To Cover or Not to cover, that is NOT the Question!

To Cover or Not to cover, that is NOT the Question!

“WHAT on the earth has happened to you, larrki?” My aunt exclaimed in a scandalous voice. “You were so “normal”! Such was the severity of her reaction seeing my head covered with a dupatta, although she sounded more like I got my head shaved or got overnight horns on my head.



This was just a piece of pie out of many comments that I received. You know it was the ‘ramification’ of my simple decision to wear, dopatta, and post-modern symbol of female subjugation.  This sort of overwhelming response had already driven me crazy. I had gone through a lot of hard thinking before this ‘change’ and never knew such a plethora of response would pour in.



Not making a case here for or against hijab, I believe its everyone’s right and choice to practice what they think is right for them. As I not only preach but practiced this mantra, I assumed the same liberty would be extended to me by others as well. Alas! That wasn’t the case at all.  Ours is a society only gives a very limited personal space to anyone.



As my experience goes, stereotyping is everyone’s favorite thing in Pakistan.  Although I was never very bold & experimental with my attire, this ‘minor’ change in my dressing made people think that I have turned into a fundo overnight. Some friends and relatives even tried to pre-empt any possible attempts of mine attempting to convert them into a fundo too!



There were funny statements passed by people regarding my dark future prospects (vis-à-vis both career and marriage prospects) including “do whatever you want to do dear, but only after you have found yourself a suitable rishta”.



A lot of people have the same attitude in every walk of life, be it your personal or professional circle. As a result, we take even our very personal decisions based on what is and what is not approved by the society. The one-fits-all mould is used by our families, relatives, friends and colleagues in judging every thing from one’s dressing to education to career to marriage is sickening!



I am not against conforming to norms. As man is a social animal, making others happy does and should play a part in our life, but not at the cost of our own mental peace. One can only be of service to others if they are comfortable in their own skin.



Thus, my dear aunties, I will still cover my head no matter what you say because that is what I deem fit and you can have your share of fun by fantasizing about my dark, dreary & husband-less future. Stay happy!

Erum Naqvi

A full time banker and a part time blogger

  • Noor Ahmed

    lol nice…its the same way everywhere people interfering in everybody else’s life!! drives me crazy

  • M.Saeed

    We must follow the basic injunctions of the Islamic way of life. Things forbidden, must be religiously excluded from life without any hesitation.

    Let us see what Qur’an says on this subject, before attempting to ridicule Islamic way of life. Qur’an states that:

    “O Prophet, tell your wives and daughters and the believing women to draw their outer garments around them (when they go out or are among men). That is better in order that they may be known (to be Muslims) and not annoyed…” (Qur’an 33:59)

    “—And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; and that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what must ordinarily appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands…” (Qur’an 24:30-31)

  • Amber

    Well majority comments are also an example of what you have tried to point out, the question is not what to do or not because we all know or good and bad, its just that we should not take any decision out of fear of people but what we think is good for us (and off course considering God’s happiness is a priority #1). I totally agree with what you pointed out, precisely and frankly written loved the opening. :)

  • Maqsoodghafoor

    If some one feel comfortable in burka everyone has the choice to dress they choose.

  • Shahbaz

    Dear you are very much right in your decision, may Allah help you, withstanding against these teasing comments. Be brave and in fact you are!

  • Ouch

    the tolerance and freedom of expression ends for civil society at the end of their preference spectrum.. they’re nothing but the other side of the radical stick… and probably the worst end…

  • Ouch

    one of the most stupid attempts at humour.. leaves a really bad taste..

