Liberation by the Veil

User Rating:  / 23
PoorBest 
by Sehmina Jaffer Chopra

  Modesty and chastity , very important ideologies with Islam, are achieved by prescribing standards on behavior and the dress of a Muslim. A woman who adheres to the tenets of Islam is required to follow the dress code called Hijab, other synonyms are Veil, Purdah, or just Covering. It is an act of faith and establishes a Muslim's life with honor, respect and dignity. The Hijab is viewed as a liberation for women, in that the covering brings about "an aura of respect" (Takim, 22) and women are recognized as individuals who are admired for their mind and personality, "not for their beauty or lack of it" ( Mustafa ) and not as sex objects.

Contrary to popular belief, the covering of the Muslim woman is not oppression but a liberation from the shackles of male scrutiny and the standards of attractiveness. In Islam, a woman is free to be who she is inside, and immune from being portrayed as sex symbol and lusted after. Islam exalts the status of a woman by commanding that she "enjoys equal rights to those of man in everything, she stands on an equal footing with man " (Nadvi, 11) and both share mutual rights and obligations in all aspects of life.

Men and women though equal are not identical, and each compliments the other in the different roles and functions that they are responsible to. " From an Islamic perspective, to view a woman as a sex symbol is to denigrate her. Islam believes that a woman is to be judged by her [virtuous] character and actions rather than by her looks or physical features" (Takim, 22). In the article, "My Body Is My Own Business", Ms. Naheed Mustafa , a young Canadian born and raised, university-educated Muslim woman writes, "The Quran [ which is the Holy Book for Muslims] teaches us that men and women are equal, that individuals should not be judged according to gender, beauty, wealth or privilege. The only thing that makes one person better than another is his or her character." She goes on to say, "In the Western world, the hijab has come to symbolize either forced silence or radical, unconscionable militancy. Actually, its neither. It is simply a woman's assertion that judgment of her physical person is to play no role whatsoever in social interaction."

Muslims believe that God gave beauty to all women, but that her beauty is not be seen by the world, as if the women are meat on the shelf to be picked and looked over. When she covers herself she puts herself on a higher level and men will look at her with respect and she is noticed for her intellect , faith ,and personality, not for her beauty. In many societies, especially in the West, women are taught from early childhood that their worth is proportional to their attractiveness and are compelled to follow the male standards of beauty and abstract notions of what is attractive, half realizing that such pursuit is futile and often humiliating (Mustafa). Chastity , modesty, and piety are promoted by the institution of veiling. The hijab in no way prevents a woman from playing her role as an important individual in a society nor does it make her inferior." (Takim,22)

A Muslim woman may wear whatever she pleases in the presence of her husband and family or among women friends. But when she goes out or when men other than her husband or close family are present she is expected to wear a dress which will cover [her hair and] all parts of her body , and not reveal her figure. What a contrast with Western fashions which every year concentrate quite intentionally on exposing yet another erogenous zone to the public gaze! The intention of Western dress is to reveal the figure, while the intention of Muslim dress is to conceal [and cover] it, at least in public (Lemu,25).

The Muslim woman does not feel the pressures to be beautiful or attractive, which is so apparent in the Western and Eastern cultures. She does not have to live up to expectations of what is desirable and what is not. Superficial beauty is not the Muslim woman's concern, her main goal is inner spiritual beauty. She does not have to use her body and charms to get recognition or acceptance in society. It is very different from the cruel methods that other societies subject women, in that their worth is always judged by their physical appearance. The are numerous examples of discrimination at the workplace where women are either accepted or rejected, because of their attractiveness and sex appeal.

Another benefit of adorning the veil is that it is a protection for women. Muslims believe that when women display their beauty to everybody, they degrade themselves by becoming objects of sexual desire and become vulnerable to men, who look at them as " gratification for the sexual urge"(Nadvi,8). The Hijab makes them out as women belonging to the class of modest chaste women, so that transgressors and sensual men may recognize them as such and dare not tease them out of mischief" (Nadvi, 20). Hijab solves the problem of sexual harassment and unwanted sexual advances, which is so demeaning for women, when men get mixed signals and believe that women want their advances by the way they reveal their bodies.

The western ideology of, 'if you have it, you should flash it!' is quite opposite to the Islamic principle, where the purpose is not to bring attention to ones self, but to be modest. Women in so many societies are just treated as s ex symbols and nothing more than just a body who "display themselves to get attention" (Mustafa). A good example is in advertising, where a woman's body is used to sell products. Women are constantly degraded, and subjected to reveal more and more of themselves. .

The Covering sanctifies her and forces society to hold her in high esteem. Far from humiliating the woman, Hijab actually grants the woman an aura of respect, and bestows upon her a separate and unique identity (Takim, 2). According to the Qu'ran, the same high standards of moral conduct are for men as it is for women. Modesty is essential in a man's life, as well, whether it be in action, morals or speech. Islam also commands proper behavior and dress of men, in that they are not allowed to make a wanton show of their bodies to attract attention onto themselves, and they too must dress modestly. They have a speci al commandment to lower their eyes, and not to brazenly stare at women.

