Incidents & Niqaab
December 27, 2008 § 27 Comments
I’ve had a fun past two days. Tomorrow is the first of Muharram – the beginning of the Islamic New Year and a holiday – so I had an extended weekend.
Yesterday, I had an interesting incident. I’d gone out with a friend for coffee/dinner to this place where we usually don’t really go. The reason is because its normally frequented by Non-Muslims [And Partying drunk Muslims] and alcohol is served openly so you don’t actually see a lot of Hijabis or ‘practicing’ Muslims around. But its just a bunch of restaurants put together with a place outside and its set up as a village, so it makes a nice place to sit and relax.
We went there yesterday because we wanted to enjoy the weather and it was close by. Considering it was Christmas I already knew what would be happening but we thought we’d give it a try. It was a nice experience, the atmoshphere and the ambience was simply fab. I love Winters.
Our waiter was Filipino. [They usually are]. I’ve come to the conclusion that Filipinos are the most curious when it comes to some things such as religion. So he came to us, after having seated us and this is how our conversation went.
”So, can I ask you a question Madame?’
‘Yes, go ahead’ I said.
‘I hope you won’t be offended’
To which I said, ‘No, no – we wont’
‘Is it true that all the Women who cover their faces like you do are married?’
At which my friend and I started laughing. I was last thing to being married. I explained to him why Women covered their faces with Niqab, the reasons behind it and how it was an Islamic issue. But I’m glad he asked us, it was a great oppurtunity for dawah.
I had a feeling he was fascinated by us – because later on he I saw him standing up a bit further away whilst we were eating and staring at our table constantly. It made eating difficult.
Anyway this brings me to the issue of Niqaab. I call myself a part-time Niqaabi. And I’ve been one for quite a while – a year maybe. But lately I’ve been feeling guilty about it, I feel as if I should made a firm decision and be steadfast on it. I wear the Niqab here everywhere. But I’m not strict about it – in the sense that I don’t cover my face in front of my brother in law or my male cousins/relatives. I tried, but it’s hard, however – I wear it out wherever I go.
I thought I’d be able to do in Pakistan too when I visited. I had the intention to. But sadly, I didn’t have the strength to do it, too many issues – or maybe I gave up too easily? Karachi is bad for me like that, it weakens my Imaan. But it’s so hard there, I have about 50 or more male cousins who like to swarm my grandmothers house when we visit – not to mention the Aunties and all the events. So I gave up on it – even wearing it to the marketplaces. [I’d thought if I don’t wear it at home, I’d do it outside at least].
Did I feel guilty? Yes – to an extent. I remember I was discussing the Niqaab issue with Falsa when I was in Karachi and we came up with [Or rather I] came up with the [lame] excuse that Men in Pakistan don’t exactly check out Hijabi Women in the first place so the Hijab does actually serve its purpose. And honestly speaking to an extent this is actually true – alhamdulilah.
Wear an Abaya and Hijab in Pakiland and [most] people assume you’re illiterate, backward and extemist. 😉 Not that I have issues with it if its acting as a repellant.
It was a lame excuse though, because in the end, it’s not all about Men. It’s to do with my soul, my Imaan and what I feel is best for me and brings me closer to God spiritually.
I know what a lot of people must be thinking – in fact, I’ve heard it quite a few times. ‘Oh, you’re doing the Abaya and Hijab already, it’s enough – Niqab is not even fardh’ – What people don’t understand is that there is never an ‘enough’ in Islam when it comes to doing good deeds and earning reward. There is always the next level – the next step to becoming a better person.
Secondly, this is something I feel strongly about religiously. Even over here, sometimes I get asked why I cover my face – I’m not married and young [Usually the old, married with Kids Auntyish Women wear it] – and sometimes I ask myself that too. Women love looking beautiful, even in Hijab, we still have that nagging though at the back of our head to ‘look good’. But I guess it’s not a ‘Woman’ thing – Men do it too, it’s more of a Human thing. [I’m not saying there is anything wrong with looking presentable though.] Wearing Niqaab is going against the ego, the nafs. But its spiritually pleasing and so satisfying to the soul.
Sometimes, I know, so many things would be easier if I just gave up on Niqaab completely – but would my heart and soul and my spiritual self be satisfied? No. In some things, I’ve come to rely on that feeling in my heart, we can never please people enough, but we can please Allah.
Sigh. Lifes a struggle.
So for now, I’m still a ‘Part-Time Niqaabi’ – I hope Allah [SWT] give me strength to wear it everywhere, regardless of Country or people and makes me stronger in it.