One sister politely left this comment: "I am currious... I need to ask you a question: why do you want to wear the niqab? I find it difficult just wearing the hijab and dealing with the ignorant peoples comments about it let alone niqab."
I don't wear niqab right now unless I really really want to, or feel the need to (like if I am wearing too much make up and know, girl, damn you look fine:D). If I am teaching men, or around them in close quarters, I would prefer to wear one because of this part of an ayah from the Qu'ran:
...And when you ask [the Prophet Mohammed's wives] for something, ask them from behind a partition. That is purer for your hearts and their hearts. And it is not [conceivable or lawful] for you to harm the Messenger of Allāh or to marry his wives after him, ever. Indeed, that would be in the sight of Allāh an enormity.
Now I know this ayat is specific to the Prophet's wives, may Allah subhanhu wa ta'ala be pleased with them. Their sins were to be twice as heavy as our own, and they were forbidden to marry after their husband's death while we ordinary women are encouraged to if we wish to or are able to. But when the Prophet sallalahu allahi wa salaam came upon a woman who was not his wife (to propose marriage) there was ALREADY A COVER/PARTITION between them. Yes, this sahabiyat became his wife, but at the time she was not, and yet this was already in practice between at least this man, and this woman. The following hadith narrated by Umm Salamah:“When my ‘Iddah (This type of ‘iddah refers to the 4 months and 10 days of mourning that Allah has legislated for a woman after her husband passes away) ended from [the death of] Abi Salamah, Rasūlullah (Sallalllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) came and spoke to me and between him and I was a Hijāb, and so he proposed to me…” Note, she said: "there WAS a hijab, not, "I was WEARING a hijab". What we often refer to now as hijab (the headscarf) is known in the Qu'ran specifically as a khimar. "Hijab" is an Islamic term that means "cover" such as a screen, partition, or a veil. THE WHOLE OF A MUSLIM WOMAN's MODESTY (her voice in public, her Islamic clothing, what she says, what she does) is her hijab, her portable covering. If this type of "hijab" were what the hadith were referring to, Umm Salamah would have said: "between us was Hijab", not "a hijab" which in the Arabic, grammatically refers to a specific kind of cover, [a veil, or a partition, or a screen] and not the kind that Um Salamah was wearing. You simply can not get that out of the grammer. Anyways, so maybe the Prophet sallalahu alahi wa salaam simply thought to speak to Umm Salamah (may Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala be pleased with her) from another room for propriety's sake, but stealing a comment from Revert Muslimah's post http://revertmuslimah.blogspot.com/2009/02/when-people-ask-me-about-niqab.html "another way to look at this concept would be that if in a woman's home [place of our refuge and saftety says Allah] they have [should have] a barrier or veil between her and a man why would she abandon that form of modesty when she left the home?"
That is why I have always believed the niqab is mustahaab (beneficial/you get reward for wearing it) since Allah subhanhu wa ta'ala Himself has informed us in Al-Ahzāb 33:53: "That is purer for your hearts and their hearts" . If the Prophet's wives (may Allah subhanhu wa ta'ala be pleased with them) and the Sahabiyiat had less fitnah in their hearts then I do and the people who surround me, then why shouldn't I wish for an oppurtunity to have my heart be purer? Until very recently though, I never considered that niqab might be wajib only that is was mustahaab.
