My Veil is Not Your Business

My Veil is Not Your Business

Ever came across debates on why or why not to wear jeans, socks or may be shoes? The question might appear to hit the highest point of hilarity, but seriously, the discussion ad nauseam on ‘To wear or not to wear veil’, and what sort of reaction it reaps from different segments of society, has made it a dilemma worst than Hamlet’s and made me wonder what a strange set of species we are.


Honestly, is that a complex screaming out loud or an agenda to put up or fight off a certain image stereotype of oneself? Where the advocates of liberalism staunchly endorse the idea that what one chooses to wear is purely a matter of personal discretion, and any attempts to impute influence over one’s choice is but a brute breach of privacy, why then we see a spate of articles and blogs cashing in on discussions on repercussions or non-repercussions wearing a certain garment has, on one’s outlook.


Whether you call Niqab an assertion of patriarchy that needs to be fought against or a tool to exhibit modesty, the truth is, it is a still a ‘choice’ made by an individual that needs to be respected and so any commentary on it needs to be snubbed and returned with thanks.


Recently, the so-called modernists who decide to talk about women wearing hijab with subtle hints of speaking about a kind that has landed straight from the stone-age, or a bunch of alien forms who need to be ‘humanized’, should know that picking them up as subjects of a discussion or analysis is precisely what is ‘de-humanizing’ them. Is it too novel a notion to understand? We all see how children behave the moment their mothers begin talking about them in public. It irritates and annoys them to strange extremes. And here, our women adhering to certain ideological principles, which you and I might not agree with, are made the center of discussions every now and then and on several public platforms.


It’s ironic still how the proponents of feminist rights use the very gender, only to earn popularity and fame for themselves. Yet, if it’s really hard to function without sensationalizing your content, try issues like, ‘why men should/should not wear Shalwar Kameez at work place?’, or perhaps, ‘Is it okay for men to roam about on streets in knickers?’ No? Why not? Because it may not bring half as much fun and views as debating and scrutinizing women’s choices of dressing would.


Talking about free choices, isn’t it too subjective an ideal to discuss? Rationally speaking, our choices are never really independent of socio-political elements around us. Why Pakistani women have almost abandoned shalwars for trousers, tights or capris? Is that a free choice? I don’t think so. I know if I don’t attire in a certain fashion, I’ll be slighted by the society as an old-line and conventional creature. And so if following a certain fashion influences the way people evaluate me as a person, can we then really call my wearing capris a free choice? If not, then one should not go on about criticizing people’s choices as no choice at all, only because in their opinion they are not free.


The discussion here is not whether wearing Niqab or veil is right or not, the question is, where the need to discuss it comes from in the first place? Who has given me the right to pick up someone’s dress choices and trialing them on a public platform or even glossing over it in any which way. It should be none of anyone’s business and one should instead mind one’s own. You can’t demand the right to live the way you want to and with respect, without granting the other the same.


Geo aur Jeenay Do!


Follow Madeeha @Charmed0000

Madeeha Ishtiaque

The content writer & person-in-charge of the The News/Geo International Blog. She monitors the social media activity on The News. Follow her on twitter @charmed0000

  • mars


  • Sarah H.

    I completely agree. I really appreciate your objective analysis on the subject.

  • Madiha

    Madiha I am happy that you wrote about the subject. It might appear unimportant to some but I have seen the debate going on on a certain platform which is directly or indirectly blemishing the image of our religion and giving a chance of cheerful discussion in the name of freedom or modernism. And somehow it’s aggravating the misconceptions about our Deen. There are certain things that are not part of the fundamentals but are left to a person’s discretion, and veil/covering face is one of them. I can’t agree with you more that no tom dick and harry has the right to criticize or mock one’s choice rather they should accept and appreciate those who are not among the blind followers of so-called modernism. I wish people could really understand the meaning of ‘modernism’. Bravo!

  • Nabeel

    Bravo!!!…keep it up Ms. Madeeha!, Marvi Sirmed would be in flames after reading this !

    • SarojKapoor


  • Areeb Masood Awan

    Really Wonderful..

  • Hejab Rasheed

    Xcellent answer to those who don’t understand it’s beauty!!!

  • Misterio Vida

    i totally agree with you… what the so-called feminists/liberals need to understand is that it is a matter of personal choice what one wants to wear… i think that is another form of extremism forcing people what to wear and what not to wear… i have never seen any niqab-wearing female who has faced any difficulty just because of her wearing veil… there are issues females are facing in our society but these have nothing to do with wearing or not wearing..instead the women rights champion need to focus on other issues which are more important for the betterment of the womenfolk…

  • Uzair

    Sorry but your argument just doesn’t cut it. There are norms in any society and the discussion on niqab is about formation of these norms. You obviously can’t say what a person wears is their business only, since clothes are usually for public display and interaction, and hypothetically will you have zero issue with a man who wears a string thong in public, or a women wearing miniskirts in Lahore? If you honestly answer “no”, then your argument is valid and I rest my case. Otherwise, if you agree that there are limits and norms, then for a society in which women are _human beings_ and not objects, then the _custom_ of covering their faces is a barbaric and utterly misogynistic one. Even if a woman dons niqab by choice, she is still broadcasting her collusion with the forces of misogyny, and thus “liberals” are indeed offended by it.

    • Anonymous

      I see what you are saying but from another vantage point, there is a disproportionate focus on what women don’t do than what men don’t do. For instance, nobody is so picky about men having beard despite the fact that there are numerous Hadiths on the importance of beard. A lame answer would be that hijab has been ordered in the Quran whilst keeping of beard hasn’t. But this answer does not exonerate men from keeping beards, yet the focus is still very much on women. Apart from the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and TTP in the FATA areas, there hasn’t been a case of men being socially pressured to keep beards. Yet in the same countries, women feel the social pressure to wear hijab, and it generally comes from men telling women what has been ordered for them. So the basic complaint women have is that why is the society more tolerant towards men and not much towards women ?

