Posts Tagged niqab

Push Yourself and Others to Start Hijab — Deen Show with Br. Mohammad Abu Abbaad ElShinawy

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Please watch and share. I wish that I had access to spread the new of the command of hijab to all of the sisters in the world… it frees the soul from so much evil. May Allah swt grant honor to Islam and the Muslimeen.

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“She took it off!”

Bismillah walhamdulillah

I tend to have long delays between when the idea of a post comes to mind (when something very meaningful happens) and actually writing it. This isn’t good because in that time, I may lose out on essential details, or enough time passes, I may never write it. So here goes.

I attended an all-sisters Ramadan event recently. It was very well organized and the atmosphere was amazing. Having just returned from travels abroad and being away from righteous company for so long, I felt so much happiness being in that room full of sisters who were striving for the same goals. Being unable to hide my happiness, I began to talk quickly and excitedly as I sometimes do. Every now and then, it would occur to me to take it down a notch, so I would try, but it wasn’t too successful.

Even as the speakers spoke, I would become distracted as a sister in niqab crossed the room, throwing her niqab down to cover her face because of a transparent door on the end of the hall. The chances of a man passing by and looking in were miniscule, but she had such hayaa’ that she didn’t care. And there were more just like her. The speaker, for example, was a sister in niqaab. She sat facing that transparent door which was, again, far down on the other side of the hall. It was far enough that even if a man were to stop and look in for some reason (and he would be looking in from the sidewalk), he would not be able to make out any features. But again, this sister had such hayaa’ that she gave her entire speech with her niqab on, only removing it she finished and came down from the stage to sit with the audience, with her back to the door. The environment was a fresh and much-needed dose of imaan.

As I was getting ready to leave, I stood at the back of the room, near the bathroom. I wanted to wash my hands so that I could shake hands with sisters before leaving. I don’t have OCD, but I had been ill and was afraid I was still contagious.

As I stood there, waiting for the bathroom, two sisters walked in together. They had missed both speeches but the event was still going on.

I saw them standing there, almost hesitantly, as if afraid of disturbing the event by looking for a place to sit. I pointed out empty seats to them, and in an encouraging tone, I told them they should sit.

From the corner of my eye, I saw one of the two sisters look at me, look away, and then look back at me. I did not look at her, but I could almost tell that she was deciding on whether or not to say salaam or to run and hope I didn’t notice her. She then smiled and gave me her salaam. I leaned forward to hug her and finally recognizing her face, I returned her salaam with a big smile.

Then as I pulled away from the hug, I was confused. I think I know who this sister is, but I’m not too sure because she is a niqabi so I’ve rarely seen her face. But what is making it even more confusing is that she is not wearing the niqab right now.

With a puzzled look on my face, I looked at the other sister, as if to ask “Wait, who did I just hug?”

She responded back in a whisper, because the event was still going on.

…Yep, it was her.

Okay, she’s not wearing her niqab. Immediately I began to make excuses for her. Perhaps she knew it was all-sisters event and she removed it at the door. Although this was unlikely because I had known her to always wear her niqab inside her hijab. No, maybe she changed her niqab style and now she wears the kind that are on the outside and easily removable.

Okay, you know what. It’s okay, don’t worry about it.

That lasted for about a minute, and it quickly went away.

My phone rang, it was my sister. “Come out, I’m here.”

I rushed back to my seat, grabbed my things and left.

Days went by and I did not give it any thought.

The end.

Just kidding :) So…what was the point of mentioning all of that?

Okay, so a sister removed her niqab. Maybe many of us have seen it (with niqab or with jilbab or hijab).

What’s the wrong reaction?

“Omg sister, astaghfirullah, how could you?!”

Even if no one really says it out loud, many people react this way in their minds. They should know that their thoughts will eventually manifest in their actions, whether they realize it or not. It could be something as simple as a fading smile, avoiding eye contact, awkward behavior, etc. And this sister will more likely than not, pick up on all of it.

What is the right reaction?