The issue of niqab and ihram is in fact one of the big controversies, and a problem for those who say that niqab is fard. Yahya related to me from Malik from Hisham ibn Urwa that Fatima bint al-Mundhir (Radhiallaahu anha) said, "We used to veil our faces when we were in Ihram in the company of Asma bint Abi Bakr As-Siddiq (Radhiallaahu anha). "This again proves that not only the wives of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi Wasallam) wore the Niqaab and that even though in Ihram women are not supposed to wear Niqaab but if men are there they still have to cover the face. [Imaam Malik's MUWATTA Book 20 Hadith # 20.5.16] It is very clear that the Prophet sallalahu alahi wa salaam said that a woman in ihram must not wear either a niqab or gloves. Nobody has ever given a convincing explanation of why in the world the Prophet sallalahu alahi wa salaam said this in the first place if it were fard to cover the face. This is especially true because the obligatory duties of the hajj must be done in public, and in general there are very large crowds around. If a woman is supposed to cover her face anyway around non-mahram men, she really has to cover it at all times on the hajj and that is just the same as wearing niqab. Instead, the Prophet sallalahu alahi wa salaam has clearly commanded that a woman should have an uncovered face in public while in ihram; that's the only thing that makes sense. As for Asma (may Allah subhanhu wa ta'ala be pleased with her), it appears that she followed the course of Ummahat al-Muminin (may Allah subhanhu wa ta'ala be pleased with them). That she did so does not prove that doing so is fard, merely that it is halal. Same perhaps might have been, with Um Salamah. Since there are some very clear sahih hadiths about women having their faces uncovered and the Prophet sallalahu alahi wa salaam not telling them this was something wrong, I thought both options were perfectly acceptable, with Allah subhanhu wa ta'ala explaining in Surah Al-Ahzāb 33:53 that a covering/partition/veil was best, that had always made niqab mustahaab to me, but not fard. Though some scholars have written that the fact that women (and some of them not wives of the Prophet Mohammed) covered their faces with their garments even in a state of religious pilgrimage shows that it was an obligation, since it over-rode even what the Prophet sallalahu alahi wa salaam said. The women were obediant to the command that they not wear face veils or gloves, and yet they covered their faces with their hajj garb. Obviously, scholars conclude, the commandment of Allah subhanhu wa ta'ala for the screen/partition in Surah Al-Ahzāb 33:53 was stronger than the condition of hajj that one was not to veil, so obviously, they conclude, that it had to be fard, since the Prophet sallalahu alahi wa salaam never corrected this action.
There also was a hadith about the Prophet sallalahu alahi wa salaam sitting behind a screen and women on the other side of it, asking him questions about Islam, but I can't find it now. I knew it was sahih though, since I had asked a reliable Sheikh at the time. Until recently I hadn't thought of it, but a partition/screen was used in the home since jilbab was only fard when going out from one's home. In all my readings, I have found that a woman must wear modest clothing acceptable for salat within her home and jilbab when leaving the safety of her home. But within her home, modest clothing good enough to meet the needs of salat was sufficient EVEN if she had non maharam guests. The reason being, I just realized quite recently, was the use of the partition/screen. When at a friend's house whose knowledgeable husband imparted some knowledge on us reverts on the subject of fiqh, he spoke from behind the screen of another room (so that we would be more comfortable and be able to loosen our clothing and not wear niqab in the stifling apartment in the height of summer) and ask of him things as we wished with no awkwardness. In this case, there was a "hijab" between us. When there was no physical hijab/cover between us, we wore our full jilbabs, and niqabs also, if that made us more comfortable.
I have always believed jilbab to be fard since it is a commandment in the Qu'ran that was never relieved of us in any of the hadith, and from studying the vast array of ahadith on the subject of a woman's dress, and the ayah in the Qu'ran making it permissable for older women with no hope of marriage to remove some of their clothing if they don't reveal their nakedness, I have concluded like all of the scholars did unanimously, that the jilbab is an overgarment that is worn over a woman's other clothing, modest enough for salat or otherwise. O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their Jalābīb all over their bodies. That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allâh is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Al-Ahzāb 33:59). The only way I have ever feasibly seen that niqab could be fard is if the niqab (facial covering) were somehow part of the jilbab known to the sahabiat. Some of the scholars are of this opinion and it is a valid one, but one I had always been unsure of how they arrived at it. Jilbab was indeed known to the first Muslims before the permission to wear the modern khimar, because when the ayah was revealed to wear the khimar, the women of the Ansaar cut their jilbabs and fashioned khimars from them, and wore the khimar in addition to their overgarment when they went out. Which is where permission comes to wear the jilbab, khimar, and niqab and socks as seperates peices arrives from, from the scholars, I'd imagine, but how did the scholars conclude that the Sahabiyat's knowledge of jalabib included a face covering?
