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AbRah2006
 
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Quote AbRah2006 Replybullet Topic: Muslim women cover their bodies and hairs
    Posted: 27 May 2006 at 10:13pm

The Quran, the Muslim's holy scripture, clearly enjoins Muslim men and women to dress and behave modestly. Muslim women are specifically instructed to cover their heads when in the presence of non-mahrem (potentially marriageable) men: 

 Surah Al-Nur (the Light) (24:31) in the Quran states: "They (the believing women) should draw their head coverings over their bosoms...". . Surah Al-Ahzab (33:59) states: "O Prophet [PBUH] Tell thy wives and daughters and the believing women that they should put on their outer garments; that is most convenient in order that THEY MAY BE RECOGNIZED (as Muslims) and not be molested."

Both of the above Quranic references instruct the Muslim woman to cover herself with a large, loose overcoat (jilbab) and full head covering (khimar) so that no provocative part of her body will be visible. Her modest appearance would MAKE IT CLEAR TO EVERYONE THAT SHE IS A CHASTE, BELIEVING WOMAN, and no one is to molest her or sexually exploit her.

 let us shed some light on what is considered in the west as the greatest symbol of women's oppression and servitude, the veil or the head cover. Is it true that there is no such thing as the veil in the Judaeo-Christian tradition? let's set the record straight.

According to Rabbi Dr. Menachem M. Brayer (Professor of Biblical Literature at Yeshiva University) in his book 'The Jewish woman in Rabbinic literature', it was the custom of Jewish women to go out in public with a head covering which, sometimes, even covered the whole face leaving one eye free. He quotes some famous ancient Rabbis saying," It is not like the daughters of Israel to walk out with heads uncovered" and "Cursed be the man who lets the hair of his wife be seen....a woman who exposes her hair for self-adornment brings poverty."

Rabbinic law forbids the recitation of blessings or prayers in the presence of a bareheaded married woman since uncovering the woman's hair is considered "nudity". Dr. Brayer also mentions that "During the Tannaitic period the Jewish woman's failure to cover her head was considered an affront to her modesty. When her head was uncovered she might be fined four hundred zuzim for this offense."

Dr. Brayer also explains that veil of the Jewish woman wasn't always considered a sign of modesty. Sometimes, the veil symbolized a state of distinction and luxury rather than modesty. The veil personified the dignity and superiority of noble women. It, also, represented a woman's inaccessibility as a sanctified possession of her husband. It is clear in the Old Testament that uncovering a woman's head was a great disgrace and that's why the priest had to uncover the suspected adulteress in her trial by ordeal (Numbers 5:16-18).

What about the Christian tradition? It is well known that Catholic Nuns have been covering their heads for hundreds of years, but that's not all. St. Paul in the New Testament made some very interesting statements about the veil," Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonours his head. And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonours her head - it is just as though her head were shaved.

If a woman doesn't cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or shaved off, she should cover her head. A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. For man didn't come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head." (I Corinthians 11:3-10)

St Paul's rationale for veiling women is that the veil represents a sign of authority of the man, who is the image and glory of God, over the woman who was created from and for the man. St. Tertullian in his famous treatise 'On The Veiling Of Virgins' wrote," Young women, you wear your veils out on the streets, so you should wear them in the church, you wear them when you are among strangers, then wear them among your brothers..."

Among the Canon laws of the Catholic church today, there is a law that require women to cover their heads in church. Some Christian denominations, such as the Amish and the Mennonites for example, keep their women veiled to the present day. The reason for the veil, as offered by their Church leaders, is "The head covering is a symbol of woman's subjection to the man and to God" : The same logic introduced by St. Paul in the New Testament.

From all the above evidence, it is obvious that Islam didn't invent the head cover, but Islam endorsed it. The Quran urges the believing men and women to lower their gaze and guard their modesty and then urges the believing women to extend their head covers to cover the neck and the bosom "Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty......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 ordinarily appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms...." (24:30,31).

The Quran is quite clear that the veil is an essential part of a recipe designed for the purposes of modesty, but why modesty? The Quran is still clear "O prophet, tell your wives and daughters and the believing women that they should cast their outer garments over their bodies (when abroad) so that they should be known and not molested" (33:59). This is the whole point, modesty is prescribed to protect women from molestation or simply, modesty is protection.

Thus, the only purpose of the veil in Islam is protection. The Islamic veil, unlike the veil of the Christian tradition, is not a sign of man's authority over woman nor is it a sign of woman's subjection to man. The Islamic veil, unlike the veil in the Jewish tradition, is not a sign of luxury and distinction of some noble married women.The Islamic veil is only a sign of modesty with the sole purpose of protecting women, all women.

The Islamic philosophy is that it is always better safe than sorry. In fact, the Quran is so concerned with protecting women's bodies and women's reputation that a man who dares to falsely accuse a woman of unchastity will be severely punished," And those who launch a charge against chaste women, and produce not four witnesses (to support their allegations)- Flog them with eighty stripes; and reject their evidence ever after: for such men are wicked transgressors"(24:4).

