Don’t Men Beat You If You Don’t Cover Your Face?! Why I Choose Not To Wear Niqqab…Yet

Such a great question that I get from my nonMuslim friends.  I also am quite surprised that I get this question – in a different form – from Muslim men and women.

I guess it’s a valid question.  I care about modesty, but I don’t cover my face. Why don’t I wear niqqab? What am I thinking?

Well, please know that: No, men won’t beat me.

And, also please know that I have so much RESPECT for niqqabi girls that do choose to cover their faces.

And, to be honest, I hope someday to wear niqqab – but under the right circumstances!

Obviously, don’t take what I have to say as what God would think – Allah (swt) knows best of course! – but, I don’t think that in my life it is a good decision for me right now.


So, why don’t I wear niqqab?

1. It is not required.

(Pardon my paraphrasing…) There is a hadith saying that Asmaa – the daughter of Abu Bakr – came to the Prophet Muhammad (saws) wearing clothing that was not appropriate.  When the Prophet saw her, he said that it is not acceptable for a woman who has passed puberty to walk around in clothing that exposes anything except this and this and he pointed to his face and his hands.  

To me, this tells me that it is not required – or “fard” – to wear niqqab.

If Allah (swt) wanted it to be so, He would have mentioned it in Qur’an when He spoke about hijab.

2. I have a job.

Now, this is one of the much lesser arguments for me, but it’s still valid.  My job requires me to have human interactions.  It’s hard to have these interactions when I don’t look human.  I drive little old, rich ladies around to see houses.  Do they want to get into the car with a niqqabi? Hell no. As if the hijab wasn’t enough adding the niqqab would be TOO much for their little hearts.

3. It’s HOT!

Holy cannoli, have you ever put on a niqqab in Southern California? And walked outside? Saudi Arabia is SO HOT I can’t imagine how women live there! But it gets hot in California, too! And I can barely breathe in hijab! What if you wear glasses? Half of the day you’re cleaning steam from your glasses – that’s not even a life! May Allah (swt) reward the women who wear niqqab in stifling heat – especially when their husbands are walking around in tank tops!

4. It would make me unapproachable.

Part of the reason I choose to wear hijab is because it allows people to ask me questions about my religion.  Anywhere I am.  Although it gets annoying sometimes, I like that I can set the record straight and help people to understand our religion.  I can’t imagine anyone coming anywhere within 400 feet of me if I have niqqab on.

5. I would probably never find a husband.

At least 14% of my appeal comes from the fact that my face is decent.  This reason is just to make you laugh. Therefore, I won’t even count it as a real number.

5.  The most important reason: I live in America!

This is the truth.  This is the REAL reason I don’t wear niqqab.

I live in America.

I am not saying America is right, but people in America care a lot about looks and identities.  Personal connections are critical.

No, I don’t think niqqab is oppressive.  No, I’m not scared of not being pretty.

But, what I am scared of is SCARING OTHER PEOPLE.

I don’t want to walk into a room and have everyone in that room praying that nothing happens to them.

I don’t want an entire plane ride to be spent with the woman next to me reciting “Hail Mary”s until we arrive at our destination.

When you wear niqqab in Saudi Arabia or in some of the other Arab countries, people aren’t scared of you. It’s a cultural norm.

Here, in America, when I walk down the street in niqqab EVERYONE is staring at me. And, that’s exactly the OPPOSITE of the point of wearing niqqab.

Women wear niqqab to show their ultimate modesty.  They wear niqqab to protect themselves from perverted stares.  They wear niqqab to avoid being judged based on their beauty.

But, if you wear niqqab in America, you are going to be the most obvious person.  You will be stared at like meat everywhere you go.  You will be judged based on nothing except how you look.

It completely defeats the purpose.

Now, I do love niqqab.  I’ve worn it to the mall before – just to see what my niqqabi sisters experience.  And, I was stared at.  No one spoke to me.  People avoided me at all costs.  People walked on the other side of the walkway only to stay away from me. It made me uncomfortable.

So, why do I want to wear it someday if I just gave a million reasons against it?

The Prophet (saws)’s wives wore niqqab.  Who better to try to emulate than the Prophet’s wives?

I think it will also teach me to care less about how I look – Hijab was a big step in this lesson in my life.  Niqqab will really finalize it for me.

That being said, it’s on my “bucket list.”  Someday, God willing, I will live in an Arab country, and at this time, I will find it appropriate to wear niqqab.

May we always remind each other of the purpose and meaning behind everything we do.

May Allah (swt) reward us all for our pursuits of doing anything to please Him – whether we’re right or not – and may we be judged based on our intentions.


15 thoughts on “Don’t Men Beat You If You Don’t Cover Your Face?! Why I Choose Not To Wear Niqqab…Yet

  1. Love your posts.
    I used to wear niqab all my adult life in KSA and for 3 years and a half in USA. But I chose not to wear it any more because as you have said: it defeats its purpose. Every time I walk into a restaurant or a cafe with a niqab, people stare at me. Then I sit and remove it to eat and drink, and people stare more and more. So while I do like it and wear it in countries where muslims are a majority, I decided not to wear it if it will attract unwanted attention and not serve its purpose.
    May Allah guide us all and make us stronger muslims.

    1. Salaam, habibti. So thankful you like them. I’m glad you agree with me! MashaAllah 🙂 May Allah (swt) reward you for striving in His way – and for wearing them in Saudia when it’s so hot! God Bless.

