Hijab and a Revelation that was not


The decision of the conservative French government, led by President Chirac, to ban head covering of girls/women in public institution has created a major controversy inside and outside France. While the banning initiative targets all "ostentatious" religious symbols, including Jewish skull-caps, Christian cross, etc., the real target, quite clearly, is the Islamic dress code of modesty for women. Popularly known as hijab, the issue is now mixed up with headscarf.

As Catherine Field explains, while claiming that secularism in France is threatened by headscarfs and that Muslims are being intransigent in assimilating into the French culture, the initiative to ban headscarf (cross and skullcaps too to balance) is also mired in domestic French politics. France has the largest Muslim minority in any European country, mostly of Algerian origin, the former colony of France. The right wing party is becoming more popular, especially by attacking foreigners and foreign cultures. Chirac's government wants to outdo its rival political force by banning hijab.[1]

Originally, the issue emerged as some young girls, even at the elementary grades, were wearing hijab in public schools. But soon the issue was expanded to all public offices and institutions. However, since the cultural milieu of France has become generally skewed against the presence of the large and growing immigrant Muslim community, there are now cases of even private businesses, such as banks, refusing to serve Muslim women covering their heads.

The domestic politics is reflected in the rift inside the French government. The interior minister Nicholas Sarkozy is no friend of scarf. He had bluntly stated that Muslims should abide by the cultural and legal environment of France. However, he was also vehemently opposed to enacting laws to enforce any ban. According to Sarkozy, imposition of any such bans would be "secular fundamentalism." That this is indeed secular fundamentalism was echoed in an New York Times editorial too. [2]

The controversy has further widened, engulfing the global Muslim community, especially the Muslims in the West, as the very basis of hijab is being challenged by some people, whose views are being widely reported in the western media. There are also a few well-positioned Muslim-sounding names, some of which are non-practicing anyway, but have taken an intellectually militant position of challenging hijab altogether. Amir Taheri, a neoconservative, associated with Benador Associates, wrote about wearing headscarf in New York Post: "This is not Islam." [3] He went even further and revealed an hitherto unknown information. He labeled this wearing of headscarf as neo-hijab and claimed that it was invented in early 1970s in Lebanon by a Shi'ite Muslim leader, Musa Sadr.

Ali Ahmad Said, an Arab poet popularly known as Adonis, went even further claiming: "... nowhere in the Quran or hadith is there a single, unequivocal passage that imposes the veil on Muslim women." [4] He further suggests that hijab is simply based on an incorrect human interpretation of some minorities, who have imposed their minority interpretation over the Muslim women. Echoing many in the West and elsewhere who believe that Islam is a primitive religion that discriminates and even represses women, he is of the view that hijab is actually the symbol as well as a tool of repression of women. He further blames the Muslims for their failure to blend with the society to which they migrated. Other lesser known cheerleaders soon joined in clamoring that this "new-fangled" hijab or neo-hijab must be resisted, as it is being promoted and defended by the Islamists. Indeed, they seem to be grateful to the French leadership for taking up the cause of repressed Muslim women.

In this essay, we deal with several interrelated issues. (a) the basis of hijab in the Qur'an and hadith; (b) the terminology involving hijab/veil/scarf; (c) the "minority" interpretation involving hijab as a mandatory religious requirement; (d) The revelation of Amir Taheri that headscarf as a form of hijab was invented in early 1970s in Lebanon by Musa Sadr.

Islamic guidance for dress in the Qur'an and Sunnah

Islam prescribes modesty for both men and women, which includes lowering of gaze between non-mahrams of opposite sex. [33/al-Ahjab/59] The Qur'an speaks of Jilbab: "O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments [jilbab] over their persons (when outside): that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." [33/al-ahjab/59] It also prescribes in a later surah [5] "... say to the believing women that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts and do not display their ornaments except what appears thereof, and let them wear their head-coverings [khimar] over their bosoms, ..." [24/an-Nur/31]

Whatever is the meaning of khimar or jilbab, which one can learn from Arabic lexicons, the two verses of al-Ahjab and an-Nur undoubtedly give some dress codes. However, it is still not too specific, but the details are available through hadith (narrations) and sunnah (practice sanctioned by the Prophet). "When a woman reaches the age of menstruation, it does not suit her that she displays her parts of body except this and this, and he pointed to her face and hands." (Sunan Abu Dawood # 4092). There are other hadiths, further corroborating this.

Therefore, basically, the guidance is that women, when around non-mahrams, should keep only face and hand exposed. Islam does not mandate or prescribe any specific type of dress. Thus, as long as the dresses are not revealing or too tight, cultural variations can add tremendous diversity in the fulfillment of this guideline. Chador in Iran, abaya in most Arab countries, burqa in South Asia are examples of such variations.

Hijab/veil/scarf: The terminology confusion

Though inaccurate, it is very common to use hijab, veil and scarf interchangeably. Indeed, scarf, as head covering, has become the crux of the controversy in France. Scarf is also described as veil or hijab and vice versa. As explained above, Islam does have some dress code, which is based on the Qur'an and Hadith/sunnah, contrary to the vacuous claims or challenges offered by some people. Actually, this guidance is generally referred to as Hijab, a terminology that is not to be found in the Qur'an or Hadith in the context of dress code. However, it is important to note that Hijab, when used as related to dress code, has nothing to do with seclusion of women or depriving them of their full participation in life's activities. Scarf, by itself, is not Hijab, because it relates to only head-covering. Veil is often used as a synonym of Hijab, while scarf is used also as a word for veil. However, to avoid any confusion, veil should be understood as face-covering, which is not part of the mandated Islamic dress code, even though among some Muslims in some parts of the Muslim world, it is practiced. If by veil, Adonis meant face-covering, then he is right in his assertion that there is no verse in the Qur'an mandating such veil. However, if Adonis' assertion was not limited to face-covering, as corroborated above, both in the Qur'an and hadith, there is clear guidance about this matter.

Referring to scarf-wearing, Amir Taheri, wrote: "This is not Islam." In that essay, he equated scarf (headgear) with hijab - a common mistake - and argued: Various legal cases of Muslims,

"... are based on the claim that the controversial headgear is an essential part of the Muslim faith and that attempts at banning it constitute an attack on Islam. That claim is totally false.

The headgear in question has nothing to do with Islam as a religion. It is not sanctioned anywhere in the Koran, the fundamental text of Islam, or the hadith (traditions) attributed to the Prophet." [3]

What Taheri's arguments boil down to is this: Wearing scarf/headgear, which he labels as neo-hijab, is a new invention since 1970s in Lebanon and this particular form of hijab has no mandate in Islam. By claiming so, he indirectly acknowledges that there are other forms of hijab (such as abaya, chador, burqa, etc.), but this neo-hijab has no mandate in Islam. This very argument renders his case against so-called neo-hijab utterly irrelevant. Why?

Taheri's position would have some merit, if France were banning this neo-hijab, which supposedly is not mandated by Islam, but France would have been willing to accommodate or tolerate other forms of hijab, such as abaya, chador, burqa, etc. That is obviously not so. As France is opposed even to scarf, it would be that much more opposed to a full body-covering. By the way, while the controversy is focused on scarf or headgear, no Muslim, man or woman, has insisted that scarf or headgear of any particular type is mandated in Islam. Those who are opposing this French ban are opposing French initiative to ban what Muslims regard as Islamic guidance for body-covering, of which head-covering is a part, and they are opposing an unacceptable imposition by the French government on Muslims' right to practice their faith. The world criticized the coercive Taliban imposition of complete covering of women and mandatory beard for men in Afghanistan. Muslim world also shunned Talibanism as an unacceptable extremism that contravenes Islam. The same principle against such imposition now galvanizes Muslims around the world to oppose Talibanism, the French-style.