Compare this strict Quranic attitude with the extremely lax punishment for rape in the Bible " If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay the girl's father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives" One must ask a simple question here, who is really punished? The man who only paid a fine for rape, or the girl who is forced to marry the man who raped her and live with him until he dies? Another question that also should be asked is this: which is more protective of women, the Quranic strict attitude or the Biblical lax attitude?

Some people, especially in the West, would tend to ridicule the whole argument of modesty for protection. Their argument is that the best protection is the spread of education, civilised behaviour, and self restraint. We would say: Fine but not enough. If 'civilization' is enough protection, then why is it that women in North America, dare not walk alone in a dark street - or even across an empty parking lot ? If Education is the solution, then why is it that a respected university like ours has a 'walk home service' for female students on campus? If self restraint is the answer, then why are cases of sexual harassment in the workplace on the news media every day? A sample of those accused of sexual harassment, in the last few years, includes: Navy officers, Managers, University professors, Senators, Supreme Court Justices, and the President of the United States! I couldn't believe my eyes when I read the following statistics, written in a pamphlet issued by the Dean of Women's office at Queen's University:

  • In Canada, a woman is sexually assaulted every 6 minutes",
  • 1 in 3 women in Canada will be sexually assaulted at some time in their lives",
  • 1 in 4 women are at the risk of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime",
  • 1 in 8 women will be sexually assaulted while attending college or university, and
  • A study found 60% of Canadian university-aged males said they would commit sexual assault if they were certain they wouldn't get caught."
  • SEXUAL ASSAULT in USA: Every year approximately 132,000 women report that they have been victims of rape or attempted rape, and more than half of them knew their attackers. It's estimated that two to six times that many women are raped, but do not report it. Every year 1.2 million women are forcibly raped by their current or former male partners, some more than once.
Something is fundamentally wrong in the society we live in. A radical change in the society's life style and culture is absolutely necessary. A culture of modesty is badly needed, modesty in dress, in speech, and in manners of both men and women. Otherwise, the grim statistics will grow even worse day after day and , unfortunately, women alone will be paying the price. Therefore, a society like France which expels young women from schools because of their modest dress is, in the end, simply harming itself.

THE BENEFITS OF HIJAB (COVERING) FOR WOMEN

For Muslim women, COVERING THE HEAD IS NOT THE SIGN OF DEGRADATION or oppression. It is a commandment from Allah, who is not male or female, and thus, would not discriminate against women, a segment of His creation.

Rather, HEAD-COVERING IS A SIGN OF PURITY AND DIGNITY. It highlights the Muslim woman as a pure, chaste woman and sets her apart from the immoral behavior associated with women who dress immodestly.

The HIJAB IS A SORT OF "SCREEN" BETWEEN THE CHASTE MUSLIM WOMAN AND THE EVIL THAT EXISTS IN THE WORLD. When a woman wears a hijab she is less likely to be harassed by men with lusty motives; SHE IS LESS LIKELY TO BE EXPLOITED FOR HER BEAUTY AND FEMINITY. 

The Hijab allows a woman to move about outside the confines of her home WITH HER ATTENTION ON THE TASKS SHE HAS SET OUT TO DO. The Muslim woman does not try to impress anyone but Allah when outside of her home. She is not concerned if men find her attractive, or if people are impressed because she has the latest fashions, or the newest hairstyle. She leaves her home as a SELF-CONFIDENT PART OF HUMAN RACE, not as a fashion-plate seeking stares and adoration in order to gain self-esteem. 

The hijab cuts down on competition among women. How many people in the West sacrifice financial savings and health in order to have plastic surgery - in a desperate attempt to meet up to an unrealistic standard of beauty. IN ISLAM, WOMEN ARE APPRECIATED FOR THEIR KNOWLEDGE, PIETY AND CONTRIBUTION TO SOCIETY. When women wear hijab one finds that the most beautiful women are not necessarily the most popular. Rather, a woman is assessed for her mind, and not just superficial physical traits.

The Quran, the Muslim's holy scripture, clearly enjoins Muslim men and women to dress and behave modestly. Muslim women are specifically instructed to cover their heads when in the presence of non-mahrem (potentially marriageable) men: 

 Surah Al-Nur (the Light) (24:31) in the Quran states: "They (the believing women) should draw their head coverings over their bosoms...". . Surah Al-Ahzab (33:59) states: "O Prophet [PBUH] Tell thy wives and daughters and the believing women that they should put on their outer garments; that is most convenient in order that THEY MAY BE RECOGNIZED (as Muslims) and not be molested."


God does not forbid you from showing kindness and dealing justly with those who have not fought you about religion and have not driven you out of your homes. God loves just dealers. (Quran, 60:8)
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Cyril
 
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Quote Cyril Replybullet Posted: 28 May 2006 at 1:28am
I thank you Abrah for starting a new thread. It is better than mixing up with the Da Vinci Code.

