My Niqaab, My Choice

By Umm Abdullah (Central New Jersey)

You’re calmly strolling through the aisles at Walmart when suddenly you hear a cry from behind you, “Mom, look! A ninja!” All eyes are on you. Ugh, why do these five-year-olds always have to comment?!

As a niqaabi1, I have encountered many scenarios like this while living here in North America. If you’re a niqaabi yourself or have gone out with a niqaabi friend, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s not easy, especially with all those kids giving you even more attention than you already have.

With all the misconceptions about the rights of women in Islam, many people assume I wear my niqaab2 because I’m one of those “oppressed women.” Honestly though, my niqaab is a source of comfort, security, and dignity for not only me, but also for the people who care about me.

You might wonder, “How is niqaab a source of comfort, security, and dignity with all the comments being thrown at you?” My dear sisters and brothers, women are the jewels of humanity. Just as valuable items are kept secure from being harmed, a woman should be protected from those people who can harm her. I chose niqaab because it let me decide who can see me and who can’t. I am definitely not comfortable having any strange man laying his eyes on me with an evil intention.

With my niqaab, I feel secure—secure because no strange man would dare to touch me, not knowing what’s under my cover. With my niqaab, I feel comfort—comfort because I don’t have to struggle trying to be Barbie, with layers of makeup. With my niqaab, I feel honored—honored by dressing like the Azwāj al-Mutahharāt3 (May Allah be pleased with them).

In turn, the people who really care about me feel the same. For example, my father would never accept any strange man eyeing me in a wrong way. It gives him and all my other loved ones comfort and security knowing I am safe from the evils of strangers.

Yes, people throw their comments, but I always think to myself, what more can people do? They can’t see my expression. They can’t see if I’m hurt or not. Why should I sound hurt? Let me continue to enjoy the company of who I’m with, while those people stand observing my every move waiting for my sudden ninja attack. They’ll then realize I’m just a young lady with a normal American accent who was raised right here in America.

Fortunately, not all people are like those five-year-old kids who always comment. Once I went to the clinic for a doctor’s visit. When I went in for the check-up, I removed my niqaab for the doctor, who was a young non-Muslim woman. We began talking, and continued for a while. When she was about to leave the room after the check-up, she turned to me and said, “I really like how you cover yourself. You’re protected from so much—no skin cancer, no wrinkles. Nothing. I really wish I could cover like you too.”

Yup, you got that right, Doc! This is my niqaab. It shelters me with comfort, security, and plus it keeps me lookin’ young and beautiful for those who deserve to see my beauty. Alhamdulillah.


A niqaabi is a Muslim woman who covers all of her face except for her eyes with a veil in public.
A niqaab is a veil worn by Muslim women in public, covering all of the face except the eyes.
3 Azwāj al-Mutahharāt means “The purified wives.” This term is used in reference for the beloved wives of the blessed Prophet (Allah bless and give him peace).

Featured image (c) rana ossama

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