Guest Blog

First Comment, First Dislike

May 27, 2017

Words Arwa P. 
Illustration Fatema A. (cosmicweavers)
Foreword Zahabiya H.


We’ve all heard the rhetoric. A veil, a headscarf, it’s all a form of keeping us bowed. Bound. But what needs to be revealed is not our heads or our limbs but our minds and our hearts. Keeping us rooted, our libaas means we are wearing our past and our futures, our values and our dignity, we are wearing our identity. The piece below explores this journey and the constant reminder we have in our libaas of how limitless we now are.


The first time I got a negative comment for wearing a rida, I was 13 years old. I was in a public restroom and a ‘white’ lady in her mid-30s looked at me and said “Look at you- young and beautiful. The men in your life should not be allowed to oppress you that way.” – I was young, probably didn’t know what oppressed meant, and had never imagined a response. I probably just gave her a quizzical look, smiled, and headed out. It didn’t end there though. Her comments nestled uncomfortably in my subconscious- they would come out and wave when I least wanted them too. I craved and needed a response. It would be a few years before I got any kind of an answer, but I eventually realised that the rida was not in any form oppression, it was a freedom that I got because at one point in history- it was given up.

Every depiction of Mary is of her veiled. It’s the subtle reminder of her chastity, her honour and her feminism when the disbelieving men in her era questioned those values.

Maulatena Fatema AS hid behind a door when she realised that the man at the door would not give her time to veil her beauty. She chose to, instead, endure the trampling between a door and the wall. Yet, the disbelievers did not understand. When she followed her husband outside of the door, they deliberately slapped and whipped her- trying to ‘oppress’ her veil. Still, covered not bound, she laid out an argument in the chambers of the enemy- words that left each man there unconfused about who was haqq and who was not.

And, in Karbala, one of the last instructions of Imam Husain AS to the women of his family was to cover themselves- twice. He knew that they would be ‘oppressed’ into taking off both layers, chased far into the jungle to be snatched of their veils- they would be slapped, whipped, bruised, and the disbelievers would come near enough to snatch them of their earrings. Still, Zainab AS stood her ground in the courts of Yazid, shaking each man there with her eloquent speech, once again clearing the confusion about who was haqq and who was not.

On the way to those chambers, when Imam Husain’s AS raas mubarak visited Shireen’s house, and she wept as she asked him how she should get the honour of his ziyafat, he responded that one way would be to give the women and children of his household relief by giving them chaddars, veils.

After the restoration of al-Jame al-Anwar, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA decided that his mumenaat- the women coming to the Fatimid Misr to remember the tragedy of Karbala of Imam Husain AS and his family, should come wearing the rida. When asked what difference between his royal family and the common women would then remain, his response was that his goal was to make us his family. If we loved him and would shed tears in the remembrance of Imam Husain- Fatema’s AS son, Zainab AS and Umme Kulsoom’s AS brother, Sakina AS and Ruqaiyah’s AS father, each of the Fatimid Imams’ father, our Maula- we were counted in his family and that we deserved the honour to wear the rida. We entered Misr the same way we left. Covered, not bound.

So no, I don’t wear rida because I am ‘oppressed’ and I definitely do not wear it because ‘the men in my life’ have told me to.

I wear it because these clothes do not only define me and give me my identity- they are a constant reminder of my history- of my past, of my present, of my future.

I wear it because those women took it off that day so that a day would never come when I would need to.

They wore it to show me that I don’t need to be ‘young and beautiful’ to get anywhere or be anything- my assets were my knowledge, my values and my beliefs.

It reminds me that my aspirations are far beyond this world, my goals are eternal, and the foundation is so deep in the ground that no amount of technological advancement, science or educational leaps will be able to uproot it.  

I can do anything I want because I am covered, not bound.


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  • Reply Zahra K May 29, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    Very touching and so well written!

  • Reply Mubaraka vasi May 31, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    Beautifully written.. all our young girls should read it to strengthen their resolve and dispel any doubts that the naysayers plant!

  • Reply Farida Dahodwala May 31, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    A very well written piece which covers our beliefs and thoughts perfectly.

