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The Spotlight on the Niqab: Is it Bad for Islam?

Feminism went full circle: it wrestled some rights out of the hands of men, but then allowed women to be manipulated.

As the niqab debate rages on and as the Muslim community gets accustomed to coming under some sort of attack on a regular basis. There is a silver lining for us Muslims.

Muslims are in a unique position to be able to reconnect people with traditional values, values that have been universally accepted and upheld by humanity for thousands of years. Even feminists can learn a thing or two about their cause. In post-modernity, I do not believe it is possible for us in the West to argue any longer that we are at the height of civilisation and progress. Yes, we’ve advanced technologically and scientifically, but we have regressed in our humanity and are beginning to threaten our own survival.

I increasingly feel sorry for women in today’s world who have submitted to the liberal narrative. They have no real respect for themselves and have no substantial identity as women. Their identity is increasingly defined in competition to or relative to men, or either materialistically or sexually. This betrays deep seated insecurity, oppression and shallowness. Today, women who would consider themselves empowered have had to at some point undo a few buttons, wear a shorter skirt and flout some sexuality to get their way… usually with men. In post-feminism, this sexuality is seen as power over men, when in fact it is a cheap currency whose value women have been duped in to accepting so that they may attain things that should be free if they were indeed respected.

Men in general and especially the perverted ones have never had it better nor ever had so much power over women. At last they live in a world where the thing they desire most is always available completely free. Feminism went full circle: it wrestled some rights out of the hands of men, but then allowed women to be manipulated. Now, women competing with men in the work-place have it much harder as they juggle work, maternity, and family; and women in general struggle to make sense of how it is that they completely lost their dignity before men. Pornography, women’s fashion, sexual exploitation, single parenthood, increases in abortion, etc are all evidences of this. Through all of this, men have remained men, just as dominant, except that they don’t have to work as hard or be as responsible. Feminism has turned in to a triumph of masculinity.

The alternative is Islam. A woman is respected and loved as a woman. When she needs to and if she wants to, she is free to take on some of the high value and high esteem roles that men normally occupy: teacher, academic, doctor, even magistrate; and she need not do it for money. That’s something men have to graft for. She is valued for her mind without the need for the hard graft. When in public, the hijab and niqab neutralise her sexuality so men either show respect or let her be. Respect and nobility without the stress. Why does she deserve this? Why would a mother, sister or daughter deserve any less?

Men, Muslim and non-Muslim, have indeed been remiss in their treatment of women over the centuries. It is something they will have to answer for. We believe in God, and He will do justice against oppressive and exploitative men. But there is no doubt in my mind that a woman stands in better stead in Islam than anywhere else. That is why, in the fastest growing religion in the world, the majority of the converts are women. I wonder why they leave the freedoms of modernity for the ‘repression’ of Islam. When the dust settles on the niqab issue, more non-Muslim women would have chosen Islam and more Muslim women would have adopted the hijab or the niqab. The only bad thing that comes out of it is insults and attacks against our women. We pray for their protection and hold the ignorant and the sections of the media responsible.

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About MRDF

The foundation strives to articulate Islam in a modern context and address the unique situation and challenges faced by Muslims in the West. An integral focus as a means to this end is the study, analysis & presentation of classical Islamic scholarship and its contemporary application.

6 comments

  1. Samy Merchant

    “Is it bad for Islam? Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out!

  2. Masha Allah- brilliant article- keep advancing forth sisters- we’re upon the haqq (truth)

  3. I strongly believe those women / girls who have left thier respect & virginity for the sake of haram westernised non believers should be mocked to an extent that they are admonished and out of the islamic circle.
    They not only mock us muslims but mock islam . They insult our religion by
    openly flirty thier sexuality in th open on parks , colleges and campuses.

    I urgen the scholar to issue FATWA’s to declare who is with us and who is not !
    The same applies to men.

  4. Assalam o alaikum,
    Islam teaches us to dress up modestly and the order is, for both men and women. We all know that vit D synthesis occurs in our skin on exposure to sun. While working in Madina Al Munwarah as an Orthopaedic Surgeon, I saw many young girls in complete hijab suffering severely from vit D deficiencies. They could not walk or stand up unaided. It was all due to complete hijab. Almighty made our bodies. If Almighty wanted complete hijab for women, then he would have made different system of vit d synthesis for women. We should be aware that such restrictions on women are not Islamic. It is unnatural and against the very nature of our bodies. Vit D deficiency is on increase in UK among women in general and in muslim women in particular and it is mainly due to lack of exposure to a quality sun. I support modesty both for men and women and that is what Islam promotes.

  5. Nothing in Islam is unnatural or against the nature of our bodies (as stated by the vit D writer), elhamdulilah.
    Not exposing the body in public does not mean women are deprived of sunlight. May I request the readers that when they read statments made by people or even experts for that metter, to always look into the evidence of those claims. This will generally clarify any confusion raised.
    In any case, even if that was the situation, wherby women present with vit D deficiency due to Niqab, then options would be to:
    1- Educate the women and recommend exposure to sunlight (which is abundant in ME).
    2 – Provide women-only places (leisure centrs, etc) where adequate exposure would be available.
    3 – Take vit D supplements.
    4 – Last but not least, educate our men who like ‘vit D’ above go from one extreme of ‘problem’ to another of solution. Most importantly, educate them that no Creator made law is bad for creation and that no creation would know better then the Creator.
    wa selam

  6. As salmu alykum

    The argument of ‘those who were hijab have a vit D deficiency’ is idiotic.
    It is like saying those who pray a lot will get arthritis, or … those who will donate their money will become poor.

    Just think about it

    Millions of sisters were better hijab then yours and are stronger and fitter
    Millions of sisters wore the hijab for hundreds of years because it is an OBLIGATION in our deen, but rather, what is harmful is that you still have not allowed guidance to enter your heart about that.
    Many non-muslims live in extreme cold or hot conditions and have to cover their bodies fully and are very healthy and strong
    Women are not under the obligation to wear the full hijab ALL THE TIME rather, only when outside the home or some social gatherings, hence plenty of other times to enjoy the sun

    May Allah open our eyes to the truth and help us see the traps of shaytan

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