Financial stability is essential
Before you put on the niqab it is very important to make sure that you have some kind of financial stability in place. Many niqabis either have an at home business or are married and rely on their husband’s income. You could also consider working in the medical field. Specifically, with hospice care or in laboratories where no one really cares that your face will be covered. Another option would be to remove your niqab for work and only wear it outside of work. It would not be a good idea to put on niqab if you are not sure how you will make money.
Most Muslims won’t support your decision
The last thing I expected when I put on niqab was to receive more support from non-Muslims. It was the saddest part as well. I lost a mentor when I put on niqab. Had my Imam tell me I should remove it. Muslims were less likely to greet me and many times they treated me as if I were some alien from Mars. The friends that stayed often critisized my choice. Despite the fact that I never brought it up many sisters felt the need to tell me it was not fard on them (or me) to wear it or that they were happy to just wear hijab. Without ever asking for my opinion they bombarded me with theirs. A sign of insecurity on their part. There is an expectation that niqabis will be more religious than sisters who wear the hijab. As a result many hijabis have a perception that we are judging them and they become defensive for absolutely no reason. They somehow convince themselves that our personal choice is a reflection on their moral character.
You will face discrimination
I am not saying this to scare you away from niqab but to help you make preparations for the discrimination that you will face. Trust me on this, you will be discriminated against. The degree to which this happens will vary depending on your location but it will happen at some point. It could be as small as someone laughing and making rude jokes because they think you cannot understand them. Maybe when you get on the train and look up from your phone you will find another passenger eyeing you as if you’re about to do something suspicious.
Do not be surprised if you are followed through every store you enter or are repeatedly turned down for jobs that you are totally qualified for. You will be threatened, cursed out, spit on, or attacked if you are out in public alone. Many niqabis go out less than hijabi sisters just to avoid this. Or they only leave when they can have a mahram escort. After a while it becomes tiring to constantly mistreated. And don’t expect many Muslims to be sympathetic. In their opinion you would have brought the suffering on yourself for doing something they don’t see as necessary. They will even go so far as to tell you it is not illegal for a U.S employer to refuse to hire you since niqab is not apart of the religion.
People who tell you that niqab is fard may not have your best interest at heart
While there is some dispute on if the niqab is fard or sunnah, many women who wear it believe that it is obligatory and will try to convince others of the same. Here’s the thing though. Those people who say that won’t support you if you become homeless due to not being able to find a job. They won’t finance your up and coming business you want to start at home. Many of them just expect you to find a husband to take all these worries off your hands. In my opinion it would not be wise to marry someone simply because you are in a bad situation. That could leave you vulnerable to choosing the wrong partner. If someone simply tells you that you must wear the niqab at all times without considering if your personal situation will allow that, then they really aren’t looking out for your best interests. If what you are wearing matters more than your safety, financial stability, or even your mental health it would be best not to listen to this person. If you can wear the niqab and still find work then do so. If you can wear it without fearing for your life then wear it. However, there is no need to take an unwavering stance on something that even the scholars disagree on when it puts you in jeopardizing situations. There is nothing worse than making something obligatory when it is not even explicitly clear that Allah has made it obligatory.
Things that were not haram before suddenly become haram
There are a lot of strange expectations placed on women who wear the niqab. As I said before people expect us to be more religious than other Muslimahs. Often times more religious translates into having less of a personality or life. Once I put on niqab it was suddenly haram for me to visit the gym. People expected me to only wear black or other dark colors. Patterns were seen as showing off. Going out with non-Muslim friends was looked down upon. As was taking selfies. Many times we cease to stop being people with flaws and just become a symbol. This isn’t something that niqabis choose. It is just something that is forced upon us. Niqabi women are as diverse and unique as any other woman. We have our own opinions, interests, and exspriences.
I won’t lie to you. Wearing niqab is difficult. However, it can also be rewarding. There is nothing better than feeling like you are doing something to please Allah. Just make sure to consider what I have written here. If you do decide to take on niqab just know that Allah sees your struggles and he knows how much you want to please him.