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slowly707

the Niqab in the West

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Well I live in Dearborn, MI and many of you know that there is a high concentration of muslims/arabs here....Ive noticed that many women here wear the niqab you see them shopping in supermarkets, at pharmacies, hospitals, etc....My question is this though: Isn't the whole point of hijab to attract attention away from onesself? These women are only creating way more attention to themselves...whenever a women wearing it passess by you see a whole wave of people just staring almost in disbelief and then talking amongst themselves. It kind of makes me feel uncomfortable because people starting asking you why do your women have to wear that...they think that it is obligatory on muslim women to wear it. Is it really neccessary for these women to wear the niqab...I mean lets be realistic I don't think there are many people that if they see a muslim women in hijab are going to lust after her so why the need for the extra niqab?

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Exactly!

The purpose of hijab is to dettract attention. I believe, that these people are extremely misguided and have gotten the wrong end of the stick about the purpose of hijab and niqab, moreso than women who only wear hijab.

Sometimes you see them wearing gloves aswell. It is completely OTT. They think that by dressing in black and hiding from the world under that niqab, they really are going to be hidden. When in fact they stand out like a sore thumb.

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People are free to make their own choices. If people fear Allah and not other people, and they are doing it out of their own free will, then there is nothing wrong.

Well said.

Even if the one wearing a veil attracts attention, what can people see?

Previously said before:

Personally I don't understand why there is so much negativity shown towards the face veil by the Muslim sisters themselves. I can understand this sentiment from non-Muslims, but Muslims? Even if it's not wajib, it's not haraam either. On the contrary, it's mustahab. If people don't want to wear it, it's their choice; but please don't make it out to be some kind of monster or something. It doesn't do much for Islam either except make matters worse.

Discussed
.

Apart from the above, I'd like to add that according to some maraji', it is mustahab to wear the face veil, but if there is fear that it may result in a backlash, then on the basis of precaution, it is better to remove it [This ruling does not apply to hijab].

Edited by SpIzo

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Salam

There are some cities and towns where I would definitely agree with the OP. For instance, from what Smiley has told us of her town, I'd suspect that wearing a face veil there might bring too much negative attention.

But Dearborn? Dearborn is loaded with muhajabahs and at least half of the city has got to be Arab. I'm sure people in Dearborn can learn to live with a few women wearing niqab.

As for those "selfish white reverts"... well it is sad to say, but white ladies are often stared at very badly on the street by some of our less pious brothers, and so I'm not surprised that in some areas with a high concentration of Muslims they might want to wear a niqab. I'm not into niqab but I've considered wearing sunglasses myself rather than be leered at by the guy at the gas station and the convenience store and so on.

Also, when it's your native country, you view "what other people think" differently. As far as I'm concerned, if I want to wear a niqab in my native country, that's my own business, and I have every right to. If I were to move to, say, China, then I might feel more like a guest and that I would want to respect their way of doing things. But if you can't make your own life choices in your own hometown, then where can you?

Anyway, as Spizo said... live and let live, wearing a face veil does not hurt anyone. It's not like they're selling drugs or something.

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I was just browsing through the news articles online about a man who plans to visit every Starbucks on the planet, when I came across this:

Please uncover your face. It's our custom

Matthew Parris

Why are women's faces concealed in East London but not in Damascus?

Funny to return from Lebanon, Syria and Turkey - where women go unveiled - and return to Britain, the land of the full hijab. I see more women with their faces covered in Tower Hamlets than I did in Damascus.

I used to think that covering the whole face except for the eyes was the normal Islamic custom (in a week in Afghanistan I hardly saw a woman's face) and so was surprised to find that even in Syria, the most culturally conservative of the Middle Eastern countries I've just visited, not a tenth of the women seem to cover their faces. Most (by no means all) cover their heads, but you don't get that closed, turning-away feeling you sense along the Whitechapel Road in the East End of London. In the Damascus streets, women in all-women groups, and women with men, chat and laugh; and I saw to be true (what some Muslims have already told me) that the full hijab cannot be considered a religious duty, but is simply a cultural feature of some societies that are Muslim, but not others.

If so, how far should we tolerate it? Spitting is a cultural feature in China but we discourage it here. In Syria I took my shoes off to enter mosques, though that is not in my culture; and wouldn't have worn clothing like skimpy shorts or vests, or drunk alcohol in the streets: practices offensive not to me but to the mainstream culture where I was.

Knowingly to disturb people's feelings is to be offensive. In Western European society, to go out in public with your face masked is (unless done for comic effect) disturbing. Hiding the face is felt to be threatening, and slightly scary, and subliminally this goes way back, and quite deep I think: it certainly frightens children.