      For many women, this is a case of the population being sexist and male-chauvinistic. Talking about thongs and mini-skirts is really pushing it. It is an extreme point, and reaction to such blatant exhibitionism is varied even in the west. The midwest part of US for instance, is fairly conservative and such exhibitionism will not go well with the population. Choosing not to wear hijab should not be equated to choosing to wear thongs. If one does so, it is an apples and oranges comparison.

      A large fraction of male population in Muslim countries takes offence from the fact that a woman is not covering her head while the same fraction hardly considers not having a beard an offence. It is this difference in attitudes that serves the basis of such articles. Men need to understand that women who choose not to wear hijab and niqab, can be good,pious and respectable human beings just like men who don’t keep beards and prefer wearing shirts-and-jeans over shalwar-kameez.

      That’s all there is to it.

  • Imran

    Just one question for the author?
    If ppl may start walking nude in the public, will that be of anyone’s business or it should be accepted well in Muslim countries?

    • protected in veil

      i dont know wat the author will respond but i want to tell u sir, those who are actually against this veil, the so called modern societies, they don’t say anything against people getting almost nude and completely nude in public… in uk there were a few events in which people were asked to come and get completely naked (to accept their body as it is) and this fact was told on a bbc programme … i dont think there was any debate against that non sense at all…. so if these societies give freedom to choose to be naked, why is there a question about covering urself as much as u want…!!!


    Veil is the imposition of Mullah Martial Law against Ladies. God commands keep your face open, hands open, feet open. Let us analyse logically: In those days pipe water was not available in the tents/houses. It is very common in Arabia that sand storm rises and dust settles down. If the ladies and gents kept their head covered they saved a lot from dust settling on head. Can you please tell me how much cotton was grown in Arabian peninsula? How many hand looms were working in Arabia and how much cloth was produced? The Arab women were getting enough cloth to cover their body only. Buying cloth for Jilbab or Burka was out of question. The Syrians, Egyptians and Indians were selling cloth against purchase of Date, Coffee Beans, Spices exchanged under barter system and sold against barter system – mostly in Latakia, Aden, and Palestine and Lebanon coastal areas. The VEIL AND JILBAB for women is the innovation of Mullahs. It has nothing to do with Islam. There is evidence that Azdawaj Mutahirats were attending the Islamic Council meetings during the life time of the holy prophet (SAW) withut veil or Burka. In order to keep a domination on female sex the Molvis imposed and over a period indoctrinated the Muslim community that without Burka Islam will be in proble. Eye contact is very important. There is no BE SHARMI OR BAY HAIEEE IF a woman talks to with eye contact.

    • protected in veil

      mr hadi whose name means ‘one who gives Hadayat’, please if u cant do it better not say anything at all…. do not try to relate something to God that is not true or u dont have proof of… how can u prove that Umhatul Momeneen attended meetings without a face covered? and where and when did God command to leave the face uncovered??? give an authentic reference….!!!

  • L. Manohar

    A muslim woman publicly wearing a veil “voluntarily” or “joyously” is strengthening the hands of those who wish to create a misogynic and macho society in the name of a 7th century tribal-arab god. Deal with this fact.

  • Hamza

    Pretty useless post. Honestly.


    I am one of those Tom Dick and Harry who considers Hijab 100% regressive and plainly anti modernistic — in fact regressive to a point of a going back to the bad old medieval ages.

    Of course you have a RIGHT to your own CHOICE of making a fool of yourself in public — by the same token — I have the same right and the same choice to SAY that you are making a fool of yourself in public.

    For us totalitarian Muslims — it is shamelessly easiest to parade around in some of the most grotesque-looking antique outfits — on the modern streets of the West — in the name of a skewed IDENTITY — but murderously hard to respect other people opinions about how backwardly ridiculous you look in the name of the same perverted identity.

    If I sound a little too soft on Hijab — because I love my Muslim women to unfurl their hairs, their faces their appearances that go hand in hand with their intellect — for the world to see and admire how beautiful how stately how sophisticated how modern – and how mainstream they are.

  • Muhammad Akbar

    its modesty. hijab is modesty. shame on those who oppose it.
    whoever is against it is extremist.

    • Ashish

      So opposing hijab (veil) is an extremist view? Condoning is fine? Enforcing is a step better? Mandating is the best? And that applies only to women? Why not ensure women are never seen outside the homes. Why not apply same standards to men? Wow, what a world with views!

    • hasan

      How dare you tell a woman what is modest or not. Mind your own business.

    • Huma

      men should be modest in their own attitudes,they should look at women with respect ,its time to teach men to change,rather than keep going with torturing women at every level

  • Cancerianx

    Appreciate your views on the subject. Unfortunately voices of our society have little impact against the war waged in international media for liberties.
    Yes we have to reform…yes one has to have freedom. But I am against the measurement tool i.e. liberties compared to which society.
    Food for thought….!

  • Mubashir

    Never understood the need to wear Niqab (which is not stipulated in Islam otherwise women during Hajj would wear it) in the West. I can understand in those countries where women are teased in the streets and it is a way for them to evade attention. But in the West? If the idea of a woman in the West is not to draw attention to herself, it fails miserably on that count alone!! Nothing wrong with a head covering or a scarf but Niqab? On what religeous grounds? Does the Qur’an stiplates wearing Niqab? Are the Muslims going to make up their own laws outside of Qur’an? I have a feeling those women who go around wearing Niqab in the streets of London or Paris are desperately seeking attention!! Otherwise they know how to dress up in a modest manner and blend in.

  • Jaani

    Finally something on this website that I want to reply to lol. I think this was a great article. I’ve been in the US for 7 years now and I can see how the international media has been playing with Pakistanis.

