Thursday, February 9, 2017

DIARY OF A NIQABI: FIRST DAY AT COLLEGE




So, I enrolled into a course and as anyone else, I was pretty nervous about my first day at College. And for Niqabis especially, the nervous-o-meter must be really, really high because somewhere in the corner of our mind, we're already bracing ourselves to having to explain our Niqab.
 
The first day is always the hardest. My sister and I (Alhamdulillah I had someone with me for morale support :)) walked into the class and two students were already seated. I smiled at them which they probably wouldn't have noticed with the Niqab and they smiled at me. I took my place right behind them and those two girls turned behind and they were like 'So, this is your first class?' And we got into a conversation and immediately I felt at ease.
Alhamdulillah, there was another Niqabi and a few other Hijabis in the class as well so I settled in pretty well. The lecturer walked in then and he noticed two new students. So he asked me for my name which I said. I thought I was pretty loud but he asked me to repeat again. I did and he said 'I hope I don't mind having to repeat yourself' (because he couldn't hear me with the Niqab) and I said 'It's ok, I'm used to it'. And he smiled.
 
It's true. The girl at the front desk told she couldn't understand me properly as well and honestly, the fault is all mine. I am a very fast talker so I guess with the Niqab, it does make it hard for some people. So Niqabis, take note. Make sure to speak slowly and very clearly :)
And then the lecturer went on with the lesson and somewhere in between, he asked me why I wear the Niqab. He pointed to a girl who wore the Abaya and another Hijabi and he was like, they are dressed differently so why do you cover your face? At this point, I'll be frank, I was having a thousand things running in my mind. I mean, I've been writing about the Niqab for years now and everything just came rushing into my head but I thinking, 'Ok take it calm'. I probably overreacted a bit lol. But I told him quiet simply 'It's just a matter of choice'. And he nodded 'Yes of course'. 
 
This lecturer, I understood, was just genuinely curious and when we do get the chance to tell anyone why we wear the Niqab, then make sure you tell them simply. Of course, there's no need to launch into big talks - just one sentence would do :) 
On the second day, I had to pray at class or I would have to miss my Zhuhr salah. So in the short break between two lessons, I ran up to another lecturer (a woman this time) and asked if I could use the back of the class to pray. She was like 'Yes of course. Can you pray there? Do you want another class?' 
 
I prayed at the back of the class and just after I was done the other students were like 'Sorry, did we disturb you?' I told them they didn't and I took my seat. The girl at the front turned behind and she asked 'So you guys pray five times a day, right?' And I told her yes and that I needed to pray now or by the time the lesson ended, the time for that particular prayer would have ended too. She seemed really interested in it.
 
SubhanAllah, I love it when people are so nice and non-judgemental about Muslims and Niqabis in particular. These kind of people, they really make the world a better place to live in. I know I probably sound outrageously cheesy but it's really nice :)
 
We were then having this group activity thingy and one of the girls asked me why I wore the Niqab and if my parents asked me to. The other girls were looking at me for an answer and I told 'No. They didn't ask me to but my mother and older sisters were already wearing the Niqab and I felt I wanted to do as well'. I also told them that I went to Saudi Arabia for the pilgrimage and that's when I really decided and this girl nodded and she was like 'Ah yeah. Makka, right?'
 
The truth is, most non Muslims don't understand why Muslim women wear the Hijab or Niqab and most of them are honestly curious to know why we do it. They may not have had to chance to ask anyone else and when they do ask you, make sure you talk to them nicely and tell them. If we don't, or if we behave even slightly hostile, they wouldn't even want to talk. And if we don't tell them, what choice would they have other than to believe that the media is true and that Islam is really oppressive towards women?

The point I'm trying to get at is that we tend to think that non-Muslims are very hostile to the Niqab but the reality is that not all of them are like that. In fact, majority of the people I've come across and very understanding and friendly and treat Niqabis just as they treat anyone else. And that feels really good. 

It has only been my second day at college but already, I feel so at ease. The students and lecturers, even the front desk and everyone else were so friendly, understanding and just wonderful people. Alhamdulillah.

Since it's just the early days now, I might have some interesting college experiences to share in the future, In sha Allah. And if I do, I'll be sure to share it here.
So any other Hijabis/Niqabis - do you have your own experiences to share?
 
 

5 comments:

  1. Ma sha Allah! And it's so true -not every non-muslim is hostile towards the whole hijab/niqab thingy, some are just genuinely curious. Just like my roommates in the university, they are all Christians, and ask me questions about Islam and stuff. They've even asked me if they could try wearing my khimar/hijab and one told me to teach her how to perform salat. So, as muslimahs, we just have to be nice and kind no matter what, as that is what makes others interested in our religion.

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    1. Ma Sha Allah, that's so nice sister. May Allah make you the reason for their guidance, In shaa Allah 💙

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