I spent time in Ramadan with some very good people and had time to think a lot about my faith and the way I live. One of the things I thought a lot about was niqab. In the end I didn’t have the nerve to give up work and start wearing it (or indeed go to work wearing it), but it was something I became very conscious of – the way I present myself to the world and the steps I can take to ensure I am not encouraging attention: avoiding dealing with men any more than I have to, avoiding wearing my smaller, more diaphanous hijabs. I have been making dua to Allah (SWT) to help save me from the sin’s associated with the non-mahram man (i.e. those unrelated men I am supposed to observe hijab around) – i.e. flirtatious or lewd comments, men looking, shaking hands.
I have had to take this one step further and consider the way I behave and how careful I am of hijab around my cousins who are younger than me and like my little brothers. This is difficult because I am very close to some of them, but I have to keep in mind they are not actually mahram for me.
Once our Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said the following: "Keep away from entering the presence of women.” A man asked: "What about the male relatives (brother, uncle, cousin) of the woman’s husband? The Prophet said: “Those relatives are death” (Tirmidhi, Rada, 16; Ahmad b. Hanbal, IV, 149, 153).
Similarly with my brothers-in-law, they live with me, so I find that I have to dress modestly at home and keep my head covered, I can start to get lazy with this at home if I am just popping out of my bedroom and they are there, so it is something I have to keep reminding myself about. Alhamdulillah it helps that they try to give me my space and the older one stays out of the house most of the time.
The following video I watched recently, really impressed the point on be about the way we present ourselves inside and outside of the home and I have not worn make-up to work since (come to think of it, why is it still in my bag? Bag will be lighter if I take it out anyway:
Anyway, this has been something I am coming back to and thinking about recently. Hubby seems to be keen on the idea of me wearing niqab, but would never pressurise or force me (he likes dropping hints though). It is something that I might do when I have the guts to, but maybe not yet. At the same time I am being more thoughtful about where I go and how I look when I go out.
Last weekend we were invited to a wedding. As both the bride and groom were here on student visa’s, we knew there wouldn’t be much family there and plenty of young male student friends of the grooms. Hubby was away for the weekend and didn’t really want me to go. He left it to me, but hinted he didn’t like the idea. I clarified that if he didn’t want me to go, I wouldn’t go and that I wasn’t that crazy on the idea at the moment anyway (plus the thought of sending everyone off and having the house to myself appealed). If I am going to go to a wedding, I’m going to wear my best, wear make-up and wear heels – or I would rather not go – getting dressed up is half the fun. The thought of being in full glam mode in front of a room full of young single guys made me feel bad.
So we decided brother-in-law and mum-in-law would go with the children. Mum-in-law got cross and said I would have to go or she wouldn’t go. After much cajoling from her and a mutual friend who also said she wouldn’t go if I didn’t – I got fed up and went off to pray. I asked Allah (SWT) to make this easy for me: to stop mother-in-law getting angry or upset with me or refusing to go. Alhamdulillah, that afternoon, they all got ready without another word and went off perfectly happy as if it was no big deal. I enjoyed some me-time (dinner at mums, lounging around and finishing off a necklace I had started) also made hubby happy that I listened to him – that’s another new thing he isn’t used to!