Hijab: The West’s war on modesty

Oppressed woman waiting to be freed by white knight post modernists and secularists

Hijab in the West’s domain is portrayed as a symbol of oppression and patriarchy. At the mere thought of women donning the hijab, liberals and post modernists automatically conclude that her husband or her father is a domestic tyrant. What we forget is that some of the women also believe that hijab is protection, hijab is freedom, hijab is choice. That Hijab provides them an identity and also relief. That not wearing Hijab feels like nakedness.

“And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their private parts; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what appear thereof; that they should draw their hijab over their breasts and not display their beauty except to their husband, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sister’s 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.” – Quran 24:31

Though Quran was revealed thousands of years ago and its antiquity is the apparent reason some liberal feminists think that its verses outline oppression, with which any rational person would disagree, it only takes a proper look at the ayah to come to the realisation that the hijab’s importance could no less be phased out in today’s time. Furthermore, it is also unreasonable to assume that the guideline given by the verse should in any way be obsolete and is obliged to be subservient to modern standards.

Even though it is true that men should stop perceiving women as objects of self-gratification in the first place but it also does not in any way diminish from the fact that women should take precautions as well. I don’t think it is deceitful. Dressing more modestly is not a magic trick that will make you invisible but it does have an impact on how other people see you and interact with you. Showing the benefits of dressing modestly is not implying the onus is on women. You’re 100% responsible for your appearance and men are 100% responsible for the way they behave. It’s as simple as that.

A woman is required to respect her body, the body that is a gift of Allah. Bibi Fatima said ‘a woman’s beauty is in her shyness, is in her respect’. And by wearing less clothes propagandised by poisonous west; a woman is shaming, defaming her own self. She becomes a host.

“O Prophet! Enjoin your wives, your daughters, and the wives of true believers that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): That is most convenient, that they may be distinguished and not be harassed.” – Quran 33:59

The interpretations of hijab as separation can be classified into three types: as visual barrier (for example, between Muhammad’s family and the surrounding community) serves to hide from sight something, which places emphasis on a symbolic boundary. As a physical barrier, used to create a space that provides comfort and privacy for individuals, such as elite women. An ethical barrier, such as expression in reference to Prophet’s (PBUH) wives and the Muslim men who visit them, makes something forbidden.

Women who understand, are well-read enough to understand its importance, though how much they are made fun of, wear hijab as means of resistance, and go about their lives in pride and honour. And veiling did not originate with the advent of Islam. Elite women in ancient Mesopotamia and in the byzantine, Greek, and Persian empires wore the veil as a sign of respectability and high status. Western clothing largely dominated in Muslim countries in the 1960s and 1970s. For instance in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, some women wore short skirts, flower printed hippie dresses, flared trousers, and went out in public without the hijab. This changed following the Soviet-Afghan War, military dictatorship in Pakistan, and Iranian Revolution of 1979, when traditional conservative attire including the abaya, jilbab and niqab made a comeback. All around the Muslim world, the importance of hijab dominates over anti hijab westernised protests; for example, Iran strictly promotes types of veiling, Indonesian province of Aceh requires Muslim women to wear hijab in public, KSA though not that strictly, also promotes full-body covering of women.

History has however seen countries with more draconian procedures with regards to banning hijab and it was more publicly supported by liberals and post modernists that wanted to import and emulate western culture at the expense of their own beliefs and cuptures. The support for bans on Hijab always garners more support from liberal antitheists and westernised elites than the vast majority of women that inhabit the country. For example- Iran under Shah’s regime, turkey in early 2000s, Tunisia in 1980s, and many European countries, infamously France.

The irony is that according to west, a woman wearing hijab needs to have more rights than a molested woman. The Gaza areas which try to restore hijab, Hamas attempts to veil women, Taliban’s efforts to safeguard women according to sharia, Iraq and the Levant are considered terrorists because of their attempts to protect their women from men who behave as hawks.

A non-Muslim wearing a headcover or a hijab is considered fashion but a Muslim wearing a headcover is considered oppression. To the contrary, a Muslim woman is condemned for standing by for tradition, for her religion and for adhering to her moral standards. They are diagnosed with “internalised misogyny” and other terms in order to justify their pity for a non existent and fictional issue that was invented as an affront to modesty.

Muslim women are infantilised by the feminists and quasi conservatives that seemingly pretend to be hurt by the diminution of modesty. Muslim women are portrayed as brainwashed cultureless robots and dolls, with no thoughts, no feelings, no desires, no past, no future but one who has to be taken out of oppression. To victimise them and portray them as being abused by their fathers and sons which go completely against fundamental Islamic teachings.

One more point needs to be pointed out and it’s the desire to be free. Several videos in this globalised world are about Muslim women finding freedom in removing their headscarf, swaying It in the air, and declaring their new found freedom. This should be pointed out to the women that this isn’t liberation, you are just a step closer towards lion’s den.

“This woman, who sees without being seen, frustrates the coloniser. It was the colonialist’s frenzy to unveil the (Muslim) woman. In this battle, the occupier was bent on unveiling… because there is in it the will to bring this woman within reach, to make her a possible object of possession.”- Frantz Fanon, 1959.

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