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My New Husband is Forcing Me To Wear Niqab. Must I?

07 July, 2019
Q Assalam Alykum, I just recently got married, and my husband wants me to wear the Niqab (the face cover where the eyes only show). Alhmadulillah, he seems me in the most beautiful way and wants to keep my beauty and especially my smile just for him. He also believes this will not give other males a chance to look at me inappropriately. He showed me a lot of videos of scholars stating this is mustahab (preferable) to do, and it's a form of Jihad (spiritual struggle); and uses the Ayah 59 from Surat Alahzab (33:59) as Quranic and religious evidence to support/validate his request for me to wear it. He is very upset and mad at me that I haven't wore it and we have only been married for less than a month. And states that he will not see me for three months (we currently live in different States due to work and school) until I decide to wear it. Before marriage he told me he will not force me to wear it. I tried telling him how this is not practical especially in my profession as a social worker, or how I imagined our life style. I also explained to him how I used to wear it and it only brought negative image about me and about Islam. I also explained to him how I can wear it when we are in a society that it's the norm for it (i.e. Middle East) not the exception in the U.S. He also has kids and I can't help but imagine the teasing and bullying they will get from their peers especially that we will be living in an area with little to no Muslims at all. This is an issue we both feel strongly about, he is for it, and I'm completely against it. And I don't know how to come about solving it, especially that he sees me not agreeing as a form of not liking him or respecting his opinion or caring ways for my protection. I strongly care, love and respect him, but I disagree about this issue and do not want to do something major like this just to please him and not doing it for the sake of Allah. Please advise me. Thank you and I greatly appreciate it.


Salam Dear Sister,

I am really surprised and I am re-thinking again and again before advising you. I was a bit surprised at many of the details you have provided here.

Whenever I think of a suggestion to help you, I find that, somehow, you have had it cross your mind!

He Cannot Force You

Well, to cut it short, my dear, my practical punitive advice, at your age and experience, is: do NOT do what your husband is imposing on you.

You are still very young. You are still at the very start of your marriage. No kids in the marriage.

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The man promised you before marriage that he will not force you to wear it. Then, why would you want to start your life by teaching him that he can always change his word by “punishing” you whenever he wants to get away with what he wants?!

From what I can see from your words, the only commitment which you have for this marriage is some feelings that you have for him. I respect these feelings and I appreciate them.

The bond of marriage is also highly respected by all laws of Islamic and moral ethics. But, both of you should abide by these codes of ethics.

Think of the Future

Your husband, at a certain stage of time when he was not yet your husband, wanted to become your husband and to have you as a wife. At that point of time, he gave you a promise.

Then, now, today, when you are his, he completely forgets about that promise and imposes on you his desire by all means.

He tries to convince you and emotionally tries to affect you. Your husband even religiously tries to convince you by giving you videos and scholarly opinions. Then, he decides to punish you by staying away from you for three months!

What kind of marital dialogue is this?! This is his attitude and “policy” in solving a marital conflict after being “recently married”.

Ask yourself, how will he reach his goals after nine years of marriage? How will he resolve any of your conflicts when your opinions differ in relation to which school you take the kids to, for example?

Let me be clear, though: my previous words are not to advise you whether to wear the niqab or not. I am advising you to look carefully at your marriage and how you would like it to continue, if you are continuing in it.

Love is not and never the main pillar of marriage my dear. Love is the flame and essence that gives the body the spirit to survive, live and nourish. But the real pillar, the body, is the tolerance, understanding, acceptance and decent commitments to words of honor.

Keep Your Intentions Pure

As for the niqab, which is highly respected, it has to be a move that you do for the sake of Allah, and only for the sake of Allah.

The issue of niqab is actually controversial between scholars. Some agree that it obligatory, some agree that it is preferred. But, some see that it is simply cultural and has nothing to do with religion.

In this answer, I will not provide you a fatwa whether it is obligatory or not. This issue has been long discussed between great scholars and you can make your own research.

My point here is that any act that you do with the intention of worship, it has to be for the sake of Allah only.

It is important to note that you are sticking to all Islamic obligations (faraaid) and doing your best to be a good wife who pleases her husband and satisfies him, in accordance to all his emotional, physical, mental and spiritual needs.

Moving Forward

Being a good wife means that you aim to succeed in making him happy.

But, being a good wife does not mean that he imposes on you what he promised he would not.Shall I Obey My Husband and Wear Niqab

There are endless ways to satisfy and please him. Try them all.

Let him know that you love and respect him. Keep your feelings, love, smile and respect for him. Talk to him softly and ask him to keep his promise.

Tell him how heavy you feel this step is for you now and promise him to be more conservative with strangers.

Tell him that you love him and that you want to continue your life with him, but that you don’t see that you will be a faithful Muslim if you wear niqab just for him.

Promise him to read and study more about niqab. And do that. If you are ever convinced, then wear it for the sake of Allah. If you are not, then never do it.

Now, if your husband ever takes it to the edge, saying that you will have to choose between him and niqab on one side, or letting go completely on the other side, then it will be your choice. Try never to take it that far.

But if it is ever there, then think carefully if you really want to continue life with a man who solves marital conflicts through this attitude.

My answer might be a bit harsh my sister. But, I am giving you an indirect message, that sums up the experience of endless marriages I have seen broken after a while, where everything starts rosy and emotional and no one sticks to any promise or word, but these marriages ended where I hope never to see your marriage end.

Hope my answer is helpful. Please let us know if you need any more advice.

My salams.

And Allah knows best.

I hope this helps.

Salam and please keep in touch.

(From Ask About Islam archives)

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

Understanding the Niqab

About Sister Dalia Salaheldin
Sister Dalia Salaheldin is: - An instructor and consultant of interfaith & intercultural Dialogue - A speaker and orator on interfaith and intercultural discourse - An instructor of Arabic and Quranic language at the American University in Cairo - A trainer of interfaith and intercultural discourse and dialogue - A founder of Reading Islam Website - A bilingual writer and proem poet - A social and political activist who has traveled through the world widely - A human development adviser and alternative medicine practitioner