Where does then the proposition - hijab is not mandated in Islam and headscarf is neo-hijab that was invented by a Shiite cleric in Lebanon in 1970s - fit in? Well, it is a sheer fabrication that came from a neocon, Amir Taheri, who has also been closely working with the extremist neo-conservative movement, to provide the public relations support to the war of George Bush that conned the American people and the world in claiming that Iraq, loaded with WMD is a threat to the USA, and it must be attacked to declaw Saddam regime, a monstrous regime that was the former bedfellow of USA.

A revelation that was not

Amir Taheri's article was quickly picked up by the Western media and a number of people with Muslim names and some avowedly non-practicing Muslims emerged as Taheri's cheerleaders as they started circulating this article containing a great revelation: scarf (headgear) has no place in Islam. It is a new invention from Lebanon by a Shiite cleric in the 1970s. Islamists are duping the simpleton Muslims, especially women, in embracing and upholding something that is not Islamic.

Some self-proclaiming rationalists even challenged Muslims to prove that Amir Taheri's claim is wrong, as if rationalists (or Objectivists) don't have to do any of their own due diligence regarding the facts. Blindly, they can throw anything at Muslims, and the burden is on the Muslims to prove or disprove whatever is being thrown at them.

As soon as I read about this revelation of Taheri, I knew it was wrong. But one can't simply dismiss such a claim merely by a counter-assertion. Therefore, the issue must be dealt with an appropriate level of due diligence.

Last Ramadan, I was invited by a Palestinian Muslim family in a neighboring town. At their home, they shared with us a wedding video of their family and relatives in Palestine. My friend, in early 40s, was introducing to me various people in the video. When he showed his grandmother, something struck my mind. She was wearing scarf - neo-hijab (according to Taheri's cheerleaders, "new-fangled" hijab). I asked my friend how old his grandmother was. "In her late 80s," he responded. I asked how long since, did he think, she has been wearing this kind of scarf? He said that as long as he could remember. I asked whether this was something that his grandmother picked up in the 70s. He chuckled and said that his family pictures including his grandmother's go back a long time. I mentioned to my friend and his wife that someone has come up with a momentous revelation that this is neo-hijab that was invented in the 70s; they broke out in laughter.

I knew I had found the corroboration against a revelation that was not. But what I found at my friend's home was merely anecdotal and as an academic, committed to due diligence, I took that merely as a starting point to dig further. Fortunately, I did not have to dig too far.

A. Huda Shaarawi:

Huda Shaarawi was a pioneering Muslim feminist from Egypt and the founder of Egyptian Feminists Union. One of the events related to her life in 1923 remains a milestone in the history of Arab/Muslim women standing up for their rights and dignity, challenging the orthodox religious establishment and the prevailing male-dominant culture. She grew up in a well-known family, where parallel to commitment to women's education, strict adherence to dress code prevailed. As Muslim girls/women, they were required not just to wear a long outer garment, but also face-covering (niqab). As she grew up and availed the opportunity to educate herself about Islam with an open and independent mind, she discovered as many Muslim men and women do that face-covering was not mandated by Islam. Knowing the fact and convincing herself of it were easy. Unveiling herself was not. It would be a revolutionary step, with potentially serious social consequences in a traditional society.

In 1923 Shaarawi went to attend an international feminist conference in Rome and her picture shows her with friends without any niqab (face covering). While she was quite free in Rome in this regard, due to an entrenched orthodoxy and the domestic cultural milieu, it was still quite different in Egypt. A milestone was set upon return from the conference, when at the Cairo rail station, she and one of her friends deliberately and publicly took off their veils (face-covering, niqab).  The momentous event shook the entire country and its reverberations reached far beyond.

Another "episode in the summer of 1923 is telling: she was sailing to Egypt on the same boat that carried Saad Zaghlul, accompanied by his wife, home from exile. Huda's veil now simply covered her head; her face was free. Observing this, Saad asked Huda to help his wife arrange her veil the same way." 

Her autobiography includes several pictures of herself, wearing scarf, without any face-covering (niqab). See the one above, Huda wearing scarf at age forty-four. "This is one of the first photographs of an unveiled Egyptian woman to appear in local newspapers."  Once she removed the veil (niqab), her friends also joined in. The picture of Wafd women's committee meeting in 1925 is quite illustrative. Shaarawi's step to take off niqab already made its mark on Egyptian women. In that Wafd meeting, as the caption mentions, only four women wore veils (read face-covering), "the rest are Hijabed" (i.e., dressed with a scarf or headgear).

B. Scarf and the Bedouin tradition:

Dawn Chatty, a social anthropologist at Oxford University and an expert on Arabian societies, writes about the Bedouin society: "The women, without exception, always wear traditional bedouin dress. This consists of a long dress that sweeps the ground, generally in solid brown, dark blue, or black, and one or two black scarfs." [7, p. 402] In a personal communication, I asked her: "Was that practice of wearing scarf - adding to a long or any other dress - been in vogue for long time?" She wrote back: "Bedouin women and men both cover their hair and have been doing so for a very long time. Certainly documents from the 19th century talk about this and the early photographs of men and women form Bedouin tribes at the end of the 19th and early 20th century show men and women wearing head scarfs."

C. Women in Morocco:

Women in the Muslim World is a book by two prominent American female scholars on the Middle East: Lois Beck, a well known anthropologist at Washington University (St. Louis) and Nikki Keddie, a historian at UCLA. The inside cover of the book has the following picture of a woman wearing a scarf. [8]

The picture is credited to Susan Davis. I contacted her to find out the date of that picture. She wrote: "... the one inside the cover was taken while I was in the Peace Corps in Morocco, between Sept. 1965 and June 1967."

Susan Davis presented another photograph of women musicians in rural Morocco. She wrote to me: "The one of the women musicians was probably taken during my dissertation research, 1970-72, but might have been in the earlier period." A relevant point is that even if it was taken during 1970-72, adoption of an invention in 1970s by a Shia cleric, in the context of the Shia-Sunni theological rift, can't be expected to spread at a lightening speed to the rest of the Muslim world.

Thus, adding a scarf to one's dress goes back a long way - much further back than the fabricated revelation of Amir Taheri. If Moroccan women were already wearing scarfs as part of their dress, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that the revelation of Amir Taheri claiming that some Musa Sadr of Lebanon invented this neo-hijab in 1970s is utterly preposterous, if not fabrication. How far off is the claim of Amir Taheri?

According to Ruth Roded, a social historian at the Hebrew University of Israel:

At the beginning of the twentieth century, some Muslim women began to copy Western dress, wearing short skirts and form-fitting bodices instead of the earlier loose garments. It was apparently the women of Istanbul who adopted the European dust coat, which covered the ankles and had long sleeves, for outdoor wear. The head was covered by a scarf. This apparel was advocated by a prominent Egyptian feminist in one of the earliest public lectures for Middle Eastern women in 1909. Since that time, some Muslim women have continued to copy the changing Western fashions; in reaction, the cry was raised for a return to more modest dress. The dust coat adopted by some neo-Islamic circles as a return to tradition was a Western-inspired innovation almost a hundred years ago." [9, p. 137; emphasis is mine]

Thus, it could not be in the 1970s, not in Lebanon and not by any Mullah Sadr who could be credited with this invention(?). Moreover, it was not a men's invention or imposition. Rather, it evolved in Muslim women's response to the rampant imitation of west, where less cloth was deemed a symbol of modernity. This change of fashion was not initiated either by men or the traditional, uneducated women. Rather, it evolved through the conscious role of educated and often independent-minded women, who did not mind the West, but did mind its blind imitation.

