I don’t wear a Hijab, but my heart is clean!”

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

170720-brands-selling-hijabs-feature“All of my Ummah will be forgiven except those who sin openly…” [1]

Sinning privately is between Allah and His servant and a struggle that only He knows about and which In sha Allah He will give His servant the Tawfiq to repent for. Openly sinning with no remorse is tantamount to a public challenge to Allah and it doesn’t just remain between a servant and his Lord, but with the people too. One is to unashamedly disobey Allah and then to further justify the sin, but “Allah will not help a people until they help themselves.” [2]

Lately, I seem to have come across many sisters who give reasons for their Hijab – or lack thereof!

“I’m not ready for the Hijab yet!”
“So what if my hair is uncovered? My heart is clean!”
“Don’t tell me to wear Hijab, only Allah can judge me.”

Naturally, it led to many debates where not everyone agreed. Hence, this is merely an opinion.

At random, I started looking at other commandments of Allah. His order to fulfil the obligation of Salah comes with the condition that one has reached the age of puberty, is sane, and is a Muslim. Similarly, the donning of Hijab becomes compulsory once a woman reaches the age of puberty. But why are sisters so quick to make excuses like, “I’m not ready yet” and, “But my heart is clean,” when we don’t make the same excuses for our Zakah and fasting the month of Ramadhan?

My mind is at awe with the women around my Nabi ﷺ who dropped all they had in order to comply to another commandment of Allah with the hope of coming closer to Him. Fatimah Al-Zahrah (R), the queen of the women of Jannah, was the epitome of modesty at the time of Nabi ﷺ and continues to serve as an example until the end of time. Similarly, Umm Khallad (R) who upon hearing of the martyrdom of her beloved son on the battlefield, rushed to it whilst veiled. When asked how she managed to cover in such a state, she responded, “I have lost my son, but I have not lost my modesty.” [3]

Such women had the purest of hearts and yet they did not make the excuses we make because it is not befitting for a Muslim woman to ask for a concession in a matter that Allah and His Nabi (S) have ordained for us!

It may be true that a sister without the Hijab may have a heart purer and Taqwa stronger than that of a sister fully covered. However, when a Muslim woman CHOOSES not to wear the Hijab out of her own free-will (without a valid Shar’i reason), she becomes another fallen brick in the wall that divides us as an Ummah because she has chosen to hide her identity. Those who wear the Hijab (despite their struggles) are then labelled fanatics and extremists because another side has presented a “liberal” image which shows the world that it clearly isn’t mandatory to wear the Hijab and it can’t really be part of the faith! And so in this manner, she makes it harder for her “Hijabi” sister to practice her faith.

Those who refuse the Hijab claiming only Allah can judge them, remember that indeed Allah WILL judge them. Let’s help one another to become stronger in our faith and show the world that we are proud of our identity. May Allah help each of us in our struggles and only He knows what they are.

Do you agree? Disagree? All comments welcome, but please be courteous.plain-chiffon-hijab-plain-chiffon-charcoal-hijab-1_large

[1] Bukhari and Muslim
[2] Surah Ra’ad (13:11)
[3] Abu Dawud

Zainab Bint Husain (Allah protect her)

10 Muharram 1440

Advertisements

O Traveller to the Haram! Part II

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

madeenah.jpg

Continued…

Hajj

For those going first time it is easy to get lost, there are a lot of hotels and sometimes they all look the same to you and you might be quite a distance from the Haram. For the first few days go with someone to the Haram, and remember the walk back and picture a big hotel or shop nearby, e.g my hotel is near Hilton or behind Movenpick. Keep the hotel card, especially if you have elderly parents with you.

Remember, those going for Hajj there will be approximately 3 million people in Hajj. Thinking of that should give you the ability to be more patient. Hajj is nothing but an expression of love. During the journey towards Allah, the haji bears all difficulties with great patience. Also, bear in mind there will be delays. If you arrive late at Arafat or Muzdalifah you will still be rewarded for your intention so do not fret or frown. Arafat day try and spend the most time in Dua from Dhuhr to Maghrib in a standing position (as long as possible). Arafat to Muzdalifah is usually a difficult one as most if not all of the people take the buses as it is dark after Maghrib. It is ideal to walk the rest of Hajj, saves you from the headache of buses. If your bus is late, spend the time in dhikr and Qur’an not talking or gossiping or on WhatsApp and social media. Don’t let Shaytan take advantage.

