Hijab -A matter of discussion

Let us try to understand the word Hijab (veil) before going in to further details. Many people like to refer to Hijab as a “personal choice”. Yes. It is a personal choice. It is a personal choice to submit to God rather than the fashion of society. It is a choice to be beautiful to God, rather than to people.Hijab However, Hijab should not just be seen as a cloth one puts on the head. Rather Hijab is a symbol of our worship and servitude to God. It is a symbol of modesty, that is not just about our attire; it extends to our whole demeanor. Let us turn our attention to The Holy Qur’an.

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts) and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent (like both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer palms of hands or dress like veil, gloves, head cover, apron), and to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms) and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband’s fathers, or their sons, or their husband’s sons, or their brothers or their brother’s sons, or their sister’s sons, or their (Muslim) women (i.e. their sisters in Islam), or the (female) slaves whom their right hands possess, or old male servants who lack vigour, or small children who have no sense of feminine sex. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful”

[Al-Noor 24:31] 

My personal experience

I am a girl who born and bought up in Delhi, still putting my Hijab on wasn’t actually a hard decision for me.
For some Muslim women, it is a real jihad as they can’t imagine themselves wearing a Hijab and covering their hair. I met many Muslim women who were praying, fasting, going to religious meetings, seeking Islamic knowledge, yet they always found excuses why not to wear their Hijab.

Few couplets on Hijab by my father “Sikandar Amrohvi”:

Daur-e-hazir mein taraqqi kar rahi hain aurtein,
Dekho parde mein bhi rehkar har amal mein saath hain

Ye kaun keh raha hai rukawat Hijab hai,
Parde mein bhi jahaz udati hain aurtein

During my school days, I just felt it is impossible to walk in with Hijab in hot summer days, at that time I used to wear Hijab just in winters to protect myself from cold wind. I used to wear my Hijab only during our visit to my Hometown, Amroha but I was always thinking of wearing it outside as well.
After high school Allah responded to my supplications and helped me to finally accept the Hijab completely. When I joined Delhi University, apart from choosing so called happening life style of DU campus I choose to wear Hijab to retain my dignity and to protect myself from shaitan. Most of the friends accepted me with Hijab in fact some of them support and appreciate me while some of them demoralized me with some hurtful comments. I would like to tell my sisters that it’s not as hard to wear Hijab as it seems, it’s just to take a challenge, and accept the reality, try to live a life the way we have learnt from Qura’n.

I do wear trendy clothes and a scarf/Hijab. My clothing is modest. Allah makes Islam easy and tells us to do everything in moderation. Looking presentable and neat is also important especially if you are a Muslim because you are representing Islam.

When we are discussing Hijab, it might come to one’s mind that it’s a kind of marginalization of women, who have to preserve their beauty away from the eyes of all the people except the woman’s husband or some of her relatives. But is it really true that Hijab causes women to be suppressed or marginalized? To be able to answer this question we may look at the advantages of its wearing.

Benefits of Wearing Hijab

Wearing Hijab has being observing a modest Muslim style of dressing offers these benefits:

Represent Purity
Hijab is an indication of dignity and purity. It highlights women as chaste and pure women. I think, the Hijab acts like a shield between chaste Muslim women and the World’s evil.

Protect from male harassment
Research shows that one of Hijab’s most important advantages is the security of the society that clears it from crimes, rape, incest, harassment in daily life, etc. looking at this advantage affirms the idea that by taking off their Hijab social crimes are increasing. I personally feel that if Hijab is observed in true sense by all of us, half of the problems existing in our society related to women will be solved. Maybe we can create a better society for coming generations by opting for Hijab.

Scientific Benefits Of Wearing Hijab:
Protecting the head is very important from a health perspective. Results Of medical tests show that 40-60% of body heat is lost through the head during winters and in summer hijab protects our head from direct sunlight and heatwave, so persons wearing head coverings are protected from cold and heat about fifty-percent more than those who do not.

All these are my personal opinions and feelings about Hijab. Please leave your feedback/comments.

Nuzha Fatima

She was born and bought up in Delhi. Graduated from Jamia Millia Islamia Sr. Sec. School in 2011 and received an undergraduate degree in 2014 in Botany from Delhi University. She earned a degree Bachelor of Education in 2015 from Indraprastha University. She started writing diary at very early age.

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The plight of a Muslim woman in Bihar

The male dominated society has turned Hijab into a suffocating Burqa and finally into a Saudi-Talebani out-fit that makes them a moving enigma. Fatwas are issued to back Burqas which willy-nilly a helpleass woman has to don.

