Almost four weeks from the time that I decided to write about Muslim Women wearing Niqab or Burka I could not write it, yet it comes to my mind every time I saw veiled face woman walking through the city. I care to express my opinion about this issue, and the reason why is to confirm that wearing Niqab is not a part of Islam, so any women who doesn’t wear it won’t be non-Muslim. It is just tradition, and it might belong to some culture such as Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan. It is so easy to make anything wide spread anywhere and anytime quickly by banning it from use or existence. I remember when the University of King Faisal in Saudi Arabia banned wearing coloured shirts and replaced them by white ones with black or blue long skirts to confirm to the equality between all girls students who are came from different economical backgrounds. Most students started buying new coloured shirts even though they weren’t doing this before; it is human nature. The same scenario happened with Niqab or Burka when it banned first in France and recently in Quebec, a Province in Canada .In fact, Canadian police state that every person who covers their face by using garments like Niqab or any thing will be charged after denying removing it while arrested for any issue. According to Statistics Canada, Out of thirty four millions in Canada there is one million are muslim and their number could be increased three more times in twenty years. Some women wear a face cover to practice the religion as they think. The Niqab issue rose in Canada after a woman immigrant from Egypt refused to take her Niqab off in French language class even though they let her present from the back of the class. Not only refusing to take her Niqab of but also refused to sit around U shaped table to do the speaking part with the other student. The question is how is she going to learn the language if she does not practice it with others! Actually, I don’t understand what this woman is thinking; she knows already what kind of culture she will live in and what kind of life she will have. In addition, this woman and more others continue following the same practice every time when they have to mingle with other males.
In fact, the nature of life in western countries promotes certain kind of life style. It is hard to depend on single income family. Muslim families understand this fact, but when it comes to the real life, there will be some obstacles for the women to go out and work. Some never worked in their home countries, and if so, they worked in different environment, which encourages them to wear specific kind of clothes and face cover if they work with males in same place. They have to realize that to cover their face could bring some problems and misunderstanding by others, which they do not need.
"While in Rome do what the Romans do". Hijab has brought enough attention to us. As Muslim women living in non-Islamic countries, we don’t want to be under the lime light and have extra attention from the others because of the practice of wearing Niqab when it even has no basis in Islam. There is no reason to keep yourself isolated and present inappropriate image of the Religion by using such things. I am not saying that they don’t have to follow their beliefs because this is not religion, it is just part of traditions. They could do both things: follow their religion and live normal life with other as citizen of one country.
No basis in Islam for Niqab or Burka:
Face cover was and still negotiable issue in and outside Muslim countries. One side argues that Niqab has no basis in Islam; it was just practiced back in history by some people and shouldn’t have to be as a pillar of Islam. While the other side criticises that it is mandatory for women to wear it because it is part of their beliefs. In addition, third party stated that this is just about womens choice; they are the ones who decide to wear it or not.
Canadian Muslim group was call for banning Burka, and according to the spokesperson of this group, Farzan Hassan stated, “wearing Niqab or Burka is more rooted in Middle East culture and it has nothing to do with Islam and there is nothing in Quran that asks women to cover their faces”. She added that this is public security matters and choosing to practice such things means that you hide your identity. I have talked with Muslim women from different backgrounds. All of them are not wearing Niqab or Burka just the headscarf. Surprisingly, some of them disagree with the idea that allows sitting a regulation that banning the face cover. Moreover, they argue that by supporting such regulation one day they will give up their Hijab for the same reasons of banning Niqab.
On the other hand, Mohammad El-masry, the former president of the Canadian Islamic Congress added that face veil is part of these people culture and identity, so they have the right to choose between wear it or not. The Burka is a veil generally covers the entire body, with the only mesh screen left to see through while the Niqab covers virtually all of the face with a slit generally left open for the eyes. I have no sufficient information about when is The Niqab or Burka start to appeared and practiced in Middle East countries. For example, when you ask someone old from Saudi Arabia, this person would tell you that men used to work in their fields and farms side by side with other women and the women didn’t bother to wear face veil because they were living simple and natural life together. Maybe the Burka or Niqab starting to appear after the oil discovered in the country and people there substituted working in farms by hiring foreign workers from near countries or Asian countries as well. The women did not participate anymore in everyday life. Moreover, it becomes noticeable that in the eighties when new understanding of Islamic rules by what they call it “Sahwaa” which is mean in English “The wake up” The austere form of Islam is based on the literal interpretation of Quran. From then everything changed in Saudi Arabia. In addition, the women there were prevented from participating in normal life. If they appear, they will be covered from head to toe to not allure men in the society.
Muslims all over the world became stricter because of the wahhabism view of Islam. Moreover, because of the Wahhabi oils, money and their power play important roles it to spread the strictest understanding of Islam. Somebody may take a look of what happened in Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and other Muslim countries. In the past, it was notable that there were fewer women wearing Niqab fewer than those who did not. The influence of wahhabism in the world becomes very obvious. Thus, some Islamic groups think that wearing Hijab, Niqab makes them good Muslim regardless of what they really think and what they really do in this life in terms to live together peacefully. Nevertheless, Islam is about how people live together in peace and love.
Some religious leaders mentioned that there is no basis of Niqab in Islam; it is just practiced by old societies back in history. Still there is a lot of Muslim not willing to understand it is not a piece of cloth, which decides if we are good people or not!! Rather than that, they insist not to let their wives and daughters to take it off and live natural life. Are those women and people who are still believed in such things more Muslim than others? I couldn’t believe that a piece of material would decide how much Muslim I am.
I understand that countries as if Saudi Arabia is very usual to see most of the women there in twentieth century still wearing Niqab or Burka. In recent years, some Saudi women have decided to take the hard decision of not wearing the Niqab or Burka anymore. Taking such a decision was not easy sometimes especially for those who come from strict families that expect wearing face veil from their daughters and other women in the family as a normal thing. I remember when my sisters and I decided not to wear Niqab anymore because it was hiding our identity and our personality and makes us just additional number between millions of women in Saudi Arabia. It is hard to think that you are here in this world to serve one purpose and you should be hidden until somebody comes and pick you up from your father’s house. You as a woman could be a disaster if you go out without your veil or face cover. To conclude,Islam, like many other religions, always there is people have their traditions and it is possible to have some misunderstanding, such as the face covering issue. By letting this happen, we are ruining beautiful traditions and religion as well.