Can I also say about keeping yourself clean during the days of Hajj? Please don’t neglect personal hygiene and yes stick to the restrictions…but there’s going to be millions of people there and there will be germs everywhere, keep a fragrance free hand gel and keep washing your hands to stop spreading any unwanted germs. When sneezing and coughing remember to use tissues and wash your hands if possible after.
Allah SWT has made things easy for us now, personal hygiene is more important at times like this not just for you but to take other people into consideration too, the elderly the sick those who have terminal illnesses who will be around if you’re not washing to keep clean you will spread germs.

There are even some things that recite the talbīyah alongside a muḥrim when one recites it. “There is no Muslim who recites the talbīyah during the Ḥajj andʿUmrah but that everything which is to his right and left also recite it with him. Whether it is rocks, trees or even soil, to the farthest ends of the earth in each direction, from here and from there.” (Tirmidhī)

THE SIGNS OF HAJJ E MABROOR & HAJJ E MAQBOOL
Hajj e mabroor is where no mistake is made for which penalty will have to be given.
Hajj e maqbul is the hajj which has been accepted by Allah, this also includes performing the hajj with lawful money.
Sometimes both these words are used for the term accepted hajj.
A sign of an accepted hajj is that the pilgrims life changes from bad to good , love for the hereafter increases and the desire for the worldly things decline.
Five times daily salah ,zakah, fasting in the holy month of Ramadhan and for women a full sharee purdah.
Previous fasts and salah must be completed through qadha, unpaid zakah must be paid and the sunnah of Rasulullah SAW must be learned and practised upon.
Become a practising muslim and abide by the laws of Shariah.
Allah grant all the hajis and hajyanis hajj e mabroor and maqbool Ameen thumma Ameen

Miscellaneous

Daily Items to take to the Haram/Masjid: Draw string bag for slippers, musalla, water bottle, Qur’an, dua books/tasbih, mobile phone and money.

Janazah Salah Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah (radiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that Rasulullah ﷺ said: “Whoever attends the funeral procession and offers the Janazah Salah, will get a reward equal to one ‘qirat’, and whoever accompanies it till burial, will get a reward equal to two ‘qirats’. It was asked, “What are two qirats?” He answered, “Like two huge mountains.” (Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 1325 and Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 945)

For those travelling for the first time, there will be Janazah Salah after every Fardh Salah almost. You will hear an announcement, “As-Salah ala Al-Amwaat” or “As-Salah ala Al-Atfaal” (Prayer for the deceased or prayer for children). We should seize the opportunity as it takes only a few minutes to pray. As a lot of people tend to forget the method and women may never have prayed Janazah Salah, the method is here:

Method of Janazah Salah:

The manner of performing Salatul Janazah is as follows:

The body of the deceased must be placed in front of the Imam who leads the Salah.

The Imam stands on line with the chest of the deceased.

Everyone in the congregation must have the intention of performing Salaah Al Janazah for the sake of Allah and in prayer for the deceased.

Make the intention of praying behind Imam.

One must then say Allahu Akbar while raising both hands as in Takbeer At Tahreema (the same manner in which one raises his hands to begin the daily Salah).

Then fold your hands as one does in his daily Salah.

At this time, one must recite the 1) Thana. The Thana is:-

“Subhanakallahumma wa bihamdika wa Tabarakasmuka wa Ta’aala Jadduka wa laa ilaha Ghairuka.”

2) After this, a person must say Allahu Akbar again, but must not raise his hands.

At this time, one will recite the Durood, (preferably the same as recited in the daily Salah).

3) Then say Allahu Akbar once again without raising the hands. After this takbeer, one will make the dua for the deceased.

Based on who the deceased is, one will recite the relevant dua. That is, there is a special dua for adults, and one for a minor boy and another for a minor girl.

The dua for an adult is:

Allaahurnmaghfir li hayyinaa wa mayyitinaa wa shahidi­naa wa gha-ibinaa wasaghiri­naa wa kabirinaa wa dhakari­naa wa unthanaa,

Allaahumma man ahyaitahu minnaa fa’ahyihi ‘alal islam wa man tawaffaitahu minnaa fatawaffahu ‘alal imaan.

