Eating with niqab


Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Raheem

I always chuckle when I read or hear  people speculating how women who wear niqaab are able to eat while wearing it-or watch the multiple mocking videos showing women with niqab attempting to eat spaghetti!  Granted it does take practice but it can be done and I know several niqabis who will nosh on fries or an ice cream cone alike while out and about in niqab. All it takes is skill…and know-how.

I always found that the niqabs which easily flip up over the head-like the Gulf or Egyptian style headband niqabs are the easiest to eat in, as they provide more room whereas the half niqabs hang much closer to the mouth…you fill in the details of that one.

Granted I have only worn niqab occasionally over the past decade or so, so I am no expert, but I did wear niqab for 4 months in Saudi and for about 2 years off and on before getting married, so I do have a bit of experience with niqab noshing skills.

In Saudi its really not a huge concern as most restaurants and coffee shops and malls have separate seating facilities for the genders or family groups and even a mall food court will have a special womans only enclosed eating area where you can take off your niqab and even abaya to dine in peace.

I’d like to hear from some of my niqabi readers how they handle  hunger pangs when out and about in niqab, what styles of niqab they find easiest to eat in and what foods they are able to eat easily and ones they arent able to eat…as easily in, with niqab.

Which leads me too…a sister here on the east coast (I reckon either NY or Philly…probably Philly) has developed a niqab with a zipper down the front with snaps at the bottom edge.  She calls it the ZipNiqab. Its supposed to make noshing in niqab a lot easier and hands-free. Granted, I can see where she is coming from…although I know some sisters are so ingrained with the lift niqab up *just enough* or sit facing away from people or even wearing a niqab which snaps on one side. I think her idea is rather ingenious and I give her props for trying to develop a more hands-free design.  I don’t know how comfortable the zipper may be against the face or whether it will expose too much of the face, but, we all have different levels of comfort with such things…

The sister is on Facebook (search for ZipNiqab) and on Tumblr and Flickr, so you can contact her there.

Also, I looked quite extensively to find out whether those “eating niqabs” were still available. I remember a few years ago some sisters in Philly developed a type of headband niqab with a snap on the side where you would unsnap one side and hold it as a screen when out. I was unable to find out if they are still sold…if anyone knows, please let me know, as I’d like to put that info up here as well as the niqab posts on this blog do get a *LOT* of traffic, mash’Allah


5 thoughts on “Eating with niqab

  1. Although I like the idea of a zip niqab, I don’t think I would ever use one. In my mind, it defeats the purpose of a niqab to be covering the majority of the face except the mouth to eat. Idk. Just seems odd to me, but if anyone actually has experience using one, feel free to correct me! (although i suppose it would be pretty handy for those times when I”m driving and trying to eat at the same time.)
    Typically eating isn’t hard. There are definitly a few things (like pasta and soup for example) that I have to really pay attention to (wouldn’t want a stray noodle getting sauce all over me) but mostly it’s OK. One trick is to cut everything into bite size pieces, so if you ever see a niqabi eating a cheeseburger with a fork and knife, please don’t make fun of me! 🙂
    Funny story time- There was one time when I was eating some fries and I got so caught up in the conversation I was having that I ending up with french fry and ketchup all over the outside of my niqab. That was pretty hilarious actually. I’m sure every niqabi has a story or two like that.

  2. That’s one thing that sucks a bit about Western Saudi/Hijaz most of the family seating is verrry public and very few restaurants have little closed booths or rooms. We just had to buy food and take it back to our hotel. Alhamdulillaah in London there are many places with private seating/rooms for families the bad thing is that the type of cuisine on offer at those places is often very pricey or not our favourite. Whenever I try and eat in niqab I always make a real hash of it lol so I prefer not to if possible.

  3. I loved the restaurant I went to in pakistan. The booths had tall partitions between the booths and a Curtain on the aisle. So you had the choice of leaving the curtain open or closed. I got tickled when every one ordered ice cream, then his youngest daughter ordered a full meal. But she ate the whole thing!

  4. Eating under my niqab was an action I did not like at all. Very messy business. After years of struggling I just used to flip it up and eat. Bismillah! lol

  5. I can’t thank Allah enough for living in an arab-muslim country! Most restaurants have a family area or a partition they’d put up for you. And even if they don’t, you can’t demand for them to make a private space for you. Alhamdulillah!

    And yes, Sara, I don’t get how some muslimaat just flips their niqab over their head and start eating like everybody else in public. For awhile, I was looking for a fatwaa or something saying it’s allowed and couldn’t find any. Sometimes I feel like walking up to the sister and asking her on what basis does she think its fine?

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