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 IslamiCity Forum - Islamic Discussion Forum : General : Science & Technology
Message Icon Topic: The Science Behind the Veil (Hijab) Post Reply Post New Topic
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Matt Browne
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Quote Matt Browne Replybullet Posted: 08 June 2010 at 7:17am
If people want to promote the veil, they should do it for cultural reasons, not scientific reasons.

If people want to promote science, they should argue against chadors, niqabs and burqas, because of the health risks. In addition these face-hiding garments impair human communication because our brains depend on facial language (in particular the so-called mirror neurons). There's a whole section of the brain just devoted to recognizing faces and facial expressions. Because it's beneficial for human beings.

Dehumanizing people by taking their faces away is wrong in my opinion. Veils are fine if women want to wear them. But a veil is not required to prevent women from being looked at as a sex object, because this is the problem of ignorant and foolish men. If anyone has to change it's the men, not the women. When I look at women I see human beings, not sex objects. Good parenting is required to raise boys so that they become mature men.




Edited by Matt Browne - 08 June 2010 at 7:22am
A religion that's intolerant of other religions can't be the world's best religion --Abdel Samad
Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people--Eleanor Roosevelt
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Quote xx__Ace__xx Replybullet Posted: 08 June 2010 at 11:07pm
If people want to promote veil, they simply explain the various benefits of it, which I don't see why can't be of several different aspects.

Especially when this is the veil that's being promoted, not science, lol. Science is just one aspect whose advantages are being elaboarated on.

Again, I did emphasize in my previous post that I don't one bit disagree with this fact. Its a right which women have, not a compulsion. Wearing or not wearing a veil is completely up to them, didn't I say I'm undeniably of the same opinion? However, I don't see how this goes with the topic at hand of explaining a few lesser known benefits of the Hijaab. Does this article force or strictly command women to wear a veil? Nope. Just don't see why this should be bought up then.
I'm glad you do so, and thankfully God has given me the sense to do so too, but unfortunately the rapists involved in countless rape cases don't.

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Quote Chrysalis Replybullet Posted: 09 June 2010 at 2:46am
Originally posted by Matt Browne


If people want to promote science, they should argue against chadors, niqabs and burqas, because of the health risks.


What health risks? That is such an un-scientific thing to say.

If you want to look at it from a non-religious aspect, save for a few communities - many cultures all over the world have developed their own versions of hijab. Clothing evolved in such a way that ALMOST all cultures have some sort of head-covering or face-covering. Like you mentioned, cultures that don't have turbans or head-scarves have Hats - both for men & women. English women used to have hats that used to have veils hanging from them. Like a Sister mentioned before - EVEN men in some cultures cover their faces e.g. Arabs. Infact modest dress is similar for both men & women in many arab cultures. Notice how the arab Men will traditionally also dress in loose-fitted, long clothes. Many will not even uncover their arms !!  (wear half-sleeves). Same thing in Pakistan - traditionally men wear the exact same dress as women except that its less-fancy/decorated. (Shalwar Qameez).

So when some people will say that hijab is "sexist" or "suppressive"  - I think its because of their own narrow, limited approach.


In addition these face-hiding garments impair human communication because our brains depend on facial language (in particular the so-called mirror neurons). There's a whole section of the brain just devoted to recognizing faces and facial expressions. Because it's beneficial for human beings.


No, Niqab doesn't really impair human communication. It depends on one's own perception.

However, if we do agree to what you said - in Islam, a woman is not required to, nor does she cover - in front of people she needs to have familiar communication with.

Her friends, family, relatives will see her face and thus there will be no barriers to communication. Hence in the situations where "facial expressions" are beneficial & encouraged, the barrier doesn't even exist. I don't see why a woman needs to have that same familiar bond/expression with a stranger, like a milk-man or the grocery-clerk or person XYZ. In Islam - a female's company is a privilege -  that has been given to those around her. It is not a God-Given right to the average person on the street who insists upon seeing my Face, simply because they are having a conversation with me based on necessity. That is rather presumptuous of the other person, and why do THEY get to decide how much of me they want to see, or is their "right" to see. (Saying this based on the arguments many people give, when supporting Bans on the Niqab).

