Hijab and Intellectual

Tawakul Karman

When asked about her Hijab by Journalists and how it is not proportionate with her level of intellect and education, she replied:

“Man in the early times was almost naked, and as his intellect evolved he started wearing clothes. What I am today and what I’m wearing represents the highest level of thought and civilization that man has achieved, and is not regressive. It’s the removal of clothes again that is regressive back to ancient times” – Noble Laurette from Yemen, Tawakul Karman

Tawakul Karman is one of three winners of this years Nobel Peace Prize.

Nice say!!!

We (Muslim) should produce more productive woman by educate them, acknowledge their right in society. Rasullah always acknowledge their right, why we don’t?


I think this how the journalist think about “proportion” of intellectual and clothes. What about Mother Teresa? She also wear full hijab.

If they (Westerner and secular) still think that woman who wear hijab is suppressed and what ever reason they think. I think they need to think again and study back the history.

How narrow minded they are…

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49 responses to “Hijab and Intellectual

  1. Interesting answer..especially since she avoided answering the question at hand. I understand the hijab symbolizes her faith and religion, but other than that, is it not just a form of repression transgressed on her by male society? What purpose does the hijab actually serve? Was it not forced upon women in order to conceal their identity from other men?

    • Thanks for your comments,

      As you already understand that is a part of her faith. Then I just answer to “a form of repression transgressed on her by male society”
      It was a nature of woman want to be beautiful. It a norm for all woman. Religion said- cover you hair, body, except for face and hand. But religion never said what type style/fashion what she need to wear. Islam is a old religion, it not just poop-up in recent years, same goes to their fashion, every country have their own style, when I said hijab, it was like this (click:here). That is one of Malaysian hijab online store, not limited to Malaysia, there was thousand of store around the world were selling various type of hijab.
      In my country, many woman wear hijab. In recent years, woman have superseded man in number of person who attend the university, and they wear hijab.

      What purpose does the hijab actually serve?
      The first purpose is to submit to God. We skip that explanation. The second purpose to cover awra. So what is awra? Awra is arabic word os private parts, genitals, defect, fault and blemish. In this term we use as private part, the purpose of clothes/hijab is to cover private parts.

      Was it not forced upon women in order to conceal their identity from other men?
      I think you talking about niqab here. Basically hijab do not have a problem to identify a woman. I can see her face, she can see my face, not a problem. In my country, many woman who wear hijab works as professional i.e doctors, engineer without any problem of identification at all. One of them is my wife who is doctor and others; her and my friends.

      I just want to highlight a little bit about niqab (face veil). Scholar of Islam (woman) normally wear niqab (face veil). When western ask woman muslim to take off the face veil, it something like asking a nun to take off their veil. I think they do not know this thing or not sensitive regarding this matter.

      Some Arab woman in Arab country wear niqab as their daily wear. I think that is their normal clothing, their national clothes. So I dont have a right to say yes or no, because I dont know what the real situation there.

  2. In most societies, men have oppressed women throughout history. Women have yielded to that oppresion because they are relationally based, physically weaker, and have traditionally been kept in a dependent financial position (home with the kids). Religious teachings have also been used to get women to support the idea of male superiority and submissively accept a secondary role.

    Jesus was different. He elevated women by the way He treated them.
    For example:

    Jesus spoke with individual women in public– like the Samaritan woman at the well. She was a hurting woman so He crossed both ethnic and gender barriers to have that converstaion. He revealed to her His knowledge of her past (multiple marriages and a live-in situation) and then showed her she was a valuable person by sharing deep spiritual truths with her. He actually told her that He was the Messiah when few people knew that. And, she believed Him and went off to her village to bring people to meet the Messiah!

    Jesus had deeply spiritual personal conversations with His friends, Martha and Mary, in their home and on the street. Remember their talks when Lazarus died and Jesus went to resurrect him?

    Jesus refused to allow a group of male, religious hypocrites to force Him into condemning a woman caught in adultery (If they had cared about the adultery they would also have brought the man). They just wanted to trap him into breaking the law. He wouldn’t sacrifice the woman for any reason. He challenged the men to self-analysis by saying, “He who is without sin among you cast the first stone.” Then he stooped down and wrote on the ground with his finger. Some suppose he was listing the men’s sins. That may be so. At any rate, they all walked away. He then said to the woman, “Has no man condemned you?” She said, “No man, Lord.” He said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”

    Jesus allowed a woman to wash His feet with her tears and dry them with her hair! He wasn’t shocked by a woman having long hair exposed in public. In fact, Jesus rebuked the man of the house for judging His response to the woman and her actions, mentioning that His host had neglected to show Him proper hospitality. And Jesus went on to praise the woman’s actions because they revealed her great love for Him! Jesus said that this woman’s actions would be praised everywhere the gospel would be preached. And, indeed they have.

    Jesus assured the woman who touched the hem of His garment that her faith had stopped her 12 year issue of blood– and it was OK that she touched Him!

    Jesus praised Mary’s choice to listen to His teachings– rather than helping Martha cook for and serve the men. What a life changing revelation. Women were created to serve Jesus. And, they are directly accountable to God, not to men.

    Jesus went out of His way and took the time from His busy schedule to go and raise a 12 year old girl from the dead. Females are equally important in God’s plan for this world.

    Jesus had an earthly mother but no earthly father. And He did His first miracle at His mother’s request. They had run out of wine at a wedding.

    Jesus accepted financial support from women and allowed them to travel in His mixed entourage.

    Jesus first revealed Himself to Mary Magdalene after He was raised from the dead and told her to tell His disciples.

    Without a doubt, Jesus refused to treat women as inferiors and His example has slowly led Christian men to reconsider the issue of the equality of the sexes. This had led to freedom for more women today than at any time in history.

    I am very disturbed by the oppressed condition of women under the teachings of Islam. The Hijab is a blatant example but the hidden conditions for women are much worse. Female genital mutilation. Child marriage. The fact that a man can have four wives, beat his wife, divorce her at will, confine her to the house or require she only go out with a male relative illustrates the problem.

    No matter how intellectual a Muslim women is, she has been brainwashed into thinking the requirements of her religion are right. But, there really is no good reason for women to be “buried alive” in clothes that limit their humanity. God created women with hair because it is attractive and provides individual distinction. It was not meant to be hidden. A man could not find hair exposure sensual unless he was taught to think that way. It seems that Muslim men are so deprived of the company of women that they find everything stimulating. If that is the case, they need to be desensitized by living in the real world.

    Actual studies have shown that lack of exposure to the sun caused by over dressing is not good for women or their unborn babies. It increases aggressive behavior in boys.

    I encourage you and your readers to “Think, give it some thought and think again” about this topic.

    • The different between 2 religion is always occur in many way. You just can’t just say that is wrong and this is right. The fundamental is totally differ.

      You think I not annoyed when you people treat woman like a hooker or prostitute in many way. There was cheerleader, porn star, models and etc. Think what ever you want, your women is leading to destruction.

      The only think woman can change their mind, attitude, is by education and knowledge not by their beauty. Beauty is something too general, and it not forever, the outsider (non-family) need to acknowledge woman by her intellectual not by beauty.

      Who should acknowledge woman beauty is only her husband and family. Same goes to man, man beauty should be acknowledge by his wife/ family.
      You people have selling too much about beauty rather than intellectual. That why western have ‘once’ on top of the world because of their knowledge, now …. slowly faded away …

    • “Female genital mutilation. Child marriage. The fact that a man can have four wives, beat his wife, divorce her at will, confine her to the house or require she only go out with a male relative illustrates the problem. ”

      You seeing too much propaganda… Sometime I just laugh to my self, looking to your reply. So narrow, so desperate.

      • FGM is a mainly African problem and is practised by Christian Africans as well as Muslim Africans, (and others). It’s a cultural issue that neither religion allows. As a convert to Islam from Christianity I don’t even see the USA/ UK to be modelled on Christianity *at all* just as some Muslim countries are no longer modelled on Islam. I studied African religions for my degree and how various communities have changed and developed over the years. It was fascinating. Go and preach to the women who uphold FGM about Jesus if you want to, as that would be more proactive than speaking to those who already agree with you on the lofty status of women in God’s eyes.