Well, it’s hard to give one answer for this. So I’ll put it this way:

  1. That is still your sister in Islam, you still love her for the sake of Allah. Be careful how you treat her.
  2. You don’t know what she is going through right now. Maybe she just needs a comforting friend, or someone who will be there for her at a time of difficulty. Maybe she needs you to assume good of her, and not jump to conclusions and assume the worst. You looking down at her is not going to improve the situation in the slightest.
  3. If you are truly concerned for her, make dua for her and talk to her about it (if you are close to her). Don’t talk to anyone else about it and don’t sit alone ruminating on it. Make a sincere dua for her when you are making dua for yourself. And if you can’t even talk to her about it directly, just make sure she knows that you are there for her if she needs you, that you assume the best of her, and that you are not judging her.
  4. The same way she removed her niqab, she can put it back on. It’s not a one way street. It is a struggle that lasts until you leave this world, just like every other act of worship. Treating people badly when they remove it will not make them want to put it back on. And it will lead to others being afraid to start hijab, jilbab, or niqab, at all, for the simple fear that they may take it off one day, and be shunned as well.
  5. What does her removing her niqab have to do with you? A lot of times, the reason for the harsh reactions is simply because we are afraid of being affected when a sister removes any part of her hijab. Your hijab, jilbab, niqab, should not be dependent on what the people around you are wearing or doing. Guaranteed, you will be in some places where everyone is dressed like you and you fit right in, and guaranteed, you will be in other places where everyone is wondering what on earth you were thinking when you got dressed this morning. Accept it. Your hijab should remain consistent regardless, and if it doesn’t, you truly must ask yourself: who am I doing all of this for? For if you truly wore it for Allah, you would know that He is always Watching, always present, regardless of who is around you.

Now for the disclaimer: I am not supporting that anyone remove their niqab, or remove anything for that matter, but I am enforcing that we be merciful and gentle towards the believers. This on our part will be following the sunnah of the Messenger, sallallahu alayhi wasalam. And I am enforcing that we all be sincere towards Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, because those who are sincere will be bound to the sunnah.

waAllahu Ta’ala Alam

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Who speaks for Islam? by Abu Abdissalam

An amazing talk by a brother who says it like it is. A MUST WATCH and MUST SHARE!

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Paid in Full?

Bismillah walhamdulillah

People think that religious people are always missing out on life. When I went to the UK this summer to attend a family wedding, I’m sure my extended family was thinking this about me. One lady even said to me, “You don’t like getting ready, you don’t even put any [makeup] on.” Right…I cover my face, but you want me to put layers of makeup on the only part that shows…good idea. Hey, when I’m done, can I borrow some earrings? I wanna hang them from my hijab. So I answered her, “No, I can’t get ready because it’s not properly separated.”

I would pray Salatul istikhara before every part of the wedding, to seek Divine Counsel on whether or not I should even attend. At times, some of the women would say things like “You’re not going, are you?” They probably meant well, knowing that I would hate the environment of the music and mixing, but it wasn’t their decision to make. The decision wasn’t always a simple one. And I knew that there were times when it was better that I come along, just so that I could pull my family away, and so that I could remind them when they forgot. So I would pray istikhara and then I would attend with these intentions in mind. I would put on my abaya, and my hijab and niqab. And I would pray and hope that the stereo system would break.

I attended 5 days like this, entirely covered, sitting away from the men, and often darting outside hoping to get as far away from the music as I could. Others may have looked at me, seen my discomfort with the surroundings, and felt pity for me. But I always felt more pity for them, because they didn’t feel discomfort. And I fully expected a reward from Allah swt for all of my efforts. And I fully trusted the fact that if you leave something for the sake of Allah, He will grant you something better than it.

But I didn’t expect to be paid back so soon.

Within the very same summer, and only weeks apart from these 5 days of struggle, I was invited to:

1 bridal shower

1 henna

1 walima

1 wedding

1 wedding

Total: 5 days

Five days…just like those 5 days. Except these were entirely separated and without music, and would be attended people I knew and loved.

“… And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allah will accomplish his purpose. Indeed Allah has set a measure for all things.

Surah At Talaq, ayaat 2-3

Allah swt is Al Kareem, The Generous. And He swt rewards His believing slaves in this world and in the Hereafter (I still anticipate a better reward in al Aakhira, inshaaAllah!). And He swt shows them miracle after miracle to increase them in imaan. And yet the slave still hesitates to put forth those good deeds. You still hesitate to be different, and to be singled out, and to be seen as a stranger. You dread being left out and missing out on anything. Have you ever stopped and thought about the terrible agony that you would be in when you are standing on Yawm al Qiyaamah, and believers are pouring into Jannah in front of your very eyes, but you are held back from entering because of your sins? Wallahi, that should be enough to make you weep.