    Some statistics about US: According to the US Department of Justice, a woman is raped every two minutes. According to an estimate, 30 percent of military women have been raped by fellow soldiers. In 2008, there were 1.2 million abortions, primarily because the mother didn’t want a child at that point. 34% of women get pregnant at least once before the age of 20, of which 8 in 10 are unintended, and 79% are to unmarried teens. An average man sleep with 7 women in his life and an average woman sleeps with four. 9.9 million women are single mothers living with children younger than 18 in 2010. Between 40% and 60% percent of new marriages eventually end in divorce. The National Task Force on Prostitution suggests that over a million people in the US have worked as prostitutes in the United States, about 1% of American women. Every year, about 17500 individuals are brought into the US and held against their will as victims of human trafficking. Women trafficked to the United States have been forced to have sex with 400-500 men to pay off $40,000 in debt for their passage. 16.9 is the average age of entry into prostitution for girls.

    But all the headlines on CNN etc are about rapes and acid throwing and girls school bombings in Pakistan of course. Yes, all these things do happen in Pakistan. But the point I’m trying to make is that women don’t have a perfect life in US or any place else either. The West has been trying really hard to make Pakistanis (and other Islamic countries) more western and have been pretty successful so far. Now I will probably be called a mullah or a Taliban that I am against development, women’s rights, and education. Not so. I just don’t see how being a good Muslim, and being educated and modest can be mutually exclusive.

    And about the veil – many things in Arab culture of the time were prohibited by the Prophet (PBUH) such as infanticide and not giving women property rights. However, the veil was not among them. In fact, his wives covered their faces themselves. In the past few years, there have been efforts by people to separate Sunnah from Islam, saying that whatever is not in the Quran is not binding upon us. However, there is a well known hadith – “Whoever neglects my Sunnah does not belong to me.” I’m not saying that wearing a veil is fard, but what I’m trying to say is that if he didn’t disapprove something, we shouldn’t do so either. So if for just a moment we remove our prejudices against conservative Muslims, and just look at the act of wearing a veil and having a beard strictly as a love for our Prophet’s lifestyle, maybe we can appreciate their faith and courage. This subject is not as controversial as stoning so we should be somewhat forgiving lol

    The US and many western countries have gender issues of their own. Why don’t women get paid as much? Why aren’t there enough women CEO’s? It’s almost like men and women are competing against each other. And it has been like this for the west for many centuries, since traditional Christianity always saw women as problem makers. But it wasn’t like this for us until just 20 years ago. We have bought into this western philosophy of equal and same, in place of equal and different that we had in the past. If men wear jeans then women wear jeans and if mean wear shorts then women wear shorts and so forth. But this is not just in Pakistan, that is just the direction that the world is going in right now. It’s supposed to be “liberation”, “enlightenment”, “moderation”, “freedom”, “democracy”, and all those fancy words we have these days. Call me mullah someone please lol

    • Huma

      you are 99% right darling,but your view about following sunnah is a bit naive,if you really want to follow sunnah then you should eat from a clay bowl,drink from a camel skin,mend your own shoes,sleep on an uncomfortable bed,show kindness to animals,women,old,,,,,,,and so on,but the people who do wear hijab and grow a beard now a days usually have different ajendas on their minds ,its not really sunnah they are intersted in.

    • shahid

      Do you have facts for Pakistani womens? No , because we don’t disclose the truth.

    • Mkhan2057

      It is a typical response. Why compare all to USA all the times. Look at Middle east how they treat women. I live in USA for over 30 years now , its true there are problems with the culture but don’t paint a picture as if it is that bad and all rosy there. lets acknowledge first we have problems in Muslim countries and that has nothing to do with Veil. Pakistan is going down Hill is that because women are not wearing Veil, or if all women tomorrow wear veil our problem will be solved. We as a Pakistani by birth feel it is time we don’t use this women card to hide out shortcomings. I was in malaysia last summer, you can see it is too HOT there , 95% humidity, and i notice an Arab guy was with his wife and now imagine this picture, he is in Shorts and a T shirt and woman with him in total black Abaya covering even her face. You see my point.

    • SarojKapoor


  • sana

    i am unclear with the stunning reality that why Muslims are pendulum Between two cultures western and eastern. why not to accept Hijab as part of Muslim Culture and instead of opposing it we should accept it. every component of culture may not always showcase beauty, it matter of security as well. Muslim women are at freedom to choose that without her own husband no one is at liberty to look at her so she use Hijab as a filter simply be disallowing the visual contact of men with her who has no relation with her.

    • Aakiyanza


  • protected in veil

    i found this article very thought provoking .. thanx for dicussing this issue. and after reading the comments i want to say one thing to especially those who are using the word “misogynistic” for this veil … if u call it misogynistic which literally means hatred for women… what are ur opinions about Taking JAHEZ dowry from women which is actually an act of degrading women and making them pay for their marriage a huge price… and before saying anything against jahez do keep in mind how much jahez did ur wife/daughter-in-law/brother’s wife bring in ur house??? its Islam that uplifted woman’s value and commanded the man to pay as much dowry as she wants for leaving her family and everything … if those who call them liberal really want to liberate women then try liberating them from these chains of Jahez(dowry) they have to pay on there wedding. veiling the women atleast does some good, it protects her from dirty evil eyes of filthy minded men.
    one more thing. i am also a veiled women … suppose i accept the opinion of those who think i must not cover my face because its suppressing or opperssing me … tell me then what can u or anyone on this earth can do to protect me from being starred at, flirted with or even raped.. how can i protect myself from these evils????

    • Huma

      its quite childish to think that hiding behind the veil will protect you,you are actually making yourself look more vulnerable that way.Ever seen an ostrich hide its head in the sand,when scared?

  • Taj Ahmad

    Every men should be respectful to all women with or without Veil or Hijab,
    this is the message of Islam and our great prophet of Mohammad,pbuh.Our Women could be our mother, sister, wife or cousin.


    “can you wear a skirt, jeans or sleeveless top in Saudi Arabia at the public places? even in Pakistan in the rural areas…”

    Good question Saiara — if you cannot dare to bare in Saudi Arabia — how come you dare to wear the Niqab or Hijab in Cannes?