Conclusion

So, why is such preoccupation with Islam and dress of Muslim women. There are many Muslims who have a reductionist tendency. They tend to reduce Islam and women to the issue of hijab. Do we encounter any outrage in the Muslim world against the widespread illiteracy or poverty, where women are more disproportionately affected by these maladies? Do we see animated religious clerics and organizations taking bold stand against, for examples, Saudi ban on women being able drive alone, where such ban are clearly contradictory to Islamic teachings, or against dowry system in South Asia (Bangladesh, India, Pakistan) where, contrary to Islam, bride's family is often demanded of dowry, while it should be the groom who should be offering the same to the bride?

Unfortunately, those in the West or intoxicated with the West also have a reductionist tendency, as if hijab is the problem or real problem in regards to Muslim societies or communities, especially when it comes to women. The reality is not so. The women who stood up for their hijab against Secular Fundamentalism in Turkey were among the students and faculty at some medical schools, where such schools generally attract and admit top brass of students. Moreover, the female students who stood for their rights to practice hijab were among the top graduates from their institution. These are not timid, subservient, less or poorly educated women. It is no different elsewhere. Huda Shaarawi in Egypt or Begum Rokeya in Bangladesh were among illustrious Muslim women, whose activism in defense of women's rights, status and dignity were not inhibited by hijab.

In her book Women and the Middle East and North Africa, Judith E. Tucker, a professor of history at Georgetown University, dispels some of the stereotypical and simplistic misconceptions about hijab. Referring to the works of Tucker as well as others, Susan Darraj, a feminist of Arab-Christian background, writes: "... the veil is not a simple, one-dimensional marker of gender oppression. In her book Tucker has written of some of the complexity associated with women's choice of dress, which cannot always be attributed directly to patriarchal admonitions ... Many women in the Middle East today see the issue of the veil as an important locus of discussion; ... Many other women see the veil as irrelevant to the central issue of women's rights; arguing over it serves to distract from the real problems of women's access to education and health care, and the increasing poverty in which Arab families find themselves." [10]

Shoddy and misleading works like that of Amir Taheri have no relevance in this regard. Just like Muslim societies need to re-focus on the overall lives of women than reducing it to dress codes, France and other secular societies should also deal with the discriminated and neglected status of Muslims as minorities, rather than imposing such ban that contradicts Islam and the rights of Muslims or any religious community to practice their way of life and in all probability that it would alienate the Muslim community in France and worldwide.


References:

1. Catherine Field, "French headscarf ban set to misfire," New Zealand Herald, February 3, 20041. 

2. NYT Editorial, "Secular Fundamentalism," [IHT, December 19, 2003] 

3. Amir Taheri, "This is not Islam," New York Post, August 15, 2003 

 4. Ali Ahmad Said (Adonis), "Pulling a veil over reason itself," October 15, 2003 

5. Kevin Edgecomb, "Chronological Order of Quranic Surahs"

6. Huda Shaarawi. Harem Years: The Memoirs of an Egyptian Feminist (1879-1924). NY: The Feminist Press, 1987.

7. Dawn Chatty, "Changing Sex Roles in Bedouin Society in Syria and Lebanon," in Lois Beck and Nikki Keddie (eds). Women in the Muslim World [Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1978], pp. 399-415. 

8. Lois Beck and Nikki Keddie (eds). Women in the Muslim World [Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1978]

9. Ruth Roded. Women in Islamic Biographical Collections: From Ibn Sa'd to Who's Who [London: Lynne Rienner, 1994]

10. Susan Muaddi Darraj, "Understanding the Other Sister: The Case of Arab Feminism," Monthly Review, Vol. 53, No. 10, March 2002.

 

 

Dr. Farooq is an associate professor of economics and finance at Upper Iowa University, USA. Homepage: http://www.globalwebpost.com/farooqm; The author requests volunteers if anyone is interested in translating this piece in their native language. email: [email protected]]


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  42 Comments   Comment

  1. Zinedine from Morocco

    Salam CC, let's go back to your comments that started all this conversation between us.

    You stated: ".....I respect the fact that France has a right to create its own laws to protect its culture. The fact is that all religious groups are affected by this law not just Muslims."

    If you spoke French & understood French culture like myself, you would understand where I am coming from & how racist the French governments are; not just that of Jacques Chirac but also the previous gov of Francois Mitterand. Did you know for instance that president Francois Mitterand stated: " There is no way I would tolerate the rise of another Muslim country in the Balkans, Albania & Turkey is more than enough". He said this when Ali Izzat Begovic was struggling against the Bucher of the Balkans Slobodan Milosovic; when Muslims women were rapped & their children & husbands were massacred en masse. Banning Hijab was a racist, undemocratic decision & 5 million Muslims did not & cannot change the culture of France because the "Catholic" French think that they are les dieux qui marchent sur terre: Walking gods on earth. If people think Americans are racists you need to see how racist the French are. Most French people have two three negative attributes:

    1- They look down at everyone that's not French

    2- They perform overt racism by making racist comments about everyone tha's not French.

    3-They treat non French people with disrespect & discrimination.

    The French fear losing their culture but to the American culture not to the Islamic one.

    Peace be with you,

  2. CC from USA/MEX

    Zinedine,

    I have learned, through out my years of using electronic communications like email or Internet forums that often enough people misinterpret or extract from them attitudes not intended to be there. I would like you to know, that I have no intend in arguing with you but to present a point of view and underline flaws in your logic so they can be discussed openly and intelligently in this forum. I do not claim a monopoly on truth and I am trying my best to stick to the facts.

    You do not need learn any Mexican history, it is not as interesting as ME history. I did read, already, one of the books you listed and you would love my Middle Eastern/Arab/Islamic History collection. It is extensive. What you are doing here, when you tell me to go read the books you listed and don't address my claims is a "Ad Hominem Fallacy", look it up and you will see why.

    Go through my postings, and you will see my claims.

    here is my email address [email protected].

    "PALESTINA LIBRE !!"

  3. Zinedine from Morocco

    Salaamu alaikum CC,

    I hate arguing & prefer to learn & educate besides I don't have enough time to explain things in detail & there isn't much space for long stories in this forum either.

    My reply to your comments about me are the words of this Arabic poem: "Innaka asma'ta law nadayta hayyan wa laken la hayata liman tunadi"

    Translation: The poet advies people like myself that try to convey a message to people like yourself:

    "You've heard if you called upon the living but those you are calling are dead".

    In fact trying to educate the ignorant & arrogant is fruitless; it is like pouring water on sand.

    You really need to do some serious readings CC from some trustworthy sources. How about you read these three books: " Hegemony or Survival" America's quest for power by Noam Chomsky & "Orientalism" by Edward Said & "Islam the straight path" by John Esposito for a starter. When you finish reading these three books come back to me & in return I will make an effort and learn more about Mexican History asap.