It was narrated that ‘Aasim al-Ahwal said: We used to enter upon Hafsah bint Sirīn who had put her Jilbāb thus and covered her face with it, and we would say to her: May Allah have mercy on you. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And as for women past childbearing who do not expect wedlock, it is no sin on them if they discard their (outer) clothing in such a way as not to show their adornment” [al-Noor 24:60]. And she would say to us: What comes after that (of the āyah)? We would say: “But to refrain (i.e. not to discard their outer clothing) is better for them”. And so she said: [Referring to, 'But to refrain is better for them'], “It is to keep the Jilbāb.” [Narrated by al-Bayhaqi, 7/93. It is Authentic] Thank you Revert Muslimah, and I'll quote you again sister Jamilah: "this hadith shows that Hafsah Bint Sirin, who was an older woman and a sahabiat, used to use her jilbab to cover her face. This is proof that the jilbab was worn as a complete body cover. It also shows how a woman of her age does not need to cover like that but it is best for her to continue to do so."
My family hates niqab (and some of them will stop talking to me if I wear it) and alot of Muslims in my life aren't okay with niqab in the West (but they are like, you HAVE TO wear it in Saudi though---and some of them are even at ridiculously strict as to say, "in Saudi no eyes showing there either") but I have always believed it was mustahaab, and if something is good for you, you should do it no matter where in the world you live. Doing the right thing is always more important than worrying about what people think about what you are doing. On the day of judgement, will they be the ones questioning me? No. Besides, I think it will help me concentrate more on achieving Jannah, and forget about silly things in this dunya. When I realized what my khimar meant to me, I gave up drinking and bad influence friends and started pursuing living my deen, not just knowing it was the straight path, but walking that path. If something as simple as a purple pashmina was a tool for my reform, then I imagine niqab will be even greater.
Yes, I faced great struggles when I started to wear hijab and pray five times a day. I was kicked out of my home with a back-pack of clothes and tray of silverware with my father driving behind me the whole way through town yelling insults at me (and I was always my Daddy's little girl). I had lost my mother defending him since he was the one who taught me to stand up for the right thing in the first place, and always speak the truth, even if it gets you killed. He had given up my mother, his wife, for the truth, and following his own example, his daughter (me) was willing to give up my father for my Islam. Alhamdulilah he's come around, and ventured cautiously back into my life, throwing a cutting jab here and there, but still I love him, but I'll give him up again for my Islam, Allah, may both my parents and me be sacrificed for You. I don't doubt my own blood father who loves me will leave my life again if I start to wear niqab. But will I not pray nafl prayer simply because it is not required because people won't like me if I do? Will I not wear niqab (which may be a true obligation and certainly was said to be a purification for our hearts) simply for the insults of a stranger in the street? Indeed, I have been spit on, sexually molested, and violently assaulted, had my hijab ripped off and NONE of this hurt as much as my father telling me I am a different person who is forcing my religion on him because I am wearing a piece of cloth on my head that I used to wear around my neck, and once he told me it was pretty. The disbelievers will always hate us, no matter how little of our religion we practice, because we (mankind) always hate the worst in others, a condition that is in ourselves.
The disbelievers hate the believers because even the worst Muslim knows that Islam is the truth. The disbelievers too know that Islam is the truth. They see that when they harass a Muslim woman and she still loves her hijab, when a hypocrite Muslim apostates by mocking a niqabi sister. They are called the disbelievers because they know the truth, but ARE TOO weak to become a testament to that truth. No matter how little of my religion I practice, they will hate me, because I know that Islam is the truth, and Allah subhanhu wa ta'ala uses me and all the Muslims brave and strong enough to acknowledge the truth, speak the truth, be the truth, to love the truth, so that they might acknowledge their own failings, and turn to Him (the One, the Only, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful), testifying that truth. Why should I not do a good thing that I am capable of? I have enough knowledge, and wit, and control of my temper to explain if harassed, and I can defend myself. I have no fear of this dunya, though I have love for some men and women and things in it. What happens to me is as My Lord and Creator Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala wills. My father left me once over a piece of fabric, and Allah restored him to me. My father could leave me again, but no worse thing could happen to me, and Allah might again restore to me what I sacrificed for His sake of grant me better. A few little insults don't hurt me. I just think of Sumaiyah, and the sister of Umar who he had slapped in the face, learning she was a Muslim. And Asma, the little girl whose earring Abu Jahl knocked out, beating her to try and find out where the Prophet sallalahu alahi wa salaam had fled. THESE are the women I want to be like. Muslim women are brave women, because they follow the example of the Prophet sallalahu alahi wa salaam. Mohammed sallalhu alahi wa salaam never left off on an aspect of this mundane life that was pleasing to his Lord. I know I am not as good as him, but he was just a man of flesh and blood. Why should I strive any less? Being less of person in the eyes of Allah, and having less of a start, should I not strive harder?
