Why, Why, Why is the niqab hated by SO many people?
Well, let's try to clear up some if not ALL misconceptions about the niqab.
Let us first distinguish between the two:
BURQA and NIQAB
Niqab: this is the piece of cloth that ties around the head and covers the face except for the eyes (while the body is of course covered).
Burqa: covering the entire face (and body of course) with mesh over the eyes so that the eyes are not visible
Both Burqa and Niqab are a part of Islam (contrary to what many ignorant Muslims believe and preach i.e-"cultural" it is NOT CULTURAL. It is mentioned in the Qur'an- exegesis, and aHadith of the Prophet peace be upon him), however many scholars of Islam have differences of opinions in such matter (ikhtilaaf). Some scholars say that it is obligatory, and some say that it is mustahaab (recommended). NO BODY is FORCED to wear it (and if they are, then there is something wrong with their understanding of the religion- "Let there be no compulsion in religion.." (Qur'an 2:256.))
and now lets us distinguish between THESE two :
Culture: the ideas, customs, and social behavior of a particular people or society.
Religion: a particular system of faith and worship directed to a Higher Power (that being Allah the God of the entire universe that which is in the heavens & the earth and everything in between)..
Doing something culturally means that you are doing it because it is a norm in the society that you live in, whereas religion is based solely around divine acts of worship to please the Creator, Allah, the Almighty. Doing something because of culture does not result in the same rewards as doing something for your religion because doing something culturally would mean gaining the approval and praise of the creation whereas when we do something for our religion, we are doing it to get the reward from the Creator and we are worshiping Him by doing what He has Commanded. Cultural practices may be the norm in a society but it does not always mean that it is correct or morally correct.
So to continue,
Many ignorant people feel inclined to criticize the niqab because they think that the religion (Islam) forces women to cover their faces thus making them oppressed and weak (lol). They think that this piece of cloth that hides all sorts of facial expression is a barrier between the woman and society and they think that it is oppressive and very "old-fashioned." Most of the people who hold such opinions are usually non Muslims however we DO have the occasional ignorant non-practicing Muslim siding with them and the media with regards to this subject, which is totally fine, but to be on the safe side, it is better to not learn Islam from them.
Most niqabi-haters follow blindly the television and everything that is thrown to them and they do not have a mind of their own to determine what is truth from falsehood. They revolve their education around the television, Islamaphobe websites and Islamaphobe people. They have never met or talked to a single Muslim woman in their life and they are making assumptions based on their lack of knowledge and understanding. They are too arrogant (and lazy) to actually go and do proper research and speak to a practicing Muslim woman, so instead they need to scrutinize, criticize, and patronize these veiled women for their chastity, innocence, and modesty. Subhana'Allah.
So is it really the piece of cloth that oppress our Muslim women?
You want to know something interesting?! Before I converted to Islam, I already felt oppressed by society. I felt that there were so many unrealistic standards that I had to live up to! All the beautiful women I saw in public and in the media were always subconsciously pushing me to go above and beyond my limits into attaining true beauty JUST so I could fit into society. I felt ungrateful for everything I had and it made me complain all the time and feel depressed and miserable. I felt ugly, worthless, and unloved because I thought that I was never good enough like those women gallivanting freely on the streets and in the clubs like wild dogs who were unleashed! I just couldn't live up to society's (extreme, unrealistic) expectations!
Well, after Islam, I felt liberated. I felt that I no longer had to be constricted and tied down to the shackles of society! I had my freedom and I felt beautiful, pure and at peace. I could dress the way I WANTED to, I chose what other people could see of me and my body and I didn't have to compete with women who were not even in the same category as me!
HOWEVER, I still feel oppressed. The ironic thing here is, it is not my religion that oppresses me, but it is society and it's ignorant masses! The people who judge me for what I wear and who I pray to, the very people who hate my religion because of what the media teaches them, the people who think my religion is the religion of terror because of what their government dictates! How oppressive is that?! I thought that the Western society was all about freedom of choice, freedom of dress, and freedom of religion? I guess it's just something they SHOW in the media (how ironic!) but when it really comes down to it, all society does it talk, talk, talk and no action. Freedom this! Freedom that! But really, who is free and where is freedom? Nowhere to be found! NOWHERE in this dunya! Freedom can only be found in Islam, Alhamdulillah!
Though society may oppress me because I don't dress the way they want me to or act the way they teach me to, I choose to wear my niqab with pride and honour. I look to those who look to me with evil eyes, and I can't help to feel sorry for them because I was once in their shoes. I feel sad for them because they are so lost in their own dark world that they can not see the light in front of them! They are lost in their darkness and they keep trying to run free from it, but the shackles of society hold them back. That is why my DEEN QUEENS, we must show the ignorant masses the true Islam, the beauty of Islam and the freedom of Islam! We have the best blessings anyone could ever have so we should not keep it to ourselves! We must spread the love and show them that our clothing, the piece of cloth on our face, and our love for modesty is something that we value and cherish. Many reasons why non-Muslims think of us women as oppressed, is simply because they have nobody else to teach them about Islam except for Fox news, CNN and any other deceiving media outlet !
We must take some time out of our busy schedules and learn to reconnect with Allah and learn more about following the Qur'an and the Sunnah and its importance! When we want to genuinely understand our deen, then we can learn it, apply it and preach it! It is one thing for us to sit and let others criticize our religion, but it is another thing to do something about that ! Islam is about knowledge and implementing the knowledge! So let us seek more correct knowledge, fall in love with our deen and take the actions to show the ignorant masses the truth (in permissible ways within the Sharia'ah of course!) . May Allah grant us all success in achieving the ultimate goal of spreading the truth and beauty of Islam! Ameen!!!