O Allah! Forgive those of us that are alive and those of us who are dead, those of us that are present, those of us who are absent, those of us that are young and those of us that are adults; our males and our females. O Allah! Whomsoever of us you keep alive let him live as a follower of Islam and whomsoever you cause to die, let him die as a believer.

The dua for a girl child is :

Allaahum maj ‘alhaa lanaa fa-ra—tanw waj ‘alhaa lana aj-ranw wa zukhranw waj ‘alhaa lana shaafi’atan wa mushaf-fa;ah

O Allah, make her our forerunner, a source of reward and treasure and make her plead for us and one whose plea has been accepted.

The dua for a boy child is:

Allaahum maj ‘alhu lnaa fa-ra—tanw waj ‘alhu lana aj-ranw wa zukhranw waj ‘alhu lana shaafi’an wa mushaf-fa’aa

O Allah, make him our fore runner, a source of reward and treasure and make him a pleader for us and one whose plea has been accepted.

NOTE: If you don’t know any of the above Duas then pray Rabbana Aatina Fid Dunya hasanah wa fil Aakhirati Hasanah wa qina azaaban naar.

When the Salatul Janazah is finished the body should be taken to the cemetery for burial.

And Allah knows best.Madinah 71Madinahh 76

Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is not permissible even if claims are restricted to exceptional circumstances. Hadhrat Mufti Taqi Uthmani (madda zilluhu) writes in his book, contemporary fatawa : “It is a well-settled principle of Sharî’ah that every transaction between two parties in which the payment by one party to the other is certain while payment by the other party depends upon a contingency (which may or may not occur) is included in Qimâr (gambling) and gharar (deception) and is, therefore, unlawful. (Page 122) “….all the insurance policies available with traditional insurance companies run on a commercial basis have an element of interest or Qimar or both. Hence, they are not allowed in Shari’ah.” (page 164)  Allah (SWT) Knows Best.

Women and Jamat

As most women don’t attend the Masjid for Salah in UK, they may not know how to perform missed Rak’aat with the imam:

You will stay in sitting position with imam in the last Rak’at for tashahhud until he does second salam incase he does sajdah e sahw after the first salam. So as soon as he finishes his second salam you will stand up to finish your missed rakats.
Method:
1 RAKAAT MISSED The Muqtadi must recite Surah Faatiha and a Surah.
2 RAKAATS MISSED The Muqtadi must recite in both Rakaats Surah Fatiha and a Surah.
3 RAKAATS MISSED In the first Rakaat, the Muqtadi must recite Surah Fatiha and a Surah and then sit for Tashahhud.
After Tashahhud, he must stand up for the second missed Rakaat and recite Surah Fatiha and a Surah.
In the third missed Rakaat, he must recite Surah Fatiha only.
4 RAKAATS MISSED In the first two Rakaats recite Surah Fatiha and a Surah.
In the second two Rakaats recite only Surah Faatiha. (Shami vol 2 pg. 346)

Witr in Ramadhan

Those who go for Umrah in Ramadhan, usually have a dilemma whether or not to pray Witr with the imam. As the imam will pray 2 rak’ah then 1 separate. It is allowed for Hanafis (people who follow Hanafi fiqh) to follow the imam in Witr. Please see fatwa below:

https://nawadir.org/2016/04/02/witr-salah-in-makkah-and-madinah/

The preferred view of Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Taqi Uthmani Saheb (hafidhahullah) is pray 2 rak’ah nafl with the imam and then don’t pray the 1 rak’ah separate, just make dua in the qunoot/dua after rukoo.

Also, after Taraweeh Salah there is no announcement for Witr like the Masajid in England. So many people stand up for Witr thinking it is still Taraweeh and their intention will still be for Taraweeh, which will invalidate the Salah. It would be nice if they could announce Witr Salah in the Haram, otherwise we must keep a track of Rak’ahs.