        As for divorce, that’s far more of a problem in the ‘west’ where we’re encouraged to try people out for a semi-commitment-union labelled marriage. Sigh.

        People should go to the Book for clarity. I don’t know why any serious Christian would be scared to read the Qur’an since it praises Jesus and raises him up, peace be upon him. God sent another Prophet after him, peace be upon them all. What’s the big deal?????

  3. Hifzan,
    If you were a woman living under the circumstances I mentioned, which are all too common under Islam, you wouldn’t be laughing. To make such a statement shows either a lack of compassion or a lack of knowledge about what’s actually happening to women today under the teachings of Islam.
    Since you don’t live in the Middle East or Africa, maybe you are not aware of some of the practices I mentioned. Maybe you should do some research for yourself before you laugh again. I think you are wiser and more kind than that behavior reveals.

    I also believe in modesty– for both genders. I understand your concerns about the lack of modesty seen in Western culture. It bothers me too. (And, I hope you realize there are many Westerners who do not dress immodestly.)Concerns about modesty do not justify hijabs and burqas. One does not have to cover up to that degree to be modest. That reveals domination of women, not concern for modesty.

    If a man’s beauty should only be seen by his family, why isn’t he required to cover himself as women are? It is because he is declared to be superior by Islamic teachings, and women are considered to be inferior– needing supervision and control. (Not your wife, of course. :-)

    Think well. Live well. Be well.

    • Do you think your country do not have this problem?All your people are saint?
      If I want to address your country also have a lot of problem to relate with religion. Alcoholic, Pornography, Prostitution, Abusive. When people start to provoke, other also know how to provoke. People can critic but critic with some manner and knowledge.

      You think I do not know there was a problem in Middle East, of course there was a problem in every country. Abusive, woman right and etc. This problem is not for you to provoke, it need to be cure. That why it human is called human not saint.

      If a man’s beauty should only be seen by his family, why isn’t he required to cover himself as women are?
      Do you think man and woman are same. Then why woman do not just wear pant and reveal her upper body? The nature of woman’s body is differ, and of course she cover more than man. This is common sense all over the world, all people except western do not know this. If you watch this post, I think you know what I am talking about http://hifzanshafiee.wordpress.com/2011/12/14/why-cant-man-and-women-cant-be-friends/

      Today, the problem is vise verse, in your country, woman have wear less clothes than man. There was a similar story in my child hood called “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. I think you should reread again.

      Concerns about modesty do not justify hijabs and burqas.
      I also cant justify why Mother Teresa and all nun wear hijab? Do you? I think they depressed and alone also. Dont you think so?

      • Hifzan,

        Of course the USA has problems. I just thought we were discussing hijabs and related Muslim issues. My country has over 300,000,000 people. Yes, we have sinners in the USA who engage in every sin imaginable– because they are sinners– not Christians. One day they will stand before Jesus and give account for their sins and be judged according to His wisdom. We also have many Christians who shine as lights in the darkness because they follow the teachings of Jesus by the grace of God.

        Yes, men and women are different and women should modestly cover their upper bodies. Hijabs and burqas go much further than modesty.
        They are stifling and dehumanizing.

        I watched your Male/Female Friends video. It was skewed by age, setting, and lack of moral foundation in the males interviewed. You have males who, because of their ages are at the height of their hormonal sex drive, in a secular college setting, which downplays spirituality and accountability to God, while encouraging sexual freedom. Sex seems to be the only thing on their minds so they said “No” to the friendship possibilities. At different ages, in different settings, and with a solid moral foundation which teaches mutual respect between the genders, the answer could be different. In fact, you referred to your women friends in the comment about your wife wearing a hijab to work.

        Jesus said if a man looks on a woman with lust he has committed adultery with her in his heart. Jesus put the responsibility to avoid lust on the male, not on the female. He can avoid beaches and turn his eyes away if an underclad female comes into his line of sight. Or, he can undress a woman in his mind even if she’s wearing a hijab. Lust is a matter of the heart.

        I’m not Catholic so I’m not sure why nuns dress the way they do. But, I do know they have a choice about becoming a nun or not. And many nuns are dressing in modern clothes now.

        Mother Teresa chose to dress like those she worked among. She did not suggest that all women should follow her example.

        Something to think about.

        Peace to you and your family.

      • @Cherel,
        I also do not want to talk about USA, but as you talk like “every Arab (focus on problematic citizen) represent Islam” so I should talk like “every America (focus on problematic citizen) represent Christian”. Catholic or not, it still Christian. Right?

        I just follow your rules, If you still can not take that, then you should stop doing that. Put the discussion more academically, for me lousy comparison shall match with lousy comparison.

        We have discuss this in very long comment last August regarding veil in Christian. So we should not make it longer in this post. http://hifzanshafiee.wordpress.com/2011/08/12/veil-hijab-in-christianity/

        Hijab is a part to show her devoting to God. Unlike Christian, we have our own rule. We have give them (our woman) a choice to wear many type of hijab. So for me it not was a depression.
        From statistic, depression rate in your country is one of the highest in the world. Suicide is 2nd killer, I think you should think about your country before think about others.

        There was a quote from my country, “When you pointing finger to others, other 3 finger is pointing at yourself”.
        Think about it.

    • Cherel,
      I noticed you talked about jesus and you know less about the religion it self,What will u say about Nuns? they are covered full yet they are said to be the most devoted christians.let me quote a word in the bible for you “1 Corinthians 11:6 says that “If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head.Please learn more about ur religion before u criticize that of others.This link might help you get a better picture of what am talking about http://www.symbianize.com/showthread.php?t=191766

      • Sulieman,
        Jesus is the One we all need to know. Relationship with Jesus is more important than any jot or tittle men decide to argue about. He fulfilled the law. He died for our sins. He was resurrected as the firstfruits of all who will be raised from the dead to live with Him eternally. Yes, I speak of Jesus as the perfect example of how women should be treated because He is God. He loves us and He is righteous, all-knowing and wise.

        As for my knowledge of the religion, I know you took your passage out of context. As you quoted it, verse 6 does say that a woman should cover her head to avoid the disgrace of short hair or a shaved head. However, it is not speaking of covering her head with a hijab. For as you can see in verse 15 below, the Bible says her long hair is given to her for a covering. The very same passage says it is a disgrace for a man to cover himself by having long hair.

        I Cor 11:13 Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him, 15but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her? For her hair is given to her for a covering. 16But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have no other practice, nor have the churches of God.

        Even if it was talking about a hijab, which it is not, it would only be requiring the hijab for women who are participating in mixed gender praying in church services. The passage as a whole is not talking about everyday life activities. It specifically mentions praying to God.

        Taking the argument a step further, the passage seems to be dealing with the customs of the day. It ends with a response to give to anyone who wanted to argue about the requirement. It didn’t say, “Tell them they will be eternally lost if they don’t wear a hijab or have long hair.” It simply says, “We have no other custom.” Over time, however, customs have changed.

        You mentioned nuns as a standard for Christian women. Nuns are Catholic. They live under the manmade teachings of the Catholic Church. They take vows and commit themselves to being single for life. The engage in rote prayers using prayer beads, etc. Non-Catholics do not agree with the practices of the Catholic Church.

        My intent is not to criticize. It is to liberate. Jesus came to set us free, not to load us down with a lot more manmade customs.

  4. @Cherel,
    you give examples of Jesus Christ may the peace and blessings be upon him, Gods messenger, but don’t all depictions of his righteous mother Mary may peace be upon her also, show her in a hijab? True repression of women in this society is the delusion that is constantly perpetuated, that for a woman to be trully be free and independent she must imitate man, do as men do, dress as men do (trousers for women Which were practically non existent pre 1940s). Is this not elevating the concept that being a man is best, best way to venerate is to replicate and imitate it. Feminism has often become “the ability to do what men do”. Whereas true feminism is (according to Islamic ethos), high status and ability to be the mother and Queen of the family, that diplomatically resolves issues, alleviates societal stresses, it should also be noted Islam has nothing within it that gives monopoly of knowledge, work, etc to men. Please ask those who know to obliterate ignorance. Peace.

