Islam stands for peace. Ahmadiyya Muslim community presents the real picture of Islam.

The true victory of Islam, as is evident from the word 'Islam' (submission) itself, lies in our complete surrendering our selves to God and freeing ourselves of our egos and our passions. No idol, whether it is the idol of our desires, our our intentions, or the idol of creature worship, should stand in our way, and we should submit ourselves entirely to the will of God. After reaching this state of Fana (self-annihilation), we will attain baqa (the life of eternity) which will give our eyes a new light, our minds a new passion; and we will become a wholly new being and the same Eternal God will become for us a new God. This is the true victory, and one aspect of it is Divine ammunion.(the green announcement p. 28)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Islamic Veil (part 1)

Maha Dabbous
The Review of Religions, October 1992

Islam has always suffered from many false charges against it due to the misunderstanding of its true teachings. One example of this is the wide spread false notion that Islam in general deprives women of their rights and forces them to go behind the veil.
The Islamic veil is condemned by non-Muslim and regarded as a sign of backwardness and a thing of the past which is no longer practical in the daily way of life today. They think that it is a burden and a restriction which has been imposed on Muslim women to deprive them on them of their freedom; they see it as if it was a chain with which the cruel Muslim man has tied his poor wife or daughter or sister of any other woman under his rule, because of his selfishness or jealousy.
But if one looks with a deeper glance on this subject, it will be found that the veiling of women is not something that Islam has invented. The previous revealed scriptures also contain some traces of similar teachings and Islam came only to complete and perfect them.
The revealed religions teach women to be modest in clothes and actions. If we study the Bible we will find that it teaches that modesty and reverence demanded the veiling of the face of the woman and that the veil was used by ladies of high rank.
In the Old Testament we read about what Rebekah did before Isaac in the following passage:
When Re-bek'ah raised her eyes, she caught sight of Isaac and she swung herself down from off the camel. Then she said to the servant 'who is that walking in the field to meet us?' and the servant said 'It is my master' And she proceeded to take a headcloth and to cover herself. (Genesis: 24: 64 and 65)
In the New Testament we also read:
But every woman that prays or prophesies with her head uncovered shames her head for it is one and the same as if she were a (woman) with a shaved head. For it a woman does not cover herself let her also be shorn; but if it is disgraceful for woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered. (1 Corinthians: 11: 5, 6)
From the above, it is obvious that the Bible regards the veiling of women as a pious act. But the present day commentators of the Bible, in their efforts to prove that its teachings do not in any way deprive women of their freedom, have denied this fact because they thought that it is a burden on women.
Similarly even some of the modern day Muslims have also followed the same course for the same reason, and they have tried to prove that even Islam does not put this restriction on Muslim women. But they were not successful because, unlike the Bible, the text of the Quran is preserved in its original form and hence it is impossible to get away by twisting the meanings of its verses. Yet this reveals that the lack of the proper knowledge of the wisdom behind the Islamic veil prevails even among the Muslims.
The majority of Muslim women misunderstood the teachings of their own religion and they do not recognise its implications nor its benefits. Admiring the modern societies, they have followed blindly the false notions regarding the liberation of women and they have adopted some wrong ideas and consequently many of them rebelled against the teachings of Islam relating to the observance of the veil, and they went on indulging in the way of life of the modern society with all its false glitter.
Some other Muslim women, as a reaction to the rebellion of their ignorant sisters, have adopted the opposite course and they observed these teachings of Islam in such a manner that they have put on themselves some burdens that Islam did not prescribe and by so doing, they became a cause for more rebellion against the Islamic veil and they pushed the non-Muslims farther away from seeing the beauties of Islam.
Today it is a well known fact that many non-Muslims who can see the truth of Islam, refuse to enter its fold because of this so-called restriction. They feel that they cannot give up their habits and modern way of living and sacrifice their freedom to mix with the other sex as they wish.
Islam, however, can neither be blamed for what non-Muslims think of it nor can it be accused on account of the notions and practices of its ignorant followers. The fact remains that Islam has given women rights which have no parallel in any other religion.
As for the Islam veil, far from being a burden on women, it is blessing for them.
The true concept of the Islamic veil can be understood and judged correctly by studying the source of all the Islamic teachings, The Holy Quran.
The Holy Quran has preserved the teachings of Islam in its original form and it does not only prescribe the correct commandments but it also explains the reasons and the wisdom behind them and it points out the benefits which can be gained by following them.
One of the verses of the Holy Quran which deals with the subject of the veil is found in Sura Al Noor where God, the All-Mighty says:
And say to the believing women that they restrain their looks and guard their private parts and that they display not their beauty or their embellishment except that which is apparent, thereof, and that they draw their head coverings over their bosoms, and that they display not their beauty or their embellishment save to their husbands, or to their fathers or the fathers of their husbands or their sons or the sons of their husbands or their brothers or the sons of their brothers or the sons of their sisters or women who are their companions or those that their right hand possess or such of male attendants as have not desire for women, or young children who have not yet attained knowledge of the hidden parts of women. And that they strike not their feet so that what hide of their ornaments may become known. And turn ye to Allah all together, O believers that you may prosper. (24:32)
This verse directs the believing women to restrain their eyes when they happen to face men and to guard their chastity and also not to display their beauty and embellishment, whether it is natural or artificial.
The believing men have already been given a similar commandment, from God in the verse that preceeded this verse where we read:
Say to the believing men that they restrain their looks and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Surely, Allah is well-aware of what they do. (24:31)
So it is clear that both men and women share equally the responsibility of observing this injunction. They should both restrain their looks when facing each other or, in other words, they should observe the Veil of the eyes.

[Please leave your views] 

No comments:

Post a Comment