Niqab is Not a Symbol of Oppression

To many non-believers and some ignorant Muslims; those who put on a niqab (face veil) are the ugliest among people of the universe. Some people, even among Muslims believe niqab wearers are the most backward people of all ages. Some even think they might not be able to construct or speak simple and common English, let alone read a poet’s book.

The niqab is not a symbol of oppression. I am a munaqabbah (wearer of face veil). I have never for once been forced into it. I have never been threatened to wear it. No one has ever denied me my right from among family and friends. Not even my husband.

It baffles me to see that some people in the world we live in, really, and truly have to dictate the kind of shoes l put on, the type of clothes l choose to wear, and how l supposed to wear them. I think common sense, and the fact that l have been given the privilege to know right from wrong is seriously enough. The fact that l can choose Aakhirah (Paradise) over Dunya is something I am grateful for. That l am an adult who has the same rights as everyone is enough. The fact that l am a woman raised with dignity and honor should be enough for anyone who sees me as a stranger amidst others.

My father, while we were growing up taught us many things. He raised us to always respect others, and to never deprive anyone of their rights. I recall those days he used to put me on his lap and ask me to read books to his ears. But, he told me many things which l didn’t forget. That: you are a brave girl, and Allaah has given you wisdom. You must never let anyone take your right away from you. You are a precious being and you must never give up on what belongs to you. Keep doing what you are doing, it eventually pays.

There is absolutely something to get just right in our thoughts. A woman who chooses to maintain her faith and beliefs deserves some respect and honor. I strongly believe it is her right to do what she likes with her body, just as it is for other women folks who dress as they please. It is her right to go around with her body covered based on her beliefs and her religious rights. I am sure, none of us would wish someone to take away our pride and of course our honor.

The niqab isn’t a symbol of oppression by the fact that we are not restricted to what we can do as ladies in veil. We have many of us who are doctors, the writer is a Registered Nurse. Many of us are in various sectors, perhaps you are not aware of it. We have among us who are teachers, lawyers, economists, and engineers to list but a few. Using a face veil hasn’t restricted us from getting into these enviable professions. We are still on top of our games. We wouldn’t give up, not even for a second.

Consequently, our contributions to the growth of our society shouldn’t be overlooked. We are indeed among those who are selfless when it comes to assisting the society at large. Do not interfere with our faith and beliefs. It’s our right and our pride.
So, l advise you to ask if you are confused. Let us respect other’s rights and religion. l am not sure someone (adult) needs to be taught how she dresses, especially if she chooses to cover her beautiful body from every Jack and Harry. The hate speech needs to stop. The frustration and molestation of our sisters in niqaab need to stop. Women who choose to wear the veil should be given their due rights. Let there be justice in all we do and allow us to practise our faith as enshrined in the shari’ah.

Umm Sumayyah Mai

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