Islamic marriage advice and family advice

If a woman does not wear a burqa, is she bad?

muslim women in burqa

Salam Alaikum,

In my family, most of the women wear the burqa. It would have been a good thing, except for one problem. All the women spend their time gossiping, backbiting and creating fights within the family. But they don't think that they are wrong.

They think, as long they have their burqa and scarf on, they have done their Islamic duty, and fail to do any other good.  If they give money for charity, they boast to everyone  how much money they gave, or generally try to show how generous they are.

When I was a teenager, they suddenly started forcing me to wear the burqa. They went to everyone's house and said that I haven't started wearing it so I'm bad. I did not want to be forced into anything, I wished to accept it with my heart.

My parents left it to me, to choose if I wanted to wear or not. And I'm not some out-of-control girl.  I was a girl who always stayed at home, never partied, who studied to become and engineer, who dreamed of marrying a wonderful man (which I did alhamdulillah).

I'm an extremely sensitive person. During bad times, I don't know who else to turn to except Allah. He has given me everything.

Due to the behaviour of these women, I was extremely traumatized ...they made me feel like I'm a slut and they are angels. It took me a long time to recover from all the pain and hurt.

Which brings me to my question- If, say Fatima wears a burqa, and Khaleda doesnt, does that make Fatima superior to Khaleda? Does it give Fatima the right to feel like she is very pious, and tell others that Khaleda does not wear one, and so she is bad?

Are women who choose not to wear the burqa, bad?

- S.Y.

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17 Responses »

  1. No you are not bad. You are definitely not bad 🙂

    I understand your struggle to put on burqa. Because I am at the moment struggling to keep beard 😉

    Whether we observe or not, first of all we should at least acknowledge that some hukooms of the Sharia are mandatory, and leaving them cause sins. For example, keeping beard is wajeeb for male (this is the opinion of imams of all four school of thoughts-madhab). Now if I do not keep beard, does that mean that I am a bad boy? Alhamdulillah, I am not ;), whereas I have seen many boys with beard who go out with girls. But at least I acknowledge the proper hukoom of my religion and then prays to Allah so that he gives me the tawfeeq to keep beard.

    Now coming to the issue of veil, it is mandatory for women, and Allah have commanded women to do so. The veil is a clothing that hides the whole female body including the shape from non-mahram males. It is a piece of clothing that is worn over normal clothing. The scholars of Islam have no dispute about the issue that women will have to observe proper veil; the scholars only differ with the niqab issue. Ibn Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him), the famous tafseer expert of the Quran, in his interpretation of the veil verses from Surah Noor and Surah Ahjaab strongly encouraged women to observe niqaab too. So, leaving veil does not mean that you are bad, but leaving it is a sin however.

    Whenever Allah commanded us to do something, He did so for our own good only. The woman who goes outside without proper veil may be an innocent woman, but the men outside who looks upon her may not be that innocent. Men are wolf 😉 Most of them do not lower their gaze and do not control their desires as per the Sharia, and thus do not have have as innocent, as liberal mind as yours. You are not a male, so it means that you were never a teenage boy and thus you do not know how majority of them think and talk about with their peers. Just one glance is enough for them for bad thoughts. Now, would you like give them that opportunity? Don't you females think your beauty is only for your husbands?

    Unfortunately we live in a time when we have to overcome huge societal and psychological barrier to observe religious aspects like keeping beard and wearing veil. What is the handsome image of a man today? A man who has no beard. What is the beautiful image of a women today? A women wearing t-shirt, skinny jeans, and a sun glass. Because of being exposed to such images since childhood, we take them as standards. When we want to break out from these false standards, our minds feel insecure. Shaytan comes and whispers in my heart, "You want to keep beard? No girl will love you. How will you kiss a girl with a beard?" You want to observe hijab, I am sure Shaytan will say something. May be he will say, "Look, you look like a ghost in this veil. This is ugly. This is such a backdated tradition. You do not have to follow it because you are not living in Arabia of Prophet's time". Such whispering fuels our insecurity. This insecurity is not an easy thing to overcome. We definitely need the help of Allah to overcome it. We need to attain unquestionable obedience for Allah's command and immense love for the Sunnah of His Messenger. Because we need to believe that anything that has come from Allah and His Messenger is the most secure, most useful, most modest, most modern and the best standard.

    May Allah make it easy for to observe veil. May Allah make it easy for me to keep beard.