    • Depictions of Mary and Jesus and the disciples by artists are just artistic depictions. We don’t know what they looked like. However, the Bible does not require women to wear hijabs so it is not likely that Mary wore a head covering except on the occasions when she needed shelter from sun or bad weather. In other words, she covered herself by choice not due to coercion.

      Jesus did not do clothesline preaching. He was concerned about the issues of the heart. If one’s heart is spiritually renewed, one’s sensitivity to God’s Spirit will direct one’s lifestyle choices according to scriptural guidelines rather than manmade traditions. Freedom to respond to God’s Spirit is most important because one’s relationship with God is personal– not collective. Every person will give account of his/her thoughts and actions on the day of judgement.

      Women prize freedom. They don’t want to be men but they do want to be treated as the free moral agents that God created them to be. It is not for a man to limit and define what the feminine virtues or responsibilities are. That is within God’s authority.

      Women should be free to choose whether they want to wear a hijab or not, without fear of repercussions,

      Peace to you.

      • Cherel,

        It not a freedom to open a clothes or hijab to please men eye or others religion or culture. Freedom is always about education, knowledge, and honor. If you cant accept it, then it should enclosed in your religion only.

        Hijab is not about man’s made limitation. It there from beginning of Islam.

        Ayesha (r.a) reported that Asma’ the daughter of Abu Bakr (r.a) came to the prophet Muhammad pbuh while wearing thin clothing. He approached her and said: ‘O Asma’! When a girl reaches the menstrual age, it is not proper that anything should remain exposed except this and this. He pointed to the face and hands.” [Abu Dawud]

        Our woman also have said hijab is not an depression tool, so I think you should stop to be ignorance and stop saying this is not Islamic and I think above hadith is very clear.

        Our woman (Muslimah) is not that depressed and not that stupid to differentiate between good and bad, most of them are educated. Just for your infos.

  5. Very nice and well articulated response on the Hijab. What is the original source of this though? I cant find it anywhere except copied on blogs.

    I am a bit apprehensive to forward this on as am not sure if Tawakul Karman actually said this since she does not appear to be so well articulated in the english language. However this may be a translation from arabic or her quote may have been improved. Hence the reason i am keen to know the source.

    • @ Ayesha,
      translated by Productive Muslim.
      Arabic :
      توكل كرمان -
      سألها الصحافيون مستغربين أن لباسها
      لا يعكس مدى ثقافتها ودراستها ظنآ منهم ان الحجاب رمز تخلف ورجعية ’’

      فأجابتهم بكل بساطة ذكاء قائلة :
      إن الإنسان في العصور الأولى كان شبه عاريا
      ومع تطور فكره عبر الزمن بدأ يرتدي الثياب
      … وما أنا عليه اليوم وما أرتديه
      هو قمة الفكر والرقي الذي وصل إليه الإنسان عبر العصور وليس تخلفا ’’
      أما العري فهو علامة التخلف والرجوع بفكر الإنسان إلى العصور الأولى

  6. The USA is a nation founded on Christian principles. Freedom of conscience is a founding principle. That is why we have Christians (of many varieties) Catholics, Mormons, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, New Agers, many others sects as well as athiests, deists and agnostics, etc. You cannot, therefore, assume everyone in America is a Christian. Well, you can if you want to, but you would be wrong.

    I haven’t been disturbed by any comment you have made. I was simply having an honest exchange of ideas with you. I see you are done.

    Be well. Hifzan :-)

    • Yes, it wrong for assume everyone in America is Christian. I understand this law clearly. That why I put in my post as “Western and secular”, not “America and Christian”.

      Same goes to Middle East, there was problematic Muslim, non-religious Muslim, others religion, atheists, Musyrikin, and etc. Cant you differentiate it? You want me to be fair, but you also don’t act so fairly.

      FYI – Muslim in Middle East is about 20% of total Muslim, and not all Middle East is bad person. For sure it also not fair to judge other 80% who live in other side of world.

      If there was no problem in Middle East, Arab Spring is not going to be held in first place. Addressing problem with assumption, and think like “all I do is right” and wrong claim is not helping to give world a tolerance and peaceful place.

      Thanks for commenting.

    • Cherel,
      Every time I read your comments, I cannot help but stare in disbelief. You seem like a mature, amiable and polite woman, but seriously – the amount of propaganda that you believe is just appaling.
      First of all – let me clarify that honor killings, mutilation of a woman’s body parts and confining her to her house are NOT a part of a Islam. FULL STOP. No Quranic ayats support that and no hadiths (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (saw)) support that.
      What you have just mentioned is all rooted in CULTURE. Not our religion. What are honor killings? Honour killings are murders that occur when a family’s ‘dignity’ is placed in a vulnerable position.
      For example, in the case of a deluded family; if a girl has a secret boyfriend and her parents find out about it – they might decide to kill her.
      Why? Because they want to keep their pride safe. Is this the right way to deal with things? No. Does Allah (swt) tell us to kill women or men that have committed a sin? No. Allah (swt) will deal with them the way that he chooses.
      It is not in our hands to end a life that He begun except in extreme cases.
      What the parents should do is sit and talk with their son or daughter. Teach them the correct ways. Clear any misconceptions. Not murder their child because they are scared of scathings looks from members of the community.
      These parents do not kill their daughters in God’s name. They kill their daughters because they are so worried that their friends or neighbours will think of them differently.
      In Middle Eastern countries where this happens, or in Asian countries, it’s all to do with culture. Do your research and you’ll see. People just blame it on my Islam because the nominal Muslims that commit these crimes think it has something to do with religion.
      Islam does NOT tell any man to confine a woman in her house.
      People may argue that in the Quran [Surah al Ahzab: 33] it says, ”And stay quietly in your houses.” This ayat is specifically for the wives of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) for a specific reason.
      It does not apply to all Muslim women. Remember, the Quran was revealed during the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) lifetime. Sometimes Allah (swt) would send down a revelation to guide the Prophet in certain situations, and these ayats will always remain in the Quran throughout time.
      I’m a Muslim girl and I do my own shopping which means I leave the house to do so when I want. I ask for my parent’s permission but that is to do with adhaab (manners) – not oppression. I ask my Mother too, not just my Father.
      My sister is learning to drive and she does not need a male to watch her every move. Women in Islam are indepedent.
      Anything that is oppressive towards them is to do with culture, not religion.
      Contrary to popular belief, women DO have a very high status in Islam. The Prophet Muhammad (saw) had so much respect for his own daughter Fatima, that he would stand up when she entered a room, welcome her and kiss her – every single time.
      Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also said in his last sermon; O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under Allah’s trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with any one of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste.”
      I wear the hijab (headscarf) and jilbab (long, loose dress). Does anyone FORCE that upon me? No. It is a personal decision from me to obey my Lord. You might say, ”how is it a personal decision if you’ll be punished in the afterlife for not wearing it?”
      It’s our choice to believe this and it’s our choice to accept it. It’s our choice to believe that Allah (swt) will reward us and because our religion is so beautiful, subhana’allah, we KNOW that it is true. It’s our choice to make decisions behind actions, it’s inevitable that we accept responsibility for our deeds.
      So if a girl CHOOSES not to wear hijab – that’s up to her. If she knows of the punishment and she knows of the reward, and still she refuses to wear it – her choice! All you can do is tell her she will be punished, but only Allah (swt) can carry out the punishment if He chooses to. None of us know if Allah (swt) will punish us or forgive us but He is the Ar Rahman (most Merciful) and Ar Raheem (most Kind)!
      Still – we wear the hijab. Because that is one of the simple things that we do for Him to thank Him. To thank Him for the Ruh (soul) that was breathed in to us, to thank him for the clothes on our backs, to thank Him for our health, for our families, and for being Muslim! Alhamdulillah. Praise be to Allah (swt). And STILL, he rewards us! Still, he rewards us after He has already given us enough, still he rewards us just for wearing the hijab, just for praying 5 times a day, when that’s what we should be doing as acts of obedience – not acts of opression.
      They are not forced upon us. Allah (swt) gave us minds, free-will and conscience so that we can MAKE choices.
      Anyway – doesn’t the Bible teach that Christian women should wear the hijab too?
      Look at the following:
      And Rebecca lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she alighted from the camel, and said to the servant, “Who is the man yonder, coming to meet us?” The servant said, “It is my Master”. So she took her veil and covered herself’. (Genesis 24 v 64,65)
      The famous early Christian theologian, St. Tertullian, in his famous treatise, ‘On The Veiling of Virgins’ wrote, “Young women, you wear your veils out on the streets, so you should wear them in the church; you wear them when you are among strangers, then wear them among your brothers…”

      Paul has this to say in 1Corinthians 11v5-6: “… For if a women will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a women to be shorn or shaven, let her wear a veil.”

