The Arab Woman


It is nearly midday, and I sit waiting for my driver to come back from picking my two year old son from nursery. How long will he take? I feel the heat of impatience, and this frustration bites me. If you think about it, the high life I am living is more than what most people can ask for; my very own driver, going to the shops at a whim, a splendid home and a private swimming pool and Jacuzzi to relax and unwind after a long day, a husband who dotes on me and fulfills my every desire, and four bright kids who will be the future. Dubai is relaxing. I often go to get my nails done. I get my hair cut, coloured and styled every week. I have three personal nannies, though I do not work myself. Some of my European friends find that absurd. I think these are perks every woman should demand.

My husband has planned to get my own vintage furniture business going and so I need to get to the office by one thirty sharp, yet there is no sign of my driver. The traffic must be bad. I get up and slowly get dressed. As I am just about to affix my Niqab on I hear the honk of my car. Finally, I think. My female servant fetches me my bag, and my shoes are already placed for me to wear. I step out in the blazing heat and instantly feel the sweat forming around my mouth. The car door opens for me to sit down at the back, I shift myself inside and it shuts behind me. I am in the mood to be pensive. My mind starts relaxing into thoughtfulness, also because the ambience is calm, with the Air Conditioner soothing my cheeks. I was never given reason myself, and was brought up with this idea of having to wear the Niqab when I became a woman. There was a tone of finality in my parents’ words, as if there was no other choice. My thoughts give further way. I have recently watched the Hajj coverage of devoted Muslims taking their beloved Pilgrimage to the house of God. There were many women I saw who did not have their faces covered, would that mean their Hajj would be invalid, God forbid? It makes me wonder how true this idea of covering the face is. My only encouragement has been to cover my face, yet do whatever I feel like. However I have never sensed an encouragement of learning more about my religion. I do not know many things at all. I do not even know if covering the face is what Islam says? It does not make a woman who does not hide her face any less of a Muslim than myself. I do not even pray regularly, and hardly ever read the Holy Qur’an.

I cannot lie and say I don’t like my extravagant lifestyle, it is definitely luxurious. But I am always in need of answers. I get the desire of paying my children more attention, but it has become a habit of relying on external help to bring my children up, it is as if its not in my control anymore. This indulgent lifestyle has shaped me to the person I am today. I have many a girly party, which is why I care so much about my appearance. But it is my education I received abroad, that instilled in me certain doubts about my life. My consciousness speaks a lot more now than it used to. However my worry is I will fall back into that cycle of a superficial life, as I lead every single day, with my face covered. What good is having my face covered if it is just cultural. I want to learn, but an outing with a group of friends entices me. I imagine what life would be like if I did not have this much money to splash out. And this abruptly stops my thought process when my driver announces my destination.