  2. Dear Sister,

    before I say anything for covering your head, i would just say to Stranger that men do look handsome with beard (this is girls perspective which many men dont know and most girls love the respect and acknowledgement they get from men rather than just their looks) and when a girl loves a man she will find a way to kiss :). you just need to be with someone who repects you the way you are and more over respect you for following Allah and Prophets commands. so go on brother keep the beard and make happy the one who we should really make happy ie Allah.the rest will fall in place.

    now coming to covering head. my dear sister i dont cover my head either and i feel exactly like you when iam surrounded by people who wear hijab. its nothing to do with hijab ,its to do with their attitude .somehow these burqa clad women try to sound more holly and pious ,and they make sure they look at others as if they are going straight to hell....right!

    my dear sister they dont have an idea how much this attitude of theirs is making us move away from doing this esential command from Allah. i was in the sme situiation where i was not only forced to cover head but also forced to offer prayers ( which i agree one should be encouraged to maximum but not by someone who is otherwise indulged in all wrong doings) . i hated covering head and offering namaz, i felt i was forced into it and that was killing of my freedom. i loved God and felt very close to him and would offer namaz in hiding but not in front of the person who was forcing me into it. i then several years later after my graduation realised that covering head was so important and i so dearly wanted to but every time i did it just reminded of the time when things were forced on me and iam still struggling to cover my head.

    my dear sister although one should not advise someone what one is not doing themselve, but trust me these women are just becoming a source of moving you away from an essential of islam. dont let them come between you and Allah. do it for yourself and do it for the one who loves you ....Allah.

    lets be the ones who cover head and inspire others to cover it not the ones who make others run away from it.

    may Allah make it easy for us.


  3. Sister S.Y., As-salamu alaykum,

    By "burqa" I guess you mean covering all of the body including the face, is that right? That is not required in Islam. The great majority of scholars agree that Islam requires a woman to cover everything except the face and the hands. Covering the face is not a requirement, and personally I feel that for Muslim women nowadays (especially in the West), face covering is isolating and makes it difficult to operate properly in modern society. I don't see a good reason for it, myself.

    First you said that your family is pressuring you to wear burqa, then you said that your parents have left it up to you. So I guess you are speaking of your other relatives who are pressuring you. But they don't count. It's your parents who count, and they have wisely left it to you, Alhamdulillah, so it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. These women who think that wearing burqa is their entire deen and excuses them from good behavior are deluding themselves. Best not to associate too much with them anyway.

    Make some true Muslim friends who are active in the deen, maybe in the Muslim student organization, doing work in the community, having study circles or women's groups, etc.

    You also need to work on your self-esteem. Being sensitive is one thing, but letting other people's opinions traumatize you is too much. It makes you very vulnerable. I would suggest to you that the problem is not with other people's behavior, but with your willingness to be victimized emotionally. You cannot control other people, but you can learn to control your own reactions. Eleanor Roosevelt said, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Think about that.

    Wael Editor

  4. Salam, sister

    You don't have to wear burqa if you don't want to (if by burqa you mean niqab). As Wael said, the majority of scholars say that your face and hands can show (it's called hidjab). As much as I respect women who cover their faces, I'm having a hard time understanding why anyone would want to isolate themselves like that, especially when it's not an islamic obligation. While performing Hadj, women, even though they are in the most sacred place in the whole world, Mecca, they are islamically required to uncover their faces !

    Now, if by burqa you mean hidjab, then I think you must not let your relatives' behavior and humiliating remarks stop you from doing what is right. Wear your hidjab proudly for Allah and for yourself. You know deep in your heart that's your duty as a muslim woman, so just do it. Be an example to them and show them that a girl can wear hidjab and not gossip, say bad things about people or boast about how good a muslim she is.

    (To Friend: you too can do it. And you will inshaAllah. And when you do, you'll feel "complete". I don't know if that makes sense, but that's how I felt, when I first started wearing hidjab.)

    Baraka Allahu Fikum


  5. In response to what friend wrote, I had a few things to say on the part of women who observe purdah. It has to be highlighted that when you feel that burqa clad women are around you, you feel insecure and irritated because they look at you ' because you dont cover up' is going a bit too far, and it seems like a serious allegation 🙂 . In reality, all people, women ,men look around themselves when they walk around or are at social gatherings. If a woman who would look at you who is not covered, your mind will think' maybe im looking pretty thats why shes looking' and when a woman who wears a burqa looks at you , your mind thinks 'Oh God why is she looking at me, she has no right to look at me, she's probably looking because i dont do purdah' . Well i must burst that devil's proposition feuled thinking bubble of our girls who think that way because that is SO not the case!

    One should learn to differentiate between our pure ego-less thinking which comes from Allah's guidance, and the thinking that is fueled and driven by shaitan. 🙂 A simple rule is, when ANY thought you get inside your head, no matter how personal or emotional it feels, if it goes against the will and order of Allah, it is a satanic whisper. Allah has taught us many duas in this case so that we can stay safe from the devil's interference in our lives and our decisions, even the Prophet Muhammad SAWW used to recite them, so we ,who are very weak in our eeman should learn and recite them too.

    Just because some grils who dont cover themselves, FEEL insecure and guilty inside, this is the shaitan's way of taking you away from following a command of Allah by telling you 'look at these women they think they are so pious and holy, dont follow them they are arrogant!' It just is not true!.