  2. Al-Salam Alikom, Jazaky Allaho Khairan.
    Actually I have two points to elaborate on :

    1-You are much better than 90 % of Arabian Girls (Don’t ask about Percentage formula ) 🙂
    2-Whoever follows Islam, won’t ever lose !!!

    Even if you don’t wear Niqab, you DO confess that it’s better than Hijab, and it’s more preferred by Allah.It is not negligible. it’s like beard for man, I don’t have a beard, but I know it’s a duty and men with beard are more conforming to Islam than me..
    Arabian Girls ( Most of them) think that Niqab is terrorism, and girls wearing niqab are only hiding their bad manners behind it !! Imagine it ” Instead of being proud of Allah’s commands, or at least stay silent if they don’t follow his rules, but they curse whoever follows !!!)
    it’s really nasty when you try to change the facts and rules just because you don’t follow them, when they say that Allah looks only for our hearts not our looks, they are trying to play with words to change the facts. Allah Swt Says “And who does more wrong than he who invents a lie against Allah. Such wi,l be brought before their Lord, and the witnesses will say, “These are the ones who lied against their Lord!” No doubt! the curse of Allah is on the Zalimun (polytheists, wrong-doers, oppressors, etc.) ” Surat Hud…

    Now do you know why are you better than the Arabians ?

    Second point, if one day you wanted to follow Allah’s commands, don’t ever fear anything, wherever you live, whatever your job is, if you truly trust Allah, you will never lose ! believe me miracles happen ! Who could believe that Hijab would be allowed on European cities 10 years back ??? it was like imaginations ! now Europe is full of girls wearing Hijab and Niqab is coming as well !
    Being strange or weird while wearing Niqab is a logical reason, but whoever will PROMOTE it if Muslims don’t ? 🙂 🙂
    Remember that our ancestors suffered to deliver Islam to us, and we should continue on their way, don’t only accept the fact, try to change it, and remember again , Allah won’t let you alone Allah SWT says ” And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allah will accomplish his purpose. Indeed Allah has set a measure for all things. ”

    If you don’t like the second point, make the 1st point last one to read 🙂
    May Allah bless all of us.

    1. Wa alaykum salaam wa rahmatullah,

      Jazak Allah khair for that!

      I don’t agree with your second point, not to be negative, but only because I think wearing niqqab here makes people stare at you, which is what niqqab is to protect you against – eyes.

      But inshaAllah if someday I move to Saudia or a khaleeji country or if I move even to an Arab country where niqqab isn’t so “out there,” I would be happy to wear niqqab.

      Thanks for your comment though! May Allah increase our faith and help us to follow the sunnah of the beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws) and make for our women what was good for his wives.


  3. Assalaamu Alaikum : ) I really like your honest discussion of this.
    Not only do I wear niqaab, I wear a head to foot afghan style burqa. A cotton voile one in the summer, a light wool-blend in the winter. I make them myself because the only sort you can buy easily are synthetic; unwearable doesn’t begin to describe those! Yes, sometimes people stare or cross the street or make loud comments about how “scary” I look. But let me tell you something: I discovered a long time ago on this Islamic path that if someone is going to act stupid about me being muslim what I do or don’t wear isn’t going to change that. So I wear what I personally find spiritually and physically comfortable. And yes, this does lead once in a while to the shall we say “interesting” situation. Fine. Can’t expect everything to be a rose garden! Usually people are cool about my appearance. I’ve never found my clothing to be a hindrance to making a personal connection if the desire is there on both sides to do so.
    And one more thing: this is what my husband wears on a hot summer day: A knee length long sleeve tunic, ankle length loose pants, a kufi, and a turban. And his beard of course. Yes, we make quite a pair. We tease each other about it. (“Here comes the monster husband keeping his poor slave wife sewn up in a potato sack”) What I love about all of this is we can dress this way, other muslims can dress another way, and it’s all FINE. Alhamdullilah.

    1. MashaAllah, habibti. May Allah (swt) draw you and your husband nearer to Him and nearer to each other inshaAllah and may He reward you for your strength in beliefs!

      InshaAllah someday I will wear niqqab too – and it’s SO FUNNY that you tease each other like that LOL… very cute 😉

  4. ChicagoMuslima >> May Allah Bless you ! Really Proud of such Muslim ladies,
    Niqab has no certain place, has no time frame ! Everything Allah asked us to do is VALID EVERYWHERE ! All the Ages !
    I think the first step for Niqab is Hijab, and stopping the ARMY of make-up tools 😀 that girls are proud of.

    May Allah Reward you Jannat Al-Ferdaus.

  5. Where does it mentioned in the quran or sunnah that women must cover their face? I think it’s a saudi-wahabi costume!

  6. Assalamu Alaikum.
    I think you are right. I even heard some scholars say that Muslimahs in the West can choose not to wear niqab for the same reasons (even though niqab is certainly better) – I just saw this photo of the bride. Do you think people will react better to white niqabs than black ones?

    1. Wa alaykum salaam wa rahmatullah ukhti,

      I’m really not sure about the white vs. black thing. I think it may help, but in my opinion the “shock” of niqqab isn’t the color of dress, but instead the fact that their face (what is known as someone’s IDENTITY in the West) is covered. I’d love to test it! LoL.

      1. I guess you are right. But I sometimes think covering the face – in itself – is not a problem in the West. You know a few years ago, this swine flu became widespeard. Many people were covering their faces with these white face-masks. It didn’t scare people. Everyone was fine with that…but when it comes to niqab (which does exactly the same thing), all these problems. Because of the stereotypes attached to it….Well, maybe we should try a surgical mask instead! 😉

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