      Biblical teachings: “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelleries and fine clothes. Instead it should be that of your inner self , the unfading beauty of a quiet and gentle spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way, the holy women of the past, who put their hope in God, used to make themselves beautiful”.(1Peter 3 v 3-5).
      But you deny these verses. Tell me Cherel, how do you deny what you believe your Lord has written? Because you believe that the hijab is oppressive? Or is that what you WANT to believe? It’s written in black-and-white in the Bible that women wore a headscarf back then. You just refuse to believe this.
      You must be one of those people who think that religion is malleable and can be yielded to fit one’s ideas as time progresses. A malleable religion, surely, cannot be the right one. Islam has remained golden and preserved for centuries. Yet so many Christians make their own intepretations from the Bible, and try to bend their own ‘history’.
      Like you said, ”Mary must have worn the headscarf to protect herself from bad weather.” What a silly, excuse. You also no evidence to back this claim. I don’t think it says in the Bible any where that Mary did this for such a reason. If it does, enlighten me on any verses (with references) you may know of.

  7. Dear Hijabi & Proud,
    Your comment is long so I will not attempt to make a full response in one follow up. I respect your understanding of Islam as you have experienced it in your life. But, I’m sure if you lived under strict Sharia Law, you would have a different experience. I am glad you don’t, and happy for the freedom you know.

    I am sad for the many women living in oppression in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and many other places around the globe. Have you not read any of the books written by and about women who have been oppressed, abused, imprisoned in their homes, honor killed or genitally mutilated under Islam? If it’s simply a cultural problem, why is it that it’s happening among Muslims in various cultures and not among other faith groups? (Yes, women are mistreated in other cultures but not in all the ways listed above.)

    Ayesha, herself, told Muhammad that no women seemed to suffer more than the believing women of Islam, referring to the beatings they were given by their husbands. Are you not aware that the Quran allows men to beat their wives and Sharia Law allows men almost total control over their women?

    Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    Let me respond to your comments (in quotes) about Christianity.

    “doesn’t the Bible teach that Christian women should wear the hijab too?” NO. IT DOES NOT.

    Your reference to Rebekah is interesting. Rebekah was not a Christian. When Abraham was called out by God to follow Him, Abraham left his family behind because they were idolators. So, her veiling practice was associated with an idolatrous culture and had nothing to do with the Jewish or Christian faith.

    YOU: “…Tertullian, in his famous treatise, ‘On The Veiling of Virgins’ wrote, “Young women, you wear your veils out on the streets, so you should wear them in the church…’ ”

    Tertullian blamed Eve, and thus, all women for the Fall. He was a misogynist with very warped ideas. The only light I see in this quote is the fact that the women “did not” wear veils in the church or around all men. But, in his disgust for females, he wanted them to.

    YOU: “Paul has this to say in 1Corinthians 11v5-6: “… For if a women will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a women to be shorn or shaven, let her wear a veil.”

    You shortened the passage. I wrote at length about these verses in an early comment on this topic. I repeat: “verse 6 does say that a woman should cover her head to avoid the disgrace of short hair or a shaved head. However, it is not speaking of covering her head with a hijab. For as you can see in verse 15 below, the Bible says her long hair is given to her for a covering. The very same passage says it is a disgrace for a man to cover himself by having long hair.

    I Cor 11:13 Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him, 15but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her? For her hair is given to her for a covering. 16But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have no other practice, nor have the churches of God.

    Even if it was talking about a hijab, which it is not, it would only be requiring the hijab for women who are participating in mixed gender praying in church services. The passage as a whole is not talking about everyday life activities. It specifically mentions praying to God.

    Taking the argument a step farther, the passage seems to be dealing with the customs of the day. It ends with a response to give to anyone who wanted to argue about the requirement. It didn’t say, “Tell them they will be eternally lost if they don’t wear a hijab or have long hair.” It simply says, “We have no other custom.” Over time, however, customs have changed.”

    Unlike the Quran, which is stuck in the 700s, the Bible is the Living Word of God. It leaves room for adaption to cultural changes. In fact, Jesus boiled all the requirements down to, “You shall love the Lord God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. And you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Because, “Love does no harm to your neighbor.”

    Jesus was never hung up with the outward appearance. He focused on the heart issues. The teachings Paul added later for daily living were instructions to help Christians remain relevant in their cultures so they could win people to Jesus. They were not laws for Christians to live by. Paul, himself, said, All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. (1 Cor 6:12)
    He said, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” (I Cor 9:22) He said, “For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.” (Gal 5:13)

    Christianity is not about veils. It is about “faith working through love.” (Gal 5:6)

    You: “Biblical teachings: “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelleries and fine clothes. Instead it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a quiet and gentle spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way, the holy women of the past, who put their hope in God, used to make themselves beautiful”.(1Peter 3 v 3-5).

    This passage said a Christian woman’s beauty should not come from the outward adornment but from the inner spirit. It does not forbid ornamentation, it simply says focus should be on the more important inner beauty. The holy women of the past who made themselves beautiful with their hope in God include Sarah and Rebekah and the Bible mentions their outward beauty and jewelry.

    You: “But you deny these verses. Tell me Cherel, how do you deny what you believe your Lord has written?”

    As noted, I do not deny the verses you site but I disagree with your understanding of them. Jesus made no comments about veils. I don’t know of a single verse that mentions Mary being veiled at all. I merely said she may have worn a veil at times for protection from the weather– because they didn’t have umbrellas back then. I guess you need to tell me where the Bible says she wore a veil.

    I have spent years studying the Bible and I’ve never felt any leading of the Holy Spirit to put on a veil or any condemnation in my spirit for not doing so. I have found freedom in Christ Jesus from my past sins, and power through the grace of God to live in righteousness, not perfection, but righteousness. “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

    May you know the Truth that brings freedom.

    Grace and peace to you.

