Lower Thy Gaze?


A different kind of freedom?

Picture by Ranoush.

Written by Farida Farouk

In recent times, there is a growing connection that the hijab has become as much a symbol of Islam as the Crescent. The hijab worn by some Muslim women has become an issue between Muslims and non-Muslims and between liberal Muslims and traditional Muslims. The hijab has also become an issue of conflict between contemporary and traditional interpretations of Islam. It is important to state that the hijab is a purely political issue, promoted by the Muslim brotherhood movement. For some, the hijab is a symbol of Islam’s predominance in the world, while for others it is a reminder of the Muslim resistance to what the West might stand for such things as – modernity, secularism, feminism, and globalism.

A complex issue, such as the wearing of the hijab by some Muslim women requires a detailed discussion. I, therefore, wish to comment on what is mentioned in the Quran in regards to the hijab.  However, I must point out that three different words have been used in the Quran to describe how Muslim women have to dress. These words are: “khimar,” “hijab” and “jilbab.

In the following verse, the khimar or the veil that is spoken of is a piece of cloth that is used mostly to cover the breasts. We find the word khimar in Surat Al-Nur verse 24:31

“And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms, and not to reveal their adornment save to their own husbands or fathers or husbands’ fathers, or their sons or their husbands’ sons, or their brothers or their brothers’ sons or sisters’ sons, or their women, or their slaves, or male attendants who lack vigor, or children who know naught of women’s nakedness. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And turn unto Allah together, O believers, in order that ye may succeed”

The word hijab appears in Surat Al Ahzab verse 33:53 for the purpose of observing the screen (hijab) between the Prophet’s wives and his male visitors; it is also clear that the instruction was not given to the prophet’s wives but instead, to the men who were responsible for creating the screen (hijab) in front of their eyes when asking them for something. Moreover, the word hijab doesn’t mean “veil” but rather a screen or a barrier that we often use to separate one thing from another. Therefore, the veil that some Muslim women wear has no basis in the Quran.

O ye who believe! Enter not the Prophet’s houses,- until leave is given you,- for a meal, (and then) not (so early as) to wait for its preparation: but when ye are invited, enter; and when ye have taken your meal, disperse, without seeking familiar talk. Such (behavior) annoys the Prophet: he is ashamed to dismiss you, but Allah is not ashamed (to tell you) the truth. And when ye ask (his ladies) for anything ye want, ask them from before a screen: that makes for greater purity for your hearts and for theirs. Nor is it right for you that ye should annoy Allah’s Messenger, or that ye should marry his widows after him at any time. Truly such a thing is in Allah’s sight an enormity”

It is obvious however that the hijab has become the Islamic dress code for women and that it was strangely called hijab, even though it does not represent any kind of barrier between a man and a woman.

The word jilbab appears in Surat Al Ahzab verse 33:59 where Muslim women, including the Prophet’s wives, were asked to cast their outer garments (jilbab) over persons at home and before going out of their homes. In Arabic, the word translated “cloak” means  jilbab. Contemporary Salafis (generally used to refer to the first three generations of Muslims) insist that the jilbab worn today is the same garment mentioned in the Qur’an but this is not accepted by non-Salafis.

“O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments {jilbab} over their persons (when abroad): that is most convenient, that they should be known so as not to be annoyed . And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful “

Older Muslim women at home are also required to protect their bodies from the eyes of the young men of the house with a piece of cloth, this is evident in Surat Al Nur verse 24:60

“As for women past child-bearing, who have no hope of marriage, it is no sin for them if they discard their (outer) clothing in such a way as not to show adornment. But to refrain is better for them. Allah is Hearer, Knower”

The enforcement of the hijab is usually sought out by men, including fathers, uncles, husbands, brothers and other relatives who for many reasons, are concerned about protecting the sexuality of the female in question, in order, perhaps, to protect their “honor”, or to protect themselves and their honor. Some Muslim men explain that the hijab protects women against the gazing of men; and my answer to that would be why don’t men just control themselves? I find this justification of the hijab rather insulting to the majority of Muslim men who would never consider assaulting a woman.

I am certain that some readers will say that this concern about hijab is petty, or not valid and that there are other major obstacles facing Muslim women such as illiteracy and inadequate healthcare. I do agree that those problems are of the utmost importance and are more critical than the freedom to wear or not wear the hijab. However, Muslim women should know that they have a choice in these matters and that their lives should be their own.

