It has been almost two and half years since I have begun wearing the Niqab, I just wanted to talk about what I have been through and learned along the way...
Yes, it was my own choice ;) I fell in love with its beauty, and how empowering, freeing and immense happiness I felt as soon as I put it on. This seems like a bit of an exaggeration, but Allah is my witness and what I have stated is true.
Externally, the story is a little haywire. Of course, as most people would expect, non-Muslims have called me "terrorist," "oppressed," yelled at me, made not-so-nice remarks, and made faces resembling something similar to that of disgust. Of course, you can never get away from people staring at you, especially at the DMV line. I should just dump my car somewhere and be free, although that would get me in trouble, and would make Islam, and those who wear the niqab look bad, which would further fuel the propaganda against Islam. It never ends.
The reaction of the Non-Muslims doesn't really bother me, because I know that what they have learned about Islam is incorrect, which is why they react the way they do. Some of them are almost innocent of what they do. However, what I find a little disconcerting is the reaction and treatment I have received from the Muslims. I get started at, laughed at, and feel somewhat ostracized. At times, I feel invisible. Many people who know me walk right past me without acknowledging my existence, even after I say salam to them and let them know it's me! I felt a little hurt when people I have not just grown up with since I was a little girl, but were my friends, began to walk the other direction when they see me or act as if they haven't seen me at all. Even shuyukh have problems with the niqab! One time, my WhyIslam team and I went to do a presentation about Islam at a church. One of our local shuyukh was upset that I had worn the niqab at the church, because he thought that I would scare non-Muslims and turn them away from Islam. Their reaction was quite the opposite. They were welcoming, respectful, and curious. It clarified a lot of misconceptions they had about Islam and Muslim women. Some of the attendees even stayed afterwards to talk to me. When I experience situations like this, I often remind myself that this is just dunya. Allah created me to worship and please Him, not to please the creation.
Internally the niqab has altered my life in unimaginable ways. I have found that I pay more attention to the little details of every day life that I otherwise would either have not known or would have come to understand much later. I pay attention to almost every word I say, how my body posture is, how low or high my voice is. I paid attention to most of these things while wearing just the hijab and abaya, but with the niqab it is to an even higher degree. Additionally, I let go of things more easily no matter how terribly someone has hurt me, have found myself more merciful towards others, and have become incredibly patient and persevering. I have found that for me, it serves as a constant reminder that I need to be a better person. The niqab has also helped make major decisions in my life easy. I have had to rethink some career choices, goals and visions that I had had for myself. I think overall it has helped make my role as Muslim woman easier and the path clear.
I have found that in some ways, it has refined me. Smoothed out some of the rough edges. I don't think others can see it, but when something is different about you, you know. I don't want this to turn in to a blog where all I do is praise myself, but what I am trying to convey is that wearing the niqab really changes you...not all at once, but it definitely changes you. You begin to have a profound understanding, perception and appreciation for that which you, yourself, didn't ever think of or could even comprehend. It seems strange to think that a piece of cloth can have such power, and yet it does exactly what many people may not ever fathom. Internally, I am grateful.
Often, many people ask me why does it have to be black? The niqab doesn't have to be black. I'm just a goth. A Gothic Jedi. I am not sure I can rock a pink niqab. Maybe an orange one would be gangsta.
For those who are considering wearing the Niqab, please don't be discouraged. It is one of the best and most empowering decisions you will ever make. Know that this is nothing new. Some of the best women to have ever walked this Earth, the wives and companions of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, wore it. They are the ones whom Allah is pleased with, and it is their example we emulate. InshaAllah I will post something about those women in my future blogs. Until then, peace out.
(May Allah grant us knowledge and strength to worship Him, even if we are the only ones. Ameen. )