    • Cherel,

      Thanks for your reply. However, most of your points are more dumbfounding than remotely believable.
      YOU wrote: “The Quran is stuck in the 700s”.
      I could NOT disagree more. One of the things that stupefies theologists regarding Islam is that the Quran and ahadith are timeless. The teachings can apply to anyone, in any country, at any point of time. Let me give you an example.
      Back in those days, there was no actual currency. Gold was valuable, but when people would make purchases – they 
      would trade camels, donkeys and 
      Well, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him said);  
      “Shave the newborn’s head and give the weight of their hair in silver to the poor” [Ahmad]
      Would it not make more sense to say, “give the weight of their hair in silk” or “livestock” or “fruit” at that period of time? Yes. But Allah (swt) is the all Knowing. He knows that time will progress and so will the rules of trade, so it says silver.
      Yet, in Christianity, it says in the Ten Commandments “do not covet your neighbour’s donkey.” I’m sorry? In today’s world in such countries as America and England, I never knew that people coveted each other’s donkeys since not many people own donkeys anyway.
      The Quran is not a book of stories. It is life’s very own beautiful guide-book.
      I find your deluded ignorance on the subject of honour killings amusing – even though the subject of honour killings is not one of humor.
      YOU wrote: “Have you not read any of the books written by and about women who have been oppressed, abused, imprisoned in their homes, honor killed or genitally mutilated under Islam? If it’s simply a cultural problem, why is it that it’s happening among Muslims in various cultures and not among other faith groups?”
      They are not mutilated UNDER Islam, they are mutilated nominally  in the name of Islam. Which is WRONG. 
      The mistreatment of women in Saudi Arabia did not BEGIN with Islam, in fact most of it ended. Yes, women are still confined to their homes, yes, women are still beaten for no valid reason but is this a part of Islam? Not at all!
      Remember, I am a Muslim girl myself and I should know how women are treated – not you. You cannot take word from anyone but a Muslim woman herself. As for the books that beaten Muslim women have written – their experience is of something entirely cultural and I cannot emphasise this more.
      Back in the days of ancient Arabia, before the proper establishment of Islam as a way of life; people would kill their newborn daughters. When Islam came, this ended. Instead, women were taught to be treasured. 
      Yes, in Saudi Arabia women cannot leave their homes without signed permission certifying their rights to do so by their male family members. But this has nothing whatsoever to do with Islam. This buries it’s roots in culture. 
      Today, these practises are carried out  in middle eastern countries or sometimes in Asian countries. This is all culture and nothing but culture.
      Just because the rulers of these countries adopt Islam as their way of life, it does NOT mean that everything they do is associated with Islam. 
      I am an Asian Muslim living in England in an Asian community. Culture is such a huge thing to them. They wear headscarves loosely over their heads for “dignity.” They have exquisite wedding ceremonies for their daughters that have nothing to do with Islam but culture, I.e chucking petals near the bride’s feet.
      Does the Russian Muslim woman find herself facing any oppression? Does the Spanish, British, Italian or American Muslim woman face any of that?
      No! Not because of the country’s regulations, but because confining a woman to her home has nothing to do with Islam.
      Asian and Middle eastern people are very protective over their pride. 
      The Quran says in verses 4:34-36, “beat your wife LIGHTLY if she does not listen.” In Islam, it is haram (forbidden) to hurt someone so bad that you leave a mark, scratch, cut or any redness. Thus, wife “beating” is not encouraged – these verses are simply taken out of context. You cannot simply quote the Quran without learning it’s Tafseer (commentary and interpretation).
       “…Do not retain them (i.e., your wives) to harm them…(The Noble Quran, 2:231)”  
      “If a wife fears cruelty or desertion on her husband’s part, there is no blame on them if they arrange an amicable settlement between themselves; and such settlement is best; even though men’s souls are swayed by greed. But if ye do good and practise self-restraint, God is well-acquainted with all that ye do.  (The Noble Quran, 4:128)”
      Males like giving themselves a certain air of superiority and use religion to support any dominance they feel they should claim. This is NOT right!
      Please just open your eyes and realise, it is not Islam. IT. IS. CULTURE.
      The grace of Islam is all I need. My liberation as a Muslim woman is all I have. The mercy of Allah (swt) is all I ask for. The ilm (knowledge) is all I desire.
      So I will not see any salvation in Christianity. I feel FREE as a Muslim and I’d feel so lost without my hijab. I feel free not having to face the oppression of styling my hair because I wear a scarf or whittling down my waist because my jilbaab covers my figure.
      NO one can judge me except by who I am once they get to know me.
      I feel free as a Muslim woman.
      Alhamdulillah. All praises be to Allah (swt).
      I’ll leave you with some Biblical verses to muse over, just so you know that honour killings are not a part of Islam:
      “And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire.” (Leviticus 21:9)
      Cut off her hand:
      “When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets: then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her.” (Deuteronomy 25:11-12)
      “Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” (Revelation 2:22-23)

      • Hijabi & Proud,

        Silver was used as money way back in Old Testament times. The Bible mentions that Abraham had been blessed by God with a fortune of silver and gold and flocks, etc. He bought the cave of Machpelah for 400 pieces of silver to bury Sarah. Joseph was sold to Ishmaelite traders for 20 pieces of silver. And, Jesus, in the New Testament times, was betrayed by Judas for 30 pieces of silver. The Quran’s use of silver was nothing new.

        The Ten Commandments are a part of the Jewish Law received by Moses. The commandment you referenced says not to covet “anything” that is your neighbors. That is certainly a clear and timeless command.

        Honor killings are more prevalent among Muslims, no matter where they live in the world, than among any other culture. Just look up the statistics.

        The reason Muslim women have more freedom in countries outside the Middle East is because they don’t live in Sharia compliant countires. Have you ever lived under Sharia Law? If you ever do you will find out very quickly that women are oppressed under Sharia. The books I’ve read have been written by Muslim women who have been there.

        You are right that males have a tendency to act superior– probably in most cultures– if not all. The Quran, however, specifically says they are superior to women and places women under male control throughout life.

        I’m glad to know you are happy with your hijab but many Muslim women are not and they should not be forced to wear them against their will.

        The passages you quoted from the Old Testament law have no relevance to Christians. They do not apply today. And even when they did apply they were rarely if ever actually needed. The penalty that was listed was severe so that women would avoid that behavior. I’ve never heard of a woman committing either of those crimes in Jewish history.

        The passage from Revelation is dealing with God’s direct judgement against sinners. He is Just and knows who deserves such punishment.

        Sorry I took so long to respond.

        Grace and peace to you.

  8. Excellent responses ‘Hijaabi & Proud!’, but it seems that you are dealing with an Evangelical missionary in the form of Ms.Cheryl.

    I am afraid that your exegesis of the Biblical texts is nothing short of deceptive. There’s no point in arguing about it, it’s there for anyone to see. Cheryl, you need to come out of missionary mode and think for yourself once in a while.

    Equating ‘veil’ in Paul’s recommendation with ‘hair’ later in that passage is an obvious distortion. Please be honest and don’t resort to such arguments. You ‘interpretation’ renders the passage incoherent: if the hair IS the covering then what is the point recommending it? How can women avoid having their head ‘covered’ by hair? Is it only talking to women with wigs or male pattern baldness? You said the Muslims had only quoted it selectively. I think it is you who edited it down to reduce the misogyny, here is a fuller quote and people can decide for themselves:

    1 Corinthians 11
     2 I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the traditions just as I passed them on to you. 3 But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. 5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved. 6 For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head.
     7 A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; 9 neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10 It is for this reason that a woman ought to have authority over her own head, because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12 For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.
     13 Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, 15 but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering. 16 If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice—nor do the churches of God.

    You seem conveniently to not have mentioned the whole man (but not woman) being the image and glory of God , and women merely being the image or glory of man (a second order glory of God at best) thing. You also seem to have neglected that apparently, despite being ‘dependant’ on each other, women were created ‘for’ men and NOT vice versa.

    How dare you imply that other practices are allowed today when he clearly says that not only that he has no other practice but neither do the ‘Churches of God’. i.e. if you have a different practice, you are not of God’s Churches.

    Same goes for your ‘I don’t know about Catholics’ statement. Well you SHOULD know about Catholics since they are the MAJORITY sect of Christianity.

    And the US is ‘established’ as a nation on ‘Christian principles’? Well the way they ‘established’ the country with their treatment of the Native Americans and slaves was somewhat ‘un -Christian’. Also, funny how your Constitution never mentions Jesus by name isn’t it? The closest you get is talking about ‘the year of our Lord’.

    You are also rather disrespectful to Christians: ”Yes, we have sinners in the USA who engage in every sin imaginable– because they are sinners– not Christians.”

    So according to you, anyone who is a sinner is not Christian. Very nice. And a great get out clause too. So I guess you are sinless.

    It’s also very strange that you used the example of the Samaritan woman and Jesus (PBUH). I notice you did not point out that in another account he is alleged to have compared a Samaritan woman to a dog. Although we know that Jesus would never do such a thing, but I am afraid the Bible accuses him of this and much more.

    Before you start schooling Muslims on the Quraan and beating of women, recall the following;

    Exodus 21:20 “Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21 but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.”

