I wore niqab for the first time during the four hour ride by shared taxi from Amman to Aqaba. I arrived to Amman’s south bus station shortly after dark. Clad in a cream colored scarf and niqab, I presented as an educated, yet devout woman – possibly travelling for work or family reasons.
“Marhaba ya uhti,” the driver spoke softly to me – using a polite tone and a greeting appropriate to an uht (sister) – applied to a woman in recognition of her devotion to Islamic practice.
“Would you like to sit in front?” he continued. I nodded quietly – accepting the offer of a seat which would ostensibly allow me to relax at a distance from the other (male) passengers.
This was the first shared taxi ride from Amman to the south in which I was asked no personal questions, offered no cigarettes and treated with complete deference by all present.