    And Pinky my dear — humans are born naked because they are born in privacy not in public — if they were to be born in public — I am sure God the Merciful would have covered them with diapers in-utero before birth.

    From the Naked Ape to the bare-face clothed Homo is progression — from the barefaced Homo woman to covered-faced Muslim woman is regression — but not all Muslims are THAT backward — there is one great exception.

    If you are a real Tuareg Muslim Man — you will be MAN ENOUGH to wear the Niqab — and let your woman go bare-faced — now that I call a True Muslim progression.

  • Farji2

    Nice elaboration, however Western always voiced over women rights and this veil banishment is actually violation of rights, time has come to think out of the box, do not exaggerated rather try to come with better ideas and sober life style. If you hang around in different country then you must show respect and courtesy to concern community, race and culture. Still in some areas across the globe women the biggest victim

  • Waqqarkhan

    I think the issue has no complication at all BUT for someone who has a little knowledge of Quran and Sunnah.

  • Bader

    Excellent Blog.

  • Busi_wisi

    Who Really Cares About Hijab in West. It’s your personal business

  • Talha

    Every religion and even culture has some limitations in almost all aspects of life, but the problem here is that the cultural values are changing with the passage of time. The people are blindly accepting the changes without comprehending the consequences. In rapidly changing so called modern culture, there is no criteria to judge between good or bad but the religion.

    As for the issue of HIJAB is concerned, every religion has commandments for women to cover themselves. It is totally different issue that to what extent the followers of that religion follow it or even know it. The media and world organisations are only concerned with that how the Islam is compatible or not with modern society? They are not concerned about other religions. What are the reasons, the reader has to do some search about it.

    But a Muslim should only be concerned with that how the Modern society is compatible to Islam.

  • Huma

    zahid,admire for you is a dirty word,when it really is a positive word,son,theres nothing wrong when a human admires another humans clean,colourful,neat ,decent attire,but certainly its repulsive to see a fellow human covered up in a stupid stinky colourless ghost attire

  • M.Saeed

    It should be everyone’s business if a veil is used to blind one’s civility.
    It is an unfortunate reality that, a good number of the veiled faces are meant only to hide identities from the relatives and acquaintances.
    You can demand the right to live the way you want, if it is genuinely respectable with honour. It should be ‘Izaat se geo our fakhar se jeenay do”

    Now, let us understand Hijab and Niqab (Veil) are not the same. Hijab is a mental training in genuinely respecting the privacy of the opposite gender through application of all faculties of human senses and is equally applicable to man and women. It forbids intended gaze, while casual flash of a sight is natural. Veil or Niqab is an accessory to curtail intended gazes of others, in a society not completely under Islamic way of life. Therefore Veil or Niqab is for safety of the person having fear of his/her Hijab being breached. If society is unable to assure such compliance, then Niqab is a simple way out for one’s protection from unscrupulous.

  • nauman

    This is very personnel thing, every human has a freedom to wear anything which he or she likes…. so we shouldnt discusse and pass a judgement on his or her dressing irrespectively of the religions or cultures.

  • Admiringguy

    I have gone through all of the discussion, moreover i have also come across some comments like its up to one’s own heart so to all them i would refer my dear fellows its not about one’s own heart rather to me and to all Muslims we have to follow Islamic conducts what we have been taught, it makes no difference if we are in Saudi or somewhere else as Islam does not change with the demography.

  • Noman

    Actually, I think the issue really is that the proponents of this argument (mostly in the west) feel that the muslim women are subjected to submission to the demands of their menfolk, who do all sorts of brbaric things to them in case the ladies do not submit to their demands. The people in the west believe that with their propogating the subject, they are in fact “liberating” the women from their male dominated society.

    • Arhad_is_here

      i would strongly disagree. you see burqa-clad women fighting for their rights in france… they know it well… believe it or not…

  • Arshadnisaar

    I wish Muslim read, write and understand the concept of Islam. Islam risen to its high from the ignorance and alleging other but accommodating others and learning other cultures and views. Women are minority in religious hierarchy and could not be understood correctly without examining previous religious laws and traditions. Islam bring light to human not only for eyes but to the extent of mind where everything brew. I strongly believe that civilization change for a a reason. Allah give chance to everyone to aspire. Those who challenge other must remember that Allah has different ways of seeing the humanity. Allah give me numerous occasions to do good deed and if we do some or few of them we are safe from hell. As far as sexual bias in our society these days, it is strange that we all look at it from 2 dimensional mirror rather then a prism of religious sanity. Veil or no Veil, Skin…shown but how much, What is nuke but not naked, what is proactive and attractive..It makes me sad how pigheaded some of us are. I would like to know if anyone knows the wedding date of Prophet p.b.u.h. or anyone knows who is the most romantic in caliphates. Probably no one know the answer because the term, romance, sex, attraction, feelings all are banned in our societies for a reason. All we see is the worst meaning of these terms. All we want is to look at a girl but not see thru her eyes that how pure she could be. We are behaving exactly the people like Meccans before Prophet arrival and somewhat the same as Christians living thru Dark ages. I pray to Allah that men of Islam give respect to women of Islam, the way. Prophet gave to his wives and other. Muslim will rise again, but for the reality, we must need to adhere to the concept of Islam not Islam concept of far right.

  • Hasnain

    u cannot impose anything on someone , but atleast u can persuade someone , if someone advocates that wearing hijab is a good deed and it is something that women have been asked to do in our religion , would u disagree ?? at the end of the day the matter stands between u and the ALMIGHTY ALLAH , and u have the freedom to choose watever path u take , but being muslims and living in an islamic society , should we not advocate islamic values ?? …our primary objective shud be to make our society a purely islamic society , and if by the excercise of this freedom of choice by many , results in a major diversion from the core islamic values , than shud we not act against it ??

  • Taj Ahmad

    To be honest with all folks, women with Veil or Hijab looks very
    attractive, pretty and some degree sexy as well.
    I think, all women Muslim or Non-Muslim must wear Veil or Hijab.