Having said that - I don't agree on enforcing Niqab or making it compulsory. In Islam, it is the woman's choice alone to make that decision. It is not even considered an obligation (i.e. a compulsory act) by the majority of Scholars. But every Muslim woman should have that right - no matter where she lives.


Dehumanizing people by taking their faces away is wrong in my opinion.


Calling it "dehumanizing" is a tad bit extreme. How is it dehumanizing ?

Take this forum for e.g. Most of us don't even know each others real names, forget faces. . . yet we don't have a problem relating to each other on a human-level. Many of the members here feel a "virtual" bond with each other based on sisterhood or brotherhood or similar mindsets etc. Yet most have them have probably never even met !!! We communicate fine, don't we ?

Many of us don't feel comfortable putting our actual pictures on their public profiles or networks - even on the Avatars here . . . we have a right to make that decision don't we ? Many of us don't do that because of the stranger-element, we don't WANT people to intrude upon our identity (be it facial or otherwise). Similarly take a Niqabi woman & the average stranger she comes across. She should have the same right, without having her decision be scrutinized or her motives questioned.

But a veil is not required to prevent women from being looked at as a sex object, because this is the problem of ignorant and foolish men.
 If anyone has to change it's the men, not the women. When I look at women I see human beings, not sex objects. Good parenting is required to raise boys so that they become mature men.


Being a female I would disagree. It is actually not a problem of/for men ! It is a problem that effects me as a female directly ! Because the woman is the one being affected, not the men.

If only women had a radar that could actually differentiate b/w the perverts and the actual "mature men" you talk about. Thats not possible. Not all men are ignorant/foolish - but how do I differentiate as a female? If I want to avoid the attention of those men, what do I do ? When I go out in a crowded place full of men, I should rely on the men to do their part and keep their eyes/thoughts to themselves ? If only that was actually possible !!!

Naturally if I want to avoid those men I will have to cover up in front of ALL men since I cannot judge whose heart is pure and whose is not. Common sense would dictate that if I want to solve an issue effecting me - I take all the precautions on my side rather than expecting the other side to get magically get cured or do their part.

Yes, male attitudes NEED to change. But females should not let their own guard down and expect men to change or not behave the way they do . . . because she is the one losing out. NOT the man. There is a saying in the subcontinent "Whether the knife falls on the melon, or the melon falls on the knife, at the end it is the melon that is damaged". By damage here, I am implying a Woman's dignity or treatment as a sex-object.

Also, physical attraction to women is something that (almost) all men harbor, whether they be good mature men raised by nice parents - or not.  Hijab is also for that purpose - i.e. it tries to provide a shield for that naturally default, in-built attraction - so that when unrelated men & women meet, they can attend to the necessity at hand without any unwanted distractions. Thus helping the good/maturely raised men stay the way they are and repel the perverted ones too.

I have personally observed how men's attitudes differ starkly from when they interact with women observing hijab versus those that do not. And I'm not just talking about muslim men - non-muslims included.



"O Lord, forgive me, my parents and Muslims in the Hereafter. O Lord, show mercy on them as they showed mercy to me when I was young."
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Quote xx__Ace__xx Replybullet Posted: 09 June 2010 at 5:00pm
ZOMG Nawwwwwwwwwwwwww run, Wall of Texxxxxxxxxxttttttt!!

Jkn jkn, I enjoyed reading the entire post, it was great Big%20smile
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Hayfa
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Quote Hayfa Replybullet Posted: 10 June 2010 at 6:30am
Results of medical tests show that 40-60% of body heat is lost through the head,

This is NOT accurate. This is a myth: See:

http://wildernessmedicinenewsletter.wordpress.com/2007/02/14/heat-loss-through-the-head-and-hypothermia/

and
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/dec/17/medicalresearch-humanbehaviour

When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy. Rumi
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Hayfa
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Quote Hayfa Replybullet Posted: 10 June 2010 at 6:37am
If anyone has to change it's the men, not the women. When I look at women I see human beings, not sex objects. Good parenting is required to raise boys so that they become mature men.

Matt one one hand I agree with you. On the other hand, it hasn't happened yet. So if women wish to avoid it they can. There are (and probably  always will be) a certain percentage who belittle and disrespect women. Its great you want to raise your sons right. But Lots of "sons" are not being raised right.

