This is somewhat a sensitive topic but it’s an observation I have made. I don’t mean to offend anyone but just to bring this to their attention. I love my hijab and niqab sisters irrespective of where they are from or what they do. If you are a sister, you are a sister.
I merely wonder why when hijab is compromised we all shout “It’s our freedom to wear what we want” and yet criticize women wearing niqab ourselves. It might be an unspoken thing and I’m sorry if I’m bringing it out into the open. I’m just trying to highlight the irony and hypocrisy that we ourselves create with such comments.
I’ve heard things like “Oh I don’t know why she has to cover like that” and “How does she eat with that thing on?”. I’ve also heard “It’s so funny how she’s eating one bite at a time” and “How is she planning to drink that with that thing on?”. These are things I have heard from brothers and sisters, not from those who don’t understand hijab or niqab. I get that there might be some disagreement on the necessity of wearing a niqab but in our shout to give women the right to wear what they want, do we not owe them some courtesy?
I’m not here to argue about if it’s right or if it’s not needed. Simply, I don’t know. I have gotten many varying answers from sisters who I have questioned, I mere pray that Allah (SWT) guides me to what is right. And I pray that my Husband will be alright with whatever choice I decide to make, Insha’Allah.
I include the latter because I personally know brothers who do not like women who wear the niqab. I’ve heard “My wife doesn’t have to wear it” or “No my wife won’t wear it”. What if she wants to?
If we react to someone who calls the hijab a hood and laughs at it should we not react to what is being said about a niqab? Further shouldn’t we ourselves as Muslims refrain from making such hurtful comments and stares? We obviously don’t like it when someone insults our hijab and stares at us. We obviously don’t like it if our sisters, mothers and aunts were laughed at by someone else for wearing a hijab. Then why do we do this? Why do we stare and make judgements on niqab sisters?
Personally I hate it when a brother or sister criticizes someone for wearing niqab. It’s their choice and it’s our duty to support them, not make their lives harder. I know women in Sri Lanka don’t have the most inviting attitude towards other sisters, but I would gladly step in front of a sister who needs to adjust her niqab, so that she doesn’t have to reveal herself. For that matter I would gladly help a sister tuck her stray hairs back into her hijab. I make no distinction, I respect both.
I don’t know if I’m the only one, but I feel angry when someone says something about a sister who has chosen to wear niqab. I honestly feel like slapping them and telling them to shut up and eat their own food.
Maybe it’s time we practised what we preach and supported ALL our sisters. Maybe it’s time we stopped making ironic hypocritical statements. Maybe it’s time we changed and understood that niqab sisters go through a lot of difficulty to do something they feel helps them get closer to Allah (SWT). If we can respect a woman who adorns a hijab, we should give the same respect to a woman who adorns a niqab.
I don’t pretend to be perfect. As you can see I have said “We”. There was a time I couldn’t understand niqabs. But Masha’Allah, Allah never let me insult it or act rudely to it. I am however guilty of staring and I am really sorry for that. I only did it because it was so unusual for me. I know better now. I don’t stare any more, and if I do it’s only to exchange a smile with the sister.