To Niqab or Not to Niqab

Recent news and current media outlets have been abuzz with the ‘to ban’ or ‘not to ban’ the Niqab – debate

I was a little hesitant to write a blog on the matter however two things have pushed me into formulating a public opinion:

  1. The ridiculous notion that Muslims in the media somehow represent the overall view of entire Muslim community or Islam
  2. That somehow the stench of double standards begins to reek from these sets of arguments

To begin with the first point. Recently, a British journalist cornered about her (and I have to stress her belief) regarding the Islamic dress code, claimed an absence of the existence of a prescribed dress code in Islam. Two things are very wrong with this statement if we were to take it at face value. To start with, where she is a journalist and that too of the BBC which breeds on impartiality for news reporting. Her answer is not a fully researched one. From both a journalistic or a Muslims point of view. Thus, her point of view becomes null and void based on that alone. The second point is where her personal beliefs overlapped and clouded her understanding of what is prescribed in Islam.

Now we come to the impact of such a statement on a social scale. The impact is two-fold; the impact on non-Muslims/supporters of the ban and Muslims in general.

We get those pro-democratic pseudo female rights groups who all jump on the bandwagon to use such an opportunity to further polarize the ideology of covering. The true message is lost and the Muslim woman is not only further demoralized within her own community but by the general community. She is constantly seen as a victim of her faith and seeking a savior. However, more recently she is now seen as the perpetrator thanks to the aptly named ‘black widow‘ character concocted by the British media.

The Muslim community is either reactionary with the usual antics of burning flags, balaclava clad men with banners claiming distaste for the West or the ‘modern’ Muslims who claim that Islam must move with the times. That progress comes with movement into the 21st century even if that means an abandonment of our basic principles.

So what is the solution to such circumstances? Do we blame the ‘evil’ West? Do we sit back and claim that the only way to fully integrate into ‘their’ society is by accepting the ‘values’ they hold on to? The values that allow women to be naked as a form of liberalism even if her sexuality is the most exploited commodity in the Western world?


Muslims have fallen behind and have no one else but themselves to blame. The Ummah needs to integrate into these societies. It is not ‘us’ against ‘them.’ It is leading by example. We are leaving the women within our faith exposed and vulnerable to criticisms. We need to start supporting and exposing them in the right way. We need to show that there are highly educated women in the media sciences arts and other humanities. These are progressive minds that are leading the way to show how Islam emulates the station of women to the highest level.

My pledge (and I beckon myself before anyone else) is that we all start by explaining the stance of the Islamic dress code. Even encouraging debates with other communities. So the supposed threat of a ‘hijabi’ represents is slowly erased. Be it at the work place, educational institutes, MSA’s. Knowledge of the Islamic dress code will further encourage her on a personal level. A woman who is observing piety is a woman who is directing focus to her intellect.

I would strongly suggest you to read the following article: The study is from sociological perspective and shows the growing problem women have regardless of faith race class or creed.

Amira Shaikh