Mark my words…No one on this entire planet (or under it or above it) will ever appreciate what you do the way that Allah swt appreciates it; He is Ash-Shaakir (The All-Appreciative), Ash-Shakur (The Most Ready to Appreciate). So stop chasing people that you cannot please. Instead, chase Allah subhanahu wa ta’aala.

As for those who strive hard in Us (Our Cause), We will surely guide them to Our Paths (i.e. Allah’s Religion – Islamic Monotheism). And verily, Allah is with the Muhsinun (good doers).”

Surah Al ‘Ankaboot, ayah 69

And Allah Knows Best.

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I Will Wear it When… My Parents Approve (Part 1)

Bismillah walhamdulillah

I’m sure many sisters think this to themselves, not just about the niqab, but about hijab (khimar) or jilbab.

Regarding this excuse (I know it sounds harsh to call it an excuse, but that is really what it is if we are honest with ourselves), I will quote what one of my mentors said to me. “If you are waiting for a day when your parents to be okay with the niqab, that day won’t come.” What she meant was, if you are waiting for a day when your parents will, for no apparent reason, wake up and announce to you that they would like it if you wore the niqab, then you’re living in a fantasy. And she was right, that day never came, and alhamdulillah that I did not wait long for it. And for the majority of sisters living in the West, that day will not come.

So what I would like to say to the sisters with this excuse is this: your parents worry about you and want what’s best for you, so that is usually a part of why they will try to discourage the niqab. I said usually. There are often other issues involved. For example, they may not say it, but it is likely that they are afraid of what friends and family may think. But I digress.

So instead of busying your mind with the hundred possible reasons you shouldn’t wear it, focus on the few simple and powerful reasons you should wear it. Wallahi, wearing niqab was one of the best decisions I made in my life. And in terms of making a decision to get closer to Allah swt, this has been, and continues to be, one of the most successful ways. If you are waiting for a day when the whole world will be accepting of you, that day will never come. There will never be a time when you are safe from the evil tongues of mankind. They even say evil things about their Lord, subhanahu, so what makes us think we will be exempt?

If you want your family to be accepting of you, and they currently dislike the niqab, then you simply have to hold fast to it. Be firm upon it, and make dua for Allah swt to turn your family’s heart. He has turned my family’s hearts, surely He is the Controller of the Hearts. And if you feel any doubt (perhaps thinking that my situation was just not that bad and as we all say “no one has it as bad as I do”), allow me to remove the doubt: I used to fear for myself when going home, after wearing the niqab. My family was very against it in the beginning. I would dread returning home after a day at the College. But every day that I entered, afraid, it was like I was seeing the intervention of Allah swt before my eyes. Everyone would be busy in their own affairs, and no one was reacting to the new cloth that hung from my neck as I entered. And now, the same parents who protested against the niqab, are proud of me. Even when they don’t say it, I know they are proud. You know, parents spend thousands of dollars in order to send their children to Islamic school, not because they want their child to be righteous, but simply in order to keep their daughters away from boys and their sons away from the girls. It’s much more of a cultural thing than a religious thing, but I digress. Parents spend thousands in order to ensure that their daughters will not talk to boys, but my parents’ daughter chose to close the door to boys on her own. I know they are proud… but I was never really aiming for that, nor did I expect it. And I mention it only to show you how much can change, if you only take the steps, and leave the rest to Allah swt.

Had I sat around and waited for them to be okay with the niqab on their own, I would still be walking around with my face uncovered to this day. It was only after I wore it, and then kept it on, consistently, walillahil hamd, that they begrudgingly accepted it, then slowly they began to see the bright side of it. Strange women will come up to my mom and praise me in front of her, and she’ll politely thank them. I come home safely every night, alhamdulillah. My character has improved, alhamdulillah. It’s difficult after all of that, for them to stay angry with me. Allah swt makes the people love to see obedience to Him, they love to see signs of imaan. It’s a fact. It’s true for strangers and for family members. Deep down, they like to see that obedience to Allah, although on the surface they will show resistance, because they do not wanted to be reminded of their own sins and shortcomings. Overlook what they show you on the surface, it doesn’t concern you… it really has nothing to do with you at all.

