A very lovely reader asked me the following question:
I wish you’d share how you came about it. What made you decide that it was about time?
I have answered this question before, but only via email. This time I will make it public, and Noora will recognize it word for word…it’s not just that I am too lazy to type up an original response…it’s just that I can’t rewrite it any better the second time around! 😀
I was about 16 when I began wearing it. I was in home-schooling from 7th grade all thru highschool, and the primary reason was to eliminate going to co-ed public schools. The girl’s schools here are all private and massively outside my parent’s budget, so this was the best option, alhamdulillah. But I always knew I was headed for college, and it would be co-ed, no way around it, and about a year before entering college, I started freaking out about how to handle the co-ed situation I would be faced with. I remembered one of my mom’s friends who was fully covered, mashaAllah, and I thought, “why can’t I do that?” I sewed myself a niqab out of scrap fabric, put it on, went and showed my family “I think this will be a good way to go to college!” and alhamdulillah they agreed.
My brothers loved it when I put on my scrap-niqaab, they were like “Yeah! You look so cool….even though we can’t see how you look!” My parents, I think, were quite relieved, and wondered why they didn’t think of it as a solution. But they also are not the type to make us do more than we can handle, so my father was just really happy that the initiative came from me. I was so lucky to have known my mom’s friend and have her as an example…may Allah always bless her and keep her on the guided path, ameen!
As to “how does it feel?” I think it rather insulates me from my surroundings, to the point where I don’t notice the negative reactions unless they are really really blatant. I can’t even tell you how much I love the privacy! The first time I wore it, I was in such a confused state trying to find my way around the university campus that I didn’t even care how people looked at me or anything lol. I just remember being more frantic about making it to class on time! This past weekend, I was rushing through a shopping center with my mom and sister, and everytime someone (a man) would look our way, I felt so relieved and happy that even though I was there, they could not see me…I was there, but I was in my own little bubble, alhamdulilah. It makes me feel oddly safe and secure, and sometimes even respected.
As for traveling with niqab; well, I don’t suppose it is really any more different from traveling with hijab. Its never posed any special difficulties…yes, people in airports do tend to look at us a little more closely and perhaps weirdly…but they would probably do that even if we just had hijab on. I always make it a point to assure the customs agents that I am perfectly happy and willing to lift my veil for identification purposes, and sometimes they even provide me with a female agent (although I never ever ask for special consideration).
I must say wearing the niqab is the easiest thing for me 🙂 It’s simply awesome keeping my self for my family and friends, and not having to deal with random nonsense from men lol. Also, wearing the niqab makes me a much more assertive person…it somehow makes it more easy for me to stand up for myself.
I hope I have not confused you or led you astray. May Allah make it easy for you, and I will make duaa that Allah lets me have another munaqqaba sister, so long as there is khair in it for you! 🙂