Hijaab: The Veil is My Pride

Hijaab VeilWhy is it that people are so offended to see someone protect their chastity and adopt their religious belief? It is not just non-Muslims who feel suffocated seeing a lady adhering to the hijaab but also some ‘liberal’ Muslims. To me the liberal part of such Muslims is just their liberty from clothes and not a liberal mind. The words of French revolutionary Madame Roland come to mind: “O liberty! O liberty! What crimes are committed in thy name!”

What a Muslim woman wears is no one’s business; others may go around butt naked if they wish to, they are digging a perfect spot to get hold of the maximum heat of hell-fire.

A couple of years back when I went to Pakistan some of my relatives were very disturbed to see me observe purdah from non-mahram male relatives. They ‘reasoned’ that I do not have an Islamic education (I didn’t at that time) so why should I act so differently from the ‘normal’ folk? Well, I guess my knowledge was limited and I was not aware that the rules of Islam are not binding on every Muslim, only those who study the religion officially.

One of the other arguments was how can I continue to be modern if I have to be Islamic. They just don’t blend. They scoffed at a relative who said he would bring up his daughter as a modern, Islamic girl. All I was upset about was that I got an incompetent thesaurus that does not give western as one of the synonyms for modern! For beginners, Islam is a very modern religion and a religion of all times. Islam is the religion that honors and guards everyone and everyone’s rights. No man-made law is capable of all this, modern and Islam goes hand-in-hand.

People seem to have formed a preconceived notion that women who stick to hijaab have all entered a time machine that they stumbled upon in their stone-age era. Thus, these ‘progressive’ people are exposed to such a criminal sight. What a misery for the beholder!

The West has labeled a woman who sheds off her clothes as a progressive woman (progressing in taking off her clothes?). We are fed with the idea that a successful, assertive and strong woman is one who wears mini-skirt suits and her independence is seen in her diminishing attire.

Women are simply used as a marketable commodity. She has no self-recognition. Her attire is her recognition. So who is the one who is subjugated and oppressed? The woman who follows her religious beliefs with all her heart and protects herself from lustful eyes or the woman who is forced to give in to the latest fashion trend. This is possibly the prime reason why a Muhaajib is feared and derided. She clearly sends a message of her faith and of her not getting involved in the sexual plaything position assigned to her in the Western society.

Why else would her covering herself be a thorn in anyone’s side? Is she taking away their ‘freedom’ by covering herself? Hijaab is a religious statement but weird and biased minds have turned it into a political statement-a statement of rebellion against those who disapprove of it.

A counter cashier is dismissed from her job because she wears hijaab, in the West. She is condemned and there is shock and ‘reasoning’ made that this is against the staff uniform. An Islamic bank in an Islamic country decides to implement the hijaab as part of the staff uniform. That is condemned and considered an act of injustice and oppression.

The so-called secularists do not realize that their blatant hatred against hijaab has become the fuel of the hijaab drive. After the atrocities directed at Muslims in the US. we witnessed the number of Muslim converts had drastically increased, much more than ever before.

To the doubtful Muslims, stop searching for some sheikhs and qadhis who kowtow to your wrong beliefs. Accept what Allah SWT has clearly said,

O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, to draw their outer garments around them (when they go out or are among men). That is better in order that they may be known (to be Muslims) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. [Qur’an, Surah Al Ahzab :59]

Say to the believing man that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that will make for greater purity for them; and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils (khimar) over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! Turn ye all together towards Allah, that ye may attain Bliss. [Qur’an, Surah Noor : 31]

Note: Hijaab is compulsory on both men and women in Islam. Obviously, there is a difference in each gender’s rulings.
Covering of the head is favored in the New Testament.
Throughout the Western history as well, noble women used the veil while prostitutes did not.

63 thoughts on “Hijaab: The Veil is My Pride”

  1. @ Hend: “Dalits never really saw themselves as Hindus and even OBCs regard themselves as a distinct group.” If dalits and OBCs are not Hindus and Hindus thus being only 37%, why does the BJP even think of creating a Hindu Rashtra in India?

  2. Hend/Momina: I’ve always wondered why no caste system developed in Saudi Arabia or other Muslim countries. After all, someone had to do the kind of dirty work which dalits have to do in the subcontinent.

  3. Mo
    Your link about Prophet Muhhammed (saw) being prophesied in the Vedas and Puranas is interesting. More people should become aware of this.