  • Haroon

    !Amer Bil Maroof Wo Nahi Anil Munker!
    Sorry but the diference between a Muslim (a true Muslim) society and others adhering the so called “pro-choice” (when it suits them) is that our religion clearly demands an intervention i.e. Amer Bil Maroof Wo Nahi Anil Munker!
    Now the manner of internvention is what should be discussed and
    “stream-lined” but please make no mistake we Muslims are REQUIRED to do right and stop others from doing wrong… and whether one likes it or not Allah through The Holy Quran requires women to cover their heads!!!
    Neither “hard-core” Muslims should go over board with their demands (some times bullying) re Veil nor should the “Pro-Choice-Wanna-Bes” look down upon and bully the ones who wear Veil!

  • Huma

    you dont make any sense at all ,there are no red ,pink,golden burqas around the globe,and your last paragraph is skewed

    • Anonymous

      Just because you are tongue-tied doesn’t make it skewed. And black is colorless?

      When was the last time you made sense?

  • Huma

    you are living in the world full of multiple view points,a good muslim learns from everything that life offers,so learn from hindus as well.

  • Ashiq e Pakistan

    I didn’t get a clue what you were trying to draw in your words. Either you were against the Muslim Traditional way of dressing or you favoring. Write some better things in more proper way so that reader can understand your actual context.

    Ashiq e Pakistan


    Waqarkhan says — “I think the issue has no complication at all BUT for someone who has a little knowledge of Quran and Sunnah.”

    I think you are exactly right — Ms Ishtiaque may ask a Taliban — who can be that ‘someone’ — who has very little knowledge of Quran and Sunnah — about women prancing around in veils with their heels showing.

    The Taliban will probably say — the issue has no complication — just beat the hell out of the veiled women with a cane for showing their naked heels.

  • M.Saeed

    A real Muslim id one who tends to follow Qur’an-al-Hakeem in its true essence.

    “O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them (when they go abroad). That will be better, so that they may be recognised and not annoyed. Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.” (Quran 33:59)

    Hijab as a human virtue that cautions to refrain from vice and applies without a gender bias. Qur’an directs both men and women about to be modes in gaze, gait, garments, and appearances. The dressing norms for women involve khumūr over the necklines and jilbab (cloaks) in public so that they may be identified and not harmed. Guidelines for covering of the entire body except for the hands, the feet and the face, are specifically given in fiqah and Hadith

    • Ahmed

      @M.Saeed…You have quoted surah Al-Ahzab. This surah is exclusively ONLY for the Prophet’s family and not for ordinary Muslim women.

      There is an event to be noted for simple understanding:
      After the battle of Khaybar, the Prophet (SAAWS) married Safiyah bint Huyai. The Muslims said amongst themselves, “Will she (Safiyah) be one of the Mothers of the Believers (i.e., wives of the Prophet) or just what his right hand possesses (i.e., slavegirl). Some of them said: If he (SAAWS) makes her observe Hijab, then she will be one of the Mothers of the Believers, and if he does not make her observe Hijab, then she will be what his right hand possesses. So when he departed (for Medina), he made a place for her behind him (on his camel) and made her observe Hijab” [Al-Bukhari]

      Here the hadiat focuses on the issue whether Hazrat Safiyah would observe Hijab or not because
      It’s the question of:
      Wife vs Slave
      Prophet’s(pbuh)family vs Ordinary Muslim women

      Culmination of the event is that Hazrat Safiyah accompanied the prophet with hijab as per Surah Ahzab’s order otherwise she would have accompanied him as an ordinary woman without observing hijab.

      NOTE: Observing a Hijab(pardah) & Wearing a Hijab are two different things. One has Islamic meaning and other is a recent defination of head covering.

  • Haroon.S

    You hit home the point when you talk about how children are embarrassed if their mothers speak about them in public. In the same way, western leaders and some of our own should mind their own business when it comes to an individuals choice of attire, sense of fashion or freedom of express ones identity (whatever that may be). I have never heard of criminal charges against or rules being made to ban the way a nun dresses. Makes me wonder why politicians are so hyprocritical and discriminatory.

  • Adnan Wasim

    don’t make it a debate. its personal choice as you said.

  • Sequin

    all that need is to tolerate each others beliefs…..we never tolerate even our own sects then why to go so far……..union needs to be initiated from inside…..
    *(Why Pakistani women have almost abandoned shalwars for trousers, tights or capris? Is that a free choice? I don’t think so.I know if I don’t attire in a certain fashion, I’ll be slighted by the society as an old-line and conventional creature) …..but i think most of the time it is our free choice…have we ever been uncomfortable in trouser or capri when we wear it as a latest fashion….??…no but feel pride….2ndly… we are not with society but society is with us …no humans no society… problem is we always pretend and mold our choices how others want to see us and also feel pleasure when get admired ….. just getting status conscious day by day…we have to address these issues of our own…don’t blame others for criticizing….try to accept this as a reality but don’t bother them. do what you wish ..make your own standards based on your religion (if you accept any) and follow them and also tolerate others……

    • Zubmah

      i agreed to u sister

  • Code Havoc

    It’s a personal choice, but my peeve is when Burqa-clad women will not take off their burqas for identification in western countries by government officials. Plus, In Islam niqabs don’t exist and the principle of modesty is applicable to both genders.
    The way people dress is one of the important methods people use to express their identity. Especially in this era, where the idea of the “global village” is a threat to very ancient traditions and makes it difficult to remain intact with your ancestrial roots. For those liberal morons who think the Burqa is not part of a women’s identity are deluded.
    How many people think women wearing dupattas are backward?
    Dupattas have been part of the South Asian population for thousands of years dating back to the Indus Valley Civilization. These are a part of OUR culture, and if our daughters, sisters, and mothers wear these, it’s commendable because they are surviving our culture. They are not oppressed as those western people or feminists say.
    The more people are drawn to another’s way of life, they forget their own. That is what is exactly happening to our soceties. We show too much appreciation for western clothing (which is advertised by hollywood)and traditions, that we begin to shun our own cultures.
    Bollywood is a bigger threat to South Asian culture than hollywood because of the exposure bollywood movies get from India/Pakistan/Bangladesh.

