that in just a while In sha Allah.
To start off, a lot of people have asked me how I started the Niqab Lovers twitter page and blog. There was way more than just one person involved in it. I had some good Twitter friends on my personal Twitter account and I don't remember exactly how, but I got into an argument with someone about the Niqab. They said it was oppressive, I argued and said it wasn't and you know with an online argument... It just keeps going. So thankfully, my twitter buddies joined in and we started talking about how we can sort of create an awareness about the Niqab and clear the misconceptions about it. The thing is, most the girls were non-Niqabis but the support they gave has taken Niqab Lovers to where it is today, Alhamdulillah. Munazza from India, Sameeha from Bangladesh, Munna from New Zealand, Aisha from Sri Lanka and Ifrah from India, together with my sisters Ashfa and Zahra (who now has her own Twiter Dawah page and blog Islamic Truths) decided to start a Twitter page. Also, thanks to my oldest sister Nashra for her ideas, support and tweets.
We decided on the name Niqab Lovers and started it straight away. The first few days, all of us were busy on Twitter trying to get people aware of the page, etc and everyone contributed in tweeting. They started it off and I've continued it. They haven't been able to tweet after that but may Allah bless all of them for their support and help and grant them goodness in this world and in the Hereafter.
If it wasn't for their ideas and shoutouts and of course Allah's help, the page would have stopped a long time back.
Anyway, throughout these four years, the Niqab Lovers journey has been an impressive one Alhamdulillah. I've had lots support (yes, from non-Muslims as well). A lot of them have tweeted me and asked me to carry on with what I'm doing and I've even had emails from non-Muslims who have supported the Niqab. There was a Christian brother who wrote me a extremely beautiful email about the Niqab and it was so humbling to read how much he admired sisters wearing the Niqab. May Allah guide him!
SubhanAllah, sometimes, we are so narrow-minded that we think if one non-Muslim hates the Niqab, we sort of put the rest of them in the same line. I did a online survey collecting the opinions of what non-Muslims thought of the Niqab and SubhanaAllah, the results were beautiful. You can read it here: SURVEY RESULTS: WHAT NON-MUSLIMS SAY ABOUT THE NIQAB
That's as far as the support goes. Naturally, when you involve in Dawah, you expect criticism and I've had my fair share of it. In fact, what's most disheartening is that majority of the criticism I've had has been from Muslims.
Also, I've actually lost count of how many people have accused me of being a man masquerading as a woman just to subjugate women into wearing the Niqab so here I go. Sorry to disappoint those who thought I was a man! Sometimes I wonder if people are shallow-minded to think that we Niqabis don't have a voice and if we do voice out our opinions, they come up with the most absurd reactions!
I've talked about the Team Niqab Lovers but as for me. Well this is sort of awkward to introduce me... I'm Afra, from Sri Lanka. Eek, that was weird :|
Anyway, the NiqabLovers journey has been tremendous. I initially started the page to create awareness about the Niqab, tell people about how liberating the Niqab is, speak on behalf of all Niqabis that we wear what we want to wear as a choice and it was not forced and that we deserve our rights. I tried to enlighten people but I sort of enlightened myself in the end. Reading through all the messages, emails and stories, and writing my thoughts out has opened my eyes on how beautiful the Niqab actually is and now, the Niqab means so much more to me.
I'd be missing out on such an important part of this journey if I don't mention all those sisters who have volunteered to be interviewed for the blog and contributed in guest posts and who have taken the time to share their stories, experiences and views. The blog wouldn't have gotten anywhere without you people :)
You can read all the interviews that we had here: Interviews
And the guest posts here: Guest Posts
And also for everyone on Twitter for the retweets and shoutouts. Jazakallah khair! :)
Thank you for being part of NiqabLovers! Also, for all those who have emailed me and encouraged me, you can't possibly imagine how much that has helped me. Thank you so much for the Duaas!
A person emailed me about a year back and told me he would like to offer some financial help for the blog. SubhanAllah, there are people out there who'd do a lot to discourage you and your Dawah but also know that their criticism is weak and short-lived. But the support that people give is deep and so strong. May Allah reward all of them.
From being invited to feature in documentaries, live TV and radio channels to featuring on online magazines, NiqabLovers has come a long way from where we initially thought it would. That's how much Allah will help and support you.
For sisters and brothers who want to start an awareness or Dawah page, by all means do. It would bring about a change in someone else but above all, it will bring about a huge change in you. All of us have our own social media accounts and we can do Dawah even from there. Just think about it- If you post a reminder to recite Surah Kahf on Friday, someone reads that and that actually recite it, imagine the rewards you're going to be getting? Put it in this perspective: We all know how long Surah Kahf is and if one letter (not word, a single letter) carries the reward of 10 good deeds, how much would you be left with if you recite he entire Surah Kahf. And that's how much you will get if you inspire someone to recite is as well. That's how appreciative Allah is of even the little good that we do.
And yes, you are going to have to be strong and shoulder the criticisms and insults of a few shallow-minded people but know that there are countless amazing people out there who will continue to support and make Duaa for you. Start any good in the Name of Allah, expect His reward only and His Help and He will definitely send help exactly when you need it. And more than all, it would be worth it.
This is where Allah sent along one of the greatest help Alhamdulillah. You must have read the post about my blog hiatus and how I have sort of struggled with finding time to blog more frequently with work, studies, anxiety and also another project I've taken up. Well, a few weeks back, a sister emailed me and said she would like to volunteer. I replied asking if she wanted to contribute for an interview or blog post and I'll be honest- I was secretly hoping that she wanted to volunteer to posting on the blog and YESSS! That's precisely what she wanted to do so yeah, that's my huge announcement.
I'VE GOT A CO-BLOGGER, ALHAMDULILLAH!!!
Hafsa, over to you.
Assalamu Aleikum, My name is Hafsa Salah. I am currently residing in Egypt and I am a student attending an arabic institute. And I am also a Niqabi. In sha Allah I will be participating in this blog with sister Afra as her new co-blogger in sha Allah.The main reason I want to join this blog is for the sake of Allah, to gain reward from Allah and to benefit others and myself.
Like all muslim women today, I want to shed light upon misconceptions and misunderstanding people have against niqab, hijab and women in Islam.In sha Allah I am interested in writing articles about modesty, islam or anything my sisters require of me that I have knowledge of. May Allah reward you all.
In sha Allah, the blog will be updated more frequently now. Please make Duaa for us! There are days when it all seems too tiring but if you're firm in doing what you what you want to, Allah will send His help.
Once again, just want to remind that we are still open for interviews and guest posts so feel free to contribute. Also, if you have any suggestions for any topics that we should write on, let us know. Feel free to email us on firstname.lastname@example.org