A different kind of freedom?




  • @Joy_kh

    I respect the research that you did but still there are many imams who gave the fatwa that the Hijab(our modern interpretation of the word) is in fact a must for muslim women. Issues of health-care & illiteracy are faced by most third world countries and by men & women. Restraints ( lowering thy look) should be exciresed by both sexes & as a female I do see that many females dress too provocatively. At the end, I agree with your final comments, freedom to dress should not be denied.

  • ree7

    Farida I'm not sure that you have the sufficient knowledge to say what is “hijab” word means in the Quran, People spend years studying Arabic language and the teachings of Quran so that they can interpret the Quran. Further more, in the ancient times, slaves were the only one's that wear clothes that revealed thier body, the better society used to wear clothes that hid it. So Islam tried to make equality with that, and perhaps trying to protect them from harassment or getting rapped; it is true that men should control themselves but what if a bad apple was wondering in the street.
    It is a fine line you're treading on, you can't really have the best of two worlds. If you chose to be a modern indiviual that enjoys being liberal and free then be it, but if you choose to be follow the full teachings of Islam then you should know that you are living in order to be worthy of going to Heaven and thats it. You can't just change the rules because you don't feel like they are being hard! Rules are rules. Perhaps there is alot of wrong interpretations that are spread nowadays, but seriously, do you think that “hijab” is one of them? Isn't it better to confess that it i wrong not wearing the “hijab” and ask god to forgive? and maybe you shall be granted. You don't enter heaven because your actions made you worthy of it, you enter it because god has showed you his mercy.

  • Yasmine

    “The enforcement of the hijab is usually sought out by men for many reasons; protecting the sexuality of the female in question, perhaps, to protect their “honor”, or to protect themselves and their honor,” I hardly find this reasonable; in modern times many women who wear hijab are actually just covering their head.

    If a woman chooses to wear the hijab for “religious” reasons, then we hope she is aware enough to dignify her choice by being a true role model and not a so called “muhajjaba” who might be putting on the hijab for her family's sake, or to be like many others.

    Enforcement of anything is totally unacceptable, but when one makes his/her own choice even in hijab she is to be judged or stereotyped-in many cases-. “When a woman puts her hijab on she is covering her body not her mind.”

  • Steve

    First off, thank you Farida for this article.. it seems you've conducted an effortful research.

    However, I just want to point out that you have clearly built your opinion on your own interpretation of the words “Hijab, Khemar and Jilbab”..

    You have mentioned some verses from Qur’an and given an interpretation for these verses.. which means you are debating the legitimacy of Hijab from an Islamic point of view..
    If so, then you also need to support your interpretations of the words “Hijab, Khemar and Jilbab” with an Islamic authentic references and resources..I was wondering from where did you get these interpretations?? and how did you ignore Sunnah in your opinion about Hijab??

    “Moreover, the word hijab doesn’t mean “veil” but rather a screen or a barrier that we often use to separate one thing from another. Therefore, the veil that some Muslim women wear has no basis in the Quran”

    I don’t think religions doctrine and tenets in general are subject to change based on one’s opinion are a way of thinking rather than stating evidences and proofs.. and this is the way Scholars of Islam had adopted to end up with a high certainty in understanding Islam teachings.

    I kindly ask you to revise your article, and make more methodical and support it with references.

    Thank you Farida.

  • jaraad

    So, hijab is a mere men's fantasy now? How about millions of women who chosen, without men's force, to wear hijab? How about women who were divorced because they insisted on wearing hijab? Quoting verses from the Quran is not the way to understand Islam. If you really after the truth, and not just what you want to believe, you need to dig deeper than depending on your own interpretation of the Quran.
    I am not trying to offend but I am not sure about your Islamic knowledge and background but for now I would follow some of the lead Muslim scholars. We all do the same. If we are sick we go see a doctor not someone who read medicine books.

    Regards,

  • Ramona

    While I don't have much knowledge to comment on the interpretations of the verses of the Glorious Qur'an or linguistic meanings of the Arabic language, I feel the question of asking Muslim women why they wear the hijab, Khimar or Jilbab is carefully avoided by those who have issues with the hijab or Muslimahs WHO CHOOSE TO wear the hijab or dress according to the Islamic guidelines.

