Monday, 13 January 2014

Facing 'The Niqaab Ban'. Part 1



Bismillah Ar Rahman Ar Raheem
Assalaamu alaikum wa rahmathullah wa barakatuhu

It seems like an age since I last posted a proper blog here and since then so much has happened, much of it heart-breaking as democracy in my adoptive country has been swept aside.  The pain I feel over that tragedy has tempted me to write a political blog and I had sketched one out which, after further thought, I have 'spiked' at least for the time-being.  There are louder and more influential voices than mine speaking out against the military coup d'├ętat, and my time is better spent making duaa for our poor fractured country, rather than speaking on a subject that I am ill-equipped to make comments about.  

So I will try to quietly accept the presence on troops on the streets and in being stopped to have my papers checked just because I wear niqaab.  I know, as I have witnessed it, if I wore jeans and a tight t-shirt, or even less, I wouldn't be stopped.  Maybe whistled at but allowed to walk on unchecked.  But I am prepared to accept minor inconveniences if it enables me to continue to please Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) by the way I dress.

Which really brings me onto the main topic of this blog.  (Or what I hope it will be insha'Allah).  Almost a year ago (31 Dec 2012) I wrote a blog which I titled "Eye Veils and Gloves?  Or Fitnah?"      (If you haven't read it yet, could I humbly suggest you do read it, at least scan through it, as I hope to expand on its main topic here?)

It was originally written as an explanation to a new revert sister in USA as to why I and other sisters wore eye veils and gloves.  She could see the necessity and logic in wearing niqaab (she had studied the daleels and was convinced that niqaab as at least mustahabb), but she was puzzled why many niqaabi goes to the extent of wearing further veils and gloves.  

I had to agree that it seemed an anomaly, specially as the last few years seem to have been influenced by the apparent attempt by European countries to ban the face veil (niqaab), making it illegal for muslimahs to cover their faces in public.  Of the 'western' European countries, France, the Netherland and Belgium have banned the face veil, and the UK is actively discussing the subject as are several other European countries.   Watching videos in which anti-niqaab activists give the reasons for their stance, it soon becomes apparent that the majority of them know little or nothing about Islam, about Islamic society nor about the reasons why people like myself wear the niqaab.  

One of the saddest and most shameful aspects of these attacks on niqaab is the vast amount of politicians who do so in order to gain votes from the extreme right-wing, anti-immigrant sector of society.  They use niqaab as a symbol when they are really trying to get the votes of the most prejudiced, most xenophobic and most ignorant members of their electorate. 

It is evident that in general the 'Anti-Niqaab Lobby' in many European countries and elsewhere is using the face veil as a symbol through which they can attack Islam generally.  They are too cowardly to make a direct frontal attack on Islam and Muslims generally (there is a danger of losing too many votes than way), but they see attacking Niqaab as a way of undermining our glorious Deen and trying to show how Islam oppresses muslimah.  To do this they rely on lies and half truths with spokesmen who clearly have never studied Islam and who rely on their lies sounding plausible to the ignorant.
I am extremely fortunate in that I live in a country where (at the moment) wearing niqaab is not illegal although it has been banned at certain universities and government departments.   But I can leave my home 'properly' dressed according to what I believe is the right manner normally without risk of being arrested or insulted.  So I give thanks to Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) that he has made my path easy, and I pray that my less fortunate sisters who face opposition will find the courage with His aid, so as to do what they think it right.  What I do find encouraging is the number of reverts who, free from family or social pressure to wear hijaab or niqaab, have decided to do so even in countries and locations where they will face vocal and even violent opposition from anti-Islamic thugs and ill-wishers.  Their courage and devotion to our wonderful Deen is a lesson to people like myself who "have it easy".

What has become evident to me is the number of reverts who feel that, in order to please Allah (subhana wa ta'ala), they should wear niqaab in public.  Over the last few months, my You Tube videos (http://www.youtube.com/user/AliyahHassani ) and my Google+ page (https://plus.google.com/u/0/+AliyahHassani0060/posts/p/pub) have attracted many such sisters and it has been a pleasure to grow to know them.   

As many of you know, I never try to persuade a sister that she HAS to wear niqaab.  I believe  the teaching of my Papa (may he find peace in Jannah) who always said that such a decision must be freely made and that anyone 'forced' to veil fully is going to be the first to throw her niqaab aside.   So, when I wrote the blog about eye veils and gloves I realised that I had to approach the topic even more softly than normal.  So I was surprised how many e-mails and queries I got from sisters who didn't even wear niqaab but who saw the commonsense behind the reasons I tried to put across for covering the eyes and hands when possible.  

While the anti-Islamic elements in so many countries use niqaab as a way of catching extremist votes or merely to demonstrate their illogical fear of our wonderful deen, subhan'Allah it is apparent that there is an every growing number of sisters who seek to please Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) by complying with Surah Al-Ahzaab, Verse 59  and Surah An-Nur, Verses 30 and 31 and concealing their awrah as commanded in the Noble Quran.  It is a joy to meet revert sisters who follow this path and, although I see mounting pressure being applied on niqaabi, I feel invigorated that this trend continues to grow stronger.  

May Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) bless, guide and protect those sisters who take the hard path of being a niqaabi in this 'modern' world.  May He strengthen their imaan and show them His generosity and support.  Ameen.

(Part 2 to follow shortly insha'Allah)