Hijab, Niqab, and Burka: Say What?
“Hijab, niqab, burka, It sounds like some sort of exotic food.”
As I ponder upon this question myself, I think about the different ways I may be perceived as a young women walking around in the state. I often wonder about my hijab, being the pride and joy of my life.
I am in love with my hijab, or my concept of modesty. I find it liberating, as I am in control of what YOU see. I am in control of my body, and I choose what to show you and what to hide from you.
The hijab, by definition, has an internal and external connotation.
An external (or physical) hijab is simply the covering of the hair, neck, and ears and the body of a female excluding the hands and face. The internal definiton of a hijab is a woman’s modest interactions with her peers and male counterparts.
It is a women’s body language, her eye contact, her speech and the sound of her voice. It is the way a woman holds herself: her confidence, eloquence, elegance, and her ability to be the greatest and most supreme form of femininity known to exist.
The hijab is meant to allow a women to respect and be respected, thus forcing society to treat her in the most appropriate fashion. In order for a woman to have a complete hijab, the internal and external forms need to be balanced, not too extreme or too lenient.
The religion of Islam does not force anyone to act or dress in a certain way: we are given free will and choice.
The hijab is Islamic; therefore, it is part of the religion of Islam. It is considered the flag of Islam since it distinguishes a Muslim woman from a non-Muslim woman. So, the ultimate question arises….is this something women are forced to wear in the religion? The answer is simply No. The religion of Islam does not force anyone to act or dress in a certain way: we are given free will and choice. It teaches us the ideology and the rules of practice, and it is the choice of the believing man or woman to act on the belief.
Yes, there may be people that force their women to wear a hijab, or to even believe in the religion itself. These are the so-called “Islam police”, not the actual teachings of the faith.
“Ok, so what is a niqab and a burqa? Where does that come into play?”
The definiton of a niqab is a type of veil worn by some Muslim women that is made of lightweight opaque fabric and leaves only the eyes uncovered. Simply stated, this is when a woman is covered from head to toe in dark colors with only her eyes showing.
The burqa has two definitions: it is usually just another word for a niqab (veil with only the eyes uncovered) or is it the full covering of the face, with the eyes covered as well.)The terms burqa and niqab are used interchangeably, depending upon which news channel you watch.
These are articles of clothing chosen by many Muslim women and I believe everyone has the choice to wear what they wish. Now the key point here is this: the niqab and burqa is not propagated through Islam, it is culture. Islam does not say a woman must cover her face since it is considered a key aspect in communication.
The niqab and burqa are cultural elements of modesty that many people over the years have implemented into Islamic dress. Everyone may have their own personal belief about the niqab and burqa as I have; however, everyone is entitled to dress in the way they like.
Do you think our society has reached a point that in order for us to feel comfortable with someone, it matters how covered they are?
So hijab, niqab, and burqa are all elements of modesty. I am not here to state what is correct and what is not because I am by no means a scholar. But, I will leave you with this: do you think our society has reached a point that in order for us to feel comfortable with someone, it matters how covered they are?
I am covered, but does that mean I lack an intellect, or an ability to think rationally? Am I not intricate, kind, caring, empathetic, educated, or even civilized? The whole point of a hijab, niqab, or burqa is to allow us to be admired or liked for our characteristics and personality traits, not how long our hair is or the shape of our bodies.
I believe THAT is liberation.