I know some "Muslims" will even call me an "extremist" but do I want to emulate them, or Sumaiyah, and Umm Salamah, and the Prophet's wives, may Allah subhanhu wa ta'ala be pleased with them? When I think of the disbeliever's disaproval I could care less, but when I think of the believers, I think of this scholars response to a question about a woman's husband not allowing her to wear niqab and of the person who mocks the woman who wears what she believes proper Islamic hijab:
It is not permissible for a girl to obey her father or mother or husband by not covering the face if she is convinced that it is obligatory, because there is no obedience to any living being if it involves disobedience towards the Creator.
And it is not permissible for the father or husband to order his daughter or his wife to uncover her face, even if he/they thinks[think] that niqaab is mustahabb, because she is enjoined to do what she knows and is convinced of, and she will be questioned about that, not about the convictions of her father or her husband or their opinion. If she does not wear niqaab and she believes it is mustahaab or wajib then she is disobeying her Lord, so what benefit will she have from obeying her father or husband in that case?
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There is no obedience if it involves disobedience towards Allaah; obedience is only in that which is right and proper.” Narrated by (al-Bukhaari (7257) and Muslim (1840).
Those that would seek to mock you and your hijab (be it khimar only or niqab): rejection of both types, and one making fun of them, is apostasy from Islam, because even though covering the face is not obligatory according to some scholars, they are unanimously agreed that it is prescribed in Islam and that it is part of the religion of Allah, so denying it and making fun of it is kufr which puts one beyond the pale of Islam. Those who mock the niqab especially, mock the mothers of the believers who wore it, and thus mock the Prophet sallalahu alahi wa salaam himself. If this is the case with someone who believes themselves a Muslim, then that person should be told that he/she is doing something which implies that he/she is an apostate, and that he/she must repent and come back to his/her religion. If he/she meets his Lord in this state, he/she will not be meeting Him as a Muslim. What you must do – after advising the one who has mocked the Islamic hijab– is shun his or her company and beware of this person, unless this person has a sufficient level of knowledge to repel his/her kufr. His or her companions should beware of his evil, and upholding ties of kinship with him or her is not obligatory, rather it is not permissible to initiate the greeting of salaam with this person. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And when they hear Al‑Laghw (dirty, false, evil vain talk), they withdraw from it and say: ‘To us our deeds, and to you your deeds. Peace be to you. We seek not (the way of) the ignorant’” [al-Qasas 28:55].
Done is that scholar's dialogue on the subject. For a little bit of extra information, the only correct greeting for those who use Al-Laghw is "As-salamu ala manit-taba'al huda..." (Peace be upon those who follows the right path)...We do not greet non-believers first with As-salamu 'alaikum, wa Rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu... http://o0ummhasan0o.blogspot.com/2009/04/salaam-to-salaam.html but if they do greet us first wishing any ills upon us then we are to reply with "wa alaikom" and "upon you".
I do believe niqab will be beneficial to me, so inshaAllah soon I will wear it and shuffle aside the things that have been stopping me. Make dua for me, that Allah will make it easy for me. All things are possible with Him, subhanAllah. I mean after all, I was one of those whose used to mock niqabis and hijabis (may Allah forgive me, for I was ignorant and astray) until I met a Muslim woman who used to blog by way of the username Palestine who told me that she loved her hijab, and taught me that Allah loves beauty as much as He does modesty, and loves to see the signs of His favour on His servants. Maybe one woman out there as ignorant as me, will come up to me in my pink niqab, and blast me some stupid comment about me being suppressed, and my words or my actions as guided by the book of Allah subhanhu wa ta'ala and the Sahabiyat, who followed it, will be the key that unlocks the seal that keeps her in her jaliliya. I don't want to see another human being out there continuing as lost as I was. Islam is soooo peaceful and pure and has all the energy that I need. One girl rocking her abayas and long tiered skirts in Oman was used as a tool by Allah to make me realize that Islam was easy. And then I heard the adhan for the first time, and Allah (subhanAllah) lifted that seal, and it was like whoa! This is the truth. Now what?
Sister, I am sorry for the long and winding answer. But I am still seeking for myself.
Wait for the sister in niqab in the middle of the vid to speak (she's my fave:D)