    ”Avery Robert Dulles points out that “Jesus, though he repeatedly denounced sin as a kind of moral slavery, said not a word against slavery as a social institution”, and adds that the writers of the New Testament did not oppose slavery either.”


    As for Paul:

    Titus 2: 9 -10 “Tell slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect; they are not to talk back, not to pilfer, but to show complete and perfect fidelity, so that in everything they may be an ornament to the doctrine of God our Saviour.”

    Also, I hate to bring this up since I know that Christians and Jews are NOT like this, but since you seem to be a Fundamentalist Christian:

    Numbers 31:13 Moses, Eleazar the priest and all the leaders of the community went to meet them outside the camp. 14 Moses was angry with the officers of the army—the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds—who returned from the battle.

    15 “Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them. 16 “They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the LORD in the Peor incident, so that a plague struck the LORD’s people. 17 Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

    But what does Jesus say about the OT (allegedly, for we know Jesus (PBUH) would never support such evil, and neither would Moses (PBUH))?

    Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”

    Maybe Paul will condemn the OT teachings:

    2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

    Or maybe not. I guess massacring women and enslaving the survivors is ‘instruction in righteousness’.

    The most problematic thing is that since God allegedly ordered these massacres and Jesus is supposed to have been with God forever (as some Christians of your persuasion claim he IS God: ”In the Beginning was the Word…”) then presumably he APPROVED this instruction to Moses…(although we as Muslims do not accuse Jesus or Moses of such hideous acts). And you want to talk about violence to women in the Quraan? I think you messed up.

    I was unhappy to see you bring up the issue of race and inclusiveness in the Bible. However, the treatment of other races is problematic in some parts of the Bible, like the treatment of the Midianites/Canaanaites. And this;

    ‘Ask of me, and I shall give [thee] the heathen [for] thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth [for] thy possession’.
    Psalms 2:8 (Oxford King James Bible ‘Authorized Version)

    This was the quote which the Christian expansionists used tom justify their land hunger and westward expansion under the doctrine of ‘manifest destiny’ in the U.S.

    You talked about Jesus saving the woman from stoning for adultery, that passage is regarded as a fabrication and is not found in the earliest manuscripts. Deceptive or just poorly informed?

    You say:

    ‘there really is no good reason for women to be “buried alive” in clothes that limit their humanity ‘

    Yes, and walking around in six inch skyscraper heels feel SOOOO much better! Tanning yourself till you get skin cancer feels just GREAT! And I love dieting and getting eating disorders like Anorexia Nervosa and Bulemia, it’s just SOOOO healthy! You get the picture dear.

    And you are worried about FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) or female circumcision in Saudi Arabia and Iran? You see the problem with getting your info from Evangelical sites is that you don’t know that female circumcision in not practised in these countries at all (except in Fundamentalist Christian fantasies, possibly sexual in nature). I think you mean places in Saharan Africa and Egypt, where it is also practised by Christians as well. You see, you just want to associate everything misogynistic with Islam. That is just a public relations exercise, the same way you are trying to reinterpret the Bible as some kind of women’s liberation manual, but it has no academic basis.

    Also, if you are so worried about women being mutilated, maybe you should do something about all the plastic surgery and eating disorders in ‘Christian’ based America. I’m sure having a labioplasty or having a massive bag of saline inserted into your boobs is very liberating and not at all harmful. While you’re fixing that, maybe you can do something about all the abortions by having babies (or as you call them in the U.S ‘feotuses’) vacuumed out of ones’ vagina (harmless of course!) or all the rapes that take place (over 20% of women in the US claim to have been sexually assaulted in some form or another).

    And you say women should be ‘free to choose’. Who said they weren’t? What a straw man argument! This is a SE Asian site, women are free to choose how they dress, hijaab or not. You don’t have any historical evidence of enforcement of hijaab, say in Andalus or the Ottoman empire or the Malay sultanates. We do however have lot’s example of ‘Christian’ majority countries like France and Germany, Italy and Spain selectively banning niqaab/hijaab TODAY,, yes right this minute! Same goes for ‘secular’ Singapore and China, where I don’t see the Christians speaking up for women’s freedom of dress. Hmmm…it seems evangelicals are only worried about a woman’s right to TAKE CLOTHES OFF as opposed to her right PUT THEM ON…and if you are worried about the dress code in Saudi Arabia, why don’t you stop hassling us and tell your government to stop supplying them with weapons and keeping them in power?

    In any case, women’s ‘freedom’ to dress how they want has to be tempered against men’s freedom from being in America what they call (pardon my language) ‘dick teased’. One woman’s freedom should not become another man’s oppression.

  9. Sorry for the long reply guys, but sadly when it comes to Islam, certain Christians like to throw a huge number of red herrings out there, in the hope that one will stick. Here is a favourite ‘formula’ of missionaries and Islamophobes:

    ”Anything BAD that happens in a majority Muslim community or country is because of Islam, but anything bad that happens in a majority Christian community or country is NOT because of Christianity but is due to politics, poverty, nationalism, anything apart from religion. So if Muslims carry out terrorism, this is due to Islam, but if Christian soldiers participate in illegal wars like in Iraq, then this is not due to Christianity but ‘other reasons’. Even if they say it is due to their religious beliefs we should ignore them. But if Muslims say it is due to their religious beliefs we should believe them. Same goes for oppression of women or any group done by Muslims, it must be because of religion. If anyone else does it we should look for sociological causes, like lack of education and poverty. But not religion. And especially not Christianity. Also, anything GOOD that happens in Christian majority countries or communities is in fact due to Christianity. However, anything good happening in Muslim communities or countries is not due to Islam but due to sociological factors, colonialism or perhaps Christianity. Anything but Islam”. Rinse and repeat.

    Good Christians never use this kind of argument, because they are sincere and know that it is dishonest. They also know that it is the same argument used by atheists to blame religion for violence but not blame atheism for the violence of Communism under Stalin, Mao and Pol-Pot etc. etc.

    It’s an interesting example of the exact same tactic used by secularists, atheists and Fundamentalist Christians against Islam. it’s like they hate Islam more than they hate each other…

    • Alchemy,
      Thanks for your response, as I understand this articles is being publish in Facebook by Productive Muslim. Please get their acknowledgement if you dont agree with it.
      If she not give that reply, then take that quote as my quote.


  10. Modesty, which leads to respect for oneself and for others, is the key here. It is strange when people typecast women in the world to lie in either of two extremes; those who wander about naked and those who wear the hijab. It is the ones in between who truly respect their bodies. They are the ones who really display a higher level of intellect, not only because they respect themselves but also because they do not go about defending or propagating their way of life in an egotistical and immature manner. Kudos to the woman for her achievements, but saying it represents the highest level of intellect seems silly. Its just another way of defending one’s beliefs and desperately wanting to feel that your way alone is the supreme way.

    • Modesty -
      In Collin dictionary stated that “(modifier) designed to prevent inadvertent exposure of part of the body”.
      In Oxford dictionary stated that “behaviour, manner, or APPEARANCE intended to avoid impropriety or indecency”.

      To wear a proper clothes is also modesty. In term of my religion, we have certain guidelines to “prevent inadvertent exposure of part of the body”.

      “They are the ones who really display a higher level of intellect, not only because they respect themselves but also because they do not go about defending or propagating their way of life in an egotistical and immature manner.”

      My friend, before we defend, there must be an attack. If people don’t attack, why we should bother to defend. The one who attack is actually egotistical and immature manner.

      If our woman already choose to wear Hijab. Why you should bother with that. Are you better than us?

    • Unfortunately I think you need to accept that ‘modesty’ is a subjective concept: take skirts for example: what is ‘modest’ – below knee? Above knee? How high above knee? Are hot pants o.k? How about a G – string? And who gets to decide? You? Me? Women only? Society? Which one? And according to what time frame? If you went out in a short skirt in Europe in the 40′s you would be ridiculed. Does modesty change with the times? What time should we follow?

      Which civilization decides? What is civilization? The Nazis definition of ‘civilization’ was different to the Romans which was different to the Chinese. Who decides?

