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trying to explain a niqab to my daughter - Page 2

post #21 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamaverdi View Post
The first time my son saw a woman in niqab, he thought she was a Jedi and tried to have a light saber battle with her. Talk about mortified.

Then my dh had to try to explain to her dh what had happened. The family was from the UAE and was only vaguely familiar with Star Wars. :

The gentleman was so kind to my son though and offered for him to come and see (see would lift her veil) that his wife was just a woman wearing clothes, like other women, just that her clothes hid her face, but she not a Jedi.

My son was so disappointed she wasn't a Jedi that he declined the gentleman's offer.


I can't stop laughing. That is awesome.
post #22 of 44
Our community is very diverse. Anyway, some don't do anything, some girls wear a hijab with pants, some wear a hijab with their (sorry, I don't know the right term) dress, and some wear the niqab.
I tell my children that just like in our religion: some aren't observant at all and some are like us - quite observant. It has worked for me.

I do have a question - and mean no offense. I thought that women who wore the niqab would probably not be the ones driving, yet I see them driving on a regular basis. Please excuse my ignorance; I'll have to ask my SIL (she's muslim, but from W. Africa) more questions.
post #23 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by tikva18 View Post
Our community is very diverse. Anyway, some don't do anything, some girls wear a hijab with pants, some wear a hijab with their (sorry, I don't know the right term) dress, and some wear the niqab.
I tell my children that just like in our religion: some aren't observant at all and some are like us - quite observant. It has worked for me.

I do have a question - and mean no offense. I thought that women who wore the niqab would probably not be the ones driving, yet I see them driving on a regular basis. Please excuse my ignorance; I'll have to ask my SIL (she's muslim, but from W. Africa) more questions.
Driving has nothing to do with Islam. I believe Saudi Arabia is the only place where women are restricted from driving and it has nothing to do with religion but everything to do with culture.
post #24 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by tikva18 View Post
I do have a question - and mean no offense. I thought that women who wore the niqab would probably not be the ones driving, yet I see them driving on a regular basis. Please excuse my ignorance; I'll have to ask my SIL (she's muslim, but from W. Africa) more questions.
Yes, what TurkishKate said. As far as I know, Saudi Arabia is the only country that bans women from driving. From a religous standpoint, many people say that since the Prophet's wife, Aisha, drove a camel... women should be allowed to drive cars.
post #25 of 44
I like that equation. Sorry, for my lack of knowledge.
post #26 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by tikva18 View Post
Anyway, some don't do anything, some girls wear a hijab with pants, some wear a hijab with their (sorry, I don't know the right term) dress, and some wear the niqab.
I tell my children that just like in our religion: some aren't observant at all and some are like us - quite observant.
Would that be an accurate way to describe it, from a Muslim perspective? That a woman who wears a niqab is "more observant" than a woman who only wears a hijab, both are more observant than those who wear no head covering, and so forth?
post #27 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabadger View Post
Would that be an accurate way to describe it, from a Muslim perspective? That a woman who wears a niqab is "more observant" than a woman who only wears a hijab, both are more observant than those who wear no head covering, and so forth?
Hmm ... not really. I mean it *can* be true, but it doesn't have to be by any stretch of the imagination. There are legitimate religious scholarly differences of opinion on what is required, what is preferable, and what is disallowed -- two women dressed very differently from one another might be strict adherents of two different lineages of thought on the matter. A woman appearing less observant in that regard might be strictly adhering to a religious ruling where another who appears more observant might simply be following a regional or cultural trend or tradition. Etc.

ETA: But I'd still say, depending on age, if it's something a child will understand it's a good way to explain it to them, however imperfect.
post #28 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabadger View Post
I must understand the niqab even less than I thought. Wouldn't a comment like that be considered very offensive to a woman who covers her face in public etc?
That's interesting, because I think you have shown one of the common misperceptions people have about Muslims, particularly very conservative ones. Just because we are "conservative" as people commonly understand it and we obviously dress conservatively and observe some behavior rules that some people may see as strict, doesn't mean we are also a) humorless b) uptight and easily offended and/or c) sexually repressed.

It reminds me of the 2005 La Leche League conference when the two people sitting in the front row of the "sexuality and beastfeeding" session were me and another woman with hijab and I wondered what people must be thinking LOL. Actually a number of years ago I was asked to make a presentation to our city council regarding World Breastfeeding Week. Our mayor at the time, a man, in our Bible Belt town, was visibly uncomfortable every time he had to say the word "breastfeeding"-- he literally mumbled the word every time he had to say it. Then I got up in my hijab and jilbab (long overcoat) and, having been a champion public speaker in high school, gave a loud, professional presentation about "BREASTFEEDING" to the entire city council and audience (both live and TV). Ha ha ha ha!

