To Be or Not to Be Veiled

Hijab comes in many colors

Hijab comes in many colors

Source: The Huffington Post

By Bushra Alvi, Freelance writer and Editor

The standard reaction of all those who heard that we were shifting to Dubai was, “Wow, that’s a beautiful place, and so much more civilized. Now you need not wear an abaya.” Whether it was my teenage daughter, other family members, my friends, and even their husbands, the response was universal. Dubai in their eyes meant freedom from the abaya.

That got me thinking. Was the abaya such an evil garb that those who wore it were considered “uncivilized”? Was it something that hindered one’s freedom? Was it something you could not associate with the woman of today?

The garment worn compulsorily during my years in Saudi Arabia had found a permanent place in my wardrobe as I realized, on careful deliberation, that the benefits far outweighed its limitations. Of course, to be honest I now made a few changes. Hitherto it was only a black scarf but now I indulged in the luxury of a colored one. No, not a flamboyant pink or a startling yellow, not a shocking electric blue or a screeching green, but a safe, sedate, respectable maroon. It wouldn’t be fair if I don’t mention the ostentatious, crystal studded abayas I keep for special occasions.

On second thoughts, as I write this, I speculate on my decision. Why do I wear the abaya at all? Do I wear the abaya because my religion demands that I cover myself modestly from head to toe or simply to assert my “Muslim” identity? Do I wear it because of the convenience attached? It can be a lifesaver at times when I don’t want to change out of my home clothes. Ironing bills too have reduced considerably! Do I wear the abaya because I think it is the sexiest outfit ever created?

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Categories: Asia, Faith, Hijab, Women In islam

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3 replies

  1. It is socially acceptable to be openly racist towards Muslims in this country. Legally not so because more and more Muslims are standing up to this fascism and rightfully so. What, values like stripping down to get sunburned on the beach and drinking to excess on a Friday night out? Why don’t you just wear what you want and allow other people to wear what they want? The right to wear what you want is not a special privilege. Its a basic democratic right and one that you yourself enjoy. No one tells you what you can or cannot wear. Why do you think you can tell others what they should wear?

    These racist just don’t like being pointed out and don’t like to be exposed when challenged! So all in all, this university wanted to make a rule for less than 1% of the population who (I assume) aren’t causing any big disturbances or anything? In regard of safety/terror issues, I’d be more worried about backpacks, but I doubt those will be banned in an university setting. Ban on Burqa/ Niqab is against religious-***-human rights of Muslim Women in Europe. Those who support ban on veil are Islamophobic

    People are offended by people walking down the road in head to toe bin bags. It’s spooky. You have the right to feel offended. You do not have the right to stop them doing it.

    We live in a world were women are paid to be naked and fined to be covered, unbelievable! Sisters if you want to wear the niqab you do that. Inshallah you are rewarded for your efforts and commitment in the hereafter. A woman should be free to wear what she likes, if you going to ban a woman for covering up herself, please also ban woman that fail to cover up. The only people who will suffer are Muslim women. A ban would be unjust. One of the best things about this country is its tolerance. Let us remain tolerant.

  2. Asalamualaikum warahmatullah,
    I would hereby humbly object to my brother Mr.Atif’s views, that a muslim woman is allowed to shake hand with a stranger or to sing on TV.
    The reasons are as follows:
    Firstly, the order of hijab came from Allah as a life saving gift for the women. It is in favour of women to cover their body to protect themselves from sexual harassment.
    Today,USA and Europe is are considered to be most civilized cultures. Let us throw a brief look at these so called civilizations.
    Every women is allowed to shake hand with a stranger or to sing on Tv or to do anything they want. Consequently, thousands of women are being raped or fornicated every month in these civilizations!!
    which modernization you’re talkin about my brother? civilzation has taught us to wear clothes… but these so called civilizations are teaching us to wear small clothes so that we might seem to be modern and civilized. Sorry to say, I think it would lead us back to the stone age,where the early people used to live naked.
    It is only for the protection of the rights of woman to wear hijab or burqa.

  3. The verse of Holy Qur’an mentioned in the original article is not the verse where hijab is mentioned in the Qur’an for all Muslim women. This particular verse addresses a special situation which the wives of the Prophet faced in Medina.
    As true for all instructions in the Qur’an, time and context is important. Therefore the hijab can only be described in general terms keeping the purpose in mind. Any decent dress in a society can be considered hijab. This will be different for Pakistan and England etc. So hijab is not same for those two different societies. The message of hijab is that I am a decent woman and not available.
    Hijab has more benefits than drawbacks for women.
    The idea of completely ignoring the word of God and follow what is considered modern in today’s world is just lack of understanding and cannot be accepted.
    All religious teachings are choices for human beings. They are free to follow them or ignore them. No one in this world can enforce those teachings.
    A very good explanation of hijab in Islam is described by Hadhrat Khalifatul Massih the IV in the following question/Answer video.

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