May the peace, mercy, and blessings of God be upon you~
A couple days ago, I had my first bonafide experience wearing a niqab. It was not planned. I was driving home from university, and I just decided to wrap my scarf around my face and pin it. It was instinctual, really -- kind of like my first time wearing the hijab -- it just felt right.
So anyway, that feeling of "rightness" didn't last long. Almost immediately I got a reaction (mind you, I was in a car on the highway).
I passed an SUV going 5 over the speed limit--normal, non-dangerous type driving. The man in the SUV began speeding up, so I looked over. And I will never forget what I saw.
I have never, EVER in my life seen such an expression of shock and disgust -- even horror -- as I saw on that man's face. It was as if I didn't have a face, or my face had been ripped off. Yup, if my face had literally been ripped off, his reaction would have been the same, most likely.
He sort of drove side-by-side with me for what felt like an eternity, although it was probably only a few minutes. I just stared calmly back at him -- I didn't show any emotional response to his crazy behavior.
Well, the interchange ended with his revving off (he suddenly decided to drive like 90 miles an hour) and leaving me in his dust.
I can't say that I felt completely cool and collected after that. I mean, someone had just looked at me like I was the grim reaper. I tried to calm myself down and carry on.
Now, I have had crazy reactions to my hijab. I have had harassment, and rude comments, and unkindness. But I have never had a face react quite like that to my appearance before. And it frightened me.
I just keep thinking, what was running through that man's mind? He looked so disgusted and shocked, but what did he feel when he looked at me, a covered woman just driving on the highway?
And mostly, why did he feel it was okay to react to a human being that way? Just because I had covered my face up didn't mean I suddenly became a robot. It didn't mean I was something to be feared, or leered at like some sort of nasty spectacle.
I will never treat anyone the way that man on the highway treated me. My heart goes out to all of the sisters who wear the niqab, especially in the West where reactions to it can be so violent. May Allah reward all of you, in sh Allah.