Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Beauty of hijaab,

Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah), I always regard myself as fortunate to meet Muslim women with such conviction and strength that it moves me. There are many such women, and it brings home the fact that we need to understand the stories of women in order to appreciate them for who they really are. 

The article below was written by a sister I met recently. It is so inspiring to understand the choices and processes that women go through, and it's beautiful to be reminded of how dynamic Muslim women really are. 

I am thankful to sister Rehana for allowing me to post this here. 

Please enjoy the read (see below for meanings of Arabic words)
The beauty of hijaab, sister Rehana Bint Ismail of Johannesburg, South Africa

Hijaab…nikaab…purda… I don’t have to cover my face its not farz…purda is in the heart not covering the face…that’s what they all say… and that’s what I too believed at first…

My mum started wearing nikaab 15 years ago and at that time there were more and more woman donning the nikaab ! I felt really proud of her taking this big step but never told her my feeling even though I admired her courage..

I got married in 2008 and 1 of the perks of being a home exec was giving up my career of corporate banker after 12 years.It was quite an adjustment but I benefited a lot alhamdulillah ,as I started attending deeni talks for ladies and had ample time to do all the hobbies and courses I couldn’t do whilst pursuing a career.

My husband was and still is a remarkable spouse who always encourages me to new spiritual heights without loosing the essence of ikhlaas or sincerity.He never expressed his wish to see me wear the nikaab but always explained the benefit and the virtues of it to me.

He is a student of deen and a popular leader of the community in a suburb situated within Johannesburg South.
I became very conscious of not wearing it and felt awkward and uncovered when ever we would frequent shopping malls or the local supermarket or bakery as everyone would stare at me and remark ” theres moulana and his new wife”, which at times resulted in me wearing a big pair of sunglasses to cover half my face!

My mum would constantly encourage me to wear the nikaab explaining how important it was to wear it as I was now a “moulanas” wife.

Yeah right forget about everyone else but what about my feeling and thoughts and ambitions !

Having always heard my father speak about his 4 months spent in 1975 ,I asked hubby if he would take me out for 3 days mastooraat jamaat just to experience what it was all about. Now when you leave your home as a couple you have to wear the nikaab till you get to the hosts place and then you have to wear it on your way back home too.

I wasn’t aware that I had to wear it and felt reluctant at first but wore it none the less.It felt good yet somewhat uncomfortable but I felt a sense of “completeness”- kind of like i wished I could always wear it so I secretly bought my first nikaab and started wearing it whenever I would leave home.Hubby didn’t notice.He probably thought it was just a passing phase.

After 2 weeks of wearing it all over he looked at me while driving to Lenz and asked me if the wearing of the purdah was going to be a permanent situation so I said it was a trial phase !!! What a lie because deep down I knew that this was such a great and noble step in my life and I was trying to make it a permanent one too.

Eventually he sat me down and explained to me that Allah swt honours a women who wears the nikaab and told me how proud he was about me taking this step all on my own…subhanallah I felt so chuffed and was waiting for those wise words of approval ….

It is 5 years now since I donned the nikaab and yes …we only wear nikaab for Allah's pleasure.. we are observing modesty and this too is ultimately for the pleasure of Allah swt…a woman modestly dressed is like a pearl in an oyster..

They say Allah honours a woman who wears the nikaab and yes I have witnessed being honoured on many occasions when non-Muslim men come up to hubby and express that they too would love their wives covered up the way I do !

Only Allah swt knows what’s in each persons heart and Allah grant me the steadfastness to improve my akhlaaq and use me as a means of spreading this wonderful concept of hijaab as well as the beautiful deen of Islam !

Alhamdulillah, we, in Aouth Africa are not restricted from practicing any avenue of deen compared to other countries where the hijab is banned, and because of this we have to take full advantage of practicing deen in totality.

Allah swt in his infinite wisdom has bestowed us with so many nemats and besides being the reciters of the kalima and the ummatees of Nabi Mohammed saw , Allah swt has made us woman and have completed us by making modesty a branch of imaan…
It is not farz but waajib to cover the face as ulama explain that it is a protective measure in this time of fitnaa that we are living in where woman are exposed to many evils.

Purdah is not in the heart and if we wish to attain closeness to Allah swt then we will obey his commands willingly or unwillingly ,ultimately for his pleasure, and Allah swt will make it easy for us.

So to all my sisters who are still undecided on taking that great step forward- just take the plunge you will never regret it. Yes Allah swt will honour you, he will make it easy for you and he will protect and elevate you….don’t look back !

Hijaab is my choice and my freedom and I am a proud Muslimah…..Allah hu Akbar !!


Farz- Compulsory 
Alhamdulillah (All Praise is for Allah)
Deen- Religion
Deeni- Religious 
mastooraat jamaat- basically a religious trip where people gather and interact and discuss religion.(My description does not do justice, but nevertheless)
SubhanAllah (Glory be to Allah) 
Akhlaaq- character
Waajib- recommended
nemats- bounties 
kalima - declaration of Faith- testifying that there is only One God and Muhammad (pbuh) is the messenger of God. 
Ummatees- People belonging to one "Ummah" or community.
Imaan- Faith
Fitnaa- trials / tribulations 


  1. As a Christian woman, I find this difficult to comprehend. And as an American woman, I find it even more difficult to understand. You see, we observe "covering up" as a way men want to control us, tell us how we dress, & what we think.

    Can you see how we all MUST be educated?

    Thank you for your perspective, culture, and educating me about The Beauty of hijab.

    I still don't get it, but I appreciate and respect it!


    Kim From MN.

  2. Dear Kim

    This sort of debate and discussion is so important in the world today. Mutual respect and understanding is key. We don't have to agree on everything, we may even find it difficult to comprehend each other's viewpoint, but we respect it, and we don't insist on trying to change it.

    Thank you for your comment and for always keeping an open mind.

    1. ------And thank you soooooooooo much for respecting and listening to my ignorance, Zarina.

      It is MUCH appreciated. x

  3. Kim

    We are all ignorant in some regard, and the willingness to educate ourselves rather than remain ignorant is admirable!

    Stay well and in peace;-)