Photo Credit: Ijtihad.org

I am a Muslim woman. I Wear the niqaab (face veil).
I’m one of those to whom the new law in France would apply. I’m one of the ones being discussed by politicians, human rights groups and the media. I’m one of those whom many feel the need to liberate. I’m one of those you may think is oppressed. I’m one of those many of you detest the sight of… I am one of those whom you may believe is uneducated: one of the ones you may think has no voice.

But I do. So let me speak.

I am not Arab, Asian or even African. I am Australian. No, not ‘first generation’, ‘second generation’, or an immigrant. On my mother’s side, I’m of French-Canadian descent, and on my father’s side, British. I grew up as a Christian, and attended church occasionally. I was in the school swim team, and district netball team. I holidayed with my family in the summer on the Gold Coast, and I’m educated. I have a university degree.

When I was 18 years of age I was introduced to Islam. I studied it, and accepted it a year and a half later. By the time I reached 20, I was wearing the headscarf, and after I married I donned the niqaab. Because of my husband? No. my husband did not want me to wear it, although his mother and sister do, and out of respect for his wishes I didn’t do so for two years. But I wanted to, and eventually did, and knowing it to be in line with our religion, my husband knew he had no authority to prevent me, and he now greatly admires my strength.

Then, I wore it because of my father? No. he’s a catholic. Because of my brother? Nope, haven’t got one. My uncle? He’s an atheist. Then because of my son? My eldest is only 8 years old. Then why??

Because I want to, that’s why.

And seeing as though my niqaab does not hurt anyone, that should be sufficient reason for all of you liberals of a liberal society; I should be able to finish my discussion right here. But although it may be so for any other style of dress, it isn’t enough when it comes to niqaab for some reason. You want more. So I will continue.

What makes me want to then? Two things: faith and experience…

Faith? Yeah, faith. Faith in my Creator, faith in His decision, faith in Islam. A deep faith. Many wonder at the faith of Muslims, at their conviction and their commitment. It’s a faith, that if you are not a Muslim, is hard to explain or describe. The scripture of Islam, the Quran has scientific miracles in it, such that have captivated scientists globally, leading many to accept Islam. Moreover, the Quran has not been changed in over a thousand years, since it was revealed: not one letter moved from its place. I dare say there isn’t a religious scripture like it, and this lends a clue as to the root of such faith.

In the Qur’an, Allah tells us to cover ourselves, ‘so as to be known, but not molested’. So our covering is a protection: a liberation .

Protection? You ask. Liberation? From what?
This is where I move on to my second reason for veiling. Like I said, I grew up in a Western secular society, in true Western secular style, I dressed secular, lived secular, and enjoyed all the ‘liberties’ of such a society. Did I feel liberated, free? Suffice it to say, we were taught we were, so I never thought to think otherwise. It wasn’t until I became Muslim, and started covering, that I really felt liberated, and realized that before, I wasn’t.

Yet, time and time again we hear it said that we Muslim women are forced to veil and are oppressed, treated by our men folk as nothing more than ‘objects’. And that niqaab, burqa, hijab, whatever term you use, is a from of ‘imprisonment’. But what about the imprisonment of anxiety and depression? What about the imprisonment of anorexia and bulimia? What about the imprisonment of frequent rigorous exercise routines? What about the imprisonment of always feeling the need to look like the super-model on the cover of Cosmo, or the pop-singer in the music video? What about the slavery to the fashion? What about the entrapment of jealousy?? How many women waste their hard-earned money, destroy their physical and mental health and expose their bodies to vulnerability, abuse and extortion in order to ………. In order to what??

In order to gain approval and praise. Whose approval and praise? Men’s. And yes, it seems even other women’s too. So it seems non-Muslim women are not only slaves to men, but slaves to society as a whole.

Before you scream your disagreement, which many of you do as a knee-jerk reaction to being told you’re also oppressed, stop and think. Look around you, contemplate society today, and its values, its aspirations, its goals, its direction, its past-times, its hobbies…

What good has it done for women to doff more and more clothing? What good has it done for images of uncovered, made-up women to be plastered on every billboard and magazine, on the TV, in the movies and on the net? Has it really brought any good for women? The women in the images may aptly feel good about themselves for a while, but what does it mean for every other woman?

Women who look upon these images usually become anxious, jealous, unsure and critical of themselves, or all of these things. Many men who view them will be aroused, or even unhappy, less satisfied with the partners they already have. What can, and does this lead to? Cheating, dumping, chastisement, and even harassment of other women, and even children, by men who cannot find a legitimate outlet for their constant arousal. And yes, I can hear some of you ‘then the men must control themselves!’ Frankly, speaking that argument is well spent, not to mention futile, as most men are, inherently, only able to react to that, the same way a hungry lion would react if thrown a juicy piece of steak, and told not to eat it……

By Khadijah Natalie Arbee

Source: Brisbane Muslim times

Views: 382


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