ISLAM AS a religion has always given a much higher status to women. According to Hadees of Prophet (PBUH), our heaven lies under the feet of out mothers. However, Muslims, as followers of Islam, have reduced the status of women to a pathetic state from where they are slowly struggling to extricate themselves.

The male dominated society has turned Hijab into a suffocating Burqa and finally into a Saudi-Talebani out-fit that makes them a moving enigma. Fatwas are issued to back Burqas which willy-nilly a helpleass woman has to don.

Fatwa – that should have been used to improve the status of Muslim has became a weapon for orthodox clergy to suppress every intellectual honest descent and to allow the despotic males to continue their dominance over the fair sex. Fatwas have become synonymous to the erratic dictates of Mullas, who are bereft of any knowledge of the rapidly changing world.

These so-called scholars are ignorant of history, philosophy, contemporary politics, socio-cultural problems and everyday realities of the common man. These vigilantees keep their mind and eyes shut to the pathos of an ordinary Muslim and want to brutally implement an out-dated and irrelevant interpretation of Islam that suits to their fancy.

Not long ago, it was not very different in other societies also.
In Athens, Athenian women were always minors, subject to some male – to their father, to their brother, or to some of their male kin. Her consent in marriage was not generally thought to be necessary and “she was obliged to submit to the wishes of her parents, and receive from them her husband and her lord, even though he were stranger to her.”

A Roman wife was described by an historian as: “a babe, a minor, a ward, a person incapable of doing or acting anything according to her own individual taste, a person continually under the tutelage and guardianship of her husband.”

In the Encyclopedia Britannica, we find a summary of the legal status of women in the Roman civilization:

In Roman Law a woman was even in historic times completely dependent. If married she and her property passed into the power of her husband . . . the wife was the purchased property of her husband, and like a slave acquired only for his benefit. A woman could not exercise any civil or public office . could not be a witness, surety, tutor, or curator; she could not adopt or be adopted, or make will or contract. Among the Scandinavian races women were under perpetual tutelage, whether married or unmarried. As late as the Code of Christian V, at the end of the 17th Century, it was enacted that if a woman married without the consent of her tutor he might have, if he wished, administration and usufruct of her goods during her life.

According to the English Common Law:
…all real property which a wife held at the time of a marriage became a possession of her husband. He was entitled to the rent from the land and to any profit which might be made from operating the estate during the joint life of the spouses. As time passed, the English courts devised means to forbid a husband’s transferring real property without the consent of his wife, but he still retained the right to manage it and to receive the money which it produced. As to a wife’s personal property, the husband’s power was complete. He had the right to spend it as he saw fit.
In Indian society we had Sati pratha and all those practices that hardly enhanced the status of women.

No matter what the enemies of Islam say, I believe even today a Muslim women feel more protected despite the permission of 4 marriages to man. I have hardly met only two or three Muslims in my life who have been keeping more than one wife in their life at the same time. So, are the followers of other faiths openly or clandestinely.

Apart from Fatwas I was pleased to find the near absence of KHAP PANCHAYATS among Muslim Society. Alas, I was living in the ivory towers or fools paradise. Read the following news from the Bihar the Muslims often refer as Bihar Shareef (the noble Bihar)

A 35-year-old woman was allegedly stripped and whipped after she defied the diktats of a kangaroo court in Bihar’s Katihar district to remarry her second husband. The illegal court at the Gwaltoli-Kalyannagar village summoned the woman on July 8 and directed her to to remarry her second husband from whom she had divorced earlier, the superintendent of police, P. Kanan said on Tuesday, quoting the FIR lodged by her.

Kanan said the woman’s first husband died four years after the marriage and after some time she married a man named Mohammad Islam of the same village and the couple had a son. But, the marriage did not work and the couple divorced. Subsequently, when her five year-old son was down with fever, she had to call her divorced husband as she was living in penury, the SP said. After the son recovered Islam left.

He said that Islam and his brother Samsuddin later connived in summoning the kangaroo court which was headed by a former mukhiya, Akalu.

The kangaroo court first asked her to pay money equivalent to that required for construction of a house, besides wheat and rice to the former mukhiya. As she refused she was dragged to a mango grove on the outskirts of the village stripped and whipped. The SP said the woman lodged an FIR on July 11 after which Akalu and Samsuddin were arrested. She alleged that a former mukhiya of the panchayat, Akalu, ordered the woman to be stripped and beaten up, he said.

Let us see when the latest Fatwa from Deoband makes a smooth landing in this regard.

Naim Naqvi

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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