  • Reply Farida Haji May 31, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    Like the umbrealla saves us partially from rainfall, but we still enjoy the rain. (Neamat)
    Like the skin covers the flesh, it may cover the body as a whole, but it still has pores to let warmth and nature enter. (Pleasantries)
    And so, just like that . . .
    The rida may cover our physical presence, but it lets us breathe and consume in all regards. Pshycially and spiritually.
    Its a wholistic concept.
    If you are what you wear. Then we are definitely covered, but not bound.

    • Reply ummeayman haidermota June 1, 2017 at 5:46 am


  • Reply Fatema Umrethi May 31, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    So very beautifully written and heart touching…it perfectly conveys our thoughts and feelings

  • Reply Zuzer M Husen June 1, 2017 at 12:08 am

    Its so touching that all young girls n women who don’t wear Rida will do so after reading this article! KUDHA TALLAH MUFFADAL MAULA NI UMR SARIF NR QAYAMAAT NA DIN TAK DARAS ANE DARAS KARE! AMEEN!!

  • Reply Arwa Lakda June 1, 2017 at 12:43 am

    Very well written !

  • Reply Batul M.Saifuddin June 1, 2017 at 12:46 am

    Perfectly expressed article…i am proud to be covered….but my views are open…

  • Reply rashida patanwala June 1, 2017 at 12:56 am

    beautifully u hav expressed r beliefs n thoughts.

  • Reply sakina June 1, 2017 at 12:58 am

    Very well composed !!! It beautifully portrays our beliefs …Excellently written

  • Reply Tasneem lokhandwala June 1, 2017 at 1:06 am

    These r words of all women compiled together . Our attire is our beauty when I started wearing it I felt protected felt walking in this world with pride started receiving respect and best part felt inner satisfaction

  • Reply Husaina June 1, 2017 at 1:30 am

    Excellently worded!!!!! Very important for all those young minds..

  • Reply Murtaza Zakir June 1, 2017 at 1:31 am

    Excellent article and indeed a motivation for those who hesitate to wear our Attire in public due to whatsoever reason.

  • Reply Mariya Kundawala June 1, 2017 at 1:37 am

    Well written!!! Inspiration for younger women.

  • Reply Zainab M yavatmalwala June 1, 2017 at 1:41 am

    A very beautiful thought which is v v well explained…
    A deep rooted tarbiyat can be seen in ur words.

  • Reply Samina thaker June 1, 2017 at 1:44 am

    Beautifuly written

  • Reply Farida badri June 1, 2017 at 1:57 am

    Superb…. Beautifully put in words the thoughts which we all share….. This is today’s women….

  • Reply Shabbar SSuterwala June 1, 2017 at 2:00 am

    I fail to puts word my reply.. iread … excellent write up.. a must read for all..!

  • Reply farida abbas June 1, 2017 at 2:21 am

    Well versed & enlightened all the aspects of wearing rida

  • Reply Fatema husain June 1, 2017 at 2:29 am

    Beautifully written…all that comes negative in young minds due to surroundings, an inspirational story for them.

  • Reply Alefiya June 1, 2017 at 2:35 am

    Thank you for such a lovely insight. A must read for all those who doesn’t respect the Rida.

  • Reply Rashida June 1, 2017 at 3:12 am

    Just awesome…
    Beautifully written

  • Reply sakina imani June 1, 2017 at 3:28 am

    Very nicely written. Yes this has been questioned to many bohra women but it has never made us leave our rida, never made us leave our values.

  • Reply Ruqaiyya June 1, 2017 at 3:38 am

    Well written great motivation to all who never regret to wear rida

  • Reply Shirin Unwala June 1, 2017 at 3:47 am

    Very well written…

  • Reply Nafeesa June 1, 2017 at 3:47 am

    Very well written and well expressed.