***

I have many examples of how my family has changed. Were I to sit and compare today with years ago, when I first announced that I wanted to wear niqab, I would spend a long time doing just that. And I could write a really long post about it, possibly boring a few of you (lol), so I’ll just mention a few examples.

My brother – Years ago, when I first decided to wear it, and had just started wearing it for perhaps a few weeks, he sat with me and debated with me for hours regarding the niqab. He was very annoyed and couldn’t understand why I was doing this. Today, however, if he brings any friends home, he will yell up the stairs to let me know they’re here, so that I do not come in front of them unexpectedly. And when an airport official asked me to uncover my face in order to identify me, after we walked away, my brother bitterly called that official a “jerk.” “No one else asked you to uncover,” he said, irritated with the man.

My father –  He was most opposed to the niqab in the beginning. His reaction was one of pure anger; even I was scared. This was years ago. Today, however, we had a non-mahram male over, and I was in a room with my face uncovered. My dad came in, and gestured to me, and I knew that the non-mahram was about to enter, so I covered and left.

My mother – Years ago, when I first began to wear it, it must have been my second day wearing it, she saw me fixing it in the mirror. “I change my mind, I don’t want you to wear it anymore,” she said. But I was no longer waiting for permission at that point. Ignoring the knot in my stomach, I responded calmly “I’m wearing it,” and left for class. Today, if there is a non-mahram male in the house, she will tell me and give me a fore-warning. I once almost came in front of man, while following her into the kitchen. She quickly turned on her heels and gave me a look “Go back, there’s someone here.”

So why are you afraid? If you take such a step towards Allah swt, why do you not trust that He will protect you every step of the way? Why do you not trust that He will mend all of your affairs? He continues to support you from every angle, and you continue to doubt and be a skeptic.

The higher your imaan, the more difficult your tests…but the closer you will feel to Allah swt, and that will make it all bearable…trust Him.

Verily, Allah has purchased of the believers their lives and their properties; for the price that theirs shall be the Paradise.

Surah At Tawbah, ayah 111

No one said it was going to be easy…but they said it’ll all be worth it.

 

 

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Certified Ninja: Can’t touch this.

The other day my sister suggested that she and I get haircuts. I wasn’t going to argue with that, because I knew I desperately needed one. It’s never a good sign when you become tangled by your own hair in bed. But I was still hesitant because I knew that the salon she was going to take us to, was one in which men freely walk around as if they own the place– one of them might actually own the place, though. So I brought up this concern to her, and I made sure that she knew that if I see men walking around, I will throw a fit. She said, she’ll take care of it.

So when we got there, I put my stuff down and she went to one of the ladies and told her: “We both cover, so can you please make sure no men walk through?” Wow, I thought, that was so civil. I should try that next time. (lol) So the lady walked to the end of the salon and closed the door to an adjacent Clothing Store. But I saw that it wasn’t fully closed so I got up from the couch and pulled it shut.

It was my turn first. I stood near the chair and began to take off my hijab and niqab. I sat down and she put the plastic apron thing on me. I then saw, from the reflection in the mirror, that the blinds were not properly shut. I knew it would be just enough to drive me insane so I asked her if I could adjust the blinds. She complied and I took my apron and fixed the blinds. I came back to my seat and sat down. My sister stood guard by the door with her arms crossed.

All right salon-lady, do your thing.

She quickly began cutting my hair. At first I was skeptical of her skills because of the speed at which she was cutting, but I thought, “It’s probably not a good idea for me to ask her where she got her Hair Styling Degree right now.” On one occasion, during this short cut, a man was about to walk into the salon with his wife. The salon attendees yelled to stop him. “Tell uncle not to come inside!” At the word “uncle” I began to move to try to cover myself. My hair-cutter stopped me. “Don’t worry, no one’s coming in” she said.

She finished up the cut and began blow-drying my hair. I felt like telling her to stop, that I was just going to cover it in the end. But I decided to just let her finish. At the end I stood up and put my hijab and niqab back on. I sat back down on the couch in the waiting area nearby.

