Lifting the veil from .....THE HIJAB

2015-01-30 17:07

February 1st is World Hijab Day, a day on which women who aren’t Muslim or don’t wear the hijab (the head gear and body covering of a Muslim woman) are encouraged to wear a scarf and cloak for a day to “feel what it’s like to wear the Hijab”.

Subjugated! Oppressed! Forced! These are probably the words that come to one’s mind when one sees a Muslim woman covered in Hijab.

Many non- Muslims assume that a Muslim woman’s husband, brother, father, uncle or some radical scholar coerced her into dressing up in an “oppressive” manner.

Wearing the hijab or burqa is obligatory and is not a tradition or a symbol of oppression or segregation as incorrectly represented by some media outlets.

The greatest responsibility related to the Hijab is the understanding that there is more to the Hijab than just the external veil. In fact, it is the internal modesty that really matters.

Muslim women are instructed by Almighty God to dress modestly and graciously, this includes covering the head, just like Catholic nuns do.

When a Muslim woman covers her hair and body, she is sending a silent message that she respects her body and like a pearl in the ocean, she covers it with her beauty with a shell. (Hijab).

A woman’s decision to wear the hijab is a personal and private choice, which reflects her commitment to Almighty God and her desire not to expose her hair and body to strange men.

No one has the right to ogle at and judge a woman by her hair or curves on her body. Instead they judge her for what is in her mind, her character, her goals and ambitions.

Hijab is a prevention from being hounded by ignorant minds that stereotypically judge a woman by the clothes she wears and the body she shows. A woman’s body, as we all know ought to be revered and this is why Islam encourages women to strive to cover and protect it.

The Muslim head gear, veil or burqa is one of the most conspicuous and misunderstood piece of clothing of Muslim women.

To claim that a woman’s decision to dress modestly in public is a forced act is false and demeaning. It is “disingenuous and absurd” to link a piece of fabric to women’s oppression or subservience.

In Islam, no woman is brought up feeling inferior or subjugated. Proof of this can be found in the Quran where an entire chapter has been devoted to women’s honour, rights, well-being and so on.

Wearing the veil/burqa is a religious calling and a personal choice. For many women the Hijab is a constant reminder that, they do not have to design their lives and bodies for men.

Muslim men, too, are required to be modest and to conduct themselves responsibly. Both men and women are equal and are equally accountable before Almighty God. In Islam, males and females have an equal right to own property, travel, receive education and seek employment, as long as the guidelines of Islam are followed.

Muslim women are unfairly labelled as oppressed. In the Christian tradition, Paul ­ordered women to cover their heads and, until the sixties, no woman would be seen in an English church without a hat and gloves. Likewise, orthodox Jewish women have traditionally worn wigs or hats over their real hair to conceal it from men who are not their husbands. Yet, only Muslim women seem to have been described as oppressed on account of their religious clothing.

The hallmark of civilisation is to have mutual respect and consideration for diverse cultures, communities and religious beliefs.

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