This all incidentally also reminds me of a friend of mine from college who wore all black and niqab--by choice and in the United States, mind you, not because it was the law or because anyone forced her to (she was a convert too)-- along with a pair of bright neon blue plastic sneakers. She was a hoot. Actually some of the funniest people I've ever met were niqab-wearers, go figure.

Like someone else said, we're a very diverse community and unfortunately the mainstream media never wants you to see us as such. We are rarely allowed to speak for ourselves, usually most "reports" are some liberal Western woman speaking for us, or some "ex-Muslim" or self-professed "progressive Muslim" who wants to tell you what we conservative types are "suffering" with. If people could see us speak for ourselves more often, they would get a totally different idea about us.



post #29 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabadger View Post
Would that be an accurate way to describe it, from a Muslim perspective? That a woman who wears a niqab is "more observant" than a woman who only wears a hijab, both are more observant than those who wear no head covering, and so forth?
Well, let's put it this way, it can be interpreted this way on the surface, yes. Regarding hijab, there is little debate among mainstream Muslims that it is considered a religious requirement. I know, every time you read about hijab now the media takes the "progressive" argument that "hijab is not in the Qur'an" but that is blatantly false (and a long discussion for another time perhaps). So the point here is that among mainstream traditional Muslims, not fringe groups, a hijabi is more "observant".

Now there is a greater debate regarding niqab. Some more conservative sects consider it to be required. Most mainstream schools of thought hold it to be not required but a good thing to do. Many people believe it is untenable in the West. But among most Muslims in the West, a niqabi will be interpreted outwardly as more strict, sometimes even as "too strict".

In many Muslim countries, niqab is part of the "costume" of the cultural group you want to associate with. In Syria for example, a woman has a choice as to how to dress, and that includes no hijab at all. Yet depending on how religious you or your family are, or how religious you want to seem, there are prevalent styles that inlude (in increasing order of "observantness"): hijab with pants, hijab with a skirt, a light colored or patterned hijab with a light-colored "trench coat", light or dark solid colored hijab with dark "trench coat", dark hijab and niqab (under the nose or over the nose) with dark "trench coat" and finally total over-the-whole-face niqab with dark "trench coat".

However, having lived in a Muslim country and having family there, I will tell you that underneath the surface this is not necessarily the case. I know women who wear all black, niqab, sunglasses/eye covers, gloves, etc., who don't pray 5 times a day (one of the 5 pillars of Islam which all Muslims MUST do), who smoke, who drink alcohol, etc... so looks don't necessarily determine everything. What's in a person's heart can be very different from what is on the outside.
post #30 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by UmmZaynab View Post
That's interesting, because I think you have shown one of the common misperceptions people have about Muslims, particularly very conservative ones. Just because we are "conservative" as people commonly understand it and we obviously dress conservatively and observe some behavior rules that some people may see as strict, doesn't mean we are also a) humorless b) uptight and easily offended and/or c) sexually repressed.
A lot of women would find it offensive to receive a comment like "That chick's hot!" from a stranger, even if they were not humorless or sexually repressed. I have heard mamas on this board say that one advantage of being completely covered is avoiding looks and remarks of this type, so I assumed the woman would find it annoying.
post #31 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabadger View Post
Would that be an accurate way to describe it, from a Muslim perspective? That a woman who wears a niqab is "more observant" than a woman who only wears a hijab, both are more observant than those who wear no head covering, and so forth?
Not to belabor the point, which UmmZaynab has already made, but what a woman wears has nothing to do with her religious observance. I've recently started wearing the headscarf again and I am no more observant this week than I was last month. Nothing about me has changed, not my sense of humor (which tends to run to the dry and sarcastic), not my observance of actual religious obligations (which is spotty at best and I freely admit it), nor my political views (which tend to run to the Socialist side, I married a Marxist, what can I say?). The only thing that has changed is that I wear a piece of fabric--sometimes cotton, sometimes silk--on top of my head. Wearing this piece of fabric on my head does not make me better or more observant than the mama who doesn't cover, but does manage to make her five prayers every day (which I am very lax on).

If you think of the headscarf like any other symbol of religion, let's take a cross for example, then it's easier to understand. Is a Christian woman who wears a cross on a necklace more observant than one who doesn't? I remember waaaaaaaay back in the 80s (what I remember of the 80s anyway) when Madonna wore a huge rhinestone cross with her get-up. Does that make her a more observant Christian than someone who doesn't? Is a Jewish woman who wears a wig more observant than one who doesn't?