    As for writing about Dalits, you are absolutely correct. Many times people lose objectivity of the topic and start arguing from a nationalistic view point. So a Pakistani person writing a post about the situation of Dalits in India, automatically becomes a fodder for the nationalistic Indians to go on the defensive rather than debate in an intellectual manner thereby undermining the facts and the honesty behind the post. But let that not deter you from your task of raising such issues.

  4. MO
    The situation of Dalits is unfortunate. They in true sense were the original human inhabitants of the entire sub-continent of South Asia (not just today’s India) including Himalayan ranges.

    First, they suffered the misery of being displaced from their own lands by Dravidians and then Indo-Iranians. Then they suffered being assigned to the lowest social hierarchy by the Hindu Brahmin clerics and the Kings who were dictated by them. They lost their lands when they were displaced and became poor farmers. They were not allowed to educate or be priests or join the military. Due to lack of education and opportunities, they remained poor. Many of them converted to other religions but their social standings, lack of education and poverty remained unchanged even in their new communities or even in British Raj. In other words they have suffered injustice last 2000 years, till 1940s when their leader Dr. Ambedkar (man who wrote the constitution of India) threatened the Congress leaders with non-coperation. He and his supporters also mass converted to Budhhism.

    After 1947 they did get somethings like reservations in education and jobs.

    At present India has about 25% Dalits (in some states like Tamil Nadu it is 40%). Politically they are becoming a force and combining with other backward castes (OBCs) to command almost 45-50% of the population. This group has already acquired 51% reservations in higher education and Government jobs(In the Southern states they have 70% reservations). They are slowly realising that they have the numbers to rule India because they are probably the largest numerical group. Dalits never really saw themselves as Hindus and even OBCs regard themselves as a distinct group.

    By estimates, Indian population breaks as follows: Dalits + OBCs 45%, Hindus 37%, Muslims 13%, Christians 2.5%, Sikhs 2%, Remaining Jains, Jews, Budhhists etc.

    There are good odds that a Dalit + OBC combine will control the politics in India if not directly rule it in the future.

  5. HE

    I completely agree with your comment regarding the history of India that you explained to SL.

    In fact, I so much wanted to to write a post on this and had written it mid way…then left – lol – honestly, I felt it would be taken in a negative sense by most people. (It was also lethargy and studies that stopped me from completing it 😉 ).

    The point of the post was to be, albeit the ‘dalits’ are the original Indians they are treated quite badly by the general population (not all, of course, but it is prevalent). Ironical, eh?

    There was a report on this topic that I read in National Geographic that made me want to write about it.

  6. Haider
    Since you have obviously joined this debate late, I would request you to read all the previous posts or atleast last 10-15. We are not debating which religion is the best. In fact the debate is entirely different which you will realize if you take the trouble to read.

    Shakir Lakhani
    Same request to you

  7. SL
    Your first question about the people who populated the subcontinent before Hindus arrived. The question is slighly wrong so let me give the whole picture.

    People who lived before anyone was the stone age tribals. They arrived 8000 years ago from Africa and a part of them went on to polynesia. E.g. Munda Tribals, Bhils, Australian Aboriginals.

    Next arrived Dravidians 6000 years ago, from West Asia or Mesapotemia and established Indus valley civilization. E.g. South Indian Tamils, Karalites, Brahuis in Iran and Pakistan.

    Next came the wave or mass influx of tribes from Iranian plateau (which you are referring to) and who actually founded Hinduism on their way to India and they displaced the people who had settled earlier. They occupied the region from Iran’s eastern borders right up to eventually the middle of India. This is what I actually mentioned when questioning the definition of an invader. Those of us (majority) who live in the sub-continent and speak Indic or Indo-Iranian languages are descendants of these people.

    What happened to the earlier people? The Indus valley Dravidians got pushed down further south and their descendants live in what is known as the South Indian states. Rest of the dravidians along with indigenous tribes were pushed down the social hierarchy and started doing the lowly jobs. The bulk of lowers castes or Dalits are descendants of this ethnic group.

    As for the people who form the majority of the sub-continent and speak Indic languages (including Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi, Hindi etc.), they are a highbrid of the Iranian tribes, Dravidians and Munda tribals. This includes Hindus and Muslims. You can find that most communities such as Rajputs, Jats, Suris, Mohyals etc. (can’t name all of them here but most) of the sub-continent can be found in both religions. AND even some of those which are not common have descended from common branches and thus share common culture and mindsets.

