Niqab is the general Arabic term for a woman’s veil that covers the whole head except for the eyes. This study sought to vividly describe the lived experiences of Muslim women who wear the niqab within Metro Manila. It employed a qualitative research approach to be able to completely analyze the perspectives and feelings of those who participated in this research and data were gathered by individually interviewing the participants who were referred to as co-researchers. The analysis of data was conducted using Giorgi’s Modified Phenomenological Technique. The major themes that emerged from the analysis and interpretation of the co-researcher’s responses were divided into three categories — their Faith in Islam as the focus of their lived experiences, Motivations, and Struggles. The sub-themes found under the niqab-wearing women’s lived experiences are Overcoming Physical Inconveniences, Breaking the Barriers of Communication, Change in Demeanor, Alternative Personal Thoughts, Reverence in Interactions with Understanding People, Keeping the Faith Despite False Assumptions from Others, Sense of Belongingness, Development of Patience, and Acclimatization. Meanwhile, the sub-themes for motivations included the co-researchers’ Adherence to Islamic Teaching, Influence of Loved Ones, and People of Authority in Islam; whereas, their personal struggles comprised of Mistaken for a Bad Person, Apprehension of their Autonomy and Abilities, and Subject of Taunting. These themes all pointed out to the niqab being a symbol of allegiance to faith by the women interviewed for this study. Exploring the narrative experiences of niqab-wearing women through the lens of other theories and paradigms is further recommended.
Hafsah Macaraya, Arellano University, Philippines