    I think if individuals who have issues with the hijab take the time to interview Muslim women who observe the proper Islamic dress code, they would be surprised to learn that those who are striving to submit to the Will of God Almighty (free from any cultural or family related reasons) find that wearing the hijab or adhering to the Islamic dress code is a minor task.

    On a personal note, I find wearing the hijab to be a pleasure. The sense of privacy and protection I feel the hijab or Islamic dress code provides, not to mention the highly level of respect often displayed by those of the opposite sex………………..words can't express.

  • Pingback: Another Hijab Viewpoint « my treasure

  • faridafarouk

    Avoiding eye contact and covering sexual organs appropriately are two of the ways through which the Quran tells us that, both Muslim men and women can avoid commission of adultery among them. It was this knowledge of human behavior that was indicated in the Quran to ask both Muslim men and women to lower their gaze.

    All Muslims scholars and Imams of every tradition are in accordance that the essence of humanity is our moral reason. By preventing Muslim women from exercising their reason to derive the moral laws by which they live, those same Muslim scholars are denying women the most human of all exercises their own reasoning to become capable of making moral judgments. In a way, those scholars and Imams are stealing women's God given humanity from them. Muslim scholars have made themselves jurists, and introduced a new and oppressive partition(hijab) between the women and their God.

    During ancient times, it was in fact the women slaves who were ordered by their masters to wear more clothing to protect them from their molesters’ attacks. It was burqa that not only hid their faces from being seen by the would-be assailants, it also helped them hide their physical features inside.

    Muslim women are often asked to wear hijab from a young age; they are educated to believe that it was actually their choice! for those girls who would rather not wear it fall under immense social and moral pressure. We witness such cases in places like Gaza where an organisation such as Hamas seeks the spreading of hijab by associating it with good conduct and bare hair with prostitution.

  • Yasmine

    Thank you again Farida.

    When one uses terms as “Muslim scholar, or muslim women” they often seem like generalizations. There are definitly people and scholars who judge people by appearances and choices which in many cases proves absolute failure.

    Moreover, if each person got to their conviction by contemplating and knowing, perhaps he/she would help ease sterotypes of these kinds; “associating bare hair with prostitution”. It is very important that social sterotypes or prejudgement ought to be eleimanted by people who are aware and concious rather than authority.

    There is harsh judgement imposed on women who do not wear hijab in cerrtain communities but there are situations where it is the other way around in work and social gatherings.

    “Muslim women are often asked to wear hijab from a young age; they are educated to believe that it was actually their choice,” when in fact a lot of women realize hijab is the best option-for them- by themselves rather than enforced teachings.

  • Hend F. A.

    http://www.star.com.jo/main/index.php?option=co

    Unveiling mind or body?
    The Star

    MONDAY, 08 SEPTEMBER 2008 00:00
    By Hend Fayez Abuenein

    I SPENT a few weeks in Tunisia where I was introduced to the three pillars around which the modern state of Tunisia was built; independence, education, and the freedom of women. I was told that veiled women are looked down on, because they are thought of as signs of primitiveness. So as a step towards civilization and development, Alhijab is constantly being fought in the Tunisian community.
    In a larger picture, the whole world seems to think that a veiled woman signifies a community where the will of women is being constrained, which in turn stands for primitive cultures. I vividly remember that Laura Bush said after 9/11 that it's time for Afghan women to take their Burqas off and go to school.
    I'm not all for veiling women in tent-like cloths like Talibans do, but I can't understand why is it that the picture of a veiled woman is constantly being juxtaposed to a retarded culture. Why couldn't the state of Tunisia, Afghanistan, or otherwise concentrate on educating women and developing their choices in life, regardless of the way they dress, or whether or not they choose to cover their bodies?
    The underlying hypothesis that a woman chooses to cover her body only as a result of male-dominance and dictation should not be generalized to all Muslim communities; in most Arab and Muslim communities, women choose Alhijab out of free will.
    The stereotype does wrong not only to the concept from which Alhijab stems, but also to the minds and intellects of the women who choose it freely. Since girls are brought up to think of beauty as their point of strength and preference, a woman who gives up the enjoyment of showing off her beauty for a higher more soul-fulfilling need must be a woman of deeper intellect. And she can only opt for what she thinks is the fulfillment of her needs under a free system that gives her the right to choose without degradation or contempt. In this perspective, I can only see the Saudi communal methodology as one end of a spectrum where at the other end lies the Tunisian methodology. Those who deprive women of their right to choose impose their ways, but those who claim to free women are also imposing their ways. And in both cases, a non-existent relationship has been created and established through the media between the percentage of veiled women and a community's cultural development.
    If we take modern Amman as an example, which I think would be in the middle of the spectrum, we will see that the growing number of veiled women can only be explained by two reasons: The high number of educated women in the community which develops their intellects and life choices; and the degree of freedom given to Jordanian women. This proves that educating women and their social freedom are not negative functions of their veiling. But if international media seem keen on emphasizing the relationship, then their must be other ends in the minds of those who put it forward in the first place.