      You see, you just showed the problem by deciding that the two ‘extremes’ were naked and ‘hijaab’. You probably don’t even realise how offensive you are being. Who gave you the authority to decide that wearing loose fitting clothes and a scarf is ‘extreme’? Do you speak for all women? You just said that wearing a scarf is as ‘extreme’ as being naked, thereby insulting all the women throughout history, Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Muslim or whatever who decided to dress like that, including Christian nuns like Mother Teresa and Mary, Mother of Christ (pbuh). I can also include the Buddhist nuns who wear even looser robes that Muslims and don’t allow their hair to be shown by shaving it.

      This is why in Islam, we propose a non – human and OBJECTIVE criteria to transcend human SUBJECTIVITY and BIAS i.e. God: you don’t have to accept that our criteria is from God or follow it and are free to do what you like: however, you cannot say that your opinion is objectively right either. It’s just right to YOU.

      You said:

      ”Its just another way of defending one’s beliefs and desperately wanting to feel that your way alone is the supreme way.”

      Good point. But then you went and made YOUR way the supreme way by taking upon yourself to define the extremes and saying that anyone who was not following it was an extremist. This is grossly offensive to women in general, and again, who gave you that authority?

      ”It is the ones in between who truly respect their bodies. They are the ones who really display a higher level of intellect, not only because they respect themselves but also because they do not go about defending or propagating their way of life in an egotistical and immature manner.”

      So you are agreeing with her and saying that the way you dress DOES effect your intelligence, except according to you, it’s the ones in your self – defined ‘middle’ who are more intelligent.
      So according to you, people (presumably like yourself) who are in the ‘middle’ are superior to everyone else in intellect and self respect and maturity as well as lacking egotism. And then you criticise others for feeling like ‘their way is the supreme way’ having just said that YOUR way is the supreme way.

      You see in Islam, only God is always right, not me, not you. So you should not put – down everyone who does not adhere to your standard, especially as you were complaining about ‘extremists’. I think the reality is that you need to think for yourself instead of reflexly labelling anything practised by Muslims as ‘extreme’.

  11. Pingback: Hijab and Billboard | hifzan shafiee

  12. I have read some and skimmed other comments and find we have a very interesting discussion going. First ti the original post, it seems to me that Tawakul Karman wares the Hijab because of her religious convictions and not because she is forced. I think the wrong is when women are hurt or killed because they do not wear something. However I thought that many missed one point Hifzan made about educating women, As more Muslim women are educated and gain prominent roles we will see changes in Muslim societies. Maybe not all for the better. My two daughters work with young Christian girls and stress how modest dress should be the rule. I firmly believe you can dress modestly and still be beautiful. I have two daughters as proof. A final comment, Jesus and Mary were Jews. Mary would probable had worn a head covering outside the house and definitely in Synagogue. Jesus would also have covered his head in Synagogue, Temple and while praying. We can still see this practice in Orthodox Jews. I enjoyed the post and the comments.

  13. Hi all

    I am very saddened upon the above discussions. I am a practicing muslim and i am born in to it. 

    We muslims have sadly abandoned the holy quran and seek guidance within a fabricated hadith which is full of condradictions. 

    That is why in today’s world alot of muslim brothers and sisters are oppressed mainly sisters due to differences created by muslim’s following other scriptures rather than the Holy Quran. 

    I am a very open minded muslim brother and not shamed of speaking the truth. I urge all the muslims to put their belief’s aside and look at the reality picture of what is happening in the middle east mainly muslim countries. Do not drift away from the real issues as Cherel has pointed out nor try to uphold your religion for the sake of evil doing’s happening in our society especially within the muslim countries. 

    Islam is a religion of peace and so is Christianity..

    The Qur’an briefly announces the Sabians in three places as to who they were as people of the book.

    “Verily! Those who believe and those who are Jews and Christians, and Sabians, … whoever believes in Allāh and the Last Day and do righteous good deeds shall have their reward with their Lord, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve .” Quran 2:62

    “Those who believe (in the Qur’an) those who follow the Jewish (Scriptures) and the Sabians and the Christians―any who believe in Allāh and the Last Day, and work righteousness―on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” Quran 5:69

    “Verily, those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Sabians, and the Christians, and the Majus, and those who worship others besides Allāh, truly, Allāh will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection. Verily! Allāh is Witness over all things.” Quran 22:17

    God knows that many Muslims will be living in the middle of Christians and Jews and will be sharing their food and for this reason God made it perfectly lawful for Muslims to eat the food of the people of the scripture (Jews/Christians):

    “Today, all good food is made lawful for you. The food of the people of the scripture (Jews & Christians) is lawful (halal) for you ……” 5:5

    The Quranic law is for all times and thus this concession applied when the Quran was first revealed as well as it does today.

    We need to embrace the people of the scripture that Allah (swt) revealed to it. 

    Muslim’s following a man made Hadith book which has no authenticity what so ever are comparing this to Allah (swt) relevation through the last prophet. 

    Hadith is not mentioned in the Quran as a source of Islamic theology and practice, was not recorded in written form until more than two centuries after the death of the prophet Muhammed, its perceived internal errors and contradictions

    “…If any do fail to judge by what Allah(God) has sent down (i.e the Koran), they are unbelievers (Kaafiroon).” (Koran 5:45).

    “…If any do fail to judge by that which Allah has sent down, they are tyrants (dhilamoon).” (Koran 5:45)

    “…If any do fail to judge by that which Allah has sent down, such are evil-livers (fasikoon).” (Koran 5:47)

    The Koran reports that the messenger himself will complain to God about his so called followers abandoning the Koran:
    “And the messenger says,”O my Lord, my OWN people have forsaken the Koran.” (Koran 25:30)

    The three types of adherents to faiths that the Qur’an mentions as people of the book are the Jews, Sabians and Christians.

    There are many statements in the Quran, that promote tolerance towards People of The Book.

    And do not dispute with the followers of the Book except by what is best, except those of them who act unjustly, and say: We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you, and our God and your God is One, and to Him do we submit. [Quran 29:46]

    And there are, certainly, among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), those who believe in God and in that which has been revealed to you, and in that which has been revealed to them, humbling themselves before God. They do not sell the Verses of God for a little price, for them is a reward with their Lord. Surely, God is Swift in account. ‘(3:199)’

    Throughout Islamic history, Muslims have used these ayah (verses) to justify a variety of positions towards non-Muslims. In some places and times, Muslims showed a great deal of tolerance towards non-Muslims; in other places and times non-Muslims were treated as enemies and persecuted.

    Allah (swt) in the quran forbids any other book : 

    “In which hadith after this will they believe?” (al-A`araaf [7]:185).

    “These are God’s revelations we recite to you in truth. Then, in which hadith after God and His revelations will they believe?” (al-Jatheya [45]:6).

    We understand the import of these questions from yet another question posed in the Qur’an: “Shall I seek other than God as a source of law and judgment when He is the One who has sent down the Book to you in detail?” (al-An`am [6]:114).


    “What is wrong with you? How do you judge? Do you have another book which you study?” (al-Qalam [68]:35-36).

    Just like many muslims i was taught the quran , i never understood what i was reading, this is happening all over to majority of the muslims, how are they supposed to seek guidance and better their Taqwa. Gods guidance will never reach them, devils work here will prevail due to misconception’s and following the fabricated hadith which is not gods words.

    Allah (swt) forbids persecution and this is being upheld within the holy city saudia arabia :

    2:193 And fight them until persecution is no more.

    Guarding Modesty is not about wearing a hijab, and then adding on jewellery and makeup and wearing tight pants, this is a loophole muslim sisters are getting around with. . Lust will always be on ones mind and is far worse.

    Guard modesty is about the sense of clothing worn around you and about not hiding the hair.

    Finally.. Honour killing is not deprived from the quran but from the so called authentic hadith’s..

    From the Hadith:

    Bukhari (6:60:79) – Two people guilty of “illegal intercourse” are brought to Muhammad, who commands that they both be stoned.  Apparently their act was out of love, however, since the verse records the man as trying to shield the woman from the stones.

