How the COVID-19 crisis Liberated the Niqab-wearing Women

How the COVID-19 crisis Liberated the Niqab-wearing Women

February 12, 2021 0 By Maria Angela

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, people looked at women wearing the Niqab (face veil in Islam) as extreme but after a year of masks forced on women across the world what has changed?

The face veil is still a mystery for many, and the debate is still on among Muslims. Whether all women of Muslim faith should wear the Niqab, or is it an individual choice?

For Muslim women, the practice of wearing masks during the pandemic has given them more confidence to wear religious face coverings in public.

A small minority of Muslim women wear the Niqab. It is subject to political attacks in some European countries, like France, where there are fines against Women wearing Niqab.

But before you blame the French, look around you. There are many countries where the face veil is banned. Some impose the partial ban, some impose bans in government offices or public transport. Others may impose bans in some cities, like in China.

Austria, Denmark, Belgium, Tajikistan, Bulgaria, Latvia, Cameroon, Chad, the Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Uzbekistan the Netherlands, Sri Lanka, and China (in certain places) joined France in banning the veil. (The list may not be complete or accurate our apologies if any of the information is not the exact information here.)

Nevertheless, after a bitter legal fight, the Netherlands has put a limited burqa ban into force. The Niqab is wrongly called Burqa in some countries. It is a piece of cloth tied over the headscarf (hijab) that comes in various styles and colours.

“The Quran says to cover yourself modestly. Now, the interpretation of that is different to every group of Muslims. Some people believe it just to be the loose dress. Others believe it to be an outer garment as well as headscarf. Yet, others would go one step further and say it’s the face covering as well, because [the Quran] says to cover yourself.”

Anonymous woman who wears the niqab, UK


Anna Piela, a writer for The Conversation says Niqab wearers are a difficult group to study, and some scholars have described them as a “rare and elusive religious sub-culture.”

It appears that in some countries, the followers of the Salaf movement wear the Niqab. But it is not true though that only the Salafists are wearing Niqab.

But it is significant that in countries where the Niqab is banned and Muslim women fined were the first to decide quickly to impose face masks for all in the wake of COVID-19.

Women who hate the veil on the face are also wearing the mask to cover their face. Would this give them some thoughts on the freedom to wear face veils?

Or perhaps after the COVID-19 pandemic, they will show their reservations against women who wears the Niqab? The debate continues though.

Piela found that many recently adopted the niqab because walking around with a covered face became less daunting. Some of the women who are wearing the Niqab came out publicly without fear saying they were encouraged because more people appeared in public with face masks and others with the Niqab.
Of course, some wore the Niqab instead of masks to underscore the religious character of this practice.

On the other hand, some women wore a mask under the niqab to show they were mindful of the health guidance that requires masks wearing in public.
Others used thick, snugly attached niqabs in lieu of a mask, she wrote.

A woman from Illinois who spoke to The Conversation says: “There are so few of us, and still we were told we were a threat to society because we covered our faces. Now that argument has just disappeared. I just hope this sentiment doesn’t make a comeback once the pandemic is over.”
In the end, the Niqab wearing women in the West and around the world felt more comfortable to go out because there were lesser people who would stare at them.