Niqab. The black covering. A slit through the middle. No one knows exactly what it’s like until you wear it . I became a niqabi.
When I was Muslim, I casually wore the hijab in an effort to be close to Allah and to be a proper muslimah. I attracted comments from schoolmates who were used to my dark hair being displayed freely. I sat there , pretending I wasn’t the object of whispers and stares and comments. I was a part time hijabi until after eid al adha in September, I decided to wear it full time as a public display and devotion to Allah.
A few months later, it was niqab. I had grown obsessed with it. It seemed to me the symbol of piety. I respected and admired these niqabi women. I thought mashallah. These are real women. I was envious. I wanted to be modest like them. I felt inadequate in my hijab, knowing non mehrams were staring at my lips, my cheeks, my eyes. I resolved I would cover my face as soon as possible. I was 15.
I googled islamic websites, making my case as I believed it was fard (obligatory) based on hadiths and qua’ran verses I had read. Today I believe it is highly recommended. My whole family except 3 members sided against me. Too young they said. Non except married women wore niqab in my family, my stepmom did for example. I went and brought a black niqab behind their backs.
I tried it on for the first time. It was incredibly painful. The slit was so tiny, I couldn’t even see. The sharp corners dug in my eyes, making me blink constantly and my eyes itch and water. I made the slit wider with scissors then it was bearable. I could see better. It felt weird at first. But I loved it. Later, my siblings were scared. They ran away. I had to take it off for them to come back. My brother couldn’t even look at me.
My dad came round radically to the idea of me wearing niqab. He started encouraging me more. Said I was going on the right path. Said he would fully support me. I wore it outside and I loved the annoymous aspect it gave me. No one knew me, no one knew whom I was and couldn’t judge me.
I took to wearing gloves and a 4 layered eye veiled niqab. I was a huge black mass. Black socks and black shoes. Not one inch of me was on show. Not even my eyes. The men would do a double take. I thought this was honourable. My dad said it was. It would get me closer to Allah right? I was following the sunnah, the prophets wives example. My mothers. It was incredibly hot in that. I would get the urge to rip it off but for Allah’s sake i kept it. It was a test from him. To see if I would obey him.
Me being a niqabi lasted for 3 months. As the doubts grew, I ripped it off and the gloves and hid them in the back of my wardrobe in a bag. I stuck to shalwar Kamiz and a simple usual black hijab. I never wore them again. I threw them away.