    CC, I am not trying to insult you. I am trying to save you from Hellfire because I care about my fellow human beings regardless of their backgrounds. May Allah revert you to Islam so that you can see the light & feel the Truth.

    Ameen!

  4. Ahmed Sha from US

    First of all I'd like to point a verse from the Holy Quran-'There's no compulsion in religion.Truth is manifest from falsehood'.

    Well, we Muslims agree that what'shappening in Saudi and Turkey are against the tenets of the Quran -i.e to insist non-Muslims from wearing Abaya in Saudi,and in Turkey against Muslim women from wearing the Abaya.

    Since France is calling itself a Democratic Socialist Secularist state,it's not any differnt from Saudi or Turkey.

    The word Secular is a subjective term.If France wants to be a true Secular state,then there really should not be any religious places of worship in the state.Why be a hypocrite,applying one rules in schools and applying another outside.IT should be devoid of nuns,Rabbi imams.

    Well,if France is a truly Democratic state, then it should allow religious tolerance inside and outside schools.

    So France is neither a Secular nor a Democratic society.France so called Democratis Secularism is a misnomer.

    The 'Muslimahs' in school are neither baring the bodies nor indulding in any undemocratic behaviour.France should be happy that its citizens want to be modest.

    The beauty of a person lies in his/her hair.Procreation is a normal human attribute.So when a person of an opposite sex looks at another,natural sexual desires arise.A bald person or person w/o any hair do not usually attract the opposite sex.That's why in the Quran it's a must to cover those parts which attract the opposite sex and for a male to keep their gaze lower.First gaze is an innocent gaze.But the subsequent gazes are considered synonymous to adultery.

    A person is a fundamentalist if he sticks on to the fundamentals he believes in.A good mathematician is considered to be a 'fundamental mathematician' when he sticks to the fundamentals of Maths.Similarly Jacques Chirac is a 'Fundamentalist Premier' since he sticks onto the fundamentals of France's governance.Similarly a 'Fundamentalist Muslimah' is one who sticks to Islamic fundamentals.

    Jazaka

  5. CC from USA/MEX

    I don't know why you ask, "Do you know much about Alamo?" when I find the singing of The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo a much sadder day in Mexican history vs. American History and it's "Manifest Destiny". The Alamo is a trivial piece of American history and mainly part of American folklore. Please, do not insult my intelligence and mention it again. 😉

    "Historically, Muslims committed the least crimes on earth." Compared to the Crusaders and even worse to the Mongols, Muslims were the most merciful back in the 1100s. A great example is when Saladin re-conquered Jerusalem but I won't go into details. I think we all know the history. I hate to repeat my self, see my previous posting, but his proves nothing about Muslims or Islamic fighters today. They are as worldly as any other secular group and frankly I don't see the point of you mentioning it. Like I said before you cannot use the past to represent the present situation.

    The Patriot Act is a reaction to the 9/11 attacks; it will be refined and amended until we get it right. Rome was not built in a day.

    And you are right, Politics is a nasty game for power and money, the Jews get the gold medal at this. Muslims should watch and learn from them and beat the Jews at their own game in order to change their present situation.

    "PALESTINA LIBRE !!"

  6. Zinedine from Morocco

    Salamu alaikum,

    CC, you totally misunderstood me. I never said that we Muslims are perfect...we are far from it. Most of us are brainwashed too but we are not in position of power & leadership but oppressed by the West & our own corrupt leaders "Western puppets". Historically, Muslims committed the least crimes on earth. Read H G Wales's " A History of the World" & other honest historians to find out about Muslim History. As a Mexican you should know that half your country is stolen by the US Army, the same way Palestine was stolen by the Zionists. Do you know much about Alamo? if you don't you should CC. Do you really believe that the US polical system is a presidential democracy. The Patriot Act is democratic ha? so was Segregation right? so was the mass killing of the Indigenous Native Indians & slavery. You should know that Pres Bush is a fictitious President. Did you watch Michael Moore movie: "Fahrenheit 911".

    America can be truly the greatest country in the world if its leaders admit to their crimes against humanity & stop supporting brutal dictators abroad & aborting democractic elections overseas. Your leaders just like ours don't care about you but big business etc. They will tempt you to get free education as long as you are willing to become a soldier & a killing machine overseas. I hope you don't call that a US democratic principles?

    Brief: For politicians Democracy & Islam are just a game because they don't take them seriously. They are a tool not the end!

    I wish I had time to provide a better response.

    Regards,

  7. cc from USA/MEX

    Zinedine,

    writes " the French government knows that the ban on religious signs targets Muslims especially that the Catholics & the Jews have schools where to send their children... but the French government knows well that Muslims only have one Islamic School in the whole of France. They try to send a big blow to the 5 million French Muslims" The majority of Jewish and Christian schools are finance by private donations and tuitions, how about the Islamic French community gets together and uses part of the Zakah to fund their needs and build their own Islamic schools to combat the secularism that preminiates public organizaitons.

    "Western Talibanism" and "Liberal Extremism" not quite sure in the use of your rethoric.

    "Shave beard" read this particular law, it does not required any males, or in extreme cases any females, to shave their beards.

    Oh! and get your arguments straight, first you say that this new law is "meant to destroy Islam" but then you continue to say that removing "your hijab is not going to shake your faith in God & is not going to dramatically change your lifestyle." If we agree with your conclusion then this new law is a non-issue.

  8. Zinedine from Morocco

    Salaamu alaikum,

    Those of you who claim that France has the right to ban hijab in public places need to know that you are just as undemocratic as the French gov. There may be a bad smell of Western Talibanism & Liberal Extremism in you & you are not even aware of it. Fyk, the French government knows that the ban on religious signs targets Muslims especially that the Catholics & the Jews have schools where to send their children if they choose a Catholic or Jewish education for them but the French government knows well that Muslims only have one Islamic School in the whole of France. They try to send a big blow to the 5 million French Muslims living in France. Muslims have all the right in this world to stand against the trap that the French government is setting up for them in the name of psychological warfare on terror meaning Islam here. That trap is meant to destroy Islam but they need to know that once you are a strong Muslim & your Iman is solid, being discriminated against this way & indirectly forced to shave your beard & remove your hijab is not going to shake your faith in God & is not going to dramatically change your lifestyle. True believers you must not feel down because you r at the top of the world in the eyes of Allah & they are at the bottom. Know well that Allah promises you Paradise & He promises those who plan to destroy Islam Hellfire. Know that Allah's merchandise is Heaven & Heaven is expensive. It requires great sacrifices, so watch them gratify their empty souls in this world like cattle. Let them call you extremists, their ancestors called Ibrahim, Moses, Issa (Jesus) & Mohammed (peace be upon them all) extremists before you. You need to know that you are not an extremist bcs if you were one there would be no Jew, Christian or Zoroastrian in Muslim lands..They should also know that extremism is in the eyes of the beholder & just bcs a woman wears the hijab or a man wears a beard, it does not necessarily mean that they are extremists.

  9. CC from USA/MEX

    Zinedine,

    writes "One you know that you are indebted to Islam & Muslims, you will change that attitude towards us." I know about Islamic history and its heritage. Islam used to inspire a great society but now it only remains a great religion. And this I understand, that I owe to Islam and Muslims as much as I owe the Greeks for their philosophy and English for their literature, and as much as you owe Americans for their technologies and in some cases their democratic principals. But you keep writing about the past, what used to be.... How great the Umma was.... It would be like me writing about the Aztecs (since I am Mexican) and embellishing my present with what once was. This is illogical and unrealistic.

