September 20, 2009


A'salaamu alaikum. What do you think of the photo? This is me, fully "niqaabed", "ghashwaed" or "boushiyahed" however you wanna say it. My husband told me that our apartment building has many non-Muslim bachelors living in it who are none-too-shy about staring at women, especially lighter-skinned, lighter-eyed ones. :-(

He feels it would be better for me to remain fully covered when out and about, especially when I am alone. From what other sisters have said (both those I personally know and some blogs I follow) the men can be really creepy there. And stalker-ish in their behavior.

It makes me feel loved and protected that Abdullah has such strong feelings for me, to take care of me, keep me safe, insha'allah. This all comes from "gheerah" the strong protective emotion Allah swt gave Muslim men to keep their women safe insha'allah. I think this concept is intrinsically Islamic, it is part of the internal make-up of almost all Muslim men.

They want to keep their wives from being harassed, help them preserve their modesty especially in situations where they might be alone, and has that strong overwhelming urge to protect them. Jealousy I think is not a good translation of that word bec in the US jealousy normally has very negative overtones whereas the emotion of gheerah is a gift from Allah swt and therefore is only positive.

Now..that said... I was a little put off first time I saw myself. Not my reflection, mind you, because through the fabric I could not see so well. So I snapped a photo and it really amazed me how I seemed to disappear. I mean obviously on the streets of the US I would stick out like a sore thumb lol but to myself I just seemed to vanish.

It took a little time to acclimate myself to that feeling, of being so not-me. Anonymous. However I am very happy that a) my husband loves me so much he is careful of my modesty and my personal safety and b) that I will feel more comfortable being out in public alone.

I wore niqaab (but not an eye screen) when I visited India in 2006. When I didn't wear it, the men all stared. No matter where we were, no matter if they were non-Muslim or Muslim astaghfirallah. I was an oddity, a strange occurence and as such open game for stares. I felt happier with niqaab except for the stifling heat! I have since learned fabric makes ALL the diff! So no more cheapies for me!

Anyway, I digress. :-) I think I will appreciate the extra protection the face screen will give me. Also as I was raised to be very kind and friendly, it's hard for me to avoid smiling in general. Or especially when talking to Aaminah and if we happen to be outside... well I am afraid I am just not restrained enough in public and I do not want to create problems for myself.

I also feel very blessed Abdullah cares so much for me that he would request I cover more completely to avoid this situations for fitnah.

I'll update and let you all know how it feels walking out and about in one, especially after I get a chance to shop a little there and purchase the type I find I really prefer.

Please make dua for my family that we are united soon and united safely!

Ma salaam,

Umm Aaminah


Ms M said...

I've pondered what I would do if I visited India again. I've been a couple of times but not since I started wearing hijab and I didn't really know how the headscarf would go over there.

Maybe you can give your opinion?..if you have one on this. Perhaps you don't since you wore a full cover.

Umm Aaminah said...

A'salaamu alaikum Ms. M. When I was in India I did wear hijab but not niqab. I actually only wore the niqab in UAE when I was out without my husband, walking. It was more comfortable for me personally.

As for my experience in India, when I was there in 2006 I stood out because I did not cover ENOUGH. :-) Most of the Muslim women in Mumbai and Nagpur wore black abaya over their shalwar kameez and full niqab. So in my long deninm skirts, long shirts and al amira hijab I really stood out. :-)

I would suggest you (if you dont already own one) invest in a plain black abaya in a good lightweight fabric. Maybe cut a couple of inches shorter than you normally wear so it doesn't drag in the dust/mud/excrement so often found there. :-)

Insha'allah I pray you enjoy your time there; I loved the people there so much; there willingness to share whatever they had no matter how meager.

Ma salaama.