From Behind the Veil: WHY DO MUSLIM WOMEN WEAR THE ISLAMIC HEADCARF?
by Sumayyah Meehan (OnIslam.net Freelance Writer)
Have you ever seen a Muslim woman walking down the street wearing a face veil?
If so, then you have probably wondered why some Muslim women choose to wear the veil, obscuring their faces from public display, while others do not.
Are veiled women being dominated by control-freak husbands who force them to cover their faces?
Or are they simply mindless individuals who don’t know how to live in this modern world?
There are several reasons why a Muslim woman decides to wear the face veil. The first reason is that some Muslims believe that Allah Almighty ordains the face veil for all believing women in the Quran.
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Allah Almighty says in the Quran what means:
“And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty…” (24:31)
The school of thought a Muslim follows is the primary determining factor as to whether a woman chooses to veil her face or not. Some interpret the above mentioned verse to mean that a Muslim woman must only dress modestly and wear the hijab, or Islamic headscarf.
Others believe it means to dress modestly while also covering both the hair and the face. It’s important to note that Muslim women exercise modesty in their dress when in public or in front of relatives whom they are eligible to get married to. However, behind closed doors and in the privacy of her own home, a Muslim woman can wear anything she wants.
The Quran is not the only reason why a woman chooses to wear the veil. For some, it makes them feel safer in this ever-changing world that is comprised of humans chasing after immoral deeds and promiscuity.
For other veiled women, the veil makes them feel closer to Allah
The veiled woman becomes “invisible” the moment she puts on the veil. She can move as she pleases, freely, without having to worry about drawing unnecessary attention to herself or having to deal with harassment from some men who make a sport out of “cat-calling” attractive women they see on the street.
For other veiled women, the veil makes them feel closer to Allah as they believe they are being obedient servants by protecting themselves from temptation, just as an oyster protects its most precious jewel — the pearl.
Veiled Muslim women are often stigmatized by a society that gives more importance on how much “skin” a hot shot movie star shows in her latest flick than on a woman choosing to live her life for the sake of Allah.
The best way to understand the reason why women choose to cover their faces, is to hear what the women behind the veil have to say:
“I started wearing the veil, or niqab, when I was in grade 11. As I was researching the topics of both the niqab and hijab, I leaned more towards niqab, and thought that it will be best for me if I started wearing it. Very simply, I believe it’s an act of obedience to the One who created me, who nourishes me, takes care of me and all the affairs of this world. It’s out of my love for my creator, and my desire to get closer to Him that I wear this beautiful piece of clothing.” – Afifa, Montreal, Canada
“Wearing the niqab has made my faith grow much stronger. I started wearing it between the years of 2000-2004 on and off because my parents did not feel good about me wearing it since they weren’t Muslims.
“When I married I chose to wear it full time without my husband even knowing that I wanted to wear it. He came home one day and said mashallah when he saw me wearing it. I chose to wear it because prior to reverting I always thought that it was the best example of a Muslim woman.” – Zawajatul Amin, New Jersey, USA
“I once heard a lecture about the niqab and decided to wear one. When I first started to wear the veil and go out in public, I felt beautiful knowing that I was dressed modestly.
“Another reason was because guys used to come up and bother me, when I was uncovered, and I did not like that.” – Qamara, California, USA
What’s more beautiful than being in Allah’s uniform?
“I wear full jilbab, niqab along with matching gloves because I believe the veil is a sign of modesty and beauty. Yes I said beauty, what’s more beautiful than being in Allah’s uniform? The beauty of being recognized in millions of crowds as the servant of God.
The veil itself represents respect, honor and liberty from oppression and the ridiculous temptations of this temporary world. I wear niqab because not only it keeps me in check, but also it gives me this great feeling because I can relate to Aishah, Khadijah, Asiya, Asma, and Summayah (may Allah be pleased with them): the Queens of Islam.” – Aliyah Islam, Seattle, USA
“Wearing the veil has given me a great sense of accomplishment and completeness concerning my duties in Islam. It also gives me respectability, a sense that I am fulfilling Allah’s command in covering myself for the sake of pleasing Him. I only hope and pray that Allah accepts it as so. It is also a handy tool to keep my face and facial expressions hidden from public at embarrassing moments or confrontations, things like having to buy lingerie from male salesmen.” – Balqees Mohamed, Saudi Arabia
Women from all walks of life and from all the world’s religions, categorically have the right to dress as they deem appropriate. Whether that is in a pair of blue jeans with her hair blowing in the wind or in an Islamic headscarf and face veil is up to them.
Just like a book should never be judged by it’s a cover, a Muslim woman should be “seen” for what lies beneath her veil for the beauty of Islam which resides in her heart. (T/P3/R01)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)