Thieves

Keep your belongings with you at ALL times. In the hotel keep your suitcase and luggage locked, do not trust anyone, not even the workers. Take minimum money to the Haram, 40-50 Riyal. You should not need more than that, maximum 100 Riyal. The day you decide to go shopping, take extra money. But on a daily basis, you might need money for a drink/ice cream or something to eat. There are thieves everywhere! As blessed as Haramayn Shareefayn are, unfortunately the thieves are NOT. They will cut your pockets and run. Men should try and sew pockets into their trousers for safety. Keep your mobile and money in there. Women keep small handbags and keep close to you, not dangling off your shoulder. Then there are other thieves or beggars who make stories up! They lost their passports or documents. Or even say they lost their wife and children. I personally do not give a Riyal to any of these guys, not because I am stingy but I want my money to go to the right place. If you don’t believe me, read this:

https://babarahmad.com/2016/08/29/pilgrims-guide-to-predators-on-hajj/

If you want to give Sadaqah or Zakah give it to the cleaners in Haram. With Zakah, you have to let them know it is Zakah.

If your belongings do get stolen or lost, there is a lost and found office called “daftarul mafqoodaat” in Arabic. It is near Safa and Marwa but far, far behind it. You have to go outside and it is a long walk, I’ll be honest. Try praying these duas:

1.
اللَّهُمَّ رَادَّ الضَّالَّةِ وَهَادِي الضَّالَّةِ أَنْتَ تَهْدِي مِنَ الضَّلَالَةِ ارْدُدْ عَلَيَّ ضَالَّتِي بِقُدْرَتِكَ وَسُلْطَانِكَ فَإِنَّهَا مِنْ عَطَائِكَ وَفَضْلِكَ
“O Allah, the Returner of the lost, and the Guide of the lost, You guide the lost. Return to me what I have lost by Your power and Your domain, for surely It was Your gift and grace in the first place”.
(Al Hisnul Haseen)
2.
يا جامع الناس ليوم لا ريب فيه
اجمع بيني وبين مالي إنك على كل شيء قدير.
Allahuma ya jami’ an-naas li yawmin laa rayba feeh ijma’ bayni wa bayna dhaallati.
“O Allah, Gatherer of mankind on the day in which there is no doubt. Connect me with my lost item.”
(Fathul qadeer)

فِيهِ آيَاتٌ بَيِّنَاتٌ مَّقَامُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ

In it are clear signs (among which is) the Maqam-e-Ibrahim.

maqam-ibrahim-masjidil.jpgMaqam-e-Ibrahim refers to the stone on which Nabi Ibrahimﷺ would stand when he was building the Ka‘bah. As the height of the building rose, the stone would automatically rise, lifting Nabi Ibrahimﷺ so that he could continue to build the Ka’bah, and when it was time for Nabi Ibrahim ﷺ to return to the ground, the stone would automatically descend.

The impression of the blessed footprints of Nabi Ibrahim ﷺ can be seen in the stone until today. It is obviously a miracle for a stone to automatically rise and descend, based on the need of the person standing on it, and for a hard stone to soften sufficiently so that it could be imprinted with his footsteps. It is for this reason that Allah Ta‘ala says that the Maqam-e-Ibrahim contains clear signs (that will guide one to recognize Allah Ta‘ala).

The Maqam-e-Ibrahim is housed in a round structure made from glass and metal, located on the mataf, close to the door of the Ka‘bah.

‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that Rasulullah ﷺ said, “The Hajr-e-Aswad and Maqam-e-Ibrahim are two precious stones from the precious stones of Jannah. Allah Ta‘ala has extinguished their radiance. Had Allah not extinguished their radiance, they would have illuminated everything between the east and the west.” (Sunan Tirmidhi #878)

Take it easy

If you are going for Umrah in Ramadhan, take it easy as you are fasting as well as doing Tawaf and other acts of Ibadah. Sometimes just going to and from the Masjid can be tiring. Be sure to look after the elderly and those in your group too. If you are going for Hajj, do not tire yourself before Hajj. Some people do excessive Tawaf and Umrah before the days of Hajj then feel weak before Hajj. Remember you are “there for Hajj” make the most of it and be prepared for the 5 main days in sha Allah.

Waqf

Ibn Majah (757) narrated a hadeeth, “Whoever removes anything harmful from the mosque, Allah will build for him a house in Paradise.”

Anything found in the masjid is Waqf, please us it carefully, including the cups for Zamzam. Many people waste the cups and do not dispose of them correctly. A masjid MUST be kept clean; whether it is your local Masjid or Masjid Haram. Just because it is an extremely large Masjid does not mean it can be littered. Also on a side note, I would just like to mention here, many mothers make their children wear socks or t-shirts with picture or cartoons. This is completely Haraam! Please avoid this.