    Regarding this statement:" you need to know that some female American soldiers do breach Saudi laws by taking off their headscarves & flaunting their bodies in an offensive manner & Saudi citizens have complained about this because they view it as far as their culture is concerned as an inappropriate behavior." For the most part the soldiers that I served with behaved according to the local laws where they were station but in some cases they did not. And this is expected, we have laws and regulations to deal with those instances. For example, there was one female enlisted person that looked a Male in the eyes; she was wearing the Saudi burqua. The Saudi male reported her to the religious police. She was quickly arrested, the military general had to interceded on her behalf, she was quickly taken back to the base and a couple of days later flown back to her home station back in the states

    I never felt welcome in Saudi Arabia and we did not want to be there. As far as I am concern, when a Muslim kills another Muslims, and Arab Muslims tend to be great at this, that is one less Muslim that we need to worry about. It seems like must Muslims are as badly brainwashed with their own propaganda as most Americans are with Zionist Jew's propaganda.

  10. Aishah from England

    Correction for Mukhlis - non muslims and muslims are not forced to do anything in islamic countries they have the freedom to walk around uncovered. So therefore you lose your argument about the French being justified to ask muslims to uncover.

  11. Zinedine from Morocco

    Bismillah,

    Continues,

    This does not apply to the SA laws were made clear to the American Army personnel & immigrants in so they must abide by them the same way a Muslim man knows clearly that they can't be polygamists in Canada & the US. When one immigrates to a country, they indirectly sign a contract with it. It is unislamic to breach a the contract you have with a country regardless of its culture. In other words, abiding by the laws of a country is an essential part of that contract & legally ignorance of the law cannot be forgiven.

    Note: The first commercial ad in history, as far as most historians are concerned, was made by an Arab poet. It was about the Khimar. An Arab poet approached an Arab merchand & suggested to him that he can help him sell lots of black khimars and all it takes is to pay him for a poem. They agreed on the terms & the costs of the add/poem and the poem was produced. Here is the Arabic version:

    "Qul lil maleehati fil khimaril aswadi

    maadha fa'alti binaasikin muta'abidi ?

    Asalabti minhu deenahu wa yaquinahu wa taraktihi

    Fi hayratin, la yahtadi"

    Excuse my English translation:

    Tell the pretty woman in the black head scarf,

    What did you do a mystic worshipper?

    You took away his religiosity & his certainty

    & left him misguided, anxious & lost.

    The black khimar poem became so popular that it made lots women go Khimar shopping frenzy. Today, this poem is converted to a song by Sabah Fakhri, a famous Syrian Muwashahat singer.

    I am sorry, I never had a chance to write properly because I am extremely busy & this response is obviously just a collection of my statements put together in a span of six days here at work.

    Jazakumu Allahu khairan,

    Wa salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullah

  12. Zinedine from Morocco

    Continues,

    Fifth: CC, you need to know that Fifth: CC, you need to know that some female American soldiers do breach Saudi laws by taking off their headscarfs & flaunting their bodies in an offensive manner & Saudi citizens have complained about this because they view it as far as their culture is concerned as an inapropriate behaviour. Fyk the American Army is not welcome in the Gulf & is there to serve Israel & steal Arabs oil so remember that! you also need to know that most of the North African immigrants you see in France are what the French call (les Boeurs) because they were born in France. Their parents, grand parents & grand grand parents built the Eifel Tower, fought in Vietnam, in Korea, WWI & WWII including D day & they were in the front lines & were the true liberators of France. Do you know that some of Spain's general Franco's bodyguards & some of his soldiers were Moroccans. Most Algerians almost like the African Americans were shipped to France & any Algerian born before 1962 was automatically a French citizen by decree of the French colonial constitution. Paris, the great writer Taha Hussain of Egypt call it the city of ghosts & Engels because of its beauty. It is the city of lights & every light bulb that enlightens Paris will testify in the Day of Judgement that French speaking Africans Blacks, Arabs & Berbers suffered & still do to keep them functioning. Just as the Chinese were the biggest contributors in building Canada's railway system that runs from the West coast to the East Coast, the Algerians were the real workforce that built the Eiffel Tower.In fact, Western Europe, the US, Canada & Australia would not be where they are today without immigrants & if it was not for the Middle Ages Muslim scientists, it would take the West another 600 years of scientific research to reach where it is today. One you know that you are indebted to Islam & Muslims, you will change that attitude towards us.

    Continues!

  13. Zinedine from Morocc

    Continues,

    No one has the right to oppress a man or a woman

    Third: Laurie, I know that most women are supressed by men but that happens everywhere on this planet & it's not any religion to blame for this attitude but men's intrepretation of God & what we view as right & wrong (religion &/or tradition). French feminist extremist Simone Debeauvoire said: "Une femme n'est pas nee une femme, elle devient une femme" meaning a woman is not born a woman, she becomes a woman. As far as common sense is concerned, a woman is a woman & does not become a woman. A women's special love for her baby proves Simone D wrong. Even with or without an oppressive man, she will still show tremendous care & sacrifice her life if her baby is in danger. I am not condoning acts of abuse towards women at all. I leave that for yellow b & cowards. As the messengers of Allah said: " ...only a coward treats women with disrespect". No one has the right to oppress a woman or a man but one has to understand that relationship between men & a women are based on interdependance not freedom. That is what God wants us to comprehend. Not to forget though that in some rare cases, women are the oppressors & abuse is not one way. In other case, women abuse women like men abuse men. Some feminists for instance, in the Enriched World have sold out women in the Impoverished world for capitalistic aims. And yes Laurie any religion that supports abuse is a bad religion; in most cases, it's the elites (men & women) misintrepretation of God's commandments that is to blame. Thus corrupting religion in favour of one gender against the other & one class against the other to serve their interests. Some men really believe that they must control women to observe God's commandments & most of them do not think that they are oppressing women but assume & that they are following God's natural law.. i.e the Taliban, Orthodox Jews, the Mormons & the Salafia Wahabia aka Wahabis etc.

    Fifth: CC, you need to know

  14. Zinedine from Morocco

    Bismillah,

    First of all the author prefered to defend.. not to attack and to educate.. not to imitate.. & to provide evidence..and not to jump into assumptions...To brother Kashif, the author's target is to prove that Amir Taheri statement about khimar (the correct Arabic word for head scarf) is islamically incorrect.

    Second: Khimar, Niquab & Hijab are three different things. Khimar is the head scarf in English, Niquab is the veil that covers the face sometimes the eyes called Burqua in SE Asia & Hijab is Jilbab but could also mean separating wall or curtain ( Hijab can only be understood within the context of the incident hat took place during the prophet's (pbuh) wedding to Zainab bintu Jahsh. (see Bukhari & Muslim for details). Niquab can only be understood within the context of rape in Madinah. (Again one has to read Imam Bukhari & Muslim to find out that wearing the Niquab en masse was a solution to the phenomenon of rape in Madinah by the Munafiqueen & their leader Abdu Allah bnu Ubay bnu Salool.)

    I would like to get into historical details but I am very busy here at work.