And let's face it, even "good" men cannot help themselves. Men are quite visual creatures.
When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy. Rumi
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Quote Gibbs Replybullet Posted: 11 June 2010 at 12:28pm
Now this is turning into a "battle of the sexes." As I mentioned before my lovely wife is a physician so majority of out discussions over dinner are mostly about work, and the hypotheticals of medicine, sickness, and cures.

With that being said I find that in matters of faith the subject of science and religion seems to be a double-edged sword. On one hand religious people say science lacks the methods of finding God because it cannot measure faith, and people of science say a similar argument but in opposite. However what is curious to me is how on one hand Muslims on this site say science doesn't know everything and one shouldn't believe in science wholeheartedly, yet one has no trouble using science to promote cultural/religious dress to legitimize the clothing.

As I mentioned before there is no significant scientific difference between Hijab and a baseball cap. In addition the flawed argument is that it protects women from men. If a man wanted to sexually assault a woman regardless of hijab or not he will if he has the opportunity. All the "veil" should be are just religious guidelines women follow as prescribe in their faith and nothing more. Because when you throw science in the mix you open up a door for people like myself that scrutinize that fact.

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Quote xx__Ace__xx Replybullet Posted: 11 June 2010 at 3:08pm
Originally posted by Gibbs

On one hand religious people say science lacks the methods of finding God because it cannot measure faith, and people of science say a similar argument but in opposite.

Let me highlight the key point over here. (Which is true, science can only stand up to something finite.)

Originally posted by Gibbs

However what is curious to me is how on one hand Muslims on this site say science doesn't know everything and one shouldn't believe in science wholeheartedly,

Contradiction much? I don't know if you deliberately changed the words entirely here or whether it was accidental. "Muslims say science doesn't know everything," either you've been misinformed with regards to it or its just a straight up lie. We don't deny scientific discoveries at all. Heck, we actually love to see how major discoveries were foretold in the Quran. The only thing we claim is that science has its limits, it can only measure upto something which is finite, and just not something beyond the limit. You very well knew and said it earlier, which I highlighted.

Originally posted by Gibbs

yet one has no trouble using science to promote cultural/religious dress to legitimize the clothing.

Tch. Come on. Number one, I already told you Islam doesn't have a problem with scientific discoveries, might as well scratch the fact claiming we're using something which "we say doesn't know everything". Number two, I haven't yet understood at all, that what on earth is the problem with bringing out the scientific side of something. We're living in the world of science, nah? Then why the heck is it that much of a fuss if Hijaab's scientific side is explored on? (Whether they're all right or some right is another matter)

"using science to promote cultural/religious dress to legitimize the clothing."
^You sure that's the point of the thread? Think again. Once God tells me a type of dressing its legitimized enough for me. Again, the point of the thread is to try and think towards the possible scientific benefits of Hijaab, not to search reasons for legitimizing it. Nothing wrong in it, get over it.

Originally posted by Gibbs

As I mentioned before there is no significant scientific difference between Hijab and a baseball cap.

K, I'll go ahead and assume about there being no scientific difference between a baseball cap and Hijaab. So? Again, for the thousandth time, that's only the additional, scientific side of the many benefits of the Hijaab. Does it change the fact that the primary objective of Hijaab is to prevent sexual provocation? Hell no. Baseball caps might have similar scientific traits as Hijaab but I bet it'd be a treat to watch women wear them around everywhere for Hijaab's basic purpose, lol.

Originally posted by Gibbs

In addition the flawed argument is that it protects women from men. If a man wanted to sexually assault a woman regardless of hijab or not he will if he has the opportunity.

So that makes the Hijaab flawed? 
K, let me take a break. Break time <3. *Gets a kit kat*.

1> If a man goes to such an extent, its his wrong doing in the first place, how the heck can it be blamed on the Hijaab?
2> Men's desire to rape comes up when they get aroused, IMO. If women apply Hijaab and conduct themselves modestly as instructed, they avoid the major, major initiative which leads to rape. Common sense.
Yes, I agree there are always some jerks who go to any extent, but if you're gonna blame the Hijaab's concept due to this, then I'll have to go take another break and have another kit kat. Tongue

Peace Smile



Edited by xx__Ace__xx - 11 June 2010 at 3:11pm
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