  • Farooq M.Hashmi

    Congratulations! Miss Erum Naqvi you have made a right decision. By starting covering your head with a ” dopatta “, you have put yourself on the ” path of righteousness “. Your next sojourn will be the point where you will start wearing a ” shuttlecock-shaped ” burqa. At the further point of your journey on the ” path of righteousness ” you will be demanding the segregation of women in your work place. By then,being fully imbued with the spirit of ” piety “,you will urge your lady co-workers to follow suit.This august act of yours will urge lady-workers in other fields to copy-cat you.Naturally,your activity will vitalize the struggle for the separation of women in every field____separate universities for women,separate buses for women, separate houses for women, separate bazaars for women,and eventually it will lead to a demand for a separate province for women where they will live in isolation from men and the married ones in seclusion from their husbands. Of course, your ” jihad ” will send moulanas to the apex of their exultation. Bravo! Miss Naqvi keep it up.


    Hashmi rightly asks — why suddenly the ‘august’ dopatta — does it portend ‘progression’ to higher things slowly but steadily — as Hazrat Ameer Minaee could have said — “Haya uk lakht aaee orr niqaab aahistaa aahistaa.

  • Farooq M.Hashmi

    ‘ O’ Hashmi, only if you could shun your pesky desecration of ” dopatta ” and sacred ” shuttlecock-shaped burqa “, and also,the ridicule of Pakistani women’s demand of segregation in every sphere of the civil society.It is advisable that you pass your ” pomposity ” and ” arrogance ” through the alembic of humbleness and mortification.


    Qalim sb — why are you getting so upset like Nasrullah sb — why use such holy epithets? — pompous and arrogant? — “so called liberal” plus reactionary and then fanatic too – to boot?

    For just expressing one’s view about that silly lal dupatta?

    Didn’t Erum invite assenting and dissenting opinions when she placed her personal piece on a public forum?

    If I am allowed to express my ‘extremely’ moderate view as freely as your’s — Erum is on the way to turn into a ‘abnormal’ reactionary ‘Larki’ as diagnosed by both — Mr. Hashmi and Erum’s auntie — who is not a so called liberal — but an authentic flaming Liberal with a capital L.

  • Farooq M.Hashmi

    I think Miss Erum Naqvi should start wrapping a “chadar” around her body instead of covering her head only with a doppatta.Thereafter,she should start staying within the “chardeedvari” of her home.Mr.Qalim,this will probably,make you happy; will it not? Please tell me sotto voce.

  • Systematic Menacing Joker

    I was reading the comments and I have a question, do Mr. NASAH and Mr. HASHMI really exist in real world?
    I mean, it is NOT the point if Ms NAQVI here is right or wrong or pious or jihadi for that matter. The point, she wanted to prove is, SHE IS A LIVING BEING and should be free to make her decisions. Correct me, if I am wrong.
    I am a weird-johnny-depp-style bearded guy and love to wear shorts, smoke and listen music. But will I be kicked in my beautiful rear if I choose to wear Kameez Shalwar? or Will it be because I chose shorts? but again, its not the question Mr. NASAH and Mr. HASHMI. The question is, should I be criticized upon what I wear or what I do? Do I have freedom to choose my life-style?

    • Farooq M.Hashmi

      Mr.Systematic Menacing Joker, I enjoyed your long ” joke ” capsuled in your ” menacing ” post. Thank you.

    • Muneeb Ahmed Khan

      Mr Systematic Maniac, yes you have the freedom to kill someone as well but you would have to bear the consequences. Similarly, you have the freedom to choose your life-style but the consequences would depend upon whether or not you choose the life-style that ALLAH has ordered for men.

      The thing is that our body isn’t our personal property! ALLAH has granted us it so we must follow ALLAH’s order and implement his orders on our bodies too. Example, ALLAH has ordered the men to cover up till their knees so shorts shorter than that aren’t allowed.

      • NASAH (USA)

        Munib Ahmad Khan says — ” yes you have the freedom to kill someone as well…..”

        No — Munib Ahmed Khan — you DON’T have the freedom to KILL someone. Period.

        Similarly you DON”T have the freedom the shout FIRE in a crowded theater — when there is no fire.

        You do NOT have the Freedom to go around in shorts in Mecca or Medina — or go around head to foot covered with a sack — in Paris

    • Muneeb Ahmed Khan

      This is ridiculous on the part of admin to report my comment as abusive whereas there is nothing abusive in that. Can someone please identify the abuse.

