PDA

View Full Version : Niqabi, interrupted



Ibn Abi Ahmed
06-28-2009, 04:57 PM
:sl:

Niqabi, interrupted
Wearing my niqab is a choice freely made, for spiritual reasons


Naima B.Robert

I put on my niqab, my face veil, each day before I leave the house, without a second thought. I drape it over my face, tie the ribbons at the back and adjust the opening over my eyes to make sure my peripheral vision is not affected.

Had I a full-length mirror next to the front door, I would be able to see what others see: a woman of average height and build, covered in several layers of fabric, a niqab, a jilbab, sometimes an abayah, sometimes all black, other times blue or brown. A Muslim woman in 'full veil'. A niqabi.

But is that truly how people see me? When I walk through the park with my little ones in tow, when I reverse my car into a parking space, when I browse the shelves in the frozen section, when I ask how to best cook asparagus at a market stall, what do people see? An oppressed woman? A nameless, voiceless individual? A criminal?

Well, if Mr Sarkozy and others like him have their way, I suppose I will be a criminal, won't I? Never mind that "it's a free country"; never mind that I made this choice from my own free will, as did the vast majority of covered women of my generation; never mind that I am, in every other respect, an upstanding citizen who works hard as a mother, author and magazine publisher, spends responsibly, recycles and tries to eat seasonally and buy local produce!

Yes, I cover my face, but I am still of this society. And, as crazy as it might sound, I am human, a human being with my own thoughts, feelings and opinions. I refuse to allow those who cannot know my reality to paint me as a cardboard cut-out, an oppressed, submissive, silenced relic of the Dark Ages. I am not a stereotype and, God willing, I never will be.

But where are those who will listen? At the end of the day, Muslim women have been saying for years that the hijab et al are not oppressive, that we cover as an act of faith, that this is a bonafide spiritual lifestyle choice. But the debate rages on, ironically, largely to the exclusion of the women who actually do cover their faces.

The focus on the niqab is, in my opinion, utterly misplaced. Don't the French have anything better to do than tell Muslim women how to dress? Don't our societies have bigger problems than a relative handful of women choosing to cover their faces out of religious conviction? The "burka issue" has become a red herring: there are issues that Muslim women face that are more pressing, more wide-reaching and, essentially, more relevant than whether or not they should be covering with a niqab, burqa or hijab.

At the end of the day, all a ban will do is force Muslim women who choose to cover to retreat even further - it is not going to result in a mass "liberation" of Muslim women from the veil. All women, covered or not, deserve the opportunity to dress as they see fit, to be educated, to work where they deem appropriate and run their lives in accordance with their principles, as long as these choices do not impinge on others' freedoms. And last time I looked, being able to see a woman's hair, legs or face were not rights granted alongside "liberté, egalité et fraternité".

As a Muslim woman living in the UK, I am so grateful for the fact that my society does not force me to choose between being a practising Muslim and an active member of society. I have been able to study, to work, to establish a writing career and run a magazine business, all while wearing a niqaab. I think that that is a credit to British society, no matter what the anti-multiculturalists may say, and I think the French could learn some very valuable lessons from the British approach.

So, three cheers for those women who make the choice to cover, in whatever way and still go out there every day. Go out to brave the scorn and ridicule of those who think they understand the burka better than those who actually wear it. Go out to face the humiliating headlines. Go out to face the taunts of schoolchildren. Go out to fight another day. Go out to do their bit for society and the common good. Because you never know, if Mr Sarkozy and his supporters have their way, there could come a day when these women think twice about going out there into a society that cannot bear the way they look. And, who knows, I could be one of them.

And, while some would disagree, I think that would be a sad day.

Na'ima B. Robert is the founding editor of SISTERS , a magazine for Muslim women and author of 'From My Sisters' Lips ', a look at the lives of British Muslim women who cover.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/com...cle6584782.ece
Reply

Login/Register to hide ads. Scroll down for more posts
salafy_masry
06-28-2009, 05:04 PM
we alikum esalam

Jazak allah khair for sharing a great article
Reply

Nσσя'υℓ Jαииαн
06-28-2009, 06:18 PM
:sl:

MashaAllah lovely article. JazakAllah khair for sharing! :)

:w:
Reply

aadil77
06-28-2009, 06:23 PM
JazakhAllah, I hope Saira khan reads this
Reply

Welcome, Guest!
Hey there! Looks like you're enjoying the discussion, but you're not signed up for an account.