Purpose

Keep on remembering the purpose you are here for, make a daily schedule/routine. When the heat overburdens you, remember the heat of hell fire. If you are stood in long queues or waiting amongst crowds of people, think of Qiyamah and the multitudes of people. I believe Haram Shareef is the only place you can depict Qiyamah, truly. When listening to the Qur’an in Salah, imagine the time when Jibreel AS descended upon the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him).

Halal Food

Beware. Not all food is reliable in Saudi Arabia, especially chicken as we all know a LOT of the chicken is imported. Try and ask a reliable mufti saheb in the UK for an up to date list of reliable restaurants/takeaways. Please don’t be naive and think it is a Muslim country, so everything is Halal. Ask the workers if the chicken is “Watani” which means local/slaughtered in Saudi Arabia. When I went for Umrah in Ramadhan 2018, I asked Mufti Ibrahim Saheb Raja of Blackburn as Mufti saheb visits Haramayn ever year. He enumerated the following: in Makkah alTazaj in Bin Dawood and also the McDonald’s, he said near Ibrahim Khaleel road there are many Pakistani restaurants that serve Watani chicken, you just need to ask and confirm. In Madinah, there are much more. To name a few, Rawi, At-Tabakh, Nirala, Miraj and Dawoodiya.

Niqab

Ma Sha Allah! I will always praise and support women who wear the niqab, it is one of the greatest Jihads of the time – whether home or away. But, sadly, many women go to the holy lands and stop wearing their niqab or it becomes part-time. My dear sisters, simple advice is that you wear a niqab for many years. Some of you since you were teenagers. Not a single non-mahram has seen your face! Then you go for Hajj/Umrah and uncover your face because it’s too hot or at lunchtime for ease or in the hotel because you feel suffocated. Remember, there will be many men travelling with you from your locality and relatives who have never seen your face. Is it worth it for a few weeks to lose this modesty? Stay strong in sha Allah, Allah’s Jannah awaits you. You will be the queens of Jannah.

Maidnah 765

Madinah Munawwarah

Shaykh Haji Faruq Saheb (Allah have mercy on him) would say, on the road to Madinah try and pray Surah Kawthar 1000 times. Once you enter Madinah start continous durood, so before you reach Masjid Nabwi ﷺ your salutations reach the beloved Prophet ﷺ.

“There are angels of Allah SWT who convey to me the salutations of the Ummah.” (an-Nisai)

Take a booklet of forty duroods and pray daily along with a fixed amount of other duroods, 100, 200 etc.

Read Seerah books beforehand or take one with you to inculcate the love of the Prophet ﷺ

The rule is not to harm anyone, anywhere. But in particular, make an extra effort in Madinah Shareef not to argue or cause inconvenience to anyone. Even the animals, birds, plants etc. This is the City of the Prophet ﷺ, the City of Mercy.

DO NOT COMPLAIN! If you do not like something, stay quiet. Women, in particular, have a habit of commenting and criticising negatively. Such silly mistakes can deprive someone of visiting the holy lands again. There is a famous story of a man who visited Madinah and had some yoghurt. He found the yoghurt sour and complained! The same night the Prophetﷺ came in his dream and said, “If you don’t like the yoghurt of my city, then don’t come again.”

Mount Uḥud even loves those who obey Allāh and His Messengerﷺ

“Uḥud is a mountain which loves us and which we love.” (Bukhārī)

Imām al-Nawawī (Allah have mercy upon him) comments and says: “Mount Uḥud truly loves us because Allāh has endowed it with a quality whereby it is able to feel love.” (Sharḥ al-Nawawī)

 

Salat was Salam upon our beloved Prophet ﷺ be done from anywhere in Masjid Nabwi but better in front of the Rawdhah Mubarak.

Try and pray at least two Rak’ah in Riyadhul Jannah, without pushing or causing inconvenience.

Shaykhul hadith Hadhrat Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya (Allah have mercy upon him) would say, “When shopping in Madinah, make an intention to benefit the people of Madinah.” And I would like to add, do not haggle too much with the residents of Madinah.