In Sura Nur of the Holy Qu'ran it says, " Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that will make for greater purity for them, and God is well acquainted with what they do". Many of the misconceptions of the Muslim woman in the west, particularly her veil stems from Arab and Muslim countries that have deviated from the true doctrines of Islam, and have " mixed up Islamic principles with pre-Islamic pagan traditions" (Bahnassawi, 67)

In this present period of decline from Islam, many Muslim women are alienated , isolated from social life, and are oppressed by Muslim men and rulers who use the name of religion for their injustices. (Bahnassawi, 65) In this instance, the Hijab is used as a means of keeping many Muslim women away from society, with the misconception that it signifies isolation and weakness. But as many Muslim women come back into the fold of the untainted and true Islam, they are able to recognize the injustice of men who have for so long stripped them of their rights to be an integral part of society and "deserving the same dignity, honor, progress and prosperity as the men" (Nadvi,26). Women regaining their true identity and role in society, are now wearing Hijab and embracing its concept of liberation for women, and are taking their rightful places that Islam had endowed upon them fourteen hundred years ago.

Please copy and distribute to whoever can benefit from the above paper. Thank you, peace and blessings of Allah to all my brothers and sisters in Islam,

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Power of Peace in Islam

The very word ‘Islam’ (from the Arabic silm) connotes peace. According to a tradition of the Prophet, ‘Peace is Islam’ (Al-Bukhari). This means that peace is one of the prerequisites of Islam. Similarly, a Hadith states: A Muslim is one from whose tongue and hands people are safe.

One of the attributes of God described in the Quran is ‘As-Salam’, which means peace and security.’ That is to say that God’s Being itself is a manifestation of peace. Indeed, God is Peace (Al-Bukhari). In the Quran divine guidance is likened to the paths of peace. (5:16) Similarly, God's desired religion is called 'paths of peace' (5:16). Paradise, the ultimate destination of God's true devotees, is called the 'home of peace' (6:127). It is also said that, the people of Paradise will wish peace to one another, indicating that the social culture of the people of Paradise will be based on peace.

The Quran, avers that, ‘reconciliation is best’ (4:128), and judging by the consequences, the way of peace is far better than that of confrontation. By the law of Nature, God has decreed that success will be met with only on a reconciliatory path, and not on a confrontational or a violent course of action.

Read more...

The Moral System Of Islam by Syed Maududi

MAN has been blessed with an innate sense of morality, which has served to guide him through the age, enabling him to distinguish between right and wrong and good and evil. Although the degree to which a certain quality is interpreted as being either good or evil may vary from person to person, there is more or less a universal consensus regarding the classification of what constitutes a moral deed or attribute and what does not. Thus, virtues such as bravery and truthfulness have always elicited praise. In contrast to this, we find that at no time in the history of man have qualities such as dishonesty and breach of trust ever been upheld or regarded as worthy of praise. Fidelity, magnanimity and integrity have always been valued, whilst selfishness, cruelty, miserliness and bigot, have never received the approbation of society at large. Perseverance, determination and courage are qualities that are much admired and appreciated by man, whereas impatience, fickleness and cowardice are given little consideration. Dignity, restraint, politeness and amiability have always been regarded as virtues as opposed to snobbery, arrogance and discourteousness, which have never been recognized as good moral qualities. A person who possesses a sense of responsibility and devotion to duty has always been high regarded and respected whilst he who is lazy, negligent of his duties and undisciplined is largely ignored and looked down upon.

Read more...

The Tale of Two Men

Set forth to them the parable of two men: for one of them We provided two gardens of grape-vines and surrounded them with date palms; in between the two We placed corn-fields. Each of those gardens brought forth its produce, and failed not in the least therein: in the midst of them We caused a river to flow. (Abundant) was the produce this man had : he said to his companion, in the course of a mutual argument: "more wealth have I than you, and more honour and power in (my following of) men." He went into his garden in a state (of mind) unjust to his soul: He said, "I deem not that this will ever perish, "Nor do I deem that the Hour (of Judgment) will (ever) come: Even if I am brought back to my Lord, I shall surely find (there) something better in exchange." His companion said to him, in the course of the argument with him: "Dost thou deny Him Who created thee out of dust, then out of a sperm-drop, then fashioned thee into a man? "But (I think) for my part that He is God, My Lord, and none shall I associate with my Lord. "Why did you not, as you went into thy garden, say: 'God's will (be done)! There is no power but with God!' If thou dost see me less than thee in wealth and sons, "It may be that my Lord will give me something better than thy garden, and that He will send on thy garden thunderbolts (by way of reckoning) from heaven, making it (but) slippery sand!- "Or the water of the garden will run off underground so that thou wilt never be able to find it."

 

Read more...

Attributes of Allah

jami.gif

Eid Mubarak

E1.jpg

Islamic Caligraphy

c24.jpg

Islamic Architecture

b8.jpg

Natural Beauty

bird15.jpg

Who's Online

We have 25 guests and no members online