  • Saad

    hijab is compulsory in Islam… thats why non muslims are so eager to ban it in their countries.. but it is shame for us that we are not able to recognize that what is compulsory for us as a muslim.. shame on those people who think of these obligations as personal choice..

    • Muhammad Akbar

      well said

    • salman

      I agree with you Mr. Saad.Thanks for telling.

  • Yusufiqbalpk

    Real muslims are practising muslim !!

    I though it would be easy for a muslim to guess .. Don’t know how your name is Ahmed being going against Mohammed.

    So sadly you don’t know about sahabas what did Umar said about veil and what other caliphs did. The sahabas knows more Islam than a facebook and twitter user today::

    The veil of sahabiats is bigger than todays hijabs. Lakeer k fakeer mat bano. ‘Hijab’ has some meanings do some research and a same message for you as for madiha.

  • Balbal

    I wonder how a today’s twitter and facebook user knows more Islam than Sahaba’s and Caliphs. This blog is a complete anti-islam.

    I just want to say that Dear Madi__ : If you can’t help Islam don’t mis-concept it for others

  • guest

    Well said. Like female independence. Tell this to moron Sarkozy of France. He is wearing a “Teacosy”

  • Amna Jamal2

    madiha this is definitly none of anyones buisness.pakistan is a country where every women has rights to move with her choice instead of some who belong to such backgrounds where there are certain wear veil or hijab is totatlly your understanding of religion.Islam has set up some limitations.These are for good reasons if we try to thorughly understand them….

  • Iftikhar

    My Veil is Not Your Business

    when did you open your own business

    • shahid

      You are right Iftekhar, If We have Say the kalima and Calling ourselves a MUSLIM, Then We have to Follow the Quran & Sunnah, There should b no Choice from Own side, Whats Wrong With us, We often use to say that Don’t Involve the RELIGION in everything, YES Religion is the Part of Everything if We are calling ourselves MUSLIM, if Not than Don’t call urself Muslim and then You do whatever You Wish…. Otherwise Follow it What ALLAH said, What Rasoolullah (S.A.W) Told us, that it FULL STOP.

  • M Yusuf

    Ms. Madeeha Ishtiaque’s blog related to the practice of Niqab (Veil) among Muslim women is timely, informative and, in its content, very well balanced. The subject, given the controversy surrounding it in some Western countries, needs to be debated for the education of both Muslims and the western detractors of this practice, particularly Sarkozy types in the Western countries. Ms. Ishtiaque deserves our thanks for starting this debate.Her style and flow of presentation is refreshingly appealing in its content and cadence. Hijab in no way is monolithic and there is no rigidly fixed uniformity in its application. Its interpretation differs among Islamic Societies according to historical and cultural traditions of respective societies. Ms. Ishtiaque’s well written and balanced presentation is confusing to some commentators because of this non-monolithic nature of the practice of Hijab. I agree with the general thrust of her presentation.

    • Anonymous

      Well said sir.

  • Saneplanet

    There is nothing in Quran that specifically states that women should cover themselves from head to toe……….

  • Tariq

    Any thing which effects the people are you is subject for discussion and scrutiny. Dress is one of the things.

  • Sharonqaiser

    True its not anyones business , but It became my business when I went to hospital ER in Lahore and my doctor was wearing Hijab , May be she was very compassionate person but lack of communication between doctor and patient lead to loss of trust and I left the ER . It became my business when I sent my 4year to her first KG school and her teacher was wearing Hijab. and my little one never had that relationship with her teacher cause she couldnt see her face . As long as you stay at home its your business but when you try to do things which needs empathy , sympathy and communication then it becomes my business.

  • MAC

    What is missing from this article is that majority of those wearing veil/hijab pretend to represent Islam and this is where the problem starts. Leaving aside what is required according to Islam, let us look how women present and behave – for example in TV: often one sees in TV programme (even in the streets is the same) wearing veil/hijab and sitting beside a another women not covering her head, both surely claim to be Muslims and followers of Islam. While independence to wear what one likes as claimed in the article might be a good point, just think what image we are giving of our religion. Two Muslims women behaving totally opposite and this is what makes the western people laugh at us. We do not know what is our religion and we keep on pretending to follow the same religion but in a totally different manner. Now may be there is freedom of choice given in Islam to behave according to our taste.

    • S.F.Ali

      We put our own personal likes/ dislikes first and our religion to seceond priority, thats why in our own ways we are following our so called religion. ISLAM has some boundaries that we have to follow and if you are not following it then atleast don’t critisize it as well.


  • Anonymous

    AAaahhhh….Libearl fascists have started bashing the author for supporting Hijab/Niqab as a free choice.

    I wonder why don’t they raise voice when the women are exploited in the name of entertainment and fashion. When they do cat walks in front of hundreds of ogling males.

    But if she decides to cover up as a choice after reading Quran and Sunnah she is THE target of these fascists.

    There are thousands of successful doctors, lawyers, Engineers, MBA and even Pilots in Pakistan who go about their daily life in Niqab and Hijab

    So stop bashing Hijab you losers

  • Saad

    Abu Dawood narrates that `Aishah (RAA) said: “Asmaa’ the daughter of Abu Bakr (RAA) came to see the Messenger of Allah (SAAWS) wearing a thin dress; so Allah’s Messenger (SAAWS) turned away from her and said: O Asmaa’, once a woman reaches the age of menstruation, no part of her body should be seen but this-and he pointed to his face and hands.