    There are also ethnic communities who have a lesser Munda component (but not necessarily lesser Dravidian component) such as many Pashtuns, Kashmiris, certain ethnic groups of Western India (Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat). Then there are some ethnic groups who came in late such as Parsis (Southern Iran) and Brahmins of Maharashtra (Hindu Peshwa rulers) who came from Northern Iran and Lebanon.

    The losers in the game? Ofcourse the original inhabitants of Munda lineage, not just in India but also in Australia. History is nothing but a landgrab isn’t it?

    Whether Hindus wiped them out or assimilated them or subjugated them is a matter of conjecture because we simply don’t have the quality of historical data that is needed.

    Next comment about British favouring non-Muslims: Again this is exactly what I mentioned that British did not trust anyone who resisted them. I have given examples of even non-Muslim Marathas too. There is another point which I mentioned which is people who joined British system and readily adopted British education benefitted most.

    Lastly you have given an example of 1976 and quoted one man who gave you a simplistic answer. I suggest you visit India and see for yourself because this debate will be endless and one needs to judge for oneself. Perhaps this Parsi gentle man should also have told you how Parsis were the biggest benefactors throught the British period due to their allegience to the British raj, they got monopolitic licences to do trade, they were the bullwark of Brish opium trade with China. Is it surprising that the largest and oldest industrial houses are all owned by Parsis? I don’t mean to slander their contribution but basing your opinion on one man’s comment is not a wise thing. Maybe you should have asked the Hindus, Sikhs and Christians too. Afterall Parsi owned companies were the largest employers in India including many Indian shipping companies.

    Secondly every industry does not have to reflect the exact proportion of different religions that you would find in the population. There can be many other factors.

    Now let me give you an example from present (not 1976). go to any Indian merchant navy ship or see any Indians on foreign cruize liners and see who works there (on the ships). Majority of them would be Christians and that too from Goa. Is it discrimination? No, simple answer, Goans have a long family tradition of working on ships, they do not mind the life style and the food. Whereas other such as Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs have problems with leaving families for extended periods of time, the food habits etc.

    At the same time, I am not going to argue that there was zero descrimination. Indian Muslims took a longer time to settle down to new reality after partition. Many Muslims openly supported Pakistan over India. Celebrations and bursting of crackers in Muslim localities was a common thing after cricket or hockey wins for Pakistan. Hindu religious processions were banned from passing through Muslims localities. This was natural given the history of partition and even the reaction of non-Muslims to such behaviour was also natural going by the logic of consequences.

    Today things are not like 70s. Not just the new generation of Muslims but even older ones have changed. They are fierce nationalists. The attitudes of non-Muslims towards Muslims have also changed.

    However we have to always look at these relations with the context of the sub-continent in mind. The point I am making is things have vastly changed but are not yet ideal. It will take time but it will happen and untill then you will always have events of unrest and rioting. BUT to only highlight those and to ignore the other 99% does not seem to be the right way of analysing the situation.

    I again suggest you go to India, go to cities and go to rural areas too, also go to Sough Indians states like Tamil Nadu and Kerala where Muslim are 25% and experience yourself because you need to bury your personal ghosts and stop judging everything through religion in order to keep over justifying your leaving your ancestral land of Gujarat. Very honestly I see some lack of peace or a troubled soul in you and I really want to help you. You need to accept history and move on.

  8. @ Hend: during the 1976 Israeli-Arab war, I was supplying fuel to ships at Karachi Port. I saw that in Indian ships, no Muslims were employed. I met Christians, Sikhs, Hindus and Parsis on the ships, but no Muslims. So I asked a Parsi, “Don’t you have any Muslims in India who can work in your ships?” He simply shrugged and said, “Discrimination against Muslims is widespread owing to their support for Pakistan.”

  9. @ Hend: i know from personal experience that the British favoured non-Muslims because the Muslims had been the rulers of India before them. Right upto the early seventies, you could find quite a lot of Christians in multinationals in Karachi. At the time of partition, the Karachi Port Trust had only three Muslim employees (none of them officers or managers). One was a peon, another was a clerk, while the third was a security guard. Even though Karachi was a Muslim-majority city, the Karachi Port Trust had hundreds of Hindus, Christians, Parsis and Sikhs working at all levels.


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