    Hendfayez@gmail.com

  • bambambi

    To those wanting references
    Actually up till her conclusion her explanations and interpretations are not her on and are actually supported by the interpretations of al tabari, ibn Katheer and al jalalein and as for hadith they support the same point for those that are relevant.
    Views that go contrary to that or add more hadith are more contemporary such as that of the Al albani.

  • bambambi

    on the other hand
    People should be able to choose which ever way they choose to dress, the islamic code of close emphasizes modesty and is there to guarantee the protection of women *especially the prophet's wives* from flirts and to distinguish them from the non-muslim in the mecca community. If there was a dress code based on a certain design, like some imams think, then it is missing the point entirely.
    The other thing is that clothing took queues from the culture it was around and through out the muslim world and in the various iterations there was a huge difference in the manner women have dressed and why they dressed that way.
    The difference nowadays that people, and the majority of hijab wearing and endorsing community, declares a women as a slut and out of Islam for not wearing a hijab. That view is the reason why the issue is divisive among muslims, and the idea that they treat al hijab as a pillar of islam when its not is whats problematic… Not being to acknowledge the diverse views and interpretations of a lot of issues in islam and holding and accepting only one interpretation as the only true and Immalleable interpretation reflects a lack of intellect and comprehension of islam and its evolution through time.

  • umomar

    Farida,
    I am sorry you felt it necessary to bring up this subject again when it has been argued over and over to no avail.

    Something you failed to mention is that practicing Muslims follow not only the Quran but the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad PBUH. There are more evidences available to explain how the hijab was implemented in the time of the Prophet. Just like the prayer, which we know to be a pillar of Islam, was mentioned in the Quran, it did not explain how to do it. We need to look at the authentic Hadith from the time to understand HOW to pray. The hijab is the same. It is a requirement of pious women mentioned in the Quran and the Hadith give us the how-tos. The Quran mentions that both the Quran and the Sunnah are necessary to follow the religion.

    As a convert to Islam of 15 years, I believe that I can be a modernist, a feminist and a globalist while still living in a secular society as a practicing Muslim. Islam has all the keys to this existence, it is up to you to understand how to unlock these truths. Allah yahdiki.

  • Hairtothewind

    I have no qualms with women who practice Islam and choose not to cover; there is, after all, no compulsion in religion. I have no qualms with Muslim women who choose not to practice Islam, because, there again, there is no compulsion in religion.

    I do, however, take issue with Muslim women who criticize other Muslim women for making the conscious choice to wear the hijab. Yes, hijab is a choice, and for those of us who believe it is a requirement to be fulfilled, why fault us for choosing to fulfill this requirement?

    Women's fiqh–especially regarding hijab–is not something that can be summarized in a short article. I commend you on your viewpoint, and respect it, but choose, respectfully, to disagree with it.

  • faridafarouk

    For centuries now, Arab women have been dominated by male interpretations of Islam that for every page of a man’s obligations and duties wrote two for the woman. These misinterpretations took the faith far off the path that was set more than 14 centuries ago when Islam gave women rights that made them the envy of women in Europe’s Dark Ages. We also see a consistent and uniform attempt of protecting a patriarchal system!

    We often hear complaints about the secular stand that Turkey has adopted in the past and different statements made by countries in Europe about the Hijab, many in the Muslim world would say “this is unfair!” but where are those who yell at Iran and Saudi Arabia where women have to wear a hijab??