There is so much symbolism attached (largely by the Western world) to what a Muslim woman wears on her head, when in reality, for the vast majority of us, it's really not that big a deal.
post #32 of 44
: to what TurkishKate said.

Although I will add, that even in the Muslim world, there is that stereotype for lack of a better word.

So, if somebody's son is engaged... the Mom may say proudly... "to a girl who wears hijab." And everybody will oooh and ahhh and think oh what a good Muslimah she must be.

Even though, in some countries (Egypt comes to mind), hijab is very much a fashion thing. So being fashionable can be the motivation behind hijab just as much as a sense of modesty. You'll see women in a pink hijab, with a tight shirt, tight jeans, pink sneakers... and a pink bag. Even though their head is covered... there is no sense of modesty to their dressing. You can see every curve.


Even though a woman who does not wear hijab may give more in charity, have better adab (Islamic manners), give more in charity, be more attentive to her prayers, etc. It's external. I guess that's why we're reminded that only God knows one's heart and who is really observant, so to speak.
post #33 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by umsami View Post
: to what TurkishKate said.

Although I will add, that even in the Muslim world, there is that stereotype for lack of a better word.

So, if somebody's son is engaged... the Mom may say proudly... "to a girl who wears hijab." And everybody will oooh and ahhh and think oh what a good Muslimah she must be.

Even though, in some countries (Egypt comes to mind), hijab is very much a fashion thing. So being fashionable can be the motivation behind hijab just as much as a sense of modesty. You'll see women in a pink hijab, with a tight shirt, tight jeans, pink sneakers... and a pink bag. Even though their head is covered... there is no sense of modesty to their dressing. You can see every curve.


Even though a woman who does not wear hijab may give more in charity, have better adab (Islamic manners), give more in charity, be more attentive to her prayers, etc. It's external. I guess that's why we're reminded that only God knows one's heart and who is really observant, so to speak.
Same thing in Turkiye, and you can see them smoking, sometimes even drinking a beer.
post #34 of 44
Im gonna jump in here

I absolutely agree that whether or not one wears hijab, niqab etc defines "how religious" she is, because only God knows her intention behind wearing it, and how she is in other aspects of her life. But i do not want to discount the hijab either. The religion of Islam requires that we follow the teachings of Qu'ran and the practices of the prophet. There are many teachings because Islam encompasses ALL parts of life from family ettiquitte, to the way one should dress, to the best way to run a country, etc. it is not just "spiritual guidance", but guidance in every aspect of life. Wearing the scarf is very much part of Islam, and while it cannot judge how "religious" one is (because like i said, who knows if she prays, is good with her children, etc..) we should not discount the fact that it is a religious obligation and credit and respect should be given to one who wears it, just as the same should be given to someone who is kind to their neighbors, good with their children, etc... does that make any sense? In the end of course, every action is by intention, and that only God knows!

When i wore niqab and people asked me why, I would explain that there is a difference in opinion about it- the verse in Qu'ran says to tell the believing women to take their head covering and cover their bossoms. Some interpret that just to include the hair, neck, chest, etc, and others interpret that to include the face. Some do not believe it includes the face but cover their face anyways because we know that the wives of the prophet covered their faces and they are considered to be the best of women, so in a sense it is just trying to emulate them.

As far as the comment the boy had made- it was a joke and we took it that way. Nothing more. I think perhaps if I was dressed in reveling clothing, and someone made the comment, I would have been insulted- but I think it would have then reflected more on the way I was dressed than the other person. Make sense? I think the kid was just being sarcastic and we found the humor in it.
post #35 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by MuslimMama View Post
I absolutely agree that whether or not one wears hijab, niqab etc defines "how religious" she is, because only God knows her intention behind wearing it, and how she is in other aspects of her life. But i do not want to discount the hijab either.
I agree with this ... there's kind of a fine line that one can too easily fall too far to either side in terms of perspective on the matter ... just as it is easy to say hijab/niqab/whatever is more of a reflection of piety than it is, it is also easy to say it is less of one. While there are cultural traditions, fashion trends, etc, it can not be wholly ignored that for many women such dress IS a pious matter, and IS worn in part as a tangible reminder to act more in accordance with religious guidelines and/or simply in the effort to be more pleasing before god.
post #36 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Turkish Kate View Post
Not to belabor the point, which UmmZaynab has already made, but what a woman wears has nothing to do with her religious observance. I've recently started wearing the headscarf again and I am no more observant this week than I was last month. Nothing about me has changed, not my sense of humor (which tends to run to the dry and sarcastic), not my observance of actual religious obligations (which is spotty at best and I freely admit it), nor my political views (which tend to run to the Socialist side, I married a Marxist, what can I say?). The only thing that has changed is that I wear a piece of fabric--sometimes cotton, sometimes silk--on top of my head. Wearing this piece of fabric on my head does not make me better or more observant than the mama who doesn't cover, but does manage to make her five prayers every day (which I am very lax on).