Background

Would it be wrong to try to convey to communities in Britain who adopt the full hijab that, though it is a woman's legal right to dress as she chooses, she should recognise that she's in a country where many people will find a masked face disturbing, and that (without meaning to) she is acting in a culturally inappropriate manner, which may offend? Do the masked women I see in the street in Whitechapel actually know this? I cannot say, because I've never spoken to them: or, rather, when I do, they look away and walk away.

This too, in Britain, is rude. Do they know? Shouldn't they?

Source

I think this man has a point but whats the real harm in wearing a Niqab? Nobody else is affected if people do stare they will most likely forget about in the same minute they saw them. He's comparing drinking alcohol in the streets (considered as antisocial behaviour in Britain anyway) to wearing the Niqab. Also he's compared Culture to Religion which is just makes his argument invalid.

Anyway my point is why is this such an issue? I think this is a case of "making a mountain out of a molehill".

Edited by Progeny07

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I really dont like niqab.. & i agree it attracts negative attention to Islam..but I'm not going 2 stand in a niqabi's face & tell her 2 take it off..

Coz its a personal choice.. If a lady wants 2 wear it then so be it.. Tho some niqabies r forced 2 wear it by their famlies, which is heartbreaking :( so those should be freed :)

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because I've never spoken to them: or, rather, when I do, they look away and walk away.

It appears that the author of that article has issues with more than hijab. Next, lowering the gaze is going to be antisocial.

Hiding the face is felt to be threatening, and slightly scary, and subliminally this goes way back, and quite deep I think: it certainly frightens children

He doesn't want women to wear the niqab because it's SCARY? No offense, but he needs to grow up. This is a very childish fear, as it involves fear of something that is not dangerous (such as fear of clowns). What about youths who walk around all tattooed up with chains and all other kinds of things, they don't look 'scary' too? There is all kinds of street violence in London, and he's afraid of a lady with a cloth over her face. Why doesn't he pick on guys with knives and stuff?

but you don't get that closed, turning-away feeling

What, he wants our women to be more approachable so he can ask them out to the pub?

I don't mean to sound tribal, but he has no right to be looking at our women... they are completely off limits to him and his skimpy shorts and his alcohol, and if it takes a niqab to make him recognize that, so be it.

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Its always interesting to me hearing from sisters that its usually Muslim men who stare at them. One would think that 1400 years of veiling/lowering gaze culture would change our attitudes but it seems to be quite the opposite.

Im usually quite troubled by the response from non-Muslims interested in the reasons behind covering as much as you can, when they hear the usual explanation of 'protecting from lustful eyes of men etc.' they always say 'well, this doesnt say much of Muslim men does it?'. And they are so right.

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Its always interesting to me hearing from sisters that its usually Muslim men who stare at them. One would think that 1400 years of veiling/lowering gaze culture would change our attitudes but it seems to be quite the opposite.

Im usually quite troubled by the response from non-Muslims interested in the reasons behind covering as much as you can, when they hear the usual explanation of 'protecting from lustful eyes of men etc.' they always say 'well, this doesnt say much of Muslim men does it?'. And they are so right.

Non Muslim men have roving eyes too. But there is so much else for them to look at (such as shameful billboards) that it's no surprise when they ignore ladies wrapped up in cloth who look like nuns.

However, with Muslim men and staring at European-looking Muslim ladies, I think there is some kind of subconscious colonialist thing going on... or something... I think it must trigger some general stereotype of what it means to be 'Western' and all sorts of lurid ideas. This is very sad, but it has nothing to do with Islam... it's, well, cultural colonization and the loss of our self worth as Muslims. If that makes sense.

Also, Muslim men are more used to muhajabahs so they would not be as put off by it as, say, a guy from a culture where most people don't wear hijab and who thinks hijab is weird. So it might just be the familiarity thing.

But yes one should lower the gaze

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Sure, non-Muslim men have rowing eyes but they wont get dirty thoughts seeing a woman's ankle and they wont think of a woman as 'loose' because she uncovered a bit of hair. What Im saying is that setting modesty standards a bit lower seems to be producing healthier attitudes than women being obsessed with covering as much as they possibly can (niqabs, gloves, niqabs with those nets that even cover the eyes etc.) - this leads to absurdities such as young saudi men spending their entire days at the bottom of the stairs in shopping malls just to take a snapshot of a woman's ankle with their mobile phone cameras.

Im not saying women should now uncover everything so that men get used to the sight and get less sex-obsessed, Im just saying normal hijab/modest dress seems to be producing healthier effects that going into extremes.