    I have to make a clear point about the choice that some women make, I am certain that some decide to wear the Hijab simply becuase they choose to do so, however there are young girls and women who are conditioned to put on the Hijab without having a full understanding of their religion and when they are asked why they have their hair covered they simply say “because we have to”

    Having a choice to wear or not wear the Hijab isn’t a reason of why it is on the increase, in fact, the Hijab has become more popular nowadays mostly due to political reasons followed by economical issues. In Jordan just like in most Muslim countries, more and more women are wearing the Hijab. The growing conservatism in the region has expressed itself on the bodies of women. This stems from the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood and a growing use of conservative Islam by governments throughout the region to outdo the Muslim Brotherhood in the religious aspect. In such a “my Islam is just as good as your Islam” arm-wrestling contest, women are always the first to be sacrificed. Their covered hair becomes the easiest way to say, “You see what a good Muslim country we are? All our women are covered!”

    For the last few centuries, Muslim scholars have put a cap on modernization and interpretations made by reformists or even other scholars who might differ in opinions. Any Ijtihad or critical interpretations are dismissed as blasphemy, and fundamentalist fatwas dominate the religious scene in Arab and Muslim world.

    Many people, both men and women, tend to obsess over the Hijab. Forget hair!! Stop fighting over a woman’s body!! See the whole woman instead!!

  • Yasmine

    Thank you Farida; Is there truly conservatism really growing in the Jordanian community? I have to say-from my point of view- not much. When women choose to wear a hijab, or a head scarf (they are different) it is their choice but increasingly it is more evident that we as a culture like to imitate than create; it might be appealing for a university student to cover her head and still wear tight clothes just because many of her friends do find it trendy; because it is a “norm” we have found in small communities and societies. This is to say that the concept of “hijab” is less imposed on women by males.

    Hopefully, every man and woman is seen as an individual posessing great human value and a distinctive charachter (but let's face it, many-sadly-find comfort in prejudgements and stereotypes.)

    Again, hijab is not covering your hair or mind, it is much more classy than a mere garment or just void words. It is a personal choice but also a value worth respecting meanwhile we have to be carefull of branding people by their preferences and choices.

  • farahelsharif

    Spare me the sermon on Muslim women!
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/ar

  • moi

    Farida,
    What makes arguments like yours appear to lack credibility is that you are complaining about women not having the freedom to dress as they wish, yet, you criticize those who choose to freely and independently wear a hijab.

    The most absurd part of your argument is this: “It is important to state that the hijab is a purely political issue, promoted by the Muslim brotherhood movement.” As a reminder, the MB was established in 1928, and I assure you Muslim women wore the hijab before then. The MB is also not present in every Muslim country and does not have a grip on the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, half of whom are women.

    Why is it so hard for some people to understand that many Muslim women CHOOSE to wear the hijab? You continuously try to attribute their hijab to the men in their lives. Undoubtedly, there are millions of Muslim women who are forced or pressured into wearing it. But many others choose to do so, not at a young age, but in their 20's or 30's after careful consideration of various interpretations of Islam.

    Are you bothered that the hijab is inhibiting Muslim women from helping advance their societies? If that is the case, then it's not the hijab-clad women who should be blamed, but those who discriminate against them and prevent them from seeking senior positions across various sectors. In fact, such discrimination is more evident in Arab countries than it is in the West. I've faced more discrimination in Jordan wearing the hijab than I have in my whole life in the US.

    I don't think we'll ever reach a conclusion on the various interpretations of the hijab mandate, but that shouldn't be the issue here. The issue is giving women the freedom to advance themselves personally and their communities without regard for how they look. Is that so hard??

    You said it yourself: “Many people, both men and women, tend to obsess over the Hijab. Forget hair!! Stop fighting over a woman’s body!! See the whole woman instead!!”

    Why can't you see through a woman's hijab and stop obsessing over it?

    The fact is, feminism is about CHOICE. We should work together to promote women's literacy, combat domestic violence, and such so that women are empowered to make their own choices free of any male influence.

  • Muslimah

    Farida,

    A couple of things. First, it is a known fact (if you have studied history) that women already used to cover their heads at the time of the Prophet (PBUH), but that they used to leave the front open, revealing the chest/neckline. So, when God told women to “draw their veils over their bosoms” it meant that they should cover the chest, with the understanding that the head/hair were already included in that scenario. You do not have a foundation for saying that the khimar is “a piece of cloth that is used mostly to cover the breasts” as the khimar clearly refers to something the women were already wearing.

    I am completely perplexed as to how you have explained the item about older women. In this verse, God is saying that older women no longer have to observe strict veiling, while you seem to be saying the opposite. To make it clear for you, I (as a relatively young woman) must observe full coverage and wear a jelbab (outergarment) over my other, more attractive clothing. But an older woman past the age of attraction can discard the jelbab in favor of other “regular” clothing that makes it easier for her to move around. This has nothing to do with older women “protecting their bodies from the eyes of the young men of the house with a piece of cloth.” I'm not even sure where you got this idea.