When you create an account, you can participate in the discussions and share your thoughts. You also get notifications, here and via email, whenever new posts are made. And you can like posts and make new friends.
Sign Up
Uthman
06-28-2009, 08:29 PM
Brilliant article! JazakAllaahu Khayran for sharing.

Check this debate out as well from The Big Questions on the BBC:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00ldh0h
Reply

Beardo
06-28-2009, 08:32 PM
I remember watching on YouTube a debate between a Hijaabi, a Niqaabi, and a non-Hijabi Muslim. It was quite interesting. I'll see if I can find it.

How do you explain Hijaab or Niqaab in simple terms (one or two sentences) to a non-Muslim? I remember I was asked this in 8th grade and I simply said modesty and self-respect. Though, I don't know if that was a good answer.
Reply

Uthman
06-28-2009, 08:38 PM
Originally Posted by eHafiz
How do you explain Hijaab or Niqaab in simple terms (one or two sentences) to a non-Muslim? I remember I was asked this in 8th grade and I simply said modesty and self-respect. Though, I don't know if that was a good answer.
To be honest brother, I would simply explain it as obedience to the creator since a Muslim woman will choose to cover up primarily because she sees it as her religious obligation as ordained by Allah. Any other benefits achieved through this obedience are, in my opinion, secondary. Now this explanation alone may not be satisfactory to a Non-Muslim, but it's the truth, isn't it? :)
Reply

Al-Hanbali
06-28-2009, 10:09 PM
Originally Posted by eHafiz
I remember watching on YouTube a debate between a Hijaabi, a Niqaabi, and a non-Hijabi Muslim. It was quite interesting. I'll see if I can find it.

How do you explain Hijaab or Niqaab in simple terms (one or two sentences) to a non-Muslim? I remember I was asked this in 8th grade and I simply said modesty and self-respect. Though, I don't know if that was a good answer.
Why? 'Because Allaah said so!'

I remember from one lecture (can't remember the name), the speaker was saying that whenever a person is confronted with such Q's; they should always begin with the premise that it is conveyed in Qur'aan/Sunnah, and that you believe this Qur'aan is the actual speech of Allaah. After which you move onto proving why the Qur'aan is the speech, by describing the various mu'jizaat etc.

The reason being, if one only mentions the 'wisdoms' behind the commandment of hijaab etc, then the questioner will just carry on bringing up more and more Q's.

I'll try find the talk, inshaAllaah.

BTW, excellent article! :thumbs_up
Reply

- IqRa -
06-29-2009, 08:35 AM
Originally Posted by eHafiz
I remember watching on YouTube a debate between a Hijaabi, a Niqaabi, and a non-Hijabi Muslim. It was quite interesting. I'll see if I can find it.
Please do!
Reply

HopeFul
06-29-2009, 08:54 AM
Assalamoaliakum,

it is so nice to read this, that there are other women too. I thought that france was much more tolerant to the muslim dress code for women than UK, having lived in both I found myself being less stared at or not at all in france as opposed to UK where I can't imagine going out alone all dressed up, maybe Im scared but it has not been a good experience for me in UK.

My husband is also surprised as french people are mroe rascist, but I have also found french people to be more concentrated on my persoanality, maybe theya re used to alot of arabs living here thats why.

The government may worse and even if the people are hypocritical, as long as thye are nice to me I don't mind!

I have also noticed that in france and now in switzerland the french people are more respectable towards islam when they meet me, InshaAllah I will be giving away a few tranlations of the Quran in french soon because of requests from very modern, well off french/french speaking people.