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I use my face to communicate, so I'd probably never consider wearing niqab - but when I go into the halal food market I seriously think it wouldn't be a bad idea. In public, I get stared at sometimes, usually the stares are curious. The stares by "Muslim" men in the halal meat store makes me feel like I'm on the display shelf. :mad:

If there is a next time say something...like "fear God and lower your gaze" or simply "don't you know it's rude to stare". I'd like to know how they would react! I live in a very english area and as the only hijabi around for miles I find that Asian taxi drivers like to have a good look at me. Some even get so excited that they like to sound their horns when driving by :dry:

Edited by keys2paradise

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Exactly!

The purpose of hijab is to dettract attention. I believe, that these people are extremely misguided and have gotten the wrong end of the stick about the purpose of hijab and niqab, moreso than women who only wear hijab.

Sometimes you see them wearing gloves aswell. It is completely OTT. They think that by dressing in black and hiding from the world under that niqab, they really are going to be hidden. When in fact they stand out like a sore thumb.

Niqaab is a sunnah, one that Bibi Fatimah and Bibi Zainab BOTH adhered to and fought for. As far as I'm concerned, if anyone bashes niqaab, they are bashing Fatimah Zahra and Zainab! astghfurAllaah.

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Guest Peace

DID ANYONE WATCH THE BIG QUESTION ON BBC (i think) this weekend?!! there was debate about niqab in the west AND THIS hijabi girl was on fire!! really well spoken hmm let me see if i can find a link

YEAH found it but only 6 days left pple

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007zpll

enjoy my lovelies!

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(bismillah)

(salam)

469. Question: If putting on the face veil (an-niqab) in a country [like England or America] sometimes arouses astonishment and inquiries, is it obligatory to take off such veil since it would become part of libasu sh-shuhra?

Answer: It is not obligatory [to do so]. However, if wearing it arouses disapproval by and dislike of the general public in a particular country, it would be classified as "libasu sh-shuhra" in that country and it would not be permissible to wear it over there.

Source: "A Code of Practice for Muslims in the West, in accordance with the edicts of Grand Ayatollah Sistani" pg. 220

'nuff said

wa salam

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Salaam alaykum.

If someone sees a Muslim woman in hijab or even niqab... or doing any other Islamic things then isn't it a good if others start asking the questions if they don't know the reasons behind it before? Hopefully when answered correctly they would understand it at least on the intellectual level even if they wouldn't like it personally...

Actually wearing hijab is a visible thing to be noticed and the message of it to be understood by others.

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Hijab is not about making a woman invisible, or even less visible. Even a very simple reading Qur'an will make it clear that one of the purposes of hijab is in one way to make her stand out, to be more visible as a Muslim. It is, among other things, a means of identification. The attention that Islamic modesty rules seeks to minimize is sexual; hijab is a means of turning away the male SEXUAL gaze. That is why Allah (swt) repeatedly tells us to "lower our gaze." Islamic sexual modestly is largely about nipping sexual impurity in the bud, beginning with the gaze.

A woman in niqab fulfills that requirement above and beyond even what is called for and does not deserve ridicule for seeking closeness to Allah (swt) through an act that many consider mustahhab. If we are ashamed of our religion it is a personal sickness that needs to be cured and not projected onto others.

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The verse of the Holy Quran that I was referring to is verse 33:59

O Prophet! say to your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers that they let down upon them their over-garments; this will be more proper, that they may be known, and thus they will not be given trouble; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

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What, he wants our women to be more approachable so he can ask them out to the pub?

I don't mean to sound tribal, but he has no right to be looking at our women... they are completely off limits to him and his skimpy shorts and his alcohol, and if it takes a niqab to make him recognize that, so be it.

That is a bit of a generalisation of a Western man.

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Well, wahabis are extremists and they also happen to be the only ones I have seen wearing niqab.

It's expected of them..to not believe in the basic commands of god and try and act all good by wearing niqab :wacko:

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I was quoting the author who talks about his skimpy shorts and alcohol

The author said "If so, how far should we tolerate it? Spitting is a cultural feature in China but we discourage it here. In Syria I took my shoes off to enter mosques, though that is not in my culture; and wouldn't have worn clothing like skimpy shorts or vests, or drunk alcohol in the streets: practices offensive not to me but to the mainstream culture where I was."

It was not his skimpy shorts or his drinking of alcohol, he just stated he would not do either in Syria. He says those practices are not offensive to him, that is different to saying he engages in those practices. There are many things I dont find offensive, but would not do them myself.

Have you ever been to Turkey either?. Huge groups of Muslim men chasing around after Western Christian girls, and then they probably head to their Mosques in the evening. You see many Muslim males dating Christian women in the UK also, but you state that Muslims girls are totally off-limits to non-Muslim men and we should not even look at them. Either all Muslim males start treating Christian women as totally off limits, or else this is totally racist.

