In this counseling answer:
• The niqab is not an obligation, whereas the hijab is. In certain situations, the niqab is not going to be useful. In fact, when there is security, the niqab can be a stared at.
• Your choice to leave the degree should come after weighing the advantages and the disadvantages of either of the options.
• Pray istikhara.
Assalamu Alaikum dear sister,
Thank you for placing your trust in our ability to propose a solution to your current situation.
I am sorry to hear of the troubles that you are currently facing as a result of your decision to wear the niqab. The niqab is a controversial topic and amongst the most debated topics worldwide. In the eyes of many people living in the western countries, and many of the countries which are dominated by the western cultures around the world, the niqab is not seen very positively.
The Niqab is not obligatory
Dear sister, the niqab is not an obligation, whereas the hijab is. The niqab is a choice the woman takes, and it should not be a decision made by others.
In the Quran, Allah SWT says,
“And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, … (Quran 24: 31)
O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful. (Quran 33: 59)
If the woman maintains her modesty by wearing loose clothing and wears a hijab which covers her chest area and is not attracting any attention to herself with clogging heels and excessive perfume, she is dressed Islamically. Wearing an abaya is completely her choice, and so is the niqab.
In certain countries such as Saudi Arabia, the niqab is part of the culture. Many women wear it because their ancestors and their parents have been wearing it for centuries. Everyone around them understands this and respects it. In certain countries, women are abused and not respected and looked at as objects. In such locations, women feel more safe and secure when they completely cover themselves so that no man can look at them.
However, in certain places, there is complete security and no threat to a women’s safety unless she decides to go in certain places alone where the crowd is not the best. Therefore, in certain situations, the niqab is not going to be useful. In fact, when there is security, the niqab can be a stared at.
However, in cultures where the niqab is not a common choice, people will not be willing to understand it. When such circumstances arise, you can perhaps speak to the professors and help them understand. This is completely up to your decision to stand up for what you think should take place. However, the road will not be easy, and because the professors and the supervisors are at an authoritative position, they have complete over what they decide. You cannot force any decision from them.
Pray Istikhara—Seek Allah’s Counsel
From your question, it seems that your university will not budge easily regarding your decision to wear the niqab and working under their supervision. Therefore, your choice to leave the degree should come after weighing the advantages and the disadvantages of either of the options.
If you are genuine in your feelings leaving university and starting online Islamic education, I ask that you pray for the Salat of Guidance. I want you to pray it for continuously 7 days or 14 days, without any bias. There is no number of days that is recommended religiously, but I am simply speaking about something that I’d do. I would give myself time when consulting Allah because praying simply for a day or two will not make me think deep enough or without bias.
Jabir Ibn Abdullah said,
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) used to teach his companions to perform the prayer of Istikhara for each and every matter just as he used to teach them the Suras from the Qur’an He used to say, “If anyone of you intends to do something, he should offer a two rak`at prayer other than the compulsory prayers, and after finishing it, he should say the supplication.” (Sahih Bukhari)
Essentially, the prayer will guide you towards what is right and will deter you from what is wrong. This will not be in a form of a dream or anything. What is right will become easy to pursue and what is wrong will be removed from your pathway.
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However, when you are seeking Allah’s counsel, you must not be thinking of preferring one direction over the other. You must simply seek to attain what is sincerely better for you for this world and the afterlife.
Also, after the seven days, you feel inclined towards a certain decision, and the feelings are stronger, you should pursue in the direction.
In conclusion, I think what you should do should be based on what you think is the right thing for you to do.
Also, you should seek advice from family and friends.
May Allah help you,
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.