    Third: Laurie, I know that most women are supressed by men but that happens everywhere on this planet & it's not any religion to blame for this attitude but men's intrepretation of God & what we view as right & wrong (religion &/or tradition). French feminist extremist Simone Debeauvoire said: "Une femme n'est pas nee une femme, elle devient une femme" meaning a woman is not born a woman, she becomes a woman. As far as common sense is concerned, a woman is a woman & does not become a woman. A women's special love for her baby proves Simone D wrong. Even with or without an oppressive man, she will still show tremendous care & sacrifice her life if her baby is in danger. I am not condoning acts of abuse towards women at all. I leave that for yellow b & cowards. As the messengers of Allah said: " ...only a coward treats women with disrespect". No one has the right to oppress a

  15. Zinedine from Morocco

    First of all the author prefered to defend.. not to attack and to educate.. not to fight.. & to provide evidence..not to jump into assumptions...again, brother Kashif, the author's target is to prove that Amir Taheri statement about khimar (the correct Arabic word for head scarf) is islamically incorrect.

    Second: Khimar, Niquab & Hijab are three different things. Khimar is the head scarf in English, Niquab is the veil that covers the face sometimes the eyes called Burqua in SE Asia & Hijab is Jilbab but could also mean separating wall or curtain ( Hijab can only be understood within the context of the incident hat took place during the prophet's (pbuh) wedding to Zainab bintu Jahsh. (see Bukhari & Muslim for details). Niquab can only be understood within the context of rape in Madinah. (Again one has to read Imam Bukhari & Muslim to find out that wearing the Niquab en masse was a solution to the phenomenon of rape in Madinah by the Munafiqueen & their leader Abdu Allah bnu Ubay bnu Salool.)

    I would like to get into historical details but

    Third: Laurie, I know that most women are supressed by men but that happens everywhere on this planet & it's not any religion to blame for this attitude but men's intrepretation of God & what we view as right & wrong (religion &/or tradition). French feminist extremist Simone Debeauvoire said: "Une femme n'est pas nee une femme, elle devient une femme" meaning a woman is not born a woman, she becomes a woman. As far as common sense is concerned, a woman is a woman & does not become a woman. A women's special love for her baby proves Simone D wrong. Even with or without an oppressive man, she will still show tremendous care & sacrifice her life if her baby is in danger. I am not condoning acts of abuse towards women at all. I leave that for yellow b & cowards. As the messengers of Allah said: " ...only a coward treats women with disrespect". No one has the right to oppress a woman or a man

  16. Acklima from Trinidad

    France is afraid that they ( France) will become the next Muslim state in the near future. Thats why they have to ban the hijab now..... its all about fear....... fear that Muslims laws will be the Law of France in years to come.

  17. Mukhlis from Hong Kong

    French Ban on Head Scarf.

    The writer has done well to explain the terms Hijaab, Niqaab, Jilbaab etc. I believe that head scarf has no devil in it. If at all, it makes the women look more respectable and pious, even enhances their beauty. The Iranian Chador too is quite decent and harmless. It hides some unseemly shapes. Neither of these can be termed as sign of oppression for women. All these have been practiced for centuries by Jews, Christians & Muslims. President Chirac is grossly mistaken to term them as non-secular. He allowed Christian symbol of Cross (size restriction is immaterial) but banned scull cap and head scarf - this is patently unfair and unequal.

    Having said that, I come to certain aspects that the writer has just passed over.

    Why do the French hate Head Scarf ? Answer: They see it as a symbol of Islamic identity. Why do they hate Islamic Identity ? Because they have a growing immigrant Muslim population often demanding things they do not deserve. Muslims did not create the present French Society. They are just the beneficiaries of those fair systems. They must just take what they get, not ask for any thing.

    Logical questions. These Muslims, in the countries where they have Muslim Governments ban non-Muslim way of life. Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia. Therefore it is reasonable to expect that French people in general must disallow the scarf. As long as they allowed religious freedom & cultural freedom - that was their magnanimity. When they choose not to allow, the Muslims must change and adhere to the culture of the land they have chosen to live in. Alternative is to go back to the country which adheres and enforces those cultural practices. Just go back to "your" country.So we come to a very serious question.

    Why most Muslim countries are repressive, autocratic, undemocratic, corrupt, unfair, backward societies ? Why do educated and enlightened Muslims run away and seek refuge in USA, Europe, Australia, Canada etc?

  18. Yewkoon from U.S

    I love the part "Talibanism - French Style". The French ban is such an extreme. I'm very glad that I wear my headscarf at work yet I'm not harrassed. However many women still have a hard time without people perhaps unconsciously marginalizing them. Marginalization of a large minority group has way more serious repercussions.

  19. Aishah from England

    I wear a hijab in the UK and i love it!!!!!!!!!

    I just read Abdullah's comments on hijab. The stance you have taken does not stem from anything solid. Just because non-hijab wearing women may feel insulted is no reason for anyone to abandon the command of Allah. And other women do not feel like they are labelled as whores if they dont cover,and why should anyone change their belief to fit into a certain society. I live in the UK and wear hijab and have no problem integrating with western society. Can you all just get over the hijab issue cause there is no way your going to stop us from wearing the hijab. Maybe to help you guys deal with the hijab just think..........your all gettin worked up over a piece of cloth !!!! how absurd is that.

  20. Umm Muhammad from USA

    Wow!! How hard kaafiroon work to strip the Muslim woman of her dignity and respect. I am American, I wear niqab not because I'm trying to copy any ones' culture but because I actually studied Quran and Hadith and what the scholars say about niqab. Do you know how many scholars say niqab is mandatory?

    Sometimes to tell a lie about something all you have to do is convienently LEAVE OUT INFORMATION.

    Muslims and non-Muslims alike should find ALL OF THE EVIDENCE for and against something from the best sources. Go to the Quran and authentic Hadith and what the scholars say.

    The first real step in destroying the Ummah is with the Muslim Woman.

  21. Abdullah from USA

    Name calling is never nice. The real problem with the

    hijab is the implied name calling toward those not

    wearing hijab. If a muslim woman wants to wear hijab

    because it makes her modest and if she does not wear

    it she would likely consider herself unmodest. The

    muslim men who see her without hijab would think the

    same, but often to a more extreme level, such as "did

    you see that girl without hijab (no matter that he should

    not be looking at the girl if he were being a good

    muslim), she is a whore." Arab muslim men (from ME)

    think all western women are whores and it stems from

    this idea that the women do not act like the women from

    their part of the world. When a muslim woman wears

    hijab around nonmuslims she is calling the other

    women unmodest without even knowing her. Take a

    look at the german baptists with their small head

    coverings and tell me they are not modest. The real

    problem is the implication that women who do not wear

    the hijab are seen by those who do (whether they

    realize it or not) as whores. Again, whether they realize

    it or not they are calling the nonhijab wearing women

    unmodest whores. This is why westerners do not like

    the hijab. No one likes their women being called

    whores. It is slanderous and should be prosecuted.

    The solution of course is to abide by western culture

    and not call our women whores or to go back to your

    side of the world and leave us alone.

  22. Peter from USA

    Akbar, you are right.I have changed my mind. People should be allowed to wear what they want to. I heard a Turkish man make a good point, if girls can wear mini skirts and shorts to school then why does the hijab raise such alarm? It's covert (well, overt, really) ethnocentrism, plain and simpe. The fact is, if France really is a democracy with freedom of religion, then Muslims should be able to attire themselves in a manner they feel is appropriate for their faith. It is unacceptable to mandate laws that target particular faiths. Ahmed is right also, no one worries about nuns (who wear a hijab also, although we call it a habit), why should we worry about hijab? His point about Britney Spears is also true. Britney Spears' attire is not offensive but the hijab is? That's ridiculous. Let's just call this French law for what it is: rascicm, plain and simple.

