Muslim Women in the Islamophobia Era
As long as the game of superpower influence in the Islamic world continues, the weak and stunted enclave of civil society and forces of political representation will remain repressed.
To focus the debate so narrowly upon the questions of intolerance, blasphemy, aesthetics, apostasy in Islam is to miss the real point.
Until enough changes take place from within and until the rage and humiliation suffered from Palestine, to Kashmir to Rohinga and Nigeria is mitigated through economic and social programmes of successful integration, there will be other targets. Other targets already in place include caricatures, anti-Semitism, telenovelas, operas, videogames, e-motherhood or e-parenthood and other forms of cultural expression to distract believers.
We need to move beyond a laziness of thought and succumbing to status-quo which divert attention from the real war taking place in the souls and minds of the Muslim world by focusing solely on the war on hijab, or images and caricatures. It is not piety or impiety that we need to understand but the sources of dejection and despair for us to decipher.
There are many controversial issues like polygamy, purdah, veiling, inheritance, that have been raised by the Islamophobists to extinguish moral, ethical and most especially religious life of women. Muslim women, are now the main target of that conspiracy.
Unlike Islam, its antagonists teach their adherents that love and compassion are leaders’ prerogative. Are the leaders Islamic adherents?
Both Islamophobists and Muslims bear the fate of the 21st century Islamophobia era. The former bears it out of gross misrepresentation of Islamic identity which now spurs curiosity to know Islam. This search often leads to conversion out of freewill not from Da’wah. Immigration and intermarriage are also all value adding to conversion to Islam.
Unlike Islam, a complete way of life, imperialism’ spread of diseases, inculcated xenophobia, war tools, inhuman conditions, confiscation of economic assets which are all threat to humanity emanate from “civilization.”
Social discrimination and media campaigns like the 9/11 saga, weapon of mass destruction, promotion of anti-Islamic culture to coin words hijabize, halalize, have further strengthened the essence of Islam in everyday life.
Economic loss of a world without pork consumption, alcohol, bikinis, beaches, perfumes, dresses, wigs, artificial nails, eyelashes, casinos, striptease, etc is unacceptable to Islamophobist.
The fate borne by Muslims as a result of Islamophobia include denting of religious ideology, law, demography, family, economics, and politics.
The required perseverance and courage to carry on and not cave into the unreal world should be our focus. We need to remain bonded by the same global pain of ill-treatment meted out on Muslims with their own tax paid to the State. Mind you, it took conscious and concerted effort to place Muslims in this mental, psychological and cultural state. The same or much better effort unknown except in wartime is required by Muslims not just to exonerate themselves but to develop a springboard upon which the dawn of a new respectable Islamic era will emerge. An era where Muslim uterus will be vividly seen as an asset and not a threat.
It is not enough to repeat the old bromides about Islam and violence; decimating the Glorious Qur’an, cartoons on the holy Prophet, 9/11 attack not by Muslims torture of Muslims in Rohinga, Kashmir, China, India, France….Yes, yes, all that is true but does it help us understand why the centre does not hold without scorn, repression and corruption?
Curbing civilizational despair takes more than decking war on Hijab. Cycle of violence, poverty, corruption, unemployment, marginalization, contempt, sarcasm, exploitation and scorn have distracted Muslim youth and women from the right path.
What is needed is a collective global effort on the scale of a Marshall plan for Muslims infrastructure, communications, agriculture, industry, medicine and education. Just as Europe was pulled out of its devastation after WWII, so too this Muslim world which is almost bleeding to death, needs to be resuscitated. 40 million people died in Europe before peace could be re-established, so any ideology or faith not in conformity with the European “modern” agenda is not acceptable to them.
There are also key issues in changing religious trends in modernity such as
the importance of specific local historical and cultural factors;
the shift from extrinsic to intrinsic religious motivations;
the importance of globalization for modern religious networks, beliefs & identities;
the importance of class, gender, ethnicity in shaping religion and the secularism;
the importance of changing social environments and everyday cultural practices in shaping religion; as well as
The impact of public policy and institutions, and economic systems, on religious belief and behaviour.
Of immediate concern to us in this gathering is our carry-on identity as Muslim women; the HIJAB phenomenon.
The word “hijab” appeared in the Qur’an 7 times; five of them as “hijab” and two times as “hijaban”, in Qur’an 7:46, 33:53, 38:32, 41:5, 42:51, 17:45 and 19:17.
Women from early civilization have always identified with hijab as can be found in early and late Roman and Greek culture. The Jewish used head coverings and their women used veils.
KHIMAR: Qur’an 24:31, 7:26
“And tell the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ father, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers or their brothers sons or their sisters sons or their women or the slaves whom their right hands possess or male servants free of physical needs or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye believers! Turn ye all together towards Allah that ye may attain success.”
“O children of Adam, we have provided you with garments to cover your bodies, as well as for luxury but the best garment is the garment of righteousness. These are some of God’s signs that they may heed.”
Lengthen your garments: Qur’an 33:59
“O Prophet tell your wives, your daughters, and the wives of the believers that they shall lengthen their garments. Thus, they will be recognized and avoid being insulted. God is forgiver, Most Merciful.”
The same way if a well-brought up Christian woman should dress with her hair uncovered, she has not complied with the teachings of the Bible in 1 Corinthian Chapter 11 verse 6.
Some controversial social Issues of women in Islam raised by Westerns
There are many controversial social issues of Muslim women today raised by the westerns to create problem in their religious peaceful life. Few of them are discussed here as follows:
The issue of Hijab, nowadays, has become a very controversial issue in the world. The issue become a challenge to the Muslim women in the contemporary world. It is, however, one of the most misunderstood issues of the shari’ah. Hijab is not only about covering the body with clothes but also controlling behavior, manners and, thus, considered as the principle of modesty. There are two terms used frequently in the discussion of women’s veil in Islam. Such as (i) Hijab and (ii) Khimar (headscarf).
There are many misconceptions about the hijab (veil) not only among the non-Muslims but also among the Muslims; both men and women. Once one can understand those misconceptions, he/she will be able to answer the negative question raised by the westerners in the name of modernity. The first and the most substantial misconception of hijab goes to stating that this is only for women not for the men. But in Islam, hijab is for both sexes; male and female. Q. 24:31, 7:26.