  • Mehmoona64

    its when the women discarded the veil(from their heads and faces) it was not that their thinking had changed it was that their men had evolved and a womans identity did not pose a threat to them or their honour…

  • Mehmoona64

    we had our dupattas, we had our chadors, we had our burqas and our shuttle cocks(the burqa with visiors)… now the hijab invasion just cries out us trying to adopt someone elses identity

  • AHMED123

    outstanding blog!!! ms madiha keep it up!

  • Khalid

    Nice article but lacks substance. The problem is enforcing, propagating, threatening and even using religion as a tool to make women put on veil or hijjab. On the other hand the women without veil is cursed, harassed, labelled something and disrespected. So there is no choice at all.

    • immi khan

      Please dont go for the propaganda, where have you seen with your OWN eyes that women “without veil is cursed, harassed, labelled something and disrespected.” ?????

      and where have you seen with ur own eyes that women are FORCED to wear the hijab? what are you talking about anyways…you need a reality check bro.

  • Huzefa Ali

    hiding your face has nothing to do with Islam, its not obligatory, its just cultural, so dont relate it to Islam guys,

    • S.F.Ali

      Mr. Huzefa….who told you that? Don’t just relate yout own opinion with ISLAM. It isn’t cultural my friend, and if a woman is hiding her face or wearing veil then why people point out that. Its true that its none of our business if she is willing to wear it or hide her face, thats why I like its tittle “My Veil is Not Your Business”.

  • Asad asad

    This is why we never progressed the women of our country as well men never went beyond then talking about shalwar kameez and hijabs. Btw, it is not FASHION that should mold your choices but religion. I like the innocence of deliberate forgetting this by the author.


    Mehmoona says — “when the women discarded the veil(from their heads and faces) it was not that their thinking had changed it was that their men had evolved…”

    Great observation — the women are wearing Hijab and seeking the Burqa because the Muslim Male has devolved into a male chauvinist pig.

  • Hassan_studd

    Ithink the point which has been made by madiha is not to put women’s choice of wearing veil on the face of media rather keep it with the individual’s choice whether someone is wearing as a follower of Islam or otherwise, point has weight and I respect…..

  • Hasan

    This is from a nation which kills innocent people in the name of blasphemy regularly and do not care for human lives…veil is a much smaller issue to worry about.

  • Zahid Ali

    Nice one…

  • Maha

    grrrrrt articl!!! time to identify the double standards we r in and the fake logics of conservative liberals

  • Faqira

    I have a scientific reason why the Niqab is unhealthy. Allah has provided humans the luxury of breathing Oxygen and exhaling unhealthy Carbon Dioxide. With a Niqab you are inhaling concentrated Carbon Dioxide which is not good for one’s health. That’s the reason why the Niqab cannot be worn during Tawaff around the Holy Kaaba.
    The Hijab is another element. Ever seen the Virgin Mary without a Hijab?!

  • Islamic Names

    Some people dont understand. And they will never do. They sometimes feel responsible in holding you back doing your dutiy, while you believe in it strongly.

  • Akhtar Ali Khan

    Of course, your viel is my business, because I want to see who I am talking too [or would you like me to wear a veil too to hide my identity]. Under the veil, you could be anyone and say anything. I want to see the emotions on your face when you talk to me. In addition, you could be a secruity risk and may be hiding anything under your veil to harm me. As you have the right to see my face, I have the same right to see your face.

    • guest

      seing your comment and the logic behind it makes me realize you have no indepth knowledge behindthis particular subject…. in the first place in islam you are not “supposed” to know or be curious about a woman who is not your mother,siste,daughter,wife, or other mehram…. why would you want to know the face or body language of a non mehram… you should be ashmed of this view of degrading muslim women under the false assumption of security risk….alas modesty is a virtue respectedand known to very few these days…..

    • Bint Shakir

      I’m writing from the viewpoint of a young lady and I request you to take up the challenge of answering the questions below:
      1) First of all, why do you want to see the person you are talking to? If you don’t have a problem while talking to people over the phone then why do you have a problem in talking to someone wearing a veil??? I believe that if you really have a problem then you should stop talking to doctors because they wear surgical masks which also hide most of their facial features and also the people who wear allergy masks!
      2) Secondly, I’d like to know if you are deaf because if you are then probably you need to know who’s behind the veil and what they are saying (because you’ll need sign language and facial expressions to judge)! Your comment says ‘Under the veil, you could be anyone and say anything’. I want to know how can someone just say ANYTHING under the veil??? Won’t you hear that ANYTHING? Furthermore, why do you need to know exactly who I am, can’t my voice be sufficient enough???
      3) Why do you want to SEE my emotions? Doesn’t my voice express my emotions??? What happens when you talk to someone through a phone? Do you always use video calls???
      4) How can we be a security risk if we wear a Niqab? How can we hide something under our veil? Will we hold weapons with our teeth??? If it is so, then people who are wearing clothes should also pose as a security threat? How come you don’t say by wearing clothes you might hide something that can cause harm???
      5) You say ‘As you have the right to see my face, I have the same right to see your face’. Who/What stops you from covering your face? It’s not that I HAVE the right to see your face, its that you give you GIVE me the right to see your face!!! If I wear a veil, it means that I don’t give you the right to see my face and that I wish you to respect my PRIVACY and VALUES!!!! Why can’t you simply respect the values and privacy of those who wear a veil, and judge them for what they are and not what they look like!!!!
      I strongly believe that with Muslims like you around, we don’t need Kafirs, for you people already serve their purpose!!!

  • Ejaz Ahmad

    Siash, You think if there is NO Religious Poison in the head of a Veiled Women then there is no PROBLEM with Society/people.

  • Go Mullah Go!

    The increase of wearing the hijab/niqab by more and more Pakistani women is of concern. The hijab is becoming a symbol of respect to the point where without it a woman is seen as not “decent”. And then there is the niqab, the shield of the a woman who fears harrasment. In Lahore, especially in the bazaars such as Anarkali, I find women pretty scared of all the hoards of men even though they are fully covered. This lack of confidence of such women result in them resorting to covering their faces and not out of love for religion. Then there are women who are brainwashed into believing that heaven and hell depends on her attire so “she wears it out of her free will and not forced to do it”.

