Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, SunniPath Academy Teacher
I was 14 when i decided to wear the niqaab and I moved to another country at 15 and now at 16, I’m starting to feel doubts about wearing it. To start off with, I’m mixed race and for some reason or the other i don’t feel fully accepted by my father’s family (who are all Pakistani) and we don’t have a lot of contact with my maternal side, although they’re wary of us as they’re not Muslim. Anyway, I’ve been bothered by a sense of alienation for quite some time now. Having spent the last two years in loneliness (being an introverted person i find it hard to establish new friendship …. So, with no friends and no family who I can rely on, I’m quite lonely… Although Allah should be enough for me.
I started wearing the niqaab when my brother, who was in Jordan, told me that the ladies in his area all wear niqaab, so i said i would wear niqaab too and i didn’t take it off after that. I returned to England and i continued to wear it. Alhumdulillah, I’ve never encountered anything other than verbal abuse – Allah has protected me Alhumdulillah.
But this feeling of alienation has been bothering me increasingly as of late …. I’m so confused and this confusion is emotionally exhausting. What do i do?
In the Name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful.
I pray you are in good health and iman.
Thank you for your message. I apologize for the delay in responding.
Wearing niqab is a good thing to do if it gives you peace of mind. However, please keep in mind that you are not shirking your obligation to Allah Ta’ala if you remove your niqab. I understand that you were inspired by the example of the women in Jordan.
However, if you allow me, I suggest that not every woman has the same experience wearing niqab. A woman’s ability to wear niqab is often contingent upon her environment. Some environments are very welcoming. Others are not. I’m not sure what your environment is like in Pakistan. However, I do know that wearing niqab in the West is very difficult. Some of the scholars on SunniPath, most notably Shaykh Nuh Keller, caution against wearing niqab in the West [generally]. Why? Because women who wear niqab in places like America and Europe often experience the very alienation and verbal abuse that you describe.
What is most important is establishing your own relationship with Allah Ta’ala, not so much based on what other women do, but on your own personal convictions. Your obligation is to wear hijab: to cover your body with modest, loose-fitting clothing. You are allowed to show your face, hands, and feet (according to the Hanafi School). Focus on fulfilling this obligation first. At the same time, focus on your relationship with Allah Ta’ala. Be constant in reading the Qur’an. Make remembrance of Allah. Ask Him for guidance and comfort. You should definitely make salat al-istikhara, or the guidance prayer in this situation. The details of this prayer are at
Another prayer from the Sunna is salat al-haja, or the prayer of need. Ask Allah Most High to give you strong, encouraging friends. The details of this prayer can be viewed at http://www.sunnipath.com/resources/Questions/qa00001118.aspx.
Dear Sister, please try to find some friends. Don’t think that wearing niqab is preventing you from making friends. It sounds like the problem is more an issue of cultural alienation. Learning something of the people’s language and customs probably wouldn’t hurt and might help you to adjust better.
Last but not least, why not try to make some inroads with your family in Pakistan and back in the West. Even some basic communication might help, such as a letter, a card, or even a phone call. Whatever you do, please keep in mind that wearing niqab and having a good relationship with your family are separate issues.
Don’t feel guilty for wanting to take off your niqab. It’s possible that now is not the best time to wear niqab. It’s completely natural for you to feel lonely. The main point is to try to remedy your loneliness while drawing closer to Allah Ta’ala.
Here’s a beautiful Hadith Qudsi in that spirit:
Hadith Qudsi 25:
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“Allah (mighty and sublime be He) said:
‘Whosoever shows enmity to someone devoted to Me, I shall be at war with him. My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him, and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it. I do not hesitate about anything as much as I hesitate about [seizing] the soul of My faithful servant: he hates death and I hate hurting him.'”
May Allah Ta’ala facilitate a beneficial solution for you and give you good friends.
And Allah knows best.