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Husband Wants Me Covered & Locked in the House

Question and answer details
Sena (30-Female-Azerbaijan)
2012/12/04
Asalamu Alaykum, I have one problem about wearing. My husband demands from me to even cover my face. I’m not sure how can I be active part of society with covered face? His sister is full covered, face, eyes, hands, but she accepted that life, she doesn't go out, she never went school, she doesn't have friends, I can tell she spends almost 24 hours closed in the house, she even doesn't visit us. She cut all ties with society. And now somehow my husband wants that from me. I’m educated woman, I have friends, I like people, I’m different type of woman and it’s hard to explain that to my husband. When I tell that to him, he thinks I only want to go out, enjoy, etc. But I simply want to go work, to use my education, to go sometimes shopping with friends, for dinner. And those things rarely happen. I go out with friend maybe once a month and he made it like I only think of fun, I want to escape from the house, etc. I can’t explain to him that I don’t want to live in a cage or in prison, that I can’t be happy only with housework and covering my face. I have finished medicine and I can't give it up, I like it. But he doesn't support me, he wants to wrap me in black, and I’m getting insane. I also have few neighbors with burqa and they aren't happy women, they live as maids. People usually say it’s women’s choice but it’s far from it in most cases. My husband knows all that but he is saying "if my mother and sister could live that way, you can too, accept it and after some time you will get used and you will be happy" How can I explain to him that I can't be happy that way but without fighting every time?
Attia Zaidi
Answer

Wa alaiykum as salaam dear sister,  

I would like to ask why this matter was not clarified before marriage? These issues, which seem to be a “deal breaker”, should be discussed prior to marriage so no person has to give up something that is critically important to them. Now that this hasn’t been done, we can try our best to solve the problem in a way where both people feel happy, but by the wording of your question this win-win situation may be difficult.

Let me start by challenging some of your views. I am not doing this because I think your husband is right, but rather because when you make a decision you should make an informed one. What are the views of public towards Nikab where you live? Would you be able to practice medicine with only women? I know women who wear Nikab, they all have friends and go out as needed and when they want to. They are also educated. Your statement that women who wear Nikab have no friends and live as maids is a bit of an exaggeration.

Your concern, however, that you will not be able to do things you enjoy is a well-founded concern. I understand that you feel wearing Nikab will be very restrictive and it probably will. It seems like your husband does not support you going out much anyway. If you decide not to wear Nikab, will he be ok with you living the life that you wish to live? Does he support you having a job? Going to friend’s homes? Pursuing more education? If none of these are supported, it may be the case that you and your husband have different values of how women should live. This is an issue that is beyond the scope of this forum and I would encourage you to seek out a marital therapist.

There are some things that are so important to your husband (like Nikab) that he will not be able to see your perspective. You obviously feel strongly about your perspective and so cannot see his. I do not think that this is a matter of who is right and/or wrong, rather this seems that you two want to live different lives and are making choices accordingly. He doesn’t sound like he wants a wife who is independent and enjoys her freedom (staying within her halal boundaries). You do no sound like you want to be a stay-at-home wife. That is a large difference and I feel only speaking to a therapist will help resolve this for you.

I wish you all that which is beneficial for you. 


For further guidance, please try the following links:

Marriage, an Obstacle to Fulfilling My Dreams

Distinguishing Culture from Religion Concerning Marriage

I Want a Wife, Not a Maid

Things to Have In Mind While Choosing a Spouse

Culture versus Religion: A Personal Experience


About the Counselor:
Attia Zaidi is a writer, educator, social worker and mother. She has worked with the GTA's Muslim community for over 15 years in various capacities. Currently, Attia runs a small private practice offering therapy for Muslim families. You can find it at:http://www.restoreyourelement.com/

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