In Uk I ahve been boo'd at, followed, harrassed if I dare venture out alone even in town/city centres while i was even pregnant with my youngest kid!! The moment people see you're a muslim they make a face, or they assume I must be a convert, that is part of the reason why I may never live in uk.

P.S sisters magazine is super! anyone living in UK should read it and infact both brothers and sisters too.
P.P.S one day recently I asked my son ," Do you know why mama wears the Abaya?" and he said " Yes, because Allah says so and so that people know you are a muslim"!! I think I told him once that that was the reason, that people should know the beliving women when they look at them, MashaAllah.
Reply

Nσσя'υℓ Jαииαн
06-29-2009, 03:22 PM
eHafiz, that video has been posted here on the forum. So you might want to try digging it up here.
Reply

Najm
06-29-2009, 06:43 PM
Originally Posted by Saifur-Rahmaan
Why? 'Because Allaah said so!'

I remember from one lecture (can't remember the name), the speaker was saying that whenever a person is confronted with such Q's; they should always begin with the premise that it is conveyed in Qur'aan/Sunnah, and that you believe this Qur'aan is the actual speech of Allaah. After which you move onto proving why the Qur'aan is the speech, by describing the various mu'jizaat etc.

The reason being, if one only mentions the 'wisdoms' behind the commandment of hijaab etc, then the questioner will just carry on bringing up more and more Q's.

I'll try find the talk, inshaAllaah.

BTW, excellent article! :thumbs_up
AsSalamOAlaikum WaRehmatuAllah WaBarkatuhu

http://ilmcast.com/perfect-justice-11.htm

Maybe its from this lecture. Yasir Qadhi provides an excellent way of defending/answering q's!!! SubhaanAllah!

Excellent opening article. May Allah Bless her...Ameen!

FiAmaaniAllah
Reply

Ar-RaYYan
06-29-2009, 10:02 PM
Originally Posted by eHafiz
I remember watching on YouTube a debate between a Hijaabi, a Niqaabi, and a non-Hijabi Muslim. It was quite interesting. I'll see if I can find it.
How do you explain Hijaab or Niqaab in simple terms (one or two sentences) to a non-Muslim? I remember I was asked this in 8th grade and I simply said modesty and self-respect. Though, I don't know if that was a good answer.
you talking about this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXzUuKdfnRE
Reply

Ummu Sufyaan
07-31-2009, 09:23 AM
:sl:
Originally Posted by Uthmān
Brilliant article! JazakAllaahu Khayran for sharing.

Check this debate out as well from The Big Questions on the BBC:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00ldh0h
the link isnt working. do you know where else it is available?
Reply

Uthman
07-31-2009, 03:32 PM
Originally Posted by Umm ul-Shaheed
:sl:

the link isnt working. do you know where else it is available?
Wa 'Alaykum As-salaam

Yes, it's on youtube:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

It features a niqabi and Yvonne Ridley. It also features an Imam (yes he actually leads prayers) who rejects all ahadith and rejects the Burqa on that basis.
Reply

Ummu Sufyaan
08-01-2009, 12:26 PM
:sl:
barakallahu feek...really good (and rubbish :rollseyes) stuff.
Reply

Uthman
08-01-2009, 12:53 PM
Originally Posted by Umm ul-Shaheed
really good (and rubbish :rollseyes) stuff.
Wa 'Alaykum As-salaam

Yeah, I think that's a pretty accurate summary.
Reply

nebula
08-01-2009, 01:22 PM
kool read, Jazakallahu khair for shareing it
Reply

UmmHasan
08-01-2009, 09:52 PM
Great article! Thanks for sharing.
Reply

Hey there! Looks like you're enjoying the discussion, but you're not signed up for an account.

When you create an account, you can participate in the discussions and share your thoughts. You also get notifications, here and via email, whenever new posts are made. And you can like posts and make new friends.
Sign Up

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 4
    Last Post: 07-13-2009, 12:47 PM
  2. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 05-13-2009, 09:12 AM
  3. Replies: 16
    Last Post: 05-04-2008, 11:30 AM
  4. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 04-30-2008, 07:01 PM

IslamicBoard

Experience a richer experience on our mobile app!