The lady in the clothing store decided to open the door between her store and the salon. I hopped out of my seat and ran to it. She began to protest. “Why did you close the door? There no man in here. Am I man?”

I responded calmly. “…Because she and I cover.” And I gestured to my sister and myself.

She continued to protest, “Am I man?”

I jokingly responded, “I don’t know, are you?”

She smiled and winked and asked me to leave the door open. “There’re no men here,” she said.

I returned to my couch and checked my phone. Soon after, a woman with three kids began to make her way up the stairs to the salon. Her oldest son, about 7 years old, held the door open for her so that she could bring the stroller in. In the stroller was her youngest son, about 2 years old, and she also had a daughter who was about 6 years old.

The oldest son became increasingly amazed with the blinds in the salon and decided to start playing with them. My sister was still in the chair getting her haircut. So whenever he would adjust them, I would adjust them back, and he would take the hint. Then I sat in my chair and returned to checking my phone. I looked up and saw my sister trying to catch my attention. She was gesturing towards the blinds. The boys were playing with the blinds again, and one of them actually decided to sit between them, so that they were parted. I put my niqab on, got up and began to fix them, so he also got up from his place. He then sat down on the couch. I sat on a salon chair opposite him and leaned in so that I could talk to him.

“What’s your name?” I said. He answered and after making him repeat it twice, I gave up. The same thing happened with his sister. The names were just too exotic for my simple English-speaking tongue.

The older brother and sister were both sitting in front of me.

“Why do you wear that?” the boy asked.

Now, I had no idea that these people were already Muslim. So explaining niqab to (what I thought was) a nonMuslim child, was a new one for me. I figured this was going to be a very short conversation.

“Because…I’m a ninja.” (The good news is that I have taken Martial Arts classes before, so I was able to get away with this statement, but this is obviously not the default answer to give. (lol) Plus I made sure not to mention the color of my belt.)

“No you’re not!”

“How do you know?” I asked.

“Ninjas don’t dress like that.”

Hmm…touche.

He continued “Can you get me one of those?” I knew he was referring to the niqab.

“I can’t, you’re not a ninja.”

His mom began to walk over, she was finished with her business. She grabbed the youngest boy who had gotten out of his stroller. She tried to put him back inside, so that they could get ready to leave. He was putting up quite a fight.

“Hey, it looks like your brother’s a ninja too” I commented.

The oldest boy jumped up to leave with his family as they began to make their way outside.

* * *

You know, some people have this strange belief that children fear the niqab. I would argue with that. Children of all ages have approached me and have not shown fear. No, it’s not that they fear the niqab. It’s the adults who have an issue with this particular form of obedience, who fear it and try to teach others to fear it, as well.

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Aquarium Adventures

I went out with a group of friends yesterday. We went to an aquarium and marveled over the creation of Allah swt. How intricate and delicate and colorful and beautiful, subhanAllah! I had one of the best imaan-boosting experiences ever just bending down close to the tanks and studying each fish closely, looking at their gills and their skin and the way they moved.

While I was there, however, I felt eyes on me a few times, and no, it wasn’t the fish. (lol) It was the other visitors of the aquarium. Some had come in groups, some with their children. They must have found it quite a sight to see a niqabi. “Forget the fish — look! It’s a ninja!” I always laugh a little to myself, and think “wow, I’m really not that interesting.”

I became aware of their eyes on me a few times, and then I would immediately be distracted by the beautiful sights in front of me and the company of sisters around me. My policy is to let these things slide off my shoulders and to never let it dwell in my mind. While there, I did not give it much thought, but afterwards, I reflected on it a bit.

I came to a realization within myself… No one has the right to make me feel as if I am an outsider. This earth belongs to my Lord, not to you. And I am welcome on this earth, just as you are. And He provides for me, and He provides for you, so don’t think for a second that you will make me feel ashamed of doing something to get closer to Him. Your gaze on me is temporary, while His gaze on me is permanent. I will choose Allah over you, any day.

This is a reminder for myself and for all of the sisters out there: Don’t ever let a disobedient slave make you feel ashamed of your obedience to the Master.

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Haitham al-Haddad speaks on the Niqab



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To Veil or Not To Veil by Mohammad Elshinawy

(click on picture to listen to lecture insha Allah)

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