Posts Tagged taking off the hijab

“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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