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I think in the west most people stare is because they're use to half naked women...lol

But even Scarf women get stared at, and it would depend on the area you live in.

I don't get stared at for wearing Niqab but the women who wear scarf and 4 layers of make up and skin tight jeans do get stared at...

Even a Hijab(scarf) woman would be "breaking the point of observing Hijab" because people still stare no matter what, if you can or cant see her face or her eyes because its totally ab-normal for a western person.

Because their media and what they've been influenced to believe is that a woman should be uncovered because that's freedom and a woman is more beautiful uncovered for every man to look and drool over.

It would be the same if a western woman went half naked to a very strict Islamic country that says women must observe hijab.

And we get more stared at because the media and governments have classed all muslims as 'terrorists' and working with 'Al-Qaeda'

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However, with Muslim men and staring at European-looking Muslim ladies

It's not always lustful look. I'm a female and many times unconsciously I stare at reverts, just because I'm very happy to see them. I'm very happy to see more and more people embracing Islam and wearing Hijaab . So many times, it's a curious look they give you. Sometimes people like me are just so happy so I look (politely) at revert sister, give them a very friendly smile and say in my mind "Mashallah may we see more people converting to Islam". It does attract our attention not of the eyes' color or European-look as you put, but because it's a mashallah revert who were raised in a completely different society and religions yet are now Muslims and are amazingly wearing full Hijab. If these men were staring because of "ill reasons" they would be more likely staring at the so many not Muslim(uncovered) European-looking women. No doubt some of them are sick in their heart and do look but these kinds of men would be staring at a European-looking, arab-looking, asian-looking, anything-looking-female. They have no manners.

Like Smiley mentioned, gosh I too hate entering the halal meat store, I don't know is it because they deal with meat all day so they need to look at Hijabis or what but yes they(some of them-just to not generalize) stare so much it makes me not comfortable looking for what I came to buy , I just shop there very quickly and get the hell out.

Edited by Calm

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Well I live in Dearborn, MI and many of you know that there is a high concentration of muslims/arabs here....Ive noticed that many women here wear the niqab you see them shopping in supermarkets, at pharmacies, hospitals, etc....My question is this though: Isn't the whole point of hijab to attract attention away from onesself? These women are only creating way more attention to themselves...whenever a women wearing it passess by you see a whole wave of people just staring almost in disbelief and then talking amongst themselves. It kind of makes me feel uncomfortable because people starting asking you why do your women have to wear that...they think that it is obligatory on muslim women to wear it. Is it really neccessary for these women to wear the niqab...I mean lets be realistic I don't think there are many people that if they see a muslim women in hijab are going to lust after her so why the need for the extra niqab?

I guess Why r ya so worried about women wearing niqab 'coz ya r a bro.Jokes apart.Hijab is to protect yourself from the gaze of non-mahrams.Personnely i don't include niqab as a part of hijab.Yup,it makes ya prominent but we shouldn't criticize women who wear it as we don't know their intentions behind wearing hijab.If they wear it with the purpose of attracting anyone then they r wrong but if they wear it to please Allah then its ok. Hijab's perspective is dependent upon the culture.In many Islamic cultures, women hide their hair completely while many leave a bit of their hair at the top.I follow Iranian culture and Iranian women don't cover their face. According to many women hijab is just a head-covering and rest of them go for veil.Hijab according to me is that women should dress modestly.It doesn't matter at all whether they wear proper Islamic hijab or not.They shouldn't wear tight-fitting clothes. So its upto her to wear it in which manner she's most comfortable in.

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wow most of these replies just make me soo sad. First off in the West BOTH niqab AND hijab makes u stand out, regardless...yeah in Dearborn hijab is very very common but step outside of Dearborn and people will stare and dept on where you live you could be verbally harrassed. You shoudlnt be so upset over women wearing Niqab in Dearborne, there are Niqabi's everywhere and some of the generalizations are really sad. Not every niqabi is a white fundie, Pakistani or Afghani!

Im here in KSA now and do wear niqab here (infact I norm. wear Boushiyyah/Pooshiyeh) and here it's the norm...but in the USA I wanted to wear it (but dh wasnt too keen on it) and in the late 90's I wore it for about 6 months off-and-on and really I didnt get as many stares as I thought I would. It depends on colors and styles adopted and the multiculturalism of the area! I liked white niqabs and didnt get any negative vibes when I wore them.

Pls try to be a bit more open minded and realize that maybe they feel like niqab is most suited for them, prob. if I ever moved to dearborn Id start wearing niqab there as Id figure everyone is Muslim...so wearing niqab there would be like here in KSA. heh.

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