  • Reply Batull June 1, 2017 at 3:52 am

    Excellent article which really shows what we think we feel
    Liked it sooooo much

  • Reply Fatema husain June 1, 2017 at 3:56 am

    Modernity doesnt lie in our attire or appereance but it lies in our thoughts, your write up is a perfect answer to people who shun our libas al anwar in the name of modernization.
    We feel pride in wearing our rida and are the true symbol of mordern dawoodi bohra women!!
    Beautiful write-up

  • Reply Munira Boltwala June 1, 2017 at 4:02 am

    An enlightened thought to ponder by the coming generation .So blessed that our aqa moula had already taught us to wear rida as a sign of sanctity and not boundati

  • Reply Moiz Bharmal June 1, 2017 at 4:02 am

    Excellent article..
    Freedom is measured by your thoughts not by your attire..

  • Reply Rashida Shk.taha badri June 1, 2017 at 4:11 am

    Very nicely illustrated ,good

  • Reply Rashida Goryawala June 1, 2017 at 4:17 am

    Wow what an article! I am covered, not bound! After years of being asked – why do you wear a rida – and – don’t you feel out of place – I think I now have the perfect answer! Thank you so much for sharing this powerful and beautiful article! Jazakallah!

  • Reply Arwa Husami June 1, 2017 at 4:18 am

    Truthfully Written!:)

  • Reply Ummeayman sh juzar jamaali June 1, 2017 at 4:23 am

    Very nicely expressed

  • Reply Nisreen Kapadia June 1, 2017 at 4:36 am

    Very well expressed. I wear my rida with pride and I feel so safe and secured.

  • Reply Lubaina June 1, 2017 at 4:39 am

    Truly encouraging words ……that leaves a mark behind

  • Reply Arva raghib June 1, 2017 at 4:39 am

    Very beautifully expressed views in wearing rida ..our wearing it we feel blessed n proud , confident in every way

  • Reply Fizza June 1, 2017 at 4:40 am

    True..yes covered not bound..must read article. Thanks Mighzal team n writer Arwa ben

  • Reply Khadija June 1, 2017 at 4:43 am

    Beautifully written

  • Reply Rashida jariwala June 1, 2017 at 5:13 am

    Very true nd touching

  • Reply Murtaza Shakir June 1, 2017 at 5:16 am

    Beautiful written. Clever mind understand well. Each and every single line tells us that our liba’s is everything don’t be shy when you wear it. It gives you courage, Peace etc. Hope every girl will wear rida after reading this.

  • Reply Maria. June 1, 2017 at 5:23 am

    Excellent n a very apt text. All young girls should read it.

  • Reply Fatema Sidhpurwala June 1, 2017 at 5:34 am

    With tears in my eyes… I say… I am glad my daughters wear the rida from the day of their misaaq…. Where ever I have traveled,places where nobody is so covered, people have looked up with respect …n wanting to know abt who we are.. It’s a must read for each n everyone of us.

  • Reply ummeayman haidermota June 1, 2017 at 5:47 am

    Very well written !!

  • Reply Mustafa June 1, 2017 at 5:53 am

    Well written and explained. This generation needs more of these article. God bless you.

  • Reply Farida a merchant June 1, 2017 at 6:00 am

    Of course a proud lady always carries her hijab in a unique way n am proud to b a women of substance

  • Reply Mariya khandwawala June 1, 2017 at 6:13 am

    Wery good written we proud to be wear rida

  • Reply Batool rangwala June 1, 2017 at 6:14 am

    So very well said…….
    Constant reminder of my history…….it completes everything……after dat no explanation is further required…..if we respect n love our ancestors den definitely we will wear d Rida…..

  • Reply Arwa June 1, 2017 at 6:24 am

    Very well written
    Proud of today’s children
    They have understood the concept so well

  • Reply Arwa S June 1, 2017 at 6:28 am

    Very well written and it is this determination only that made me disobey the rules of my college and stand in a rida to compere the annual college fest. My teachers amd everyone asked me whether it would be okay for me to remove the rida and I refused and told them that this is my attire and I will never drop it. Well I was a first yr junior college student and it made me proud that inspite of people telling me I made it a point and stood in my rida to compere the fest!!