Your quote: "The Quran, the Muslim's holy scripture, clearly enjoins Muslim men and women to dress and behave modestly. Muslim women are specifically instructed to cover their heads when in the presence of non-mahrem (potentially marriageable) men"

The Quran clearly enjoins to dress modestly. I would not be so precise as to the head covering. The Quran gives the specific instruction to cover the bosom. It is only hinted at that the hair are covered.
The proof of that ambiguity is that the veil verses are being discussed, and that Muslims had to ask the Prophet as to which parts of the female body had to be covered. You do not ask a question if you know the answer.

 
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Quote AbRah2006 Replybullet Posted: 28 May 2006 at 1:53am
[QUOTE=Cyril]I thank you Abrah for starting a new thread. It is better than mixing up with the Da Vinci Code.

Your quote: "The Quran, the Muslim's holy scripture, clearly enjoins Muslim men and women to dress and behave modestly. Muslim women are specifically instructed to cover their heads when in the presence of non-mahrem (potentially marriageable) men"

The Quran clearly enjoins to dress modestly. I would not be so precise as to the head covering. The Quran gives the specific instruction to cover the bosom. It is only hinted at that the hair are covered.
The proof of that ambiguity is that the veil verses are being discussed, and that Muslims had to ask the Prophet as to which parts of the female body had to be covered. You do not ask a question if you know the answer.

Dear Cyril....You are most welcomed. I hope someday you will be my  best friend.

Edited by AbRah2006
God does not forbid you from showing kindness and dealing justly with those who have not fought you about religion and have not driven you out of your homes. God loves just dealers. (Quran, 60:8)
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Quote Angel Replybullet Posted: 28 May 2006 at 7:49pm

Cyril, you would do good if you went to the women's section and bring up the hijab thread/s and read them before continuing, there is much there  pretty much all has been discussed.

Perhaps I will find it for you later and bump it up

 

~ Our feet are earthbound, but our hearts and our minds have wings ~
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Quote BMZ Replybullet Posted: 28 May 2006 at 8:40pm

Cyril,

If you really want to see women of the whole world in Hijaab, please take a look at any woman's pic of the early 19th Century or perhaps even in that late 19th Century.

Also, please take a look at all old paintings of Mary or even Mona Lisa or Queen Victoria and you will find that they were also practising Hijaab. Mother Theresa is another example of the modern times.

I would like to ask one question, here: Why the Western man is clothed in full Hijabb by a suit instead of women?   Take a look at Bush and Cheney in full hijaab while Ms. Rice is not in full Hijaab.  I pity the poor priests, Pope and the other fathers, who are forced to be dressed in full Hijaab.



Edited by bmzsp
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AbRah2006
 
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Quote AbRah2006 Replybullet Posted: 28 May 2006 at 8:52pm
Why I took the hijab:

Hilary Saunders used to think that Islam was a relic from the dark ages. Now she has converted. Here she explains why ..
Source:  http://www.nzmuslim.net/

The most significant thing I have ever done was in fact incredibly simple. A little over four weeks ago, in front of two witnesses, I recited a simple declaration, the shahada. "I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and I bear witness that Mohammed is His messenger," I said; and from that moment, I was a Muslim.

I made a number of good friends on the course; indeed, most of the Muslims I know well are converts. More people convert into Islam than you might think - approximately 10,000 of Britain's 1.8m Muslims are white or African-Caribbean converts .

Since my conversion, I have chosen to abide by the Islamic code of dress and wear the hijab. The hijab is about modesty, not showing off, not trying to attract the opposite sex, and avoiding causing envy. Islam advises both sexes, not just women, to dress modestly.

I felt quite nervous about putting it on at first, wondering what people would think. But then I told myself that I had made a commitment and that this was the public sign of it. I feel a lot safer now that I am wearing it; I have more self-respect. Now I know where I belong.



Edited by AbRah2006
God does not forbid you from showing kindness and dealing justly with those who have not fought you about religion and have not driven you out of your homes. God loves just dealers. (Quran, 60:8)
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Quote amah Replybullet Posted: 29 May 2006 at 1:28am
Originally posted by bmzsp

Why the Western man is clothed in full Hijabb by a suit instead of women?   Take a look at Bush and Cheney in full hijaab while Ms. Rice is not in full Hijaab.  I pity the poor priests, Pope and the other fathers, who are forced to be dressed in full Hijaab.



I have always wondered that. Why men dress more decently than women?


Edited by amah
Allah is Sufficient as a Walee (Protector) and Allah is Sufficient as a Naseer (Helper).
(Surah An-Nisa, Chapter #4, Verse #45)
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AbRah2006
 
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Quote AbRah2006 Replybullet Posted: 29 May 2006 at 6:17am

Yes I agree with bmzsp and amah.

God does not forbid you from showing kindness and dealing justly with those who have not fought you about religion and have not driven you out of your homes. God loves just dealers. (Quran, 60:8)
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