Today is a great day as I have the honour to present you the Blog First Guest Post by an Inspiring and Gifted Writer
You will discover a bit of her through the lines she had the kindness to write for the blog about a subject that divide France on a political ground but if we look closely at it and are keen to open her heart to others, relates to Religion and Spirituality, a matter that should not involve anybody else than Women and God.
If you wish to read more, visit her two blogs, that I see as gifts and lights on the journey:
Enough Talking, now place to Zarina our Guest of the Day!
First let me thank you Zarina for this great favour and the lines you drafted with such passion – This text opened my mind a bit more and from now on I will look differently veiled women in the street and will be more able to share what I know with others who are still in ignorance.
Zarina Text –
Bismillah hir rahman nirahim
I begin in the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate
I have been asked by Marie to write something about the topic of veiling or covering of Muslim women. Before I write my own thoughts I’d just like to clarify that when people speak about the veil, it can mean different things. Usually, hijab refers to the head covering or scarf worn by Muslim women. Niqab is the complete face covering and the burqa is the long outer covering that can or cannot include the niqab.
This issue is one that has been discussed and debated much more than it needs to be, and it seems that the more Muslim women try to speak about it, the more you have people trying to silence us. The mainstream media only displays the negative, and they get Muslim women with negative viewpoints and experiences to represent us all. Now, I’m not at any point going to say that there are no Muslim women who feel that they are oppressed. In many countries and settings there are Muslim women who are fighting for their rights so for me to deny this would be quite ignorant, and ignorance is something that I really can’t stand.
What nobody seems to want to admit to is the fact that there are very many Muslim women out there who have actively made the choice to cover themselves for purely religious reasons. A while ago I watched a video, I’m not sure what news channel it was on, but they were discussing British Muslim women and opinions in Britain regarding the veil. As part of this segment they went out and interviewed Muslim women, some were completely covered, and others wore hijab. These women clearly stated that they have made the choice for themselves and nobody has forced them to dress in this manner. Some of them spoke of the benefits and how much they love dressing the way they do. I thought this was great; it was refreshing to hear the other side of the story for a change. And then, in typical media style, they undermined these women’s opinions by getting “experts on the subject”, (which just happened to include a Muslim woman who believes that wearing the hijab is not a religious thing), to discuss the whole issue and they dismissed the women’s views as unimportant. I wondered what was the point of asking women for their opinion if you’re basically just going to tell them that their opinion doesn’t matter, but this is what happens all the time, so I am quite accustomed to it.
The Holy Qur’aan clearly states that women should be covered. The niqab is not explicitly stated as compulsory, but hijab most definitely is. There are many interpretations with regards to this, people have their own opinions, but most people agree that hijab has been made compulsory for women as it fits with the Islamic principles of modesty and respect. Let me just add here that men are also expected to cover themselves; although this differs because of obvious physical differences.
I am a South African Muslim women, and I am fortunate to have had the chance to interact with and research opinions of Muslim women in my country. I can tell you that all the women I have spoken too adamantly state that they have not been forced to wear the hijab or niqab, and all of them have taken this step as a mark of spirituality.
There was a time in my life when I didn’t cover myself the way I should; so I can easily tell you the difference between been covered and not been covered. I have not yet chosen to wear the niqab, but I do cover my entire body and wear a hijab. I thank Allah for this everyday, because I truly believe that the way in which Muslim women dress is a beautiful gift. See, people believe that women are forced to dress this way because they are oppressed, and only regarded as physical objects. But if you learn more about Islam you will find out that women are asked to dress this way for her protection, for her respect and modesty and to remind others that she is more than a beautiful body and that her in
tellect and personality is far more important.
tellect and personality is far more important.
From my own personal experiences, now that I am covered, I am treated with far more respect and I never have to wonder why people are interested in me. This has taught me that I am a whole human being, not just a physical being. I love covering myself because it makes me feel special. I am not at the liberty of men who feel they can comment on my body at will, and I feel embarrassed for the times that I was openly exposed for anyone to look at me and draw their own opinions. If someone had to tell me that I can no longer dress the way I do, I would be absolutely outraged!
Many people are afraid of the way Muslim women dress, especially when they see a woman in niqab or burqa, but this fear is based on a lack of knowledge and understanding. This fear also comes about when we place emphasis on the external and forget about the internal. If we take the time to look beyond the external then we will find that internally, women in niqab or burqa are not scary at all.
Recently a friend of mine was elated when she told me that she has now begun wearing the niqab. It made her feel good to share this news with others, because for her this was a mark of spiritual progression. She had made this decision based only on her love for her Creator and she no longer cares about what other people have to say. This is the experience of so many Muslim women. They have chosen to cover themselves because they love their Creator.
It’s not difficult to understand. It’s all about tolerance and empathy. I come from a country where intolerance, racism and prejudice were the norm for most of my life; a country where the after effects of this bias and prejudice is still continuing every day. One group of people decided that they were better, their way was better, their skin colour was better, and they deemed everyone else as inferior. If the banning of niqab is not a form of racism and prejudiced, then I don’t know what is. One group of people has now decided that their way of dressing is superior, so this should become the norm, and anyone who doesn’t fit within this norm should be made to fit within it. Does this sound like freedom at all?
Through all the talks of oppression and cultural symbols, everyone has seemed to have forgotten that behind that veil is a real person. A woman who has more strength than anyone can imagine. She knows when she walks out her door that people will be staring at her, some laughing and mocking, some will comment negatively while others will ask her ridiculous questions. She knows all this, and yet, she chooses to brave it all, because she loves her Creator more than anyone else. People who believe that religion and spirituality have no place in life, will never be able to understand this. They will continue to stigmatise and negatively stereotype and they will do it all in the name of freedom and liberation, yet there freedom and liberation is a mask, a disguise, because their so-called freedom and liberation is actually in reality enslavement and bigotry.
I am a Muslim woman, I cover myself, I do not wish to be exposed, and I am not ashamed of how I dress. I want people to treat me in the same way they would treat any other human being. I am tired of double standards and false representations. I would really like to go about my life without anybody bothering about how I dress. But, since many people do seem to be bothered, I really wish they’d ask me what it’s like instead of making their own assumptions. And when I tell them, I really, really wish they wouldn’t act like I don’t know any better and that they’d actually open their minds and step out of their boxes and try to understand!
To all those people who are open-minded and actually interested in finding out true knowledge, I salute you!
To Marie- A special Thank You!!! May God Bless you always!!!
Praise Be to God for Such Goodness
All your comments are very welcome!!