If you think of the headscarf like any other symbol of religion, let's take a cross for example, then it's easier to understand. Is a Christian woman who wears a cross on a necklace more observant than one who doesn't? I remember waaaaaaaay back in the 80s (what I remember of the 80s anyway) when Madonna wore a huge rhinestone cross with her get-up. Does that make her a more observant Christian than someone who doesn't? Is a Jewish woman who wears a wig more observant than one who doesn't?
.
I can't speak about a cross on a Christian woman - because I am not in her shoes. However, to an observant Jewish woman modesty is tantamount. It is inseparable from the rest of the how she lives her life. Just as she keeps kosher, keeps the Sabbath, and guards the rest of the commandments, this to is a part of that. A married Jewish woman who is observant does cover her hair. Women who are less observant may not cover their hair at all. We are told 'modesty is an adornment for life'.
This is not to say that the observant woman is the same as a religious woman. I tend to use those two words differently. Someone could be very religious - speaking to G-d on a regular basis and feel very closely connected to our Creator, but not be observant - not keeping the Sabbath the way we are intended to, not dressing modestly, etc. Conversely, someone could be very observant: dressing modestly, keeping the Sabbath, kosher, etc, but not be religious and not feel connected to G-d at all.
At least to me, in my religion, a woman who covers her hair is more observant than the one who doesn't. (Then there are different levels of how to cover hair...just like in your religion).
post #37 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by tikva18 View Post
I can't speak about a cross on a Christian woman - because I am not in her shoes. However, to an observant Jewish woman modesty is tantamount. It is inseparable from the rest of the how she lives her life. Just as she keeps kosher, keeps the Sabbath, and guards the rest of the commandments, this to is a part of that. A married Jewish woman who is observant does cover her hair. Women who are less observant may not cover their hair at all. We are told 'modesty is an adornment for life'.
This is not to say that the observant woman is the same as a religious woman. I tend to use those two words differently. Someone could be very religious - speaking to G-d on a regular basis and feel very closely connected to our Creator, but not be observant - not keeping the Sabbath the way we are intended to, not dressing modestly, etc. Conversely, someone could be very observant: dressing modestly, keeping the Sabbath, kosher, etc, but not be religious and not feel connected to G-d at all.
At least to me, in my religion, a woman who covers her hair is more observant than the one who doesn't. (Then there are different levels of how to cover hair...just like in your religion).
I absolutely agree with this! And you are right, same applies in our religion. Thanks for sharing that viewpoint! I think it was a great explanation
post #38 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by tikva18 View Post
At least to me, in my religion, a woman who covers her hair is more observant than the one who doesn't. (Then there are different levels of how to cover hair...just like in your religion).
The problem is that in Islam there is nowhere that says outright "hair must be covered," let alone "face must be." It is the vast majority's accepted interpretation of the verses dealing with covering (hair, that is), however there is a minority interpretation which disagrees with the current understanding of what the named garments were, what they were being called to cover, what the prophet's explanation of those verses meant, etc. So it can be a question of interpretational differences, not just ones of degrees of observance.
post #39 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
The problem is that in Islam there is nowhere that says outright "hair must be covered," let alone "face must be." It is the vast majority's accepted interpretation of the verses dealing with covering (hair, that is), however there is a minority interpretation which disagrees with the current understanding of what the named garments were, what they were being called to cover, what the prophet's explanation of those verses meant, etc. So it can be a question of interpretational differences, not just ones of degrees of observance.
That is a very good point too
post #40 of 44
I hear that - and that is also the case for us - where there are different interpretations of a sentence. HOwever, usually there is one interpretation that is most widely accepted and then followed. Occasionally there are more interpretations that are followed - for example with hair covering: one says that all the hair must be covered, another says all but a tefach (approx. the width of a fist). Therefore there are woomen out there who will let their bangs show or the first bit above where the bangs would be. But again, I think that the women who are most observant would not be the ones with their bangs showing.
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