    Because language has changed and evolved, it is true that some/many Muslims misuse the word hijab. Most people think of hijab as a headscarf…as in “I bought that hijab for $10″ or “that woman is wearing a pretty hijab.” This is how we use the word hijab in everyday conversation. In reality, however, the concept of covering the body is more complex and does not only involve the hair. When I say that I cover, I do not mean that I simply wear a headscarf because, as the verses you mentioned clearly show, proper coverage involves covering the whole body with multiple garments (jelbab and khimar)…meaning an outergarment as well as a piece of cloth that covers the head, neck and chest.

    I do not think that one can discuss the benefits of covering the body in the above manner unless that person has actually tried it for herself. I have lived both lifestyles (covered and uncovered), and I am confident that full coverage provides protection and dignity on many different levels. This is not something that can be easily explained in words, but something you must actually experience over a sustained period of time to understand.

    We have many girls today who cover the hair but wear tight jeans and other clothing that go against the Islamic concept of covering. Many also apply makeup and perfume and do not observe modesty in their everyday dealings. Such people may not really understand what is meant by jelbab/khimar (as used in the Qur'an) and just think that covering the hair is sufficient. It is therefore not surprising that many of these women do not derive full benefit from their way of dressing and continue to attract male attention.

    I have raised my daughter to cover from a young age (including jelbab) and do not regret raising her this way as I am responsible in front of God for what I teach her about such issues. At the same time, I have also raised my sons to respect girls/women and to lower the gaze as taught by the Qur'an.

  • faridafarouk

    First of al, I NEVER said that there werent any women wearing Hijab before the Muslim Brotherhood came about, what I was saying was that the numbers of women wearing the Hijab was on the rise since the Muslim Brotherhood started using the Hijab as a red flag!

    Qur'anic verses most frequently tell women to pull a covering over their bosom, and dress modeslty (which also applies to men). Another justification for mandatory hijab argues that most scholars have come to the conclusion that hijab is required. No MAN, and I emphasize man here, is to stand in the way of a worshipper and her creator. Moreover, the majority of traditional scholars were men who lived and worked in a traditional, patriarchal atmosphere, who simply incorporated the norms of their society and culture into their decision making.

    Am I against the Hijab? NO! I would say to each her own when she is making that choice herself. However, I do not believe that wearing the Hijab is mandatory and I am uncomfortable with some of the stated reasons I hear for wearing it, in fact the idea of wearing what we know today as a jilbab in order NOT “to attract male attention” is simply unacceptable to me. It is as if this gaze is only male, a male gaze is always sexual and as if a woman always needs protection from sexuality in the first place!!

  • Muslimah

    Actually, what you said in the first paragraph of your article was:

    “It is important to state that the hijab is a purely political issue, promoted by the Muslim brotherhood movement.”

    And, what many people here are telling you is that, no, it is not a “purely political issue,” and the MB has nothing to do with our choice to wear hijab.

  • Muslimah

    In verse 33:59, it states (in a slightly different translation):

    “O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters and the believing women that they should cast their outergarments over their persons (when out of doors): that is more convenient that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”

    Some translations use the word annoyed, while some use molested. In both cases, the meaning is harassed/bothered.

    So, it is actually God telling us this and not any man. God is telling us how to dress so that we are recognized as Muslim women and not harassed by others.

    Do you agree with that, Farida? Or am I missing something?

  • faridafarouk

    In verse 33:59 it is noted that the verse has something to do with the activities of the hypocrites who are said to annoy/molest Muslims and stir up troubles in the city (33:58, 60, 61) and concludes that the verse deals with a specific situation in the Prophet’s time. These indications are valid for that particular time, however they dont apply in our age. The verse 33:58 talks not only of some people annoying women but also of annoying men! And 33:60-61 talk of the hypocrites stirring up troubles in the city referring to more than just molesting women. It is characteristic of the Quran that its verses while connected with other verses often move in a new direction of their own, so that they should be read both as isolated statements and as statements connected with other parts of the Quran.

    The most dangerous enemy of Islam at the present time is dogmatism, which ignores the fact that human life is continually evolving, and that the development of civilization from the past to the present is the result of common endeavors, an accumulation of achievements supported by all nations.