    Do not misinterpret a woman's confidence because of wearing purdah ,as something that throws you offgaurd and don't make it an excuse for yourself not to cover. Whenever I, my friends or the ladies who look at uncovered girls, we pray for them to cover too and we do not indulge in idle pinpointing and wane talk. So please stop feeling that way. Maybe you met one of few younger girls who made you feel bad because you dont observe the veil, but why should one feel bad at all? If you are confident at being veil-less, why bother?

    The truth is,that like a good God fearing person, you are not bold, or silent to the voice of your conscience,that is why you feel the tension when you are around women who cover up and, its not a bad thing, worse would be that a person has no sense of shame and is bold and brazen in disobeying Allah. Hijab always makes girls look very precious and pious, so don't let your devil dictate that piety to you, in a wrong way. I hope you understand, all the prayers for you. 🙂

  6. no it dosent mean a woman is bad if she does not wear a buqa. Nowhere in islam does it say a woman must wear a burqa, it says a woman must dress repctfully and not show her flesh as it is forbidden. A burqa is just a way of covering everything, but woman do not have to wear them, as long as they are covered up.

  7. as-salamualaikum,
    i think by burqa youy mean face veil. you seem like you have a relationship with your creator and are a good person. stay away from those women and find other company or people. i don't know those women so i cannot say anything about them. but yes there are some people who when they see other muslims not doing what they think they are supposed to be doing, they have to talk about it. i once heard from a pious old man to never do that because allah takes away knowledge from you every time you say something like that about another muslim. example, "astaghfirullah, he doesn't wear a cap!". they might learn with time that they are not perfect either and only allah knows our hearts and deeds.
    a very mashallah good woman came to me once and not knowing me or my history repeated the same sentence to me thrice. she said, " if a man is pious and his wife is not, then...............". i was and am offended. how could she judge me the second or third time she met me? why is she trying to tell me about islam everytime she sees me in the masjid? why not go to somebody who doesn't come to masjid? her intentions are good, but her ways are offensive to me. there are things i could lewcture her on or correct her on, but rightly or wrongly i choose to remain silent. a pious elder lady once told me don't lecture people, it doesn't work. don't give them speeches. only when allah chooses to open their hearts do they see the light. then once they are guided, they will themselves understand.
    yes there are muslims who should be behaving better or ideally, but we are humans and not perfect. i myself was shocked by the behavior of a woman who was veiled, but this was because of my unfair expectations. i was expecting a girl in tight jeans and hijab to behave like that, but not a fully covered woman. she would have behaved like that even if she wasn't covered at all. only allah knows our hearts. he knows you, and so stay away from those who give you mental stress. i understand the amount of stress other women can give you because sometimes it could ven be jealousy or bullying, although i don't know those women.
    i understand how even one woman can ruin your relationship with everyone else and your life. and everyone would be on her side, and you would be the bad guy. i have, for now, chosen to stay away from someone who bothers me. life is good.

  8. Piety comes from ones heart. No where else. You are right to wear a burka, nikab, or hijab is a womans own choice(although in some places that RIGHT and CHOICE has been taken from good women). As the world saw from Syria in one day in 2004 when all the women were forced at gun point to take off their coverings. Forced to take off or put on coverings is what is bad. A woman is not good or bad based on a piece of fabric. It comes from within. A woman can wear such things and hide around and commit sin, while another does not wear any of these and be chaste and good. It is on the person herself and her behavior.

    If you choose to wear coverings it does not make you good. If you choose not to wear coverings it does not make you bad. No one is superior to anyone else because we all have the chance for redemption before we are dead. Actions speak louder then words OR coverings.

    I applauad your parents for leaving it to you to choose your own path with the subject of burka. If you had been forced by them you would have resented the burka and them. Coverings in Islam are for modesty not slavery.

  9. assalumalaikum , hi im amina and i got 2 secondary school. i wear headscarf in school and i like wearing it beacause 3/4 people in our school wear headscarf. But my dad is forcing me to wear a burka(cover my whole body)beacause he has seen other ppl wear it in our school and wans me to wear it. im not ready to wear it as it's only my firdt year and i need time to het used to the ideamof it.what shall i do? :/

    • Dear Amina, Asalaamualaykum,

      MaashAllah you wear a headscarf in school :O), may Allah reward you. I can imagine, it must be difficult as you go to school and want to wear what you want but your dad wants you to wear the a whole body covering. I am assuming you a referring to the 'abaya' or 'jilbaab'. When we are confused about things, we should look at what Allah(swt) and His Messenger(saw) have advised or instructed us to and try to follow that way. If we do this every time we are confused about something, our problems become much easier to deal with. So what does Allah say about observing Hijab? According to the Quran and Sunnah, it is compulsory, as Allah says:

      “And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what must ordinarily appear therof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers, or their brothers' sons or their sisters' sons, or their women or the servants whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex, and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O you Believers, turn you all together towards Allah, that you may attain Bliss.” (Quran 24:31).

