A Message From A woman

I have made my own decision to wear the veil and long dress. The veil has given me freedom. It has allowed me to focus on my inner-self rather than my outer appearance. It hasn't prevented me from getting education or getting work. The choice is in hands of the woman herself. If she fully accepts Islam, she has chosen to accept these tenets of religion. I view my veil as a protection of my physical and mental capacities. The veil has given me self-respect. My veil may cover my hair, but it opens my mind."  Arab Muslim Woman.

 

What do you think about woman rights? Does she have her own rights to do what she wants? Does she have to choose her own dress? What do you think about the veil? Is it a sign of Backwardness or a sign of Liberation?

A common misconception is that Muslim women are the only ones who cover their hair. It may be true that Islam is the only religion in which most women follow its directives to cover the hair, but it is not the only religion to have such directives. The veil is found in many religions and cultures for different purposes. You can see that in the following lines

 

Veil in Judaism:

 

: In the Old Testament, removing the veil was seen as a way to humiliate a woman, punish adulteresses etc. (Numbers 5:12-18, Isaiah 3:16-17, Song of Solomon 5:7). It was seen as a Symbol of woman's modest and chaste. In ancient times, Jewish women would go out in public in a full veil as well. A man could even divorce his wife if she was found bareheaded in public.

 

Veil in Christianity:

 

St. Paul in the New Testament made some very interesting statements about the veil "Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head - it is just as though her head were shaved. If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or shaved off, she should cover her head. A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head" (I Corinthians 11:3-10).

 

 Veil in India:

 

Sanskrit literature is replete with instances where women have to wear veils. It is not surprising; as the laws of Manu clearly state that the status of women is completely dependent on the man. The various religious texts have got a bewildering array of proscriptions and rules for the behavior of women, all for modesty and chastity's sake. Scholars such as Bhavabuti, Grants, Vakaspati and Sriharsh all have mentioned how women have to dress, behave and generally conduct themselves in public, which was generally under a veil, figuratively and literally.

 

I am not forced to wear the Veil

 

The Islamic countries differ due to their requirements for women to be veiled. In Most Islamic countries the women are not forced to wear the Veil, but it is her Choice. You can see this in Malaysia. It doesn't obligate women to do so, but most have a head covering. India, Bangladesh or Pakistan doesn't have any requirements. The gulf countries may have requirements. In Afghanistan, It seems like driven by tradition than Islamic order. Egypt (Which is the greatest Islamic country in Arab world), Jordan, Palestine and Lebanon have no requirements for any kind of head covering or veils.

 The Veil is not a matter of policy; it is my Right to wear the Veil. 

 

In the following lines , you will read the story and the opinion of American woman who embraced Islam by her own decision. She chose to embrace Islam along with its tenets, including covering her body and hair as a muslim woman. It is the story of Sara Bokker, a western reverts to Islam.

"I am an American woman who was born in the midst of America’s “Heartland.”  In September 11, 2001, I started to notice something called Islam. All I knew about Islam was women covered in tents, wife beaters, and a world of terrorism. 

As a feminist libertarian,   I joined in ongoing campaigns of my new mentor which included, at the time, election reform and civil rights, among others.  Now my new activism was fundamentally different. I learned that ideals such as justice, freedom, and respect are rights for all.

One day I came across a book that is negatively stereotyped in the West "The Holy Qur'an". I found the Qur’an to be insightful address to heart and soul without the need for an interpreter. I hit a moment of truth and I embraced Islam. I bought a beautiful long gown and head cover resembling the Muslim woman’s dress.

Although the people, the faces, and the shops were all the same, I felt as if the chains had been broken. I was delighted with the new looks of wonder on people’s faces in place of the looks of a hunter watching his prey I had once sought.  Suddenly a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Finally, I was free.

I married to a Muslim man after I reverted to Islam. I became curious about Niqab (Face Covering). So, I asked my husband, whether I should wear Niqab or just settle with the Hijab (veil) which I was already wearing. My husband then told me that he believes Hijab is mandatory in Islam while Niqab is not. 

After a year and half, I told my husband I wanted to wear Niqab. I felt it would be more pleasing to Allah and being more modest.  He supported my decision and took me to buy an “Isdaal,” a loose black gown that covers from head to toe, and Niqab, which covers all my head and face except for my eyes.

News started breaking about politicians, Vatican clergymen, libertarians. They said that human rights and freedom activists condemning Hijab, and Niqab as being oppressive to women, an obstacle to social integration, and "a sign of backwardness”

Western governments and human rights groups defend woman’s rights by preventing women from wearing what they want and please!!. Also, they deprived women from their rights to work, and to be educated as long as they choose to use their right to wear Niqab or Hijab !!

I know many women wearing Niqab, and who are, in fact, Western reverts. Some of them are not even married, and some of them wear Niqab without any support from their surroundings. 

What we all have in common is that it is the personal choice of each one of us.

Today, Hijab is the new symbol of woman’s liberation to find who she is, what her purpose is, and the type of relation she chooses to have with her Creator."

 

By Nouran Radwan

 

References:

 

The Seven Veils By Dr Bhaskar Dasgupta, http://www.countercurrents.org/

The New Symbol of Women’s Liberation by Sara Boker



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