Posts Tagged niqabi

“Just wave your finger”

Bismillah walhamdulillah

(Note: I’m using an alias for obvious reasons, so no, I have not revealed my real name here.)

How professors deal with niqab… lol where do I start

The most interesting response to the niqab that I’ve gotten from a professor, occurred yesterday. So I wanted to rush to get it down on paper (cyber-paper).
I recently started a Counseling degree program. I think it is safe to assume that I’m the first niqabi to ever be accepted into, much less to accept the offer of joining, this program.

I walked into my first class, just about a minute early. This is quite an achievement for me, so I was a bit disappointed to see that he had already skipped my name on the attendance.

“Ms. Rafique…?” said the professor in a super-polite way, (but I had already been warned that he was an extremely polite guy).

“Yes.” I took my seat in the front, true to my nerd-like self.

He finished up the attendance and began his lesson. He had joke after joke, until I began to think that he prepared jokes for his first lesson in order to make it less awkward. Appreciating a good joke when I hear it, I chuckled lightly under my niqab, as well.

At one point, he stood directly in front of me, and looking straight at me for about 2 seconds, he says, “If any of you are having trouble understanding anything I am saying, but feel too shy to stop me and say so, just wave your finger.” And he demonstrated by waving his own finger.

He’s talking to me, I know it… lol what should I do… It’s okay, he’ll figure it out eventually…

I continued to pay attention to his jokes — I mean, lesson. Since the class was a bit longer than a usual class, he gave us a ten minute break.

I pulled out my phone and checked my messages. Meanwhile, a classmate of mine asked about internet at the college, and being familiar with this college, I answered her.

The professor was not in the room when this exchange took place, so keep that in mind while you read the rest.

He walked back into the room and towards my desk. My head was down, looking at my phone.

“Ms. Rafique…?” lol this guy is so polite, it’s killing me


“May I please speak to you outside?”


I didn’t give any thought to why he asked me to step outside with him. I grabbed my phone, only worried that I might be robbed in my absence lol, and followed him outside.

He took a few steps away from the door and then turned back towards me and asked in a low voice, “Is English your native language?”

Keeping in mind that this situation was supposed to be an awkward one, and that he was a male professor, although quite elderly, I decided it was not wise to laugh. But I could not help smiling at his statement.

No way, he did not just say that…


“Okay — If you ever need to pray, you can just leave and do that, you don’t have to ask.”

“Oh okay, thanks!” I said, surprised at the courtesy. Later on I realized, he probably had to mentally prepare himself for asking me that question, and it probably went like this in his mind: “Okay, I’ll just ask her, and then I’ll quickly slide in something about her having to pray, and it’ll all look super natural. Yes, phew, I’m ready.”


We walked back inside and he began the second-half of his lesson.

I took my seat, a bit confused. I didn’t know how I should feel. Embarrassed? Offended?

All I could think about was how amusing it all was.

As he continued to talk, I began to get the feeling from him that he was in grave doubt. In grave doubt about whether or not I could actually speak English because so far my responses to all of his questions were so short, that I could’ve easily learned it in a week spent in the country.

I decided to put him out of his misery, and wow him with my English — the only language I’m extremely fluent in, mind you.

I raised my hand to answer one of his questions.

Looking super-excited, he said “Yes, ma’am?”

…Don’t laugh…

As I answered him, I became super aware of my accent — or rather lack thereof. I glanced at his face and noticed him squinting at me, as if trying hard to understand.

All right buddy, now you’re just playin

But he got to hear my English, and I got to sit back and relax the rest of the period.

He did seem like a genuinely nice and concerned fellow, may Allah swt guide him to the Haqq. Ameen.

And I had the chance to laugh about all of this that evening with my brother. He was cracking up even more than me, and giving me all of these funny suggestions for what I should’ve done to really confuse the poor guy lol.

Good times, alhamdu lillah :)


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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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Poem for Niqabi Sisters

My Sister,

Speak clearly — they can’t read your lips.

Smile — they can see it in your eyes.

Be happy — they can hear it in your voice.

Be confident — you’re a slave of Allah.

Rejoice — glad tidings for the Ghuraba.

— anonymous


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To Be the Red Crow by Rebecca Salman

To Be the Red Crow

Posted by Rebecca Salman


There is a report narrated by Ahmad and Abu Ya’laa from ‘Amr ibn al-’Aas who said, “Whilst we were with the Messenger of Allah (saw) on this mountain path, he said, “Look, can you see anything?” We said, “We see crows, and one of them stands out because its beak and feet are red”. The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “No women will enter Paradise except those who are as rare among them as this crow is among the others”” [Silsilat al-Hadith as-Saheehah, 4/466, no. 1851]

To be a woman of Jannah means to be notably different from other women.  Even to be ostracized by other women.  Your habits, manner of dress, likes, dislikes, pastimes, are all radically different from that of the crowd.

What is the most common habit of women in gatherings these days?  They chit chat about dunya matters and they backbite.  A lot.  They have tendencies to exaggerate, to boast, to be suspicious of others, to complain about their loved ones (most notably their husbands) and to assume things of other people that they have no reason to assume.  The woman of Jannah avoids all this, and forbids others from doing so as well.

The dress of the woman of Jannah is modest, it covers, she does not wear loud colors, she does not follow the “fashion” of these times of jahiliyya.  She stands apart, and she stands strong, with her faith as her companion.

Sometimes, it is your only companion.

Nobody said going to Jannah was going to be easy.  To be “the Red Crow” you have to resist that basic, human instinct to “blend in.”  Women, by nature, are eager to please, and I assure you, there is nothing more displeasing to the average person than someone who calls to the haqq, enjoins what is good, and forbids the evil.

Making the decision to wear nikaab and practice shariah pardah was easy.  When I realized it was what I had to do, I did it.  Alhumdulilah.  Dealing with the aftermath was difficult.  Everyone was looking to me, the girl born and educated from the West to lead my family into the Jahilia concept of so-called “modernism.”  My pardah was met with some stiff opposition, and I often found myself alienated by people I considered close to me.  People didn’t want to hear why I chose to do this, why I changed my life so completely.  When I started a religious thread of conversation, people’s eyes started to glaze over, or their faces would take on a “there-she-goes-again” expression.

But here’s the thing I got out of that experience: the friends that stayed, or the friends I made because we recognized each other as fellow “Red Crows,” are the best friends I ever had.  We may go years without seeing each other, but Alhumdulilah, when we meet, the sisterly bond is there.  We meet, we speak, we love each other, and we separate to go back to our lives all for the sake of Allah (SWT) alone.

So yes, being a Red Crow is difficult.  But know that you are not alone.

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