      “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)

      I found the following on a website and happen to agree with it:

      Hijab is a word that indicates not just the headscarf but clothing in its entirety which meets the following conditions :

      1. Clothing must cover the entire body, only the hands and face may remain visible (According to some Fiqh Schools) .

      2. The material must not be so thin that one can see through it.

      3. The clothing must hang loose so that the shape / form of the body is not apparent.

      4. The female clothing must not resemble the man's clothing.

      5. The design of the clothing must not resemble the clothing of the non believing women.

      6. The design must not consist of bold designs which attract attention.

      7. Clothing should not be worn for the sole purpose of gaining reputation or increasing one's status in society.

      Sometimes fathers worry about their daughters, this is because they have more experience in life and as they are men, they know what other men are attracted to and they know what these men will look at in women, especially in their daughters. So I can understand why your father may be pushing you to cover more, although it would be better for him to help you understand the benefits of observing full hijab.

      By observing correct hijab, we are pleasing Allah because we are obeying Him(swt). Hijab also protects us from having men looking at our bodies. Men have also been instructed by Allah to lower their gaze and not stare at women apart from the first glance that naturally falls, but if the shape of the body is showing, it becomes harder for them to look away. If both men and women cover as Allah has instructed, then there will be less chance of fitnah occuring. Of course, as well as observing external hijab, internal hijab is very important too. This means, as Muslims, we should always lower our gaze, speak firmly but politely with the opposite sex.


      If you are not required to wear uniform at work, there are lots of things you can wear which look nice and pretty but are still loose and covering. Perhaps you can try to explain this to your father?

      Allah says about those who spend their youth in his worship, He(swt) will shade them on the Day Of Judgement. It will be so hot on that day and Allah will only shade the special people - you have a chance to be one of those special people :O).

      May Allah make His(swt) guidance attractive to us all, aameen,

      SisterZ Editor

  10. This is short story by Laila about her father Muhammad Ali (the famous Boxer). I love this and have printed it and stuck it above my mirror in my bedroom. Hope you like it :O).


    "If memory serves me correctly, I was wearing a little white tank top and a short black skirt. I had been raised Orthodox Muslim, so I had never before worn such revealing clothing while in my father's presence. When we finally arrived, the chauffer escorted my younger sister, Laila, and me up to my father's suite.

    As usual, he was hiding behind the door waiting to scare us. We exchanged many hugs and kisses as we could possibly give in one day. My father took a good look at us. Then he sat me down on his lap and said something that I will never forget.

    He looked me straight in the eyes and said, "Hana, everything that Allah (SWT) made valuable in the world is covered and hard to get to. Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground covered and protected. Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean covered up and protected in a beautiful shell. Where do you find gold? Way down in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You've got to work hard to get to them."

    He looked at me with serious eyes. "Your body is sacred. You're far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too."

    Source: "More Than A Hero: Muhammad Ali's Life Lessons Through His Daughter's Eyes."


    SisterZ Editor

  11. Salam,

    I'm also have this kind of dilemma, where my future mother in law embarrass me in front of me and also telling all of her friends on facebook that I'm not one of the girl that she wanted to accept as a daughter in law just because that i'm not wearing headscarf. I admit, that I wear headscarf every time when I attend some events and when I go to work. but I'm just not wearing it all the time. I feel really offended when some of my future mother in law's friends praise me how nice my dress was ( our malay traditional dress which cover the whole body) in her facebook album. everybody was giving compliment but she added in the comments, "this is my son's girlfriend, she lives in a big city that's why she's wearing headscarf".... these words are really mean.... i know that she and her daughters are wearing headscarf where ever they go. but that doesn't show that they are nice muslims. how about attitude? offend people? thinking that she's the greatest? I know myself very well, Just because I am not wearing a headscarf does not make me “less Muslim” or less “dignified.” until now i still can't forgive her and keep on thinking about this matter. she's just got back from haj few days ago, i was wondering that before she left for haj last time she kept announce to everybody that she is going for haj, to me she is showing off... and she also didnt ask for apology to people including me.. until now.....

  12. A woman choosing NOT to wear a burqa is NOT a bad thing. It is better for them to wear a chador or a hijab. A burqa is an expression of Jinn worship which is very unislamic. IF a woman is to worship ALLAH in purity then a burqa is NOT appropriate. The Taliban enforced it on women as a pagan superstitious rule from their deviation from Islamic Quranic law and tradition. A Niqab would also portray a woman as a thief and immoral. Modest Islamic dress for women should be best served at least by a covering of all parts except for their faces to show their humanity and maintain Islamic Law and tradition.

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