Since I started my niqab more than a year ago I have been questioned by a lot of people if it has ever been an obstacle in my path of success. In return all I do is smile widely because I feel sorry for this little yet precious piece of cloth to be considered a barrier for women in achieving her dreams.
I am a part time writer, a food and travel blogger. Being a food blogger I have been to lots of cafes and restaurants to try different cuisines and I have hardly had any issue in doing what I enjoy doing. Along with that, my part time writing job has made me work with non-Muslims and foreign clients and to some people’s surprise yes, I have done that all while being in my niqab.
In addition to that, I am also a psychology student and being a part of this field I have had to go to various places and meet different people some of whom were also suffering from severe mental illnesses. I have also been to the female ward of a psychiatric hospital and worked closely with them while doing clinical assessments and therapy. If anyone has ever worked closely with psychotic patients they’d know that how much they can misdoubt other people. But I have worked successfully with them despite wearing my niqab. I have even worked with little children and due to the place being quite public I had to keep my niqab on and the kids I had to deal with were as friendly as they were with my other non-niqabi colleagues.
The only time I have had issues in accomplishing my work was when people were not being co-operative and my abilities were being judged through my niqab. It is not this precious piece of cloth which is a barrier but rather what goes on in the mind of the person.
People complain that due to a woman’s niqab they have problem communicating with her because they cannot see her lips moving. But how come those same people spend hours texting and talking on phone and how does that is not a barrier in communication because you can’t see the person’s face even at that time.
Another issue I always get to listen to is the facial expressions are difficult to recognize. Frequently whenever I see a little kid passing by I like to give them a smile (while in my niqab), I mean it just happens on an involuntary level and I always get a smile back from them. So when a little kid who is not even experienced can recognize my eye movements how difficult could it be for an adult to make out my facial expression.
So what could be done to not become an obstacle for a niqabi?
Give us acceptance
We niqabis don’t need questioning stares and lectures about how it can be a barrier for us. All we require is for people to give us opportunity to prove ourselves to be worthy with our work. We are anyways wearing this face veil for the sake of Allah and no one’s opinion will make us stop wearing it. So instead of wasting time and energy on something that is not going to work, why not get to work and talk business.
Focus on our words
One of the biggest issues raised for a niqabi is that people face difficulty communicating with them because of their face being hidden. What you can do to solve this issue is to hear a niqabi properly and focus on her words. You are not required to focus on her veil, her hidden face or even her eyes because the mere reason she is doing the niqab is to hide her face so she wouldn’t mind even if you are looking down but listening to her words properly.
You can easily identify a niqabi’s gender
When at a workplace and you feel afraid of a niqabi because you don’t know if she is a male disguised in niqab or not, you can simply go and communicate with her. Her voice and tone will provide you a clear indication of her gender.
Appoint a female for security purpose
For security reasons a female can be appointed to check the niqabi’s identity. We are very well aware of the laws and the rules and regulations so we wouldn’t mind giving proof of our identity for genuine reasons.
We communicate to men for genuine reasons
Many men feel hesitant when it comes to communicating with a niqabi. As long as you are talking business, like something related to the assignment or maybe you need help which only she can provide then you can ask her. Keep your gaze down and just state your question or problem and don’t forget to keep your distance.
Don’t be afraid of us
Since people can only see our eyes they sometimes feel afraid of us. Please don’t be so. We are humans just like you but just covered up according to the command of Allah (S.W.T). We mean no harm to you because we know that is not acceptable in the sight of Our Lord.
This niqab has in fact given me the confidence to do what I like. It has removed obstacles that could have come in my path of achieving success. I no more have to worry about boys hitting on me. In my workplace and in my university the men know their boundaries when communicating with me. The boundary that might have been difficult to set through words has already been set by wearing a niqab. So hasn’t it made my path towards my aspirations more smooth.