    Mind you the way every man and woman in this country harp about how gloriously religious we are we should be blessed with the technological blessings that the West is blessed with ( and that too without Islam or Sharia). We have so many excuses from blaming the West to not imposing Sharia. We forget the core values of being human, like being honest for example.

  • Anonymous

    Modesty and morality will some how be bestowed simply when donning a hijab or a niqab, is the argument from the pro-lobby – so Arab countries/iran are amongst te most moral/modest on the planet . The opposing lobby somehow knows what a person is about because the face is visible with all their expressions and less dangerous without those coverings- wow!

    To the second lot – you obviously missread the uncovered faces of your politicians and as for danger of overdressing, soon doffing even the underpants will be the only way to travel safely by air. To the first lot – time for mandatory hijab/niqab for all those politicians (mullahs first!) to instill modesty/morality.

    Or perhaps we can leave it to the party concerned how they choose to dress themselves and concentrate on our own morality and modesty instead…..

  • Rizvi

    @ Uzasyed
    very strange and incomprehensible philosophy, if we take the reason you have given in support of your argument in broad sense then we would reach at the conclusion that ethics is relative not absolute, who has given you the right to impose your own will at any other person if there are no set customs or ethical limits and it merely depends at one’s perception then if one suspects even at the traditional shalwar kameez then what would be your decision, would u lock them in prison where there would be all that persons who worn it, or you compel them to wear whatever u want, if you have the right to consider veil as a sign of extremism then the same right that woman who wears it has to deem your unveil face as a sign of immorality now don’t debate at morality that what it is? it doesn’t matter that what it is only perception and feeling matter {as per you philosophy} as you have the right to consider her extremist, the same right she enjoys to deem you whatever she feels further there are many peoples in Europe etc who deem nudity as a sign of freedom if any person from that group feel discomfort with others clothes then what would be your decision as per your above mentioned argument would you lock all of them charging that they are not acting as per the nudists will, or you would compel them to get rid of clothes for the sack of nudists will, now don’t argue and you couldn’t that nudity is itself bad, all the debate is of feeling, if something is irritating to other no matter how moral the thing is we should get rid of it {as per your philosophy}

    • Wandering_predator

      Very Rightly said Rizvi. And i would add that one should first understand what is veil in Islam and what is the real philosophy behind this veil. Then everyone is free to comment on it. But is very sad that people haven’t understood Islam yet.

  • Leila-rage

    Dear writer, you’ve very aptly highlighted the MAJOR problem in pakistani society—PEOPLE DON’T KNOW HOW TO MIND THEIR OWN BUSINESS and stay out of the lives of others.

  • Anonymous

    Hashmi Sb,

    The picture of rural social unit you have painted, as beautiful as it was, has altered substantially over the last 15 years or so…thanks to improvement (in relative terms) i.e. roads, electricity and mst of all tv. The impact of tv in change of attitude, good or bad being a point to debate, provides a lot for the sociologist to work on!

  • Anonymous

    Hashmi Sb

    Despite the mullah’s roar, it is possible (and more likely) that in Pakistan too, majority do not veil or cover because of that roar but because of cultural values that have existed in the sub- continent and are slowly changing. Mughals were by no means middle eastern lot either as you know and the period was quite varied from ascetic leanings to radical swing of Akbar to integrate to the literal interpretations of Aurangzeb.

  • Anonymous

    The trouble is maglomania is not the exclusive domain of the religious right as the allegedly liberal left suffers from it too-whether they accept it or not. The majority stuck inbetween then continuously faces being tugged from bith sides and about time the middle exerted its weight by pulling both end towards the centre.

  • Farooq M.Hashmi

    Hey Sadaf, where are you? Yes,I am addressing you.It’s more than three weeks since you had posted your stinking comments in praise of your abominable Taliban.I was under an impression that eventually,your conscience will condemn you for your heretic belief in the Taliban and you would abjure it.But it appears that your conscience is hardened as stone, as is your moral sense about humanity.God forbid,if the Taliban abducted you any ominous time,could you imagine what would it do to you? If you could not,I have every reason to believe that your head is all bone,just skinned over.

  • fly buster

    we could start with you

  • abdul

    you are living in the world full of multiple view points,a good muslim learns from everything that life offers,so learn from hindus as well………
    Huma, you are asking the impossible. How can the muslims from the land of the pure will learn from kaffir hindus? What is there to learn anyway, everything is in the Quran.


    ” Allah loves his follower…”

    What evidence have you got in favor of your statement — can you tell me — the video evidence of 15 decapitated Pakistani soldiers — shows the opposite — that Allah hates HIS follower Talibans so much he made them so wretched.

  • Khan

    I think the overall writer has touched two points here but she has taken a different dimension. One is “free choice” and “discussing others.”
    Choices: Its simple, our own choices will take us to heaven or hell in hereafter. We are muslims and we must try to live by the Book.
    Discussing Other: Back bitting or Gheebat is great sin.

  • Imran Khan

    Muslims don’t have free wills or choices.We are abide by Islamic laws and jurisdictions. I fee sorry for those who say that Parda(veil) is a burden for Muslim women and consider it as a curse.There is no personal choice in Islam but to partisan Quran.Ahadith and Suna. Women feel safe while covering their bodies. You will rarely see women are ogled while wearing Hijab. Hijab is a shield for women, it doesn’t take Muslim women to back to the stone ages. These are people who are advocating women rights and bringing out women from save heavens(homes) to jungles where usually they are molested.

  • Maher Adnan Younas

    its not your mistake …because if a female open her eyes in a home there nothing regarding Islam just they use tag of Islam so 100% they well feel like this and say like this …LAILAHA IF A PERSON SAY how is non Muslim is different and if a Muslim say the mean and respect of it different just first look upon u ……ISLAM amal wala mazhab hy na k qufay waloo ki trha baty kerna wala