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  • muslimandloveit

    Salaams…. . .I always give an eye roll when I hear the phrase 'modern' when not wearing hijab. Isn't the freedom to make your own choice, the personal decision to make your own choices 'modern' and 'hip', so to say? I see my choice as wearing hijab, AS modern in every way.. . . I have the free will to choose to wear whatever I please, freedom of speech, freedom of actions…. . . freedom given to me by Allah to make the best decisions in life or the worst decisions and to follow Quran and Sunnah or not… I AM modern because I choose what I choose freely and in some countries that may not always be the 'norm' muslim or not.

    I also give the big eye roll when someone is trying to prove that hijab is not required (not meaning the 'scarf' alone but hijab as a whole, meaning covering your hair and dressing modestly at the same time) because no matter how you twist the Quran and try to twist sunnah or emit it fully, if you are a true muslim in your heart and believe, you know that dressing modestly and wearing hijab is required and also has a perfectly good reason behind it no matter what society you live in, for both men and woman, who in fact are both required to dress in modest fashion and both required to lower their gaze. Even when I didn't 'choose' to wear hijab and wasn't strong enough to do so, I knew I was wrong and admitted it, I admitted it as my OWN personally weakness for whatever reasons and didn't find ways to prove the hijab isn't required or is promoted by the Brotherhood movement, I didn't create excuses to make myself feel better, nor put down those woman that did where it for 'whatever' reason to try to make myself look better. As a muslim, you know it is right if you truley study and read, if you like it or not. We are human…. . . we don't always like what is required of us to be 'good' and 'on the straight path'. . . . which Quran ayats even express, as a muslim knows.

    I have never understood all the fuss over a scarf on a woman's head and why it causes so much controversy. . .. . . are people THAT intimidated by someone trying to be pious or looking different, or are they looking at their own inadequecies and feeling bad about their own decisions in life? I mean seriously why does anyone care?? Especially if you are another muslim why would you see a woman wearing a hijab and judge her. . . . ? Are you reflecting on yourself and feeling you are the one being judged because you don't sport a hijab? She is your sister in Islam as a muslim you should want the best for her, she is doing something for herself, a well studied muslim would know… . . why are others so quick to judge? I see it as an insecurity for those who try to pass it off as the movement of Brotherhood or woman in some societies are 'forced' and there is no coercion in Islam. . . etc. etc. . .

    And isn't persuading a young teenager or young adult to wear hijab the same as persuading a child to eat their vegetables. . . .?? It's good for you and there are reasons behind it and this is called growing and maturing and listening to those who are better educated, have lived life experience, want the best for you in life. True forcing one to wear hijab is wrong, there is no coercion in Islam, and maybe as this child grows and matures she will see the reasons behind it as her self awareness grows, and education increases. Some of the same reasons parents tell their children to do or not do many things. Yet I personally believe in teaching and educating and not forcing, and that usually has the best results in all aspects of life. People making true personal decisions in life for the right reasons with real facts and information.

    Farah El-sharif gave the absolute best reply to this article Masha'Allah may Allah reward her and open the eyes of muslims and nonmuslims alike and help to break the barriors created by both.

  • May

    I'm seriously amazed at how some women think that a hijab is the way that will let men look respectfully at them!! Women of earth….it's ur right no matter what to be respected wether wearing a veil or not. If a man doesn't respect cause u r not wearing one it's a clear sign that he is not respectful himself.
    Men should control themselves and not look at women as walking sexual machines infront of them, just aiming to arouse their lust!! Once u control the mind u control the behaviour; And having a rotten apple is no excuse for hijab!!
    Furthermore Hijab is not healthy at all…neither is borqa or neqab!! we need to see the sun, our bodies need to get vitamins and sunbeams!!

  • May

    I'm seriously amazed at how some women think that a hijab is the way that will let men look respectfully at them!! Women of earth….it's ur right no matter what to be respected wether wearing a veil or not. If a man doesn't respect cause u r not wearing one it's a clear sign that he is not respectful himself.
    Men should control themselves and not look at women as walking sexual machines infront of them, just aiming to arouse their lust!! Once u control the mind u control the behaviour; And having a rotten apple is no excuse for hijab!!
    Furthermore Hijab is not healthy at all…neither is borqa or neqab!! we need to see the sun, our bodies need to get vitamins and sunbeams!!