Try and visit the place of Badr about 2 hours from Madinah Shareef. And there is a well on the way Bi’r Shifa. The water is known for Shifa/cure.IMG_9149

For those who do not know much about which dates to buy, I am no expert but the standard dates which people generally buy are:

Ajwa

Kalmi

Sukary

Safawi

Sugai

Ambar

Try and go to a date farm rather than the date market, the farms are not far from Masjid Nabwi ﷺ. And remember each type of date has its quality. E.g. You will get cheap Ajwa 40 or 50 Riyal per kilo but that will be low quality. Whereas the 60-70 Riyal per kilo will be higher quality, much larger and softer.

There are many suggestion boxes, usually near the doors/gates. Feel free to make positive suggestions. There are definitely many improvements to make in both places, we need to think of them and criticise constructively. We need to become a thinking Ummah, we need to produce deep thinkers in sha Allah. Also, take a notebook and pen and write down any thoughts you get. Sitting in the Haram you get some remarkable thoughts, don’t let them go! It could be changes to your life or something beneficial for the Ummah. Alhumdu Lillah, both parts of these blogs were a result of taking a notepad and jotting things down which I thought would benefit people. If you are a poet, writer, blogger, pen down your love and contemplations for these places to spread the respect and sanctity of these places. Here are two poems I wrote:

https://mylittlebreathingspace.wordpress.com/2018/06/01/centre-of-the-world-centre-of-islam/

https://mylittlebreathingspace.wordpress.com/2018/06/07/under-the-green-dome/

Lastly, use your time wisely and make it fruitful and productive. You never know when you will go again. Avoid arguments, this is not the place for arguments. Please don’t treat it like a holiday, you are not in Dubai or Morocco! They said in Arabic, “al-Istiqamah fawqa alf Karamah.” Steadfastness is better than 1,000 miracles! When you return back to the UK, keep up with your Salah, wearing Hijab or keeping a beard and practising every Sunnah. Especially those Sunnah connected with Hijab. Reflect on your age and life. How you can change and remove sin and vice from your life.

Allah accept your Hajj/Umrah and make it easy and bring you back safely. Fi Amanillah.

Please pray for me too.

Ismail ibn Nazir Satia (One who is in dire need of Allah’s forgiveness, mercy and pleasure)

1 Dhul Qa’dah 1439

Madinah 888
Madinah 1907 C.E.

I am a Mustish?!

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

britishI am a Muslim. I am British.
I am British. I am a Muslim.
I am a British Muslim.
Do the order of words REALLY matter?
Muslim British, British Muslim.
A cup of tea is what I crave,
Digestives and Custard Creams are my fave.
At the same time, the headscarf I wear,
And YouTube I scour to fashion it with care.
Awkward weather conversations and polite queuing,
HP sauce, marmite and cows mooing.
At the same time, I rush out to perform my prayer,
Because for me, this makes my daily endeavours clear.
You tell me I must choose,
But neither I am willing to lose.
For both are a part of me,
So please, allow me to be.
I am a Muslim. I am British.
I am British. I am a Muslim.
I am a British Muslim.
Do the order of words REALLY matter?
Muslim British, British Muslim.
Mus-tish?
Written by Apa Fatima Ahmed, Teacher at Islamiyah School, (Masjid Sajedeen Open Day 2018).
mustish

Unveiling the reality

Umm Abdullah writes her own personal experience of life with the Niqab.

images

In the Name of Allah the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

‘Ban the Burqa!’ was the latest one. I would have used the powerful verb ‘hurled’ as per usual, except this time it was more of a forced, cringe-worthy, schoolboy ‘tryin to impress me mates’ type. Abuse, nonetheless.

As a British ‘Niqabi’ (as I am sometimes labelled in the long list of politically correct labels and titles) I should be quite used to these types of remarks, no? Unfortuntely not. It still winds me up, still frustrates me and yes, quite frankly, it still upsets me six years on. Despite all this, one thing that the abuse has paved way for is the love for my Niqab and with each hurl it has burned bigger and brighter.