  • Reply Alefiya June 1, 2017 at 6:29 am

    Very beautifuly written… Inspired alot

  • Reply Nisreen Husainy June 1, 2017 at 6:29 am

    Superb !
    Our goal , our motto , our aim , our destination , our desire , our attire : All covered but not bound !!

  • Reply Tasneem Indorewala June 1, 2017 at 6:38 am

    it is very touching and very well msg

  • Reply Dr Murtaza Z Kothawala June 1, 2017 at 6:46 am

    Awesome ! Well written article.It establishes the modern concept of highest well defined human standards and growing intellect .The rida being a truly blessed wear .SubhanAllah !

  • Reply shabbir kitabi June 1, 2017 at 6:50 am

    Great piece of writing…..

  • Reply Mohammed Ismail June 1, 2017 at 8:11 am

    Well said


  • Reply Mansour June 1, 2017 at 8:28 am

    👍its nice and helpful article for all those dwdi.bohra women ,they hesitate to wear rida,its also protect from BAD EYES( BURI NAZAR).allah hafiz.

  • Reply nisreen June 1, 2017 at 8:34 am

    very well said…
    beautifully written

  • Reply Sakina June 1, 2017 at 9:12 am

    Beautifully written!! An inspiration for those who don’t feel uncomfortable wearing rida in public…

  • Reply Sakina June 1, 2017 at 9:16 am

    Beautifully written!! An inspiration for those who don’t feel comfortable wearing rida in public…

  • Reply Batul kausar June 1, 2017 at 9:17 am

    Well said Ben , beautiful thought

  • Reply fatema m badri June 1, 2017 at 9:45 am

    to the point and heartfelt ….and inspiring …everyone specially our young ones
    plz keep us posted

  • Reply Tasneem June 1, 2017 at 10:01 am

    Very well written inspiring article for all the women of our Dawoodi Bohra community

  • Reply Shabbar Gilitwala June 1, 2017 at 10:55 am

    Amazing words, straight from the heart.

  • Reply Fatema June 1, 2017 at 10:57 am

    Very well written

  • Reply Tasneem Rangwala June 1, 2017 at 10:58 am

    Very well written fact ..I believe v r d bandis of Moulatona Fatema a.s v shuld proudly follow d footsteps of Moulatona Fatema a.s …..w muslim women shuld feel proud to except such a beautiful attire called Rida .

  • Reply Fatema Moiz June 1, 2017 at 11:03 am

    Soo true.. but still there are so many ladies who fail to understand this….i love my rida its not only beautiful but also gives us the sense of security ans assure us that our maula is always with us…

  • Reply Tasneem calcuttawala June 1, 2017 at 11:11 am

    Beautifully explained that Rida is not bound for us. A must read for those who doesn’t wear rida.

  • Reply Sakina Saifuddin Netterwala June 1, 2017 at 11:19 am

    Very well written

  • Reply Rashida Hajee June 1, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Beautifully written. My libaas is a mark of respect and I wear it with pride.

  • Reply Durriya Godhrawala June 1, 2017 at 11:26 am

    Beautifully written and so well expressed

  • Reply TASNEEM BHATIA June 1, 2017 at 11:28 am

    Excellent write up….our beliefvery well defined

  • Reply Fatema Aamir motorwala June 1, 2017 at 11:45 am

    Well said

  • Reply Tasneem Yusuf charniwala June 1, 2017 at 11:47 am

    Vry heart touching msg 👌👍🏻

  • Reply Munira June 1, 2017 at 11:52 am

    Excellently written……..expresses today’s dawoodi bohra women

  • Reply Khadija Faizullabhai June 1, 2017 at 11:56 am

    It’s nailed it so perfectly. We are covered, not bound.

  • Reply Tasneem Badri June 1, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    Very well written and beautifully expressed about our identity and pride…keep it up..👍

  • Reply Jamila SHK Mohammed Bootwala June 1, 2017 at 4:25 pm


  • Reply mohammed bootwala June 1, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    so true. By wearing the rida we not only gain our moula (tus) happiness but also gain eternal happiness for ourselves.

