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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 30 Aug 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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From One Giant-Leaf for Mankind to Small-Bikini for Womankind

By Rashid Samnakay, New Age Islam

30 August 2016

Recognition is by Codes of Conduct and Not by Person’s Modes of Dress

People obsessed with emphasizing their identities of belonging to a particular ethnicity, culture, and religion, adopt peculiar stances of appearance and modes of dress as tags of being ‘different’ to the others. This difference is often used to establish that they are superior in some aspects of culture and civilisation and religious piety in God’s name.

The twelfth century scholar Moses Maimonides of Cordova, called the second Moses, the greatest Jewish philosopher, but considered by some as heretic, had referred to such outwardly religious stance as “glamour” of appearance.

God is not a fashion designer and milliner, else Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden would have donned His designer labelled dress and headgear, instead of wearing a giant fig-leaf each to ‘hide their shame’. Nor is He one who orders people to dress up in particular mode of apparel to enter His kingdom. It is not a ‘clubhouse’ that requires a necktie as its “code of dress” to gain entry. A nineteen century brave comedian wearing ONLY a necktie tried to enter such an exclusive clubhouse, but was thrown out ignominiously for his efforts! 

When such glamour requirement of appearance is taken to extremes and projected as being the best vis a vis the others, inevitably leads to confrontation. It makes the others, particularly when they are the majority in the country, feel belittled by the minority newcomers when their mode is presented as superior; as is the case now in the West with Muslims immigrants who, in their God’s name don the mode of dress that some people of the country find alien and “confronting”.

It should not be a surprise. To them the briefest three pieces of triangles worn as Bikini; the fig- leaf syndrome which after all was acceptable to God in the Garden of Eden is now acceptable on the beaches and public swimming pools in this world as a norm. In addition it is accepted as beneficial for maximum absorption of vitamin ‘D’. Though, it is never claimed as religious garment.

The full face balaclava ala Burqa is the exact opposite. No amount of softening the impact with Burkini; the open-face cover-all wet-suit is acceptable in host countries such as France, where it was banned; but the top Court there has now initially suspended the ban.

But Monsieur, why are you offended by the Burkini when its wearer is not, even when surrounded by the wearers of briefest of Bikinis? And when the country has accepted the migrants to live in there; surely the same rights should apply to them too, to wear whatever they wish. Is your dislike of it because it is touted as “Islamic” by some? Sir, rest assured it is not.

This is a double edged sword. Did the authorities there not know what the newcomers’ culture or religious beliefs are? Or were the migrants unaware of the host countries’ culture, where they came willingly to live-in?

Then often some events cause heightened agitation in the society. For example the referendum recently on ‘Brexit’ in the UK is given as the reason for increased negative sentiments. It is reported that there is a spike in racial hatred- Islamophobia in particular; immediately after the result of the referendum was announced.

The spike may have other reasons but some are obvious ones. The unfortunate thing is that this phobia stirs the dormant negativity among some and it affects other minorities in turn, as is shown by this link and by a comment in it:

“…On a train I noticed a lad and his girlfriend looking at me and my bag, which was on my lap. When they spotted me looking back at them, he told me to “f…”off back to Israel with the other yids”.

Then also, few ignorant but savvy media hugging professionals among the minorities, in the name of their religions and donning glamour-garbs stand out in confrontationist manner to demand special treatment for themselves in the safety of a law abiding country. Were the same demands made in their home countries whence they escaped, they would have gone to the gallows!

However the Book– the Quran -they profess to follow for Islamic Codes, directs them in their conduct towards others -reward goodness with goodness, 55-60.

But the Book also condemns the ‘extravagance ‘of display– glamour of appearance - of all kinds, be it the dress mode, modesty or the put-up piety for the purpose of showiness. Reference verse 107-6, along with 2-264 and 4-142:

107-6: those who want to be seen by others,

107-7: yet refrain from consideration to neighbours in their neighbourly acts!

In the specific ordinance of dress code given in the Book it asks for nothing more than commonsense, modest and upright moral conduct, both for men and women. It does not shy away from the fact that the male/female physical attraction exists as a law of nature and therefore both should conduct themselves appropriately. The obligation is a joint responsibility:

24-30: Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty that will be for their greater purity for them…

24-31: And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty, that they should not display their beauty and adornments except what must ordinarily appear; that they should draw their scarf over their bosomsNote- NOT over the head as was and is today the custom and requirement of many cultures and religions of the world!

Compare the following to the lopsided responsibility thrust upon the Muslim female by the all-male dominated religious brigade, to cover her from head to foot like a ghost in the customary black, as her religious obligation to protect the male’s purity from ‘evil thoughts’! The full face cover to make her lose her ‘personal identity’ that establishes her as an equal human individual.

In the Book this ignominy is given as a punishment for the evil doers, both for men and women! Is the Muslim woman predestined to be evildoer?

To compound the felony, many Muslim women willingly accept this religious non-Quranic command as being their religious duty in Islam! Are they aware that it is non-Quranic hence not Islamic?

Ah, but then what about the churches’ requirements, topped up by the Freedom of expression in a Free country? Vive la bagatelle- long live folly; or something to that effect!

10-26, exempts men and women who do the right thing,10-27 warns those who do wrong, with humiliating punishment. The verse is here quoted verbatim from the popular Y. Ali’s translation of Quran:

10-27: But those who have earned

Evil will have a reward

Of like evil: ignominy

Will cover their (faces):

No defender will they have

From (the wroth of) God:

Their faces will be covered,

As it were, with pieces

From the depth of darkness

Of night: they are companions

Of the Fire: they will Abide therein (for aye)!


A parody of a poet’s line is appropriate here. For, which is given as punishment in the Book, with religious magic gives the illusion of holy reward for females only!

حرام چیز کو گویا حلال کرتے ھیں!

As though they turn the ‘forbidden’ Haram thing into the ‘allowed ‘Halal!

But then what about that freedom of expression for Eve who wants to walk in the Garden of Eden like a ghost in Burqa, swim in Burkini or sunbathe in briefest of bikini?

A regular contributor to New Age Islam, Rashid Samnakay is a (Retd.) Engineer


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