I started wearing my Niqab at the age of 18; an age I truly believe is an age for either make or break. Usually, at this point in life it is decided whether we’re turning left, right or going straight ahead at the crossroads. I was a typical teenager who loved (and still does!) clothes, make up and dressing up so it was only natural for me to be a little apprehensive towards the idea of completely veiling myself. Although I had been wearing the Hijab from a very young age and the Abaya more recently, I simply was not feeling the idea of the Niqab. I was extremely image conscious. I was paranoid. I was embarrassed.

Weeks turned into months wherein I did research upon research through classical texts, poring over books to unveil the history behind the Niqab. At the start, I was quite simply looking for a loophole to sooth my mind’s voice, to stroke my more ‘holy’ side into a lullaby; a lullaby of lies sung in the loudest voice drowning out the other voice that was telling me the Niqab was Wajib (Islamic obligation). However, over time I came to realise myself, slowly but surely, that I was fooling nobody but myself. Allah says in the Qur’an, ‘O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks over their bodies’ (33:59). Similarly, this was echoed in authentic Prophetic narrations, when the verse ‘they should draw their veils over their necks and bosoms…’ was revealed, the ladies cut their waist sheets at the edges and covered their faces with the cut pieces’ (Bukhari, 1:4:148). That was the first step for me – understanding and whole-heartedly accepting that the veil is mandatory on all Muslim, mature women in order to protect themselves. There were no loopholes. Allah’s order is Allah’s order and for me there was no running away from it.

I firmly disagree with the notion of it being a black cloth used to cover the face, however, that WAS my perception pre-niqab days. And that’s the thing with perception – it can deceive. You may be wise and knowledgeable (not that I was or am in any way!) but even then can be overtaken by the sweet lies of perception. On the topic of perception, some people perceive women in a Niqab as being oppressed and socially controlled and to be honest, this view cannot completely be diminished as there are some for whom this is the case. But it would be outrageously ignorant to believe that this is the case for all. Out of the 354 women who were fined for wearing the Niqab in France, not one said she was forced to. Now, we don’t have any sort of data like that to compare with in Britain but what we do have is a free society. Every woman has the liberty and choice to make her own decisions. And if it’s anything to go by, the women who appeared on the Channel 4 Niqab debate all said it was their own choice to wear the Niqab. And saying that, I know I would have hit the roof before I let anyone force me!

Similarly, there’s the conception of Niqabi women being uneducated and basically at the back of the queue with a colander when God was dishing out the brains. Being a qualified teacher myself and having friends and family who wear the Niqab with professions varying from cancer research doctor to speech therapist to pharmacists, I beg to differ. And quite rightly so, I’d say! I mean, come on, don’t start on me with that one.

Some people believe wearing the Niqab is a litmus test for piety. As much as I disagree with that, I won’t hesitate to say that the Niqab can be a sign of piety if it is fully recognised as a lifestyle rather than just a face covering. I recently read an article wherein the writer wrote about how the most rudest Muslim woman she had met wore the Niqab. That is a real shame and without trying to condone her rudeness, I’d just like to put across that women in Niqab are not angels.That’s right, we are humans and sometimes, just like with everyone else, our behaviour and temperament can let us down. And just for the record, the most beautiful woman in terms of character and personality that I am blessed to know is one who wears the Niqab.

Alhamdu Lillah, I am now in my sixth year of wearing the Niqab and I have to say it has been an exhilarating journey. It has been a LOT more than a black cloth. In fact, I quite loathe calling it a ‘black cloth’. I feel it deserves a lot more respect and love than that. It is my Niqab, my protection, my motivation, my love. From the day I started wearing it, I immediately felt a heavier sense of responsibility upon my own actions. My Niqab stopped me from acting in certain ways and prompted me to act in certain other ways. I began to notice small changes in my behaviour and I was liking that.

Although it has been six years, I believe I have a long way to go. I started off as an ‘amateur’ and I am nowhere near ‘professional’ yet.  I still have days where I slack and I still groan and moan when it gets beautifully hot outside (try having an ice cream with a Niqab on!). Saying that, I have mastered the art of eating and drinking with my Niqab on and keeping it crumb-free! On a serious note, in my opinion the Niqab is more of a lifestyle than a piece of Islamic clothing and nobody can take that away from me.

Umm Abdullah
1st Dhul Hijjah 1435
Allah grant the Muslim women Hayaa (modesty) and Iffah (purity) and Ismah (protection), Ameen Ya Rabb.