  23. Ahmed Asgher from Bahrain

    Funny how they revere and respect their nuns yet when a Muslim woman (Muslimah) wears modest clothes, she is being subjugated by the menfolk!

    it is just another way of wanting everyone's daughter dress up like Britney Spears, inviting lust and pornography into their lives to keep them entertained and away from real issues of life.

    what is this French way anyway? and how is it that a young woman dressed modestly at a school is a threat to this French way? how insecure one can be?

    much hoopalahoo over nothing, but give these people a string and they will hang us anyway.

  24. Akbar Khan from Canada

    That is partially true Peter, but like you have said, Christianity and even Judaism stresses the importance on both men and women to cover their private parts, and to cover themselves. It is simply a commandment from Allah (SWT), and a woman who conceals herself from men other than her father, brothers, and husband, then she is performing a commandment which is ordained upon her by Allah (SWT). It is simply wrong to take this option away from a Muslim woman, and is in fact a "reductionist disease" because the government's secular rules should not overstep their bounds into religious matters which have absolutely no implication on the way of life in France. Jewish women, before they pray cover their hair entirely...so do Nuns...every picture you see of Mother Mary (as), she has her hair covered, and is covering herself with modesty. It is not that her clothing measures her faith, it is a means to protect her, due to Allah (SWT) command. Muslim men are required to at all times cover themselves from their naval to their knees! it is a matter of natural occurence. A women's body is not the same as a man's.

    This is not so difficult to understand, in fact, it holds more importance when you look at the Islamic dress of men and women from a scientific perspective. If you would like me to elaborate, then we'll do that. Salaams.

  25. kim from USA

    This article suffers from too much information.

    Here's the bottom line: If a women wants to

    cover her head and neck in a scarf, it's her

    perogative as long as the fabric doesn't have

    religious writing, symbols, etc...Plenty of

    women in the US use scarves as fashion

    accessories and the "prison look" of tying a

    bandana completely covering one's head and

    hair is popular now. There's nothing wrong

    with modesty AS LONG AS the schools

    remain secular, the scarf or other coverings

    are not discussed, and religion is left out of

    education (unless of course, it is a class

    about a specific religion)

    It also diverts from the real problem: Islamic

    women are treated like non-humans in many

    Islamic countries. That's a fact that no one

    can whitewash or dispute. The law DOES

    NOT protect a women from assault, rape, etc..

    from her "loving" husband. Islamic men need

    to grow up and act more like men instead of

    vicious,abusive animals or children and learn

    to love and respect their wives. Then, a

    simple thing such as a scarf becomes a

    non-issue.

  26. Peter from USA

    You may find it interesting to know that in the Enjil (the Bible)St. Paul is very specific about saying women should wear garments to cover their heads. In fact, the tradition of doing so while going to church was maintained until modern times.

    While I agree that the rule prohbiting the hijab in France was aimed primarily at Muslims, I think the French's main motivation is to maintain a 'French identity' so to speak, regardless of the religion of the citizen.

    Personally, I'm amazed that this is such an emotional issue for both Christians and Muslims, and I honestly believe that it is what a person does and holds in their heart that is important to God, not what they wear.

  27. suhayb from canada

    very interesting article!!! the author give good arguments against unfounded proclamations, it is a fact that the use of the word hijab is different than its original use. The word hijab appears 8 times in the holy Qur'an for other purposes but anyhow we now use it this way. as a french citizen i can tell you one thing we did wrong. When protesting this "law", we had young women wearing hijab walking and aggressive looking bearded men pushing the media away thus proving the "secret oppressive bs". I wanted to see a highly educated sister come on tv wearing hijab, and speaking about it to the unaware french population...didn't happen...in north america it would ve though...

  28. Khadijah Amatullah from usa

    It is obvious that people are very uneducated about Islam. Laurie, wow! Please go and find out more about the men and what they have to wear. Do you not see turbans and kufis and robes? Men are to cover their private parts, it just so happens that women have more special attributes to cover.

    I have a solution, since there is such a ridiculous dicrepency about the exact definition of terms, let everyone go back to the khimar! Forget the hijab, how does it cover a thing when I see our young women wearing skin tight pants or skirts and a scarf. Abayah and khimar at all times and let someone discredit the validity of these.

    One more thing about the men and women. For those that do not know. Women are exempt from prayer and fasting at various times of their lives. Men never! Women can adorn themselves with gold, silk and bright colors. The men are forbidden these luxuries.

    It saddens me to think that women think I am backwards for the way I choose to dress. I think that they are insecure for wanting men to notice them. Why do you think that there are so many prisons here in the US with so many rapists in them? Men and women are human and have weaknesses. To keep ourselves protected from any immoral thought or act is our gift from God.

    I do not understand how anyone can possibly think that Islam is a religion that puts men above women. Islam stopped the killing of infant girls. Islam made women responsible for her own money. Islam gave women rights of inheritance and votes. Islam made men the sole provider and protector of his family. A women can work but does not have to. All of the burden spiritually and finacially falls on the man. How is this putting men above women? Men are to be kind to their wives. They are to appreciate in every woman the womb that bore them. The Qur'an speaks of the rewards of men that are kind to their wives. The Prophet Mohammad (SAW) helped with the chores and housework. His example is exemplary. Get educated!!

  29. saidah from usa

    Hijab is not a question of choice just as other rulings in Islam. But no one can force anyone to do anything even praying. This is one of major problem with Muslim, they often think they are better than others when they themselves are not the best of Muslim. Hijab is not the yardstick to measure one piety although I myself wears one.

    If Muslim cannot accept the rule in France then they should not live there. We have to respect each countries right to determine its own rule so we can expect to be respected by others to form our own rules in our own countries. For Muslim who does not want to leave the countries where the majority are non Muslim my best advice stay if you are allowed to pratice peacefully, leave if your life is threated and you no longer allowed to practice your religion.

  30. Sandra Williams from USA

    Thank you so much for this very informative article. Covering for many of us is not a mandate but an enjoyable choice to seek the pleasure of Allah (swt).

  31. Adam Ibrahim Muhammad from Nigeria.

    Laurie, have you ever look around u and seen all the different cars around? Do they have the SAME operational manuals? what an irony, man can make things with differences but God? No God must make them all the same. YES WE ARE EQUAL BUT DIFFERENT, BUDDY. So we have different and sometimes common operational rules.

    I aggree with Dr Farook to some extent. Quran 33:59 and 24:31 with many of the Ahadith of the Prophet(SAW) did indicate a dress code for both men and women. This dress for women(as the argument here conerns them) is that, the woman can only expose her face, hands and in some cases feet, when outside of their houses or/and not with their muhrim. Any denial of this by any muslim delibrately out of refusal of the Allah's directive through the Prophet(SAW) or simple love for the culture of the western society, leads one to kufr.

    And for those infedels who by their utterances of support for 'SECULARISM' or their having no respects for all religions be it Islam, Christianity, Judaism, even Bhuddism,[This is interesting has anybody seen any buddhist woman monk? How do they appear(ie dress wise)? I remember Sheikh Deedat reference to those women around Jesus or deciples potraits. How do they appear? Half naked? What an irony.] I say to those infidel to let the law of God be! Before His wrath befall all of them. Anybody that dares to go against the laws of Allah destroys himself/herself. The wrath may manifest here on earth or on the day when no power, nothing avails except Allah ie the day of judgement. BE WARNED!