  • Reply Ruqaiyya June 1, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    Its written very well… This article can give motivation to does who regert to wear rida as they think its not in fashion

  • Reply batul.m.husain June 1, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    Written a superb article !!!it really expresses wt i hv been feeling all these years👍👍👍

  • Reply Tasneem Shk Mustafa hakimji June 1, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    Very well written
    Beautifully conveyed the message

  • Reply HABIBA RANGOONWALA June 1, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    A big salute to you lady!!! Amazed with your thoughts after reading the story tears came and I actually cried . Thanks for sharing such a beautiful concept of RIDA

  • Reply aaomoosm June 1, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    Very well written !!

  • Reply Arwa Shafiqui June 1, 2017 at 6:19 pm

    Excellent we are covered, not bound for the sky is the limit for us nay even beyond that for it is our minds which are liberated. Our RIDA has given us instant recognition, respect and identity wherever we go. Things of immense value are always covered and protected and I am proud to be such a woman

  • Reply Zainab Bagwala June 1, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    Exclnt article…my role model is Zainab a.s.n Maulatona Hurratul maleka who teaches us hukkul mumena…ds article is jst an example of it…proud of my ridah….

  • Reply masooma June 1, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    Very well written! !!👌👌👌

  • Reply Sakina Sirohiwala June 1, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    Yes I am covered. But not Bound. Thank you so much for this article. These kinds of article makes me believe more in my attire!

  • Reply Tasneem Rangwala June 1, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    So well said and expressed. I hope it inspires others who wear rida only occasionally.

  • Reply insiyah barwaniwala June 1, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    👌 beautifully written …..

  • Reply Khadija baldiwala June 1, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    I completely agree and understand that we are covered by the love of moulana. It is every mumenaats pride to wear a rida which covers her beauty from getting bounded and, in fact gets her to a lime light of people as the most respected women of a place.

  • Reply Nafisa June 1, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    Very well written..

  • Reply TASNEEM LAKKEDGHATWALA June 1, 2017 at 11:09 pm


  • Reply Farzana June 1, 2017 at 11:42 pm

    Definitely puts thoughts into the right perspective. Bravo Arwa

  • Reply FATEMA SHABBIR NAGRI June 1, 2017 at 11:45 pm

    Very well expressed……excellent

  • Reply ruqaiyah June 1, 2017 at 11:52 pm

    prefect written…. its our pride to wear rida … it is our unique fashion.

  • Reply Ummulbaneen June 2, 2017 at 12:24 am

    Beautifully written…..

  • Reply Tasneem Rangwala June 2, 2017 at 1:00 am

    Wearing a rida gives us immense protection & we are proud to be dawoodi bohras in saaya of our beloved maula .long live our aqa maula syedna Ali qader mufaddal Saifuddin(T.U.S) …..

  • Reply Sherebanu Kapadia June 2, 2017 at 2:56 am

    Very well written… covered n not bound…. proud wearing rida

  • Reply Fatema fakhruddin talawala June 2, 2017 at 4:13 am

    Yeah its beautifully written n wearing rida is safe n we are proud to be a dawoodi bohra long live aliqadr moula

  • Reply Fatema Cyclewala June 2, 2017 at 4:20 am

    You have soo well written it .. and soo well answered to alot of things. .. thank you soo much for this article ..

  • Reply Mariyam Rampurawala June 2, 2017 at 5:24 am

    Very will Writting

  • Reply Fatema Motorwala June 2, 2017 at 5:47 am

    Awesome written

  • Reply Mariyam Hussain June 2, 2017 at 7:59 am

    Very well written

  • Reply Alifiya Taher Merchant June 2, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    Wonderful article!! I’m proud I’m born as a Dawoodi Bohra woman.

  • Reply Ruqaiya.Kapadia June 3, 2017 at 11:01 am

    This article exactly said the words which I always wanted to express! I’m speechless how amazingly the words are put! 👏

  • Reply Husaina Jamali June 3, 2017 at 11:55 pm

    Amazing 🙂

  • Reply Ummehani Shakir June 7, 2017 at 7:44 am

    A beautiful and inspiring article which sums up our cultural heritage with dignity.

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