    • NASAH (USA)

      As I have said before and I will say again — you have every right and full freedom to make a fool of yourself in a Burqa in public places — by the same token — the public has every right and the freedom to say that you are a making a fool of yourself in your Burqa.

  • Dr. Farooq

    Most of the commentaries agree that it is a person’s right to wear an attire according to his/her choice unless it is not forced on others. But there are two caveats: (a) a person should remain within the limits set by the society, and (b) a person should have the right to connive others (not force others) to follow him/her.

  • Mehmoona64

    dupatta or hijab might or might not be the essential requirement of religion but modesty is (hijab=modesty.)..
    wearing a hijab does not make one good or pious nor does not wearing it signify the opposite..however trends generally signify statements here the aunts objection is not the aversion to the dupatta but more so to what it signifies to todays women…a stride back in time… where a woman feels more comfortable in a society that had ”already accepted ” her without the veil on her head.. for women in a male dominated society it signifies submission loss of freedom of acceptability for what one is rather than projecting piety as the only form of female social acceptibility

  • Farooq M.Hashmi

    How come,no more arguments in favor of dopatta? Probably,the pro-dopatta advocates have exhausted their repertoire of arguments.

    • Anonymous

      Hashmi Sb

      Haven’t really seen an argument form you either – for or against dupatta that is. Would love to read your reasons either way, specially when dupatta is taken by choice, be it a fashions statement or reasons of belief.

  • Hussain Shaheed

    Tell your aunty that a Naqvi from Chicago thinks your ‘prospect’ chance went up because you wear a dopatta. Your chances will increase more if you wear a full hijab. Famous hadith from Rasulullah SAW that hijab is a shield for a believer. May Allah strengthen and help you.

  • Sohaib Rasul Qadri

    “do whatever you want to do dear, but only after you have found yourself a suitable rishta”.
    btw thats a really good decision u made… :)


    Qureshi sb please do not insult Akbar Allahabadi with your version of the verses

    The ‘true’ verse that judge Akbar Allahabadi wrote goes like this:

    Parday meiN kal jo ayeeN nazar chand beebeeyaN
    Akbar zamiN meiN zillatt-e-Qoumi say gaR gaya
    poochaa kay kub se aankh pe purdah ye puR gaya
    boleeN kay jub se aql pe murdoN kay puR gaya

    • M.S.Qureshi

      Sorry NASAH Sb, your tukbandi has taken over 4 months to get born.
      There are innumerable on-line references for the correct verses but, my slight “correction” with reference to the blog-text had well been classified by me being “morphed”, which even 4 months of your efforts have not been able to appreciate. NASAH, you are no any “Banay heiN dost NASEH” even to read the these discussions objectively with due respect to others. I have a great regard for Akbar Allahabadi for his very practical and well understood criticism for the betterment of society, which I have seen utterly aggressive in all your posts against anything positive , particularly against Islam and Pakistan.

      • NASAH (USA)

        And you call it ‘ Tukbandi’ — maulana you are utterly devoid of the final social sense of humor in Urdu poetry.

        What I am going to do you with you guys — you guys are soo literal — where you need to be a little illiteral — and ill-literal where you need to be literal.

        Thanks for asking me to be your “”Banay heiN dost NASEH” — thanks but no thanks — I cannot be your “charaa saaz” and “ghumgussar” for your utterly medieval 8th century humorless mindset — I am trying to thaw your frozen minds to the warmth and fragrance of the 21 century multicultural, multifaceted multiethnic multireligious garden — where you are not the ONLY ROSE in the garden that you think you are — for no apparent reason — and you guys do not like that.

  • judith

    we already have a problem most of the people acting as pretend muslims, that is the reason for our society’s downfall, we are too busy with looking like muslims, cover your head and have a beard but don’t worry about the lies, dishonesty, stealing etc.