Niqāb: For the Creator or His Creature?

Some of our women take off the niqāb when they get divorced by their husbands or become widowed by destiny. This act, unfortunately, makes one wonder for whom their faces were veiled ab initio – Allāh (their Creator) or their husbands (His Creatures)?

Record has shown that wearing niqāb by women who do as aforementioned is either by force (from their husbands) or peer influence or pressure (from friends, neighbours, relations etc), not by conviction – that the face is actually worth the veil.

I know a woman who accepted to wear the niqāb after being pressured and even fought by her husband, and at a point – when the husband, according to her, was no more financially responsible – she unrepentantly took it off, not minding the corresponding spiritual implications or what brethren in the community would say. All efforts to get her back to the initial standard proved abortive.

Some of our women use the niqāb because their friends or most women in the community they live in use it, not that they are convinced of its religious value. And at the slightest trial from Allāh, or change of environment to a place where fellow niqābīs are hardly seen or nowhere found, they get demoralized and shaytān takes charge of their heads with the thought of removing it.

That niqābīs act ultra vires to the sacred garment they adorn is incontrovertible. Our eyes, irritably, can see it; and our emotions, distatefully too, can feel it. It is so because some do not even know what niqāb is, let alone fathom why they use it.

What then do we expect of a lady on whose nikāh day the garment was forcefully placed on her head and tears of regret consequently streamed down her cheeks? What will such an innocent ignoramus not do under the niqāb? So, hearing that a niqābī was found adulterous to the extent of doing twosome with her husband or somebody else’s husband, for instance, might though be saddening but shouldn’t in any way be shocking. That a niqābī was found dancing publicly and disgustingly to a musical song is, no doubt, a reflection of the above factor.

The use of niqāb is the peak of dressing for the Muslim woman, and the reward for doing so is apparently unquantifiable, especially at this time when the users are seen as strangers, extremists, fanatics, fundamentalists etc. by ignorant ones, among whom are Muslims. Niqāb was the dressing of the best of women – wives of the holy prophet – who, undoubtedly, are worth being mirrored for a good life. But women should not be forced to wear it, so as to curtail, or perhaps contain, the sinful act of removing it. They should rather, in my opinion, be encouraged, and platforms (giving internal lectures, attending gatherings where souls are worn for Allāh etc) be set to learn about it.

Truth be told, wearing a jilbāb isn’t easy, let alone covering the face. That’s why those who do it are considered the best in terms of dressing. Cues may be taken from the use of facemasks. Despite taking them off at will, unlike niqāb that is meant to be permanently worn, we never found it easy when coronavirus broke out. I, personally, can confirm that wearing a niqāb is only easy for the extra-ordinarily pious women. This is why I personally think women should not be forced but tutored and encouraged. May Allāh bless and accordingly reward all niqābīs and grant them Jannah for their rare obedience and submissiveness.

Dear woman,

If you are, however, forced by your husband, know that you are only being triggered to do one of the things that would make you have entry into Jannah. Do not see it as force. Consider it as encouragement. Admonish your heart to accept Allāh’s command.

Imam Sanni Kay Yusuf writes from Lagos, Nigeria.


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