The whole “I wore niqab/burqa/veil for a day” thing…


Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Raheem

There is something about the niqab which makes people interested in it. Either they love it, loath it, hate it, fear it, think its exotic, think its beautiful or just straight don’t care. regardless everyone is STILL fascinated with it. Often with IT-the niqab, but not HER, the woman behind the IT…because too often those who are fascinated with it, think they know HER but not IT.  i.e. she who is behind the veil is obviously oppressed or obviously foreign…man, I know many sisters who wear niqab who are not foreign and whom are quite fiesty…I’m sure they are not the HER those types imagine as “women behind the burqa”.

Anyway, enough of the philosophical spewings…LOL.

I always get amused when I read these fantastically embellished “Day in niqab/burqa/veil” articles which pop up now and then. You almost never read “I wore hijab for a day and survived!” stories because well, hijab just ISNT as exotic… but niqab seems to be much more of a fun sort of experiment which will yield a juicy read.


Such as this one…

I Walked Around in a Burqa All Day. LOL…its rather a funny read. I do admire the fact that the writer at the end acknowledges that she needs to be more open minded and respectful towards people whom are different from her and I guess the fact that she did her “experiment” in NYC does temper the revelatory effect of the article. LOL. Noone called her names, no one bothered her and really no one even glanced her way! Ah the bliss of life in a major urban city in the east coast of the USA. guess what, most people don’t care. Those who do care are either from somewhere else (transplants, not born urbanites) or are tourists or just are exceedingly odd in some way. Few if anyone would have bothered her anyway.

My largest peeves with her “experiment” is that she obviously doesnt have her facts right…why would a “Saudi burqa” have 5 pieces…?  I lived in Saudi and I can tell you, those who wore niqab tended to wear just 3. Abaya (head or shoulder), shaylah and niqab. Thats about it. Infact every type of niqab style Ive ever seen has just been either 2 or 3 pieces…

But it seems like she chose a very odd assortment of pieces like a butterfly abaya, a long khimar with hand slits, a scarf UNDER the khimar, a niqab and well…what else…thats 4, so where is the 5th thing and why would you wear a scarf UNDER your khimar, the khimar is your scarf. I guess someone was eager to make that dough and just told her to buy all this stuff. Oh and you CAN go to “a burqa shop” and buy one…there are many Muslim owned business which sell clothing for Muslim women and most do sell a niqab or two, some abayaat and some scarves. Steinway in Queens has several such shops…

And then she chose “touristy” things to do…to, scare tourists…LOL. Yes I know, its fun to scare tourists, esp those from small towns (I’ve done it myself…in my younger years), but most women who wear niqab are average individuals…do they-we, I, you…?… really go to tourist destinations all that much? Hey, i can stick a niqab on and go parade around the tourists at the art museum too…but I wont…cuz that wont accurately portray a day in niqab, would it? Instead id choose grocery shopping and taking a bus with it on. LOL
Also I’d have liked to have seen her get her terminology cleared up.

Anyway, overall…it was an interesting account but definitely lacking in anything really accurate or authentic.  More just a easy and exciting way to find something to write about.

and then you have some ones from women who are Muslim and of Middle Eastern background or LIVE in Saudi or Pakistan writing similar stories. I admit to finding the one from the SAUDI women IN RIYADH rather funny (darnit, cant find the URL-if I do, I’ll post it!)…cuz she lives IN Riyadh where niqab is the norm for most women AND SHE IS SAUDI! rolls eyes…next.

This one is interesting too, just because she is in Germany AND Arab. An Unsual Perspective… gotta love the full on eye-brows…


5 thoughts on “The whole “I wore niqab/burqa/veil for a day” thing…

  1. Well I have to beg your pardon. 😛 There are people who try go out in hijab. I did so a few times in different sized cities to see how would people react. Mind you, during those days we didn’t have that many Muslim students to make hijab a daily experience for the average pedestrian. Though it’s true that I didn’t write and extensive story about how it went. Also, it probably wouldn’t be that interesting, since I just went about my daily business, just ‘scarfed up’.

  2. I do have a burqa my aunt bought when she worked in Pakistan for a while, but I wouldn’t wear it outside. I think it would be way outstanding. Just simply too much in a country where you don’t get to see niqab either. But if I went to a country where that is the norm, I probably would try to wear any of those too. I think it’s a sign of respect not to go on an about clad in almost nothing just because it’s hot and then to go home an whine that hoards of men tried to woo you.

  3. I have to disagree with one thing you wrote that is the long khimar being the scarf/headcovering in itself, many scholars would class it as a half jilbab or substitute for the jilbab/overhead abaya thus while you’d wear a scarf under an overhead abaya you’d wear one underneath the long, cape style of khimar. A bit like the traditional Afghan or Pak styles of ‘burqa’ although you do get some who don’t, most women wear it with a dupatta or ‘chaddar’ under wrapped in the conventional way. This is one reason why I prefer overgarments whether the full or half type open at the neck to allow air circulation. But yup love her total lack of understanding of different garments worn in different countries especially since she tries to make herself sound like some big expert.

  4. The stories I could tell about wearing Hijab……One guy ran up to me and said he had never seen a white woman muslim before. I told him that he needed to get out more. Then while in Walmart, one guy was glaring at me. When I looked him in the eye and started walking in his direction – Honestly he ran the other direction. Then in another store one guy said to his wife ‘don’t look but there is a muslim behind us’ Well she looked anyway. I waved at them

  5. Hmm not sure about this day trail flex. After wearing the niqab for one day no real conclusion can be made in my opinion on what it is like. I wore niqab for over seven years and it was nothing to experiment with and you have to wear it for the sake of Allah to get a true account of what it is like. Then you will get real reactions. She wore soo many outfits for the experiment. Not sure how she didn’t collapse with all those layers on! lol

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