Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah
Question: Assalamu alaykum
I’m visiting UK for my studies. I wear hijab. The issue is that due to Islamophobic attacks increasing in the UK, a lot of people are suggesting me to not wear hijab for my safety. I’ll be living with my brother however I would have to travel alone to the university. Please advise me what I should do?
Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam. Jazakum Allah khayr for your question.
Please stay strong and be confident, and do not act upon the suggestions made to you. Hijab is an obligation, and like any obligation it is not so easily lifted. Also, despite the increase in Islamophobia, you will find that generally the vast majority of people in the UK are very tolerant and supportive, insha’Allah,
Unless you’re going to be living in remote country villages, you’ll find many sisters in the UK wearing hijab and going out their daily affairs, without harassment, especially in larger cities such as London, Birmingham, Manchester etc.
It can be daunting for our Muslim sisters to go out in hijab at present, as unfortunately, they are easy targets. In these testing times, rather than shy away and compromise our freedom, rights and principles, we should try to see this as a way of increasing our faith and striving in the way of Allah.
Take heart in knowing that this is not something specific to our times. Muslims were tested, harassed, and much worse, throughout the centuries. Allah tests those whom he loves most, and through these tests, we become more cherished and greater in Allah’s eyes, even if other people look down on us. Let them, we have Allah and His Messenger on our side.
Be confident, firm, and friendly, and insha’Allah, you’ll have no problems.
Having said the above, we should also be vigilant and take precautions, especially if you have some anxieties:
1. Say your du’a for protection when leaving the house, such as,
بِسْمِ اللهِ، تَوَكَّلْتُ عَلَى اللهِ، وَلَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِاللهِ
In the Name of Allah, I have placed my trust in Allah, there is no might and no power except by Allah.
الَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ أَنْ أَضِلَّ، أّوْ أُضَلَّ، أَوْ أَزِلَّ، أَوْ أُزَلَّ، أَوْ أَظْلِمَ، أَوْ أُظْلَمَ، أَوْ أَجْهَلَ، أَوْ يُجْهَلَ عَلَيَّ
O Allah, I seek refuge in You lest I misguide others , or I am misguided by others , lest I cause others to err or I am caused to err , lest I abuse others or be abused, and lest I behave foolishly or meet with the foolishness of others. [al Tirmidhi]
2. Go out in groups if possible, whether with family, or other females. If you know a fellow student who lives close by or on the same route, perhaps see if you can arrange to meet up on route.
3. Avoid staying out late, especially on weekends when people usually go to bars etc. If you must, then be out in a group.
4. Use main roads. Avoid quite back streets and parks at night.
5. If using public transport, sit in busier carriages rather than quieter ones. When waiting on platforms, don’t stand on the edges.
6. Have a mobile phone at hand at all times.
7. You don’t have to wear black only. Choose colours which are neutral and don’t stand out too much.
8. If you feel unsafe or threatened anywhere, try to get to a public space, such as a shop, restaurant, station etc.
9. For further advice, please refer to this TellMama resource page:
May Allah keep you safe and protect you. Likewise, may He protect all the Muslims, especially our sisters. May He make us steadfast and patient, make our hearts God-fearing before fearing others, and make us a source of guidance for others. Allah is well acquainted with what we do for Him and what others do to us for our faith in Him, so let us bear with what they do and say, and pray for their guidance.
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah
Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.