    As for the piece about Saudi women not driving. As long as the world muslim ummah will continue to be in small settlements known as countries without a caliphate, then this communities are free, in the spirit of IJTIHAD, yes Ijtihad... [Where ae the so call modernists? Are u not the people crying for Ijtihad?] Saudi Arabia is free to look at their society and make rules(temporal) as long as it does not conflict with the Quran or the Sunn

  32. Raghunath Dahal from Bhutan

    Hijab is compulsory for religious women as a sign of modesty and also as expression of taking the place of submission. But this applies strictly in a gathered assembly of men and women for a Church function where women are forbidden to teach and lead. The French decission is secular in this regard that affects not only muslims but also conservative christians. No doubt, the sun sets in the West!

  33. Noorullah from USA

    Allah has created Man and Woman differently with their own strengths and weaknesses.Man and Woman can never be equal as they are not created with the intention to compete but to complement each other in this life.To protect women from being targets of lust of men and for men to safegaurd their chastity even in their thoughts and intentions.Allah has ordered in Quran as described in this article, for believing men and women.Allah says,For disbelieving men and women, they are free from all obligations described by Allah and Prophet(PBUH), but there will be a painful torment for them in the hereafter. My dear Muslim brothers and Sisters, please read Quran with the intention of seeking the straight path and Allah will clear every doubt that these disbelievers create. May Allah guide us all to the straight path. Aameen

  34. Hudd from Canada

    Laurie Burgess. I hope this message gets to you since this website decided to censure my comments for reasons are beyond my common understanding. With all due respect wqhat you said in your last comment about the equality of sexes is the most idiotic statement I have ever came upon in my 50 years of existence over 5 continents! First, it is scientifically determined that a male thinks of sex every 7 minutes, I am a male and I can assure you it's true, it happens to me, maybe not every 7 minutes any longer(the age factor), but every so often! Men are those that rape, sexually assault and kill women for not being sexually or otherwise gratified. I have never heard of women being arrested because of gang raping or stalking and sexually assaulting lonly men returning night from work! I don't think a sane woman is concern with sex every 7 minutes or so. A male is because he has a different nature and purpose. Yes the male and female are equal in rights but fullfill different missions in our society. A female has to wear a more decent garb imposed by God, yes by GOD, as well as a doctor cannot chose to operate his patient naked! Or a police cannot wear tights or a tutu even if his gay, now isn't he equal to non-gays? What is to do hijab with freedom, Ms Laurie? It has to do with decency, that item that the western civilization did away with when Christianity was raped by the atheists and what I like to call them the new Sodomites and Gomorrites! In one of your inane comments you stated that you would choose Christianity over Islam! Do you have any idea what true Christianity is? Look at the nuns and the monks of forgotten monesteries, that is what a decent Christianity is about. What you think Christianity was, is just Sodomism and Gomorrism! Get a grip of yourself and do not confuse the brothel with the church!

    Peace out!

  35. Laurie Burgess from Australia

    Let's get back to basics. I generally like and agree with Dr. Farooq's articles but I must sit on the fence with this one in as much as there are oddities in every Religion. The only comment I wish to make is that, again, a male dominated Relgion. It is not expected that males cover their body and head and hair with pieces of clothing therefore women are not equal. And, again, any Religion that does not have male and female exactly equal is not a Religion from God. Each one of us, male and female, are responsible for our sexual and sensual energy. One or the other should not have to conform in such a way as to harness or control anothers emotions, to wit, sexual and sensual. How a person dresses is not a sin but the mode of viewing that dress can be the sin.

  36. Umm Isa from manama

    Where did hijab become a question of choice. A veil is a veil.. cover ur hair and chest and tuck all hair in. Quran tells us this and hadith also.. May Allah guide the mislead and protect and guide all believers.Ameen

    HIJAB IS NOT A CHOICE ITS A MUST-LAZIM.

  37. cc from USA

    Allen,

    All the military women that served in Saudi Arabia had to wear Hijab when going out to public places, I know because I was there. But we did not make a big deal of it because most of us respected the fact that the culture of Saudi Arabia required it. In the same way, I respect the fact that France has a right to create its own laws to protect its culture. The fact is that all religious groups are affected by this law not just Muslims.

  38. Allen from USA

    CC writes in the comment above ..

    "Since some muslism, like the author of this article, believe that a nation, like France, does not have a right to regulate the garments of its citizen populace then we should also become alarm at the fact that in some Muslim nations, like Saudi Arabia, all women are forced to wear the Hijab including Non-Muslim women. And why is this an issue in France and not in Turkey (Turkey bein a Muslim Nation that has prohibited the wearing of the headscarf in public/govermental institutions)?"

    If non-Muslims were forced to wear the Hijab .. all the women in the US

    military stationed in Saudi Arabia would have been wearing Hijab. According to

    western standards of freedom what France does is hypocritical and what Turkey

    does is  wrong.

  39. S. Kashif Haque from USA

    Salaam aleikum,

    Very good article, however rather than delve into a defense of the hijab (from Islamic and other sources) the Author needs to go on the offensive more and delve into the backgrounds and motivations of those people that consider hijab "arcane, backward, and cultural" this would require more research on the author's part but would be more useful than a defensive approach.

  40. Hudd from Canada

    It is just disgusting to even think of it! How can a country like France do this?! This is sheer segregation! Reminds me of the years of the civil rights movement in US, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr.! But in the 2004 France?! I wouldn't even go there, religious or not. I would go to a fundamental characteristic of the human being, the ability to choose! This ability makes us humans. If the freedom for this ability is arrested, what different they do from the Nazi Germans? The way somebody dresses, burka or mini-skirt is the individual's own choice and nobody's business. In France it became a national debate and a law case? Poisonous mushrooms must be their staple food to act like this!!!

    Peace!

  41. cc from USA

    Since some muslism, like the author of this article, believe that a nation, like France, does not have a right to regulate the garments of its citizen populace then we should also become alarm at the fact that in some Muslim nations, like Saudi Arabia, all women are forced to wear the Hijab including Non-Muslim women. And why is this an issue in France and not in Turkey (Turkey bein a Muslim Nation that has prohibited the wearing of the headscarf in public/govermental institutions)?

  42. Akbar Khan from Canada

    It should be called a Reductionist Disease!

    If this is what is so great about the "great history" of maybe the oldest existing secular society, well then, childish, or in a state of infancy is the best way to describe such a move to ban the hijab. Not only is outlawing religious appearance a premature move, but it is also one that is BACKWARDS. Hah! That says a lot for their claims that wearing the hijab is backwards and oppressive. Somebody should go and take a good hard look in the mirror! Hypocrisy of French officials and even some Frenchies is pretty surprising. I wonder, is it more welcoming and acceptable to the French government to show up in a French Public School naked?

    Secularism is nothing but a half-witted attempt to be devoid of all spirituality, meanwhile the French secular state, it's laws are based on or copied from religious institutions in Rome, Istanbul, and Jerusalem. All of these secular, athiestic figures who "developed" the laws for France, borrowed, of I would like to say, cut and paste concepts introduced by Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. The first laws were and always will be God's laws. Secularism is nothing but a feeble attempt to deny God's right upon mankind, to worship him. This is God's right on all of humanity, and to deny this fundamental right, is to doom oneself to a bottomless pit of hopelessness.