    Bukhari (83:37) – Adultery is one of three justifications for killing a person, according to Muhammad.

    Muslim (17:4196) – A married man confesses that he has adultery (four times, as required).  Muhammad orders him planted in the ground and pelted with stones.  According to the passage, the first several stones caused such pain that he tried to escape and was dragged back.

    Muslim (17:4206) – A woman who became pregnant confesses to Muhammad that she is guilty of adultery.  Muhammad allows her to have the child, then has her stoned (the description is graphic).

    Muslim (17:4209) – A woman confesses adultery and is stoned to death on Muhammad’s order

    Ibn Ishaq (970) – “The adulterer must be stoned.”  These words were a part of Muhammad’s farewell address to his people on the occasion of his final pilgrimage to Mecca.

    Our beloved prophet (swt) was such a truthful person and told Allah (swt)

    “And the messenger says,”O my Lord, my OWN people have forsaken the Koran.” (Koran 25:30)

    I do apologize if i have offended anyone.  Hifzan and hijab and proud are only defending their religion Islam. Maybe their are so out of touch in the realities of life. 

    • Thanks Salman,

      I am not going to refute to your long reply, but next time, kindly make a short comments – and comment must be relate to the post. I believe you intent are good, but it doesn’t mean it was correct.

      First, the reality of West and East are totally different, it was uncomparable. I am not talking about religion, even culture, race, behaviour are different.

      I totally do not agree with you statement “fabricated hadith” unless you have a very solid evidance or have time travel machine to travel to the past. Which you don’t have both. For time being take that as truth.

      I don’t want to take a same journey of Christian that denied their own scripture- when it was Shahih- it is Shahih. Too many hadith and naratation is very strong mention about stoning. Which when you denied it, many will start saying “see in your hadiths stated that”. That what happen to Christianity today, right? Denying is not a solution, my friends.

      You are right, stoning is not in Quran. Allah not mention it. More scholar stated that “Stoning” is Takzir not Hudud. Which I think it was more correct.
      Even, scholar who agree with “Stoning” is Hudud mention that : the list to fullfil the criteria of stoning is too long, and which is almost imposible to execute. I have read how scholar interpreate the hadith, and it was far from what being propagate today.

      Yes, there something wrong with Muslim world, and someone need to fix it. The actual problem is fanatism, political and birocracy in court of certain Muslim country. But it happen too in Secular court, in different way.

  14. Do apolise for the long message. I will keep it short.

    The Quran is based on 2 principal’s..

    1. Hud (rules)
    2. Menhaj (guidance).

    Unfortunately it’s the scholar’s of islam that are misguiding people. Their will always be good and bad people in all works of society not only america.. I hope we can agree on this.

    To 99% of all readers these answers will be sufficient and to them this will be the end of the matter, even though they may still harbour an uneasy suspicion deep inside. Sadly, less than 1% of all readers will seek to find satisfactory answers to the following questions:

    1- How can God say one thing yet the interpreters tell us that God really meant something totally different?
    Is God giving us puzzles?

    2- Is the interpreter more clever than God? How can the interpreter be able to put the correct meaning across while God could not?

    3- How can God say one thing yet the interpreters tell us that the messenger of God said the contrary? Has the messenger of God preached a different meaning to what God’s words mean?

    4- How can God assert that the Quran is clear and easy to understand (as per the following verses), yet these self proclaimed custodians of the faith claim that the it is difficult to understand?

    “A.L.R. these are the signs of the clear book” 12:1

    “We have made it (the Quran) easy to understand and in your own tongue (language) may you take heed” 44:58

    5- God confirms that it is only He who can bless anyone with the true meaning of the Quran and the understanding of the Quranic message (55:1-2 and 75:19). Still, the self appointed ulama (scholars) tell us that no one can understand the Quran without their enlightened interpretations!

    “The Most Gracious. Teacher of the Quran.” 55:1-2

    “Then it is We who will explain it.” 75:19

    The genuine believers, will choose to believe God’s words rather than the words of any interpreter.

    They will always accept the straightforward meaning of the Quranic verse.

    The genuine believer will always show absolute trust and respect for God’s words, rather than be duped into accepting any far fetched meaning fabricated by the interpreters.

    The Quran states that no prophet brings a law of his own. The only law and Sunna is that of God:

    “You will find no substitute to God’s Sunna ” 33:62

    • I can agree with “scholar’s of islam that are misguiding people”. Many have notice it and start to question their reliability. But not all are like that, some are good and very good.

      Actually, prev, I have question a same thing, but in Malaysia, we lucky to have a vast of Islamic book and good scholar so that we can compare the opinion and pick the best one without changing /declare “Shahih as fabrication”, etc. We take an opinion from Maliki, Shafi, Hambali, Hanifa and compare it. We quite open minded when accepting other opinion, rather than stick to on opinion.

      It was a good question, and I really want to answer the question you raise, but may be in post not comment. Suspicious is good thing; but I prefer to use word “human make mistake” and use word “challenge” the opinion. Hey, to use this word “challenge”, at least you must be equivalent in term of knowledge and taqwa. Look at Imam Shafi challenge opinion Imam Malik, even thought they are teacher and student.

      To merge with modernazation, I believe the fatwa/ opinion from Southern Asia (Brunei, indonesia, Malaysia, Southern Thai, etc) are more suitable because we have live in multicultural and multireligion compare to any other Muslim country. We also one of the biggest community in Islamic world, and we once living under British/Dutch/French ruler- and we understand them quite well how they think.

      Muslim can interpreate Quran by themself, as what Imam Shafi do. What I recommend is take all opinion of all scholar, even outside Sunni and compare it. For that, you need to have a vast knowledge and time to study. I don’t say you can’t, but it take a lot lot lot of time.

      Even two sahabat (Umar and Abu Bakr), have a different view in certain view. Take it with open mind.

  15. interesting replys, what i can say is that islam is a religion, we cant questioon the orders of allah , sometimes we find the causes but when we cant , we have the full trust on allah that what we do is the best for us and in the end remember life is just a teste so enjoy it but dont forget the goal

  16. Interesting speculation but I do not understand how one equates intellect with how many or how few clothes a person wears. There are substantiated studies of aboriginal peoples who were practically naked who built and maintained highly advanced civilizations. There are other people who are covered with more clothing than traditional Islamic women who still practice hunting and gathering social structure.

    There is no corrolation. It is a personal view and opinion. That is fine. The world has many millions of people who can still express their opinions and views freely. It is when certain groups, religions, political systems etc. force their views and beliefs on the rest of us that I become very concerned.

    Otherwise, the opinions are rather interesting. I will be interested to see if this reply is published. If it is. I wonder how negative or positive any responses will be, if any.

    Thanks for reading.

    • swabby429,
      The definition of civilization according to Muslim require:
      1) Knowledge
      2) Iman (Faith) of Allah
      3) Akhlaq (manner), just, etc.
      4) Enjoining righteous and forbidding evil

      All the this contribution factor must put together to achieve a good result.
      In Islam, we very concern about maintaining the civilization rather than building the civilization. Every nation can build it up, but to maintain it take a lot of effort.

      In Islam, wearing a clothes is a part of akhlaq and faith. Even a small contribution can not be neglected to achieve a society that are just, sincere, moderate, and righteous.

      You are right, clothes doesn’t mean they are stupid or dumb but perception of human being said this guy/lady are sex symbol (first impression).

      Every bad thing start with small thing, or to think positively: Every good thing start with small effort.

      Thanks for commenting.

  17. Thank-you all. This is very informative. Thankfully all of us have reflected that Allah, God has love as a first motion. Each of us must be faithful to God’s word as revealed in the Divine Space of Prayer. Wearing hijab is right for those who Muslims who choose it through their faith. Making a woman wear BLACK COVERING in the hot son is only punitive and mean spirited.

    • And making women wear high heels on the subway and get skin cancer by wearing revealing clothes in the ‘hot sun’ is merciful and kind spirited is it?

      Spare us your prejudice and banality please.

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